Health News Roundup

Pfizer FDA approval could sway Black and Hispanic residents, and more in this week’s roundup

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Pfizer FDA approval could sway Black, Hispanic residents
Amy Yee, Bloomberg News, Aug. 23
A recent survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that among unvaccinated respondents, 46% of Hispanic and 41% of Black people said they would be more likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine with FDA approval. Pfizer’s FDA approval is an opportunity to provide clear messaging to hesitant populations that the COVID vaccines are safe and effective.

To boost COVID-19 vaccine uptake, one health system hunts for patients who fell through the cracks
Katie Palmer, STAT News, Aug. 24
To help vaccinate as many people as possible, one hospital in North Carolina is working to identify patients who might have been missed by previous communications. University of North Carolina’s N.C. Cancer Hospital narrowed down a set of cancer patients who didn’t have active patient portal accounts or email addresses on file, meaning they were highly unlikely to have received digital messages about the vaccine. While UNC isn’t the only health system working to improve vaccine rates, their use of “simple, readily available data” demonstrates one way to contact individuals directly, rather than broad community approaches.

OPINION: Men, self-care is not emasculating. Protect your mental health to protect your family.
Wizdom Powell, opinion contributor in USA Today, Aug. 22
After a year of continued physical and social isolation from the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with ongoing racial trauma, there is an urgent need for men to practice self-care focused on their whole well-being. This means being able to promote and maintain health, as well as taking time to engage in mindfulness and finding joy. While self-care practices such as meditation may mean defying cultural norms around men sharing their emotions, it is also linked to increased compassion, decreased aggression, and reduced stress.

Hospitals and insurers didn’t want you to see these prices. Here’s why.
Sarah Kliff, Josh Katz, and Rumsey Taylor, The New York Times, Aug. 22
Until now, consumers had no way of knowing what prices they and their insurers would be paying. Thanks to a new federal regulation, hospitals are beginning to publish a complete list of the prices they negotiate with private insurers. The New York Times, in partnership with researchers from University of Maryland-Baltimore County, developed a database that shows how much basic medical care costs at 60 major hospitals. Even for simple procedures, the difference can be thousands of dollars.

Content warning: The next article in this week’s Health News Roundup mentions suicide. If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. For Mobile Crisis services in Connecticut, dial 2-1-1 and press 1, then 1 again when prompted.

Pandemic unveils growing suicide crisis for communities of color 
Aneri Pattani, Kaiser Health News, Aug. 23
Although overall suicide rates in the U.S. decreased in 2019 and 2020, suicide rates for Black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans continued to rise in many states. Experts and researchers on suicide in communities of color emphasize the importance of addressing root causes such as growing economic instability, a widening racial wealth gap, and racialized trauma.