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Directed by acclaimed journalist and Academy Award-nominated filmmaker David France (Welcome to Chechnya), How to Survive a Pandemic takes an inside look at the historic, multi-national race to research, develop, regulate, and roll out COVID-19 vaccines in the war against the coronavirus pandemic. This documentary began filming in early 2020 as the largest public health effort in history got underway and followed those efforts over the next 18 months, exploring in real time the hard work and collaboration of health agencies worldwide, as well as the political and moral failures of governments to act impartially and equitably.

How to Survive a Pandemic details the work of researchers in their labs, scientists conducting volunteer trials and science journalists working to stay abreast of the fast-shifting landscape as the coronavirus continued its deadly onslaught. With unparalleled access to world-renowned scientists, the heads of pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and frontline workers, this documentary is the definitive chronicle of the most consequential undertaking of the 21st century. It is where towering achievements in science collide with the geopolitical realities of desperation, greed, and nationalism.
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  • Jon Cohen, senior correspondent for Science Magazine

  • Dr. Peter Marks, Director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

  • Dr. Dan Barouch, lead scientist behind the Johnson & Johnson vaccine

  • Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, the former scientific lead of the National Institutes of Health's Vaccine Research Center who co-developed Moderna’s mRNA vaccine

  • Dr. Adrian Hill, who led the research for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine

  • Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization

  • Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer

  • Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and head of the global COVAX initiative (in partnership with the World Health Organization)

  • Dr. Glenda Gray, President and CEO of the South African Medical Research Council, the face of South Africa’s Covid-19 response

  • Rev. Paul Abernathy of Pittsburgh, PA, who tries to address vaccine hesitancy and access to healthcare in his community; and more.



"Vital viewing...Don't miss this."


"HBO's excellent feature doc How to Survive a Pandemic traces the development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines over two years of scientific triumphs and public health nightmares."


"A much-needed dose of inspiration"


"Devastating and uplifting in equal measure."


"Happy ending, right? But that's only part one."


"Unprecedented behind-the-scenes access! B+"


A "TV Best Bet!"


"Smart, humane and gripping"

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