Scott Hensley

Scott Hensley edits stories about health, biomedical research and pharmaceuticals for NPR's Science desk. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he has led the desk's reporting on the development of vaccines against the coronavirus.

Hensley has worked on award-winning investigations in collaboration with journalistic partners.

He was the lead NPR editor on an investigation with the Center for Public Integrity in 2018 that exposed drug industry influence on the choices of preferred medicines by Medicaid programs. The work won the 2019 Gerald Loeb Award for audio reporting.

In 2017, Hensley was the lead NPR editor on an investigation with Kaiser Health News that showed how the pharmaceutical industry exploits government incentives intended to encourage the development of treatments for rare diseases. The stories won the 2019 digital award from the National Institute for Health Care Management.

Hensley has been editing in his current role since 2019. He joined NPR in 2009 to launch Shots, a blog that expanded to become a digital destination for NPR health coverage.

Before NPR, Hensley was a reporter and editor at The Wall Street Journal. He was the founding editor of The Wall Street Journal Health Blog, which focused on the intersection of health and business. As a reporter, he covered the drug industry and the Human Genome Project.

Hensley served on the board of the Association of Health Care Journalists from 2012 to 2020.

He has a bachelor's degree in natural sciences from Johns Hopkins University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University.

Before becoming a journalist, Hensley worked in the medical device industry. He remains, now and forever, a lover of Dobermans, lacrosse and Callinectes sapidus.

A panel of experts voted unanimously to recommend that the Food and Drug Administration authorize a booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

In a 19-0 vote, the panel recommended that the booster dose come at least two months after initial immunization with one shot of the J&J vaccine. It applies to people 18 years and older.

During the meeting, J&J presented data that showed the protection of the single shot remained largely stable over time but that a second dose pushed protection to a higher level.

A panel of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday unanimously recommended that the agency authorize a booster dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after completion of the initial two-dose regimen.

The recommendation applies to people 65 years and older, those 18 to 64 who are at high risk of severe COVID-19 and those people in the same age group whose work or institutional exposure puts them at high COVID-19 risk.

The recommendation mirrors the authorization that the FDA gave to Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster doses in September.

A Food and Drug Administration analysis of Johnson & Johnson's application for authorization of its COVID vaccine booster tees up deliberations at a public meeting of agency advisers Friday. The document was posted Wednesday.

The Food and Drug Administration released briefing documents Tuesday on booster shots for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines ahead of a two-day public meeting of advisers to the agency that starts Thursday.

Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine booster is half the dose of the initial shots used in its two-shot vaccination — 50 micrograms of mRNA versus 100 micrograms.

In a surprising vote, a panel of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration on Friday recommended against approval of a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people 16 years and older.

The 16-2 vote against broad use of the booster, which would be given about six months after completion of the two-dose immunization regimen, dealt a setback to Pfizer and complicates the FDA's approach to boosters.

Updated September 15, 2021 at 1:51 PM ET

The Food and Drug Administration released an analysis by Pfizer on the need for a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Pfizer's analysis says data from Israel and the United States in the context of the delta variant suggests "that vaccine protection against COVID-19 infection wanes approximately 6 to 8 months following the second dose."

Updated August 23, 2021 at 12:52 PM ET

The Food and Drug Administration has formally approved Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine. The widely anticipated decision replaces the emergency use authorization granted by the agency last December.

The vaccine, developed by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech, is the first COVID-19 vaccine to be subject to a full review by the U.S. regulator and to get an approval that puts the vaccine on par with other marketed vaccines.

Updated June 7, 2021 at 3:11 PM ET

The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug aducanumab to treat patients with Alzheimer's disease on Monday. It is the first new drug approved by the agency for Alzheimer's disease since 2003.

A third COVID-19 vaccine is on the way, and this one requires only one shot for immunization.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized Johnson & Johnson's vaccine for emergency use Saturday, a day after a panel of advisers to the agency voted unanimously (22-0) in its favor.

In a unanimous 22-0 vote, a panel of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration recommended that the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson be authorized for emergency use in adults during the pandemic.

The vote in favor of the vaccine, which requires only one shot for protection, was taken to answer this question: Do the benefits of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine outweigh its risks for use in people 18 years of age and older.

The Food and Drug Administration released an analysis of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday morning that supports its authorization for emergency use.

On Friday, a panel of advisers to the agency will meet to evaluate the vaccine and make a recommendation about whether it should be given the OK. If the agency goes on to authorize the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, it would be the third, after those made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, to become available in the U.S.

A global study of nearly 44,000 found that the COVID-19 vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson is 66% effective in preventing moderate to severe disease.

The study was conducted in the U.S., Latin America and South Africa. The vaccine did better at preventing disease in the U.S. – 72% — and less well in South Africa – 57% efficacy. The efficacy seen in Latin America was 66%.

As the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines unfolds in the U.S., numerous questions around distribution, supply, hesitancy and efficacy persist. Experts from Harvard and the CDC will tackle these questions.

Watch an expert panel discussion on the effort to deploy against COVID-19 on Friday, Jan. 22, to be live-streamed here at 12 p.m. ET, as part of The Forum at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

You can email your questions to theforum@hsph.harvard.edu.

In a 20-0 vote, with one abstention, a panel of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration recommended that the COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Moderna be authorized for emergency use in adults during the pandemic.

If the agency authorizes the vaccine for emergency use, as is expected, it would become the second to be deployed in the U.S to fight the coronavirus.

The vote in favor of the vaccine was taken to answer the agency's question: Do the benefits of the Moderna vaccine outweigh its risks for use in people age 18 and older?

The Food and Drug Administration released a detailed analysis Tuesday morning of the COVID-19 vaccine from drugmaker Moderna that supports the authorization of the company's vaccine for emergency use.

The FDA's briefing document along with one from Moderna were posted two days before a group of experts will convene to advise the agency on whether to grant the vaccine emergency authorization for use, or EUA, during the pandemic.

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