Media/Policy Watch

Media/Policy Watch
This watch section is intended to alert readers to substantive news, analysis and opinion from the general media and selected think tanks and similar organizations on vaccines, immunization, global public health and related themes. Media Watch is not intended to be exhaustive, but indicative of themes and issues CVEP is actively tracking. This section will grow from an initial base of newspapers, magazines and blog sources, and is segregated from Journal Watch above which scans the peer-reviewed journal ecology.
We acknowledge the Western/Northern bias in this initial selection of titles and invite suggestions for expanded coverage. We are conservative in our outlook in adding news sources which largely report on primary content we are already covering above. Many electronic media sources have tiered, fee-based subscription models for access. We will provide full-text where content is published without restriction, but most publications require registration and some subscription level.


The Atlantic
Accessed 13 Mar 2021
People Are Keeping Their Vaccines Secret
COVID-19 vaccinations have become a public spectacle, but they touch intensely private questions.
Katherine J. Wu March 11, 2021


Accessed 13 Mar 2021
[No new, unique, relevant content]


The Economist
Accessed 13 Mar 2021
Papers, please — Are vaccine passports a good idea?
They are likely to make the biggest difference to international travel
Mar 13th 2021

Shots fired — The many guises of vaccine nationalism
Italy will not be the last to block shipments
Mar 13th 2021


Financial Times
Accessed 13 Mar 2021
Covid-19 vaccines
EU member states squabble over vaccine distribution
Group of countries warn of heavy disparities in shipments across Europe
March 14, 2021
A row has broken out between EU member states over coronavirus vaccine allocation in the latest fallout from AstraZeneca’s worsening supply shortfalls to the bloc.
Leaders of a group of European states wrote to the presidents of the European Council and European Commission complaining of “huge disparities” in the allocations of vaccines between member states. The letter, which was signed by Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Slovenia, calls for a debate at leaders’ level.
However, other member states countered that the six member states are complaining about the adverse results of their own procurement decisions. The commission defended the system, saying the allocation of doses had followed a “transparent process”…

Coronavirus Business Update
US intensifies vaccine diplomacy
Indo-Pacific initiative with ‘Quad’ allies aims to counter Chinese influence
March 12, 2021
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The FT View
The editorial board
A tantalising glimpse of a post-vaccine world
First, Americans had Dolly Parton singing of vaccines to the tune of “Jolene” to encourage them to get the jab (“I’m begging of you, please don’t hesitate/ ’cause once you’re dead then that’s a bit too late”). Now they have a further incentive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week said fully vaccinated adults could meet each other or people at low risk of contracting Covid-19 indoors, without social distancing or masks. If Americans needed any more impetus, they could look across to Israel, whose population is celebrating after its superfast vaccine rollout led to most restrictions being lifted, or disregarded.

For locked-down citizens elsewhere, the US and Israeli moves offer enticing glimpses of a post-vaccination world. Yet the US guidelines, in particular, prompted surprise elsewhere. In the UK, which has vaccinated a bigger proportion of its adults than the US, distancing rules remain in place for all. England’s chief medical officer warned this week the virus could surge again in autumn, long after inoculations are supposed to be completed.

The CDC argued it was important to spell out how life could begin to return to normal. The benefits of reducing social isolation for the vaccinated outweighed the risks, it said, and might “help improve . . . vaccine acceptance and uptake” among the hesitant. Social distancing and mask-wearing have also met more resistance in the US than anywhere; with infections still raging, governors in Texas and Mississippi have lifted statewide mask requirements for all — which President Joe Biden called “Neanderthal thinking”.

In Israel, 4m of its nearly 7m adults are fully vaccinated, with a further 1m awaiting their second shot. The rest are deemed unlikely to get the jab, through scepticism or perceived lack of need. The government’s laissez-faire approach to enforcing remaining restrictions may partly reflect the fact that it is facing another election on March 23, the fourth in two years. But, while it is pondering how to persuade sceptics to get jabs, the government appears to be following a tacit policy of monitoring hospital admissions while being ready to let the virus circulate among the young unvaccinated.

