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Quote of the Day

"We had to ban empty cups" – A Twitter user who apparently worked as a camp counselor the year "Pitch Perfect" came out. Aca-poligies.

Vaccine Equity

The Story

Coronavirus vaccines are not always going to those most in need.

Tell me more.

Last week, the FDA gave the thumbs up to a third COVID-19 vaccine. Johnson & Johnson joined Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna in successfully offering shots to Americans. And President Biden said there should be enough doses for every American adult by the end of May. The developments come as only 16% of Americans have received at least one COVID-19 dose. And as people are ringing the alarm about vaccine inequity. There are a few reasons why that could be...

Allocation…The CDC recommends states prioritize vaccinating nursing home residents and health care workers. But hasn't offered much other guidance, largely leaving states to figure it out how to distribute millions of doses. Most states have reportedly developed a game plan based on county population. And rural areas, which typically have older populations, are getting overlooked as urban cities get preference. It's forcing some seniors to drive long distances to get their shots.

Jumping the line…There are reports of wealthier Americans going to extreme lengths to get vaccinated ahead of schedule. Case in point: health care provider One Medical has been accused of inappropriately handing out vaccines to those close to company execs. A California scheduling site has also been under scrutiny. And Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is facing a potential investigation after being involved in the decision to launch invite-only vaccine clinics in wealthy communities.

Distrust…Already, many Black Americans lack faith in the US's health care because of its systemic racism. Now, studies show Black Americans are getting vaccinated at much lower rates despite having higher death rates from the virus. It comes as the head of Biden's COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force warns that anti-vaxxers are targeting Black Americans on social media.

What's being done?

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said they're "working really hard" to make sure there's vaccine equity. Like, working with FEMA to review census data and with federal health care centers. The Biden admin's coronavirus relief plan – which is being debated in Congress – also includes $20 billion for vaccine distribution. Meanwhile, Interpol is warning that there are fake COVID-19 vaccines floating around after authorities in China and South Africa seized thousands of doses.


Americans have long waited for vaccines that can help bring the world back to normalcy. But those who the system often forgets are being left behind again. Now, it's up to lawmakers to figure out how to make sure vaccines are going to those who need them most.

PS: We spoke with CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky on this week's episode of "Skimm This." Hear what she had to say about the new vaccine, two pieces of advice for every governor, and what it will take for schools to reopen.

And Also...This

What's caught in the middle...

The World Health Organization. Yesterday, two dozen scientists published an open letter calling for a new investigation into the origins of COVID-19. Here's what ideally happens in an epidemic: WHO scientists swoop in, analyze how a virus originated, and publish reports to try to prevent it from happening again. But this virus has gotten political. In January, a team of WHO scientists finally got into China to do their digging – but they've been reportedly restricted in what they can access. Now a team of scientists, including from the US and France, are saying 'we want better.' They think the current investigation has been discredited and want a do-over that can more independently figure out the origins. But the WHO is saying 'be patient' – and that when its report comes out in the next couple of weeks it will include key info.

What's got birth control on the mind…

Chile. Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that the country recalled nearly 277,000 packets of oral contraceptives since August. The reason: faulty packaging and missing or crushed pills – which were all provided by the public health care system. But the gov was quiet about the recall, and reproductive rights activists say the lack of communication led to at least 140 unintended pregnancies. Now, some are telling the gov, 'explanation please.' And the birth control manufacturer's been hit with a $92,000 fine. Activists argue the gov's failure is leaving women without a choice, since abortion there is only allowed in cases of rape or when the mom's health is at risk.

Venezuela. Over the course of the country's eight-year economic collapse, contraceptives have become inaccessible for many women – leading to unplanned pregnancies at a time when people can barely scrape by to feed their families. Some Venezuelans make just a few dollars a day, and condoms cost about $4.40. Birth control, which was once affordable and available, has become difficult to find (or too expensive) amid the country's failing health care system. Now, abortion activists say there's been an uptick in the number of women looking for abortions, most of which are illegal – and that all this could be putting their lives at risk.

Who's duking it out…

The royals. A report this week came out accusing Meghan Markle of bullying her former staff, including driving out two former assistants. A spokesperson said Markle was "saddened" by the "attack on her character." And called it a "calculated smear campaign." But the drama didn't let up. Buckingham Palace said it was "very concerned" and that it would investigate the claims. The timing of all this airing of dirty laundry has many asking questions. That's because of...

