What We’re Reading: Updated COVID-19 Vaccines; National Blood Shortages; Lack of Doctor Diversity


FDA approves updated COVID-19 booster vaccines; low donor turnout and climate disasters result in a national blood shortage; minority patients discouraged by lack of doctor diversity.

FDA Approves Updated COVID-19 Vaccines

On Monday, the FDA approved 2 updated COVID-19 booster vaccines for people as young as 6 months, according to STAT. This may result in Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines becoming available in doctors’ offices, clinics, and pharmacies later in the week. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices are expected to recommend these boosters in a vote Tuesday, after which CDC Director Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH, must sign off on these recommendations before the shots can be used.

American Red Cross Declares a National Blood Shortage

The American Red Cross has announced that the United States’ blood supply has fallen to “critically low levels” of nearly 25% since the beginning of August, according to CNN. The Red Cross believes that worsening climate-driven disasters, such as Hurricane Idalia, are to blame for this shortage, with some blood drives being canceled due to these extreme weather conditions. However, other large blood donation organizations say they are not experiencing blood supply shortages and are more focused on long-term sustainability due to the aging donor base and declining numbers of donors each year.

Diversity Needed Among the Medical Profession, Experts Say

More than 2 months after the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in college admissions, concerns are growing that a career in medicine may become much harder for students of color, according to The Associated Press. In 2021, Black individuals living in the United States represented about 13% of the US population, but only 6% of US physicians. Furthermore, experts believe more Black and Latino diversity is especially needed in specialty medicine, such as dermatology.

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