Fewer Uninsured Children; Updated Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccines; Two Diabetes Drugs Performed Best in Study


Around 200,000 more children have had health insurance since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic; when FDA-approved bivalent COVID-19 vaccines for younger children are expected to be available in early to mid-October; one study compared metformin plus sitagliptin, liraglutide, glimepiride, and insulin glargine for maintaining blood sugar levels.

More children have had health insurance since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic

According to Stateline, more children have acquired health insurance since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to an analysis of US Census Bureau data by Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families, the child non-insurance rate was 5.4% in 2021 and 5.7% in 2019. This percentage change reflects approximately 200,000 more children with health insurance in 2021 compared to 2019. That “small but significant drop,” the center says, likely stems from a provision passed by Congress that prohibited states from barring individuals from Medicaid during the pandemic. In 2021, around 4.2 million children were still uninsured.

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Bivalent vaccines for younger children expected by mid-October

If approved by the FDA, bivalent COVID-19 vaccines for younger children are expected to be available by mid-October, the CDC said in a vaccine planning guide. Pfizer’s booster would be available for children between the ages of 5 and 11, and Moderna’s for children between the ages of 6 and 17. Currently, Pfizer and Moderna’s updated boosters — designed to be more effective against the Omicron variant — are approved for ages 12 and up and 19 and up, respectively. If these bivalent boosters are approved for younger children, mRNA COVID-19 vaccines may no longer be approved as booster doses.

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Insulin glargine, liraglutide performed better than 2 other diabetes drugs

A large clinical study found that insulin glargine and liraglutide were better at keeping blood sugar levels in the recommended range in people with type 2 diabetes than two other FDA-approved drugs. In the National Institutes of Health study, 3 groups of patients received metformin plus sitagliptin, liraglutide, or glimepiride, all of which increase insulin levels. The fourth group of patients received metformin plus insulin glargine U-100, a long-acting insulin. Those who received metformin plus liraglutide or insulin glargine achieved and maintained blood glucose goals about 6 months longer than those who received sitagliptin, which was the least effective at maintaining goal levels. However, the study authors noted that neither combination performed overwhelmingly better, as nearly three-quarters of the participants failed to maintain target levels through 4 years of follow-up.

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