CLEVELAND, Ohio — About half of American health care workers have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine, and patients hospitalized with COVID-19 had a higher risk of stroke, and were more likely to be older, male or Black, according to recent research.
Cleveland.com is rounding up some of the most notable coronavirus news making headlines online. Here’s what you need to know for Monday, March 22.
Health care workers have concerns about vaccine, poll shows
Almost half of American health care workers have not yet been immunized against COVID-19, although they were prioritized to get the shots first in many states, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report published Friday.
The report found that only 52% of health care workers have received at least one vaccine dose. About 64% of those surveyed said they were confident in vaccine safety and effectiveness. The survey included interviews with 1,327 frontline health care workers conducted in February and March.
Among the initial findings:
- Unvaccinated frontline health care workers include 3 in 10 who have either not decided whether they will get vaccinated (12%) or say they do not plan to get the vaccine (18%).
- A large majority of unvaccinated health care workers who either have not decided if they will get immunized, or say they do not plan to get vaccinated, say that worries about potential side effects (82%) and the newness of the vaccine (81%) are major factors in their decision making.
- Among frontline health care workers, half of Black workers, 45% of workers without a college degree, and four in 10 Republican and Republican-leaning workers say they doubt that the COVID-19 vaccines have been properly tested for safety and effectiveness. About 1 in 5 of each of these groups also say they will definitely not receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
COVID-19 patients have elevated stroke risk
Patients hospitalized with COVID-19 had a higher risk of stroke, and were more likely to be older, male or Black, or have high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes or an irregular heartbeat compared with other COVID-19 patients, according to a report presented Friday at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2021.
The study analyzed data from the American Heart Association’s COVID-19 Registry of more than 20,000 U.S. adults hospitalized with the illness between January and November 2020.
The analysis of COVID-19 patients also found:
- Those with any type of stroke were more likely to be male (64%) and older than patients who did not have a stroke.
- Patients who had a stroke spent about 22 days in the hospital, compared to 10 days of hospitalization for patients without stroke; and in-hospital deaths were more than twice as high among stroke patients (37%) compared to patients without stroke (16%).
COVID-19 placed higher burden on hospitals than flu, study shows
A new study compared the impact of COVID-19 on patients and hospital resources versus patients hospitalized with influenza during the last five influenza seasons at a major medical center. COVID-19 cases resulted in significantly more weekly hospitalizations, more use of mechanical ventilation and higher death rates than influenza, the study found.
The paper was written by physician-researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. It analyzed data from 1,634 hospitalized patients, 582 of whom had laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 and 1,052 of whom had confirmed influenza.
While 174 patients with COVID-19 received mechanical ventilation during the two-month period, just 84 patients with influenza were placed on ventilation over all five seasons of influenza. Likewise, the proportion of patients who died was much higher for COVID-19 than for influenza, the study said. About 20% of admitted patients with COVID-19 died in the two-month period, compared to three percent of patients with influenza over five seasons.
WHO finds no link between blood clots, AstraZeneca vaccine
The World Health Organization found no increased risk of blood clotting conditions in people who received the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine. Similar findings from European regulators on Friday led to resumed immunizations in many countries in Europe, where COVID-19 cases are rising amid slow rollout of the vaccine.
In a statement, the WHO said its global vaccine safety group met on March 16 and March 19 and examined data from 27 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine administered in India, as well as the WHO global database of safety reports.
COVID-19 reinfections tend to strike elderly
COVID-19 reinfections are uncommon but do happen, especially in people 65 and older, suggests a large observational study recently published in the Lancet. The study emphasized that people who have recovered from the illness need to continue social distancing and receive vaccines.
Researchers in Denmark looked at 10.6 million COVID-19 tests from 4 million Danes during that country’s second surge between September and December, and compared them with infection rates during the first surge.
Older people may be more likely to get the illness a second time because the immune system becomes less efficient with age, and other factors linked to aging and poor COVID-19 outcomes.
New York reports first case of contagious variant
New York recently confirmed at least one case of the coronavirus variant first found in Brazil, joining more than a dozen states that have seen the variant.
The variant, known as P.1, has been detected in at least 16 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The variant is highly contagious and has in some cases reinfected people who had already recovered from the coronavirus.
Scientists expect that variants will soon become the dominant source of infection in the United States.
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