Public Health Weekly

The Benefits, Risks, and Future of Vaccines and the Pandemic

The latest Covid insights from former CDC Director Tom Frieden

Photo: Spencer Davis/Unsplash

Vaccine technology transfer

The pandemic is the world’s most important problem, making technology transfer for vaccines increasingly crucial. Right now, mRNA vaccine technology is our best solution. We need to create high-quality manufacturing platforms around the world to improve vaccine access.

Vaccines: a public health success story

Vaccines are one of the most important public health interventions ever, having saved at least a billion lives. As with any medical intervention, there may be a small risk. The story of vaccines against rotavirus, which causes deadly diarrheal disease in young children, is instructive.

Vaccine risks vs. benefits

Even as rare but serious events possibly associated with the J&J vaccine continue to be investigated, the pandemic is continuing — and accelerating in much of the world. About one in 200 people with Covid die from it. There have so far been six reports of blood clots developing in the brain among almost seven million people who received the J&J vaccine. There are no known reports of such events associated so far with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

Vaccinating our way toward the new normal

The more people who are vaccinated with available vaccines, the lower the case rates, the more lives saved, and the sooner we will get to the new normal. I still think we’re likely to crush the curve of infections by summer and be in the new normal this fall in the U.S.