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.
The authorization comes in the midst of an explosion of COVID-19 cases nationwide driven by the omicron variant — a surge that has brought a spike in pediatric hospitalizations.
The new at-home COVID treatment is currently available in limited quantities to states and territories. Some states will get as few as 120 courses of treatment at first.
The agency implemented experts' advice because of a rare and sometimes fatal blood-clotting problem known as TTS. More than 16 million people in the U.S. have received a shot of the J&J vaccine.
If the Food and Drug Administration authorizes use of the drug, called molnupiravir, it would be the first oral COVID-19 treatment that could be taken at home.
A panel of vaccine advisors voted unanimously to expand authorization of boosters for anyone 18 and older. Just hours later CDC director Rochelle Walensky endorsed the recommendation.
The companies studied a 10 microgram vaccine dose in children 5 to 11, a third of the dose used for adults, to minimize side effects and because it still prompts a strong immune response.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky also endorsed a mix-and-match approach to boosters that would be flexible for patients and health care providers.
The Food and Drug Administration also gave an OK to boosters that differ from the vaccine originally used to immunize people against COVID-19. A mix-and-match approach could ease the booster rollout.
The recommendation applies to people 65 years and older, those 18 to 64 who are at high risk of severe COVID and those whose work or institutional exposure puts them at high COVID risk.
The Food and Drug Administration released briefing documents Tuesday on booster shots for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccines ahead of a two-day advisory meeting that starts Thursday.