How Data Collection Can Boost the Pandemic Response in Africa

Caroline Harting
June 16, 2021

Co-Director Dr. Lawrence Stanberry and Co-Convenor Dr. Wilmot James are interviewed about the purpose and activity of the VacSafe Working Group for the Columbia News series Taking Action.

To control the COVID-19 pandemic, a majority of the world needs to be vaccinated. A group of researchers from Columbia University is working with local governments in African countries to help their communities get the vaccines they need.

The COVID-19 vaccines have proved to be remarkably effective and safe. People in countries, like the United Kingdom, United States, and Israel, where vaccines are plentiful, data collection is robust, and distribution systems are in place, are happily resuming their lives, after a long year of isolation, death, and despair. However, in many regions, COVID vaccines are extremely scarce and vaccination rates are low. Without high rates of vaccination around the world, COVID will continue to spread, people will die, and the virus will mutate. Worldwide vaccinations are essential to end this pandemic, but how will this be accomplished?

An interdisciplinary team of physicians, researchers, and academics from Columbia University and the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa aims to solve this urgent problem by building data collection and analysis systems in partnership with governments and local communities throughout Africa.

Read the full interview here.