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Newsroom - June

Moderna's Omicron shot yields antibodies against new variants

bostonglobe.com, June 22, 2022
Moderna Inc.'s omicron-targeting vaccine triggered the production of antibodies against the strains' newest variants, though the immune response was less robust than seen with the original version that emerged late last year. Everyone given Moderna's lead omicron immunization generated neutralizing antibodies against BA.4 and BA.5 in the latest trial involving about 800 people, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company said in a statement. However, the level of antibodies induced against the newer strains was lower than the shot produced against the original version of omicron. As the coronavirus continues to mutate, medical experts are trying to decide when and how to modify vaccines to fight emerging and future variants. Moderna's lead candidate to replace its existing Covid inoculation combines parts of its original shot with elements that specifically target omicron. Read more »

King Boston event focuses on racialized trauma

Bizjournals.com, June 16, 2022
The keynote conversation, about the mental and emotional effects of racial bias, discrimination and hate crime, was moderated by Boston Globe columnist Jenee Osterheldt. It featured Michael Curry. CEO of Mass League of Community Health Centers. "Seventy percent of patients at community health centers are people of color," Curry said. "We are poor for a reason .... Medical professionals need to understand the history of racism when they greet someone at the door of a health center." Curry discussed how racialized trauma can manifest physically and "internalize in our body language." Curry shared an example of how he used to bow his head whenever he entered an elevator, knowing he would be perceived as a threat. Read more »

What do the January 6 findings mean for the future of American democracy?

gbh.org, June 13, 2022
The January 6 select committee revealed more findings about the Capitol insurrection in their latest hearing on Monday, which picked apart and debunked many of former President Donald Trump's 2020 election fraud theories that committee members said led to the attack. The findings have serious implications for the future, Michael Curry, chair of the NAACP advocacy and policy committee. Read more »

New Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts center will research barriers to abortion for people of color, disabled community

gbh.org, June 9, 2022
Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts has launched a new center with a focus on researching barriers to reproductive healthcare, and the impact they have on marginalized communities. Organizers and advocates say such research is particularly essential as the nation prepares for major changes in access to reproductive health care, with the Supreme Court likely to strike down Roe v. Wade and eliminate the constitutional right to abortion. Read more »

During the Omicron wave, death rates soared for older people

bostonglobe.com, June 1, 2022
Despite strong levels of vaccination among older people, COVID killed them at vastly higher rates during this winter's omicron wave than it did last year, preying on long delays since their last shots and the variant's ability to skirt immune defenses. This winter's wave of deaths in older people belied the omicron variant's relative mildness. Almost as many Americans 65 and older died in four months of the omicron surge as they did in six months of the delta wave, even though the delta variant, for any one person, tended to cause more severe illness. While overall per capita COVID death rates have fallen, older people still account for an overwhelming share of them. "This is not simply a pandemic of the unvaccinated," said Andrew Stokes, an assistant professor in global health at Boston University who studies age patterns of COVID deaths. Read more »