Credit reporting agencies to wipe out most medical debt, J&J vaccine may have been underestimated, and more COVID news

Here’s a look at COVID-19 news for March 20.

J&J vaccine may still have a role to play against COVID

The US public and even some health experts may have underestimated the Covid-19 vaccine made by Janssen, a division of Johnson & Johnson, new data shows. And there’s emerging evidence that it could still play an important role ahead.

A study published Thursday in the medical journal JAMA Network Open found that the J&J vaccine remains durable and effective, even through the surge of cases caused by the Delta variant. It was 76% effective overall in preventing Covid-19 infections and 81% effective in preventing Covid-related hospitalizations. The study also showed that it provided lasting immunity at least six months after the shots. Read more here:

Credit reporting agencies will wipe out most medical debt

Three of the country’s largest credit reporting agencies are removing nearly 70% of medical debt from consumer credit reports, the companies announced in a joint statement Friday.

Equifax, Experian and TransUnion will eliminate billions of dollars from the accounts of consumers who faced unexpected medical bills that they were unable to pay. The three firms said they made the move after months of research. Read more here:

Where does the US stand on vaccines for kids under 5?

A month after the US Food and Drug Administration delayed key steps toward authorizing Covid-19 vaccines for children under 5, many parents are more eager for the shots than ever.

Dr. Daniel Leonard, a pediatric hospitalist who is working on the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine trial for these kids, said people are driving in from several states away to take part.

“We’re here in south central Nebraska, and while many may not think that this would be the epicenter of scientific progress, the influx that I’ve had with people from Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa — some driving eight or nine hours each way overnight to participate in the study,” he said. “They are dedicated.” Read more here:

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