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COVID-19: Long COVID-19 Disparities, Youth Immunization Study

While Black and Hispanic Americans experience more symptoms and health challenges related to long COVID-19, a prolonged illness that develops after COVID-19, compared with white Americans, they are not as likely to be diagnosed with the condition, according to two studies by National Institutes of Health’s Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery Initiative.

Despite this, Black and Hispanic patients are disproportionately hospitalized due to the virus. Of the 13,106 hospitalized adults reviewed in one survey who had severe COVID-19, one in four were Black adults and one in four were Hispanic adults, while just one in seven were white adults.

Among patients with mild to moderate cases who were not hospitalized, Black adults were more likely to experience blood clots in their lungs, chest pain, joint pain, anemia, or malnourishment, and Hispanic adults were more likely to have dementia, headaches, anemia, chest pain, and diabetes, compared with white adults.

Additionally, in the months following infection, Black adults with severe disease faced a higher chance of being diagnosed with diabetes and experiencing headaches, chest pain, and joint pain, while Hispanic adults who required hospital care were more likely than white adults to have headaches, shortness of breath, joint paint, and chest pain.

“Further research is needed to better understand the mechanisms for these differences in symptoms and access to care, and also if diagnostic codes assigned by clinicians may play a role,” says Mitchell Elkind, MD, professor of neurology and epidemiology at Columbia University and chief clinical science officer for the American Heart Association.

CDC Urges Primary Series Vaccination for Children

A study published Feb. 10 in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that monovalent Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 primary series vaccination provides clear protection for children aged 3–5 and 3–4 years, respectively, against COVID-19 for at least the first four months after vaccination.

Monovalent mRNA vaccine effectiveness against infection was evaluated using the CDC’s Increasing Community Access to Testing (ICATT) program, which provides SARS-CoV-2 testing to persons aged over 3 years old at pharmacy and community-based testing sites nationwide.

To ensure maximum protection, the agency urges that children remain up to date with recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including completing the primary series.

In a Feb. 15 statement, Moderna stated that the company’s COVID-19 vaccines will remain available at no cost for insured people when the COVID-19 public health emergency ends on May 11. The statement also noted that Moderna’s patient assistance program will provide COVID-19 vaccines at no cost for those who are uninsured.

HHS and DOD Modify Extend Agreement with Novavax

Novavax, Inc has modified its existing agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense to deliver an additional 1.5 million doses of the Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine, Adjuvanted.

The agreement will support the development of smaller dose vials and allow a greater variety of strain selection, in line with U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommendations.

The vaccine was first authorized in July 2022.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the pandemic.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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