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What We're Reading: Access Concerns for New COVID-19 Boosters; Subcutaneous Vaccine Delivery Benefits; Poor Response to Data Breaches


Lack of state funding and understaffing are threatening the vaccination campaign for novel Omicron-specific booster shots; experts explore the differences between subcutaneous and intradermal delivery of monkeypox vaccines; HHS’ Office for Civil Rights is struggling to manage rising cases of cyberattacks on US health care organizations.

Fall Vaccination Campaign May Be Hampered by Lack of Booster Access

As the United States prepares to launch a campaign this fall aimed at distributing novel Omicron-specific booster shots, The New York Times is reporting that a lack of state funding and understaffed or eliminated local programs that previously delivered the shots may impede access for Americans. Weak demand for vaccines and better survival rates of COVID-19 were cited by some state health officials as reasoning behind the reduction in funding toward COVID-19 vaccine delivery efforts, and increased attention toward the monkeypox outbreak and childhood immunization deficits were also noteworthy.

Evaluating Differences Between Subcutaneous, Intradermal Vaccination

The Washington Post reviewed differences between subcutaneous and intradermal vaccine delivery, with the latter recently approved by the FDA as a dose-sparing approach that increases monkeypox vaccine supply. Allowing health care providers to use an existing 1-dose vial of the vaccine to administer a total of up to 5 separate doses intradermally, as opposed to subcutaneously, the approach was indicated to require considerable skill and training as it is rarely used for vaccinations. One key benefit of intradermal delivery is that it is absorbed much faster and may elicit a higher immune response, and therefore would require potentially less vaccine to achieve the same result as a subcutaneous vaccination.

Inadequate Response to Cyberattacks on US Health Care Organizations

Amid rising cases of cyberattacks among US health care organizations, POLITICO is reporting that HHS’ Office for Civil Rights, which is assigned to investigate breaches and help health systems bolster their defenses, is poorly positioned to help due to inadequate budgeting and understaffing. Lack of cooperation from affected organizations is also an issue as they may be reluctant to report data breaches because of potential Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act violations leading to fines from HHS that would compound onto costs stemming from the breach and the ransoms potentially demanded by the hackers. A total of 113 million people have been affected by health care data breaches of US health care organizations, with 53,000 cases expected to come in the 2022 fiscal year.

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