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LATEST NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

Will We See You at NCHCMM This Year?

Why should you attend this year’s National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media (NCHCMM)? By learning from the local-level triumphs and challenges of America’s healthcare coalitions, we can adapt these successes into long-term, dynamic solutions that will benefit fellow coalitions across the country. Plus, you will hear straight from the CDC and (re)connect with colleagues from around the country! Join us in-person in Atlanta August 16-18 or virtually. Register here: https://www.nchcmm.org/.

New Report: The Impact of Chronic Underfunding on America’s Public Health System: Trends, Risks, and Recommendations, 2022

The Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) Thursday released its annual report tracking public health funding called The Impact of Chronic Underfunding on America’s Public Health System: Trends, Risks, and Recommendations, 2022. This annual report examines federal, state, and local public health funding trends and recommends investments and policy actions to build a stronger public health system, prioritize prevention, and address the ways in which social and economic inequities create barriers to good health in many communities.

The Link Between Race and Health, in Five Charts

While access to health insurance has long been considered a "great equalizer among patients," a new study published by NORC found that racial and ethnic identifiers are greater indicators of health than insurance status. For the study, researchers analyzed self-reported data from individuals enrolled in an employer-sponsored health plan from 2017 to 2019. The study found Black people were more likely to have high blood pressure than white, Hispanic, and Asian individuals. Overall, 46.5% of enrollees had high blood pressure, compared with 60.4% of Black enrollees.

FEATURED TOPICS

Novavax Vaccine Info

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Novavax is a COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in adults 18 years and older. It is currently being used in more than 40 countries and was authorized by the FDA on July 13, 2022, for emergency use in the United States. Here’s everything you need to know about Novavax and the latest data about its safety and efficacy. 

What Is Novavax? 

Novavax is a vaccine for adults 18 and older that may prevent COVID-19 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It is a two-dose vaccine that requires each dose to be given three weeks apart. 

According to the FDA, Novavax contains the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and Matrix-M adjuvant. Adjuvants are ingredients in vaccines that may enhance the immune response of the vaccinated person. The spike protein in Novavax is produced in insect cells, and the Matrix M-adjuvant contains saponin extracts from the bark of the Soapbark tree native to Chile. 

Novavax does not contain any live virus and cannot give COVID-19 to those who receive it. 

Home COVID-19 Tests - How Many Should You Keep on Hand?

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Even though many state-run COVID-19 testing clinics are closing, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has far from disappeared. New Omicron variants infect thousands of people daily across the nation, and the need for reliable and readily-accessible tests remains high. One of the most efficient ways to keep up with COVID-19 detection and surveillance for yourself and your family is to use a home testing kit. However, the availability of home testing runs the gamut, and many people have questions about this alternate testing option. 

Here’s what you need to know about home COVID-19 tests, including whether you should stockpile home COVID-19 tests, how many you should keep on hand at home, where to find at-home COVID-19 tests, and how closely you should keep an eye on test expiration dates. 

To Stockpile Tests, or Not to Stockpile? 

Stockpiling might be an automatic reflex at this point in the pandemic after families have been hit with random shortages of ubiquities like toilet paper and baby formula. However, stockpiling home COVID-19 tests may not be the most prudent strategy. Real-time community COVID-19 detection and surveillance have been hindered multiple times over the past two years because of testing shortages. Stockpiling — or hoarding — tests can lead to testing scarcity, making it difficult for people who require a test result immediately to get the clarification they need. In fact, during the first Omicron surge in January 2022, health experts urged people not to stockpile kits for this reason. Instead, judicious use of tests, keeping in mind the needs of your community, is the best practice. 

National Breastfeeding Week

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National Breastfeeding Week is recognized and celebrated every year during the first week of August. Here’s more about the significance of this yearly observance and where to get donor milk and support if you and your baby are affected by the 2022 Infant Formula Shortage. 

What Is National Breastfeeding Week? 

National Breastfeeding Week originated in 1992 and is celebrated every year from August 1 to August 7. It was created to generate public awareness and support for breastfeeding, and to promote breastfeeding as the best source of nutrition for a baby during their first year of life. Another goal of National Breastfeeding Week is to protect and support the rights of women to breastfeed anywhere at any time to nourish their babies. 

What Is the 2022 Infant Formula Shortage? 

In February 2022, several baby formula manufacturers recalled many of their products after four infants became ill and two infants died from consuming formula that gave them a Cronobacter sakazakii infection. Cronobacter sakazakii is a bacteria that can live in dry foods including herbal teas, powdered milk, and powdered baby formula. Illnesses caused by this bacteria are rare but can be deadly for infants. 

The CDC reports that recalls on various baby formula products began on February 17. Since then, store shelves across the U.S. have been bare and hundreds of thousands of parents are having difficulty feeding and caring for their babies. Additionally, ongoing supply chain issues and import restrictions have made it even more challenging for parents to find baby formula. 

Over-the-Counter Birth Control Medication

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Over-the-counter (OTC) birth control medication is available in more than 100 countries except for the United States. On July 11, 2022, a pharmaceutical company based in France called HRA Pharma asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve an OTC birth control pill. If approved, the pill will be the first oral contraceptive available in the U.S. without requiring a prescription. 

Here’s everything you need to know about OTC birth control medication and other commonly used OTC birth control methods. 

What Is OTC Birth Control Medication? 

The OTC birth control pill currently being reviewed by the FDA is called Opill. It was approved by the FDA in 1973 and is available only by prescription in the U.S. In 2014, Opill was acquired by Pfizer. 

Opill contains progestin only and is indicated for use by females to prevent pregnancy. Its modes of action include suppressing ovulation, thickening cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg, and stopping the release of the egg from the ovary. 

Opill should be taken at the same time every day and is not to be used as an emergency contraceptive. Females who take their pill later than usual or who forget to take a pill face the risk of becoming pregnant. 


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