What We're Reading: AstraZeneca Vaccine 79% Effective; Parents of Remote Students More Stressed; UK Variant Prominent in US

March 22, 2021
AJMC Staff

A US trial finds AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine to be 79% effective in preventing the virus; parents of children enrolled in virtual school are more likely to report negative physical, mental, and emotional health; Anthony Fauci, MD, says the UK COVID-19 variant is likely tied to 30% of US infections.

AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine 79% Effective With No Safety Issues

As reported by the Associated Press, the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by AstraZeneca (AZ) and the University of Oxford was shown in a US clinical trial to be 79% effective in preventing the virus, with no safety concerns found amid recent unproven links to blood clots in Europe. In findings announced today, the trial also found that the vaccine provided similar efficacy across all groups, particularly at-risk older adults over the age of 65. The executive vice president of AZ, Ruud Dobber, said the company will apply for emergency use authorization in the United States in the first half of April. Pending FDA approval, AZ will deliver 30 million doses immediately and another 20 million in the first month if approved.

Parents With Kids in Virtual School More Likely to Be Stressed, Use Drugs

According to a study published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, parents of children enrolled in virtual school during the pandemic were shown to be more likely to report negative physical, mental, and emotional health compared with parents of kids not in virtual school. Reported by CNBC, those with children in virtual school were indicated to be more likely to be stressed (54% vs 38.4%), use drugs and alcohol (16.4% vs 13.7%), and have trouble sleeping at night (21.6% vs 12.9%). Virtual learning also exhibited a negative impact on students, as parents reported that 62.9% of kids are getting less exercise and 58% are spending less time outside.

Fauci: UK Variant Likely Tied to 30% of US Infections

As reported by The Hill, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Anthony Fauci, MD, said that the COVID-19 variant first discovered in the United Kingdom, B.1.1.7, has been detected in 50 jurisdictions nationwide and likely accounts for 20% to 30% of US cases. Noting that this prevalence may rise, Fauci highlighted concerns about the variant, including that it has been shown to be more easily transmissible and cause serious infection. Notably, a recent study found that 17% of people infected with the UK variant had a skin rash as their first symptom.