Weekly Roundup
COVID-19 Vaccine Development, Policy, and Public Perception in the United States
CommuniVax Corner

NEW: Members of the CommuniVax Coalition will present about the U.S. COVID-19 vaccine rollout at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, which will be held November 17-21, 2021 in Baltimore, MD. Learn more and register here.

People, Perceptions, and Polls
Parents were fine with sweeping school vaccination mandates five decades ago – but COVID-19 may be a different story. Thanks to the success of earlier vaccination programs, most parents of young children lacked firsthand experience with the suffering and death that diseases like polio or whooping cough had caused in previous eras. But public health officials recognized that those diseases were far from eradicated and would continue to threaten children unless higher rates of vaccination were reached. Vaccines were already becoming a victim of their success(The Conversation, 10/22/21)
COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Bootcamp. The COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Bootcamp on Tuesday, November 2, 3:00-5:00 PM ET, is hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and NACCHO. This event is intended for health department staff working in immunization programs and/or emergency preparedness programs who are tasked with building COVID-19 vaccine confidence. Registration closes on Friday, October 29 at 5:00 PM ET and is limited to 200 people. (NACCHO, 10/13/21)
Facebook Delayed Action as Anti-Vaccine Comments Swarmed Users, Watchdog Group Says. Critics say the reason Facebook was slow to take action on the ideas is simple: The tech giant worried it might impact the company’s profits. “Why would you not remove comments? Because engagement is the only thing that matters,” said Imran Ahmed, the CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, an internet watchdog group. “It drives attention and attention equals eyeballs and eyeballs equal ad revenue.” (TIME, 10/26/21)

It Turns Out Paying People to Take the Covid-19 Vaccine Doesn’t Really Work. Financial incentives, public-health messages and other tactics used by state and local governments and employers to encourage people to get the Covid-19 vaccine didn’t have a noticeable impact on vaccination rates among those who already were hesitant about getting the shot, new research shows. (Wall Street Journal, 10/26/21)
Fox anchor Neil Cavuto urged viewers to get vaccinated. Then came the death threats. Cavuto, who said his wife tested positive soon after he did, stressed that vaccination is not a question of politics but of safety. He implored people to think about "the bigger picture" and consider the well-being of their more vulnerable neighbors and relatives, like an older woman triple-masking at the grocery store or an immunocompromised coworker. (NPR, 10/27/21)
Public Health Practice
Vaccinating Children Ages 5-11: Policy Considerations for COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout. At least in the near term, there could be some unique challenges to this new vaccination effort as well as a repeat of some of the difficulties faced during previous COVID-19 vaccination phases. This brief highlights key issues to consider for the vaccination rollout to younger children(KFF, 10/25/21)

See also:
COVID-19 Vaccine Reimbursement Delays Impact to Community Health Centers. Clinics are struggling; reimbursement for well over a million COVID-19 vaccines is due in California alone. Countless other states have also filed their claims. Some of the struggle is due to the complex Medicaid reimbursement systems for FQHCs. Under federal law, such health centers are paid a set rate for patient visits, each potentially costing upwards of $500 or more, including practitioner evaluation and intervention, lab work, and other diagnostics(RAC Monitor, 10/20/21)
Why Puerto Rico leads the U.S. in COVID vaccine rate — and what states can learn. The highest rate of COVID-19 vaccination in the U.S. is not in a liberal-leaning Northeastern or West Coast state. It's in Puerto Rico, where more than 73% of the total population is fully vaccinated. The U.S. national average is just over 57%. The high vaccination rate stands in contrast to Puerto Rico's initial vulnerability to the coronavirus. Four years after Hurricane Maria destroyed the electricity grid, power outages still occur regularly. Many municipalities face a shortage of health care facilities and workers(NPR, 10/27/21)
Unlocking Multidimensional Data for Vaccine Equity. UNDP’s one-stop-shop and open resource allows anyone to design development solutions and simulate policy choices and implications at global, regional, national and subnational levels. A powerful feature of the platform is the ability to visualize and overlay two-three indicators simultaneously, which provides bespoke correlation analysis and inferences(UNDP, 10/21/21)
A High-Risk Group With a Tragically Low Vaccination Rate. Although more than three-quarters of all eligible adults have gotten at least one COVID-19 shot, only about 25 percent of mothers-to-be have gotten one during their pregnancy. Rates are even lower for Latina and Black expectant mothers, at 22 and 15 percent, respectively, compared with 27 percent of white and 35 percent of Asian expectant moms. (The Atlantic, 10/22/21)
Vaccine skeptics seize on death of Colin Powell to spread misinformation. While Powell, who had also served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other top government posts, died from Covid-19 complications, the 84-year-old had also been battling multiple myeloma, a white blood cell cancer that weakened his immune system. (First Draft, 10/22/21)

