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Mass. doctor on improving COVID-19 picture

Sharon Wright, MD, MPH, of Beth Israel Lahey Health, discussed that while vaccination rates continue to increase in Massachusetts and across the U.S. and the number of new COVID cases and hospitalizations is declining, there is concern that transmission rates might increase as colder weather approaches. (WCVB, October 4, 2021)

COVID-19 Vaccine

Johnson & Johnson to seek F.D.A. authorization for booster shot

Johnson & Johnson is planning to ask federal regulators early this week to authorize a booster shot of its coronavirus vaccine. Last month, the company announced that a second dose, given two months after the first, increased the vaccine’s effectiveness against symptomatic COVID-19 by about 22 percentage points, to 94 percent. Dan Barouch, MD, PhD of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, said the data show that there is a dramatic increase in efficacy when the boost is given at two months and could potentially be even better when given later. (New York Times, October 4, 2021)

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‘A crisis on top of the crisis’: Pandemic has worsened burnout among health care workers, hospital leaders say

During Day 2 of the inaugural Globe Summit, a virtual symposium focused on the region’s future, the presidents of three Boston hospital systems, including Kevin Tabb, MD, President & CEO of Beth Israel Lahey Health, discussed how the pandemic has both shone a light on and worsened the healthcare industry’s struggles with burnout and workforce shortages. (Boston Globe, September 23, 2021)

Masked doctor

Inaugural Globe Summit convenes top thinkers

The inaugural Globe Summit — The Boston Globe’s festival of national thinkers, speakers, and local leaders in business, health, and technology — tackles some of the most pressing issues of our time: a world ravaged by a pandemic. A planet threatened by climate change. Inequalities laid bare. The three-day virtual gathering kicks off today and is free to attend. Kevin Tabb, MD, CEO of Beth Israel Lahey Health, is among the local leaders participating in the sessions. (Boston Globe, September 21, 2021)

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)

Masked doctor

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)