A Short programme about vaccine statistics

Listening comprehension exercises help students develop the confidence to survive and thrive in an English speaking environment. The problem most EFL teachers have is that most of the exercises found in textbooks are not good representations of the real world. Shortform podcasts and radio programmes offer a good solution to this problem.

Here is an example of a podcast listening comprehension exercise we used in the Winter semester of 2020. We suggest that you start by asking the students about the probabilities of various events and why they have come to their conclusions. Then move on to the vocabulary. In future lessons, we will include some vocabulary exercises as well as definitions.

Pre-listening vocabulary

Adverse: Having a negative or harmful effect on something. Examples and pronunciation Blood clot: A mass of blood that might block the flow in a blood vessel

Contraceptive pill: A pill used by women to prevent pregnancy.

Jab: Injection (informal)

Prescribe: Give/ recommend medicine. Examples and pronunciation

Proportion: The amount of a part when compared to the whole. Examples and pronunciation

X fold (twofold, threefold): X as much (Twice and much, three times as much). Examples

Mortality rate: The number of deaths from a particular cause. Examples

Consternation: Feeling of shock or worry. Examples and pronunciation

Elevated risk: Increased risk

Dissuade: Persuade someone not to do something

Side effect: An unexpected, in medicine unpleasant, result. Examples

Link to the podcast: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p09d7jvk

Comprehension questions

1. What are the risks of dying from a blood clot after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine?

2. How many miles would you have to drive in a car to be exposed to the same risk of death?

3. What is the normal rate of blood clots in the general population?

4. How do incidents of blood clots vary according to people’s age?

5. How much extra risk of blood clotting are women exposed to when they take the pill?

6. How does the risk of getting a blood clot from a vaccine compare to the risk a young woman is exposed to when she takes the pill?

7. How does the risk of a fatal clot compare in the two scenarios?

8. How do women evaluate the risk of a vaccine compared to the risk of taking the contraceptive pill?