Recent News

America’s Health Will Soon Be in the Hands of Very Minor Internet Celebrities

Feb 19 2021

To celebrate the holidays, the fitness influencer Cory Boling did mountain climbers in his apartment in a pair of camouflage swim trunks. His twin brother, Calvin, did squats while holding a kitchen stool. The duo—muscular, cheerful, constantly shirtless—were two of the most eager participants in a holiday-season Instagram campaign run by the Oklahoma City County Health Department with the help of the influencer marketing agency XOMAD. Their posts were #ads, as well as invitations to stay home for Christmas, wear a mask, stop the spread, keep it tight.

Source: The Atlantic

To Get Their Lives Back, Teens Volunteer for Vaccine Trials

Feb 19 2021

To get out of ninth-grade science period one recent Friday, the King twins had an excuse that is so very 2021. Alexandra and Isabelle, 14, had to miss class — including a test — because they were participating in an actual science experiment: a clinical trial of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine to evaluate whether the shot is effective and safe in children ages 12 through 17. “In science we’re learning about, like, genetics and stuff like that,” said Alexandra during the monitoring period after they’d gotten their shots at a Houston clinic. “So maybe the teacher will say, ‘Oh, you really shouldn’t have to take the test, because you’re contributing to science already.’”

Source: NYT

You Think The U.S. Has Vaccine Issues? 130 Countries Haven't Even Started Vaccinating

Feb 19 2021

In some countries, citizens are grumbling about the inefficient rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. It's unclear exactly when doses will be available. Websites for appointments keep crashing. Lines are long. And then there are the 130 countries that "are yet to administer a single dose," according to UNICEF. That's 2.5 billion people who so far have been completely shut out of the global vaccine campaign. Many of these low- and middle-income countries are urgently shopping for vaccines. But with just a handful of pharmaceutical manufacturers having successfully come up with vaccines, doses are incredibly scarce.

Source: NPR

Anti-Vaxxers Target Pregnant People Who Post Vaccine Selfies, Accusing Them of Causing Miscarriages

Feb 19 2021

Online trolls have reached a new low with their latest targeted campaign of cyberbullying. In recent weeks, pregnant people have become a new target for the faceless mob of anti-vaxxers, thanks to the rise in popularity of posting “vaccine selfies” in the wake of the public availability of the new COVID-19 vaccination shot. But, as with anything on the internet, things quickly turned sour.

Source: She Knows

Biden Administration Says It Has Increased Vaccine Supply

Feb 19 2021

President Biden's COVID-19 czar Jeff Zients told governors on Tuesday that the weekly vaccine supply going out to states is increasing by more than 20% to 13.5 million doses this week, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, announced. Psaki also said the supply going directly to pharmacies will double to 2 million this week. Before taking office, Biden promised to improve and streamline Trump's Operation Warp Speed and pledged to get 100 million vaccine doses into arms in the first 100 days of his administration.

Source: NPR

Lab studies suggest Pfizer, Moderna vaccines can protect against coronavirus variant

Feb 19 2021

(CNN)A new report published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday suggests that Pfizer-BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine can protect people against concerning new coronavirus variants, including one first seen in South Africa called B.1.351. For the study, researchers at Pfizer and the University of Texas Medical Branch genetically engineered versions of the virus to carry some of the mutations found in B.1.351. They tested them against blood samples taken from 15 people who had received two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as part of a clinical trial.

Source: CNN

Novavax Nears Covid-19 Vaccine Game Changer—After Years of Failure

Feb 19 2021

In January of last year, employees of Novavax Inc. met at a local Maryland bar to discuss how they might salvage their careers. For decades, the small biotech had tried to develop an approved vaccine, with no success. The company had enough cash to survive only another six months or so and its shares traded under $4, with a market value of $127 million. Today, Novavax is advancing toward authorization of a Covid-19 vaccine. Scientists believe that, if cleared, it could be one of the more powerful weapons against the pandemic, offering key possible advantages over its competitors. Some early data suggest the Novavax shot may be one of the first shown to stem asymptomatic spread of the coronavirus and also potentially provide longer-lasting protection.

Source: WSJ

Anti-Immigrant Vitriol Complicates Vaccine Rollout in Southern States

Feb 18 2021

In eastern Tennessee, doctors have seen firsthand how a hard-line immigration policy can affect the health and well-being of a community. In 2018, federal agents raided a meatpacking plant in Morristown, a manufacturing hub in the Tennessee Valley, and detained nearly 100 workers they suspected of being in the country illegally. In the weeks that followed, scores of immigrant families who had found work in the meat-processing plants dotting broader Hamblen County scrambled to find sanctuary in churches — and scrupulously avoided seeking medical care. The reason? Immigration agents were staking out clinics.

Source: US News

COVID-19 shots might be tweaked if variants get worse

Feb 18 2021

The makers of COVID-19 vaccines are figuring out how to tweak their recipes against worrisome virus mutations — and regulators are looking to flu as a blueprint if and when the shots need an update. “It’s not really something you can sort of flip a switch, do overnight,” cautioned Richard Webby, who directs a World Health Organization flu center from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Source: ABC News

No jab, no job: Vatican gets tough with COVID anti-vaxxers

Feb 18 2021

VATICAN CITY, Feb 18 (Reuters) - The Vatican has told employees that they may risk losing their jobs if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccination without legitimate health reasons. A decree by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, effectively the governor of Vatican City, said getting a vaccine was “the responsible choice” because of the risk of harming other people. Vatican City, at 108 acres the world’s smallest state, has several thousand employees, most of whom live in Italy. Its vaccination programme began last month and Pope Francis, 84, was among the first to get the jab.

Source: Reuters