The desired vaccine against covid-19 grabs headlines daily. While it does not arrive, normality awaits. EL PAÍS Science section journalist Daniel Mediavilla chatted with a group of newspaper subscribers about the research projects that are working to find a cure for the disease. The virtual meeting, moderated by journalist Andrea Nogueira, is part of the program of exclusive experiences for EL PAÍS + subscribers.
Will we have a vaccine within the announced deadlines? Will it be safe? When will we return to normal life? These are some of the questions that citizens ask themselves daily and that Mediavilla tried to answer. The journalist recalled that, although it is possible that some vaccines will reach their last stages of investigation by the end of the year, afterwards they will have to be produced by the millions and perhaps the largest vaccination campaign in history will be launched. He also recalled that the British doctor Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, declared in an interview for the newspaper that, by the end of next year, with 20% of the population of each country vaccinated, we could overcome the crisis.
The safety of these vaccines will be guaranteed, although Mediavilla showed the possibilities that some people suffer adverse reactions since millions will receive the doses. He exemplified this with peanuts, which are sold in supermarkets, but are harmful to some people. “We will have to make a risk-benefit relationship with the first vaccines because there may still be some doubts,” he said.
The work in the Science section of EL PAÍS has been especially complicated these months in which they have had to bring the scientific roots of the coronavirus and its ramifications to a mostly non-learned public. In special collaboration with the New Narratives department they have explained, for example, how contagions occur in closed spaces or what is the genome of the virus.
In addition, the hoaxes and the little rigorous information have been his headaches. As the journalist explained, editors have limited ability to decide what is published because “we are not alone in the world” and it can be counterproductive not to explain certain issues, even to deny or qualify them, especially when they are linked to health.