What We’re Reading: Latest on Vaccine Donations; Surge in Medicaid Enrollment; Suicide Rates in the Military

The Biden administration shifts its planned vaccine donation from 80 million to 55 million vaccines amid ongoing safety review of AstraZeneca doses; a CMS report indicates that nearly 10 million individuals enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP amid the pandemic; significantly more deaths by suicide are reported than combat deaths in the US military.

Biden Delays June Donation Target, Will Send 55 Million Vaccines

With logistical hurdles and millions of vaccine doses produced by AstraZeneca still undergoing safety review, the Biden administration announced yesterday that it is delaying the total target donation shipment of 80 million vaccines and will instead ship 55 million doses worldwide. As reported by Bloomberg, President Joe Biden had previously committed to sending the 80 million doses by the end of June, but will now allocate the doses by this time frame, with shipments potentially being extended until July or beyond. Of the 55 million vaccine doses shipped, approximately 41 million will be sent through Covax.                                                                                            

Nearly 10 Million Enrolled in Medicaid, CHIP Amid Pandemic

According to data from the Enrollment Trends Snapshot report by CMS released yesterday, a record high of individuals, over 80 million, are now insured through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Notably, a 13.9% increase in enrollment occurred between February 2020, the month before the public health emergency was declared, and January 2021, amounting to 9.9 million new enrollees in the 2 programs. The boost in enrollment was found most prominently in Medicaid, as Medicaid enrollment increased from 64 million to 73 million and CHIP enrollment increased by approximately 123,000.

Stark Rates of Death by Suicide in US Military

A report published yesterday by Brown University indicates that since 9/11, 4 times as many US service members and veterans have died by suicide compared with those killed in combat. As reported by NBC News, a significant majority of the deaths by suicide were among veterans, who accounted for 22,261 of the 30,177 reported cases; meanwhile, 7057 had been killed in combat during that time. The report’s author, Thomas Suitt III, said the number of deaths by suicide is likely an underestimate for active duty members and veterans, and that research finds that some service members may not receive the medical treatment they need.