What We're Reading: Disproportionate Vaccine Access; Mental Health Apps for Men; Stillbirth Risk in Pregnant Women With COVID-19

Low- and middle-income countries that hosted completed COVID-19 vaccine trials received disproportionately fewer doses than high-income counterparts; mental health apps indicated to increase uptake in underserved men; CDC report finds notable stillbirth risk in pregnant women with COVID-19.

Poorer Nations Found to Receive Fewer COVID-19 Doses

Despite hosting some of the clinical trials that led to the approval for several COVID-19 vaccines, low- and middle-income countries where the trials were held received disproportionately less doses than high-income counterparts, according to findings of a study published last week in JAMA Network Open. Reported by CIDRAP, a median of 15.4%, 48.8%, and 78.8% of doses of vaccines were sent to low-, lower-middle-, and upper-middle-income countries that hosted completed trials through the COVAX initiative, which is intended to provide equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines worldwide. Recently, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was unacceptable that vaccine manufacturers had overwhelmingly supplied rich countries at the highest prices.

How Mental Health Apps Can Assist Underserved Male Populations

As reported by The Washington Post, mental health apps have become important resources for men experiencing mental health issues, who have been shown in prior research to seek out help at approximately half the rate of women and are 4 times more likely to die of suicide than their female counterparts. With studies attributing gender expectations of not appearing vulnerable or unable to handle one’s own problems as reasons for men avoiding help, online help was noted to be a less intimidating and private entry to mental health for male populations. The 2 meditation-focused apps Headspace and Calm currently account for 90% of all active mental health/well-being app users, whereas other apps such as Tethr are designed for men or have men-specific sections.

CDC Report Finds Stillbirth Risk in Pregnant Women With COVID-19

According to a CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published last Friday, stillbirths were found to occur in about 1 in 80 deliveries for women with COVID-19, compared with 1 in 155 for those uninfected. Reported by NBC News, stillbirths were still indicated to be rare among the 1.2 million deliveries examined in 736 hospitals nationwide from March 2020 through September 2021, but risk was notably higher in women with COVID-19, particularly those infected with the Delta variant. Although the results do not prove that the variant caused more fetal demise, obstetricians are finding notable differences in how much oxygen fetuses can absorb depending on whether their mothers have been diagnosed with COVID-19.