Health News Roundup

COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy decreasing faster among Black people than white, and more in this week’s roundup

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COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy decreasing faster among Black people than white, study finds 
Nigel Roberts, BET, Jan. 24
According to a new study, COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy decreased more rapidly among Black people compared to whites since the shots became available. The researchers highlighted several barriers including lack of transportation and inflexible work hours that hindered higher vaccination rates, pointing to the importance of eliminating access barriers that disproportionately affect people of color.

15M people could lose Medicaid when pandemic ends and states aren’t sure they can help them all
Megan Messerly, Politico, Feb. 2?
State officials expect the current federal public health emergency to expire this year, which will trigger a re-determination of people who are on Medicaid to assess if they still qualify for the benefit. As a result, as many as 15 million people may lose their health insurance, which is likely to be the biggest shift in the health insurance landscape since the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Free COVID tests are meant to reduce inequity, but they’re highlighting it
Tanya Basu, MIT Technology Review, Jan. 27
People living in apartments have reported issues ordering their four free COVID-19 tests through the White House’s website due to a glitch in the website. In addition, there are millions of households who have more than four members, lack Internet access, or do not speak English or Spanish, the languages in which the site is currently available. These barriers have highlighted the inequities in the initiative’s rollout, particularly for those who are most vulnerable.

Faxes and snail mail: Will pandemic-era flaws unleash improved health technology?
Bram Sable-Smith, Kaiser Health News and NPR, Feb. 1
COVID-19 exposed how antiquated health technology is and made the issue impossible to ignore. With pandemic relief funding, calls to action, and a higher-than-expected return on investment, there is a growing momentum and opportunity to update health technology systems and streamline processes.

Despite Biden’s big promises and a far better understanding of the virus, COVID-19 is still raging through the nation’s prisons
Nicholas Florko, STAT, Feb. 2
Nearly 3,000 incarcerated people have died of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic including roughly 300 in federal prisons. Yet the federal Bureau of Prisons’ approach to mitigating the spread of the virus remains substandard, including a lack of frequent testing, opaque or missing data, and unclear plans to vaccinate those who are incarcerated.