Vaxxers is an excellent and readable account of lab life, describing not only the Covid-19 vaccine research itself but issues such as obtaining supplies and publishing results, which apply to science more generally—though rarely under such pressure as Gilbert and Green describe ... Green writes movingly about the difficult intersection between work and home life as the single mother of nine-year-old Ellie, including her occasional feelings of exhausted misery. This is inevitably a selective account of the Oxford vaccine effort. The most regrettable omission is the business angle. There is little discussion of the dealings with AstraZeneca and a host of smaller companies involved in commercialising the vaccine ... But what is included in Vaxxers is so good that the book will be read for long after the pandemic is over, as a vivid account of research in action and the way individuals respond in the face of a scientific emergency.
... [an] urgent and sometimes rather raw book ... The book offers a personal perspective and there are gaps as a result. It says little about other vaccines, or indeed AstraZeneca ... The personal perspective, however, does work ... Green concludes, '... that science itself needs to be seen.' Judged by that standard, this book is a profound success. I have read few that have given me such an immediate, eye-level view of working science—of brilliant, committed, heroic science.
... a welcome glimpse inside the race to develop COVID-19 vaccines in the middle of a raging pandemic ... The book is a deep dive with one team as it juggles funding stress, press interviews and domestic responsibilities ... the book highlights the under-sung research behind vaccines, and the need to promote it ... Green and Gilbert lay everything out clearly, from molecular biology to clinical-trial design. There is even a handy appendix listing the ingredients of the vaccine and what each does.