Recent News

COVID-19 Vaccine May Pit Science Against Politics

Aug 26 2020

Under normal circumstances, it could take years — if not decades — to bring a new vaccine to market. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all that. In May, the Trump administration launched Operation Warp Speed with the goal of delivering initial doses of a safe and effective vaccine by January 2021 — shortening the development time from years to months. Some worry that to meet that ambitious schedule, the administration might cut important scientific corners. They fear that President Trump could announce an "October surprise" — declaring that a vaccine works before it has passed scientific muster in order to enhance his reelection chances.

Source: NPR

CDC proposes guidelines for distributing coronavirus vaccine in the U.S.

Aug 26 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday proposed guidelines for distributing a coronavirus vaccine in the United States if and when one is approved for public use. The guidelines, unveiled during a presentation at the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices meeting, would prioritize health-care workers, essential personnel and vulnerable Americans, such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

Source: CNBC

U.S. Doctors Group Calls for Transparency in COVID-19 Vaccine Development

Aug 26 2020

(Reuters) - The rapid pace of COVID-19 vaccine development and scant information about the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) vaccine review process are leading to concerns, the American Medical Association (AMA) said on Wednesday. In a letter, the AMA urged the FDA to ensure transparency in the vaccine development process and keep physicians informed of the agency's plan for review of potential vaccine candidates. (https://bit.ly/32qMjAl)

Source: NYT

Flu Shot Study Offers Window Into Coronavirus Vaccine Uptake in U.S.

Aug 26 2020

A study looking at which groups of people are least likely to get the flu shot, and which states have the lowest adoption rates, could provide an insight into how a coronavirus vaccine will be adopted across the U.S., a team of scientists have said. A Gallup poll published August 7 showed that if an FDA approved free COVID-19 vaccine were ready today, 35 percent said they would not have it. Support was lowest among Republicans, with just 47 percent saying they would get vaccinated under these circumstances. Non-white Americans, those from rural areas and those aged between 50 and 64 were all found to be most reluctant to the hypothetical vaccine.

Source: News Week

Africa declared free of wild polio in 'milestone'

Aug 26 2020

Polio is a virus which spreads from person to person, usually through contaminated water. It can lead to paralysis by attacking the nervous system. Two out of three strains of wild polio virus have been eradicated worldwide. On Tuesday, Africa has been declared free of the last remaining strain of wild poliovirus. More than 95% of Africa's population has now been immunised. This was one of the conditions that the Africa Regional Certification Commission set before declaring the continent free from wild polio.

Source: BBC News

Pharmacists can give childhood vaccines, U.S. officials say

Aug 26 2020

Pharmacists in all 50 states are now allowed to give childhood vaccinations under a new directive aimed at preventing future outbreaks of measles and other preventable diseases. Alex Azar, the head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, took the step using emergency powers he has during the U.S. coronavirus epidemic, which was declared a public health emergency. The directive announced Wednesday will temporarily preempt restrictions in 22 states starting this fall.

Source: NBC News

It’s time to start testing potential covid-19 vaccines on children

Aug 25 2020

Steven Joffe is a bioethics and pediatrics professor and interim chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. In the 1950s, a fearful America eagerly awaited a vaccine that would help end the scourge of polio. In April 1954, a trial of a vaccine developed by Jonas Salk, which enrolled 1.8 million children, began in McLean, Va. Just one year later, researchers announced that the vaccine was safe and effective, and a national program of mass vaccination began. By 1964, polio had almost been eradicated from the country.

Source: Washington Post

Can You Get a Flu Shot Now? Yes, and Doctors Say You Should

Aug 25 2020

People usually don’t think about flu shots until the fall, so you might be surprised to learn that many places are already offering them. Public health officials, fearing that the confluence of Covid-19 and influenza cases could result in a “twindemic” that will further overburden hospitals and testing locations, are urging vaccination for nearly everyone. “We don’t have many arrows in our quiver in terms of combating Covid,” said Dr. Kevin Ban, the chief medical officer for Walgreens, which began administering the vaccine across its stores on Aug. 17. That’s why medical professionals are focusing instead on minimizing flu cases, so “resources go where they need to,” he added.

Source: NYT