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INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE OF CHICAGO

  • 8 Sep 2021 11:55 AM | Anonymous

    Not all unvaccinated Americans' opinions about COVID-19 vaccines are firmly anti-vaccine, as many people are still on the fence, according to a Sept. 1 CNET report. Understanding and addressing this populations' concerns in a compassionate manner could be key to raising vaccination rates. (Becker Health IT 9.2.2021) 

    The media often highlights the most extreme anti-vaccine voices, but many unvaccinated Americans aren't so resolute. Many people who are eligible to receive a vaccine but haven't gotten one are still grappling with their concerns, some of which have been fueled by the rapid online spread of health misinformation, according to vaccine expert Peter Hotez, MD, PhD.

    About 52 percent of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to CDC data updated Sept. 1. White evangelical Christians and people younger than 65 who don't have health insurance are the most likely to say they're "definitely not" getting vaccinated against COVID-19, according to research conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Younger adults ages 18-29 are also more likely.

    The Kaiser Family Foundation found that the key demographic differences between people who are adamantly opposed to getting vaccinated and those who are still on the fence lie in Americans' racial, ethnic, religious and political identities.

    For example, white adults make up 50 percent of unvaccinated Americans who are on the fence, but white adults make up 65 percent of unvaccinated Americans who are adamantly opposed to getting vaccinated. White evangelical Christians make up nearly twice the share (32 percent) of the group who says they definitely won't get vaccinated compared to the group that is unsure.

    Some common reasons for vaccine hesitancy include distrust in the media to provide quality information about the vaccines, distrust in American medicine stemming from racist trials testing experimental treatments, uncertainty about the vaccines' long-term side effects and worries about how rapidly the vaccines were developed.

    Addressing these concerns with evidence-based information without coming off as condescending could be an effective way to persuade hesitant individuals to get vaccinated, according to pediatrician Rhea Boyd, MD, who founded a campaign in which ​​Black and Latinx healthcare workers provide information and combat misinformation about vaccines. Four in 10 people who are on the fence about COVID-19 vaccination are people of color, according to Kaiser Family Foundation data.

    Full article here> 

    Download copy of article here>

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  • 7 Sep 2021 5:00 PM | Anonymous

    The U.S. Census Bureau's Community Resilience Estimates (CRE) is experimental no more. It will now be a regularly updated data product that measures communities' ability to cope with disasters and other emergencies. (US Census Bureau 9.7.2021)

    The need for these estimates came to the forefront last year as the Census Bureau was inundated with data requests by government agencies that needed to make data-driven decisions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Full article here 

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  • 3 Sep 2021 11:30 AM | Anonymous

    More than 18 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still very few drugs authorized by the FDA to treat the virus. Just one drug, remdesivir, has gained full FDA approval as a treatment for COVID-19. (Becker's Hospital Review)

    Becker's asked physicians from top health systems which medications they're using most frequently to treat their COVID-19 patients, which they're avoiding and which have been most effective. 

    Editor's note: Responses were edited lightly for length and clarity. 

    Question: Which drugs are you using most frequently to treat your COVID-19 patients? 

    Sanjana Koshy, MD, infectious diseases physician at Mount Sinai (New York City): We recommend dexamethasone for all our hospitalized patients requiring supplemental oxygen. This was based on the RECOVERY trial that showed a survival benefit in patients on supplemental oxygen. We have increasingly used tocilizumab in combination with dexamethasone in our severely ill hospitalized patients with rapidly increasing oxygen requirements. We continue to use remdesivir for our hospitalized patients on low-flow oxygen. 

    See full article here

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  • 1 Sep 2021 6:53 PM | Anonymous
    Attribution for Critical Illness and Injury Final Report

    The Attribution for Critical Illness and Injury Final Report is now available on the project page. This report includes the Committee's recommendations on the key elements of attribution models for mass casualty incidents and public health emergencies.

    It identifies relevant quality measures and measure concepts and outlines use cases illustrating how attribution considerations would apply to various high-acuity emergency scenarios. This work supports the development of attribution approaches that encourage collaboration and strengthen accountability at the system level to achieve favorable outcomes during large-scale emergencies.

    View the report online here. 

    Download a copy of the report. 


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  • 30 Aug 2021 5:17 PM | Anonymous


    Over three-quarters of Illinois counties at 'warning' level for COVID-19 (Health News Illinois 8.30.2021)

    More than three-quarters of Illinois’ 102 counties in the “warning” level for increased COVID-19 activity fell slightly last week, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

    The 78 counties at the “warning” level are up from 64 counties the prior week.

    The department also announced Friday that nearly 78 percent of Illinois adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, 61 percent of Illinois adults are fully vaccinated, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

    About 76.2 percent of residents 12 and older have had at least one shot, and 59.1 percent are fully vaccinated.

