What We’re Reading: Positive Novavax Data; Rise in ED Visits for Suicide Attempts; Decrease in Pediatric Inpatient Units

Novavax releases positive phase 3 trial data on its COVID-19 vaccine candidate; data show sharp increase in emergency department visits for attempted suicide; decrease in pediatric inpatient units throughout the country.

Novavax Releases New Phase 3 Trial Data

Data from a phase 3 trial testing Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States and Mexico show that the candidate has a 90.4% overall efficacy, CNN reports. Further trial analyses are ongoing, and data will be submitted to peer-reviewed journals for publication. The study consisted of 29,960 adults across 113 sites. Novavax’s vaccine candidate is administered in 2 doses, scheduled 21 days apart. Results also indicate the vaccine is 100% effective against severe disease. According to the company, the candidate was 93.2% effective against variants of concern or interest.

Increase in Suicide Attempts Among Teen Girls

New CDC data show that along with increased emergency department (ED) visits for mental health–related emergencies among adolescents during the pandemic, in May 2020, ED visits for suspected suicide attempts among those aged 12 to 17 years began to increase. The trend was especially prevalent among girls in this age range. Between February and March 2021, ED visits for suspected suicide attempts for girls were 50.6% higher compared with the same period in 2019. In comparison, the rate for boys during this time frame increased by 3.7%. Data were gleaned from the National Syndromic Surveillance Program.

Pediatric Inpatient Unit Capacity Falls

Research published in Pediatrics found that pediatric inpatient unit capacity is decreasing in the United States, while access to inpatient care is declining for many children, especially those living in rural areas of the country. Investigators conducted a retrospective study of over 4700 US hospitals using data from the 2008-2018 American Hospital Association survey. Although results showed pediatric intensive care unit beds increased by 16% primarily at children’s hospitals, pediatric inpatient units fell by 19.1% in this time frame. Pediatric inpatient unit beds also decreased by 11.8%.