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2.
Soc Sci Med ; 298: 114826, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1692872

ABSTRACT

Global debates about vaccines as a key element of pandemic response and future preparedness in the era of Covid-19 currently focus on questions of supply, with attention to global injustice in vaccine distribution and African countries as rightful beneficiaries of international de-regulation and financing initiatives such as COVAX. At the same time, vaccine demand and uptake are seen to be threatened by hesitancy, often attributed to an increasingly globalised anti-vaxx movement and its propagation of misinformation and conspiracy, now reaching African populations through a social media 'infodemic'. Underplayed in these debates are the socio-political contexts through which vaccine technologies enter and are interpreted within African settings, and the crucial intersections between supply and demand. We explore these through a 'vaccine anxieties' framework attending to both desires for and worries about vaccines, as shaped by bodily, societal and wider political understandings and experiences. This provides an analytical lens to organise and interpret ethnographic and narrative accounts in local and national settings in Uganda and Sierra Leone, and their (dis)connections with global debates and geopolitics. In considering the socially-embedded reasons why people want or do not want Covid-19 vaccines, and how this intersects with the dynamics of vaccine supply, access and distribution in rapidly-unfolding epidemic situations, we bring new, expanded insights into debates about vaccine confidence and vaccine preparedness.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Social Media , Vaccines , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , Humans , Uganda
3.
Health Policy ; 126(3): 234-244, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1620689

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the complex relationship between science and policy. Policymakers have had to make decisions at speed in conditions of uncertainty, implementing policies that have had profound consequences for people's lives. Yet this process has sometimes been characterised by fragmentation, opacity and a disconnect between evidence and policy. In the United Kingdom, concerns about the secrecy that initially surrounded this process led to the creation of Independent SAGE, an unofficial group of scientists from different disciplines that came together to ask policy-relevant questions, review the evolving evidence, and make evidence-based recommendations. The group took a public health approach with a population perspective, worked in a holistic transdisciplinary way, and were committed to public engagement. In this paper, we review the lessons learned during its first year. These include the importance of learning from local expertise, the value of learning from other countries, the role of civil society as a critical friend to government, finding appropriate relationships between science and policy, and recognising the necessity of viewing issues through an equity lens.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Communication , Emergencies , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , United Kingdom
4.
Med Anthropol ; 41(1): 19-33, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1612262

ABSTRACT

This article shares findings on COVID-19 in Africa across 2020 to examine concepts and practices of epidemic preparedness and response. Amidst uncertainties about the trajectory of COVID-19, the stages of emergency response emerge in practice as interconnected. We illustrate how complex dynamics manifest as diverse actors interpret and modify approaches according to contexts and experiences. We suggest that the concept of "intersecting precarities" best captures the temporalities at stake; that these precarities include the effects of epidemic control measures; and that people do not just accept but actively negotiate these intersections as they seek to sustain their lives and livelihoods.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Africa , Anthropology, Medical , Humans , Negotiating , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Disasters ; 45 Suppl 1: S195-S215, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1434675

ABSTRACT

Discussions on African responses to Covid-19 have focused on the state and its international backers. Far less is known about a wider range of public authorities, including chiefs, humanitarians, criminal gangs, and armed groups. This paper investigates how the pandemic provided opportunities for claims to and contests over power in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan. Ethnographic research is used to contend that local forms of public authority can be akin to miniature sovereigns, able to interpret dictates, policies, and advice as required. Alongside coping with existing complex protracted emergencies, many try to advance their own agendas and secure benefits. Those they seek to govern, though, do not passively accept the new normal, instead often challenging those in positions of influence. This paper assesses which of these actions and reactions will have lasting effects on local notions of statehood and argues for a public authorities lens in times of crisis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Democratic Republic of the Congo , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , South Sudan/epidemiology , Uganda
8.
BMJ Glob Health ; 5(6)2020 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-612112

ABSTRACT

The evidence produced in mathematical models plays a key role in shaping policy decisions in pandemics. A key question is therefore how well pandemic models relate to their implementation contexts. Drawing on the cases of Ebola and influenza, we map how sociological and anthropological research contributes in the modelling of pandemics to consider lessons for COVID-19. We show how models detach from their implementation contexts through their connections with global narratives of pandemic response, and how sociological and anthropological research can help to locate models differently. This potentiates multiple models of pandemic response attuned to their emerging situations in an iterative and adaptive science. We propose a more open approach to the modelling of pandemics which envisages the model as an intervention of deliberation in situations of evolving uncertainty. This challenges the 'business-as-usual' of evidence-based approaches in global health by accentuating all science, within and beyond pandemics, as 'emergent' and 'adaptive'.


Subject(s)
Communicable Disease Control , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Health Policy , Models, Biological , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Virus Diseases/epidemiology , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola/epidemiology , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola/immunology , Humans , Immunity, Herd , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype/physiology , Influenza A Virus, H5N1 Subtype/physiology , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Influenza, Human/immunology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Uncertainty
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