CDC panel gives go-ahead to updated booster shots
If you ever find yourself dealing with an airline cancellation or delay, the Department of Transportation has now launched a dashboard to help you better understand the policies of major airlines.
Updated COVID-19 booster shots got the green light from a CDC panel ahead of a fall campaign of shots.
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CDC panel votes 13-1 for updated boosters
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) committee on Thursday recommended updated COVID-19 vaccine boosters, helping clear the way for a fall campaign for the shots.
The vote passed 13-1, with one member, Pablo Sanchez of Ohio State University, voting no over a concern about lacking enough human data on the updated shots.
- Once CDC Director Rochelle Walensky gives the final sign off, which is expected soon, the shots can begin.
The updated shots were designed to specifically target the subvariants of omicron that are currently circulating, known as BA.4 and BA.5, as well as the original virus.
By updating for the latest evolutions in the virus, the shots are intended to be more effective than the current vaccines, though the current ones still provide important protection against severe illness.
As long as people have received the first two shots, it has been at least two months since their last dose, and they are aged 12 or older, they are eligible for the new updated booster dose.
Timeline for launch: The Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday that the campaign of administering the new shots, from both Pfizer and Moderna, is expected to begin “in earnest to eligible people shortly after Labor Day.”
In a bid to keep up with changes in the virus, the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized the updated vaccines without waiting for the full clinical trials to be completed, which did provoke some discussion at the CDC meeting.
But the FDA and some CDC panel members noted there is a strong safety record from the millions of doses of the original vaccine that have already been given, as well as data from a slightly different tweaked vaccine, and preliminary data for this one.
The FDA noted that the updates to this vaccine are similar to the process that happens every year for updating the flu vaccine to the latest strains.
Read more here.
Fauci warns of ‘pretty bad flu season’
Outgoing chief White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci said the U.S. should prepare for a “pretty bad flu season” later this year.
Speaking with Bloomberg Law, Fauci noted that a more severe flu season has already been observed in the Southern Hemisphere, which encounters new annual flu strains sooner than the Northern Hemisphere.
“We should be prepared for that superimposed upon what I hope is the residual and not another spike of Covid,” Fauci told Bloomberg.
Despite reports of a more severe flu season from the Southern Hemisphere, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated in its guidance that the recommendations for flu vaccinations this year are similar to last year’s.
- The majority of people who only need one flu shot should plan to get immunized in September or October, according to the CDC.
Two viruses: Fauci said he hoped the updated shot could help impede the concurrent viral spread of both the coronavirus and influenza.
Fauci added that he hoped the U.S. will continue to improve on the existing vaccines and treatments for COVID-19.
“One of the mistakes we’ve made is that we concentrate on the problem that’s right in front of you, and put off focusing on what might be a problem in the future,” said Fauci.
Read more here.
UNPAID WORK TAKES A TOLL ON EMPLOYED WOMEN’S MENTAL HEALTH
Employed women around the world disproportionately spend hours on unpaid labor compared to men — and the underrecognized work takes a toll on their mental health.
That’s according to a new review published this month in The Lancet Public Health. The report comes as unpaid labor like caregiving and house work has increasingly fallen on women during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Analyzing more than a dozen studies of thousands of participants from around the world, researchers found that women reported poorer mental health when unpaid labor demands increased.
- At the same time, researchers found just three studies of men that detailed any negative association.
The review also “confirms persistent inequities in the division of unpaid work,” authors wrote, adding findings suggest these inequities “expose women to greater risk of poorer mental health than men.”
Although there is no universally recognized definition of unpaid labor, it is typically inclusive of “of all responsibilities and tasks done to maintain a household and its family members without any explicit monetary compensation,” authors explained.
These could include cooking, cleaning and caring for children and the elderly.
Read more here.
ULTRA-PROCESSED FOOD TIED TO MORE COLORECTAL CANCER IN MEN
U.S. men who consume higher rates of ultra-processed food are at a 29 percent greater risk of developing colorectal cancer, according to new study results published in The BMJ. However, no association was seen among women in the study.
Colorectal cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer in the country and the second leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide.
Furthermore “ultra-processed foods (that is, industrial ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat formulations made of little or no whole foods) now contribute 57 percent of total daily calories consumed by American adults, which has been continuously increasing in the past two decades,” authors wrote.
In recent years, the consumption of ultra-processed foods has been linked with a host of poor health outcomes including coronary heart diseases, obesity, hypertension and metabolic syndrome, to name a few.
“Processed meats, most of which fall into the category of ultra-processed foods, are a strong risk factor for colorectal cancer,” explained lead study author Lu Wang of Tufts University in a statement.
Read more here.
Watchdog calls for more cyber oversight of organ network
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should improve its cybersecurity oversight of an important organ sharing network service and the nonprofit overseeing it, the inspector general’s office overseeing the federal agency said this week.
The report serves as a warning that data involving organ donors and receivers may not be adequately protected in the event of a security breach.
- “Because of the critical role of the OPTN and the sensitive data it contains, a security breach could have significant consequences for vulnerable patients,” the report reads, referring to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN).
The inspector general’s office said in the new report that the department’s Health Resources and Services Administration should develop additional oversight controls for the OPTN, which administers organ transplants and testing in the U.S.
Congressional scrutiny: Earlier this month, the Senate Finance Committee released a report linking 70 deaths and more than 200 organ diseases to a lack of oversight from the OPTN.
The committee report detailed mistakes made with the organ network, including patients who received organs with the wrong blood type or organs that were tossed because of transportation failures.
Read more here.
A third Covid autumn is upon us. Here’s a look at where we stand (Stat)
Biden administration moves to streamline Medicaid, CHIP enrollment (USA Today)
Booster coverage is lowest among Black and Hispanic Americans: CDC (ABC News)
Judge rules for strict limits on some Oregon State Hospital stays (The Oregonian)
Florida health officials set medical marijuana dosage, supply limits (ClickOrlando.com)
North Dakota Health Department unveils tobacco dashboard (The Bismarck Tribune)
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