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March 05 | Daily COVID-19 LST Report


· A letter from physicians to the New England Journal of Medicine discusses the ramifications of incorporating individual preferences into the growing infrastructure of vaccine development. The authors note that while allowing people to make vaccine choices based on their preferences could be beneficial to promote public trust, it would be better to restrict patient choice at this point in the pandemic due to the logistical burdens, essential need to expedite allocation of the vaccine, and to prevent exacerbating the preexisting inequities in healthcare access. As such, the authors push for a policy limiting choice among vaccine preference to promote fair distribution of a critically scarce resource.

· Researchers and physicians from Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, detail the structural changes to the S-protein in several SARS-CoV-2 variants including strains isolated from the UK, Southern California, South Africa, and Brazil, giving each one a unique increase in amount of viral shedding and possible protection from vaccinations. The authors suggest universal practices to limiting further transmission of these potentially increasingly dangerous strains as they continue to evolve.

· In this perspective article, behavioral health experts from various academic and medical institutions throughout the US including the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University, describe the current injustices and limitation of vaccine distribution in US incarceration facilities, citing a striking need for prevention in this patient population as they are 5.5 times more likely to contract COVID-19 and three times as likely to die from COVID-19 than the general population. Although many medical and epidemiological experts have declared the importance for vaccination for prison systems in the US – not only for the incarcerated population but also for the health of surrounding communities given an average 55% weekly turnover rate – the CDC has only prioritized staff at this time. The authors call for reformation of the timeline of vaccine roll out for all incarcerated people as well as programs to increase education about COVID-19 in this patient population.

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