More vaccine data needed to avoid Covid divide, report finds
A lack of Covid-19 vaccination data in the UK could cause a dangerous “vaccine divide”, a new report from Policy Exchange states.
In the paper, the think tank says anecdotal evidence suggests uptake has been comparatively lower in economically deprived and ethnically diverse areas, but crucially, more data is needed.
Nadhim Zahawi, Minister for the COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment, has commented that his “big worry” is that high national uptake is contrasted by low uptake of the vaccine among ethnic minority communities and that “the virus will very quickly infect that community”.
The NHS has indicated that uptake will need to reach 80% in each local area for the benefits of the vaccine to be felt – with the consequent prospect of eased lockdown restrictions.
If vaccine uptake remains low among these groups with the current strategy, the report says there will be reasonable public health grounds to keep these areas under tighter restrictions while they ease elsewhere – an undesirable situation that would only amplify existing health inequalities.
The report makes the following recommendations:
- Better and more granular data collection. The data must be published weekly and include breakdowns of the offer for vaccination based on ethnicity, sex, precise age, and whether this was accepted or declined.
- Regular monitoring and evaluation of interventions. The Government should publish ongoing, monthly assessments of the impact of interventions to address vaccine hesitancy.
- Dedicated ethnic minorities communications strategy. There should be a much more concerted effort to reach ethnic minority groups, such as a general election-style campaign with sophisticated targeting of particular groups.
- Re-assess the current cohort prioritisation. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) should re-assess its current prioritisation methodology and consider making changes to reflect new data regarding higher mortality risk. This should be cross-referenced with the data on refusal rates once made available.
Zoom enters the healthcare market - a timeline
Since the pandemic began Zoom has become an integral part of daily life for people working from home, as well as a vital tool for families and friends to communicate. However it's also been eyeing up the healthcare space since 2017, and following the boom in telehealth the company has been rolling out additional services. Here we chart Zoom's move into healthcare.
2011 - 2013
Zoom is founded in San Jose, California, by Eric Yuan, formerly of Cisco. He got the idea to create a video calling platform from his visits to his girlfriend while he was a student, which would take 10 hours by train.
A beta version is released in 2012, which can host up to 15 participants. In 2013 this rises to 25. By mid-2013, Zoom has 1 million users.
2014 - 2017
Zoom attracts investors, including Sequoia Capital, Emergence and Horizon Ventures. By January 2017, Zoom has a series D funding worth $100 million.
2017 - 2019
Zoom for Telehealth launches, including an integration with EHR system Epic. It has cloud-based video, audio, and content sharing features, a "waiting room" for patients, and can easily be integrated into healthcare provider's workflows.
In 2019 Zoom goes public, with its IPO rising 72% in one day.
As a result of the pandemic, Zoom gains 2.2 million new users, more than in the whole of 2019. On the 23rd of March alone - the day the UK lockdown was announced - the platform was downloaded 2.13 million times around the world.
Share prices rise to around $150, and founder and chief executive Eric Yuan becomes one of the world's richest people, with an estimated net worth of $7.9 billion.
Early security issues are addressed by encrypting data with the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). By now the the platform allows 99 people to be on a call simultaneously
New features launch, including Zoom Home and Zoom for Chats. Throughout the year the platform is used to replace most kinds of real life events: work meetings, online classrooms, church services and social events.
Renamed Zoom for Healthcare, users can share secured video, audio, and content through desktops, mobile phones, and conference devices. As well as Epic, it can be integrated with Strmr, IntakeQ, and Practice Better.
It can also be used with diagnostic cameras and other point-of-care devices, including digital stethoscopes.
In an interview with Korea Biomedical Review, Zoom Global Healthcare Lead Ron Emerson said: "Our service is not simply a virtual care and telemedicine platform but a multi-purpose platform that can satisfy the needs of healthcare institutions."
"It can be used for administrative tasks, including telemedicine, medical team meetings, recruitment, medical education, employee training, and disease prevention. Analysing electronic records managed by Zoom could provide meaningful insights into patient care."
Phoenix Children's Hospital, Belfast's Hospital Services Limited, Butler Health Services and the global Project ECHO are among Zoom for Healthcare's current customers.