COVID-19 Vaccine

J.&J. vaccine may be less effective against Delta, study suggests

A new study posted on the online preprint server bioRxiv reports the coronavirus vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson is less effective against the Delta and Lambda variants than against the original virus. The study has not yet been peer-reviewed nor published in a scientific journal. Dan Barouch, MD, PhD of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center suggested that the vaccine was only slightly less effective against the Delta variant than against the original virus and that antibodies stimulated by the vaccine grew in strength over eight months. Barouch also noted that if the researchers had looked at data over time, they would probably have seen a similar increase in the vaccine’s potency. (New York Times, July 20, 2021)

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Questions and answers on the COVID-19 vaccine

In an opinion piece for the Boston Globe, Mary LaSalvia, MD of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Kenneth Wener, MD of Lahey Hospital & Medical Center joined other Boston infectious disease experts to address the COVID-19 questions they received from patients who are hesitant to get the vaccine with the goal of informing people, promoting fact-based decision making, and helping people join the 600 million people in the world who have opted to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. (Boston Globe, July 19, 2021)

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Americans are flocking to Mexico. Should they be?

Mexico does not require quarantine or testing requirements for vacationers flying into the country, opening the door to unvaccinated travelers who might contract the virus in Mexico and bring it back home, or for any traveler to pass it on to a Mexican citizen. The CDC puts the threat level of the coronavirus in Mexico at Level 3 of 4, or “high,” and recommends travel only for those who are fully vaccinated. Lin Chen, MD of Mount Auburn Hospital suggests a destination should be in the 60 to 70 percent vaccination range before traveling there and advised even fully vaccinated travelers to wear face masks indoors, maintain social distancing and dine outdoors. (New York Times, July 16, 2021)

COVID-19 Vaccine

Doubling down on vaccinating minority communities

Despite efforts to reach hard-hit populations, communities of color are continuing to experience vaccination rates that are considerably less than the overall population. In this opinion piece, co-authored by Juan Fernando Lopera, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer of Beth Israel Lahey Health (BILH), the authors shared that BILH prioritized vaccination appointment scheduling outreach to patients who get their care at its community health centers and who live in 11 communities that were hardest hit by COVID. These initiatives targeted Latino and Black majority communities, including Chelsea, East Boston, Everett, Roxbury, Dorchester, and Holyoke. (Commonwealth Magazine, July 12, 2021)

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Hope for COVID-19 long haulers

Hospitals across the country are setting up programs to provide better treatment for people suffering from long-term symptoms of COVID-19. Jason Maley, MD and Joseph Zibrak, MD of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), spoke about BIDMC’s recently launched the Critical Illness and COVID-19 Survivorship Program that aims to integrate care among pulmonary, critical care, sleep medicine, psychiatry, cognitive neurology, neurology, geriatrics, social work, and physical and occupational therapy clinicians. (NBC Boston, July 12, 2021)

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Mass. doc still has ‘no hesitancy’ with J&J COVID-19 vaccine

Brian Hollenbeck, MD of New England Baptist Hospital, spoke about how Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare neurological condition, could be connected to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as there is a historic precedent of vaccines being related to this disease, but the risk versus benefit favors getting the vaccine. (WCVB, July 12, 2021)

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Developing a collaborative approach to post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection

In this Psychiatry Times feature by Elizabeth LaSalvia, MD of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), Jason Maley, MD of BIDMC and Matcheri Keshavan, MD of BIDMC, the authors examine the long-term mental health effects of COVID-19, with one in three COVID-19 survivors having persistent neurological and/or psychiatric issues. BIDMC has recently launched the Critical Illness and COVID-19 Survivorship Program that aims to integrate care among pulmonary, critical care, sleep medicine, psychiatry, cognitive neurology, neurology, geriatrics, social work, and physical and occupational therapy clinicians. (Psychiatry Times, July 7, 2021)

COVID-19 Vaccine

Dr. Ashish Jha, other public health officials on why your kids should get COVID-19 vaccine

In an effort to ease tensions about getting children vaccinated this summer, during a virtual town hall for the cities of Somerville, Cambridge, Chelsea, and Framingham, Treniece Lewis Harris, PhD of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center said that primary care doctors should have the training to listen to families about where they are coming from and to help educate them on the vaccine, and any other fears they may have. (Somerville Journal, July 7, 2021)

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Ask the doctors: Delta variant continues to spread

The Delta variant continues to spread and now makes up a quarter of all New England cases. Sharon Wright, MD, MPH of Beth Israel Lahey Health and other experts joined WBUR to answer questions on viruses, vaccines, and variants. (WBUR, July 6, 2021)

COVID-19 Vaccine

J&J coronavirus vaccine appears to protect against Delta variant

Johnson & Johnson announced that its COVID-19 vaccine "generated strong, persistent activity against the rapidly spreading Delta variant and other highly prevalent SARS-CoV-2 viral variants." The vaccine was developed in a collaboration between Johnson & Johnson and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), led by Dan Barouch, MD, PhD of BIDMC. (Boston Globe, July 1, 2021)