Read AMA Morning Rounds®’ most popular stories in medicine and public health from the week of Sept. 11, 2023–Sept. 15, 2023.
Reuters (9/14, Sunny) reports the CDC “said on Thursday it expects the total number of hospitalizations from COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus infections and flu this year to be similar to last year, higher than pre-pandemic levels.” The agency also “said it expects flu and RSV infections to increase over the fall and winter seasons.” However, “vaccines for all three major respiratory viruses...will be available this fall, the CDC said,” and “higher levels of vaccination across the population will help reduce the number of hospitalizations and risk of straining the country’s hospitals, CDC added.”
CNN (9/13, McPhillips) reports, “Drug overdose deaths reached another record level in the United States this spring, new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows, as 2023 is on track to be another devastating year amid the drug epidemic.” Over “111,000 people died from a drug overdose in the 12-month period ending in April, according to the new estimates.” The prior “record from March 2022 was first surpassed in December, and deaths have been ticking up since.” However, “the pace of the increase is much slower than it’s been in recent years, especially compared with the steep rise in the early years of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Nonetheless, “the latest data through April shows that about a thousand more lives were lost in the past 12 months than in the year before that.”
The New York Times (9/12, Mandavilli) reports the CDC “recommended on Tuesday that all Americans 6 months and older receive at least one dose of the latest COVID shots, the last of a trifecta of vaccines intended to prevent another surge in respiratory infections this fall and winter.” The move comes after the FDA “approved reformulated COVID vaccines by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna” on Monday. Some members of a CDC advisory panel that met Tuesday “were unsure about recommending the new COVID vaccines to younger adults, or had misgivings about potential side effects, especially in children and young males.” And “others worried that endorsing the vaccines for all Americans might undermine messaging about the greater need among those who are at highest risk from COVID, including older adults.” However, “the committee ultimately voted to endorse the new vaccines for everyone, citing data showing the short- and long-term risks of COVID at any age.”
ABC News (9/12, Benadjaoud) reports the approvals come as “COVID hospitalizations have risen nearly 9% in the most recent week, marking the eighth consecutive week of increasing new admissions in a row, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” The shots “are set to be available later this week with increasing supply starting next week, as retailer and pharmacies receive deliveries.”
Editor’s note: Read the AMA’s statement on updated COVID-19 vaccine recommendations.
The New York Times (9/11, Jewett, Weiland) reports, “The Food and Drug Administration approved a new round of COVID boosters on Monday, that will arrive alongside the seasonal flu vaccine and shots to protect infants and older adults from RSV.” On Tuesday, the CDC “is expected to follow up...with an advisory meeting to discuss who should get the new shots by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.” Following a final decision by the CDC director, “millions of doses will be shipped to pharmacies, clinics and health systems nationwide within days.”
The AP (9/11, Neergaard) reports, “The FDA pointedly isn’t calling this latest round a ‘booster’ but instead a vaccine updated to better match the currently circulating virus.” The new vaccines target “an Omicron variant named XBB.1.5—replacing outdated combination vaccines that mixed protection against the original coronavirus strain and an older version of Omicron.” And although “the XBB.1.5 variant is no longer dominant, FDA determined that it’s close enough to coronavirus strains causing most COVID-19 illnesses today to offer good cross-protection.”
According to HealthDay (9/8, Norton), “women who used birth control pills or other estrogen-containing contraceptives had a heightened risk of developing a blood clot in the legs or lungs,” investigators concluded in findings published online in the BMJ. The study, which involved some two million women aged 15 to 49, also revealed that “the risk of a blood clot was further increased during weeks when those women also used a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID.
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Table of Contents
- CDC expects high numbers of COVID-19, RSV, and flu hospitalizations again this year
- Overdose deaths reach new heights, latest CDC data show
- CDC recommends all Americans six months and older receive updated COVID-19 vaccine
- FDA approves updated COVID-19 vaccines
- Combination of certain oral contraceptives with NSAIDs may raise risk for blood clots