Monthly Roundup
Community Health News and Resources for Researchers, Practitioners, and Policymakers in the United States
Post-Pandemic Recovery: From What, For Whom, and How?

The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security will host a two-day, virtual symposium on October 4 and October 6, 2022, 12-2:30 PM ET.

During this online symposium, we will engage a broad community of practitioners in discussions about operationalizing a holistic process of post-pandemic recovery: What systems can local jurisdictions set up and strengthen that sustain the long view on getting through and past the pandemic, reverse the social determinants of uneven impacts, and develop resilience to future public health emergencies?

Local Team Updates
Drawing a Path From Vaccine Hesitancy to Vaccine Confidence. From an unvaccinated man struggling to find a job to a little girl feeling overwhelmed at school by the pandemic, the people at the heart of the Barbershop Storybook Project feel like friends, neighbors and family members. That’s the goal of Jasmine Mitchell ’20 and Marcus Ford ’20, the artists behind the new comic book series from the School of Public Health’s Maryland Center for Health Equity. The graphic novels build on its work in barbershops and hair salons through the Health Advocates In-Reach and Research (HAIR) campaign, including offering COVID-19 testing and vaccines. (University of Maryland, 9/23/22)

CDC Fall Vaccination Operational Planning Guide. At publication of this guide, the U.S. Government (USG) has procured over 170 million doses of bivalent COVID-19 vaccine for distribution and administration. This is part of a planned fall and early winter campaign that will include primary (monovalent) and booster (bivalent) vaccines intended to maximize availability and uptake across age groups to ensure population protection against circulating strains(CDC, 9/20/22)
Covid Is Likely to Require Yearly Booster Like Flu Shot, Fauci Says. Covid vaccinations will likely shift to an annual injection -- tailored to the latest strains -- for the majority of the population, with more frequent doses offered for higher-risk people, the officials said. The latest version of the vaccine -- the first approved in almost two years -- will be available at pharmacies and doctors’ offices beginning this week. (Bloomberg, 9/6/22)

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“The Human Psyche Was Not Built for This.” Last spring, a year after COVID-19 had first ripped through the United States, Republican lawmakers in Montana doubled down. They passed the nation’s most extreme anti-vaccination law. Not even nurses in a cancer ward could be required to get the shots(ProPublica, 9/6/22)

Inside a city’s struggle to vaccinate gay Black men for monkeypox. The summer outbreak of the rare virus exposed how infectious diseases often exact a disproportionate toll on Black men who have sex with men, particularly in the South, and the struggles of the health-care system to provide them equitable protection. The disparities are especially wide in North Carolina, where Black people make up 67 percent of monkeypox cases but only 27 percent of the vaccinated. (Washington Post, 9/12/22)
Anti-vax groups use carrot emojis to hide Facebook posts. Facebook groups are using the carrot emoji to hide anti-vax content from automated moderation tools. The BBC has seen several groups, one with hundreds of thousands of members, in which the emoji appears in place of the word "vaccine." Facebook's algorithms tend to focus on words rather than images. (BBC, 9/16/22)

Gender and COVID-19 Vaccine Policy Development: Key Barriers and Opportunities. This policy brief is based on the views of 17 experts in the
fields of immunization, communicable diseases, public health, and gender, working in France, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Norway, South Africa, Switzerland, and the US. All experts were involved in COVID-19 vaccine policy development globally or at the national level, and were interviewed in July 2021. These findings represent the views of two or more experts and are indicative of common issues and suggestions(Global Health 5050, 9/22)
Funding Opportunities
Monkeypox Vaccine Equity Pilot Program. The Monkeypox Vaccine Equity Pilot Program was developed to demonstrate new, innovative, and non-traditional ways to address vaccination disparities within populations who are most affected. Projects may be developed by a state, territorial, or local health department, a tribal government or tribal organization, or a local non-governmental organization seeking to address vaccination disparities among one or more priority population groups most affected by monkeypox(CDC, 9/22)
Federal Student Loan Repayment Programs for Behavioral Health Service Providers. This report discusses student loan repayment programs
specifically available to behavioral health providers and for which Congress appropriated funds in FY2022, along with selected policy issues. All of the programs discussed are administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and are authorized by the Public Health Service Act. In general, loan repayment benefits provided under these programs are subject to the availability of funds(Congressional Research Service, 8/4/22)
Community Health
Partisan differences are common in the lessons Americans take away from COVID-19. When asked what lesson the country should learn to be better prepared for the possibility of a future infectious disease outbreak, Democrats are particularly inclined to talk about the need for better preparation, greater trust of public health guidance and faster responses. Better preparation was also a common response among Republicans. However, other frequent mentions differed in tone and included low trust in government officials and a need to avoid shutdowns and prevent limits on individual freedom(Pew Research, 9/6/22)

Nearly 8 million kids lost a parent or primary caregiver to the pandemic. A new international study estimates that from January 1, 2020, to May, 1, 2022, nearly 8 million kids age 18 and under lost a parent or primary caregiver to a pandemic-related cause. When the researchers included the deaths of secondary caregivers like grandparents or other older relatives, the number of kids affected rose to 10.5 million. (NPR, 9/6/22)

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The Roles of Trust and Health Literacy in Achieving Health Equity: A Workshop Series. The National Academies of Science, Medicine, and Engineering held a series of workshops exploring how health literacy best practices might impact trust in clinical settings, and how that, in turn, might positively impact health equity. Recordings and agendas from the first, second, and third meetings of the workshop series are now available. (National Academies, 9/22)

COVID-19 & The Health Equity Data Gaps. The October issue of AJPH features a special section on COVID-19 and gaps in health equity data. Select articles cover the impact of the pandemic among Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities, such the toll of hate incidences and the collection of disaggregated data. Other papers in this special section outline data gaps among Black, Latinx, and American Indian populations. (AJPH, 10/22)

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Long COVID Household Pulse Survey. As part of an ongoing partnership with the Census Bureau, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) recently added questions to assess the prevalence of post-COVID-19 conditions (long COVID), on the experimental Household Pulse Survey. This 20-minute online survey was designed to complement the ability of the federal statistical system to rapidly respond and provide relevant information about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. (CDC, 9/22)

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This newsletter supports CommuniVax, a research coalition convened by the
Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the Texas State University Department of Anthropology,
with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.