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The Best of the Coronavirus Blog This Week | by Alexandra Sifferlin | Oct, 2020


Credit: diyun Zhu / Getty Images

There’s really never a dull moment in a pandemic, and this week was filled with Covid-19 news. Here are three stories from Medium’s Coronavirus Blog to get you caught up.

Takeaways from the FDA’s big Covid-19 vaccine meeting. On Thursday, a committee of vaccine experts met for the first time to discuss standards that would need to be met in order for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)to authorize a Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use. During the more than eight-hour-long virtual meeting, representatives of vaccine companies spoke about their progress, government scientists addressed plans to allocate a vaccine, and members of the public voiced their concerns about potential Covid-19 vaccines. Biotech writer Emily Mullin compiled a list of the four biggest takeaways of the meeting, and science writer Dana Smith outlined four lingering questions and concerns. Read both pieces below.

Racial minorities need the Covid-19 vaccine the most, but prioritizing them will be difficult, writes Yasmin Tayag this week. Black, Indigenous, Latinx people and other people of color should be prioritized for a vaccine because they are dying from Covid-19 at higher rates, have less access to testing and to medical support, and have the added obstacles created by centuries of structural racism. But getting a national, race-based policy past the Supreme Court will be tricky, especially with Amy Coney Barrett on board, experts say. Read about the legal, ethical, and cultural roadblocks below.

It’s normal to feel concerned about the Covid-19 vaccine. Recent survey data found that 49% of Black adults in the U.S. say they will not get the Covid-19 vaccine if it were determined to be safe by scientists and it was free. That’s reasonable. Keep in mind: People saying in surveys that they may not get a vaccine isn’t necessarily an accurate predictor of what people will do when there is a vaccine. And Black Americans’ concerns and skepticism over new vaccines are valid as there’s a long history of American health care deliberately harming Black people.

Here’s the thing: It doesn’t make much sense to ask people what they think about getting a Covid-19 vaccine when there isn’t data for an approved one for them to review. And it’s okay to have questions (here’s what to ask). Yes, vaccine hesitancy can become an issue once we have a safe and effective one, because then we want people to get it. This is why it is so important to follow the scientific process for vaccine approval and be transparent. (I, for one, can’t wait to get a Covid-19 vaccine!) Read more below.


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