Canada: An Official Strong Recommendation for First Doses First

Link: https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2021/03/canada-an-official-strong-recommendation-for-first-doses-first.html

Excerpt:

Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), a scientific advisory group to the government, has made a forceful and dramatic statement strongly favoring First Doses First (delay the second dose.) This is a very big deal for the entire world. Basically NACI have endorsed everything that Tyler and I have said on First Doses First since my first post tentatively raised the issue on December 8. I am going to quote this statement extensively since it’s an excellent summary. No indentation.

Author(s): Alex Tabarrok

Publication Date: 4 March 2021

Publication Site: Marginal Revolution

Dolly Parton gets first dose of COVID-19 vaccine she helped fund

Link: https://abc11.com/10383614/

Excerpt:

Dolly Parton has received her first shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine she helped fund with a $1 million donation to Vanderbilt University last year.

Parton chronicled the vaccination process in a video posted Tuesday to social media. In it, she sang a parody of her hit song “Jolene” with new lyrics imploring people to get vaccinated.

“Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,” she sang in the famous tune. “I’m begging of you please don’t hesitate.”

Publication Date: 2 March 2021

Publication Site: ABC 11 Eyewitness News

Only One U.S. State Has Vaccinated 10% of Its Black Population: Covid-19 Tracker

Link: https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/covid-vaccine-tracker-global-distribution/us-vaccine-demographics.html

Graphic:

Excerpt:

Some of the disparities are a result of who has approval to get shots so far. The elderly are more likely to be White, while the Hispanic population skews young and is less likely to work in hospitals and nursing care, groups targeted in the earliest phases of vaccine distribution.

Other disparities are a result of lower uptake rates among certain groups. Some health-care settings have reported that it’s taking longer to build up trust with communities of color, particularly Black people, who are wary of a medical establishment that for centuries has ignored and mistreated them. Anti-vaxx misinformation campaigns are targeting the already hesitant, including women and Black people. In addition, those with fewer resources may not be able to navigate the notoriously buggy and overloaded online sign-up systems. Meanwhile, others with connections, time, and money can snap up open slots.

Publication Date: 24 February 2021 (last updated)

Publication Site: Bloomberg

Officials Struggle With Conflicting Vaccine Priorities

Link: https://www.governing.com/now/Officials-Struggle-With-Conflicting-Vaccine-Priorities.html

Excerpt:

Though the nation’s vaccine availability will probably improve substantially in the coming months, officials at this moment are wading through what could be the most contentious phase of the rollout — a collision of relentless demand and constrained supply. “We’ve got to take care of the most vulnerable,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a recent news briefing when asked about priority for individuals with disabilities and underlying conditions.

….

At the heart of the debate around how to allocate vaccines is a conundrum: Should scarce vaccine be given to one young person, say a supermarket cashier who interacts with hundreds of people a day, because that may protect five elderly people from being infected? Or should the vaccines go directly to five elderly people?

Author(s): SOUMYA KARLAMANGLA AND COLLEEN SHALBY, LOS ANGELES TIMES

Publication Date: 26 February 2021

Publication Site: Governing

Vaccine Efficacy, Statistical Power and Mental Models

Link: https://zeynep.substack.com/p/vaccine-efficacy-statistical-power

Excerpt:

 If that’s what the vaccine trials were measuring—the height of thewall that is our immune system comparing vaccine effectiveness would make a lot of sense.  Many high-profile, highly-credentialed people have been (misleadingly) describing it exactly in that manner: that if a vaccine is 95% effective, those 5% are left “unprotected.” If Moderna and Pfizer and 95% efficacious, and if Johnson and Johnson is 66%—well, that would mean that 34% of the people are left “unprotected.” right?

Wrong. To get to why that assumption is not right—and why those vaccine efficacy numbers are not the height of the wall that represents the immune system—let me first mention something important The two mRNA vaccines do appear to be spectacular, but they were tested under conditions where those pesky “variants-of-concern”—the B.117 (UK one) and B. 1.351 (South Africa) and P1–were not widespread. If tested now, under equal conditions, those numbers may be closer. Plus, Johnson & Johnson is a single-shot with a trial with a booster underway. So those efficacy numbers may well be much closer in reality than they appear from the trial results. But let’s leave that aside for a moment.

Author(s): Zeynep Tufekci

Publication Date: 2 March 2021

Publication Site: Insight on Substack

UK finds vaccines 80% effective at preventing hospitalisations in over-80s

Link: https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-health-coronavirus-britain-vaccines/uk-finds-vaccines-80-effective-at-preventing-hospitalisations-in-over-80s-idUSKCN2AT38I

Excerpt:

The Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are more than 80% effective at preventing hospitalisations from COVID-19 in those over 80 after one dose of either shot, Public Health England (PHE) said on Monday, citing a pre-print study.

