Kaiser Health News

Time to discuss the potentially unpleasant side effects of COVID shots? Scientists say yes.

Drugmaker Pfizer is expected to seek federal permission to release its COVID-19 vaccine by the end of November, a move that holds promise for quelling the pandemic, but also sets up a tight time frame for making sure consumers understand what it will mean to actually get the shots.This story also ran on NBC News. It can be republished for free.This vaccine, and likely most others, will require two doses to work, injections that must be given weeks apart, company protocols show. Scientists anticipate the shots will cause enervating flu-like side effects — including sore arms, muscle aches and f...

‘It’s science, stupid’: A school subject emerges as a hot-button political issue

At the top of Dr. Hiral Tipirneni’s to-do list if she wins her congressional race: work with other elected officials to encourage mask mandates and to beef up COVID-19 testing and contact tracing. Those choices are backed up by science, said Tipirneni, an emergency room physician running for Arizona’s 6th Congressional District.On the campaign trail, she has called on her opponent, Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), to denounce President Donald Trump’s gathering of thousands for a rally in Arizona and his comments about slowing down COVID-19 testing.“I believe in data; I believe in facts,” Tipir...

A Little Good News and Some Bad on COVID-19

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud.For the first time in a long time, there is some good news about the coronavirus pandemic: Although cases continue to climb, fewer people seem to be dying. And there are fewer cases than expected among younger pupils in schools with in-person learning. But the bad news continues as well — including a push for “herd immunity” that could result in the deaths of millions of Americans.Meanwhile, the Trump administration is doubling down on efforts to allow states to require certain people with low incomes to prove they work, go to scho...

‘All you want is to be believed’: The impacts of unconscious bias in health care

In mid-March, Karla Monterroso flew home to Alameda, California, after a hiking trip in Utah’s Zion National Park. Four days later, she began to develop a bad, dry cough. Her lungs felt sticky.The fevers that persisted for the next nine weeks grew so high — 100.4, 101.2, 101.7, 102.3 — that, on the worst night, she was in the shower on all fours, ice-cold water running down her back, willing her temperature to go down.“That night I had written down in a journal, letters to everyone I’m close to, the things I wanted them to know in case I died,” she remembered.Then, in the second month, came a ...

5 Things to Know About a COVID Vaccine: It Won’t Be a ‘Magic Wand’

President Donald Trump makes no secret he would like a COVID-19 vaccine to be available before the election. But it’s doubtful that will happen and, even after a vaccine wins FDA approval, there would be a long wait before it’s time to declare victory over the virus.Dozens of vaccine candidates are in various testing stages around the world, with 11 in the last stage of preapproval clinical trials — including four in the U.S. One or more may prove safe and effective and enter the market in the coming months. What then?Here are five things to consider in making vaccine dreams come true.1. A vac...

Trump’s COVID program for uninsured people: It exists, but falls short

In a wide-ranging executive order, President Donald Trump this month outlined some of the efforts he has made to affect health care since taking office.One involved uninsured people and the current pandemic. The administration, Trump said, set up a program to provide them “access to necessary COVID-19-related testing and treatment.”Did it?We asked the White House for more specifics about the program Trump mentioned but did not get a reply.Nonetheless, experts said he is likely referring to reimbursement assistance to help pay the COVID testing and treatment costs of uninsured patients availabl...

Signs of an ‘October Vaccine Surprise’ Alarm Career Scientists

President Donald Trump, who seems intent on announcing a COVID-19 vaccine before Election Day, could legally authorize a vaccine over the objections of experts, officials at the Food and Drug Administration and even vaccine manufacturers, who have pledged not to release any vaccine unless it’s proved safe and effective.In podcasts, public forums, social media and medical journals, a growing number of prominent health leaders say they fear that Trump — who has repeatedly signaled his desire for the swift approval of a vaccine and his displeasure with perceived delays at the FDA — will take matt...

VA Clears Air on Talking to Patients About Medical Marijuana Use

VA Clears The Air On Talking To Patients About Marijuana Use

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” is how many veterans have approached health care conversations about marijuana use with the doctors they see from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Worried that owning up ...

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Pharmacists Slow to Dispense Lifesaving Overdose Reversal Drug

This article originally appeared on Kaiser Health News.

Gale Dunham, a pharmacist in Calistoga, Calif., knows the devastation the opioid epidemic has wrought, and she is glad the anti-overdose drug naloxone is becoming more accessible.

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