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CDC announces updated COVID-19 vaccine


CDC announces a new, updated COVID-19 vaccine

The CDC has announced the release of the updated COVID-19 vaccine. The new shots could be in pharmacies as early as tomorrow. Dr. Steven Brown, an attending physician at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, said the COVID-19 vaccine has evolved since the original in 2020 to keep up with the ever-changing nature of the virus.

“So now we’re dealing with a series of subvariants that are all very similar to the vaccine and are covered well by the vaccine because they vary by one or two mutations in their genetics sequence," Dr. Brown said. "So it's covered, and there's a robust vaccine advocacy which we don’t have now.”

Dr. Brown said people who should prioritize getting vaccinated include those over the age of 65, people in institutional settings like nursing homes or prisons, those with comorbidities like underlying lung diseases or asthma, as well as immunocompromised people. He said it’s recommended that children get the vaccine as well.

“For children aged five months and up, and there are different recommendations depending upon prior vaccines and the age of the child and what vaccine they may have received," Dr. Brown said. "This new vaccine is recommended for every child. They may need to get two or three vaccines, but one of those vaccines should include this new one which covers this variant that’s circulating.”

During the special session of the Arkansas Legislature, a new law will be passed prohibiting the government from mandating COVID-19 vaccines for government employees. Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders has said she will also publish the potential negative side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Brown said for people in their late teens and early twenties, there is a small risk of myocarditis.

“You need to weigh that risk versus the risk of dying from COVID-19," Dr. Brown said. " I've taken care of hundreds and hundreds of people since the year 2020 in the intensive care unit. I can say emphatically that among those patients, which includes hundreds of people who have died, who I have tried to take care of, the vast majority— way over 90% of those who died— were not vaccinated.”

You can find details about the vaccine update on the CDC website.

UA Chemical Engineering Department receives a $10 million gift

The University of Arkansas’ Chemical Engineering Department is receiving a $10 million giftfrom an alum who died last month. Rick Moore made plans for the gift before he passed away in late August. The planned gift will endow funds for scholarships, a professorship, faculty recruitment and provide additional funds to benefit the Ralph E. Martin Department of Chemical Engineering. The scholarships will give preference to students from Arkansas and those who work while they are in college.

The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance releases a report on food deserts

A report about food access in Arkansas examines food deserts in the state. The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance held a summit to present the findings and recommendations yesterday. The report was released by the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute and the Arkansas Governor's Food Desert Working Group, which was named in 2022 under Asa Hutchinson. People living in food deserts, also called Low-Access areas, have limited access to affordable, nutritious foods. Even if there is a nearby grocery store, people who have mobility and transportation issues may not be able to get there. Jimmy Wright, a consultant who gave the summit’s keynote address, encouraged those present to seek partnerships within the community they want to serve before trying to fix a perceived need. 

“Partner with a great community group," Wright said.

The Food Desert Working Group’s full report and recommendations can be found on the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance website.

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Timothy Dennis is KUAF's strategic technical planner and producer for<i> Ozarks at Large.</i>
Kyle Kellams is KUAF's news director and host of Ozarks at Large.
Matthew Moore is a reporter and producer for Ozarks at Large.
Rachell-Sanchez Smith is an associate producer for Ozarks at Large.
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