What We're Reading: Half-Dose Vaccine Regimens; UK Administers AstraZeneca Vaccine; Mental Health in 2021

Discussions between the FDA and Operation Warp Speed officials have mentioned the implementation of half-dose coronavirus disease 2019 vaccine regimens; the United Kingdom becomes the first country to administer the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine; the outlook for mental health in 2021.

Half Doses of Moderna’s Vaccine Considered for Increased Availability

Yesterday, a top official of Operation Warp Speed, Moncef Slaoui, MD, noted that the program was in discussions with the FDA and vaccine manufacturer Moderna to implement half-dose regimens that could double the number of those vaccinated against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). According to The New York Times, data from Moderna’s clinical trials showed that participants aged 18 to 55 years who received two 50-mcg doses exhibited identical immune responses to those receiving the standard of two 100-mcg doses. In Britain, officials have released guidelines that would allow the mixing of various COVID-19 vaccines under special circumstances, although this comes with limited knowledge on the effects of mixing vaccines.

AstraZeneca-Oxford Vaccine Distributed Today in United Kingdom

As reported by Reuters, the United Kingdom became the first country today to vaccinate its population with the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. In comparison with the Pfizer vaccine, which must be kept at –70 degrees Celsius, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored at fridge temperatures between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius, which may benefit ease of distribution. Meanwhile, cases of a highly transmissable variant of COVID-19 continue to appear throughout the United Kingdom, which has led to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to hint at tighter restrictions in the coming days.

Addressing Mental Health in 2021

Amid efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic, a piece by CNN spotlights the rise of mental health issues that have risen in the past year and may continue to affect Americans in 2021. In managing feelings of stress and isolation, which can lead to loneliness, Lisa Carlson, executive administrator at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, says that focusing on basics such as sleep, proper nutrition, and spending time with pets and loved ones are going to be critically important.