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Vaccine Development: Finding a Vaccine for COVID-19 and Future Pandemics

Learn how new vaccines for infectious diseases work, and how a vaccine for COVID-19 could be developed quickly and safely.

4,791 enrolled on this course

A needle syringe drawing liquid from a vial

Vaccine Development: Finding a Vaccine for COVID-19 and Future Pandemics

4,791 enrolled on this course

  • 3 weeks

  • 2 hours per week

  • Accreditation available

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Intermediate level

Find out more about how to join this course

Discover how new vaccines are developed

This course will provide healthcare professionals with a deeper understanding of the role and development process for a COVID-19 vaccine and the value of vaccine intervention within the patient pathway.

Vaccines are instrumental in protecting people against infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The current situation with COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of vaccines and the difficulty in developing them in a timely but safe manner.

On this course, you’ll learn about the role and development process for new vaccines, from manufacturing to vaccine safety and testing.

You’ll consider the value of vaccine intervention within the patient pathway, and learn how to assess the efficacy of a vaccine for preventing infection or disease.

Find out more about the COVID-19 vaccine development process

The challenges of vaccine development have never been more apparent to the public than during this global pandemic.

As you explore how vaccines are used to control pandemics, you’ll examine the current COVID-19 vaccines in development and learn how they’re being produced and tested.

Explore the latest vaccine research with the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC)

This course offers the chance to learn from BSAC’s global faculty of experts who will provide up-to-date content and insights on their individual areas of expertise.

Providing a number of courses on FutureLearn, BSAC are experienced in providing engaging and informative online courses for healthcare professionals around the world to improve their practical skills and understanding.


  • Week 1

    Vaccine Development

    • Welcome and Introduction

      This first activity introduces you to the course and educators and provides some useful tools for use during the course.

    • Challenges of Vaccine Development

      In this activity we will explore how a new vaccine is developed and the various challenges that are faced along the way.

    • Vaccine Development and Manufacture

      Now we've examined the various challenges involved in vaccine development, it's time to further understand the vaccine development process.

    • End of Week 1

      A summary of week 1 and a quiz to test your knowledge.

  • Week 2

    Vaccine Safety & Efficacy

    • How do we know if vaccines are safe?

      It is important that vaccines go through rigorous testing before they are licensed. In this activity we will explore how we know vaccines are safe for public use.

    • Vaccine Case Studies

      In this activity we will look at some past examples of where safety issues have emerged after vaccines have been deployed to combat disease.

    • How do we know if a vaccine works?

      In addition to safety, another crucial part of vaccine assessment is how well it prevents disease. In this activity, we will learn how we can determine vaccine efficacy and effectiveness.

    • End of Week 2

      A summary of week 2 and a quiz to test your knowledge.

  • Week 3

    Vaccine Deployment & Preparation for the Future

    • The Use of Vaccines in Outbreaks and Pandemics

      This activity examines some case studies that illustrate the success and challenges of using vaccines to control infectious diseases in outbreak and pandemic situations.

    • Covid-19 Vaccines

      In the first two weeks we have learnt about how COVID-19 vaccines have been developed and tested. We will now learn about the different vaccine types and the advantages and disadvantages of these vaccine types.

    • Preventing Future Pandemics

      This activity will focus on the importance of surveillance in identifying emerging infectious diseases and pre-emptive vaccine development to prevent future pandemics.

    • End of Week 3

      A summary of the final week and a quiz to test your knowledge.

Who is this accredited by?

Royal College of Pathologists
Royal College of Pathologists:

The RCPath is a professional membership organisation with charitable status, concerned with all matters relating to the science and practice of pathology. This course has been approved by The Royal College of Pathologists at a level of 6 credits.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Discuss why and when new vaccines are developed and identify the characteristics of an ideal vaccine
  • Describe how new vaccines are developed and manufactured
  • Explain how vaccine safety is assessed and monitored
  • Explore the difference between vaccine efficacy and effectiveness, and understand how these are measured
  • Identify how vaccines are used to control outbreaks and pandemics
  • Investigate the different COVID-19 vaccine candidates and how they are being developed and tested

Who is the course for?

This course is for healthcare professionals working in any setting and individuals interested in gaining more knowledge on vaccines and how they save lives.

It would also appeal to anyone interested in the development of a vaccine for COVID-19.

Who will you learn with?

I am a practising infection doctor interested in antimicrobial stewardship, microbiology, TB and vaccine uptake. My research interest is vaccine immunology in adults.

I am an Academic Clinical Lecturer in Infectious Diseases & Microbiology at the University of Oxford with a research interest in the development of novel vaccines.

I am a Senior Clinical Research Fellow in Vaccinology at Imperial College London and am chief investigator and principle investigator of the Imperial and Oxford COVID-19 vaccine trials.

I'm a clinical research physician at Imperial College London working on the Oxford and Imperial COVID-19 vaccine trials, and a postgraduate research student researching immunology of vaccines.

Who developed the course?


Founded in 1971, the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy is committed to addressing the growing threat of drug resistant infections around the world.

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Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save


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Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$109/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 11 May 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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