What We’re Reading: Health Care Workforce Boost; Long-term Vaccine Efficacy in Kids; Idaho’s Care Rationing Eases

The White House will invest $1.5 billion to bolster the nation's health care workforce; new data reveal long-term Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine efficacy in children; Idaho deactivates crisis standards of care for some portions of the state.

White House Announces Investment to Ease Provider Shortages

The White House has announced it will invest $1.5 billion to attract doctors to underserved and rural communities through the National Health Service Corps and the Nurse Corps, The Washington Post reports. The funds will aid in providing scholarships and repaying student loans of providers who work in medically needy areas. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, shortages of primary care physicians hindered testing, treating, and educating patients about the disease and vaccines. Now, hospitals across the country are facing staffing shortages, further threatening care for underserved populations. The money will be made available through the American Rescue Plan and will support around 23,000 providers.

Data Show Long-term Efficacy of Pediatric Pfizer Vaccine

New results of a Pfizer-BioNTech study show the companies’ COVID-19 vaccine was 100% effective in preventing infections among kids aged 12 to 15 years, STAT News reports. Efficacy was measured from 7 days to 4 months after administration of the second dose of the vaccine in over 2000 participants. According to Pfizer, the new data will serve as the basis for an FDA application to extend their COVID-19 vaccine license to cover youths. Analyses of the phase 3 trial also revealed no serious safety concerns over at least 6 months of follow-up after participants' second dose.

Care Rationing Ends in Idaho

Crisis guidelines for rationing care at most of Idaho’s hospitals were deactivated by top health officials yesterday, according to The Associated Press. Although the number of COVID-19 patients remains high in the state, that total no longer exceeds health care resources in most areas. However, crisis standards remain in northern Idaho, and public health officials warned of possible future outbreaks. The standards were activated for the entire state on September 16, but for northern Idaho on September 7. Data show nearly 4000 Idaho residents have died of COVID-19 since the spring of 2020.