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All US Olympians Are Fully Vaccinated; No One Requested Exemptions

KHN Morning Briefing

Every one of the 200-plus athletes going to the Beijing Winter Olympics is reported to be fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, the Chinese authorities are limiting the traditional torch relay to just three days. In France, covid restrictions are due to be lifted soon, and Austria mandated shots for adults.

Florida Workers Pay Among The Most For Health Insurance

KHN Morning Briefing

A study from the Commonwealth Fund found Florida employees paid more for health insurance than in nearly every other state. A different report sheds light on why Chicago’s air quality didn’t get as much as a reprieve during the pandemic as other places: It’s diesel fuel’s fault.

Some Health Providers Are Getting Paid To Answer Emails

KHN Morning Briefing

In other news, Florida’s health providers and insurers have been given permission to use their own dispute resolution process instead of the federal No Surprises Act system. Florida’s orthopedic surgeons are also in the news for suing HCA, alleging anticompetitive conduct.

Not So Fast: Lawmakers Criticize CIA’s Report On Causes Of Havana Syndrome

KHN Morning Briefing

Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.) revealed that the intelligence community’s expert panel on Havana Syndrome will wrap up its work “in about 10 days,” and he questioned why the CIA would release its assessment ahead of that group’s work, Politico reported.

Scammers Selling Unauthorized Rapid Tests Or Have Zero Inventory

KHN Morning Briefing

News outlets cover how fraudsters are taking advantage of people searching for at-home tests and even leveraging the launch of the new government site for free tests. In San Francisco, the city has subpoenaed records from an unauthorized covid testing operator suspected of fraud.

Another Human Xenotransplant Success Achieved, With Pig Kidneys

KHN Morning Briefing

The organ transplant success saw genetically altered pig kidneys functioning inside a patient, who was already brain dead, for over 70 hours. In other news, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a quarter of U.S. adults are too sedentary to protect their health.

Study Says Early Intervention Could Stop Kids’ Peanut Allergies

KHN Morning Briefing

Scientists gave increasing doses of peanut protein powder to toddlers and found that after two and a half years, nearly three quarters could tolerate as much as 16 peanuts without allergic reactions. A pacifier recall, the impact of sugar on kids’ development, and more are in the news.

Sputnik Vaccine Might Be Significantly Better Against Omicron Than Pfizer

KHN Morning Briefing

A small lab study of just 68 people was conducted jointly between Russia and Italy and has not been peer-reviewed. The study found that three to six months after participants received two doses of vaccine, omicron-specific neutralizing antibodies were detected in 74.2% of Sputnik recipients compared with 56.9% of Pfizer recipients, Reuters reported.

California Bill Proposed That Would Let Older Kids Get Covid Shot Without Parent

KHN Morning Briefing

The proposed state legislation would allow adolescents 12 and older to get vaccinated against covid without parental consent. From around the rest of the country, news outlets look at the “special kind of hell” that parents and caregivers of kids under 5 are living in, until their charges are eligible for a covid vaccine.

HHS Funds Target Health Worker Burnout; Hospitals Plead With Public

KHN Morning Briefing

As some U.S. health care systems edge toward collapse with staff shortages and exhausted medical workers, the Department of Health and Human Services is awarding $103 million to address mental wellness. Meanwhile, hospitals urge the public to take more covid precautions — like vaccines.

Omicron Rages Through Many Nursing Homes, Forcing Shutdowns

KHN Morning Briefing

Record high covid infections are reported among nursing home residents and staffs, according to CDC data. Deaths have also risen, though not as badly as before vaccines were available. Separately, new research finds that unvaccinated people 65 or older are 49 times more likely to be hospitalized for covid than fully vaccinated and boosted seniors.

Possible Last Anniversary Of Roe V. Wade Already Shaping Courts, Laws

KHN Morning Briefing

The Supreme Court denied another request to step into the Texas abortion law challenge by providers. And today’s 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade has advocates on both sides of the debate preparing for a drastically altered landscape where the law could be reversed by June.