Sources and updates, July 31

  • KFF poll shows low vaccine uptake for young kids: This week, the Kaiser Family Foundation released an update from their COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor, an ongoing project tracking U.S. attitudes towards vaccines. This latest update focuses on children under age five, and the results are worrying: about 43% of parents with kids in this age group say they will “definitely not” get their child vaccinated, citing concerns about vaccine safety. Conservative parents and those who are unvaccinated themselves were particularly likely to be against vaccinating their young kids, KFF found.
  • Vaccine side effects less common for second boosters: A new CDC study, published in this week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, tracked reactions to COVID-19 boosters among Americans over age 50 using CDC monitoring systems. Among over 200,000 people who received third and fourth doses from the same vaccine manufacturer, side effects like a sore arm and fatigue were less common after the fourth dose compared to the third dose. Still, uptake for second boosters has been slow and potentially inequitable; the CDC recently published data on second boosters by race/ethnicity, showing that white Americans over age 50 are more likely to get this extra protection than non-white people in this age group.
  • White House summit on next-generation COVID-19 vaccines: And one more piece of vaccine news for this week: the White House brought together federal officials, scientists, and pharmaceutical executives for a summit discussing next-generation COVID-19 vaccines. The summit highlighted vaccine candidates designed to work against many potential coronavirus variants, as well as those that would be delivered through the nose—potentially producing more protection against coronavirus infection and transmission. Either option would require a lot of funding from a Congress that has been hesitant to support COVID-19 efforts.
  • States are letting health emergency declarations expire: While the federal declaration of COVID-19 as a public health emergency will remain in place at least through this fall, many states have let their declarations expire in recent months. These expirations impact the resources states are able to allocate for tracking and responding to COVID-19—ranging from data collection to telehealth access. The ending emergencies are certainly contributing to less frequent COVID-19 data updates in many states.
  • New studies on COVID-19’s origins: Two major studies have conclusively linked the coronavirus’ early spread to the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, China. These studies, both published in Science, were produced by an international group of virologists and evolutionary biologists at the Scripps Research Institute, the University of Arizona, the University of Sydney, the University of Edinburgh, and many other institutions. The experts traced early cases in the seafood market, finding evidence of spillover from animals to humans. The precise origins of COVID-19 are still unknown, but these studies go a long way in demonstrating early spread tied to animals, not a lab leak.

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