Author Archives: Bara Vaida

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Major COVID-19 vaccine ad campaign to roll out next week

Dr. Anthony Fauci getting his vaccination.

Photo: NIAID via FlickrDr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, received his COVID-19 vaccination.

Journalists covering the COVID-19 vaccine rollout should watch out on Jan. 21 for the Ad Council’s unveiling of an advertising campaign to increase the public confidence getting vaccinated.

The nonprofit group, which led the advertising campaign to garner public support for the polio vaccine in the 1950s, plans to focus especially on communities of color, which polls show are skeptical of the vaccine. Continue reading

Reporter shares how pandemic has sharpened her remote interviewing skills

Photo: Bill Dickinson via Flickr

Reporting feature stories about COVID-19 and its impact on Americans is more critical and more challenging than ever.

These stories usually would involve dozens of hours of in-person interviews; something journalists won’t be able to do for many months to come. What kinds of stories should we tell in our communities and how can we report them?

Jessica Contrera, a writer for the local enterprise team at The Washington Post, has some ideas for journalists, including tips on reporting from a distance, getting people to open up and tell their stories in detail and interesting angles to explore.

Continue reading

New resources for covering the virus that’s changed our world


Photo: Babette Plana via Flickr

What a year it’s been for health care journalism to shine.

On Jan. 5, 2020, the World Health Organization issued a press release announcing a pneumonia of “unknown-cause” was circulating in Wuhan, China. By mid-January, Chinese scientists identified the cause as a coronavirus, eventually dubbed SARS-CoV-2, and publicly shared the virus’s genetic sequence. The disease caused by the virus was named COVID-19. Continue reading

Who is Jeffrey Zients, the soon-to-be White House coronavirus czar?

Jeffrey Zients

As President-elect Joe Biden develops a strategy for ending the pandemic, the person who will be in charge of executing the plan will be Jeffrey Zients.

Zients, who Biden named the White House coronavirus czar, is a businessman and former top economic adviser to President Barack Obama. In the new role, he’ll be corralling federal, state and local resources to create a national testing program, to fix gaps in the medical supply chain and to expand the roll out of coronavirus vaccines.

On Monday, the Trump administration began distributing the first of 40 million doses of vaccines which are to be administered by the end of 2020. More doses of vaccines are expected to be manufactured and distributed in early 2021, and Biden pledged to get 100 million doses of vaccines to people around the country within his first 100 days of office. Continue reading

President-elect Biden announces nominations to health care team

Xavier Becerra

Xavier Becerra

President-elect Joe Biden’s health care leadership team is coming into focus.

Biden announced the nomination of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to be secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, a surprise as many policy experts anticipated that Biden would pick a governor or someone with a medical background to run this critical executive office, according to the New York Times. Continue reading

Writer offers advice on how journalists can respond to COVID-19 deniers

Dana Smith

Dana Smith

For Dana Smith, senior staff writer at Elemental, one of the biggest surprises this year has been the anti-science sentiment and the number of COVID-19 disbelievers among readers.

Elemental, a health publication on the Medium platform, invites comments from readers and some of them have posted about a “takeover by scientists” of society or that the threat of the virus is overblown.

“It’s pretty disheartening to see,” Smith said in a new “How I Did It” piece. Continue reading