COVID-19 Vaccine

Beth Israel Boston doctor involved in J&J development breaks down booster news

According to data released by the company, people who receive a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine booster shot are better protected against the coronavirus for a longer period of time. Dan Barouch, MD, PhD of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center who helped develop the single-shot vaccine but was not involved in this study, said these new data show that a second shot of the vaccine results in substantially increased protective efficacy both in the United States and globally. (WCVB, September 21, 2021)

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Johnson & Johnson says COVID-19 booster dose dramatically increases protection

According to data released by the company, people who receive a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine booster shot are better protected against the coronavirus for a longer period of time. Dan Barouch, MD, PhD of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, who helped develop the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine but was not involved in this study, said these new data show that a second shot of the vaccine results in substantially increased protective efficacy both in the United States and globally. (Boston Globe, September 21, 2021)

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Secrets and stigma lead to record number of opioid overdose deaths

In an opinion piece for the Boston Globe, Ian Halim, MD and Kevin Hill, MD of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in observance of National Recovery Month, the authors discuss how amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the opioid epidemic continues and how it is critical for society to recognize the crisis, understand how secrets and stigma allow it to grow, and how important it is to marshal resources to continue to battle opioid addiction. (Boston Globe, September 20, 2021)

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American Samoa, one of the last places without coronavirus, has first infection

American Samoa reported its first coronavirus case, 18 months into the pandemic, after a traveler tested positive after flying to the U.S. territory from Hawaii. Lin Chen, MD of Mount Auburn Hospital said the positive report in American Samoa shows that protocols like testing and quarantine upon arrival can pick up positive cases, even if tests before departure were negative. (Washington Post, September 19, 2021)

COVID-19 Vaccine

How COVID-19 hybrid immunity could be a potential pandemic game-changer

Researchers are pointing to preliminary data suggesting that mixing different vaccines could offer an even stronger immune boost than booster shots. But timing is key, whichever vaccine is given. Researchers say that exact right interval when immune response has matured – but before protection begins to wane – is the ideal target. Dan Barouch, MD, PhD of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center said our immune system is built to have repeated exposures to the same antigen, which will substantially enhance immune protection. (ABC News, September 17, 2021)

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Psychotherapy after the pandemic will likely be a hybrid — part office, part telemedicine

The pandemic is sparking new approaches to patient care that promise to revamp the field – including teletherapy. John Torous, MD of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center warns that mental health apps can be worrisome as they have not been thoroughly investigated through clinical science or overseen through regulatory control and do not respect the privacy of personal health information. (Philadelphia Inquirer, September 17, 2021)

COVID-19 Vaccine

FDA staff declines to take stance on Pfizer’s Covid vaccine booster shots, citing lack of verified data

The FDA staff declined to take a stance on whether to back booster shots of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine, saying U.S. regulators haven’t verified all the available data. Dan Barouch, MD, PhD of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center said there is currently not a consensus in the biomedical community on boosters for the general public and with experts on both sides of the debate, it’ll be interesting to see where the debate goes. (CNBC, September 15, 2021)

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Coronavirus was top cause of law enforcement deaths in first six months of 2021, report says

A spokesperson for the city of Cambridge discussed how police officers in the city are not required to be vaccinated, yet the city has had strong vaccination rates. In part, thanks to an officer who also serves as a part-time nurse at Mount Auburn Hospital and was an instrumental internal resource in the early stages making himself available to address any questions and concerns. (Boston Globe, September 14, 2021)

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Industry Sounds Alarm on “Mental Health Crisis”

Behavioral health practitioners and advocates are proposing two bills as part of the solutions to challenges facing their field, and patients seeking care. Patrick Aquino, MD of Beth Israel Lahey Health Behavioral Services said Massachusetts is grappling with an acute shortage of psychiatrists at the same time that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought on an ever-increasing need for mental health treatment. (State House News via WBUR, September 14, 2021)