Law, Policy, and Politics
What the U.S. can — and cannot — do for vaccine equity per the State Department The U.S. has given 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries in need and has said it will give a total of 1.1 billion by 2022. Yet public health specialists say several more billion doses are needed around the world. Steve Inskeep of NPR's Morning Edition interviewed Gayle Smith, coordinator for global COVID response and health security at the U.S. State Department, to learn more about global vaccine distribution(NPR, 10/25/21)

Are Vaccine Boosters Widely Needed? Some Federal Advisers Have Misgivings. All the advisers acknowledged that they were obligated to make difficult choices, based on sparse research, in the middle of a public health emergency. But some said they felt compelled to vote for the shots because of the way the federal agencies framed the questions that they were asked to consider. Other committee experts said that they wanted to avoid confusing the public further by dissenting, or that they voted according to their views of the evidence and were simply overruled.(New York Times, 10/25/21)
Compensation Programs for Potential COVID-19 Vaccine Injuries. This Sidebar will review and compare the compensation regimes available for vaccine-related injuries under Countermeasures Injury Compensation Plan and the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Plan, and describe the procedures for injured individuals to obtain compensation under each program(Congressional Research Service, 10/20/21)
Why are cops fighting vaccine mandates? While the reasons officers are refusing to be vaccinated parallel those found in the nation at large — distrust of science, belief that it impinges on civil rights and misinformation about the vaccines — another cause is deeply embedded within police culture: the politics of police unions. Those politics lean strongly to the right, and have historically been a roadblock for accountability and change in policing. (CNN, 10/26/21)
Research, Development, and Clinical Practice
Moderna Says Its Data Shows Its COVID Vax Is Safe and Effective for Kids Age 6 to 11. The New York Times reports that after administering two shots of the vaccine—50 micrograms per jab, about half the adult dose—28 days apart, children in the trials had antibody levels that were 1.5 times higher than young adult levels. Last week, the FDA approved the 50 microgram position as a half-dose booster shot of the Moderna vaccine. According to the pharmaceutical company, most of the side effects reported in the 6 to 11 age group were mild or moderate, like fatigue, headache, fever, and pain at the injection site(Daily Beast, 10/25/21)

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine be authorized for children. After sometimes tense deliberations that weighed the benefits of vaccination against potential risks, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted 17-to-0 with one abstention on Tuesday that two 10-microgram doses of the vaccine should be granted emergency use authorization, a clearance that will remain in effect only as long as the pandemic is considered a public health emergency. (STAT, 10/26/21)

Vaccine eligibility for mood disorders underscores elevated covid risk. When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added mood disorders to the list of conditions that put people at high risk for severe covid-19 recently, clinicians were not surprised. The mind-body connection, they say, is long-settled research. “This is a population that is really, really at risk due to the way that covid-19 interacts with the diagnoses,” said Lisa Dailey, executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center. “Until the CDC put this group of disorders on their list, they would not have known that.” (Washington Post, 10/27/21)
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 and The Rockefeller Foundation.