The pandemic laid bare the woeful underfunding of the nation’s public health system as states and localities continue to struggle to provide timely testing, contact tracing, clear guidance to the public and reach vulnerable and underserved communities.
Though the pace of vaccinations has picked up considerably in the past month, the paucity of staff and resources at state and local health departments has meant that many public health departments could not get vaccines into the arms of the public as quickly as hoped, given the continued spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Continue reading
Alarm over the impact of COVID-19 misinformation has been growing, especially with increasing efforts by right-wing groups to spread misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.
The effort to end the pandemic through vaccination could stall if too many people refuse to take the vaccine because they don’t have the correct facts to make a decision. It can be a daily battle by journalists to correct false statements on social media — especially for those on the fact-checking beat.
“It is hard to stay on top of everything,” Daniel Funke, staff writer at PolitiFact, a non-partisan fact-checking website, said during a recent How I Did It interview for AHCJ. “We don’t have a great way to quantify misinformation and where it is coming from because we’d have to fact check everything on the internet.” Continue reading
A recent survey of family caregivers revealed some troubling information about the divide between rural and urban communities regarding COVID-19 vaccines.
According to the poll, nearly one in three (31%) family caregivers who live in rural communities say they won’t take the older adult under their care to get the COVID-19 vaccine—nearly double the refusal rate of urban and suburban caregivers (16%). About the same number (36%) of rural caregivers say they won’t get vaccinated themselves.
Safety concerns primarily drive caregivers’ unwillingness to get the vaccine for their loved ones and themselves, according to survey respondents. Among the rural family caregivers surveyed, an overwhelming 81% have doubts that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and more than a quarter (28%) are “not at all confident” in the vaccine’s safety. In comparison, 9% of their urban and suburban peers are not at all confident. Taken together, experts say the findings show how difficult it will be to save lives in communities where access to healthcare is already limited. Continue reading
Are you looking for new COVID-19 story angles and stories beyond the current pandemic? Pay attention to “superbugs,” the term for bacteria that have developed resistance to antimicrobial drugs.
Overprescribing of antibiotics in U.S. hospitals during the first months of the pandemic increased the likelihood that the threat of antibiotic resistance has grown over the past year, according to a recent study. Continue reading
Just a day after AstraZeneca announced long-awaited interim results from its U.S. phase 3 trial earlier this week, the company again became mired in controversy about what’s going on with its vaccine.
The trial’s Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) — a group of independent experts who monitor the safety and efficacy of a drug or intervention during a trial — sent a memo to the company and government health officials, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), contesting the company’s portrayal of its vaccine’s efficacy. Continue reading