Taking Our Best Shot

Listen 50:15
A pharmacist prepares a syringe from a vial of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine during

In this Friday, Feb. 19, 2021 file photo, a pharmacist prepares a syringe from a vial of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine during preparations at the Vaccine Village in Antwerp, Belgium. Belgium's high council of health experts is advising the government to administer the AstraZeneca vaccine to people over 55 years too, paving the way for its political adoption on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)

Throughout the darkest hours of this pandemic, the world kept its gaze trained on the light at the end of the tunnel: a vaccine. Just over a year into the pandemic, we have three — but even solutions can present their own problems: ethical dilemmas, like who should be vaccinated first; logistical bottlenecks, like how to get the vaccine to over 300 million people; and even some basic questions — like how long the immunity from vaccines will last. On this episode, we explore some of the issues that have sprung up around vaccination. We hear about three different models for distribution, along with the benefits and drawbacks. And we meet a doctor whose mission is to bring fairness to the vaccine process.

Also heard on this week’s episode:

  • How do we decide who gets vaccinated first? Reporters Alan Yu, Hannah Chinn, and Blake Farmer explore three models that aim to strike a balance between fairness, equity, and speed.
  • Have questions about the vaccines? Let vaccine expert Paul Offit answer them. He offers a rundown of the science behind the Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, along with side effects, risks, and efficacy against new COVID-19 variants.
  • Physician Ala Stanford recognized early on in the pandemic that Black residents in and around Philadelphia were affected disproportionately by the virus, and not getting the resources they needed. She started to offer testing — and has now pivoted to vaccines. Reporter Nina Feldman has a profile of Stanford, who has attracted national attention for her work.

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