  • Oprah: On Sunday at 8pm ET, CBS is airing an Oprah interview with Markle and Prince Harry. In one clip, Markle accuses the royal family of "perpetuating falsehoods" about her and says she doesn't know how they can expect her to "just be silent." Revenge is a dish best served pinky up.

What else is Coming 2 America...

Bruno Mars' new band.


Meet SkimmU: our newest virtual event series, presented by Fidelity, designed to teach you the crucial money lessons your alma mater never did.

We're kicking off our spring semester on March 25 with four finance courses that'll leave you feeling confident about your next money moves. And empower you to take actionable steps toward living your smartest life. Join us for classes taught by industry pros that'll cover everything from how and why we make money decisions to setting big financial goals and investing. Oh, and all the classes are free.

Sign up here. See you in class.

Skimm Reads

"The Final Revival of Opal & Nev" by Dawnie Walton

This week, we've got a special Skimm Read thanks to our friends at Book of the Month. Use code SKIMM to join now and get a copy for just $9.99. And then pick from five books every month to get one delivered right to your door. Book, please.

Calling all "Daisy Jones & The Six" fans. This poignant debut novel centers around an unlikely '70s rock duo thinking about reuniting decades after their brief time in the spotlight. Walton details their dramatic, politicized rise – and the dark secret at the center of it – through a series of interview recordings. It all feels very real, but the book is fiction. We triple checked.


1. A wellness program developed by behavior change experts. It's all about building healthy habits you'll actually stick with, instead of setting strict rules. Oh, and Skimm'rs get a free 14-day trial. Take the evaluation to get started.*

2. 9 ways to warm up your apartment if you don't control your thermostat. Because the cold really does bother you, anyway. Here are some hacks Olaf would hate.

3. How to give your face a workout. (Yes, you read that right.) Hear us out: toning exercises but for your face and neck. It's 2021 people...there's no shame in getting weird for self-care.

*PS: This is a sponsored post.


Here are today's recs to help you live a smarter life…

1. Fuel for EFH (everything from home) life. These 90-calorie bars have as much caffeine as an espresso. And Skimm'rs can try four flavors, like vanilla latte and salted peanut butter, for free. Talk about a happy weekend.*

2. Smart things to buy now that'll save you money later. Like a budget planner, a cold brew maker, and energy-saving LED light bulbs. Savings account, is that you?

3. 11 devices that'll turn your place into a smart home. Turning on the lights by flicking a switch is soooo 2020. This list of genius gadgets will make you feel like you're living in 2040.

PS: Like what you see here? Make sure you're signed up to get more picks like these in your inbox every Monday. We've got exclusive shopping recs, streaming ideas, life hacks, and more.

*PS: This is a sponsored post.


This last year has been one for the books. Let's not wait 'til 2040 to celebrate women who are making history in big and small ways right now. Got someone in mind? Tell us here.

Overcoming road bumps...Kasey and Karli A (CA). They're sisters who launched The Reroute, which aims to inspire listeners with stories about unexpected detours in life. The podcast highlights a number of stories, including Kasey's recent cancer diagnosis.

Piecing it together...Dawn W (NY). She launched Puzzle Culture, a Latina-owned business. It's a jigsaw puzzle subscription service that uses art from independent artists to create a themed box with curated gifts.

(Some) Birthdays...theSkimm's Alex Palazzo (NY), theSkimm's Erika Trombley (NY), Kenny Lane (NY), Marsha Goldberg (NY), Brendan Dubois (IL), Janet Hershaft (NY), George Alba (MA), Juliette Daley (NY), Jessica Sacher (GA), Sylvia Vail (IL), Lauren Hutton (PA), Dana Fortune (FL), Nichole Torres (AL), Christina Morog (IN), Susan Cuchiara (AZ)

PS…we've also got a video wall to shout out a woman in your life who's making an impact on you. Check it out.

Skimm More

Zoom fatigue…is real. And we spoke to the first scientist to study it. This week's episode of "Skimm This" has you covered with tips to change up your WFH routine. And make virtual meetings a little less exhausting.

And if you're looking for other smart ways to spend your time…

  • Listen to our news podcast "Skimm This" for clarity on the biggest stories of the week.

  • Tune in to our career podcast "Skimm'd from the Couch" for tips to build your resume.

  • Subscribe to our "Skimm Money" newsletter to keep up to date with your wallet.

  • Sign up for our "Press Pause" newsletter for curated shopping, reads, and entertainment recs.

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  • Download our app to get it all in one place.

Skimm’d by Maria del Carmen Corpus, Mariza Smajlaj, Clem Robineau, and Julie Shain