Category Archives: Infectious diseases

Writer offers advice on how journalists can respond to COVID-19 deniers

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Dana Smith

Dana Smith

For Dana Smith, senior staff writer at Elemental, one of the biggest surprises this year has been the anti-science sentiment and the number of COVID-19 disbelievers among readers.

Elemental, a health publication on the Medium platform, invites comments from readers and some of them have posted about a “takeover by scientists” of society or that the threat of the virus is overblown.

“It’s pretty disheartening to see,” Smith said in a new “How I Did It” piece. Continue reading

Sorting through the controversies over pandemic mask-wearing

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

MaskControversies

Photo: Joe Loong via Flickr

Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said the U.S. should have a national mask mandate. President-elect Joe Biden is in talks with governors to try to implement one when he takes office in January.

Mask wearing, however, remains a political hot-button. President Trump and many other Republicans have called mandates an overreach of the government and encroachment on freedom. Biden will have lots of work to depoliticize mask-wearing, NPR reports.

So, what is the latest on the science of masks? Continue reading

Poll explores hesitancy among older adults to get a COVID-19 vaccine

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/gilbert_mercier/49924257947">Gilbert Mercier</a> via Flickr

Photo: Gilbert Mercier via Flickr

A new poll of adults over age 50 – one of the highest-priority groups to receive a COVID-19 vaccine – suggests an uphill climb may lie ahead for some in this group to get vaccinated.

One in five older adults (20%) indicated they want to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. However, nearly half (46%) said they want to wait until others have received it, according to the survey released Nov. 24 by the National Poll on Healthy Aging project at University of Michigan. Continue reading

AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine shows promise for older adults

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Transmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, isolated from a patient.

Photo: NIAID via FlickrTransmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, isolated from a patient.

There’s good news for older adults from a new phase2/phase 3 trial of the COVID-19 vaccine under development by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. Researchers found that the partners’ ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine provides a similar immune response across age groups following a boost dose and appears to be better tolerated in older adults than in younger adults, according to a study published last week in The Lancet. Continue reading

Pandemic expert says transparency key to a successful COVID-19 vaccine rollout

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Photo: Departement des Yvelines via Flickr

Hilary Marston, M.D., medical officer and policy adviser for pandemic preparedness at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said she and her colleagues are “thrilled” about announcements that at least two COVID-19 vaccines so far have been shown to have an efficacy of over 90% in late-stage clinical trials.

“I don’t think any of us could have hoped for those results,” Marston said during a Nov. 18 interview at the AHCJ Journalism Summit on Infectious Disease. “We are … ready to work with the FDA to get the data to them as soon as possible.” Continue reading

NIH head: Journalists have important role in explaining the science behind vaccine development

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Francis S. Collins

Francis S. Collins

As coronavirus infections rise nationwide, health care journalists have an important role in explaining the science behind the development, safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, said Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., the director of the National Institutes of Health.

As the Nov. 18 keynote speaker at AHCJ’s Journalism Summit on Infectious Disease, Collins gave a stark warning for journalists and all Americans about the need to recognize the value of the vaccines as they are rolled out in the coming months. Continue reading