Category: Health Equity

Robin Hauser, a pediatrician in Tampa, Fla., got covid in February. What separates her from the vast majority of the tens of millions of other Americans who have come down with the virus is this: She got sick seven weeks after her second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

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“I was shocked,” said Hauser. “I thought: ‘What the heck? How did that happen?’ I now tell everyone, including my colleagues, not to let their guard down after the vaccine.”

As more Americans every day are inoculated, a tiny but growing number are contending with the disturbing experience of getting covid despite having had one shot, or even two.

In data released Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that at least 5,800 people had fallen ill or tested positive for the coronavirus two weeks or more after they completed both … Read the rest

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California Healthline correspondent Rachel Bluth unpacked California’s newly expanded vaccine eligibility rules and the state’s vaccine appointment website on KALW’s “Your Call” on Thursday.

California Healthline correspondent Angela Hart discussed California cities’ experiment with city-managed homeless camps on KQED’s “Forum” on Thursday.

Midwest editor and correspondent Laura Ungar joined a covid-19 reporter’s roundtable on Illinois Public Media’s “The 21st Show” on Wednesday. Ungar also discussed gender-based vaccine disparities with KCBS on Tuesday.

Digital producer Hannah Norman discussed over-the-counter rapid tests with Newsy’s “Morning Rush” … Read the rest

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More than 120 million Americans have joined arguably the most sought-after club on Earth: those immunized against the coronavirus. Fully vaccinated people were given the green light in March by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to gather with other fully vaccinated people or with low-risk unvaccinated people from one other household without a mask and, earlier this month, to travel without quarantining afterward. (As reports of state and local case surges mount, the CDC is increasingly urging caution.)


This story also ran on PolitiFact. It can be republished for free.

But what about all the people — a number impossible to count, though estimated to be in the millions — who now possess some degree of immunity because they recovered from covid-19?

The agency recommends that everyone — vaccinated, recovered or otherwise — wear a mask in public.

There is no mention of whether people who … Read the rest

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Chuck Peterson of Omaha, Nebraska, recently experienced a swollen, painful knuckle caused by arthritis. He got a prescription for colchicine.

Doctors have used the drug for treating gout and other rheumatic conditions for well over two centuries.

When Peterson went to the pharmacy, he was shocked to discover that a two-month supply of 120 pills, distributed by Par Pharmaceutical, would cost him $225 out-of-pocket on his Medicare Part D drug plan. Taking it for an additional three months, as his rheumatologist wanted him to do, would cost him nearly $600 under his drug plan.

A dozen years ago, the drug cost about a dime per pill.

“My reaction was ‘goodness gracious,’ or maybe something I couldn’t say in polite company,” he said.

The startling price hike was precipitated by a well-intentioned federal government program, called the Unapproved Drugs Initiative, that created unforeseen consequences. It was supposed to protect … Read the rest

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Many who know me might be shocked by this: I shot my first pistol when I was 8 or 9, taught by my father, a physician, aiming at targets in our basement. At summer camp, I loved riflery the way some kids loved art. Staring through the sight, down the barrel, I proved an excellent shot, gathering ever more advanced medals from the National Rifle Association. As a reward, for my 13th birthday, my uncle gave me a .22 Remington rifle.


This story also ran on The Washington Post. It can be republished for free.

I did not grow up on a farm or in a dangerous place where we needed protection. I grew up in the well-off, leafy suburb of Scarsdale, N.Y.

When I entered high school in the 1970s, I joined the riflery team and often slung my cased gun over my shoulder on my mile-long walk … Read the rest

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In early 2013, Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Orange County, California, joined with St. Joseph Health, a local Catholic hospital chain, amid enthusiastic promises that their affiliation would broaden access to care and improve the health of residents across the community.


This story also ran on U.S. News & World Report. It can be republished for free.

Eight years later, Hoag says this vision of achieving “population health” is dead, and it wants out. It is embroiled in a legal battle for independence from Providence, a Catholic health system with 51 hospitals across seven states, which absorbed St. Joseph in 2016, bringing Hoag along with it.

In a lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court last May, Hoag argues that remaining a “captive affiliate” of the nation’s 10th-largest health system, headquartered nearly 1,200 miles away in Washington state, constrains its ability to meet the needs of the local … Read the rest

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This story also ran on USA Today. It can be republished for free.

Mary Ann Steiner drove 2½ hours from her home in the St. Louis suburb of University City to the tiny Ozark town of Centerville, Missouri, to get vaccinated against covid-19. After pulling into the drive-thru line in a church parking lot, she noticed that the others waiting for shots had something in common with her.

“Everyone in the very short line was a woman,” said Steiner, 70.

Her observation reflects a national reality: More women than men are getting covid vaccines, even as more men are dying of the disease. KHN examined vaccination dashboards for all 50 states and the District of Columbia in early April and found that each of the 38 that listed gender breakdowns showed more women had received shots than men.

Public health experts cited many reasons for the difference, including that … Read the rest

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This story also ran on The Guardian. It can be republished for free.

The daughter of an internist in the Bronx, the father of a nurse practitioner in Southern California and the son of a nurse in McAllen, Texas, share how grief over their loved ones’ deaths from covid-19 has affected them.

These health care workers were profiled in KHN and The Guardian’s yearlong “Lost on the Frontline” project.

Dr. Reza Chowdhury was a beloved internist with a private practice in the Bronx and a trusted voice in New York’s Bengali community. His daughter, Nikita Rahman, said that despite underlying health issues putting him at higher risk of developing covid complications, he saw patients through mid-March last year, when he developed symptoms. He died on April 9, 2020.

Nikita Rahman, Reza Chowdhury’s daughter:

My therapist says grief is the final act of love. Every time I miss … Read the rest

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Senior KHN correspondent Christina Jewett spoke on Thursday with NPR’s “Morning Edition” and the PBS NewsHour about the yearlong project, “Lost on the Frontline,” in which KHN and The Guardian counted and profiled health care workers who have died of covid-19.

Midwest correspondent Lauren Weber joined WAMU’s “1A” to discuss vaccination rates on April 2.

Colorado correspondent Rae Ellen Bichell spoke with KUNC’s “Colorado Edition” about Durango’s covid cowboys enforcing mask mandates on April 1.

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Health care makes some surprising appearances in President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan, even though more health proposals are expected in a second proposal later this month. The bill that would help rebuild roads, bridges and broadband capabilities also includes $400 billion to help pay for home and community-based care and boost the wages of those who do that very taxing work. An additional $50 billion is earmarked for replacing water service lines that still contain lead, an ongoing health hazard.

Meanwhile, more than half a million people have signed up for health insurance under the new open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act — and that was before the expanded subsidies passed by Congress in March were incorporated into the federal ACA website, healthcare.gov.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KHN, Joanne Kenen of Politico, … Read the rest

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