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Dr Claas Kirchhelle

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Duration: 0:51:19 | Added: 01 Aug 2023
Georgina Ferry interviews Claas Kirchhelle, former Honorary Fellow in Vaccine History (Oxford Vaccine Group/Oxford Martin School), 22 March 2023.

Topics discussed include (00:00:48) early interest in history, studies in Munich, study of the environment and contemporary history, research into antibiotics, master's at the University of Chicago, post at Oxford and pivot to history of medicine; (00:02:39) long perspective, boundaries between policy and history, work at the Oxford Martin School; (00:04:55) research methods, including ethnographic methods, navigating archives sources, meaning making and sociological methods, witnesses to contemporary events and grey knowledge; (00:08:44) first awareness of COVID-19, including attendance at a typhoid conference in Dhaka, flu-like illness; (00:11:07) association with the Oxford Vaccine Group, role of historian to the group, work with Samantha Vanderslott, creation of oral history interviews in early 2021; (00:16:45) ethical clearance for oral history project; (00:18:48) enthusiasm within the group around the project; (00:20:46) interview lengths and number of sessions per interviewee; (00:21:51) collection of interviews, use of the interviews and future publication, contextual work, indexing and searchability; (00:25:02) emergent themes, interests developed out of this work; (00:27:16) policy commentary on the decision to sell the Vaccine Manufacturing Innovation Centre; (00:30:48) variety of people interviewed, breakthroughs in biomedical science in the 20th and 21st centuries and importance of the input of a range of skilled individuals and teams; (00:32:10) mission focus of the vaccine team, credit and focus on certain individuals within the media; (00:36:00) post at University College, Dublin; (00:37:03) main area of interest currently, including drug innovation and infectious disease control and surveillance; (00:38:45) personal threat from COVID-19; (00:39:53) working circumstances, including home life; (00:41:08) experience of working on the COVID vaccine, broadening of understanding of interests and links policy work; (00:43:01) policy work and advice; (00:45:07) framing of the COVID-19 pandemic by future historians; (00:47:49) preparedness for future pandemics; (00:50:08) changes in approach to work as a result of the pandemic.

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