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COVID-19: Pandemics Past and Present

Dedicated to exploring how medical disasters of the past inform the present response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this database brings together federal government reports, hearings, and more.

Using the Database

Browsing Content

Content in the database is grouped into specific areass of foucs. There are subcollections focused on COVID-19's Economic Impact in America, its Health Care Impact in America, its Societal Impact in America, as its wider Global Impact. A subcollection dedicated to Past Pandemics, with content on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, various influenza outbreaks, and more biological disasters from history lends historical context to the current medical disaster. A subcollection on Vaccination presents content on past vaccine mandates, current COVID vaccination issues, and vaccine-related debates.

All of these subcollections can be navigated using the A-Z Index.

View of All Titles

Content in this collection contains an array of reports from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and Government Accountability Office (GAO).

What are these agencies?

  • The Congressional Research Service is a public policy research institute of the U. S. Congress
    • Their job is to help Congress form sound policies based on analysis and research
    • Access CRS Reports on topics other than the COVID-19 pandemic by navigating to HeinOnline’s U.S. Congressional Documents database and selecting the CRS Reports subcollection
  • The General Accounting Office is a legislative branch agency
    • They provide auditing, evaluation, and investigative services for the U.S. Congress
    • Staff produce reports and written correspondence, testimonies and statements for the record, briefings for congressional staff members, and more
    • Access GAO Reports on topics other than the COVID-19 pandemic through HeinOnline's dedicated GAO Reports and Comptroller General Decisions database

These reports provide insight into how the federal government is reacting to the pandemic and its issues of concern, some of which may not be immediately obvious or otherwise overlooked by the casual observer, such as:

Sussman, Jared S. COVID-19: Effect on Organ Donation and Transplantation

Foster, Michael A. COVID-19, Digital Surveillance, and Privacy: Fourth Amendment Considerations

Rachfal, Colby Leigh. COVID-19 and Broadband: Potential Implications for the Digital Divide

Sussman, Jared S. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Poses Challenges for the U.S. Blood Supply

Hickey, Kevin J.; Ward, Erin H. Legal Issues in COVID-19 Vaccine Development

Fernandes-Alcantara, Adrienne L. Support for Homeless Youth in the Context of COVID-19: A Brief Overview


Content within Past Pandemics adds a layer of understanding to the federal government's response to the current pandemic by allowing users to examine its responses to past disasters. Featuring congressional hearings, Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports, CRS and GAO reports, books and bibliographies, users may find these titles particularly interesting:

AIDS drug development and related issues: Hearing before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations, House of Representatives, Ninety-ninth Congress, Second Session. July 1, 1986.

Full committee hearing on the challenges of the 2009-H1N1 influenza and its potential impact on small businesses and healthcare providers: Hearing before the Committee on Small Business, United States House of Representatives, One Hundred Eleventh Congress, First Session.  September 9, 2009. 

The threat of and planning for pandemic flu: Hearing before the Subcommittee on Health of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives, One Hundred Ninth Congress, first session. May 26, 2005.


The Vaccination subcollection presents reports, hearings, and more on a variety of vaccine-related topics, from vaccine mandates throughout history, the development of various vaccines, and vaccine injury claims. Sample titles include:

Continuing Oversight of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program: Hearing before the Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives, One Hundred Seventh Congress, Second Session, September 18, 2002.

Cole, Jared P.; Swendiman, Kathleen S. Mandatory Vaccinations: Precedent and Current Laws (2014)

Protecting Our Kids: What Is Causing the Current Shortage in Childhood Vaccines?: Hearing before the Committee on Governmental Affairs, United States Senate, One Hundred Seventh Congress, Second Session, June 12, 2002.

Sarah R. Riedman. Shots without Guns: The Story of Vaccination (1960).

Scholarly Articles

HeinOnline editors have curated a list of scholarly articles related to the COVID-19 pandemic from across all of HeinOnline. By default articles are listed by Most-Cited; change the view to sort instead by Article Title, Author, Year (Newest First) or Year (Oldest First) or perform a Search within to find a specific article.