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Using our vaccine tracker, our top three data journalism picks.

January 7, 2022

The data from our Vaccine Tracker is an invaluable resource with the most up-to-date information on the continent. But what are the best ways to use this tool in your reporting? We have selected our top 3 picks to show you how our data and visualisations can support your storytelling.

1. Catherine Kyobutungi  | Want to know about vaccine rollouts in Africa? Click on a country here and find out | The Conversation.

Vaccine Tracker embed in The Conversation article.

One of my favourite articles from the past year on vaccine inequality is written by Catherine Kyobutungi published in the Conversation, in September 2021.  

This article unpacks vaccine inequalities between high-income and low- and middle-income countries. Through its use of statistics and an embedded version of our interactive Vaccine Tracker, this piece informs readers about the stark differences in the number of people who have received a single dose, the number of fully vaccinated people, and vaccination rates in different countries.

The data visualisation includes a choropleth map showing vaccines per 100 people across the continent. The map is accompanied by a table showing the total vaccinations, vaccine types and sources. The interactivity of our data visualizations not only provides journalists with a starting point for their own stories, but also enables their readers with an opportunity to find their own insights and explore the data for themselves.

This article and accompanying vaccine tracker visualisation is an excellent reminder that vaccine inequalities persist. Therefore, it is critical to be able to track existing disparities among African countries and whether COVID-19 vaccine uptake affects these countries’ ability to withstand new waves of infection.


2. Guy Oliver | South Africa’s daunting COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the New Humanitarian

Data visualisation made with ADH data.

I’ve selected this article because it is highly informative, covering vaccine procurement, rollout and environmental challenges, including corruption and vaccine hesitancy. It was published in April 2021.


The data visualisations in this article were co-created between the Africa Data Hub team and The New Humanitarian (TNH). The newsroom had a story in mind but needed the data to be presented in a specific way for their audiences. Using the data from our Vaccine Tracker, we created two data visualizations using TNH's branding and styling. This included a map showing the types of vaccines used across Africa; when users hover or hold down on a country, a pop-up appears with the country name and vaccine types in use. Both the visuals that support the story of vaccine rollout in South Africa. The graph and map support the story in the article in a personalised and insightful way.


3. Antony Sguazzin and Katarina Hoije | Africa Vaccine Drive Slowed by Indemnity Spat, Pfizer Choice |  Bloomberg

I selected this Bloomberg piece because the article highlights how insightful COVID-19 data visualisations can be shared among different platforms.


Newsrooms are interested not only in how best to present data in their stories and on their websites, but they understand that audiences are on social media and that audiences often want a snapshot of a story before diving in; social media is a key mechanism to sharing information quickly. This is highlighted perfectly, in the case of the Mediahack Collective (MHC), a partner of ADH. They tweeted a data visualisation they made showing which African countries received Covax vaccines and how many Covax vaccines they received. MHC’s tweet was then embedded in this Bloomberg’s online article about vaccine procurement in Africa.

The data visualisation is a Map of Africa that shows which countries and how many vaccines they received from Covax. Covax is the global initiative to help countries have equitable access to COVID-19 tests, vaccines and treatment. This data is available on the ADH Vaccine Tracker.

4. Africa Uncensored's Piga Firimibi | Vaccine Tracker Widget

Widget embed on Piga Firimbi website showing live data

Lastly, I wanted to share the vaccine tracker widget from Piga Firimbi, which is the fact checking website of Africa Uncensored. While not a 'data story', the widget provides readers with insights into vaccination trends in the country every time they log onto the website and catch a glimpse of the vaccine tracker widget. These vaccine insights could be what they came to the site for, or it might prompt them to further explore the COVID-19 articles on your site.

The data used in the vaccine tracker widgets is piped directly from the ADH vaccine dataset, which means that it's updated daily and does not require manual updating on the Africa uncensored or any other newsroom.

The vaccine tracker, vaccine tracker widgets, and the resultant data insights help you as a journalist become a sense maker for your readers and communities about COVID-19 vaccines. By digging into and transforming your insights into more tangible stories, you help your readers understand what is important and relevant about the vaccines and the pandemic.

Photo credit: Created by rawpixel.com & downloaded from www.freepik.com

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