What We’re Reading: US Birth Rate Drops; Biden Revises Vaccination Goal; PPE Costs Skyrocket During Pandemic

AJMC Staff

There was an overall 4.3% drop in total US births from 2019 to 2020; the Biden administration wants to increase the COVID-19 vaccination rate among Americans; medical professionals seek reimbursement for personal protective equipment (PPE).

US Birth Rate at 50-Year Low

For the sixth straight year, the US birth rate has dropped, according to Axios. Stratified by age, the overall drop of 4.3% was exceeded by decreases seen among 2 age groups of women: 15 to 19 years (8.4% drop) and 20 to 24 years (5.7% drop). In addition, 2020 had a 10% drop in preterm births. This occurrence is not unique to the United States, with experts attributing global birthrate decreases to increasing reproductive freedoms, education, and birth control access.

White House Releases Updated Vaccination Targets

Yesterday, President Joe Biden announced a new goal of having 70%, or 160 million, of American adults with at least 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by July 4, reports Medpage Today. At the heart of this push is increasing access via the potential approval of vaccine administration by the FDA among adolescents aged 12 to 15 years, a new website designed to facilitate appointments for vaccination (vaccines.gov), and logistics in place to ship enough doses to 20,000 pharmacy sites upon that FDA approval. Biden has already exceeded his goal of 100 million Americans vaccinated by his 100th day in office, when half of all US adults 18 years and older had received at least 1 COVID-19 vaccine dose by April 18.

Insurer Payment Sought for PPE Increasing Costs

With costs for such personal protective equipment (PPE) as gloves and N95 masks seeing exponential increases of 1155% and 1150%, respectively, physicians and dentists in California have begun to argue for sharing these costs with insurers, according to Kaiser Health News. Legislation sponsored by the California Medical Association is seeking mandatory reimbursement of pandemic-related costs for medical and dental practices in the state, despite similar measures failing to pass at the federal level and insurance experts claiming these costs are not their responsibility. For this, the experts point to the billions in aid that medical providers in the state have already received under the Provider Relief Fund and financial assistance provided via Paycheck Protection Program loans from the Small Business Administration.