What We’re Reading: Homelessness and Childbirth; Drops in Vaccine Demand; Long-term Risks of Severe COVID-19

A study analyzes the effects of homelessness on childbirth; some states report drops in demand for COVID-19 vaccines; researchers examine long-term risks of severe COVID-19.

The Effects of Homelessness of Childbirth

New research published in JAMA Network Open shows women who experienced homelessness were more likely to experience preterm labor and incur higher delivery-associated costs compared with women with steady housing who had a delivery and were admitted to the same hospital. The cross-sectional study included over 15,000 pregnant women experiencing homelessness and 308,242 pregnant women with steady housing who had their births in hospitals in Florida, Massachusetts and New York in 2014. The wide disparities in delivery-associated outcomes highlight the importance of health care professionals screening for homelessness during prenatal care visits, researchers concluded.

States See Drops in Demand for COVID-19 Vaccines

Louisiana, Kansas, and Mississippi have all seen drops in demand for COVID-19 vaccines, according to the Associated Press. In Iowa too, about half of counties have stopped asking for new doses from the state. With supply of the vaccines outpacing demand in some states due to low interest in the shots, officials are turning down shipments from the federal government. The low demand puts the United States in a tricky position as it now has tens of thousands of unused COVID-19 vaccine doses in store while other countries like India and Brazil face dire medical emergencies. Over 200 million doses have been administered in the United States, and over half of all US adults have received at least 1 dose.

Long-Term Health Impacts of COVID-19

A study published in Nature found that individuals who suffered severe infections of COVID-19 are at greater risk of long-term complications, NPR reports. Using data from the US Department of Veterans Affairs to assess health outcomes of over 73,000 people who had COVID-19 who were not hospitalized, researchers compared outcomes with nearly 5 million users who did not have COVID-19 and were not hospitalized. After 6 months, those who had COVID-19 were at a greater risk of new onset heart disease, diabetes, mental health disorders, substance use disorders, and kidney disease, among other problems. However, it is difficult for investigators to determine which outcomes are a direct consequence of infection and which are indirect.