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Prognosis: Doubt
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Prognosis: Doubt

Author: Bloomberg

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A few decades ago, nobody really questioned vaccines. They were viewed as a standard part of staying healthy and safe. Today, the number of people questioning vaccines risks prolonging a pandemic that has already killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. Doubt, a new series from Prognosis, looks at the forces that have been breaking down that trust. We’ll trace the rise of vaccine skepticism in America to show how we got here — and where we’re going.

226 Episodes
Part Six: Hope

Part Six: Hope


In our final episode of the season, we look at where vaccine hesitancy stands in America today. More Americans are getting vaccinated every day, but the numbers of skeptics are still high enough to seriously threaten efforts to achieve widespread immunity and end the pandemic. The answer to solving that problem, though, may be an attitude adjustment from public health.
We meet Dr. Timothy Sloan, a pastor of a black church in Texas, who is torn over how to talk to his congregants about the Covid-19 vaccines. He is skeptical about getting one, and knows the rest of his church is, too. But, the vaccines could also be a lifeline. Black Americans have died at about twice the rate of white Americans from the virus. So while there may be trust issues with the vaccines in communities of color, they’re also the communities that need vaccines the most. Dr. Sloan goes on a journey to find out who can help him learn more about the vaccines, and how the medical establishment can win back some of the trust it has lost over generations of mistreatment.
In October 2020, anti-vaccine elite gathered for a conference to discuss, among other things, how to use the pandemic to grow their movement. In this episode, we travel inside the world of anti-vaccine extremists to show how they weaponize uncertainty and mistrust to spread rumors about vaccines — rumors that threaten to prolong the global pandemic.
The 2015 Disneyland measles outbreak was a pivotal moment in explaining the vaccine hesitation we see today. The outbreak made clear that number of people opting out of vaccination was significant. But it also changed the people protesting vaccines. Before that, activists speaking out about vaccines had mainly been parents concerned about the safety of their kids. California's push to get rid of vaccine exemptions in the wake of the outbreak changed the conversation. It became political. It became about choice and freedom and democracy.
Meet the man behind all the myths: Andrew Wakefield. Wakefield’s retracted 1998 study linking autism to vaccines helped kickstart the modern vaccine hesitancy movement. We’ll explore the forces that helped propel Wakefield into the spotlight and show how groundwork Wakefield laid decades ago helped seed the mistrust we’re seeing in the age of the coronavirus.
Part One: Rumor Has It

Part One: Rumor Has It


In the series premiere of "Doubt," we meet Jon, a New York City paramedic struggling to decide whether he should get vaccinated. Bloomberg health reporter Kristen V. Brown shows how the pandemic has led many people like him to question vaccines for the first time — and how this distrust threatens to prolong the pandemic.
This month marks the one-year anniversary in the U.S. of nationwide school closures. The public health measure was designed to help stem the spread of Covid-19. But in doing so, it’s had a profound effect on children. That’s in contrast to the disease itself, which rarely makes young people seriously ill. Jason Gale talked to experts about kids and Covid, and why keeping children out of the classroom may leave a lasting legacy.
Fast-moving variants of the coronavirus seen in England, South Africa and Brazil have sparked concern around the world. Researchers worry some may diminish the potency of existing vaccines and complicate efforts to escape the pandemic. As COVID-19 cases started to climb in early 2020, British scientists decided to track the evolution of the pathogen. James Paton reports that this project gives the country and others the chance to respond quickly if alarming changes arise.
One Year

