COVID-19 Publications


Jun, 2021

A conceptual approach to the rationale for SARS-CoV-2 vaccine allocation prioritisation

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Authors: MK. Vasconcelos, C. Marazia, M. Koniordou, H. Fangerau, I. Drexler & AAA. Awuah

Published in: Taylor and Francis Online


Currently vaccines protecting from COVID-19 are a scarce resource. Prioritising vaccination for certain groups of society is placed in a context of uncertainty due to changing evidence on the available vaccines and changing infection dynamics. To meet accepted ethical standards of procedural justice and individual autonomy, vaccine allocation strategies need to state reasons for prioritisation explicitly while at the same time communicating the expected risks and benefits of vaccination at different times and with different vaccines transparently.

In this article, we provide a concept summarising epidemiological considerations underlying current vaccine prioritisation strategies in an accessible way. We define six priority groups (vulnerable individuals, persons in close contact with the vulnerable, key workers with direct work-related contact with the public, key workers without direct work-related contact to the public, dependents of key workers and members of groups with high interpersonal contact rates) and state vaccine priorities for them. Additionally, prioritisation may follow non-epidemiological considerations including the aim to increase intra-societal justice and reducing inequality.

While national prioritisation plans integrate many of these concepts, the international community has so far failed to guarantee equitable or procedurally just access to vaccines across settings with different levels of wealth.

Read manuscript here


Mar, 2021

Vaccinating Children against Covid-19 — The Lessons of Measles

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Authors: Perri Klass, M.D. and Adam J. Ratner, M.D., M.P.H.

Published in: The New England Journal of Medicine


Introduction: Imagine a highly contagious virus circulating in the community. Many infected children have fever and some general misery but recover without incident. Rarely, devastating complications occur, leading to hospitalization, severe illness, and occasional deaths. Susceptible adults fare worse, with higher rates of poor outcomes. Would you want your child vaccinated against this disease?

You guessed we were talking about measles, right?

As the first SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are rolled out to the highest-risk groups, the current stage of the Covid-19 pandemic is pregnant with possibility. Even as cases multiply and new restrictions loom, we gaze longingly toward the next few months, hoping vaccines will deliver us. Vaccination could liberate us to return to school or work, celebrate holidays, eat in restaurants, travel, run marathons, and [fill in your own deprivations]. Early announcements of vaccine efficacy send stocks soaring, and suddenly everyone knows about phase 3 trials and cold-chain logistics. We look to vaccines to give us back our world.

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Mar, 2021

Johnson & Johnson has planned trials of its vaccine that will include infants.

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Johnson & Johnson plans to test its coronavirus vaccine in infants and even in newborns, as well as in pregnant women and in people who have compromised immune systems.

The bold plan for expanded clinical trials met with the approval of Dr. Ofer Levy, director of the Precision Vaccines Program at Harvard’s Boston Children’s Hospital and a member of the Food and Drug Administration advisory committee that reviewed the company’s vaccine data.



Feb, 2021

What does 95% COVID-19 vaccine efficacy really mean?

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Author: Piero Olliaro

Published in: The Lancet

Introduction: It is imperative to dispel any ambiguity about how vaccine efficacy shown in trials translates into protecting individuals and populations. The mRNA-based Pfizer1,2 and Moderna3 vaccines were shown to have 94–95% efficacy in preventing symptomatic COVID-19, calculated as 100 × (1 minus the attack rate with vaccine divided by the attack rate with placebo). It means that in a population such as the one enrolled in the trials, with a cumulated COVID-19 attack rate over a period of 3 months of about 1% without a vaccine, we would expect roughly 0·05% of vaccinated people would get diseased. It does not mean that 95% of people are protected from disease with the vaccine—a general misconception of vaccine protection also found in a Lancet Infectious Diseases Editorial.

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Jan, 2021

Prof. Timo Vesikari talks to us about COVID-19 vaccines and children

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In December 2020 Penta held its annual Scientific Meeting. Despite the unusual get together due to COVID-19, we shared great science together. Among the experts invited was Timo Vesikari, a vaccine specialist who provided an insightful overview of the current scenario around COVID-19 vaccine development. He agreed to an interview with us and shed some light on our understanding of COVID-19 vaccines and how they impact children.

Read the interview here


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