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Coronavirus updates April 2021... please add yours.

missy

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The U.S. virus battle is skewing younger​

For the last year of the pandemic, when U.S. Covid-19 case numbers spiked, hospitalizations and deaths inevitably rose, too. People fell seriously ill and died from the virus, and hospitals grew overwhelmed during surges, stretched to take care of both virus and non-virus patients.
That grim dynamic will likely abate, one of the benefits of spending months trying to immunize those most vulnerable to severe infections. There’s evidence that the strategy is working, at least among older Americans: Nearly 3 in 4 individuals age 65 and up have received at least one dose, and about half are fully immunized. Among nursing-home residents, a population that was prioritized for shots, cases have dropped by nearly 98%, and deaths by 88%, since mid-December.

Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Photographer: Susan Walsh/AP Photo
What this means is that new Covid cases will likely be seen in younger age groups. And while younger people are thought to be less likely to have symptoms, they can still spread the virus and contract severe cases themselves. In Michigan, for instance, the state Health & Hospital Association raised alarms last week about hospitalizations spiking among people in their 30s and 40s.
This is all unfolding as U.S. virus cases and hospitalizations are now rising again. The country's top public health official, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky, warned earlier this week that we could see a fourth surge, and said that worrisome trends were giving her a feeling of “impending doom.”

About 30% of Americans have received at least one shot, and more than 16% are fully immunized, according to Bloomberg’s Vaccine Tracker. States are racing to administer more vaccines and widen eligibility for inoculations. Yet the virus could still push ahead at a time when millions remain unvaccinated and more-contagious variants spread, experts say.
“Absolutely the signs suggest we should be concerned right now,” said Ellie Murray, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Boston University. Though many of the most at-risk people have gotten vaccinated, “everyone is vulnerable. We really need to get those vaccines rolled out before we expect to get things under control.”—Emma Court

Track the vaccines​

More Than 590 Million Shots Have Been Given

More than 590 million doses have been administered across 141 countries. In the U.S., more Americans have received at least one dose than have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began. We’ve updated our vaccine tracker to allow you to explore vaccine rates vs Covid-19 cases in a number of countries. See the latest here."
 

missy

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Pfizer's COVID Vaccine Works in Younger Teens, Too​

— Company CEOs stress the vaccine provides a path back to "everyday school"​



In the companies' announcement, Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla noted the hope of starting to vaccinate younger adolescents "before the start of the next school year."

BioNTech CEO and co-founder Ugur Sahin also suggested that a vaccine for this age group was a path back to in-person learning, stressing the importance of enabling these students "to get back to everyday school life and to meet friends and family while protecting them and their loved ones."

Teens in the trial were randomized 1:1 to the vaccine or placebo. Lab results in a subset of participants showed that the vaccine generated a strong immunogenic response 1 month following the second dose, which was non-inferior to SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody geometric mean titers generated by people ages 16-25 in earlier studies with the vaccine.

The vaccine was generally well-tolerated, and side effects were consistent with the older age group. Pfizer and BioNTech said they would submit the results to a peer-reviewed journal for publication.

The companies also teased a phase I/II/III study of children ages 6 months to 11 years. The company is testing the two doses of the vaccine in three age groups of healthy children: ages 6-11, ages 2-5, and ages 6 months to 2 years. The first vaccines were administered last week.


"
 

missy

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Vaccine Passport” Certification — Policy and Ethical Considerations"​




"
As the Covid-19 pandemic enters its next phase, fervent desires to return to normalcy coupled with the rollout of efficacious vaccines have intensified discussions of “vaccine passports” — certifications of vaccination that reduce public health restrictions for their bearers. The Biden administration, the British government, and the European Union are currently considering their feasibility; Australia, Denmark, and Sweden have committed to implementation; and Israel, which leads the world in per capita vaccination, is already issuing “green passes” to vaccinated residents. Although travel eligibility has been the primary focus to date, some use of passports to regulate access to social and recreational gatherings, workplaces, or schools appears imminent; Israel’s green passes, for instance, permit entry to otherwise restricted sites such as hotels, gyms, restaurants, theaters, and music venues, and New York’s “Excelsior Pass” permits attendance at theaters, arenas, event venues, and large weddings.
The core rationale of these programs is that public health restrictions that limit freedoms and socially valuable activities should be tailored to verifiable risk. In general, such tailoring is not a controversial goal: it has long been a central principle of civil rights law and public health practice. The case for tailoring restrictions is especially compelling when the restrictions are harsh, when widespread public sentiment demands some relaxation, and when relaxing the restrictions would most likely be safe for some identifiable people but not for everyone.

