If you’ve been following History of Vaccines on Instagram, you might have noticed that we’ve been re-posting images of people around the world getting their COVID-19 vaccine. Like the Polio Pioneers back in the 1950s, these people are pioneers in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. History will look back to these weeks to see how the vaccine roll-out went.
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.
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.
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.
After receiving Emergency Use Authorization by the Food and Drug Administration last week, the Pfizer coronavirus has started to be administered to people across the United States. Some of the people receiving the vaccine have been very public about it in an effort to encourage others to take it and to show that it is safe.