While individual states and localities have taken it upon themselves to report the number of cases, deaths and outbreaks of COVID-19, and now the number of vaccine doses given, very few national and international groups are aggregating the data. Perhaps the most famous source of aggregated information on COVID-19 cases is Johns Hopkins University and their dashboard. Another group that has been keeping good numbers by aggregating data from many different sources are the folks over at Our World in Data.
No one woke up on a morning in December and decided that an mRNA vaccine was the way to go without any prior knowledge of the science and technology of mRNA vaccines. That knowledge goes back decades, and there have been many people working on this technology with many companies and governments spending large amounts of money on it. There have been clinical trials on mRNA vaccines not just for the coronavirus but for cancer and other ailments. Little by little, advances were made that brought us to the current vaccine.
I was honored to be invited by the Glenview Public Library in Glenview, Illinois, to give a talk on the history of vaccines. I talked for about an hour on the development of vaccines, with some interesting questions at the end. It was a timely topic to cover, given all the questions about the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out.
Just a few days before he was to be sworn-in as the federal representative from Louisiana’s 5th Congressional Distric, Luke Letlow has passed away from complications of COVID-19 infection. According to National Public Radio, Mr. Letlow, 41, had been fighting the infection since mid-December. His condition deteriorated, and he died on Tuesday, December 29, 2020. He leaves behind a wife and two children.
Public health campaigns in general and vaccination drives in particular are subject to all sorts of influences from the populations being vaccinated. From personal beliefs to institutional opinions, who gets vaccinated and when depends on many factors. As the world moves forward with COVID-19 vaccination, it will be interesting to note all the different sources of influence on how the public sees the vaccine and either rejects or accepts being vaccinated.