“Rewild your kids: why playing outside should be a post-pandemic priority” – The Conversation
by John J. Reilly and Mark S. Tremblay
“This generation of children will face a range of challenges, including the impacts of climate change, increasing globalisation, and the consequences of rapid technological change. They will need to become habitually physically active in order to grow into healthy, resilient adults who can survive and thrive in a changing world.
T”he Global Matrix initiative on physical activity
“As nurseries and schools begin to reopen across the UK, there is much concern about the impact of this very difficult year on children. One aspect of normal childhood which many have missed out on in the last 12 months is the simple fun of playing outside. England’s Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield believes we should prioritise youngsters’ wellbeing as part of our recovery from COVID-19.
“Our latest research suggests that during lockdown most children spent less time outdoors, became less physically active and spent more time in front of screens. As a result, this may now be the least fit generation of children in history. In England, children have even been scolded by police for playing outdoors. And school and nursery closures have inevitably reduced opportunities to play with friends.
“Our behaviours are formed and reinforced by habit. Some children may have lost the habit of playing outside over the past year, replacing it with sedentary screen time, while others might not have had the opportunity to develop the habit at all.”
Click here to read this article at The Conversation in its entirety
“7 tangible ways to make vaccine website more accessible” – Fast Company
“Vaccine registration websites weren’t designed for the people who need them most. Here are easy fixes that don’t require starting over.”
SOURCE: AZFree/iStock. Pavlo Stavnichuk/iStock
by Catharine McNally
“Across the U.S., online registrations for the COVID-19 vaccine are failing to consider some of the most vulnerable groups of people: seniors, those with disabilities, and certain racial and socioeconomic groups.
“The online registration processes were launched quickly (rightly so) in response to the rushed vaccine rollout. Usually, rapidly spun-up sites cater to the general public—the mythical ‘average users’—not these specific groups.
“But these groups are the main users of government vaccination registration websites, at least initially. Seniors face confusing, inconsistent, and frustrating registration processes that leave them scrambling to find help from family members, as an NPR story detailed earlier this month. New York, for instance, has a 51-question registration process that leaves many seniors overwhelmed.
“It’s not just seniors who are being left out.” Click here to read this article at Fast Company in its entirety.
Department of Health Provides Update on Adverse Weather Impacting Vaccine Distribution and Administration, Assures Pennsylvanians will Be Vaccinated as Distribution Resumes
Harrisburg, PA – As significant winter weather continues to impact much of the country, the Pennsylvania Department of Health was alerted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that vaccine sent to providers by Moderna and Pfizer will be delayed. The department wants Pennsylvanians to be aware that these delays could impact their scheduled appointments.
“Weather this week has been challenging in terms of getting vaccine delivered from manufacturers directly to vaccine providers in Pennsylvania and across the country,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. “As we have been emphasizing, we are working with our vaccine providers to ensure they are aware of the shipment delays as they continue to be in contact with people who have scheduled appointments to reschedule so that people are assured their vaccine.
“It’s too early to know which vaccine providers are being affected by these weather-related delays. We know that the federal government is working with manufacturers and we know that local vaccine providers will be ready when the shipments do get through. Unfortunately, weather delays will impact the ability to get vaccine into arms and providers are working to reschedule appointments as necessary.”
Pennsylvania was allocated 183,575 first doses of vaccine this week, 112,400 doses of Moderna and 71,175 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech. Philadelphia receives its own, separate allocation of vaccine.
Earlier this week, hubs from which vaccine is distributed were significantly affected by winter weather. Moderna vaccine was not shipped from the distributor on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday of this week. The CDC is working with shipping partners to resume shipments as quickly as possible.
Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines were not shipped on Monday, February 15. A limited amount of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was shipped on both Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.
There will be a significant backlog of orders for distribution as the federal government and the distributors work to begin shipping again. The federal government is working to catch up as efficiently as possible.
While vaccine supply from the federal government remains limited, the Department of Health is working to ensure the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable and efficient.
- The Your Turn tool provides a way to register to be alerted when it’s your turn to be vaccinated.
- A commonwealth COVID-19 vaccination guide explains the current process for getting one. Pennsylvanians with questions about the vaccination process can call the Department of Health hotline at 1-877-724-3258.
- Vaccine provider map to find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you.
- All of the locations that received vaccine and how much they have received can be found on the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution webpage.
- Vaccine dashboard data can also be found on the website to find more information on the doses administered and showcase demographic information.
