ACSH in the Media: Jan. 2021

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By now, anyone even remotely following the nation's all-consuming mission to vaccinate every American has heard about the various obstacles that have impeded the delivery of the coveted "jab" that so many are waiting for. Addressing these difficulties in the supply chain, the American Council has been busy explaining to the public what's behind the miscues and delays, while also offering possible solutions to logistical hurdles. Two Op-Eds in prominent newspapers that appeared in January highlight ACSH's media presence in the national conversation.

Vaccine Administration is Much Harder Than it Seems -- On January 14, Drs. Alex Berezow and Chuck Direnstein co-authored an opinion piece in USA Today. In it, they analyzed the logistical headaches that have arisen so far, while highlighting vaccine refusal as another significant issue. As for streamlining the delivery process to the individual awaiting protection, they wrote that "The best way to accomplish this would be with a COVID vaccine app. At least one state will launch an app soon, but every state needs one. Additionally, an app that can factor in age, gender, and other underlying health conditions could help prevent 'line jumping.' ”

Simple Steps for Improving Vaccine Rollouts -- Continuing that effort, later in the month Dr. Berezow, a microbiologist and ACSH's VP of Scientific Affairs, wrote a short piece on the subject for the Council on Strategic Risks.

The Vaccine Prioritization Mistake: Why are we Doling Out Doses by Health Status? -- Another significant issue that's gummed up the works of getting Americans vaccinated quickly is the idea of linking a person's health condition to their place in line. Dr. Josh Bloom, ACSH's Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science, argues in a co-authored Op-Ed in the New York Daily News, that this is an extremely problematic approach, one that has many unintended consequences, while creating incentives for people to exaggerate or flat-out lie in order to obtain a coveted vaccination.

"Right now, the best thing we can do is use simple determinants like age, job/career and residence in an assisted living facility or nursing home," Dr. Bloom writes with co-author Jeff Singer, "to push people to the head of the line. Anything more will only make a dysfunctional system even worse." 

Dr. Singer practices general surgery in Phoenix and is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.

Has the Race to Distribute Covid-19 Vaccines Turned Political? -- On Jan. 27 Dr. Berezow appeared on France 24, a national French television network, to discuss the geopolitics of distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to citizens of the European Union. The discussion was then posted online (accessed by clicking the above headline link.) 

University of Maryland Settles with Family of Football Player Who Died of Heatstroke -- NBC News, in covering U of M's decision to settle the tragic case of a student-athlete's death, stemming from a hot, summer workout in 2018, cited an American Council article on the relative prevalence of college football fatalities linked to overheating. 

The Atlantic is Nostalgic for the Anti-Alcohol Prohibition Era -- Dr. Berezow's piece, taking issue with an article published in The Atlantic proposing a ban of booze, was reprinted and posted to the website Alcohol Problems and Solutions. He writes that the magazine "is already in the running for worst science article of the year. Using a combination of cherry-picked research and bizarre political advocacy, the magazine has published an article with the outrageous clickbait headline calling alcohol America’s Favorite Poison.” In response, Dr. Berezow advises that it's all nonsense, "So chill out and have a drink."

Sourcing Scientific News in Today’s World -- Dr. Dinerstein, ACSH's Director of Medicine, agreed to a discussion with Great.com, one that eventually made its way to YouTube. The content was offered to viewers as a way to "stay updated on the latest studies from COVID-19 Vaccines to the impacts of household air pollution."