HHS will prod hospitals to cut carbon emissions

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration on Monday launched a new health office that will prod hospitals to cut carbon emissions, aiming to provide greener, more environmentally friendly medical care.

Depending on how much money is at stake, that’s likely to meet with industry resistance.

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said the new Office of Climate Change and Health Equity will also work with localities to mitigate harmful effects of climate change, such as seniors succumbing to excessive summer heat because their apartments lack air conditioning. Minority communities that often bear a disproportionate impact from environmental problems will get special attention.

“It’s not just about the climate, it’s not just about our environment,” Becerra said. “It’s about our health.”

The healthcare system is estimated to account for about 10% of the carbon dioxide  emitted annually in the U.S., making it a substantial source of greenhouse gases that abet climate change. President

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Remote learning shown to be effective for preparing clinicians as wheelchair-skills trainers

Wheelchair Skills Program (WSP) developer Dr. Lee Kirby practices “in-person” wheelchair skills training with a trainer. Remote [online] learning makes the WSP more accessible to would-be trainers, significantly increasing the number of clinicians available to provide skills training. Credit: Kessler Foundation/Jody Banks

Results of a cohort study led by experts from four Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems (SCIMS) centers show that clinicians who completed remote wheelchair-skills training not only gained knowledge of wheelchair skills but were more confident in training their peers. If implemented in clinical settings, remote training could prepare multiple cohorts to train wheelchair users, improving their ability to participate in community settings and boosting their quality of life.

The article, “Efficacy of a Remote Train-the-Trainer Model for Wheelchair SkillsTraining Administered by Clinicians: A Cohort Study with Pre- vs. Post-Training Comparisons” was published in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitationon June 3, 2021.

Despite ample evidence demonstrating

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U.S. intelligence still divided on origins of coronavirus

U.S. intelligence agencies remain divided on the origins of the coronavirus but believe China’s leaders did not know about the virus before the start of the global pandemic, according to results released Friday of a review ordered by President Joe Biden.

According to an unclassified summary, four members of the U.S. intelligence community say with low confidence that the virus was initially transmitted from an animal to a human. A fifth intelligence agency believes with moderate confidence that the first human infection was linked to a lab. Analysts do not believe the virus was developed as a bioweapon and most agencies believe the virus was not genetically engineered.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a statement Friday that China “continues to hinder the global investigation, resist sharing information and blame other countries, including the United States.” Reaching a conclusion about what caused the virus likely requires

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Teachers should be priority group for COVID jabs: WHO

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Teachers and school staff should be among the groups prioritised for COVID-19 vaccinations so that schools in Europe and Central Asia can stay open, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Unicef said on Monday.

Measures to ensure that schools can stay open throughout the pandemic “include offering teachers and other the COVID-19 vaccine as part of target population groups in national vaccination plans,” the UN agencies wrote in a statement.

The recommendation, already made by a group of WHO experts in November 2020 before the vaccination roll-out, should be done “while ensuring vaccination of vulnerable populations,” the statement said.

As schools reopen after the summer holidays, the agencies said it was “vital that classroom-based learning continue uninterrupted,” despite the spread of the more contagious Delta variant of the virus.

“This is of paramount importance for children’s education, and , for

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Insurer to cover booster shots … even though they’re free

Priority Health will offer $0 cost share coverage for members’ third COVID-19 vaccine doses, the insurer announced. That’s despite the Biden administration saying booster shots will be available for free in the fall.

Pending federal approval, U.S. health officials plan to roll out Moderna and Pfizer vaccination boosters beginning the week of Sept. 20.

While President Joe Biden said at an Aug. 18 news briefing that the process would come at no cost, Priority Health claims it’s not confused and only aimed to clear up confusion.

“There are some instances where a provider or a pharmacist, for instance, could possibly charge an administration fee for the boosters or initial doses,” said Emily Potts, senior marketing specialist at Priority Health. “So we wanted to relay to members that all costs will be covered regardless.”

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced on Aug. 13 that immunocompromised individuals will be able

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Japan probes two deaths after jabs from tainted Moderna batch

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Japan is investigating the death of two men who received jabs from batches of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine suspended from use due to contamination, the health ministry said Saturday.

The men aged 30 and 38 died earlier this month after getting their second Moderna doses from one of three manufacturing lots suspended by the government on Thursday after several vials were found to be contaminated, the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said the cause of death was still being investigated and “currently, causal relations with the vaccinations are unknown”.

Both men contracted fever after receiving their vaccinations and neither had underlying or allergic history, the ministry said.

The suspension affects 1.63 million doses of Moderna COVID vaccines, which have been reportedly shipped to over 800 vaccination centres across Japan.

Takeda, which is in charge of sales and distribution of the Moderna shot in

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