What We're Reading: Boosters, Mixing-Matching Shots Approved; Climate-Related Health Worsening; Ivermectin-Related Poisonings Rise

The FDA approves Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster shots and will allow mixing-and-matching for boosters; the health-related effects of climate change are growing; there is a rise in poisonings tied to the antiparasitic drug ivermectin.

FDA Approves Moderna and J&J Boosters, Mixing/Matching Shots

As reported by POLITICO, the FDA yesterday authorized Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 booster shots, as well as allowing people to receive a different brand of booster shot than their primary vaccine series. Similar to the Pfizer booster, the Moderna booster shot will be available for individuals aged 65 and older or those aged 18 to 64 who are at high risk of severe COVID-19 or work in areas that increase risk. Conversely, all J&J vaccine recipients who are at least 2 months out from their initial shot may get a booster, a decision that was noted to be due to the 1-shot series having decreased efficacy compared with the 2-shot vaccines.

Health-Related Impacts of Climate Change on the Rise

According to 2 reports published yesterday as part of the Lancet Countdown project, health issues associated with climate change, including heat deaths, infectious diseases, and hunger, were found to be growing markedly worse in the United States and around the world. As reported by The Associated Press, study findings indicate that 300 million more days of heatwave exposure was reported among US adults over the age of 65 vs the average baseline between 1986 to 2005—marking the second highest year of exposure recorded since 1986. Currently, 65 of the 84 countries examined were said to allow the burning of fossil fuels, a known cause of climate change.

Unproven COVID-19 Treatment Linked With Poisonings

Reported by Bloomberg, poisonings from ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug with unproven efficacy in treating and preventing COVID-19, rose significantly in August 2021, with 21 incidents compared with less than 1 in prior months. Findings published yesterday in The New England Journal of Medicine indicated that of the 21 people with poisonings recorded by the Oregon Poison Center, 6 were hospitalized, with 4 requiring intensive care. Although ivermectin has been shown to lower replication of SARS-CoV-2 in laboratory dishes, its use in randomized, controlled trials produced no benefit against COVID-19, with improper use resulting in potentially serious adverse effects requiring hospitalization.