Nursing news graphic

US Vaccine Rates Increase and AstraZeneca Vaccine Causes Concerns

This week in Clipboard Health’s Nursing News round up … 

US COVID-19 Deaths Decline, Daily Vaccine Rates Increase

For the ninth straight week, COVID-19 numbers fell in the United States. Deaths declined 22%, dropping below 10,000 for the first time since the middle of November. New cases fell 10% to around 378,000 new cases. However, nineteen states reported more new infections last week compared to the week before; last week, there were only thirteen states that reported such numbers.

The US vaccination rates have now reached 2.4 million doses per day. In total, the US has administered over 109 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

Officials urge the public to continue following CDC guidelines to prevent infection, even as the number of people traveling via air reached the highest level it’s been since the pandemic began.

However, even as US numbers continue to decrease, the World Health Organization reported that it has seen an 11% increase in new COVID-19 cases worldwide.

AstraZeneca Vaccine Concerns Stir Suspensions, Controversy

After reports of serious side effects from the AstraZeneca vaccine, Germany, Italy, and France suspended the use of the vaccine indefinitely. Other countries, including Denmark, Norway, iceland, Bulgaria, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Spain, have also announced temporary or indefinite suspensions. 

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization is currently reviewing the reports of the side effects, but the organization said it would be unlikely to change its recommendations to continue using the vaccine. Additionally, AstraZeneca reviewed its safety data and said that according to the data, receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine did not increase the risk of blood clots.

The controversy comes after a Danish woman died from a blood clot after she was given a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and three people in Norway reported “unusual symptoms.”

The United States may authorize the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine sometime in April according to a US official. 

Mid-Stage Trial of Alzheimer’s Drug Shows Promise

Eli Lilly and Co reported that results from its mid-stage drug trial for donanemab, its experimental drug to treat Alzheimer’s, slowed cognitive decline by about 32% in patients studied. 

The antibody medication works by removing plaque found on the brain that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Patients most likely to benefit from the drug had lower levels of plaque.

The mid-stage trial involved 272 patients studied over the course of 18 months. The next trial will include 500 patients. 

Medical Studies Round-Up

Here’s a brief round-up of recent medical studies and their findings for you to stay up-to-date with the ever-evolving field of medical research.

  • A study analysis found that using beta-blockers was not likely a cause for depression in patients; however, the medications could contribute to sleep disorders, like insomnia. 
  • As a result of a study looking at the rate of how many twins are born worldwide, scientists say that the world has reached “peak twins,” where the rate of twins being born is likely at an all-time high. The high rate is attributed to the use of assisted reproduction techniques, such as in vitro fertilization.
  • Drinking tea may help lower blood pressure, which could lead scientists to develop more effective high blood pressure medication. 

COVID-19 in the News

To learn more about the top COVID-19 vaccines, vaccination timelines, potential requirements for health care professionals and facilities, and more, check out our COVID-19 Vaccine Information hub.

Here’s some more of the most recent news from the past week concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • US President Joe Biden encouraged all states to make the COVID-19 vaccine available for all adults by May 1.
  • Moderna begins testing on the next generation of its COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The top scientist of the World Health Organization said that many new COVID-19 vaccines will be available later this year or early next year. Some will use alternative routes of injection instead of needles and could be stored at room temperature instead of in fridges or freezers.