What We’re Reading: Experts Call for Fully Approved Vaccines; Elective Surgery After COVID-19; $230M J&J Opioid Settlement

Health experts call for the FDA to move faster in fully approving COVID-19 vaccines to combat hesitancy; long-term effects of COVID-19 may impact risk of complications when undergoing elective surgeries; Johnson & Johnson (J&J) agrees to a $230 million opioid settlement with the state of New York.

Health Experts Call for FDA to Fully Approve COVID-19 Vaccines

In an effort to address vaccine hesitancy, health experts are calling for the FDA to move faster in fully approving COVID-19 vaccines. As reported by The Hill, the current emergency use authorizations were cited as a reason for some unvaccinated people to perceive the vaccines as experimental and not fully tested. With President Joe Biden’s goal of having 70% of American adults receive at least 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine projected to miss its July 4 target date, polling indicated that full approval of the vaccines could assist in convincing unvaccinated individuals to become vaccinated.                                                                                                           

Long-term COVID-19 Impact on Elective Surgery

An article by Kaiser Health News spotlighted the long-term effects of COVID-19 and how they may affect the safety of elective surgeries. Notably, lingering effects of the virus could occur even in mild disease courses, which could be further exacerbated by undergoing surgery as anesthesia was cited to cause respiratory issues. In fact, a recent study indicated that people should wait at least 7 weeks after COVID-19 infection. In the study, patients who underwent surgery 2 weeks after their COVID-19 diagnosis had a 4.1% adjusted mortality rate at 30 days of follow-up, which decreased to 1.5% in those who had surgery at least 7 weeks after diagnosis.

J&J Settles Opioid Case for $230M

This past Saturday, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) agreed to a $230 million settlement with the state of New York over the company’s role in helping to fuel the opioid epidemic. As reported by STAT, the settlement was noted to be part of an expansive $26 billion settlement of thousands of other lawsuits that J&J and 3 of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical wholesalers will pay related to the opioid crisis, which has led to the deaths of nearly 500,000 people over the last 2 decades. Payments would be made over 9 years, with J&J also agreeing to halt its opioid sales.