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News Scan for May 14, 2021

Four countries report more vaccine-derived polio cases

Four African countries—Benin, Burkina Faso, Liberia, and Yemen—reported new polio cases this week, all involving vaccine-derived strains, according to the latest weekly update from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

Three of the four countries reported circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2). Benin reported one case from Northern province, marking its first of 2021. So far, all of its cases are linked to Nigeria’s Jigawa outbreak. Burkina Faso also reported one more case, which involves a patient from Bobo and is counted in the country’s 2020 total, now at 62. The country is experiencing different outbreaks, including ones linked to events in Nigeria and Toto. Also, Liberia reported a cVDPV2 case from Bong county, its second so far.

Meanwhile, Yemen reported a circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 1 (cVDPV1) case, which affected a patient from Saadah, bringing the total so far this year to two.
May 13 GPEI update


Call for ideas for safe campus reopening amid COVID nets 82 solutions

A crowdsourcing appeal for creative solutions for safely reopening the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill amid the COVID-19 pandemic in fall 2020 netted 82 submissions from 110 students, faculty, and staff, according to a qualitative study today in JAMA Network Open.

The findings, the researchers say, suggest that open calls can help college administrators understand university stakeholders’ prospectives and find ways to safely conduct campus activities during the pandemic.

The open call, conducted from Jun 16 to Jul 16, 2020, was promoted through email and social media, and submissions were collected online. The researchers assessed the submissions for innovation, feasibility, inclusivity, and potential to help ensure campus safety and well-being and shared the results with university leaders to inform decision making.

Submissions came from students (68%), people younger than 30 years (82%), women (67%), and racial minorities (60%) and identified physical health concerns, the challenges of remote learning, structural racism and inequality, and a lack of mental health services and sufficient public transport as important issues. The solutions included new ways to promote mental health among populations such as graduate students and racial minorities, address health inequities, and improve access to transportation.

Seven contributors were named finalists and given cash prizes to put toward development and implementation of their ideas, while 17 runner-up teams were referred to university resources to further develop their ideas. All 24 finalists and runners-up said they wanted to implement their plans.

“These findings suggest that open calls are a feasible strategy for engaging a university community during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the authors wrote. “Research is needed to identify which of the submitted interventions would be most acceptable and effective to implement.”
May 14 JAMA Netw Open study


Prepandemic, Americans were vaccinated at suboptimal levels

A new study published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report shows that even before COVID-19, most American adults were vaccinated at suboptimal levels, though rates did increase overall between 2010 and 2018.

The study was based on results from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), a continuous, cross-sectional national household survey of Americans. Adult receipt of influenza, pneumococcal, herpes zoster, tetanus and diphtheria (TD)/tetanus diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap), hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and at least one dose of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines was assessed, the authors said.

“Few adults aged ≥19 years had received all age-appropriate vaccines, including influenza vaccination, regardless of whether inclusion of Tdap (13.5%) or inclusion of any tetanus toxoid–containing vaccine (20.2%) receipt was measured,” the authors wrote.

Non-white Hispanics and Black Americans consistently had lower vaccination rates than White peers. Those with lower incomes were less likely to report routine vaccination than those in high socioeconomic statuses.

The emergence of COVID-19 vaccines offers adults a good opportunity to play catch-up with routine immunizations, the authors said. At the time of COVDI-19 vaccination, “…All vaccines due or overdue should be administered according to the recommended CDC immunization schedules during that visit, unless a specific contraindication exists, to provide protection as soon as possible and minimize the number of health care visits needed to complete vaccination,” the authors conclude.”
May 14 MMWR study

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