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News > The House > Professor Sarah Gilbert: Vaxxers

Professor Sarah Gilbert: Vaxxers

Professor Sarah Gilbert's new book: the inside story of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine and the race against the virus
8 Jul 2021
Written by Olivia Tan
The House

In their recently published book Vaxxers, Professor Sarah Gilbert, Saïd Professor of Vaccinology and Senior Associate Research Fellow at Christ Church, and her colleague Dr Catherine Green, who led on the manufacturing of the vaccine, share the heart-stopping moments in the eye of the storm. They separate fact from fiction and explain how they made a highly safe vaccine in record time with the eyes of the world watching.

The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is one of the UK’s leading coronavirus vaccines and the government has ordered 100 million doses (enough for 50 million people, many of whom have already received it). The vaccine is both cheaper and easier to distribute than some other vaccines as it can be stored at fridge temperatures. As this life-saving, cutting-edge science releases us from lockdown and gives hope for the future, Vaxxers invites us into the lab and, with vivid and compelling detail, shines light on exactly how the vaccine was designed and manufactured at huge scale and at rapid speed (it took just 65 days to go from DNA construct to clinical trial), without compromising on safety.

Sarah and Cath share the major milestones of the story from their own unique perspectives, and the sheer hard work and personal pressures they faced along the way, from the day in January 2020 when they first heard the news of the virus in China, to the day the vaccine efficacy was revealed, and then rolled out around the world.

They explore the reasons behind vaccine hesitancy, how science is communicated in the media, and how science and politics collide. They also look to the future and ask what lessons can be learned from this pandemic to prepare us for the inevitable next time.

Click here to order Vaxxers.

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