What We're Reading: Lower Vaccine Protection in Children; Nursing Home Quality Reform; Climate Change Warning

A study finds that lower-dose vaccines given to children aged 5 to 11 years provides less protection against infection; President Joe Biden will announce a major overhaul of nursing home quality during his State of the Union speech; United Nations report highlights need for drastic action to address climate change.

Protection of Lower-Dose Pfizer Vaccine Wanes Faster in Children Aged 5 to 11 Years

Findings of a preprint study by researchers from the New York State Department of Health showed that the low-dose version of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was less effective in protecting children against infection compared with the higher-dose version given to older children and adults. As reported by NPR, vaccine protectiveness against infection among children aged 5 to 11 years who received the 10-mg dose, which is one-third of the normal dose, fell from 68% to 12% between December 13, 2021, and January 30, 2022. In comparison, children aged 12 to 17 years who received the 30-mg dose showed a smaller decline from 66% to 51% during this time.

President Biden to Announce Major Overhaul of Nursing Home Quality

The Associated Press reports that President Joe Biden will announce plans to launch a major overhaul of nursing home quality during his State of the Union speech tonight. White House officials said that more than 20 separate actions are outlined, including a new requirement for minimum staffing levels and an increase in the nursing home inspection budget by $500 million, a boost of nearly 25%, but no new sources of federal funding to pay for the upgrade were noted. Biden is also ordering CMS to conduct a study on staffing and publish proposed regulations within a year.

UN Report Warns of Growing Climate Change Threat

A report issued yesterday by the United Nations climate panel called for drastic action to address the rising threat of climate change, according to Reuters. With nearly half of the world’s population already vulnerable to dangerous climate impacts, the report highlighted the need to to contain global warming to within 2.7 °F of preindustrial temperatures, which the planet is expected to surpass within 2 decades. Breaching that threshold, according to the report, could cause irreversible damage to the planet. The report called for extensive efforts to address climate change, including the need for a third to a half of the planet to be conserved and protected to ensure future food and freshwater supplies, as well as for coastal cities to develop plans to keep people safe from storms and rising seas.