Recent News

How politics is disrupting the vaccine rollout for inmates

Mar 18 2021

Prisons and jails have been hit hard by the pandemic, with major outbreaks across the country. But when it comes to allocating scarce vaccines, states have dramatically different ideas about how inmates should be prioritized. And the experience of one state, Colorado, shows the role politics can play in these difficult decisions. Stephanie Sy has that story.

Source: PBS

Prisons are long-term care facilities. So why don’t inmates get priority for Covid-19 vaccination?

Mar 18 2021

In the four-tier priority list for Covid-19 vaccination set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, residents of long-term care facilities are at the top along with health care personnel — but not if those long-term care facilities are prisons, jails, and other detention centers. The “science” behind that decision continues to baffle me. Had the Covid-19 pandemic struck six years earlier, during the time I spent serving time at York Correctional Institution in Niantic, Conn., I would have been one of those inmates fretting about her time in line for the vaccine. During the H1N1 pandemic, I lived in one of the 11% of state prisons that didn’t get a supply of H1N1 vaccine in 2009 and 2010. I never got the shot and, quite frankly, never knew if I needed it or not.

Source: STAT News

Four Former US Presidents Promote COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign

Mar 12 2021

Four former living U.S. presidents are appearing in a new ad campaign to encourage people to get COVID-19 vaccines. In the video produced by the Ad Council, former President Bill Clinton says, “We’ve lost enough people and we’ve suffered enough damage.” There is a photo of Clinton and his wife, Hillary, receiving their vaccines. Former President George W. Bush says, “In order to get rid of this pandemic, it’s important for our fellow citizens to get vaccinated.”

Source: Vox

Hunting for a Leftover Vaccine? This Site Will Match You With a Clinic.

Mar 12 2021

In the hustle to score an elusive vaccine appointment, the leftover dose has become the stuff of pandemic lore. Extra shots — which must be used within hours once taken out of cold storage — have been doled out to drugstore customers buying midnight snacks, people who are friends with nurses and those who show up at closing time at certain grocery stores and pharmacies. At some larger vaccination sites, the race to use every dose sets off a flurry of end-of-the-day phone calls. In every case, if the leftover dose does not find an available arm, it must go into the trash.

Source: NYT

Misinformation And Mistrust Among The Obstacles Latinos Face In Getting Vaccinated

Mar 11 2021

Vaccination programs work best when as many people as possible get vaccinated, but Latinos in the United States are getting inoculated at lower rates. In Florida, for example, Latinos are 27% of the population but they've made up only about 17% of COVID-19 vaccinations so far, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Oscar Londoño is working to change that. He's executive director of WeCount!, a membership-based organization for immigrant workers in Homestead, Fla., which is home to many Latino farmworkers.

Source: NPR

Why Is Every Death After a COVID-19 Vaccine Investigated?

Mar 11 2021

Public health organizations take vaccine safety very seriously — and for good reason. We get vaccinated to prevent deaths. So when there’s a death reported after any vaccination, including a COVID-19 vaccine, public health officials investigate. We’re constantly looking for safety concerns related to vaccines to ensure the benefits of vaccination continue to outweigh the risks and to improve vaccine recommendations to make them as safe as possible. Here’s how it’s done. Have People Died After Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine? Yes — but none of those deaths have been found to be caused by the vaccines.

Source: Shot or Prevention

Using the new Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine to create equity and trust

Mar 11 2021

The Food and Drug Administration’s recent approval of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in the United States is wonderful and welcome news. Its addition dramatically increases the likelihood that all adults will have a chance to be vaccinated before this summer — but only if people are willing to accept any of the three available vaccines. That will happen only if people trust that the different vaccines are being distributed fairly.

Source: Stat News

So What Can People Actually Do after Being Vaccinated?

Mar 11 2021

The first raft of stories in the wake of the Biden administration’s dramatic acceleration of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the U.S. centered on all the things the newly vaccinated among us can and cannot do, as if we were working off a master list of approved activities. Like so many things associated with this pandemic, the truth is nowhere near that clean. No such list exists, and even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has only issued recommendations, not requirements. Community and regional medical metrics come into play, and politics will carry its own dark weight when it comes to local or statewide decisions in areas as critical as masking, capacity in buildings and restaurants and so on.

Source: Scientific American

The Reason Black Americans Are Getting Vaccinated At A Much Slower Rate Is Not Because They’re Reluctant

Mar 11 2021

The early data we have on vaccination rates is incomplete, but one fact is particularly alarming: Black Americans are getting vaccinated at a much slower rate than their white counterparts. This is troubling given how hard the pandemic has hit Black Americans. But it’s also concerning because people often misunderstand why the rate is lower. Many are quick to point to a distrust of the medical community, as Black people do have a long history of being ignored or actively mistreated by health care professionals in the U.S. — most notably, in the infamous 40-year-long Tuskegee study, which denied Black men treatment for syphilis so researchers could track the natural progression of the disease. But a recent Pew survey challenges the idea that Black Americans are hesitant to get vaccinated: A majority of Black adults (61 percent) told Pew that they either planned to get a COVID-19 vaccine or have already gotten one, a sharp uptick from the 42 percent who said in November that they planned to get vaccinated.

Source: Five Thirty Eight

Instagram Is Pushing Anti-Vaccine Misinformation and QAnon Content, Study Finds

Mar 11 2021

In the past year, social platforms like Facebook and Twitter have made very public efforts to try to prevent the proliferation of Covid-19-related misinformation and election fraud conspiracy theories. Yet a new study from the Center for Countering Digital Hate, which tracks the spread of misinformation on digital platforms, suggests that at least one platform — Instagram — has failed in its efforts to curb such content. According to Imran Ahmed, CEO of the U.K.-based organization, the study was prompted by Instagram’s August 2020 rollout of a new feature called “suggested posts,” which appeared when users reached the bottoms of their feeds. The study’s authors found it curious that the platform would introduce such a feature in the midst of the pandemic, when COVID-19-related misinformation was abounding across social media. They were particularly interested in studying Instagram, which Ahmed refers to as the “fastest-growing” platform regarding misinformation about vaccines, which has been “driven by a new wave of influencers who’ve come along in the anti-vaxx space driven in part by the opportunity COVID-19 has presented,” he says.

Source: Rolling Stone