These volunteers are making short videos on TikTok and Instagram to explain their part in the vaccine effort.
Dr Kiran Morjaria is a junior doctor and comedian based in Manchester. He is working on the front line admitting and treating patients with Covid-19. In his spare time he volunteers at a Covid-19 vaccination hub as a vaccinator.
Kiran graduated from Leeds Medical School in 2017, where he was awarded the SPARK scholarship for enterprise, and is currently training to be a GP. He has performed comedy across the national circuit and continues to make medicine accessible and fun online.
Kiran’s big passion outside of medicine is comedy. He also enjoys staying active, he is a keen gym-goer, tennis player and vegetarian foodie.
Dineo and Matshidiso are demographers working at Wits Vaccines Infectious Disease Analytics (VIDA) Research unit in South Africa. They are screening and testing for Covid-19 in the township of Soweto and informal settlements in Thembelihle as part of a wider child health programme. They are assessing the impact of Covid-19 on community access to healthcare, livelihoods and education. Information that may help ensure distribution of a vaccine is as effective as possible.
Dr Federica Cappuccini is a postdoctoral research scientist at the Jenner Institute, University of Oxford. Since the beginning of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine clinical trials in April 2020, Federica has been a part-time member of the COVID-19 team processing and testing blood samples collected from volunteers in the UK. In particular, the team is looking at the magnitude and durability of cellular responses as a read out of vaccine immunogenicity. Federica has recently become a full-time member of the COVID-19 team as one of the senior immunologists in the paediatric study of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine.
Federica started working at the Jenner Institute in 2013 in the Prostate Cancer Vaccine group and has been initially responsible for the preclinical experimentation of candidate prostate cancer vaccines administered as monotherapy or in combination with checkpoint inhibitors. Previously, Federica graduated at Roma Tre University in Rome with a project on rotavirus infectivity and neutralisation, aiming at developing a new therapeutic intervention against human rotavirus infections targeting a capsid viral protein. She then completed my doctoral studies at the Uniklinikum Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, where she investigated the immune modulation and pathogenesis of radiation induced lung tissue damage in order to identify therapeutic targets for treatment or prevention of radiation related side effects.
As an Italian, Federica enjoys good food, wine and coffee. She loves travelling and cherishes moments spent with friends, be it for a meal out, a board game night, a walk in the park or a squash match. She also enjoys going to the gym and running, and hopefully will complete a marathon and a sprint triathlon in 2021!
Björn Meyer, originally from Germany, is a virologist working in the Viral Populations and Pathogenesis Unit at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, his research has focused on SARS-CoV-2 infected cells and what happens between cellular and viral proteins. Björn uses these interactions as starting points to target events for antiviral strategies specifically. He is also part of a therapeutic task force that develops assays and drug-screens to test new therapeutics (small molecules, biologics, antibodies, etc.) from academic and industrial partners.
Outside of work, Björn makes the most of living in France — enjoying food and wine with his partner Kerri.
Dr Andrea Mazzella, MRCP (UK), is a Research Physician working in the NIHR Guy’s and St Thomas’ Biomedical Research Centre, and one of the investigators of three Phase III clinical trials investigating the Janssen, Novavax and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines for Covid-19. His role involves discussing the trials with volunteers, assessing their eligibility and conducting follow-up and pharmacovigilance with hundreds of trial participants.
After qualifying from medical school in Italy with an Erasmus exchange programme in Spain, Andrea moved to England to work as a doctor in the NHS. Once he completed Core Medical Training, he studied at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine for a master’s degree in Epidemiology. It was during this year that the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded; he graduated and decided to join the team of researchers working on COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials.
Andrea grew up on a tiny island in the Mediterranean and loves returning home and sailing. He has a geeky passion for linguistics and is powered by dark chocolate and nonna’s struffoli.
Nathan Peiffer-Smadja is a physician specialised in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, a fellow of the French Society of Infectious Diseases, a PhD candidate in Public Health and a Honorary Clinical Research Fellow at Imperial College London. He is currently living in France and has worked on the Covid-19 Vaccine for over 6 months.
Jeanine du Plessis is a medical scientist working at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Analytics (VIDA) research unit in South Africa. Currently she is working on multiple Covid-19 related studies including sentinel hospital surveillance, adult and paediatric Covid-19 associated mortality study and the Oxford vaccine trial – ChadOx-1. She has laboratory experience in forensic toxicology, microbiology and molecular biology.
Dr Tasnim Jara works as an A&E doctor in the NHS and studies evidence-based health care at the University of Oxford. As a frontline clinician, Tasnim regularly supports her patients to make evidence-based decisions about COVID-19 vaccines. Alongside fighting the pandemic, Tasnim makes short videos in Bangla to tackle covid and vaccine related misinformation. So far, her health awareness videos have been viewed for more than 280 million minutes and she has gained more than 1.5 million followers on Facebook and YouTube. Tasnim also made strategic partnerships with media, business, NGO, faith leaders, and government institutions to further broaden reach. The Business Standard named her one of 7 changemakers of 2020.
Tasnim has co founded a health-tech startup called Shohay with the aim to disseminate reliable healthcare information in Bangla.
Follow the people working on all aspects of science that will make these coronavirus vaccines safe and effective
Team Halo is an effort to support and celebrate the inspiring collaboration between scientists all over the world to help us end this pandemic with safe and effective vaccines.
The ‘halo’ represents the ring of connected science that circles the globe.
All participation is voluntary. If you’re involved in the vaccine search and would like to be listed on this site, please get in touch.
Team Halo was established as part of the United Nations Verified Initiative in partnership with The Vaccine Confidence Project at the University of London’s School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. It is proud to collaborate with the Vaccine Alliance and GAVI. Support is provided by Luminate and IKEA Foundation.