SCIENCE UNDER STRESS / Vol. 90, No. 1 (Summer 2023)
Updated: Apr 18
Arien Mack, Journal Editor
Ahmed Bawa, Guest Editor
Endangered Scholars Worldwide
The article will be looking at vaccines from the time of the first viral genetic description on 11 January 2020 to the business/academic partnerships that led to the creation of the first mRNA vaccines, the multi-country collaborations that showed that the vaccines were effective in record time, the competition between 5 countries (USA, Germany, UK, China and Russia) that have successfully made vaccines, the disappointment in some countries (eg. France) for not making a vaccine yet and the emergence of new 2nd round vaccines later in the process from countries like Cuba, India and Brazil. Demonstrating that a vaccine can prevent an infection is just the start, next comes the challenges of manufacturing, selling and distributing the vaccines – a system that has now been shown to be clearly broken as rich countries have vaccinated >60% of their populations while poor countries have barely managed to reach 3% vaccine coverage. The next section will deal with the international issues in IP ownership and obstacles to poor countries making vaccines, vaccine nationalism and hoarding before dealing with vaccine donations as a way for vaccine manufacturing countries to seek political leverage. The final section will deal with vaccine hesitancy, anti-vaxx conspiracies and the role of vaccine mandates as way forward.
Science for Survival
Social Science Under Stress
In the following pages, we seek to discuss from a Brazilian perspective a few issues that together compound a stressful load for social sciences. Not that we have solutions to propose. Rather we comment on the gloomy scenario the country offers in recent years, and discuss some of its major political, economic, and social aspects. Next, we offer a brief analyses of the impact of the pandemic in the country and discuss how the pro and anti-vaccine forces operated seeking to identify the conditions that made possible a successful immunization campaign, notwithstanding the explicit opposition offered by the government. Rather than to single out an individual case of success, we aim to call attention to possible ways to deal with regressive forces. Under stressful conditions, social science must strive to provide hope.
Can Science Come to Our Rescue?
The Plurality of Covid: Narratives between Folklore, Policy, and Discourse
In the first years of the Covid-19 pandemic, social science was underrepresented in the shaping of governments’ health policies. This has several reasons, such as the belief that social science has little to offer. They reflect the dynamics of social science in health generally. It struggles for its position in the absence of role in healthcare delivery, generation of financial revenue, or major contribution to scientific metrics. Nevertheless, an important topic for social science in health is the misinformation that spread during the pandemic. Implementation science in health provides a first orientation on this topic, but further research is warranted.