When vaccines don’t work

Blood cancer survivors. Organ transplant recipients. Cancer patients on certain drugs. Patients with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. People over 80. These are all populations that may not mount an immune response to COVID-19 after being vaccinated. According to The New York Times, numerous studies show that vaccines may be less effective in people who are immunocompromised. Some clinicians suggest routinely measuring antibody response in people who have not produced protective antibodies and may be candidates for monoclonal antibodies treatment or a third vaccine dose.

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Getting the vax facts straight

As Michael S. Kinch, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics, writes for Technology Networks,  “If there are fewer infected people, the number of mutations (and variants) will proportionately decrease.” While some experts say we are near reaching herd immunity, Kinch argues between lack of immune response in some individuals and others who choose not to be vaccinated, reaching 80% immunization will be challenging. He calls on readers to arm themselves with the facts and have “honest and construction conversations with those who are hesitant or opposed to vaccination.”

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Testing is here to stay

Until the majority of the population is vaccinated, we’ll need regular testing – but the way we test, and who we test, may look different. One area of continued need: schools. “Testing builds confidence and comfort in going back to school,” Mara Aspinall, an advisor to the Rockefeller Foundation, told Slate.

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