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What We're Reading: Flu Vaccine Protection; Ind. Drops Medicaid Enrollees; Global Outbreak Prevention


The flu vaccine is just 17% effective against the current virus; Indiana dropped 25,000 people from its Medicaid program for not paying premiums; the CDC is cutting back on efforts to prevent infectious disease outbreaks in other countries as funding runs out.

Flu Vaccine Has Little Effect Against Current Virus

The current flu season has been particularly harsh, with 41.9 hospitalizations per 100,000 people and approximately 40 pediatric deaths. New research in Canada has found that the vaccine has just been 17% effective at preventing infection, reported STAT. Last year, the vaccine was estimated to be 37% effective in Canada. The CDC has yet to analyze its midseason flu vaccine effectiveness data and expects to publish its analysis in a few weeks. The findings confirm that people who have been vaccinated are still contracting the flu.

Indiana Drops 25,000 From Medicaid Rolls

In Indiana, the Medicaid program was expanded under the Affordable Care Act with some changes approved by the Obama administration, namely monthly fees and lockout provisions. According to Kaiser Health News, those provisions led to 25,000 adults being disenrolled from Medicaid between 2015 and October 2017. Half of those dropped from the program had found another source of coverage, mostly through a job. Another 46,000 adults were not accepted into the program during 2016 and 2017 because they did not pay their initial premiums.

CDC Cuts Back on Global Outbreak Prevention

With money running out, the United States is going to scale back its involvement in preventing infectious disease epidemics in 39 of 49 countries. The Washington Post reported that the CDC had been given $600 million by Congress in 2014 to help countries combat infectious disease outbreaks, but the money will run out in September 2019. The agency has been notifying officials abroad about plans to downsize its epidemic prevention activities under the assumption that the Trump administration will not budget additional resources.

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