• Why We Need to Talk Openly about Vaccine Side Effects

    How can health authorities and politicians help ensure public acceptance of vaccines which, their rare side effects aside, have proven effective in preventing serious Covid-19 disease? The best way to do this is to talk openly about all aspects of the vaccines, including potential negative aspects such as side effects.

  • FDA Approves Drug to Treat Smallpox

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week approved Tembexa (brincidofovir) to treat smallpox. Although the World Health Organization declared smallpox, a contagious and sometimes fatal infectious disease, eradicated in 1980, there have been longstanding concerns that the virus that causes smallpox, the variola virus, could be used as a bioweapon.

  • Evaluation of Safety Studies Affirms That Vaccines Are Safe for Children and Adults

    A new study looking across a large body of research finds further evidence for the safety of vaccines that are Food and Drug Administration–approved and routinely recommended for children, adults, and pregnant women.“These findings support decisions to vaccinate to protect ourselves and our communities from a variety of diseases,” said one expert. “This research is an important reminder that vaccines are safe and any risk they may pose is far outweighed by their ability to protect against diseases.”

  • Just 12 People Are Behind Most Vaccine Hoaxes on Social Media

    Researchers have found that just twelve individuals are responsible for the bulk of the misleading claims and outright lies about COVID-19 vaccines that proliferate on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Many of the messages about the COVID-19 vaccines being widely spread online echo the lies peddlers of health misinformation have been spreading in the past about other vaccines, for example, the vaccines against measles, mumps, and rubella.

  • How Truth Decay Is Fueling Vaccine Hesitancy

    A recent poll found that more than a quarter of Americans will not try to get vaccinated. Why are so many people opting out? Why are so many people opting out? The reasons vary, but some simply don’t trust the public health and government officials who are urging them to get the vaccine. The spread of misinformation and disinformation, which is rampant over social media, is one of the factors fueling vaccine hesitancy. And in turn, it’s threatening our ability to end the pandemic for good.

  • Worldwide Vaccine Hesitancy Poses Risk to Ending Pandemic

    The results of a new poll show that vaccine hesitancy worldwide poses a risk to ending the COVID-19 pandemic for good. In 79 out of 117 countries surveyed, the number of people who said they were willing to be vaccinated was below 70%, the minimum percentage of the population that scientists say needs to have immunity to stop the virus from circulating. 

  • A Third of Americans Say They Are Unlikely or Hesitant to Get COVID-19 Vaccine

    News reports indicate COVID-19 vaccines are not getting out soon enough nor in adequate supplies to most regions, but there may be a larger underlying problem than shortages. A new study found that more than a third of people nationwide are either unlikely or at least hesitant to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them.

  • Hackers “Manipulated” Stolen COVID Vaccine Papers, Says EU Agency

    Documents and emails about the BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna jabs were taken in a cyberattack late last year. The EU’s drug regulator thinks hackers are trying to damage public trust in the COVID vaccines.

  • As the Vaccines Arrive, So Do the Questions

    As the first COVID-19 vaccines are being administered across the United States—developed, tested, and approved with historic speed—countless questions have arisen about what comes next. Is one vaccine better than another? Can the United States both speed up inoculation and overcome some people’s hesitance to get the shot?

  • COVID-19 Experts: Americans Must be Vigilant Against Anti-Vax Rumors in “Fractured Media Universe”

    As the world watches how U.K. residents respond to COVID-19 vaccinations, three leading experts on the virus are urging Americans and the U.S. government to be vigilant against anti-vaccination advocates and their “rumors, misinformation, and conspiracy theories in a fractured media universe.”

  • Pfizer’s Ultra-Cold Vaccine Could Be Difficult to Distribute

    The excitement that greeted the news of a vaccine candidate that may be highly effective against COVID-19 was indeed something to behold. One complicating factor will be the maintenance of the cold chain. Vaccines are fragile products: they need to be stored at specific temperatures, and some are sensitive to light and need to be transported in dark glass vials. These precise conditions must be maintained throughout the vaccine journey, right until the point when you’re in the GP surgery with your sleeve rolled up and the nurse opens the fridge door to extract the required immunization.

  • Pfizer, Biontech Announce COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate Achieved Phase 3 Success

    Vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 in participants without evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection in the first interim efficacy analysis. The study enrolled 43,538 participants, with 42 percent having diverse backgrounds, and no serious safety concerns have been observed; Safety and additional efficacy data continue to be collected. Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE will apply for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after the required safety milestone is achieved, which is currently expected to occur in the third week of November. Clinical trial to continue through to final analysis at 164 confirmed cases in order to collect further data and characterize the vaccine candidate’s performance against other study endpoints.

  • Russia Launches Disinformation Campaign to Undermine Public Confidence in Oxford University’s COVID Vaccine

    The U.K. government said it condemned as “utterly deplorable” a Russia disinformation campaign to undermine public confidence in a coronavirus vaccine currently under development by Oxford University scientists. The Times reported on Friday that Russian government officials have been using social media and Russian state media to depict the vaccine as dangerous – going as far as claiming that the vaccine would turn people into monkeys or chimpanzees.

  • COVID-19 Anti-Vaxxers Use the Same Arguments from 135 Years Ago

    As we get closer to an effective vaccine for COVID-19, we should expect to see a renewed push of disinformation and vocal resistance from the anti-vaccination movement. Over the past year, seemingly endless conspiracy theories and misinformation campaigns have gained traction online amidst rising COVID-19 infection rates worldwide. Looking at the history of these movements can help us understand why they can be so effective at capturing a popular following.

  • A History of the Anti-Vaxxer Movement

    Vaccines are a documented success story, one of the most successful public health interventions in history. Yet there is a vocal anti-vaccination movement, featuring celebrity activists and the propagation of anti-vax claims through books, documentaries, and social media. A new book explores the phenomenon of the anti-vaccination movement, recounting its history from its nineteenth-century antecedents to today’s activism, examining its claims, and suggesting a strategy for countering them.