Covid-19 leads the top tweets based on total engagements (likes and retweets) received on the tweets from more than 150 healthcare experts tracked by GlobalData’s Healthcare Influencer platform during the third quarter (Q3) of 2021.

The top tweets on healthcare in Q3 2021: Top five

1. Dan Diamond’s tweet on Covid-19 vaccines mandate for frontline workers in the US

Dan Diamond, national health reporter at The Washington Post, shared an article on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announcing a Covid-19 vaccines mandate for all its frontline workers, thereby becoming the first federal agency to implement mandatory vaccination for the disease. The vaccine mandate is also being implemented in California, New York, and hospitals such as the Mayo Clinic. VA’s mandate covers 100,000 frontline workers, while California’s mandate covers 45,000 employees and contractors, and New York’s mandate extends to more than 2.2 million health workers and employees.

Experts believe that this may be the tipping point, noting that millions of Americans have denied Covid-19 vaccination despite incentive and government appeal. Reports suggest that the rate of immunisations has been gradually dropping since mid-April 2021, and about 60% of the population is currently fully vaccinated. Many healthcare workers also remain unvaccinated despite having access to the coronavirus vaccines since December 2020. More than 38% of nursing home staff are estimated to have not been fully vaccinated until July 2021, despite being exposed to severely infected Covid-19 patients, the article detailed.

Username: Dan Diamond

Twitter handle: @ddiamond

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Likes: 3,093

Retweets: 895

2. Dr Brian Goldman’s tweet on Canadian nurses quitting their jobs due to pandemic strain

Dr Brian Goldman, an emergency physician at the Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, shared an article on Canadian nurses quitting their jobs early or in the middle of their careers after 16 months of exhaustion from dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. A growing number of nurses are either retiring early, moving to part-time work, or leaving to join private staffing agencies that pay well and have flexible working hours, the article noted. Hospitals are, therefore, experiencing a serious shortage of nurses, Dr Brain stated.

The nursing shortage has forced some hospitals to temporarily reduce the number of beds and emergency room working hours, apart from stalling the full re-opening of operation rooms. In some places such as Ontario, the government is offering bonuses worth $75,000 to hire skilled nurses from outside Ontario to assist at hospitals.

Several health centres were also shut down temporarily until mid-August, while others were open only for emergency cases for the next few weeks of summer due to a lack of healthcare staff and nurses, the article detailed. Statistics Canada reported that the healthcare and social-assistance sector witnessed the biggest increase in year-on-year job openings than any other sector in Q1 2021. The total vacancies in the sector increased to 98,700, a 40% rise from the previous year, the article highlighted.

Username: Dr Brian Goldman

Twitter handle: @NightShiftMD

Likes: 1,249

Retweets: 529

3. Margot Sanger-Katz’s tweet on Obamacare enrollments having risen by two million since February

Margot Sanger-Katz, a journalist with The New York Times, shared an article on two million US citizens signing up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act after the Biden administration initiated a special open enrolment in February 2021. The previous high of 12.7 million was reported in 2016, the article noted. Enrollments in insurance-based programmes for the disabled and poor, Medicaid, also reported an increase with 81 million Americans being covered in February.

The rising enrolments are indicative of the surge in demand for insurance coverage during the pandemic that left many people jobless and uncertain about staying uninsured. The increase also reflects the policy changes adopted by the government, such as lowering the price of insurance for all citizens seeking to buy their own coverage plan, the article detailed.

Username: Margot Sanger-Katz

Twitter handle: @sangerkatz

Likes: 600

Retweets: 179

4. Meg Tirrell’s tweet on Delta Air Lines raising health insurance costs by $200 a month for unvaccinated employees

Meg Tirrell, a senior health and science reporter at broadcast media company CNBC, shared an article on Delta Air Lines raising health insurance premiums for unvaccinated employees by $200 a month. The US airline is one of the latest companies to implement the new vaccination rules for its employees. All Delta employees will face $200 monthly increase in insurance costs if they are not vaccinated against Covid-19, starting from 01 November 2021.

The Atlanta-based airline also announced new policies and restrictions for unvaccinated employees, such as the indoor mask mandate and weekly Covid-19 tests, the article noted. The new policies have been put in place to boost Covid-19 immunisation rates in the US, although Delta Air Lines did not impose an outright mandate for Covid-19 vaccinations like United Airlines has implemented. The airline chose to raise premiums as it self-insures its employees, the article highlighted.

Username: Meg Tirrell

Twitter handle: @megtirrell

Likes: 392

Retweets: 78

5. Rochelle Walensky’s tweet on the CDC investing $2.1bn to support public health and healthcare workers fighting Covid-19

Rochelle Walensky, director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), shared an article on the Biden administration investing $2.1bn in infection prevention and control activities to protect public health and healthcare workers from Covid-19 and other infectious diseases. Walensky announced that $500m from the initial fund will immediately be allocated to state-based nursing homes and long-term care strike teams in October, who will assist nursing homes and facilities in fighting Covid-19 outbreaks.

Walensky believes that the funding will enhance the safety and quality of healthcare in the US during the pandemic and later. The article further noted that the CDC will issue $1.25bn of the total investment to 64 state, local, and territorial healthcare departments over the next three years to help achieve the objective. The jurisdictional healthcare departments will initially receive $885m.

Username: Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH

Twitter handle: @CDCDirector

Likes: 161

Retweets: 71