Vanderbilt University preventative medicine and infectious disease professor Dr. William Schaffner discussed how vaccines are tested through clinical trials and how they work.
This lesson looks at the issues relating to the distribution of a coronavirus vaccine when a safe vaccine is developed and approved. This resource has students view video clips of policymakers, doctors and public health officials discussing the plans to distribute and promote a vaccine when one is available. Students will identify and analyze the various challenges facing the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine. From this, they will prioritize these challenges and come up with strategies for the government to distribute the vaccine.
As a warm-up, have the students brainstorm answers to the following question:
Review and discuss the students’ answers. To introduce students to how vaccines work and the challenges facing the public health officials, have them view the following video clips and answer the questions below.
Students can also access all of these resources using the handout and Google Slides presentation linked below:
Printable Handout: Coronavirus Vaccine Distribution (Google Doc)
Digital Activities: Coronavirus Vaccine Distribution (Google Doc)
Video Clip: How Vaccines Work (2:49)
How do researchers test the effectiveness of vaccines once they are created?
What is meant by placebo?
How is a vaccine similar to the actual virus?
Video Clip: How a Coronavirus Vaccine is Being Developed (2:30)
What challenges will the United States face early in the vaccine distribution process?
After providing a basic understanding of how vaccines work and the challenges that the U.S. government might in distributing a vaccine, students will explore various perspectives on other factors that might impact how successful the distribution efforts are.
Students will watch each of the following videos. Using either the handout or the Google Slides presentation, they will identify and explain specific challenges with vaccine distribution and possible strategies that the government can use to address these challenges.
Video Clip: The State and Federal Role in Vaccine Distribution (2:33)
Video Clip: Rural Vaccine Distribution (3:36)
Video Clip: COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Priorities (2:02)
Video Clip: Public Confidence in a COVID-19 Vaccine (4:12)
Video Clip: Public Trust in Vaccines and Community Engagement (1:59)
Video Clip: The Cost of Coronavirus Vaccines (2:11)
After reviewing the challenges and strategies, have the students develop a list of five strategies that the federal government should use when distributing a coronavirus vaccine. For each strategy, explain why this action would be effective using examples from the video clips.
As a wrap-up, have students discuss the following question as a class.
Learning from the Polio Vaccine- View the video clip on the discovery of the polio vaccine (4:36). How does the creation and distribution of the polio vaccine compare to efforts to develop a vaccine for COVID-19? What lessons can be learned from the polio vaccine?
Current Events- Using an internet search, find a recent news article about the development or distribution of the coronavirus vaccine. Identify and explain the following:
Summarize what is occurring in the article.
How does this article relate to the challenges discussed in the video clips?
How is the distribution of a coronavirus vaccine an example of federalism?
What role does federal regulation play in creating and distributing a coronavirus vaccine?