    Illinois vaccinators have administered 13,914,213 doses of vaccine. The seven-day average of doses administered is 24,056.

    There were 25,636 new COVID-19 cases reported last week, a 3.9 percent increase from the prior week. There were 174 more deaths reported last week, a 38.1 percent increase from the prior week.

    The new cases bring the state’s total to 1,508,005 cases, while the death toll is 23,889.

    The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests is 5.2 percent. The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity rate is 5.7 percent.

    As of Thursday, 2,240 Illinoisans were in the hospital with COVID-19, up 240 from the prior week. Of those patients in the hospital on Thursday, 500 were in the ICU, up 32 from the prior week, and 253 patients were on ventilators, up 19.

    IDPH reported 3,482 cases of the B.1.617.2 variant, also known as the delta variant, as of Friday. Additionally, the department has started to report three delta sub-variants, AY.1, AY.2, and AY.3.

    The department reported:

    ·    Two cases of AY.1.

    ·    22 cases of AY. 2.

    ·    800 cases of AY.3.

    ·    7,059 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, also known as the alpha variant, which was discovered in England in November.

    ·    112 cases of the B.1.351 variant, also known as the beta variant, which was discovered in South Africa in October.

    ·    2,677 cases of the P.1. variant, also known as the gamma variant, which was discovered among travelers from Brazil after arriving in Japan in January.


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  • 27 Aug 2021 3:42 PM | Anonymous

    by Vinay Prasad, MD, MPH  

    Over the last week, the topic of COVID-19 booster shots -- a third dose of mRNA vaccine for healthy Americans -- has been thrust into the spotlight. The surgeon general, CDC director, Anthony Fauci, MD, and President Biden have announced that they wish for boosters to be available by late September for healthy adults who are 8 months out from their original two-dose series. While this will be contingent on an FDA evaluation to determine the "safety and effectiveness of the third dose," a clear path forward has already been set. And just like everything else throughout the course of the pandemic, the choice has been made with a dearth of data and an abundance of political pressure. (MedPage Today)

    Diminishing vaccine effectiveness supposedly makes the case for boosters. But there are two big questions here: First, what is current vaccine effectiveness? And second, what justifies boosters? Let's consider these in turn.

    What Is Vaccine Effectiveness Now?

    We have to be honest, many vaccine effectiveness studies are poorly done. All studies compare the rate of getting a breakthrough infection among vaccinated people against the rate of infection in unvaccinated people. But there are some issues with this approach. First, as time goes on, more unvaccinated people have had and recovered from COVID-19 (and these individuals may be less likely to go on to get a shot). This means that their risk of getting COVID-19 a second time is far less than the typical unvaccinated person who has never been sick. Even if vaccines "work" as well as before, this factor alone will result in the appearance of diminishing vaccine effectiveness. 

    Full article here

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  • 27 Aug 2021 3:33 PM | Anonymous

    A study published in Pediatric Dentistry  May 2021) details an overall decline in emergency department visits for pediatric patients seeking nontraumatic dental care since the Affordable Care Act was enacted, although these visits from children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds increased. ( 8.27.2021)

    Researchers examined nontraumatic dental care visits to emergency departments in the U.S. among people 20 years old and younger between 2010 and 2017 using data from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample, the largest all-payer emergency department database in the U.S.

    Results of the study show that nontraumatic emergency department visits decreased from 103.1 to 89.3 per 10,000 visits between 2010 and 2017. However, emergency department visits for nontraumatic dental care by pediatric Medicaid patients increased from 51 percent to 65.3 percent from 2010 to 2017. The odds of these visits were higher among uninsured patients and Medicaid enrollees ages 15-20 years old, but were lower among patients who lived in wealthier ZIP codes.

    The study concluded that these emergency department visits for nontraumatic dental care by pediatric patients decreased over time following implementation of the Affordable Care Act, but that emergency care continued to be utilized at higher rates for children of low socioeconomic status. 

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  • 26 Aug 2021 3:57 PM | Anonymous

    Is the current COVID-19 surge a "pandemic of the unvaccinated?" No, according to Rhea Boyd, MD, MPH, pediatrician and co-developer of the "The Conversation: Between Us, About Us" project to encourage more people of color to get vaccinated.

    "This is not a pandemic of the unvaccinated," Boyd said Wednesday at a virtual event sponsored by the Alliance for Health Policy. Instead, "what we really exposed during the vaccination distribution effort is just how unequal the United States is" when it comes to getting access to COVID-19 vaccines. She presented data from the New York Times and the Kaiser Family Foundation showing that vaccine distribution was worse in Southern states, which also are where more Black and Latinx people live (the conversation is a joint project of the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Black Coalition Against COVID).

    Full article here

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  • 25 Aug 2021 10:07 AM | Anonymous

    A top official at the World Health Organization said misinformation surrounding COVID-19 vaccines has gotten worse in recent weeks. Meanwhile, hospitals navigate vaccine hesitancy and attempt to halt the spread of incorrect medical information, according to an Aug. 24 CNBC report.

    (Becker's Health IT 8.25.2021)

    Six things to know:

      1. U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, declared COVID-19 misinformation a "serious public health threat" in July. Many public health leaders blame conspiracy theorists for enforcing so much distrust in the vaccines.

      2. Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD, infectious disease epidemiologist and technical lead on COVID-19 at the WHO, said Aug. 23 that misinformation has gotten worse in the last four weeks. "The amount of misinformation that is out there seems to be getting worse, and I think that's really confusing for the general public," she said

      3. A small number of medical professionals have enforced some vaccine misinformation on social media outlets, such as TikTok and Doximity.

      4. Doximity is a social media platform used by 80 percent of U.S. physicians and has 1.8 million users. CNBC reported that the platform is riddled with misinformation, though Doximity's CEO, Jeff Tangney, told CNBC that less than 0.1 percent of its members have posted medical misinformation. The CEO did say there was an uptick in comments that had to be removed because they violated community guidelines.

      5. The Federation of State Medical Boards warned July 29 that physicians and other healthcare professionals could be at risk of losing their medical licenses if they spread COVID-19 vaccine misinformation on social media, online and in the media.

      6. Several hospital employees have gone viral over TikToks they have posted spreading inaccurate medical data. A surgical technologist at Marietta, Ga.-based Wellstar Healthcare System is "no longer employed" with the health system after comparing vaccine mandates to the Holocaust, WSB-TV reported Aug. 22.

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  • 24 Aug 2021 12:25 PM | Anonymous

    Gov JB Pritzker took action last Friday(8.20.2021) on over two dozen healthcare-related bills. (Health News Illinois (8.24.2021)

    Among the plans signed into law include:

    ·    Requiring requires the Illinois Department of Public Health to establish anaphylaxis policies and procedures for school districts and daycare settings.

    ·    Requiring public high schools and institutions of higher education to add contact information for suicide prevention on school IDs.

    ·    Allowing, effective Jan. 1, 2022, allows for the discretionary early release of those medically incapacitated or terminally ill and serving time in an Illinois Department of Corrections facility.

    ·    Expanding the maximum number of birth center alternative healthcare models in Illinois to no more than 17.

    ·    Requiring that a written aftercare plan be provided to patients upon discharge from a Department of Human Service’s facility.

    ·    Requiring group health plans to cover colonoscopies that are determined to be medically necessary based on an initial screening.

    ·    Allowing nurses, physicians assistants and advanced practice nurses with active licenses to apply to serve as volunteer EMTs in rural communities.

    ·    Allowing temporary disability parking decals for expecting mothers in their third trimester.

    ·    Removing a provision that required the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to post the contracted claims report required by HealthChoice Illinois on its website every three months.

    ·    Establishing new caps on the total incentive for wellness coverage and new mandates for certified application counselors.

    ·    Adding e-cigarettes and other vapor devices as one of the educational areas in the state’s Comprehensive Health Education Program.

    ·    Adding one member representing local health departments, who is a non-voting member, to the Long-Term Care Facility Advisory Board, and making several changes to IDPH’s annual review and report concerning the complaint process.

    ·    Allowing individuals to bring civil actions against those who make false 911 calls.

    ·    Increasing the membership of the State Board of Pharmacy to 11 and modifying membership requirements.

    ·    Requiring IDPH to collect additional health and social determinants of health data for its annual survey.

    ·    Requiring IDPH to ensure medical examiner offices are included as part of medical facilities for the purposes of complying with and implementing associated sections of the federal Immigration and Nationality Act.

    ·    Requiring that any opioid prescription for a substance classified in Schedule II, III, IV or V of the Illinois Controlled Substance Act be sent electronically, in accordance with requirements of the Prescription Monitoring Program.

    ·    Expanding healthcare worker background checks to include Department of Corrections employees or third-party vendors.

    ·    Requiring hospitals to offer information on charity care options available to uninsured patients, regardless of their immigration status or residency.

    ·    Requiring HFS to designate one or more entities to be certified for telementoring services.

    ·    Allowing the issuance of healthcare worker decals by IDPH, with a portion of the revenue deposited into an Illinois Health Care Workers Benefit Fund.

    ·    Making birthing centers a permanent, licensed option for birth delivery.

    ·    Altering the Prescription Monitoring Program's alert system to be consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

    ·    Directing the University of Illinois Hospital to adopt policies to protect healthcare workers and patients from hazardous surgical smoke plume and to ensure the elimination of surgical smoke.

    ·    Requiring HFS to apply for all available federal funding to promote inclusion and integration for persons with disabilities.

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