One Year


It’s been one year since Coronavirus was declared a global pandemic. And in that time, our lives have changed dramatically.  The virus has imposed disease, death and loss on the U.S. and the world. It forced sweeping changes to daily life almost overnight.  For this special episode of Prognosis, Bloomberg reporters Emma Court and Nic Querolo spoke with people across the U.S. about what this last year has been like for them, and how things could change moving forward.
Israel has had one of the world’s most successful vaccination efforts yet. Now a new study from the country shows the Pfizer vaccine was overwhelmingly effective against the virus. Public-health experts say the Israeli study shows that immunizations could end the pandemic. Naomi Kresge reports on what makes the Israeli study so significant, and why it might point to an eventual way out of the pandemic.
Vaccine distribution still has the feel of a zero-sum game. Five days after Israel received 700,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, Pfizer told other non-U.S. customers that it would cut supplies while it briefly closed a facility in Belgium. The disparity in vaccine allocation is the product of a company struggling to apportion doses while demand far exceeds supply. Stephanie Baker and Cynthia Koons reported for Bloomberg Businessweek that the company has determined how many doses a country gets through an opaque process that appears to involve a mix of order size, position in the queue, production forecasts, calls from world leaders, and of course the desire to make a profit.
In recent months, GOP lawmakers have heaped criticism on Democratic governors for how they handled outbreaks at nursing homes early in the pandemic. Michigan Republicans, who have been hostile to Governor Gretchen Whitmer throughout the crisis, are now asking the state’s attorney general to investigate how she coped with that challenge. Republicans say that people died unnecessarily thanks to Whitmer’s order that nursing homes readmit residents with Covid-19 if they had capacity and quarantine capabilities. David Welch reports that Michigan’s fatality rate was lower than the national average, and many of those on the pandemic’s front line dispute the assertions.
Now that Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine has been cleared by regulators, the company needs to ramp up doses fast. J and J is looking for manufacturing partnerships to increase supply. Riley Griffin spoke to the company’s chief executive officer, Alex Gorsky about his plan to immunize 20 million Americans by the end of the month, and 100 million by the end of June.
Can the Arts Recover?

Can the Arts Recover?


New York City’s museums, sports arenas and entertainment venues are slowly coming back to life. But the sector has contracted dramatically under the pressure of the global pandemic. Jobs in arts, entertainment and recreation fell the most of all the city’s economic sectors, erasing a decade of gains in what was one of New York’s most vibrant industries. Spencer Norris explains what that means for cultural institutions, and the city that was one of the sector’s biggest boosters.
Almost a month after U.S. vaccination campaigns ramped up to give Covid-19 shots to more than a million people a day, their second doses are coming due. That’s putting a strain on state rollouts, and leaving some people without complete immunizations. John Tozzi reports that as President Joe Biden accelerates purchases and distribution, critical weaknesses in the system are starting to show.
Nine vaccines have proved effective at protecting people from developing symptoms of Covid-19. But we don’t know yet how good they are at preventing asymptomatic infections, and keeping vaccinated people from passing the virus on to others. The good news is that preliminary signs suggest they do at least some of both. Jason Gale discusses what we’re learning about how the shots work, as vaccination campaigns continue around the world.
The Good Kind of Surge

The Good Kind of Surge


The U.S. vaccine supply is poised to double in the coming weeks and months, according to an analysis by Bloomberg, allowing a broad expansion of doses administered across the country. Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers and U.S. officials have accelerated their production timelines, and Drew Armstrong reports that the spigots are about to open, providing hundreds of millions of doses just as pharmacies and mass-vaccination sites become more equipped to administer them.
As vaccines roll out across the U.S., logistics and supply are just some of the challenges in making sure everyone has equal access to the vaccine. Angelica LaVito reports how one Boston health system is also confronting another major problem in vaccine distribution: a long history of racial inequity in the U.S. healthcare system.
Doctors and nurses can feel as if they’re living in two worlds. One in which patients are getting sick and dying from the coronavirus, and another in which people deny the virus is real. Emergency room physician Mike Hunihan describes what it’s like to live and work with that dissonance. Today's special episode is a collaboration with Tradeoffs, a podcast about our costly, complicated and counter-intuitive health care system. Subscribe to the Tradeoffs podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen. Or check them out at
On the outskirts of Marburg, a small college town in Germany, coronavirus vaccine manufacturer BioNTech has spent five frantic months renovating one of its factories to produce mRNA. Demand for the vaccine has been so massive that the Pfizer-BioNTech partnership can’t meet it with its existing facilities--hence the race to retrofit factories that weren't initially designed to support the vaccine. Naomi Kresge reports that success would mean being able to vaccinate about 375 million more people per year, and help bring the pandemic under control.
Comments (2)


Thank you for sharing news, information and your investment of time keep us uo to date. you are appreciated.

Apr 23rd

Abhishek Banerjee

Good episode

Jan 6th
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