Today’s Read: 3 minutes
The race for the coronavirus vaccine takes, to quote Paula Abdul, two steps forward and two steps back. Obesity is affecting Gen Z. Texas social workers change protections for LGBTQ clients. Plus, Millennials are struggling with behavioral health, as well as physical health conditions.
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Covid-19 vaccine update
With more than 40 trials testing Covid-19 vaccines in humans and roughly 150 more in earlier preclinical stages of testing, according to the World Health Organization, a pause in some studies, like the one Johnson & Johnson announced yesterday, is to be expected.
Pfizer and partner BioNTech’s late-stage results are expected as soon as this month. (Yesterday, they received FDA approval to enroll teens as young as 12 in their vaccine trials.) It’s thought Moderna’s data will follow closely after. So far, nothing has emerged to halt their progress toward a vaccine.
Other companies haven’t been as fortunate, Bloomberg reports. AstraZeneca dropped out of the lead after its trials were halted in September when a study volunteer developed a possible neurological problem. While Astra’s trials in the U.K., South Africa, and Brazil have resumed, its U.S. study remains halted.
And a mid- to late-stage study from Inovio Pharmaceuticals was put on a partial hold last month after U.S. regulators raised questions about a delivery device used in the shot.
Elsewhere, Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced the approval of a second new coronavirus vaccine in as many months—but neither has completed the kind of extensive and rigorous three-phase trials required in the U.S., NPR reports.
What obesity in Gen Z looks like
Nearly 16% of U.S. youth have obesity, according to a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The report looked at youth ages 10-17 using 2018-2019 data, and found:
- Overall: 1 in 7 youth, or 15.5%, had obesity last year, compared to 16.1% in 2016.
- Geographic trends: Kentucky had the highest youth obesity rate, at 23.8%, while Utah had the lowest, at 9.6%.
- Five states had obesity rates that were statistically significantly higher than the national rate in 2018-19: Kentucky (23.8%), Mississippi (22.3%), South Carolina (22.1%), Tennessee (20.4%), and Arkansas (20.2%).
- Eight states had obesity rates that were statistically significantly lower than the national rate in 2018- 19: Utah (9.6%), Minnesota (9.9%), Kansas (10.6%), Montana (10.6%), New York (10.7%), Colorado (10.9%), Hawaii (11.1%), and Nebraska (11.5%).
- Racial disparities: Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic, and Black youth had significantly higher rates of obesity than white and Asian youth.
Economic disparities: 21.5% of youth in households making less than the federal poverty level had obesity, more than double the 8.8% of youth in households making at least 400 percent of the federal poverty level.
LGBTQ protections removed in Texas
On Monday, the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners removed protections for LGBTQ clients and clients with disabilities who seek social work services. The state regulatory board voted unanimously to change a section of its code of conduct that prevented social workers from turning away clients on the basis of disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Now, they can.
The change came as a recommendation from Gov. Greg Abbott’s office because the code’s nondiscrimination protections went beyond those outlined in state law. The policy change could impact LGBTQ clients’ access to mental health services in the over 100 Texas counties already facing a shortage of social workers.
If you practice in Texas, how will this change affect how you refer your LGBTQ clients for mental health services?
ONE BIG NUMBER
The percentage of millennials who have behavioral health conditions that affect their physical health, according to a new report from Blue Cross Blue Shield. This group is two times as likely to have chronic conditions such as hypertension, high cholesterol, Crohn’s disease/ulcerative colitis, type 2 diabetes, and coronary heart disease.
All creatures are curious. Watch a quokka be baffled by this human trick.