Using Covid-19 vaccine passports to tailor restrictions, however, has drawn staunch opposition based on several weighty concerns.1 First, while vaccine supply remains limited, privileging people who are fortunate enough to have gained early access is morally questionable. Second, even after supply constraints ease, rates of vaccination among racial minorities and low-income populations seem likely to remain disproportionately low; relatedly, if history is a guide, programs that confer social privilege on the basis of “fitness” can lead to invidious discrimination. Third, the extent of protection conferred by vaccination, particularly against new variants, is not yet well understood, nor is the potential for viral transmission by people who have been vaccinated. Fourth, privileging the vaccinated will penalize people with religious or philosophical objections to vaccination. Finally, we lack a consensus approach to accurately certifying vaccination.
Support for Immunity Privileges and Perceived Fairness of Their Use by Activity in a Nationally Representative Sample of 1315 People.
The public appears to be deeply divided on the appropriateness of immunity privileges. Last summer, we elicited views from a nationally representative panel.2 Support for certification programs based on positive tests for antibodies to Covid-19 was almost evenly split (see graph). Moreover, in contrast with views on many other pandemic-control policies, the division of opinion on immunity passports cut across ideological, racial, and socioeconomic lines. The survey was conducted during an earlier phase of the pandemic and did not address vaccination-acquired immunity explicitly, although more recent surveys that have done so have also revealed deeply divided views.3
The mixed views and range of competing arguments suggest that it would be precipitous — and extremely unlikely in the United States — to adopt an official government policy requiring widespread use of vaccine passports. On the other hand, we believe the objections raised fall short of justifying a ban on any and all uses of vaccine certification (which some commentators have proposed). Access to vaccines is increasing rapidly, with special efforts being made to reach disadvantaged groups. Although better understanding is needed of the nature and degree of immunity that vaccination confers, it seems clear enough that risk — especially for severe disease — is dramatically reduced. Mechanisms for reliable and accurate certification are important. But development of such mechanisms is largely a technical issue — one that some leading technology companies are addressing — and it should not completely block an otherwise sensible policy. Finally, requiring people who decline vaccination to bear some consequence for their refusal seems only fair, especially if, collectively, such hesitancy puts herd immunity out of reach.
Thus, rejecting policy extremes — a broad mandatory public scheme or a prohibition on all private uses of certification — is a relatively easy call. But how should policymakers navigate the large and complex space in between? What is either acceptable or optimal can vary substantially by context. Two features of this landscape are particularly important for evaluating the appropriateness of policy moves: the nature of privileged activities and the identity of the regulator.
An important starting point is distinguishing passports from mandates. When government conditions participation in essential activities such as work or education, certification essentially functions as a mandatory vaccination program. The legal and ethical perils of a government mandate for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines at this time have been well reviewed elsewhere.4 Therefore, we focus here on policy uses of vaccine certification other than having the government itself restrict physical access to essential settings such as workplaces, schools, and health care institutions.
The “passport” concept applies most obviously to travel. Federal and state authorities currently impose quarantine requirements on people who cross state or international borders. Most such policies do not make exceptions for vaccinated travelers. However, some states are considering doing so. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes vaccination as grounds for lifting quarantine for people exposed to Covid-19 infection; and for travel from most countries, the agency has recommended lifting restrictions on entrants who have recovered from Covid-19.5 It seems only a matter of time before the same policies would apply to travelers who can show proof of completed vaccination.
In taking the lead on vaccination-related travel policy, government can start by establishing standards for reliable documentation of vaccination. Such standards are likely to emerge relatively soon from public–private partnerships in the travel sector, and then spread to other settings.
Those other settings include social and recreational gatherings. Here, the case for government control is weaker, because frontline policy setting and implementation more naturally fall to private actors. Allowing sports leagues, concert and sporting venues, clubs, restaurants, and bars some latitude to set rules that determine access on the basis of customers’ vaccination status would be reasonable; doing so may also serve wider efforts to encourage vaccine uptake. Although not in the driver’s seat, government will have to help steer. Private actors need standards and bounds, including clear directives barring uses of vaccine certification that constitute unlawful discrimination. More generally, government can help to mitigate inequities arising from private certification by boosting the supply and distribution of vaccines and redoubling efforts to reach underserved populations.
Government guardrails are especially important when private policies affect employment opportunities. Federal law requires employers that mandate vaccination to reasonably accommodate workers who have sincerely held religious objections. Also, to avoid running afoul of disability discrimination laws, employers’ vaccination policies must be based on actual risk to workers’ or customers’ health.1 As certification programs proliferate, additional guidance will be needed, along with diligent enforcement of rules, including attentiveness to complaints and whistleblower reports.
Another key role for government is to ensure that architects of certification rules have ready access to the best and most current scientific information on vaccine effectiveness and limitations. In distilling this knowledge, government should recognize that its primary goal in guiding private actors is not complete elimination of risk; rather, the social complexity of Covid-19 requires guidance geared to gradations of risk that various actors might reasonably want to avoid.
Finally, flexible adaptation is key. The past year has taught us that pandemic policies that are sensible one month may need to be rethought a month later. Rational and ethical vaccine certification policy is likely to shift regularly as vaccine availability increases, herd immunity nears, and scientific evidence of effectiveness or limitations grows. Determining how long vaccines work and how well they protect against new variants will be critical. But knowing that change is inevitable is not grounds for holding back guidance until circumstances become clear. Current circumstances demand immediate policies that offer reasonable leeway for balancing protection of public health with a return to prepandemic life.
"
 

