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Morning Rounds Shraddha Chakradhar

Just a note that there will be no newsletter on Monday in observance of the Memorial Day holiday in the U.S. Morning Rounds will be back on Tuesday. 

Global groups issue urgent calls for Covid-19 vaccine sharing 

As wealthy nations get more of their residents vaccinated, global agencies are urging a renewed focus on resource-poor countries. The global mechanism known as Covax is calling on world leaders to invest more money and share Covid vaccines so it can deliver 2 billion doses by the end of the year. So far, Covax has distributed around 75 million doses to nearly 130 countries. The WHO yesterday also asked for 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine for African countries in the next six weeks so those who received their first dose in the past two months can be fully vaccinated. “As supplies dry up, dose-sharing is an urgent, critical and short-term solution to ensuring that Africans at the greatest risk of COVID-19 get the much-needed protection,” Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said in a statement

New poll outlines reasons for Covid vaccine holdouts

The latest Kaiser Family Foundation poll on Covid-19 vaccination views in the U.S. finds that while most of those who wanted to get a shot have been vaccinated, there are still some holdouts. About a third of those who have yet to be vaccinated are waiting on full FDA approval of the available vaccines before they are likely to get their shot. The poll included responses from more than 1,500 people. Around 1 in 5 unvaccinated people said they would get a shot if their employer gave them paid time off to get vaccinated, with 10% to 15% saying financial incentives might motivate them to get a shot. And of those who have not been vaccinated, an overwhelming majority say the CDC's updated guidelines saying fully vaccinated people need not wear masks indoors is not a motivator to get a Covid shot.

Cigarette smoking has increased in the past 30 years, new analyses show

A series of newly published studies concludes that more than 1 billion people smoked cigarettes in 2019 — and nearly 8 million died from the harmful effects of smoking. Smoking-related complications were also the cause of 20% of deaths among males in 2019. The analyses, which looked at 30 years of data, find that across the world, smoking has decreased since 1990, but 20 countries have seen smoking rates increase among men and 12 have seen increases among women. The vast majority of smoking-related deaths in 2019 were among those who were current smokers, while 6% were among those who had quit smoking 15 or more years earlier. The studies also found that most smokers got hooked by age 25, signaling the need for policy interventions to continue targeting youth smoking. 

Inside STAT: How a single Pfizer decision disrupted the Covid vaccine rollout while boosting profits

The Pfizer-BioNTech shot has already earned a reputation for being the more logistically challenging of the Covid-19 vaccine options to ship, given that the vaccine needs expensive, ultra-cold freezers for storage. But an exclusive new report from STAT's Olivia Goldhill and Rachel Cohrs finds that another decision from Pfizer — shipping vaccine only in a large box of 1,170 doses — may have further hampered progress. While it was cheaper for Pfizer and convenient for mass vaccination sites, the decision meant that smaller sites, including local pharmacies, could not get shipments of this vaccine. “We were not enthralled with their decision, and we thought it would be inhibiting,” one former HHS official shares. STAT+ subscribers can read more here.  

States with lower rates of breastfeeding have wider racial gaps in its use

Breastfeeding is recommended for newborns by several medical groups, but a new CDC study finds sizable racial disparities exist. Data from 2019 birth certificates reveal that states with overall lower rates of breastfeeding also tend to have the widest gaps in adoption of the practice by racial groups. The spread between the racial groups with the highest and lowest rates exceeded 20 percentage points in 21 states and Washington, D.C., with six of these places having a gap of 30 points or higher. Among specific racial groups, 90% of Asian mothers breastfed babies, while around 74% of Black mothers breastfed. 

Women, and those older than 35, are among physicians with poor work-life balance

Work-life balance is particularly difficult for physicians to achieve, and a new study finds a gender disparity in how work-life balance affects clinicians. Looking at survey responses from nearly 4,400 physicians between October 2017 and March 2018, researchers found that women scored worse on their work-life integration score — measured by questions such as the frequency of having skipped a meal in the week prior to being surveyed, and of having arrived home late from work. Physicians older than 35, those who were single, and those in certain specialities — including emergency medicine and surgery — also tended to score poorly on work-life integration measures. "Systemic change" is needed to help physicians achieve work-life balance, the authors of the study suggest.  

Covid-19 in the U.S.

Cases yesterday: 27,525
Deaths yesterday: 1,338

What to read around the web today

  • ‘We shouldn’t leave anybody behind’: Inequities in cancer genomics undercut promise of precision medicine. STAT+
  • Divisive COVID ‘lab leak’ debate prompts dire warnings from researchers. Nature
  • WHO chief concedes 'slow' response to Congo sex abuse claims. Associated Press
  • FDA revives a controversial program the Trump administration ended over ‘inaccuracies.’ STAT+
  • Caring for an aging nation. Kaiser Health News
  • Trying to avoid racist health care, Black women seek out Black obstetricians. NPR

Thanks for reading! Hope everyone has a safe Memorial Day weekend!

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