Graham had a flash of intuition: Perhaps it would be worth taking a closer look at this humdrum cold virus.
It was an impulse born more of convenience and curiosity than foresight, with little to no expectation of glory or profit. Yet the decision to study a colleague’s bad cold gave rise to critical discoveries. Together with other chance breakthroughs that seemed insignificant at the time, it would lead eventually to the mRNA vaccines now protecting hundreds of millions of people from COVID-19.
The shots were developed at record speed, arriving just over a year after a mysterious pneumonia surfaced in China, while so much else — political feuds, public distrust and botched government planning — went wrong.
They remain a marvel: Even as the omicron variant fuels a new wave of the pandemic, the vaccines have proved remarkably resilient at defending against severe illness and death. And the manufacturers, Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna, say that mRNA technology will allow them to adapt the vaccines quickly to fend off whatever dangerous new version of the virus that evolution brings next.
Skeptics have seized on the rapid development of the vaccines — among the most impressive feats of medical science in the modern era — to undermine the public’s trust in them. But the breakthroughs behind the vaccines unfolded over decades, little by little, as scientists across the world pursued research in disparate areas, never imagining their work would one day come together to tame the pandemic of the century.
Source: The decades of discoveries before the ‘miraculous’ sprint to a vaccine | The Japan Times
UNICEF delivered a shipment of COVID-19 vaccine doses in Rwanda on January 15, 2022, bringing the total number of doses shipped via COVAX to 1 billion, with billions more on the way.
COVAX, a groundbreaking global partnership to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide, is barreling ahead on its mission. Since the rollout began in February 2021, COVAX has delivered lifesaving vaccine doses to 144 primarily low- and middle-income countries, with UNICEF leading on procurement and distribution. By the end of the year, COVAX had ramped up to more than 335 million doses delivered in December alone.
Source: COVAX COVID-19 Vaccine Deliveries Hit 1 Billion Doses — and Counting | UNICEF USA
The county also reported 41,765 new cases of COVID-19, and said “the extraordinarily high number of new cases reflects worrisome rates of community transmission.”
Source: LA County posts 66 COVID deaths, highest daily toll since April – San Gabriel Valley Tribune
At the launch of the campaign, Hon Hanifah pointed out that, vaccination remains the most effective public health measure in tackling diseases. “The Uganda government took up vaccination as one of its most effective public health measures and has continued to do so to date. We have been dealing with COVID-19, but we had vaccine-derived Polio type 2 (cVDPV2) from an environmental sample hence the effort to prevent through the national vaccination campaign,” she said.
She further commended the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Center for Diseases Control, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary International and other partners for supporting the Ministry of Health in ensuring the vaccination campaign takes place.
Source: APO Group – Africa Newsroom / Press release | Children Under the Age of Five in Uganda set to benefit from the Nationwide House-to-House Polio Immunization Campaign