What We’re Reading: Vaccine Shows Promise in Elderly; Nurses Urge Public Safety; Employees on Food Stamps

AstraZeneca data show the company's coronavirus disease 2019 vaccine had promising results in older adults; nurses implore the public to take virus safety precautions; a new report highlights employees on food stamps, Medicaid.

AstraZeneca, Oxford Vaccine Candidate Boosts Immune Response in the Elderly

New data from AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine candidate show the doses produced a strong immune response in older adults, Reuters reports. Researchers expect to release fuller late-stage trial results by Christmas. In those over 70 who are at a higher risk of developing severe cases of COVID-19, data showed the vaccine could build robust immunity. Ongoing phase 3 trials hope to confirm the findings and aim to test if other vulnerable populations, such as those with underlying health conditions, have a similar response. However, Oxford Vaccines Group Director Andrew Pollard. MD, MBBS, said it was too early to know whether and how well the vaccine works in preventing COVID-19.

US Nurses Ask Public to Follow COVID-19 Safety Protocols

Nurses across the country are pleading with the public to practice safety measures aimed at stemming the transmission of COVID-19, according to NPR. With over 250,000 deaths now reported in the country and more than 3 million people estimated to be contagious with the virus, nurses are taking to social media to describe scenes at hospitals in an effort to translate their experience to the wider public. On Tuesday, the number of hospitalizations reached nearly 77,000, a new record, as hospitals reach capacity limits. In at least 25 states, hospitals are already critically short of nurses, doctors, and other staff, STAT News reports. Compounding the issue, some nurses now find themselves battling online misinformation and having to convince their patients the virus is real.

Walmart, McDonald's Top List of Companies Employing SNAP, Medicaid Beneficiaries

A new study conducted by the Government Accountability Office shows that McDonald’s and Walmart have the most employees on food stamps and Medicaid, The Washington Post reports. The study was carried out at the behest of Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, and found Walmart was one of the top 4 employers of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Medicaid beneficiaries in every state. In at least 9 states, McDonald’s was in the top 5 of employers with employees receiving these benefits. Additional companies with a large number of workers receiving federal assistance included Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Amazon, Burger King, and FedEx.