Disparities are popping up in the vaccine push



Boy, what a week. As I sat down to write my first weekly recap of healthcare news this year, it took me a moment to remember that anything happened before Wednesday, when a mob of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol.

With all that’s happening in D.C., it’s easy for the coronavirus pandemic to slip from the headlines. London’s mayor has declared a “major incident” as COVID-19 cases overwhelm hospitals in the city. Los Angeles’s hospitals are getting overwhelmed with a recent wave of cases.

Before I jump in: I wanted to introduce you all to Patricia Kelly Yeo, who joins us as a fellow on the healthcare team! She’ll be helping us cover the wide world of the healthcare industry as it continues to grapple with the pandemic. Find her on email at [email protected] and on Twitter at @patkyeo.

This week, we tracked updates on the vaccine race and now rollout as we head into 2021, got an inside look at the downfall of the Amazon-Berkshire Hathaway-JPMorgan joint venture, and took a look at Big Tech’s healthcare hiring plans.

Margaret keenan coronavirus vaccine

What’s next for COVID-19 vaccines

Vaccine distribution is getting underway, after the US in December authorised two coronavirus shots.

Nearly 6 million people in the US have gotten their first doses of vaccines, as Andrew Dunn has been helpfully reminding us via Twitter.

Shelby Livingston has been keeping tabs with primary-care chains to see how they’re getting ready to distribute vaccines. For now, that means investing in freezers and educating patients while they wait for shots.

Shelby looked through state data as well, and found that among the shots that are being distributed, most are going to white people. That stands in contrast with the pandemic, which has disproportionately hit communities of colour.

Read her full analysis here>>

Meanwhile, in her first byline for Business Insider, Kelly details how drug companies are set to sell $US40 billion worth of COVID-19 vaccines in 2021.

You can read the full rundown of what Wall Street analysts expect here.

More shots from other drugmakers are on their way. We’ll likely get data from Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine in January, and an authorization could come in February.

Andrew has the full timeline of what to expect from COVID-19 vaccines in 2021.

Read the full story here>>

What’s coming next for COVID-19 vaccines? Here’s the latest on 11 leading programs.

Warren buffett coronavirus

3 years in, Haven is disbanding

I remember the buzz in the Business Insider newsroom the morning in January 2018 that Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan announced plans for a joint health venture.

Healthcare stocks got smoked. Warren Buffett’s comment about a “hungry tapeworm” of rising healthcare costs made headlines.

If you can believe it, it was one of the first official signs that Amazon was getting into healthcare.

Fast forward three years, and the venture, titled Haven, is disbanding, CNBC reported on Monday.

Blake Dodge(who reported on the relationship between Haven and Amazon’s own health initiatives last month) broke down the 3 reasons why Haven was doomed from the start.

But it seems not all hope is lost for disrupting rising healthcare costs for employers. Blake has the scoop on another group looking to pick up where Haven left off.

Pulling together her own reporting — as well as great reporting from a number of other outlets — Blake pieced together an inside look at Haven’s downfall, and how it was set up for failure.

Read the full inside story here>>

Inside Haven’s downfall: How Jeff Bezos, Jamie Dimon, and Warren Buffett set their healthcare venture up for failure

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2021 is shaping up to be a big year for digital health startups

After a big funding year for digital health in 2020, 2021 isn’t showing signs of slowing down.

Megan Hernbroth had the scoop on Transformation Capital’s $US500 million fund — the firm’s second.

She spoke with Mike Dixon about how he plans to spend the funds on growth-stage digital health companies.

As part of our reporting on investor predictions for the year ahead, VCs told Megan that Amazon and Alphabet could be looking to make acquisitions in 2021, which could make things very interesting.

Finally, with the help of Pitchbook, Megan rounded up the digital health startups that reached “unicorn” status in 2020, putting them on our radars to keep a close eye on in 2021.

Read the full list here>>

The 8 digital health startups to watch that are changing healthcare in 2021

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Halo’s activity feature. Amazon

Big Tech is hiring healthcare experts

It’s looking like a big year for tech companies looking to build on their healthcare ambitions.

Blake pored over job listings at places like Apple, Amazon and Google to find out who’s hiring for what. Some listings that caught my eye:

  • Verily’s hiring for a home care program for infants.
  • Amazon is hiring lab managers and scientists as part of its coronavirus testing strategy.

Read the full story here>>

Here are dozens of open healthcare jobs at big tech firms like Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Verily. They reveal expansion plans and new priorities as tech giants push into the industry.

We’ll be tuning into the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference next week. I for one will be curious to see how one of the biggest events in the healthcare industry unfolds virtually.

What are you expecting to hear coming out of the conference? How are you marking the occasion, if not with sprints up and down San Francisco’s hills? Let me know at [email protected], and you can reach the entire healthcare team at [email protected].

– Lydia