After such an endless and sad winter, this fact from The Economist’s The Jab cheered me up no end: “There are now more injections than infections.” 

There’s a few interesting podcasts focusing on the vaccination rollout. Before we introduce them, I know what you’re thinking. When the news is so dominated by the coronavirus, why would you want to hear more about it? Well, actually, it’s all about hearing less. By listening to a 30 minute podcast once a week, I hear all I need to, so I can then switch off the coverage from everywhere else. It’s good for the mind, too.

Let’s start with The Jab, which comes out every Monday. It has an international perspective on the vaccine rollout. Their first episode looked at whether we are at a turning point against the virus, or whether the variants could derail that process.

The BBC’s How to Vaccinate the World, which has been running since 2020, recently looked at how we can make the rollout of vaccines faster than it already is. They also have a knack at booking high-profile guests, with Dr Anthony Fauci being one of them.

ITV News’ Coronavirus: What You Need To Know recently looked at whether we’ll be needing annual boosters on top of our existing jabs. And finally, there’s New Scientist Weekly, which usually has the most scientific take of the lot. They recently explored the consequences of the slow rollout on low-income countries in ending the pandemic.

GUESTS ON PODCASTS THIS WEEK:

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Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead

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BottomingAn amazing name for a podcast, Bottoming is an LGBTQ+ podcast that explores mental health (and dealing with your own rock bottom), presented by Brendan Geoghegan and Matthew Riley. They’ve been exploring some interesting issues to coincide with LGBT+ History Month, from the horrors of conversion therapy to homelessness, with queer youth making up a quarter of the youth homeless population. 

I especially liked their most recent episode, which explores how growing up in the country could cause issues in shaping your identity, especially if there’s poor representation of LGBTQ+ role models on television and in wider media. A lot of the time seeing someone like you somewhere else makes yourself feel seen and validated. Things are changing for the better, but are they moving fast enough?

Talking Politics – History of IdeasI’ve always had a soft spot for podcasts that explain a well known topic in its most simplest form, in case you weren’t taught it at school or, if you were, you didn’t understand it the first time round. This podcast, which has just returned for a second series, explains the work of some of the biggest thinkers in politics you hear all the time, from Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Marx and Engels. If you want to leave lockdown smarter and more informed than where you went in, this is a good place to start. 

Spotify Podcast of the Week: BlurbYou may not know this, but Spotify has a selection of curated podcast playlists to help you discover your new podcast favourites. As it’s LGBTQ+ History Month, we thought it would be the perfect time to highlight our Loud and Proud playlist which features some great LGBTQ+ podcast content. It currently includes episodes of Busy Being Black, Passing Out, Amrou Al-Kadhi’s recent spot on Anthems and loads more!

Hugh’s Joy of Food – Hugh Smithson-Wright, who you can follow on Twitter, is behind this great little 15 minute podcast that features a restaurant or food delivery service he’s tried recently, with a few other tidbits about how the industry is reacting to the lockdown. Like a lot of great podcasts, the presenter’s passion is the thing that keeps you listening. It also makes you realise that restaurant reviews don’t have to be something you’ve read. Like a lot of other criticism, it too can be spoken word.

The Bias DiagnosisFinally, a compelling new documentary podcast series. Ivan Beckley, who is about to become a fully qualified NHS doctor, has got a problem: “The problem I’m grappling with is one that lies beneath the surface. There’s a huge obstacle when it comes to equal access to healthcare and you’d only know about it if it directly affects you.” In this Audible Original, Beckley explores racial injustices within healthcare. Despite us all using the same healthcare system, why is it that Black and Minority Ethnic communities have a higher death rate and worse outcomes in treatment than everyone else? This is not just something that has come up from the pandemic. It has happened with a range of illnesses, dating back hundreds of years, throughout the history of western medicine. All of the episodes of the podcast are available to listen too now, but you have to be a subscriber to listen.

Finally, before we go … thought to let you know that some new podcasts we’ve featured recently have been topping the podcast charts of late, so it’s always worth keeping an eye on some of our older newsletters in case there’s anything you’ve missed. Such podcasts currently high up on the charts have included Alan Carr’s Life’s a Beach (an engaging podcast where guests talk about a travel – a weird healer at a time like this), Power: The Maxwells (looking into the Maxwell media empire) and Sideways (a topic that you might know a bit about, but from a completely new angle). We also post podcasts (and this newsletter) on our website.

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