Other governments may in time opt for a similar approach. One reason for maintaining measures such as mask-wearing even with vaccinations well under way has been uncertainty over whether jabs prevent transmission as well as infection. Evidence is slowly mounting that they do. Israel’s health ministry found shots were 94 per cent effective at preventing symptomatic infections, and 89 per cent against infections of any kind, including those without symptoms. If little or no virus can be detected, many scientists assume it cannot be passed on. Recommended Covid-19 vaccines Covid-19 vaccine tracker: the global race to vaccinate

The big threat to the “dream” scenario of governments being able to ease restrictions almost entirely as inoculation programmes end is the emergence of new variants that resist existing vaccines or cause worse symptoms and higher hospitalisations even among the young and healthy. Later rounds of jabs — booster shots against mutated strains — seem inevitable. Testing programmes may be needed for some time to hunt down new variants, and as an alternative to “vaccine passports” for those who cannot or choose not to be jabbed.

Little by little, however, outlines of the post-pandemic normal are becoming discernible. Rich-world governments that are making good progress with vaccinations now need to prepare to donate their surplus doses to the developing world — to ensure they are not the only ones that can enjoy that brighter future.

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Accessed 13 Mar 2021
[No new, unique, relevant content]


Foreign Affairs
Accessed 13 Mar 2021
Snapshot March 11, 2021
Vaccine Diplomacy Is Paying Off for China
China’s vaccine diplomacy is off to a strong start, but Beijing still faces stiff competition and tough questions from abroad.
Yanzhong Huang

Snapshot March 9, 2021
How Many Vaccine Doses Can Nations Ethically Hoard?
A new framework sets the obligatory threshold for sharing vaccine doses at the point where deaths directly and indirectly caused by COVID-19 begin to resemble those from…
Ezekiel J. Emanuel, Cécile Fabre, Daniel Halliday, R. J. Leland, Allen Buchanan, Kok-Chor Tan, and Shuk Ying Chan
…We propose a novel framework to answer that question—the Fair Priority for Residents (FPR) framework—which sets the obligatory threshold for sharing vaccine doses at the point where deaths directly and indirectly caused by COVID-19 begin to resemble those from influenza. Tens of thousands of Americans die every year from the flu, but the U.S. government treats these deaths as normal background risk. The government takes modest measures to provide vaccines but does not mandate vaccination or mask wearing, even though doing so would save lives. We propose that governments have a duty to give “fair priority” to their residents when distributing vaccines in order to reduce COVID-19-related mortality to pre-crisis, or “flu risk,” levels. Once they have reached that point, however, their duty to assist people threatened by COVID-19 abroad outweighs their duty to further reduce mortality in their own countries….


Foreign Policy
Accessed 13 Mar 2021
Quad Summit’s Vaccine Deal Is Biden’s Bold First Move in Asia
It’s a smart step to counter China, but the next ones won’t be as easy.
Michael J. Green

Scarcity and Ethics
The pandemic is offering a crash course to wealthy countries on dealing with problems they can’t buy their way out of.
By Malka Older
| March 12, 2021, 9:48 AM


The Guardian
Accessed 13 Mar 2021
[No new, unique, relevant content]


New Yorker
Accessed 13 Mar 2021
Annals of Medicine
Why COVID-19 Vaccines Aren’t Yet Available to Everyone
President Biden has promised that all adults will be eligible to receive a vaccine by May. But manufacturing and distributing enough doses will depend on a lot of things going right.
By Sue Halpern
6:00 A.M.

Letter from the U.K.
The Fight Against Vaccine Misinformation
Society’s return to normal depends on widespread acceptance of the vaccine. Distrust stands in the way.
By Anna Russell
March 10, 2021

Q. & A.
Life After Vaccination
Dr. Ashish K. Jha considers what restrictions should remain in place once a large number of Americans have received protection against COVID-19.
By Isaac Chotiner
March 9, 2021


New York Times
Accessed 13 Mar 2021
China asks visa applicants to get inoculated with Chinese-made vaccines.
A new rule for foreigners applying in Hong Kong for visas gives preference to those who choose shots produced in China.
By Keith Bradsher March 13

Biden Takes First Tentative Steps to Address Global Vaccine Shortage
Under pressure to play catch-up on “vaccine diplomacy,” President Biden says he will help finance vaccine manufacturing capacity but is still resisting exports of doses.
By Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Michael Crowley March 12


Washington Post
Accessed 13 Mar 2021
China aims to vaccinate 70-80% of population by mid-2022
Associated Press · Mar 13, 2021

ICE has no clear plan for vaccinating thousands of detained immigrants fighting deportation
Maria Sacchetti · Mar 12, 2021