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Licensed practical nurse Yokasta Castro, of Warwick, R.I., draws a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe. The vaccines have now been linked to minor changes in menstruation, but are still considered safe. Steven Senne/AP hide caption

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Steven Senne/AP

COVID vaccines may briefly change your menstrual cycle, but you should still get one

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People wait in line for a coronavirus test in Los Angeles on Tuesday. California is starting to feel the full wrath of the omicron variant. Hospitalizations have jumped nearly 50% since Christmas and models show that in a month, the state could have 22,000 people in hospitals, which was the peak during last winter's epic surge. Jae C. Hong/AP hide caption

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Jae C. Hong/AP
Gracia Lam for NPR
Sol Cotti for NPR
Kristen Uroda for NPR

22 tips for 2022: How to be kind to yourself and squash your critical inner voice

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When Dr. Tiffany M. Osborn received her COVID-19 vaccination shortly after vaccines became available in late 2020, she felt hopeful about the pandemic's trajectory. A year later, she's sad and frustrated to see so many COVID patients in the ICU. Matt Miller / Washington University School of Medicine hide caption

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Matt Miller / Washington University School of Medicine

ICU teams report fatigue and frustration as they brace for omicron surge

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Thomas Hansmann/Pfizer

The COVID antiviral drugs are here but they're scarce. Here's what to know

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The top Fresh Air web stories of 2021 reflect the show's status as a place where artists, authors and journalists speak to the moment. Valerie Macon/AFP; Grace Cary; Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

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Valerie Macon/AFP; Grace Cary; Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

People form a large crowd as they attempt to receive COVID-19 testing kits from city workers distributing the kits along Flatbush Avenue on December 24, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The city is handing out thousands of the kits, which include two tests per box, in order to lesson the surge of people in long lines at testing sites. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A team of nurses, patient care technicians and a respiratory therapist prepare to return a COVID patient to their back after 24 hours of lying on their stomach. That posture makes it easier to breathe and is a critical part of treatment for COVID patients in hospitals. Alan Hawes/Medical University of South Carolina hide caption

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Alan Hawes/Medical University of South Carolina

Intimate portraits of a hospital COVID unit from a photojournalist-turned-nurse

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Blake Farmer plays with his kids, Louisa, 2, and Turner, 8, on the trampoline in their backyard in Nashville, Tenn. After Thanksgiving, the family all had breakthrough COVID cases, resulting in a couple weeks spent at home. The trampoline served as a distraction for the kids, Farmer says. Erica Calhoun for NPR hide caption

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Erica Calhoun for NPR

A firefighter tests the seal on his N95 mask at the start of his shift in Glen Burnie, Md. With the spread of omicron, experts say to wear high-filtration respirators in public indoor spaces for the best protection. Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

The degenerative brain condition CTE can be diagnosed only through autopsy. But there's a quiet population of everyday people afraid they have it — and they're turning to dubious treatments. Boston University CTE Center and Getty Images/Aaron Marin for NPR hide caption

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Boston University CTE Center and Getty Images/Aaron Marin for NPR

Everyday people fear they have CTE. A dubious market has sprung up to treat them.

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Health authorities have been urging Americans to get a booster shot six months after their second dose of the vaccine, especially now that the omicron variant is dominant in the U.S. Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

Grief is tied to all sorts of different brain functions, says researcher and author Mary-Frances O'Connor. That can range from being able to recall memories to taking the perspective of another person, to even things like regulating our heart rate and the experience of pain and suffering. Adam Lister/Getty Images hide caption

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A Cornell University student waits for a ride with luggage in tow at the campus in Ithaca, N.Y., Thursday, Dec. 16. Cornell University abruptly shut down all campus activities on Tuesday and moved final exams online after hundreds of students tested positive over three days. Heather Ainsworth/AP hide caption

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Heather Ainsworth/AP

A Santa Claus in Germany wears a surgical mask in December 2020. If you're planning to take the kids to see Santa this year, experts say it's safest to keep everyone's masks on. Caroline Seidel/picture alliance via Getty Images hide caption

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Caroline Seidel/picture alliance via Getty Images