As the world waits for a potential COVID-19 vaccine, we delve into how vaccines actually work. What are the different types of vaccine? How do they trigger and train the immune system, and what is the role of herd immunity?
With the annual flu season looming, GPs are anticipating a frenzy of vaccinations, perhaps more so than ever this year. As so many ‘flu and respiratory viruses circulate every year, and as the ‘flu vaccine is for one strain of influenza only, is the vaccine worth getting, and what are the risks associated with vaccinating vs. not vaccinating?
In this week’s episode, we discuss the high vaccine uptake in New Zealand, and the role that social distancing for COVID-19 may have played in their low numbers of seasonal flu. We also talk about whether or not the message we give to patients about the benefits and risks of vaccination is transparent enough, and how we might communicate better with them to allow them to make an informed decision. We feel pressure to increase vaccination rates, because we believe we are protecting people, but does the evidence support that?
Our guests: Nikki Turner is the director of the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) at the university of Auckland. She is an academic general practitioner, and a professor at the university. Jeff Kwong is a professor at the University of Toronto, and the interim director of the Centre for Vaccine Preventable Diseases at the university’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Newest Oldest Longest Shortest Random
Conclusion Among patients with knee or hip OA using analgesics, more than half either discontinued analgesic use or shifted to lower risk analgesics following an 8-week structured exercise therapy and patient education programme (GLA:D). These data encourage randomised controlled trial evaluation of whether supervised exercise therapy, combined with patient education, can reduce analgesic use, including opioids, among patients with knee and hip OA pain.
Melanoma may account for a small percentage of skin cancers, yet it causes an estimated 75 to 80 percent of skin cancer deaths. Caught early, it has a 99 percent five-year survival rate, but if it slips patients’ and clinicians’ notice, digs deeper into the skin and spreads beyond the lymph nodes, that rate can drop to 25 percent, according to the National Cancer Institute. The ACS predicts there will be 6,850 deaths in the United States from melanoma this year.
Although more skin pigment provides more protection, melanin itself has a sun protection factor, or SPF, of less than 5, says Fisher, suggesting that it functions physiologically as more than mere sunblock. He and others have clarified how different types of melanin raise or lower melanoma risk, and they’ve shown that any minimal benefit provided by tanning, such as the production of vitamin D, doesn’t outweigh the DNA damage caused by UV exposure.
Skin cancers are far and away the most common cancers in the United States. Basal and squamous cell carcinomas make up the vast majority, with somewhere between 1 million and 5.4 million new instances diagnosed each year. However, because these two malignancies don’t have to be reported to cancer registries, precise numbers aren’t known: The cancer officially ranked as the most common in this country is breast cancer, with 270,000 new cases each year. Melanoma is ranked fifth, with about 100,000 new diagnoses expected in 2020, reports the American Cancer Society (ACS).
As government and private money pour into the global race for a Covid-19 vaccine, drugmakers are under great pressure to keep the shot affordable while also keeping investors happy. WSJ explains what this means for the final price tag of the jabs.
Illustration: Crystal Tai