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

How Public Health Officials Overcame Vaccine Barriers in Minority Communities. A new series of reports from local health experts in four regions of the country is pushing back on the notion that “vaccine hesitancy” is solely to blame for racial disparities in vaccination rates—instead highlighting the role that communications strategies and equitable distribution of resources have played. The reports, from the CommuniVax Coalition, examine the barriers that communities of color in Alabama, Idaho, Maryland and California encountered during vaccine outreach campaigns and identify some of the solutions implemented. (Route Fifty, 10/8/21)

People, Perceptions, and Polls
Here's why the once vaccine hesitant are changing their minds. There's a Herculean effort to ensure that the most vulnerable get inoculated across the US. Transportation, translation and a trusted source of vaccine information have been among the barriers, but public health workers and a new initiative are working to overcome that(CNN, 10/12/21)

Roundtable on the NBA and Vaccines. This episode is a roundtable discussion about memes, teams and vaccines. Dr. Amira Rose Davis is joined by Dr. Candis Smith, Dr. Courtney Cox and Dr. Brooklyne Gipson to chat about recent comments from some NBA players about vaccinations, while considering political education, athletes' platforms, disinformation in social media and the "surprising" plot-twist of "shut up and dribble." (Burn It All Down, 10/7/21)

Anti-vaccine chiropractors rising force of misinformation. At a time when the surgeon general says misinformation has become an urgent threat to public health, an investigation by The Associated Press found a vocal and influential group of chiropractors has been capitalizing on the pandemic by sowing fear and mistrust of vaccines(AP News, 10/8/21)

How Joe Biden Is Winning the Culture War Over Vaccines. On Thursday, President Joe Biden went to Chicago to make his case for COVID-19 vaccination mandates. He warned that unvaccinated Americans were “overrunning” hospitals—thereby crowding out patients who needed care for heart attacks or cancer—and he accused them of jeopardizing the economy by scaring people away from shops and restaurants. Getting vaccinated, said the president, was a simple matter of “being patriotic, doing the right thing.” (Slate, 10/8/21)

Hip-Hop Doesn’t Trust The Covid Vaccine. This Doctor Wants To Change That. Amid hip-hop figures expressing skepticism toward the COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Uché Blackstock wants to give them and others the opportunity to express their concerns while also assuring them that the vaccine is meant to help them. (OkayPlayer, 10/8/21)
Most Americans are locked into their views on vaccine mandates, no matter who’s affected or how. Americans’ opinions on vaccine mandates have become so hardened that changing words, arguments, or information may make little difference in changing minds and actions. An experiment with question wording in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll demonstrates just how firmly people hold their view of vaccine mandates, no matter how they’re described(YouGov, 10/8/21)
U.S. pastors, advocacy groups mobilize against COVID-19 vaccine mandates. As the Biden administration prepares a federal vaccine mandate and more states and companies impose them to help accelerate the pandemic's end, letter-writing efforts by religious leaders are being reinforced by legal advocacy groups such as Liberty Counsel. (Reuters, 10/14/21)

Public Health Practice
Schools Helped Defeat Polio and Diphtheria With Vaccine Efforts. Can They Do It With COVID? A precipitous decline in trust in government since the 1950s, skepticism or outright hostility toward vaccines in recent decades and a fragmented media environment where a blizzard of influencers and outlets compete for attention, are among the potent forces that—separately and combined—have changed the landscape for school leaders and others now facing an unprecedented test of public health(EducationWeek, 10/8/21)
Debating COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters: Public Health Strategy in a Shifting Landscape. Public health authorities in the U.S. are analyzing data on the long-term effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and debating the need for vaccine booster shots. This webinar will bring together top experts in public health with different points of view. They will consider federal recommendations on Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine boosters, and the vaccination of children. The webinar will take place on Friday, October 29, 2021, 12-1:30 PM CT(Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment, and the Life Sciences, 10/21)

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Law, Policy, and Politics
Republicans gird for battle and businesses brace for details of Biden’s new vaccine rule. President Biden’s planned vaccine requirement faces a number of tests in the coming weeks, as at least two dozen Republican-controlled states prepare legal challenges, setting up a clash between the federal government and local officials that could ultimately determine the fate of the rule. The Labor Department has moved slowly in designing the rule, which White House officials said will require companies with more than 100 employees to institute mandatory vaccination or testing protocols for their staffs.(Washington Post, 10/5/21)

See also:
U.S. to accept international travellers inoculated with WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines. On Sept. 20, the White House announced the U.S. in November would lift travel restrictions on air travellers from 33 countries including China, India, Brazil and most of Europe who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. It did not specify at that time which vaccines would be accepted. The new announcement is key for Canadians who received the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot, which was approved by the WHO. The FDA has only approved or listed for emergency use three others: the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) shots(CBC, 10/8/21)
White House tells states to prepare for Covid vaccinations in young children. The Biden administration has purchased 65 million pediatric doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, enough to vaccinate the estimated 28 million children who would be eligible should the Food and Drug Administration approve Pfizer's request to vaccinate children ages 5 to 11, said an official of the Department of Health and Human Services(NBC, 10/12/21)

Research, Development, and Clinical Practice
On “natural immunity” to COVID-19 (and every other vaccine-preventable disease). Antivaxxers have long appealed to “natural immunity” as being somehow inherently superior to vaccine-induced immunity, which is apparently “artificial”. This is a trope that comes from alternative medicine concepts about purity and contamination that is now endangering us in the age of the pandemic(Respectful Insolence, 10/11/21)
Impact of circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants on mRNA vaccine-induced immunity. We analysed the development of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody and T cell responses in previously infected (recovered) or uninfected (naive) individuals that received mRNA vaccines to SARS-CoV-2. While previously infected individuals sustained higher antibody titres than uninfected individuals post-vaccination, the latter reached comparable levels of neutralization responses to the ancestral strain after the second vaccine dose(Nature, 10/11/21)
Experts recommend that FDA should authorize Moderna COVID vaccine booster. A panel of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday unanimously recommended that the agency authorize a booster dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after completion of the initial two-dose regimen(NPR, 10/14/21)
An FDA panel of experts backs J&J COVID vaccine booster. In a 19-0 vote, the panel recommended that the booster dose come at least two months after initial immunization with one shot of the J&J vaccine. It applies to people 18 years and older. (NPR, 10/15/21)
NIH study of COVID-19 vaccine boosters suggests Moderna or Pfizer works best. The long-awaited study finds that people who got the J&J vaccine would benefit more from getting a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as their booster instead of another J&J shot. (NPR, 10/14/21)
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.