Bivalent booster efficacy and covering vaccination rates among seniors

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The CDC is urging everyone, especially older adults (65+) to get their bivalent COVID-19 booster as soon as possible. Among hospitalized seniors, the updated booster provided significant additional protection against hospitalization compared with being unvaccinated or only receiving monovalent vaccination. During the holiday season, in particular, they’re also encouraging all adults 65 and older to further protect themselves from infection by masking and social distancing when possible.

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Science writer addresses COVID-19 virus origin story in new book

David Quammen

Among the many controversies connected to the pandemic is the question: Where did SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, come from before it emerged in Wuhan, China in 2019?

Veteran science journalist David Quammen skillfully and artfully tackles this question in his recent book “Breathless: The Scientific Effort to Defeat a Deadly Virus.” It is a detective story about the source of the virus and what is known, as of 2022. It is also a great read for any journalist looking for context about how the SARS-CoV-2 virus likely emerged and who the knowledgeable scientists are to talk to as this story unfolds. 

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Freelancers: AHCJ’s 36 market guides can help you craft your pitches

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It’s that time again when I provide a snapshot of the latest market guides that have been added to The Freelance Center. There are three new ones: Philadelphia magazine, Nature and Men’s Health.

Each guide always includes an interview with at least one editor and usually their direct emails, which can sometimes be challenging to find on a publication’s website. Even when the publication wants writers to submit pitches through a web-based form, I recommend sending the editor a heads up and quick introduction.

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Reporters shed light on unsubstantiated drug price increases 

The table shows the 10 prescription medications that had price increases in 2021 that were unsupported by new clinical evidence. Reprinted with permission. Source: Rind DM, Agboola F, Campbell J, Nikitin D, et al. Unsupported Price Increase Report: Unsupported Price Increases Occurring in 2021. December 6, 2022. ICER.

Last year, the makers of seven widely used prescription drugs raised prices substantially without any new clinical evidence to justify the increases, Ed Silverman reported at STAT News last week. 

Silverman based his reporting on an analysis from the independent nonprofit Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) that analyzes evidence on the effectiveness and value of drugs and other medical services. ICER released that report, “Unsupported Price Increases (UPI) of prescription drugs in the United States,” on Tuesday, Dec. 6.  

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Why using the term ‘immunity debt’ is problematic for reporters

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As the number of hospitalized children with influenza, RSV, COVID-19 and other infections continues to soar, multiple media outlets have published stories suggesting one of the causes of the severity of illnesses is “immunity debt,” because of social distancing and masking measures taken during the height of the pandemic.

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