Recent News

How the Measles Vaccine Went From No Big Deal to Anti-Vaxxer Obsession

Feb 12 2021

As the United States struggles to distribute and administer COVID-19 vaccines, we’re looking back at the history of vaccine rollouts in our country, including the logistical roadblocks to shots and communicating with a fearful public. The COVID vaccines have been widely shown to be safe and effective, unlike some historical examples that had significant associated risks. But what can stories of failures from the past teach us about how to fairly administer them? On Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 1 p.m. Eastern, join Future Tense for a conversation with Atul Gawande and Helene Gayle, co-chair of the National Academies framework for vaccine distribution, about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Source: Slate

Biden administration finalizes deal for 200 million vaccine doses from Pfizer, Moderna

Feb 12 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. has finalized a previously announced deal with Pfizer and Moderna for 200 million more coronavirus vaccine doses, which should provide enough to vaccinate nearly every American, President Joe Biden said Thursday. During a visit to the National Institutes of Health, Biden said the federal government signed the final contracts Thursday afternoon for 100 million more doses of the Moderna vaccine and 100 million more from Pfizer and BioNTech.

Source: NBC

COVID-19 vaccines can adapt to new variants. Here’s what it will take

Feb 12 2021

Researchers have unlocked vaccines for coronavirus at an unprecedented pace, but COVID-19 has managed to stay a step ahead. On Jan. 29, pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson unveiled a vaccine that is less difficult to distribute than others. It is a single shot that only needs a normal refrigerator — practically roughing it compared to the elaborate cold-chain technology that Pfizer’s two-dose vaccine demanded a month earlier. This latest vaccine underwent trials with nearly 44,000 people in the United States, Latin America and South Africa, all places where the virus had run wild for months and easily transmissible variants had been detected. In the U.S., the new vaccine was 72 percent effective, but in South Africa, where a more potent variant had taken shape, researchers found the same vaccine prevented infections in a smaller percentage of volunteers — 57.6 percent — during clinical trials. The data raised alarm bells about how much protection these new vaccines might afford and what else might need to be done.

Source: PBS

As U.S. Vaccinations Ramp Up, Some Recipients Struggle to Secure a Second Dose

Feb 12 2021

In some American states, people who have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine have been experiencing maddening difficulties as they try to schedule their second. In New Hampshire, officials said this week that they were switching scheduling systems for second-dose appointments after some people were given slots on dates that were past the time frame recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Connecticut, some frustrated older adults were waiting to have their second doses scheduled after getting their first shot, The Connecticut Mirror reported.

Source: NYT

Facebook vowed to crack down on Covid-19 vaccine misinformation but misleading posts remain easy to find

Feb 12 2021

(CNN Business)Nearly two months into the largest vaccine rollout in US history, Instagram continued to prominently feature anti-vaccination accounts in its search results, while Facebook groups railing against vaccines remained easy to find. Facebook has for years grappled with addressing anti-vaxxer content. Late last year, it established new rules to tackle Covid-19 vaccine misinformation after pledging two years ago to reduce the spread of anti-vaxxer content. But misleading and fearmongering content about the Covid vaccines, as well as outright misinformation, continues to spread on the platform at a time when the stakes couldn't be higher: misinformation about the vaccine can mean life or death.

Source: CNN

Honoring Healthcare Heroes Leading COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Rollout During Black History Month

Feb 12 2021

February is Black History Month—a time meant to celebrate the achievements of Black Americans and honor the significant impacts they have had on all facets of life throughout U.S. history. As we witness the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in Colorado, it is important to recognize that the development of this critical tool that will help mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic would not have been possible without healthcare and scientific leaders from the Black community—leaders whose efforts, contributions and mark on society will be celebrated for years to come. Here we highlight just a few of these remarkable individuals:

Source: Team Vaccine

Instagram Bars Robert F. Kennedy Jr. For Spreading Vaccine Misinformation

Feb 12 2021

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is now blocked from Instagram after he repeatedly undercut trust in vaccines. Kennedy has also spread conspiracy theories about Bill Gates, accusing him of profiteering off vaccines and attempting to take control of the world's food supply. "We removed this account for repeatedly sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines," a spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, told NPR on Thursday.

Source: NPR

The U.S. needs a National Vaccine Day

Feb 11 2021

Vaccines don’t save lives. Vaccinations do. That is an essential lesson we have learned from working at the forefront of vaccine development and health communication. One of us (S.P.) helped develop vaccines for rubella, rabies, and rotavirus, that have played an essential role in reducing preventable childhood deaths in the United States and around the world — but only because of public health campaigns that built trust in vaccination and made vaccines easily accessible to people from every walk of life. Now along comes Covid-19, a highly infectious disease caused by a novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV2, that humans had never previously encountered. In an amazing feat of science and speed, we now have vaccines against this virus that are proving to be highly effective.

Source: Stat News

We’re not looking at the most important vaccine statistic

Feb 11 2021

The Food and Drug Administration is working through thousands of pages of documentation for an emergency authorization of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which could come through this month. Most states are gradually expanding vaccine eligibility, production of the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines is increasing, and new studies show good results for additional vaccine candidates as well. The news on the Covid-19 vaccine front of late has been quite good — perhaps so good that our perspective on the fight against the pandemic may be getting a little warped. Case in point: the media coverage and public reception of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine. Results from its trials were released last week. According to the company, it should be able to deliver 100 million doses in the first half of this year. But this good news hasn’t been greeted with the enthusiasm that accompanied announcements about the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Source: Vox

How Merck, a Vaccine Titan, Lost the Covid Race

Feb 11 2021

From Ebola to H.I.V. to river blindness, the American pharmaceutical giant Merck has been on the front lines of the biggest public health emergencies in recent history. So when the company announced last May that it was a late entrant in the race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, Merck was a popular pick to win. Even if the company wasn’t first, proponents argued, its expertise as the world’s second-largest vaccine maker gave it a good shot at developing the best product — and manufacturing it quickly.

Source: NYT