- Pennsylvanians can provide feedback on the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Interim Vaccination Plan by clicking on the Plan Feedback Form square under Popular Vaccine Topics here.
- Frequently asked questions can be found here.
The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:
Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
- Clean surfaces frequently.
- Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
- If you must go out, you are required to wear a mask when in a business or where it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing.
- Download the COVID Alert PA app and make your phone part of the fight. The free app can be found in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store by searching for “covid alert pa”.
“Demystifying America’s 486,000 Covid-19 deaths | Who has died from Covid-19 in the US?” – VOX
“The virus was unsparing.”
by Youyou Zhou and Julia Belluz
“Across the country, more than 27 million people have contracted the coronavirus, and 485,000 have died. That’s the highest Covid-19 toll of any country and more than the coronavirus deaths in Italy, Germany, Australia, Japan, the UK, Canada, and France combined. It exceeds the US death toll in World War II.
“It’s also an underestimate, and doesn’t account for all the people impacted by loss. If every American who died has left nine people grieving, as one study suggested, there are now more than 4 million Americans who have lost a loved one to the pandemic.
“Death at this scale is difficult to comprehend, or visualize. To get a clearer sense of the shifting burden of Covid-19 deaths over time, Vox analyzed coronavirus mortality by age, region, and race from the past year, based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Johns Hopkins University.
“We found that while Covid-19 spared no group, it impacted certain populations more than others. Throughout the pandemic, people of color have consistently been disproportionately sickened and killed by the virus. They also died young: Of Covid-19 deaths in people under the age of 45, more than 40 percent were Hispanic and about a quarter were Black.
“But what started as a health emergency concentrated in travelers, urban minority communities, and other crowded places (such as nursing homes and prisons) fanned out into rural areas of the country, leading to a surge in deaths among white people, too.”
Click here to read this interestingly displayed article at VOX.
“State Department of Aging offers older Pennsylvanians new resources to arrange COVID-19 vaccinations” – WITF
“We need to foster these community-based solutions.”
SOURCE: WITF article
by Kiley Koscinski/WESA
“(Pittsburgh) – After weeks of criticism from older Pennsylvanians struggling to get COVID-19 vaccine appointments, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Thursday two state agencies are stepping up to help people over the age of 65 book COVID-19 vaccine appointments over the phone.
“The state’s Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE, is a low-cost prescription program for older adults; it has launched a dedicated unit at its Harrisburg-based call center to help its 275,000 cardholders arrange vaccination appointments. Operators will also be working with cardholders to arrange for transportation to vaccination sites; they’re also working with PACE’s pharmacy network members to vaccinate at a cardholder’s residence, if necessary. Enrollees can call 1-800-225-7223.
“For other older adults, PA Link is now taking calls from people who don’t have access to a computer. Operators will assess the caller’s situation, offer guidance and transfer to a scheduling team. For callers with transportation needs, PA Link will also be able to contact partners with their local Area Agency on Aging to assist with coordinating rides.”
Continue reading this article at WITF, click here.
“The Second COVID-19 Shot Is a Rude Reawakening for Immune Cells” – The Atlantic
“Side effects are just a sign that protection is kicking in as it should.”
“GETTY / THE ATLANTIC
by Katherine J. Wu
“At about 2 a.m. on Thursday morning, I woke to find my husband shivering beside me. For hours, he had been tossing in bed, exhausted but unable to sleep, nursing chills, a fever, and an agonizingly sore left arm. His teeth chattered. His forehead was freckled with sweat. And as I lay next to him, cinching blanket after blanket around his arms, I felt an immense sense of relief. All this misery was a sign that the immune cells in his body had been riled up by the second shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, and were well on their way to guarding him from future disease.
“Side effects are a natural part of the vaccination process, as my colleague Sarah Zhang has written. Not everyone will experience them. But the two COVID-19 vaccines cleared for emergency use in the United States, made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, already have reputations for raising the hackles of the immune system: In both companies’ clinical trials, at least a third of the volunteers ended up with symptoms such as headaches and fatigue; fevers like my husband’s were less common.
“Dose No. 2 is more likely to pack a punch—in large part because the effects of the second shot build iteratively on the first.”
Click here to read this article at The Atlantic in its entirety.
“‘Cruel’ Digital Race For Vaccines Leaves Many Seniors Behind” – Kaiser Health Network
“Glitchy websites, jammed phone lines and long lines outside clinics are commonplace as states expand who’s eligible to be vaccinated. The oldest Americans and those without caregivers and computer skills are at a distinct disadvantage.” (LYDIA ZURAW/KHN ILLUSTRATION; GETTY IMAGES)
by Will Stone
“The efforts to vaccinate people 65 and older have strained under the enormous demand that has overwhelmed cumbersome, inconsistent scheduling systems.
