The Briefing provides an at-a-glance view of some important developments in the information universe surrounding COVID-19. The views presented here are solely those of ECRI Horizon Scanning and have not been vetted by other stakeholders.

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Attention is turning to those who are not vaccinated. Many people—from the current US administration to academic teams—are exploring why some people are still unvaccinated and how to overcome the gap.

A recent investigation found that only 20 US state vaccination distribution plans referenced a health equity committee and only 8 had minority representatives on the planning committee. Data gathered by the academic group CommuniVax led its investigators to warn against the tendency to blame vaccine hesitancy. Limited transportation, inability to take time off work, lack of child care, and the possibility of lost work or need for uninsured care because of side effects are some of the factors keeping those in underserved communities away from vaccination sites. See Topics to Watch for an initiative aimed at increasing vaccination rates among people who speak Spanish.

A gender gap is also developing. As of July 6, almost 9.5 million more women than men had been vaccinated in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The dominance of women in groups with the earliest access, existing gender differences in attitudes toward health care in general, and political ideology are possible reasons for the gap. Men are known to have a higher risk of death from COVID-19, yet only 4% of 4420 COVID-19 clinical trials (registered from January 1, 2020, to January 26, 2021) used the sex of participants as an analytical variable.

Health care workers are still fighting COVID-19 every day (see Topics to Watch for a potential new treatment). That’s unlikely to change if these disparity gaps keep vaccination rates stagnant at the same time as the more transmissible Delta variant gains dominance in the United States.

Aviptadil (Zyesami) to Treat Critical COVID-19 With Respiratory Failure 

At a Glance

  • Aviptadil is an investigational, intravenous, and synthetic form of human vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) used to treat patients who have critical COVID-19 with respiratory failure.
  • Aviptadil is thought to prevent viral replication, reduce inflammation, and increase surfactant production, to treat and prevent damage to the lung cells that absorb oxygen into the body.
  • In June 2021, the company reported data from a phase 2/3, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of 196 patients with critical COVID-19 and respiratory failure. It found that at 60 days, patients treated with aviptadil had a median 10-day shorter length of hospitalization and were more likely to be alive and free from respiratory failure.
  • Also in June 2021, the company submitted a request to US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use authorization (EUA) for aviptadil to treat patients who have critical COVID-19 and respiratory failure that have not responded to other treatments.

WhatsApp Chat in Spanish Seeks to Improve Vaccine Equity

At a Glance

  • The WhatsApp chat initiative is intended to improve information access and vaccination rates among US Hispanic people to reduce COVID-19 infection spread, death rates, and health care costs related to COVID-19 in this target population.
  • This chat is called “Mi Chat Sobre Vacunas COVID” or “My Chat about COVID Vaccines" and can be accessed by scanning a QR code or clicking on a specific link.
  • It has information in Spanish about nearby vaccination sites, transportation to the vaccination sites, and answers to frequently asked questions.
  • According to a 2021 survey, 46% of Hispanic Americans use WhatsApp, more than Americans identifying as Black (23%) or White (16%), making this app suitable for a vaccine promotion initiative.
  • As of July 4, 2021, data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that 34% of people who initiated COVID-19 vaccination in the past 14 days identified themselves as Hispanic, while Hispanic people make up 17% of the US population, suggesting an encouraging recent increase in vaccine uptake in the population.

Commentary in this COVID-19 Scan reflects preliminary views of ECRI Horizon Scanning and internal ECRI stakeholders.
The information contained in this document has not been vetted by other stakeholders.

We welcome your comments on this Scan. Send them by email to [email protected].

Posted: July 15, 2021

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