Category Archives: COVID-19

Tips on picking good photos for vaccine stories

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

MTA worker getting vaccinated

Photo: NY State MTA via Flickr

Those who have known me long enough have, at some point or another, heard one of my diatribes about poorly chosen vaccine photos in the media. These photos often feature screaming babies, wincing mothers, giant needles (usually medically inaccurate) and similarly negative images that can undermine public health. While it’s not a journalist’s job to promote public health per se, we certainly need to avoid undermining it. Continue reading

How the pandemic turned a local reporter into an award-winning data journalist

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 the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico, The Washington Post and other outlets.

Photo: Petra Wessman ia Flickr

Before the pandemic, National Public Radio reporter Alex Smith conducted most of his interviews in person.

But as the pandemic limited his access to people, he turned to other sources for story ideas and research – public health data and social media.

“I turned into this data journalist, which was an eye-opening experience,” said Smith, who was the second-place winner for beat reporting in the 2020 Excellence in Health Journalism Awards. “I enjoyed it more than I expected. I got a new appreciation for data journalism.” Continue reading

Worst of COVID may be yet to come in Africa

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 the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico, The Washington Post and other outlets.

Transmission electron micrograph of two SARS-CoV-2 virus particles

Photo: NIAID via Flickr

For global health reporters watching for the next COVID-19 story, health officials warn that all eyes should remain on Africa, where COVID-19 could spread uncontrollably.

Though the surge of COVID-19 cases that occurred in South Africa earlier in 2021 has somewhat eased, there is potential for new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to enter Africa via visitors other hotspots, such as India, and quickly overwhelm already weakened health systems in many African countries.

“A lot of countries actually assume that the worst is over because (they think) the African population for some reason is different, (that) it is a young population (or there were) prior infections or something (that) might have protected them innately … but Africa is not out of the woods yet,” University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of medicine Dawd Siraj, M.D. said during a May 12 Infectious Diseases Society of America briefing on global health and COVID-19. “Look at India; everyone assumed India had dodged a bullet and now look at what is happening. My fear is that the worst is yet to come” in Africa. Continue reading

COVID-19 lockdown yielded positive benefits for some older adults, study suggests

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic leader on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Older man wearing mask in UK

Photo: Neil Moralee via Flickr

An interesting study out of the UK found that the COVID-19 lockdown was a catalyst for many older people to embrace technology to reconnect with friends and build new relationships with neighbors. The findings are a counterpoint to other research documenting the toll that loneliness and social isolation has been taking on many elders during the pandemic.

Understanding the coping mechanisms adopted by some older adults during the pandemic will play a key role in developing interventions to help tackle loneliness, isolation and well-being in the future. Continue reading

Pfizer lays out timeline for its COVID-19 vaccine and a new flu vaccine

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Vial of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

Photo: Arne Müseler via Flickr

In a teleconference announcing the company’s first-quarter 2021 earnings earlier this month, Pfizer laid out its timeline for when different versions of its COVID-19 vaccine may become available for various populations. The company also said it is working on two approaches for an mRNA-based flu vaccine (similar technology as the COVID-19 vaccine), with plans to run clinical trials in the third quarter.

By the end of May, the New York City company expects to submit a biologics license application (BLA) asking the FDA to fully approve the vaccine rather than continue its use under an emergency use authorization (EUA). Continue reading