Recent News

Russia's Race for Virus Vaccine Raises Concerns in the West

Aug 07 2020

MOSCOW — Russia boasts that it’s about to become the first country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine, with mass vaccinations planned as early as October using shots that are yet to complete clinical trials -- and scientists worldwide are sounding the alarm that the headlong rush could backfire. Moscow sees a Sputnik-like propaganda victory, recalling the Soviet Union’s launch of the world’s first satellite in 1957. But the experimental COVID-19 shots began first-in-human testing on a few dozen people less than two months ago, and there’s no published scientific evidence yet backing Russia’s late entry to the global vaccine race, much less explaining why it should be considered a front-runner.

Source: NYT

Alec Baldwin Just Did an Hour-Long Instagram Chat with an Anti-Vaccine Activist

Aug 06 2020

In a public health development that one can safely characterize as “not great,” actor Alec Baldwin appeared on Instagram Live on Thursday with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a formerly respected environmentalist who’s been best known in recent years for promoting severe vaccine misinformation. As Baldwin listened obligingly, Kennedy promoted a variety of wildly false claims about vaccine safety, and speculative concerns about the quarantine measures being taken to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Baldwin’s Instagram account has 1.8 million followers, and the video, in less than two hours, garnered more than 43,000 views. This is not precisely what we need right now.

Source: VICE

Make Flu Shots Mandatory for School Openings

Aug 05 2020

This upcoming winter has the potential to be one of the deadliest on record in the U.S., especially if influenza imposes an additional burden on patients and a health-care system already overwhelmed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Reports of low flu rates in other parts of the world, attributed to social distancing practices taken up for the coronavirus, suggest that we could be in for a mild flu season too — if we take the right steps this winter. But many communities around the country are considering restarting in-person schooling. Even with the best distancing measures, this would bring children and adolescents in close contact with one another. Although kids under 10 may not be major spreaders of Covid-19, they are known to spread influenza throughout entire communities — so much so that closing schools is an internationally-accepted, effective strategy to stop the spread of influenza among kids and adults.

Source: Bloomberg

Lyme disease vaccine update – very good news from clinical trials

Aug 05 2020

Time to talk about something different (you know, all coronavirus, all the time) like a potential Lyme disease vaccine. A new vaccine for this terrible disease has just completed phase 2 clinical trials, and the results look promising. As opposed to the mad rush to get a COVID-19 vaccine, this new Lyme disease vaccine has taken several years just to get to this point. But the news is good, so there’s that.

Source: Skeptical Raptor

FDA commissioner: No matter what, only a safe, effective vaccine will get our approval

Aug 05 2020

Since the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic, developing a safe and effective vaccine has been an urgent worldwide priority: to save lives, and to bolster the public’s confidence in returning to a semblance of normal life. At the Food and Drug Administration and our parent agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, we recognize the vital importance of vaccine development. The framework in the United States to support a covid-19 vaccine is now in place. Testing is underway and manufacturing capacity is rapidly expanding. But let’s be clear: The development effort must adhere to standards that will ensure any covid-19 vaccine’s safety and effectiveness.

Source: Washington Post

HPV vaccine has reduced the need for cervical cancer screening, American Cancer Society says

Aug 04 2020

For the first time, an expert medical group has recommended delaying, decreasing, and simplifying cervical cancer screening, largely because the HPV vaccine, introduced 14 years ago, is protecting young women from the disease. Most Americans still don’t know that the human papillomavirus (HPV) causes oral and genital cancers, and too many parents are not getting their preteens vaccinated, studies show. But studies also show that even without optimal vaccination rates, Merck’s Gardasil shots have been a public health victory, dramatically reducing the precancerous cervical lesions that can progress to cancer, as well as the oral infections that have fueled an explosion in head and neck cancers in recent decades, particularly in men.

Source: Inquirer

We can’t skip steps on the road to a COVID-19 vaccine

Aug 04 2020

The pharmaceutical company Moderna started the last, longest step in the process of testing its COVID-19 vaccine candidate at the end of July — a Phase 3 clinical trial. It’s an enormous undertaking: their goal is to recruit 30,000 people, inject some of them with an experimental vaccine and then follow each and every one of them to see how many contract the coronavirus and how many do not. This will take months, even with the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed compressing the timeline whenever possible. Those months may seem endless when over a thousand people are dying from COVID-19 each day in the United States. The process is long and intensive for a reason, though. Just because a vaccine exists doesn’t mean it’s reasonable or ethical to just give it to people before there’s proof it works, and sticking to the process is why the vaccines on the market today are so safe.

Source: The Verg

Flu shot makers plan to supply record numbers of vaccine doses amid Covid-19 pandemic

Aug 04 2020

Flu-shot manufacturers plan to ship record numbers of vaccine doses to the U.S. this year as public health officials prepare to urge as many Americans as possible to protect themselves amid the Covid-19 pandemic. “Though we don’t yet have a vaccine for Covid, we do have a tool to prevent influenza,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, in a recent podcast interview.

Source: CNBC

Vaccines To Get Before & During Pregnancy

Aug 04 2020

You already know about prenatal vitamins, healthy eating, sleep, and exercise but, do you know about vaccinations you should get before and during pregnancy. They are essential because, during pregnancy, the immune system weakens to support the fetus. You become susceptible to diseases that can be fatal for you and your baby. Some conditions, such as whooping cough, which have vaccines, can be hazardous for your champ after delivery. Sometimes, you will also need extra vaccinations if you are travelling outside the country for protection. This article has compiled for you a list of vaccines to get before and during pregnancy.

Source: Baby Gaga

Trust Is The Vaccine Infrastructure We Need

Aug 04 2020

As state and national leaders continue to fumble the pandemic response, the promise of a vaccine is the failsafe for millions of Americans nostalgic for normalcy. Theoretically, a vaccine will allow our safe return to school, work, and recreation. But an effective vaccine response requires cooperation and trust from every corner of the country, especially from Black Americans. Black people share an outsized proportion of coronavirus cases and have died of Covid-19 at much higher rates than any other minority group in the U.S. However, those figures alone will not inspire uptake of a vaccine for all Black people. Therefore, to maximize protection against Covid-19, we must build an infrastructure of trust in Black communities.

Source: Forbes