Week in Review: July 16

The Week in Review provides an overview of the past week’s top health care content, including industry news and trends, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic Laboratories news, and upcoming events.

Industry News

Coalition says health workers should be required to get coronavirus vaccine?

A coalition of health-care organizations called on medical facilities Tuesday to mandate that their workers get vaccinated against the coronavirus, saying the strategy has worked to fight influenza and other infectious diseases and is necessary to contain the pandemic. “COVID-19 vaccination should be a condition of employment for all healthcare personnel,” the coalition’s statement reads, warning that “a sufficient vaccination rate is unlikely to be achieved” without a vaccine mandate. The statement and accompanying guidelines — signed by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, the Infectious Diseases Society of America and five other medical groups — come amid a raging debate about health care, as some organizations impose new vaccine requirements and as infectious-disease expert Anthony S. Fauci suggested last weekend that “there should be more mandates” at the local level to curb virus spread. Via Washington Post

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Pfizer sparks thorny debate over COVID-19 booster shots

A divide between Pfizer and the Biden administration over the need for a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is sparking a debate over booster shots, with a minefield of complications. Pfizer made waves last week by saying it would be applying to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for authorization for a third shot. The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pushed back within hours, issuing a rare joint statement saying booster shots are not needed at this time. But U.S. health officials did not rule out the possibility that booster shots might be needed later, potentially opening up a range of thorny complications. Via The Hill

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FDA adds warning about rare reaction to J&J COVID-19 vaccine

U.S. regulators on Monday added a new warning to Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine about links to a rare and potentially dangerous neurological reaction, but said it’s not entirely clear the shot caused the problem. The Food and Drug Administration announced the new warning, flagging reports of Guillain-Barre syndrome, an immune system disorder that can causes muscle weakness and occasionally paralysis. Health officials described the side effect as a “small possible risk” for those getting the shot. The action comes after the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviewed reports of about 100 people developing the syndrome after receiving the one-dose vaccine. Almost all of were hospitalized and one person died, the FDA said. Via Associated Press

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Mayo Clinic News

Can Marijuana Make You a Better Athlete?

"If you look at any test of physical performance, there’s either no data, it’s a wash, or marijuana makes it worse,” said Dr. Michael J. Joyner, an exercise physiologist and anesthesiologist who studies elite athletes at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Dr. Joyner said there might be some objective but minor physical benefit of cannabis in certain sports. World Archery, the international federation for the Olympic sport of archery, bans alcohol from competitions because it could help to steady an archer’s hand. Cannabis could potentially offer a similar advantage in sports that require such feats. But there is no real data to support that. Via New York Times

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Can vaccinated people get long Covid? Doctors say risk is 'very, very small'.

Breakthrough infections resulting in long Covid-19 are "quite rare," said Dr. Greg Vanichkachorn, an occupational medicine specialist who works with post-Covid-19 syndrome patients at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota…But because the vaccines have been proven to dramatically cut the risk of Covid-19 infection in general, the shots remain "one of the best ways to lower your risk of getting post-Covid syndrome," Vanichkachorn said. Vanichkachorn's observation, while based only on what he's seen in the clinic, is echoed at other post-Covid-19 clinics. Via NBC News

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Health Anxiety Common as COVID Restrictions Loosen

COVID-19 has caused more anxiety and depression for many over the course of the pandemic. A survey from the CDC and the Census Bureau found the percentage of adults with symptoms of an anxiety or depressive disorder increased from 36.4% to 41.5% from August 2020 to February 2021. But this phenomenon will not just disappear as COVID-19 cases decrease, says Reese Druckenmiller, a clinical social worker for the Mayo Clinic Health System. “There are still people out there not wanting to leave home,” she says. “Some folks inherently struggle with anxiety more than others, and we know anxiety can come from different experiences and traumas. This pandemic has been traumatic for people.” Via WebMD

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Chantell Canfield

Chantell Canfield is a web content coordinator for Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She began working for Mayo Clinic in 2021.