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Articles on Vaccination

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An 1801 etching of a dandified physician taking a lancet to a ‘dindonnade,’ a word signifying both ‘turkey’ and ‘hoax.’ It ridicules the smallpox vaccine, which takes fluid from an animal to insert into a human. (Wellcome Collection)

COVID-19 anti-vaxxers use the same arguments from 135 years ago

The history of anti-vaccination theories can help us understand how such claims capture a popular following. The same misinformation used against 19th century smallpox vaccine is still in use today.
The arrival of flu season will put more pressure on hospitals already facing the coronavirus pandemic. Jeffrey Basinger/Newsday via Getty Images

What happens when COVID-19 and influenza collide? Can hospitals handle the strain?

Pandemic policy experts offer 10 recommendations that could reduce the risk that a bad flu season on top of the COVID-19 pandemic will overwhelm hospitals.
On Aug. 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that a coronavirus vaccine developed in the country has been registered for use. Russian Health Ministry/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A COVID-19 vaccine needs the public’s trust – and it’s risky to cut corners on clinical trials, as Russia is

As Russia fast tracks a coronavirus vaccine, scientists worry about skipped safety checks – and the potential fallout for trust in vaccines if something ends up going wrong.
Vaccinologists have not focused their research on tailoring vaccines to induce robust immune responses in the elderly. (Shutterstock)

Why vaccines are less effective in the elderly, and what it means for COVID-19

Immunosenescence — the decline of immune system function with age — means that vaccines are not as effective in older adults, the demographic most susceptible to many diseases, including COVID-19.
A researcher wearing a face mask and gloves as a preventive measure inside a laboratory. Chaiwat Subprasom/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Pressure is on to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, but corners can’t be cut

Vaccine development usually spans a number of decades. This is because there's a need to understand the mechanisms of protection against the pathogen, and to minimise adverse reactions.
Caricature of vaccination scene at the Smallpox and Inoculation Hospital at St. Pancras Hospital in London, by James Giray, 1802. Library of Congress

Video: What we can learn from a book documenting the first vaccine, for smallpox

The success of the smallpox vaccine was far from guaranteed when Edward Jenner first published his treatise in late 18th century. A curator of the book talks about what we can learn from it today.

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