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Snake-Eating Spiders and Other Science News People Missed

2. To Start, Only A Few People Will Receive Covid Booster Shots.

Do you remember when the vaccine was first available to the public? People were clamoring to sign up for their ticket back to normalcy. Since then, concerns have been raised that the vaccine’s efficacy wanes over time. With new and increasingly virulent strains of covid — such as Delta — there have been calls for booster shots. Not everyone will be able to get a booster shot at first; the shots will be made available to those in high-risk groups. That is just like when the vaccines first became publicly available at the very beginning of 2021. Those who will be able to get a shot first include seniors over the age of 65. Also, adults with a health problem that puts them at high risk for severe covid. People whose jobs put them at an increased risk of infection will also get it.

The booster shots are still controversial enough that there is no need to create a fake ID that will allow you to get one before everyone else. One concern from the World Health Organization is that making booster shots available in wealthy countries, including the United States, makes the first dose of the vaccine less accessible to people in poorer countries. Additionally, the evidence that the effects of the vaccine are waning over time is ambiguous. Nothing definitively says that those who are vaccinated will be at higher risk of hospitalization over time. When you do get your booster shot, which may ultimately turn into a yearly event because of emerging variants, be prepared to take a sick day afterward.

Snake-Eating Spiders and Other Science News People Missed

1. Gender-Affirming Medical Care Improves Mental Health.

Nearly two percent of American teenagers are transgender. That means that the gender they identify with is different from the one expressed by their genitalia at birth. Yet, for that small percent of teenagers, there has been a firestorm of controversy for everything from school sports to healthcare. One issue is what is known as gender-affirming care, meaning healthcare that helps a transgender person transition from the gender assigned at birth to the gender with which the person identifies. The process usually involves therapy from a mental health practitioner, hormone treatments, and surgery to change the genitalia. Some people believe that transgender is a mental health issue and not an expression of human diversity and therefore object to gender-affirming care. In some states, laws are being passed to prevent children from receiving gender-affirming care.

Yet, for transgender people, gender-affirming care can be life-saving. Going through the turbulent years of puberty, children are working out their own identities. Plus, they are dealing with raging hormones. During this time, transgender children are at a much higher risk of suicide. Why? Because they feel as if they are in the wrong body. Experts are concerned about the damage being done to children. Also that they are being used as political footballs to pass forward a far-right agenda. Yet politicians who oppose gender-affirming care say that they don’t think children should receive treatment that could change their entire life. They think these teens will later regret the choice. The question is whether healthcare providers or politicians should provide the grounds for which children receive the healthcare they need, care that can save their lives.

Where do we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

“A volcano-induced rainy period made Earth’s climate dinosaur-friendly,” by Megan Sever. Science News. September 30, 2021.

“Snake-eating spiders are surprisingly common,” by Asher Jones. Science News. August 4, 2001.

“This is the oldest fossil evidence of spider moms taking care of their young,” by Freda Kreier. Science News. September 27, 2021.

“A blood test may help predict recovery from traumatic brain injury,” by Jackie Rocheleau. Science News. September 29, 2021.

“All identical twins may share a common set of chemical markers on their DNA,” by Jonathan Lambert. Science News. September 28, 2021.

“Ancient DNA shows the peopling of Southeast Asian islands was surprisingly complex,” by Bruce Bower. Science News. August 25, 2021.

“‘Ghost tracks’ suggest people came to the Americas earlier than once thought,” by Freda Kreier. Science News. September 23, 2021.

“This pictogram is one of the oldest known accounts of earthquakes in the Americas,” by Carolyn Gramling. Science News. September 7, 2021.

“These charts show that COVID-19 vaccines are doing their job,” by Erin Garcia de Jesus. Science News. August 31, 2021.

“Pfizer says its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and works well for kids ages 5–11,” by Tina Hesman Saey. Science News. September 20, 2021.

More Sources:

“How personalized brain organoids could help us demystify disorders,” by Laura Sanders. Science News. September 3, 2021.

“A pinch of saturated fat could make tempering chocolate a breeze,” by Nikk Ogasa. Science News. September 7, 2021.

“New ‘vortex beams’ of atoms and molecules are the first of their kind,” by Emily Conover. Science News. September 2, 2021.

“Whirling maple seeds inspired these tiny flying sensors,” by Emily Conover. Science News. September 22, 2021.

“Cold plasma could transform the sustainable farms of the future,” by Stephen Ornes. Science News. September 8, 2021.

“Rice feeds half the world. Climate change’s droughts and floods put it at risk,” by Nikk Ogasa. Science News. September 24, 2021.

“Why only some people will get COVID-19 booster shots at first,” by Erin Garcia de Jesus. Science News. September 21, 2021.

“Gender-affirming care improves mental health for transgender youth,” by Maria Temming. Science News. August 26, 2021.