Author(s): Alistair Smout

Publication Date: 2 March 2021

Publication Site: Reuters

J&J Covid-19 Vaccine Shipments Head for States

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/j-j-covid-19-vaccine-to-start-arriving-as-soon-as-tuesday-u-s-administration-says-11614603239

Excerpt:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Saturday authorized use of the J&J vaccine. The drug company had made nearly four million doses for initial shipment. The administration said it expected about 20 million doses to be delivered by the end of March.

Distribution will be uneven early on as the company increases production, it said, meaning the bulk of the additional 16 million doses will arrive later in the month.

“We’re getting these doses out the door as soon as they’re available to ensure vaccines get into arms as quickly as possible,” a senior Biden administration official said Sunday.

Author(s): Peter Loftus and Ken Thomas

Publication Date: 1 March 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

How does the Johnson & Johnson vaccine compare to other coronavirus vaccines? 4 questions answered

Link: https://theconversation.com/how-does-the-johnson-and-johnson-vaccine-compare-to-other-coronavirus-vaccines-4-questions-answered-155944

Excerpt:

The FDA’s analysis found that, in the U.S., the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine was 72% effective at preventing all COVID-19 and 86% effective at preventing severe cases of the disease. While there is still a chance a vaccinated person could get sick, this suggests they would be much less likely to need hospitalization or to die from COVID-19.

A similar trial in South Africa, where a new, more contagious variant is dominant, produced similar results. Researchers found the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be slightly less effective at preventing all illness there – 64% overall – but was still 82% effective at preventing severe disease. The FDA report also indicates that the vaccine protects against other variants from Britain and Brazil too.

Author(s): Maureen Ferran

Publication Date: 27 February 2021

Publication Site: The Conversation

Black Health in America: Exploring Racial Disparities in COVID-19 Vaccination Data

Link: https://blog.d4bl.org/racial-disparities-in-covid19-vaccination-data/

Graphic:

Excerpt:

Below is a chart containing data from a number of states and Washington, D.C. to help visualize the gap between how many Black people are dying from COVID-19 and how many are receiving the vaccine. U.S. states and the percentages of Black people are respectively on the y- and x-axes. For each location, there are 3 data points:

Percent of State’s Black Population (Pct Population Black/AA): How many residents of the state identify as Black/African-American. Displayed as the blue dot.

Percent of State’s Vaccinated Population that are Black (Pct Vaccinations Black/AA): How many residents of the state have received at least one vaccine dose and identify as Black/African-American. Displayed as the gray dot.

Percent of State’s COVID-19 Deaths that are Black (Pct COVID Deaths Black/AA): How many residents of the state who died from COVID-19 identified as Black/African-American. Displayed as the orange dot.

Author(s): Paul Watkins

Publication Date: 25 February 2021

Publication Site: Data for Black Lives Blog

Tensions over vaccine equity pit rural against urban America

Link: https://nypost.com/2021/03/01/tensions-over-vaccine-equity-pit-rural-against-urban-america/

Excerpt:

The U.S. vaccine campaign has heightened tensions between rural and urban America, where from Oregon to Tennessee to upstate New York complaints are surfacing of a real — or perceived — inequity in vaccine allocation.

In some cases, recriminations over how scarce vaccines are distributed have taken on partisan tones, with rural Republican lawmakers in Democrat-led states complaining of “picking winners and losers,” and urbanites traveling hours to rural GOP-leaning communities to score COVID-19 shots when there are none in their city.

In Oregon, state GOP lawmakers walked out of a Legislative session last week over the Democratic governor’s vaccine plans, citing rural vaccine distribution among their concerns. In upstate New York, public health officials in rural counties have complained of disparities in vaccine allocation and in North Carolina, rural lawmakers say too many doses were going to mass vaccine centers in big cities.

Author(s): Associated Press

Publication Date: 1 March 2021

Publication Site: NY Post

Covid-19 Vaccine ‘Passports’ Raise Ethics Concerns, Logistical Hurdles

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/covid-19-vaccine-passports-raise-ethics-concerns-logistical-hurdles-11614335403

Excerpt:

In Israel, a vaccine passport was launched last week allowing those who are inoculated to go to hotels and gyms. Saudi Arabia now issues an app-based health passport for those inoculated, while Iceland’s government is doling out vaccine passports to facilitate foreign travel. Last month, President Biden issued executive orders asking government agencies to assess the feasibility of creating digital Covid-19 vaccination certificates.

Proponents of the plans say they will enable battered economies to reopen, even as vaccines are still being rolled out, allowing people to enjoy leisure activities and go to work safe in the knowledge they aren’t harming others or at risk themselves. It could also act as an incentive for people to get the shot.

The concept is potentially fraught with pitfalls. It could discriminate against minority communities, who are less likely to accept the vaccines, according to national surveys, or young people, who are less likely to be given priority to receive them.There are questions about the ethics of granting businesses access to peoples’ health records.

Author(s): Max Colchester, Felicia Schwartz

Publication Date: 26 February 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal