This ‘pro-vax’ campaign encourages vaccine-supporting Americans to do more to fight anti-vaxxers

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In a moment when we’re about to need everyone to get vaccinated, the campaign asks the vast majority of vaccine-supporting Americans to get more vocal. The vast majority of Americans think that vaccines are a good idea—but the small (but growing) anti-vax movement is far more vocal. A new advocacy campaign is designed to mobilize the majority to speak out to help fight misinformation, at a time when the end of the current pandemic will hinge in part on the public’s willingness to be vaccinated. Read Full Story

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The U.S. is not vaccinating nearly enough people yet to make an impact on the pandemic

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America is administering vaccines at a rate of one million a week—far too slow to reach herd immunity by summer. Operation Warp Speed is sputtering. Under the Trump administration’s vaccination roll out, the goal was to have 20 million Americans receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of December–a critical step in not only inoculating the most vulnerable, but also eventually achieving herd immunity in the country (it is estimated that between 80-90% of Americans would need to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity). Read Full Story

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Bill Gates says he’s ‘not optimistic’ COVID-19 vaccines will successfully complete trials before end of the year

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“There’s no case where we get much below the current death rate, which is about 500 deaths a day, but there’s a significant risk we go back up to the even 2,000 a day.” COVID-19 vaccine trials are well under way, but Bill Gates is not optimistic that phase III of these trials, which measures the efficacy and safety of a vaccine in a wide group of users, will be successful before the end of the year. Read Full Story

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How big a factor should racial equity be in deciding how to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine?

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Minority groups have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus. Should they be prioritized when we’re distributing the vaccine? As Oxford University’s vaccine entered its final trial phase, and experts noted that the vaccine could appear before the end of the year, the chair of the U.K.’s COVID-19 task force, Kate Bingham, appeared on a national morning show last week to announce preliminary recommendations from the country’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. She announced that the independent group had recommended to the government to prioritize four groups for a vaccine: people over 50, people with additional health conditions, front-line workers—and ethnic minorities. Read Full Story

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Ending the pandemic will require big pharma to put ethics before profits

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To stop the virus will require everyone getting a vaccine, no matter the cost. As COVID-19 surges in the United States and worldwide, even the richest and best-insured Americans understand, possibly for the first time, what it’s like not to have the medicines they need to survive if they get sick. There is no coronavirus vaccine, and the best-known treatment, remdesivir, only reduces hospital recovery time by 30% and only for patients with certain forms of the disease. Read Full Story

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How many people need to be vaccinated before COVID-19 transmission starts to drop?

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Experts say at least 50% of the U.S. likely needs to be vaccinated before the infection rate starts to change. But there are more complicated factors to consider. As with the many other questions that still remain about the coronavirus, no one is precisely sure of the answer to one of the key questions: how many people will need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity—the threshold at which there are enough people immunized that it indirectly protects the rest of the yet-unvaccinated public—and fully end the pandemic. In December, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci estimated that the cutoff was at least 75%, and closer to 85% . Read Full Story

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