What We’re Reading: e-Cigarette Deadline Passes; LA Schools Mandate COVID-19 Vaccination; Stillbirths Rise in Mississippi

The FDA misses the deadline to pull e-cigarette products from the market; Los Angeles public schools require COVID-19 vaccines for those over age 12; rates of still births are on the rise in Mississippi.

FDA Misses e-Cigarette Deadline

The FDA has failed to meet a court-ordered deadline to decide which e-cigarette products should remain on the market and rule on whether any of the largest companies can keep selling their products, STAT News reports. In April 2020, a federal judge ordered the agency to determine the products that must be pulled and which can stay on the shelves by September 9, 2021. The FDA received approximately 6.5 million applications for products and has taken action on those covering about 6 million products, according to a statement from the agency. The devices have proven controversial, as some say they assist in smoking cessation while critics argue companies advertise to youths and are enabling a new generation of nicotine addicts.

Los Angeles School District Requires Vaccinations

A sweeping new mandate approved by the Board of Education for Los Angeles public schools requires all children aged 12 and older to be vaccinated against COVID-19, The Los Angeles Times reports. The move marks the first such mandate among one of the nation’s largest school systems, which currently tests all students and employees for COVID-19 each week. The system had previously ordered all employees to get vaccinated. Similarly, New York City’s school system—the largest in the country—has ordered all athletes who play high-contact sports to be vaccinated prior to competition. Currently, Pfizer’s vaccine is available for those aged 12 to 15 under an emergency use authorization, and it is fully approved for individuals aged 16 and older.

Mississippi Sees Rise in Stillbirths Among Women With COVID-19

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Mississippi has witnessed a doubling of the rate of stillbirths in the state, reporting 72 fetal deaths in unvaccinated pregnant women infected with COVID-19, according to The Washington Post. During a news conference, Mississippi State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs said that number—which includes only deaths after 20 weeks of gestation—is twice the background rate of what would be expected. Over approximately the last 4 weeks, 8 pregnant women with COVID-19 have also died in the state. The numbers underscore how important it is for expectant mothers to get vaccinated, while recent research also found pregnant and recently pregnant women face a higher risk of severe COVID-19.