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Morning Rounds Shraddha Chakradhar

Only a small minority of lower-income nations may be vaccinated against Covid-19 before next year

The international Covid-19 vaccine effort known as COVAX will likely only vaccinate 20% of populations of the world’s lower-income countries by the end of this year, according to new estimates from the International Rescue Committee. The reality could be much lower, which means that billions of people could still be waiting to be vaccinated. The reasons for immunizations falling behind, the IRC says, range from shortages of Covid-19 vaccine supplies to vaccine nationalism that may leave out those from vulnerable parts of the world. But the pandemic and its after effects won’t be truly gone until everyone can be vaccinated, the IRC warns, and asks that wealthy nations shore up their investments into the COVAX facility and share knowledge on Covid-19.  

New Ebola vaccine stockpile will make half a million doses available

An emergency supply of 500,000 Ebola vaccine doses will be made available to middle- and low-income countries for free to respond to outbreaks of the disease. The new stockpile is being made available by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and is awaiting procurement by UNICEF with a vaccine manufacturer. Countries that access the stockpile will also receive operational support to help with immunization campaigns. The supply will include doses of Merck’s Ebola vaccine, which is prequalified by the WHO and approved by regulatory bodies in the E.U. and the U.S. If other vaccine candidates currently in development are similarly precertified by the WHO, they may also be included in the stockpile in future. 

Health care positions feature prominently on latest list of best jobs 

Health care jobs take up 42 out of the 100 best job spots on U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 list. Physician assistant earned the top spot on the overall list, which includes jobs from 17 different sectors and considers a host of factors, including growth potential, salary, and work-life balance. Five other health-related jobs made the top 10, including nurse practitioner, speech pathologist, and dentist. Health jobs also topped a related list of jobs that pay over $100,000 — anesthesiologist, surgeon, and oral and maxillofacial surgeon earned the top three spots on that 25-job list. 

Inside STAT: Health companies and trade groups suspend campaign donations after Capitol riot 


Following last week’s riot on the Capitol, several major health care companies are reconsidering their donations to nearly 150 Republican lawmakers who voted against certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election. Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, for instance, said this week that it would pause contributions to those lawmakers who voted to overturn the election’s results. Gilead, Amgen, and the lobbying group BIO said they would halt contributions to all candidates regardless of how they voted on election certification. Others, including CVS Health, have said they would review future giving. Stopping, or even cutting back on, contributions could alter the landscape of campaign financing, although some experts say these moves are more of a PR stunt than anything else. STAT’s Lev Facher has more from Washington here

Race is rarely at the top of a patient’s medical record, new study finds

Even though differences in health outcomes between Black and white people are well-established, a small survey finds that patients' race is not routinely mentioned atop their electronic medical record. The survey looked at data from 1,200 patients, and checked for race in the first line of the EMR as part of the patient’s history of illnesses. Around 1 in 3 Black patients and 1 in 6 white patients had their race mentioned at the top of their illness history. Black patients were almost 60% more likely to have their race documented. White doctors were more likely to document their patients’ race, while attending physicians were more likely to do so than residents. The authors write that more research is needed to assess whether the lack of documenting race is associated with any health outcomes. 

Crowdfunding for medical care sought more than $10 billion in recent years

Crowdfunding campaigns for medical care have taken off in popularity, and new research finds that in recent years, these campaigns have sought more than $10 million in funds. Researchers looked at May 2010-December 2018 data from GoFundMe, and more than a quarter of the campaigns were health-related. More than $3.6 billion of the $10.2 billion these campaigns sought were raised, and the number of health-related campaigns increased from 42 fundraisers in 2010 to nearly 120,000 eight years later. The most common campaign was raising money for cancer treatment, followed by care for trauma/injury and neurological conditions. Maine and Alaska residents had the most such fundraisers, while those in Mississippi were the least likely to do so. 

Covid-19 in the U.S.

Cases yesterday: 204,652
Deaths yesterday: 1,731

What to read around the web today

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Tuesday, January 12, 2021


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