What We're Reading: COVID-19 Vaccine in Phase 3; Employers, Liability Waivers; Flu, Pneumonia Vaccines Reduce Alzheimer Risk

July 27, 2020

In beginning the first phase 3 clinical trial to examine a vaccine candidate for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Moderna Inc announced that the Trump administration increased funding to expand the trial to 30,000 US participants; employers have considered and some have made it a requirement for employees to sign a waiver to not sue the organization if they are infected by COVID-19 or suffered any injury while working; study finds 1 flu shot can reduce the risk for Alzheimer disease by 17% and 1 pneumonia vaccine before age 75 can reduce the risk by 25%.

Moderna Vaccine Receives $472M Increased Funding from Trump Administration

In beginning the first phase 3 clinical trial to examine a vaccine candidate for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) today, Moderna Inc announced that the Trump administration increased funding by $472 million to expand the trial to 30,000 US participants. POLITICO reported that the investment was made by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), which brings the total investment from BARDA to $955 million. The article noted that the Trump administration is hopeful that initial vaccines can be distributed in as little as 3 months.

Employers Requiring Liability Waivers Amid COVID-19 Concerns

According to Kaiser Health News, as employees nationwide return to the workplace amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers have considered, and some have made it a requirement, for employees to sign a waiver to not sue the organization if they are infected or suffered any injury while working. While some employers have made these waivers mandatory, lawyers cited in the article say that state laws do not allow employers to force employees to sign away their right to pursue workers’ compensation claims.

Research Suggests Flu Shot, Pneumonia Vaccine May Reduce Alzheimer Risk

According to a pair of studies presented today at this year’s virtual Alzheimer Association International Conference, participants who received at least 1 flu shot were found to have a 17% reduced risk for Alzheimer disease, with those who get a pneumonia vaccine before age 75 also exhibiting a reduction in risk by 25%. Researchers caution that the amount of benefit from flu vaccination may vary based on the demographics of the cohort, reported NPR. There was no added benefit from being dually vaccinated for the flu and pneumonia.