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What We’re Reading: Millions of J&J Vaccines Spoiled; T1D Added to CDC Morbidity List; COVID-19 Organ Damage


Millions of Johnson & Johnson vaccines spoiled at a Baltimore production plant; CDC adds type 1 diabetes as a comorbidity increasing risk of severe COVID-19; study finds high rates of organ failure among patients with COVID-19 discharged from hospitals.

15 Million J&J Vaccines Ruined

A batch of 15 million Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccines was ruined at a Baltimore plant run by Emergent BioSolutions, Axios reports. Workers at the plant, which also produces AstraZeneca vaccines, mixed up ingredients between the 2 vaccines resulting in the destruction of the J&J doses. Production of the J&J vaccine has now ceased as the FDA investigates the error. The plant was projected to produce and ship tens of millions of the J&J vaccine in April, but the error should not affect doses currently being delivered and administered throughout the country, as these were produced in the Netherlands. Officials stated the setback should not affect President Biden’s goal of providing enough vaccine to all US adults by the end of May, according to The New York Times.

T1D Included in CDC Comorbidity List

The CDC has added type 1 diabetes (T1D) to its list of comorbidities potentially resulting in more severe COVID-19, thus expanding vaccine eligibility to this group of individuals. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) issued a response lauding the CDC's move, stating the inclusion of T1D will help address the millions of people across the country who have not been prioritized equally, slowing their access to vaccines. Type 2 diabetes (T2D) has been accepted as a risk factor since the pandemic’s onset. Currently, around 1.6 million Americans have T1D, while individuals with diabetes make up nearly 40% of all COVID-19-related deaths. The ADA statement also urges states to follow CDC’s precedent and prioritize these individuals in state-specific guidelines.

Organ Failure in COVID-19 Patients Post Hospitalization

Results of a study published in The BMJ found that individuals discharged from the hospital for COVID-19 exhibited increased rates of multiorgan dysfunction compared with the expected risk in the general population. Of the 47,780 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 included in the study, nearly one-third of those discharged were readmitted while more than 1 in 10 died after discharge. Increased risk of organ damage was not limited to the elderly, nor was it uniform across ethnicities. Researchers concluded the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of post–COVID-19 syndrome requires integrated approaches as opposed to organ- or disease-specific ones. Urgent research is also needed to establish risk factors for this outcome.

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