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The Danger of a ‘Dudes Only’ Vaccine

The Johnson & Johnson shot is teetering on the precipice of becoming America’s “dudes only” vaccine. On Tuesday, the CDC and FDA advised halting the vaccine’s nationwide rollout to investigate six cases of a rare blood-clotting disorder that’s occurred in people within about two weeks of receiving the vaccine—all of them women under the age of 50....

Zoom Is Good, Actually

If there’s a villain of the pandemic, other than COVID-19, it’s probably Zoom. The videochatting platform is making people tired, it’s making people awkward, and it’s making people sick of their own faces. Zoom is such a shoddy substitute for real life that, according to one survey, nearly one in five workers has illicitly met up in person with colleagues...

The Year That Broke America’s Health-Care Workers

People come to Shelly Hughes to get better. Most patients at the Washington State long-term-care facility she works at are there for the express purpose of getting well enough to go home. In a typical year, she would rarely see cases of “failure to thrive,” the technical term for a sharp and sudden decline in health. But last year, multiple people who...

Podcast: How Much Should You Really Worry About the Vaccine-Blood-Clot News?

Despite weeks of growing vaccinations and good news, headlines about blood clots and a “pause” in deploying the much-anticipated Johnson & Johnson shots have people worried.Atlantic science writer Katherine J. Wu joins hosts James Hamblin and Maeve Higgins on the podcast Social Distance to explain the situation. Listen to their conversation here:What...

America Has Pandemic Senioritis

On February 25, I got my first shot of the Pfizer vaccine bright and early, picked up a breakfast burrito on the walk home, and spent the rest of the day sitting in my desk chair, doing what can only be described as vibing. I felt a little bit stoned, like I had taken a low-grade edible instead of being shot up with cutting-edge technology that would...

COVID-19 Vaccines Are Entering Uncharted Immune Territory

In early March 2020, Rick Phillips, 63, and his wife, Sheryl Phillips, quietly cloistered themselves in their Indianapolis home. They swore off markets, movie theaters, the gym, and, hardest of all, visits with their three young grandchildren. This April, three weeks after receiving her second shot of Pfizer’s vaccine, Sheryl broke her social fast and...

The mRNA Vaccines Are Looking Better and Better

A year ago, when the United States decided to go big on vaccines, it bet on nearly every horse, investing in a spectrum of technologies. The safest bets, in a way, repurposed the technology behind existing vaccines, such as protein-based ones for tetanus or hepatitis B. The medium bets were on vaccines made by Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca,...

It’s Not Over for the J&J Vaccine

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has entered regulatory purgatory. This morning, the CDC and FDA jointly recommended, “out of an abundance of caution,” a nationwide halt to the single shot’s rollout. The two agencies are investigating a rare blood-clotting disorder: In the six cases reported so far, all in the United States, women ages 18 to 48 developed...

Nancy Reagan’s Real Role in the AIDS Crisis

Adapted from The Triumph of Nancy Reagan, Simon & Schuster 2021.In mid-1981 the U.S. Center for Disease Control noticed a set of medical curiosities: an alert from Los Angeles that five previously healthy young men had come down with a rare, fatal lung infection; almost simultaneously, a dermatologist in New York saying that he had seen a cluster...

Vaccine Refusal Doesn’t Just Cost Lives. It Costs Money.

Imagine it’s 2026. A man shows up in an emergency room, wheezing. He’s got pneumonia, and it’s hitting him hard. He tells one of the doctors that he had COVID-19 a few years earlier, in late 2021. He had refused to get vaccinated, and ended up contracting the coronavirus months after most people got their shots. Why did he refuse? Something about politics,...

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