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July 15, 2022
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Municipal health workers conduct a house-to-house polio vaccine campaign at a relocation site for informal settlers north of Manila, September 21, 2020.  Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty

25 Million Missed Vaccinations: ‘Red Alert’ for Child Health

The pandemic has brought on the largest vaccination backslide in 3 decades, threatening progress on childhood immunization rates, according to new WHO/UNICEF data.

Last year 25 million children failed to get vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis—a marker for overall childhood immunization coverage. Coverage fell across all regions.

The consequences will be measured in lives lost, warns UNICEF chief Catherine Russell, AP reports.

Missing out most: Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, and the Philippines.

Making matters worse: Rising malnutrition is further weakening kids’ immune systems.

Impact already felt: Since WHO recommended polio vaccination campaigns in March 2020 as COVID-19 took off, dozens of polio outbreaks have hit 30+ countries, WHO reports.

Also driving the decline: More children living in conflict zones with unreliable immunization services.

The lesson: Tackling COVID-19 must go hand-in-hand with fighting other diseases, says WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Setting an example: Uganda and Pakistan both maintained routine immunizations alongside COVID-19 vaccination programs.


The Latest


A new study in mice offers the strongest evidence yet that losing Y chromosomes as they age may have detrimental effects on men’s health—especially their hearts. Fun fact: “Despite its macho reputation, the Y chromosome is a pipsqueak,” Science notes.
Africa is facing a growing threat from pathogens that spread from animals to humans—such as monkeypox and Ebola; a new analysis found that zoonotic outbreaks in the region are up 63% from 2012 to 2022 compared to 2001–2011. WHO Africa

Spain is responsible for obstetric violence in the case of a woman who underwent premature labor induction and a C-section without her consent, “without any medical justification, while her arms were tied down and without the presence of her husband,” according to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. UN Human Rights Office

Texas’ attorney general is suing the Biden administration over new guidance warning health workers and hospitals that they face legal consequences if they refuse to treat patients who need an abortion, arguing that the guidance “forces hospitals and doctors to commit crimes and risk their licensure under Texas law.” Politico

COVID-19 News

Fresh COVID wave sweeps Asia; New Zealand warns of pressure on hospitals – Reuters

The omicron subvariant dominating U.S. COVID-19 cases is more vaccine-resistant – NPR

The BA.5 wave is what Covid normal looks like – The Atlantic

The W.H.O. warns against ‘apathy’ in efforts to contain Covid in Africa. – The New York Times

Low demand for young kids' Covid vaccines is alarming doctors – Politico

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Cancer Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic – JAMA Network Open

Health Canada approves 1st COVID-19 vaccine for youngest kids – CBC

Infection preventionists' mental, physical health suffered in pandemic – CIDRAP

A Twitter ‘rando’ named a new coronavirus variant Centaurus and it stuck – The Washington Post



Even Light Drinking Carries Heavy Health Risks for Under-40s

People under 40 face higher health risks—and zero health benefits—from drinking alcohol than older adults, a new global study shows, The Guardian reports.
Young people should completely abstain from drinking, conclude the University of Washington–based Global Burden of Diseases study researchers.
Their analysis, published in the Lancet, considered data from 204 countries to determine health risks related to drinking (including drinking-related injuries) by geographical region, age, sex, and year.
Key findings:
  • ~1.34 billion people consumed harmful amounts of alcohol in 2020.
  • 59% of those who drank harmful amounts were ages 15–39.
Most at risk: Men ages 15–39. For them, more than a small shot glass of beer carries health risks, The Independent notes—while a safe daily limit for women under 40 is about 2 tablespoons of wine.
But: Modest amounts of alcohol—think a small glass of red wine a day—may help healthy adults 40 and older slightly reduce their risks of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes—supporting age and location-based alcohol consumption guidelines.
Another study, published yesterday in PLOS Medicine, connected drinking 7 or more units of alcohol a week to higher iron levels in the brain—which in turn has been linked to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, The Guardian notes.

Related: Tipsy at breaktime: Do liquor ads increase underage drinking? – Bhekisisa


Survival Through Sex Work

Job opportunities are scarce for migrant women in Tapachula, Mexico, and while waiting for travel documentation to continue north, many turn to sex work to survive.
The Brigada Callejera de Apoyo a la Mujer Elisa Martinez center—an organization that provides medical and mental health care and other services to sex workers—in February reported a 70% increase in prostitution in the city.
Along with earning only ~$15 a day, the women are often victims of abuse and harassment from clients and immigration officials, according to the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, especially as they are less protected than women working in more formal settings, such as bars.
Cronkite News/Arizona PBS


The Research We’ve Been Hangry For 

For those of us who can’t miss a midday snack without losing it, legitimate research wasn’t necessary to prove that hanger is real. For those who doubted the obvious, feast your eyes on this new study showing that hunger really does make people more irritable, Deutsche Welle reports.

Well … that may be an understatement. Such is hanger’s power that many a delayed meal, and many a relationship have been speared by its (empty) fork. Under hanger’s spell, a charming evening can turn catastrophic, heaped with Hulkish rage—making it, in a way, sort of a superpower. 
It’s a condition that affects everyone as either victim or perpetrator. Even Pokémon.

The hangry are easily diagnosed by their victims. The friends who, when peckishness is perceived, fearfully back away and start reaching for snacks. The mothers of hangry children, who learned early on to never leave the house without granola bars.

The research came about, naturally, because the lead scientist was accused of being a hangry person. And the proof is in the pudding—or lack thereof. 


"Unprecedented" spread of monkeypox spurs call for faster response – Axios

Pediatric HIV Case Identification Across 22 PEPFAR-Supported Countries During the COVID-19 Pandemic, October 2019–September 2020 – CDC 

The new 988 crisis number is about to launch. Here's what to know – NPR

How Young People Are Thinking About Their Mental Health – Slate

In China's Wuhan, cholera-causing bacteria in turtles strikes nerve – Reuters

Six ways to improve HIV prevention pill uptake among young women in Zimbabwe – The Conversation Africa

CDC Nixes Misleading Video About Cops' Risk of Fentanyl Overdose – MedPage Today

Voting is significant determinant of health, US medical association declares – The Guardian

Issue No. 2109

Global Health NOW is an initiative of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Contributors include Brian W. Simpson, MPH, Dayna Kerecman Myers, Annalies Winny, Morgan Coulson, Melissa Hartman, and Jackie Powder. Write us:, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GHN_News.

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