Recent News

The American South could see a summer Covid surge as vaccinations lag.

Jun 11 2021

Experts are concerned that states across the U.S. South, where vaccination rates are lagging, could face a surge in coronavirus cases over the summer. A dozen states — many of them in the Northeast, including Maine, Massachusetts and Connecticut — have already administered at least one vaccine dose to at least 70 percent of adults, a benchmark that President Biden has set for the nation to reach by July 4. In the South, that marker is nowhere in sight for several states. In 15 states — including Arkansas, the Carolinas, Georgia and Louisiana — about half of adults or fewer have received a dose, according to a New York Times analysis last week. In two states, Alabama and Mississippi, it would take about a year to get one dose to 70 percent of the population at the current pace of adult administration.

Source: NYT

A ‘landmark’ trial to test mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 in Africa can’t get the coveted shots

Jun 11 2021

The questions are urgent, and the funding is in place. But a highly anticipated, $130 million clinical trial, meant to test the efficacy of the novel messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines for COVID-19 against a key variant of the pandemic coronavirus as well as in people living with HIV and pregnant women, is stalled. It is ready to launch in eight countries in sub-Saharan Africa, yet neither maker of the vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, wants to participate—or even provide their vaccines. A group of prominent HIV advocates and activists in South Africa has written a letter complaining about the delay to U.S. government officials, including Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which agreed to pay for the study. They stress that COVID-19 strikes people living with HIV especially hard, and that dangerous variants of SARS-CoV-2 evolve in them because many have weakened immune systems. “We believe this will be a landmark study for this region and … the world,” they wrote. “We respectfully ask that you do all in your power to enable this study to take place.”

Source: Science Magazine

Full FDA approval could drive COVID-19 vaccinations, but experts advise against waiting

Jun 11 2021

One-third of unvaccinated U.S. adults say they will only get in line for the COVID-19 jab once it's fully approved, but medical experts say it can also be risky to wait. Moderna became the latest COVID-19 vaccine maker to apply for full approval by the Food and Drug Administration, announcing last week that it has started the process for approval in people ages 18 and up. That follows Pfizer's announcement in early May that it was seeking approval in those ages 16 and up.

Source: ABC News

Yes, Your Employer Can Require You to Be Vaccinated

Jun 11 2021

As many Americans prepare to head back to the office, companies are hammering out policies on the extent to which they will require, or strongly encourage, employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. The bottom line is that companies are legally permitted to make employees get vaccinated, according to recent guidance from the federal agency that enforces workplace discrimination laws, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Here’s the latest about the rules in the United States on vaccinations in the workplace.

Source: NYT

Six months of COVID vaccines: what 1.7 billion doses have taught scientists

Jun 11 2021

Over the past six months, hundreds of millions of people around the world have rushed to follow in the footsteps of a 90-year-old British woman named Margaret Keenan. At 6:30 a.m. on 8 December 2020, Keenan became the first person to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as part of a mass vaccination effort. Her shot was the culmination of a frenzied effort to develop vaccines safely and in record time. Now, more than 1.7 billion doses later (see ‘Global doses’), researchers are sifting through the data to address lingering questions about how well the vaccines work — and how they might shape the course of the coronavirus pandemic that has already taken more than 3.5 million lives.

Source: Nature

An Anti-Vaccine Film Targeted To Black Americans Spreads False Information

Jun 11 2021

When a filmmaker asked medical historian Naomi Rogers to appear in a new documentary, the Yale professor didn't blink. She had done these "talking head" interviews many times before. She assumed her comments would end up in a straightforward documentary that addressed some of the most pressing concerns of the pandemic, such as the legacy of racism in medicine and how that plays into current mistrust in some communities of color. The subject of vaccines was also mentioned, but the focus wasn't clear to Rogers.

Source: NPR

Fake COVID Vaccine Cards Are Being Sold Online. Using One Is A Crime

Jun 10 2021

A vendor on Amazon was discovered selling a pack of blank COVID-19 vaccination cards this week. The post has since been removed, but photos reshared online showed a 10-pack of blank cards going for $12.99. In the U.S., actually getting a COVID-19 vaccine and receiving a legitimate vaccination card is free. The small white piece of cardstock given to Americans after receiving all necessary COVID-19 shots is the only official way to show some proof of full immunization on the fly. But according to the Federal Trade Commission, those simple cards, easily replicated by fraudsters, never were designed to prove vaccination status long term. Other vendors selling fake vaccine cards have cropped up on Etsy, an e-commerce site focusing on handmade and vintage items; on pro-Trump forums; and on the dark web, according to recent reports.

Source: NPR

We asked doctors when we'll know if we need COVID-19 booster shots

Jun 10 2021

It's been nearly six months since the first person in the U.S., nurse Sandra Lindsay, received the COVID-19 vaccine. Since patient one, over one hundred million Americans have been vaccinated. Indeed, as of Tuesday, at least 63.8 percent of U.S. adults have received one dose of the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As vaccination rates increase, COVID-19 cases decline nationally, and the CDC continues to ease restrictions, more states and cities are fully re-opening. That means life in the United States is inching closer to "normal," whatever that might mean post-pandemic.

Source: Salon

Pharmacist who 'intentionally' destroyed 500 Covid vaccine doses gets three years in prison

Jun 10 2021

A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced the Wisconsin pharmacist, who destroyed 500 Covid-19 vaccine doses "during a national public health emergency" tothree years in prison. Back in January, Steven Brandenburg agreed to plead guilty to two counts of attempting to tamper with consumer products with reckless disregard. Theoretically, he could have faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each count. But under federal sentencing guidelines, Brandenburg was looking at up to 51 months behind bars.

Source: NBC

There's A Stark Red-Blue Divide When It Comes To States' Vaccination Rates

Jun 10 2021

Less than a month remains until the Fourth of July, which was President Biden's goal for 70% of American adults to have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. It looks like it's going to be a stretch to get there. As of Tuesday, nearly 64% of U.S. adults have had at least one shot, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The key issue is that demand has dropped off. After an initial crush, the number of doses being administered daily is on a steep decline from the early April peak.

Source: NPR