COVID-19 Scientific Publications From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, January 2020-January 2022

Public Health Rep. 2023 Mar-Apr;138(2):241-247. doi: 10.1177/00333549221134130. Epub 2022 Nov 23.


Objective: High-quality scientific evidence underpins public health decision making. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agency provides scientific data, including during public health emergencies. To understand CDC's contributions to COVID-19 science, we conducted a bibliometric evaluation of publications authored by CDC scientists from January 20, 2020, through January 20, 2022, by using a quality improvement approach (SQUIRE 2.0).

Methods: We catalogued COVID-19 articles with ≥1 CDC-affiliated author published in a scientific journal and indexed in the World Health Organization's COVID-19 database. We identified priority topic areas from the agency's COVID-19 Public Health Science Agenda by using keyword scripts in EndNote and then assessed the impact of the published articles by using Scopus and Altmetric.

Results: During the first 2 years of the agency's pandemic response, CDC authors contributed to 1044 unique COVID-19 scientific publications in 208 journals. Publication topics included testing (n = 853, 82%); prevention strategies (n = 658, 63%); natural history, transmission, breakthrough infections, and reinfections (n = 587, 56%); vaccines (n = 567, 54%); health equity (n = 308, 30%); variants (n = 232, 22%); and post-COVID-19 conditions (n = 44, 4%). Publications were cited 40 427 times and received 81 921 news reports and 1 058 893 social media impressions. As the pandemic evolved, CDC adapted to address new scientific questions, including vaccine effectiveness, safety, and access; viral variants, including Delta and Omicron; and health equity.

Conclusion: The agency's COVID-19 Public Health Science Agenda helped guide impactful scientific activities. CDC continues to evaluate COVID-19 priority topic areas and contribute to development of new scientific work. CDC is committed to monitoring emerging issues and addressing gaps in evidence needed to improve health.

Keywords: COVID-19; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; bibliometrics; strategic planning.

MeSH terms

  • Bibliometrics
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.
  • Humans
  • Pandemics / prevention & control
  • Public Health
  • United States / epidemiology