Don’t forget about coverage of other vaccines

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Vaccine

Photo: Self Magazine via Flickr

Reading the news these days, it seems the word “vaccine” automatically refers to the COVID-19 vaccine, no matter the context. But it’s important not to forget about research coming out about other vaccines as well. That’s especially true since multiple studies have found that childhood immunization rates have fallen during the pandemic.

One of the most recent studies that deserves some coverage is a research letter published April 27 in JAMA that found in national data that only 16% of men aged 18-21 had ever received at least one dose of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. The HPV vaccine has long struggled to gain a foothold among U.S. youth, but 16% falls well short of the 42% of women in the same age range who had received at least one dose. Continue reading

Exercise caution in writing about COVID-19 breakthrough infections

About Bara Vaida and Tara Haelle

Bara Vaida is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Tara Haelle is medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon of science and research and helping them translate evidence into accurate information.

COVID-19There have been a number of stories in the past few weeks about people who became infected with COVID-19, even after they have been fully vaccinated. Data on “breakthrough infections” are important because it indicates to public health officials how effectively the vaccines are working, including how well they block transmission and if and when booster shots may become necessary.

But without full context, these stories also risk amplifying the perception that the risk of getting sick is still high, even if you are vaccinated. Continue reading

And now for something completely different

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Sonic the Hedgehog legos

Photo: BRICK 101 via Flickr

So much of the past 15 months has been nonstop reporting about COVID-19 for many health reporters. So once in a while, it’s nice to come across something … different. Very different.

Thanks to a recent thread by Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz, an epidemiologist based in Sydney, Australia (part of an excellent take-down of yet more pseudoscience from Naomi Wolf), I learned about a journal I was previously unaware of. Medical Hypotheses exists to “give novel, radical new ideas and speculations in medicine open-minded consideration, opening the field to radical hypotheses which would be rejected by most conventional journals.”

[Editor’s note: More details about the study mentioned in this thread, including its retraction, can be found here and here. The journal has a controversial past. For details, see thisthis and this. We have made some edits of this posting based on these controversies.]

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