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Clinical Updates

AP Analysis of CDC Data Shows Nearly All COVID-19 Deaths in the U.S. Are Now in Unvaccinated Individuals

The Associated Press (AP) recently released an article on their analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data on the current rate of deaths related to COVID-19 and found that nearly all recent deaths are in individuals who are not vaccinated. In May, approximately 150 of the more than 18,000 COVID-19-caused mortality in the U.S. occurred in fully vaccinated people, which amounts to a mortality rate of less than .1 percent in this population. This data lends more evidence that currently available COVID-19 vaccines are extremely effective in preventing mortality and underscores how important it will be to increase vaccination rates in the areas of the country that still have low immunization rates.

Read the full AP article.


Update from the Advisory Council for Vascular Surgery: The Vascular Volunteers In Service To All (VISTA) Program

by Peter R. Nelson, MD, MS, FACS, and Jens Eldrup-Jorgensen, MD, FACS

The VISTA (the Vascular Volunteers In Service to All) program is a new effort supported by the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) Foundation. Spearheaded by Jens Eldrup-Jorgensen, MD, FACS, VISTA is focused on identifying and implementing solutions for disparities in vascular care across the U.S., with the goal of expanding internationally. The U.S. spends more on health care than any other country; however, significant disparity in access to and delivery of care still exists. Underserved populations that are most affected include Native American, African American, and Hispanic groups and areas of lower socioeconomic status. Rural geographic areas typically are disproportionately affected because of scarcity or lack of providers and resources, but some isolated inner-city areas also may be at significant risk despite perceived proximity to care.

VISTA and the SVS Foundation look to grow donor-foundation relationships to fund this program in a large way. In a phased rollout, VISTA initially is supporting smaller pilot projects to underserved areas to more clearly define the scope of disparity. At present, three pilot projects have begun—one in Oklahoma focused on outreach to Native American and other underserved rural populations; one in Houston, TX, addressing disparities in inner city patients with diabetic foot problems; and the third in California’s Central Valley examining “vascular deserts.” Funding for additional pilot projects is on its way. Once successes from the pilots are realized, larger longitudinal program funding is anticipated to begin to implement impactful intervention in areas of greatest need. The final phase would then be focused on coordinating these larger programs into an integrated full vascular care network.

Embedded in the outreach process are several important concepts. First, the program has the following aims:

  • To identify existing care givers in underserved areas and work to support and empower them to better identify vascular problems and patients at risk
  • To implement prevention strategies
  • To provide early detection and referral for intervention in patients with established disease and risk of significant morbidity or mortality.

This plan can be approached in different ways, but in most cases will include providing user-friendly educational materials regarding vascular disease presentation and management, hands-on instruction about critical historical and physical exam cues for vascular disease, and resources and instruction about topics such as hand-held Doppler or portable duplex ultrasound capability and scheduled local vascular screening events. To reinforce these local efforts, VISTA teams will be available to local providers for real-time consultative support and tertiary referral avenues for comprehensive evaluation and intervention.

In summary, the VISTA program will bring into clearer focus underserved areas of greatest need with respect to inequities in appropriate vascular care. Solutions will combine strengthening local resources for patient care close to home with expert referral networks for patients in need of advanced or immediate treatment. To get involved, consider a donation to the SVS Foundation Community Awareness and Prevention Fund today and apply to lead a VISTA pilot project in your area.