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Home > Exhibitions > Vaccination: finding the 'perfect disease' > Covid-19


The Coronavirus pandemic is the first global outbreak since the HIV/AIDS crisis. Due to incredible advances in medicine, the development of the Covid-19 vaccine was the most rapid in history: taking less than a year. Most Covid-19 vaccines are ‘messengers’, meaning they do not contain any coronavirus pathogen. Instead, they teach our immune system to effectively respond to the disease.

At the time of writing (summer 2022) WHO reports that over 12 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered globally. It also reports that almost one billion people in lower-income countries remain unvaccinated. It has developed a Global Vaccination Strategy outlining the steps needed to achieve effective and equitable distribution of vaccines.

The College’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic was wide-ranging, including publicly supporting government public health guidance. As vaccines became available in the UK in December 2020, our Faculty of Travel Medicine offered support to the four Chief Medical Officers of the UK to assist with the roll-out of the vaccine programme. Working in collaboration with the Scottish government, 11 travel clinics operated by our members were identified to help facilitate the roll out of the vaccination.

The impact of the pandemic on our wellbeing was captured in our 2021/22 exhibition, Words of Hope and Kindness, which you can view here

In Conversation

In the final part of "In Conversation", Kristin Hay discusses with Dr Morven McElroy the significance of the development of the Covid-19 vaccine during the pandemic, the College's response to challenges brought on by Covid-19, and the lessons we can learn from history. 

This video is accompanied with closed captions.