“The struggle represents a shift from the first wave of vaccinations — health care workers in health care settings — which went comparatively smoothly. Now, in most places, elderly people are pitted against one another, competing on an unstable technological playing field for limited shots.
“’You can’t have the vaccine distribution be a race between elderly people typing and younger people typing,’ said Jeremy Novich, a clinical psychologist in New York City who has begun a group to help people navigate the technology to get appointments. ‘That’s not a race. That’s just cruel.’
“While the demand is an encouraging sign of public trust in the vaccines, the challenges facing seniors also speak to the country’s fragmented approach, which has left many confused and enlisting family members to hunt down appointments.”
Continue reading this article at Kaiser Health Network, click here.
“OPINION: Go Old School With COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout for Older Adults” – next avenue
“Lack of internet access shouldn’t be a barrier to getting vaccinated.”
by Susan Nash
“The federal government’s recommendation that the COVID-19 vaccine be made available to adults aged 65 and up is a welcome step in the effort to accelerate the distribution of these life-saving shots. Unfortunately, many of the older adults most at risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19 are the least likely to have online access to vaccine information and registration options. Other forms of outreach to this population are essential to an effective vaccination effort.
“In a recent Los Angeles Times story about this problem, Donna Spratt, 82, of Cerritos, Calif., explained that she couldn’t figure out how to use county’s online system for vaccination registration.”Once you’re retired, you kind of lose contact with these things,” Spratt said. She needed to get her daughter to arrange for the appointment and her son to drive her 20+ miles to get the shot.
“The digital divide between young and old has already emerged as a critical problem during the months of sheltering in place: older people without internet access have faced increased risks from social isolation without the ability to connect even via Zoom. Internet access is also crucial to accessing essential services like grocery delivery and telehealth video visits during the pandemic.”
Click here to continue reading this opinion column at next avenue.
“Beware of Robocalls, Texts and Emails Promising COVID-19 Cures or Stimulus Payments” – AARP
“Coronavirus scams spreading as fraudsters follow the headlines”
by John Waggoner and Andy Markowitz
“Coronavirus scams are spreading nearly as fast as the virus itself. As of Jan. 12, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had logged more than 324,000 consumer complaints related to COVID-19 and stimulus payments, 69 percent of them involving fraud or identity theft. Victims have reported losing $307 million, with a median loss of $305.
Fraudsters are using the full suite of scam tools — phishing emails and texts, bogus social media posts, robocalls, impostor schemes and more — and closely following the headlines, adapting their messages and tactics as new medical and economic issues arise.
For example, with the government granting emergency authorization of the first COVID-19 vaccines, federal and state agencies are warning of a flood of vaccine scams, with phony websites and email campaigns promising easy and early access to coronavirus shots. Authorities also anticipate a fresh wave of stimulus scams with Congress approving new rounds of relief payments, enhanced unemployment benefits and small business loans.
Here are some coronavirus scams scams to look out for. Click to keep reading this article.
Confused about the COVID-19 vaccinations? Look for reliable information.
Right now, there’s a fair amount of consternation and confusion about the vaccination protocols across the nation, the state and locally in your county.
Everyone is eager to be vaccinated with one of the two COVID-19 vaccines — Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech.
The big issue is that so many rumors are flying about that people are having a hard time getting accurate information. The best way to get credible information is to look to the information provided at government Websites.
For instance, here’s the guidance at the Pennsylvania Department of Health Website: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Vaccine/Pages/Vaccine.aspx
Your county, too, may have specific to your county information:
- Berks County has this Website: https://www.berkscms.org/covid-vaccine
- Lebanon County has this Website: https://www.lcdes.org/vaccinate/
This January 15, 2021 LNP – Always Lancaster article states “As neighboring counties launch websites for residents to sign up for COVID-19 vaccines, officials in Lancaster County have decided to hold off while federal and state guidelines continue to shift.”
The vaccination process is quite fluid and just two days ago, the Biden Administration added national COVID-19 guidance to the White House Website — you can download the National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness.
Other sources for reliable information about the vaccination processes:
- “Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination” Updated Jan. 15, 2021 at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- “COVID-19 vaccines at VA”
- “Vaccine Timeline | Availability & Distribution Guide” at Scientsy.com