The data problem underlying booster shot confusion

Why has the booster shot decision-making process been so confusing? Why don’t the experts agree on whether booster shots are necessary, or on who should get these extra shots? From my (data journalist’s) perspective, the booster shot confusion largely stems from a lack of data on breakthrough cases.

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Vaccine requirements are the next big strategy

After vaccine incentives largely failed to drive up vaccination numbers, government agencies and corporations alike are now opting for requirements. Hundreds of thousands of Americans learned this week that, in order to keep their jobs, they need to get their shots—or go through a more arduous process like weekly COVID-19 testing.

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COVID source callout: Vaccine incentives

In the June 6 issue, one of our featured sources was a page from the federal government’s vaccine.gov site, providing an extensive list of rewards for Americans who got their shots—ranging from free Krispy Kreme donuts to a United Airlines sweepstakes. Now, however, that same page only offers a small list of support options for Americans who may need assistance in making their appointments. These include childcare support and free rides from Uber and Lyft; still valuable information, but a huge change from the previous page.

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The US missed Biden’s July 4 goal: How did your community do?

The U.S. missed President Biden’s big vaccination goal: 70% of adults vaccinated with at least one dose by July 4. As of July 3, we are at 67% of adults with one dose, and 58% fully vaccinated. But rates vary widely by state and county: There are over 1,000 counties in the U.S. with one-dose vaccination rates under 30%, CDC Director Dr. Walensky said at a press briefing last week.

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Lessons for COVID-19 from the HIV/AIDS pandemic

This is the last week of Pride Month for 2021, and it’s also officially Pride weekend in NYC, where I live. So, it felt appropriate for me to take this issue to highlight a couple of lessons that the U.S. response to COVID-19 has taken from our response to another pandemic—one that is still ongoing.

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The data behind the CDC’s new mask guidance

This past Thursday, the CDC announced that, if you are fully vaccinated, the pandemic is basically over for you. This post goes over the CDC’s evidence for its guidance, taking the epidemiological perspective. Also, as two-thirds of Americans aren’t yet fully vaccinated, I’ll touch on another COVID-19 truism that has garnered some confusion lately: yes, you are significantly safer outside than you are inside.

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