missy

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How long will my vaccine protection last?​

In this week's edition of the Covid Q&A, we look at immunity after vaccination. In hopes of making this very confusing time just a little less so, each week Bloomberg Prognosis is picking one question sent in by readers and putting it to an expert in the field. This week's question comes to us from John. He wonders whether it's safe to plan travel or other activities that would take place months after vaccination — would he still be immune to the virus?

How will one know how long a Covid vaccine is effective?
As more people get vaccinated, we're starting to imagine what life might look like when things go back to normal. Things like going to the movies or having a birthday party — even international travel — suddenly seem within reach again.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that those who are fully vaccinated can hang out with each other indoors without social distancing. But it's still important to maintain precautions in public and around unvaccinated people for a few reasons. Though vaccines do seem to at least greatly reduce transmission, it's still unclear whether vaccinated people can still spread the virus.
And as we discussed here a few weeks ago, vaccines appear to be effective for the vast majority of people but not everyone. That means if you're vaccinated, there's still a slim chance you could get ill if exposed to the virus. Just this week, there have been a handful of such cases reported in the U.S. For those reasons, the CDC is still advising against unnecessary travel. At least for now, even vaccinated people still carry the risk of catching the virus in crowds.

A man gets the Pfizer vaccine at a pop-up vaccination clinic in New York City.
Photographer: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Of course, as more people get vaccinated, the assumption is that transmission will drastically slow, if not stop. So let's get to John's question about how long immunity conferred by vaccines lasts.

Chunhuei Chi, director of the Center for Global Health at Oregon State University, says it's a complicated question without much data available to answer it. The urgency of creating a vaccine during a pandemic meant that drug companies didn't have time to look at that question, he says.

“Reports from earlier clinical trials suggested that such immunity will last at least six months,” Chi says. “Many experts have a more optimistic estimation of the duration of immunity, based on research findings from people who recovered from Covid-19 infection. They found those infection-induced immunities can last eight months or even longer, especially for people who were infected and developed severe symptoms.”
On Friday, Pfizer and partner BioNTech released data that support Chi's view. They said their vaccine was 91.3% effective in preventing symptomatic cases starting one week after the second dose through as long as six months.

Lana Dbeibo, an infectious disease expert at Indiana University School of Medicine, said it is possible that we might need booster vaccines as we do for flu shots.

“But whether this will indeed be the case for Covid, and if so, what the length of time is between the initial vaccination and the booster doses, is not yet known,” she says.

And for the time being, it's not possible to simply test yourself to see if you're vaccine is working.

This lack of certainty is frustrating, for sure, but more answers are coming every day. There's nothing wrong with a little optimism. But if you do book a vacation for a few months from now, just maybe make sure it's refundable."
 

missy

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When will life return to normal?​

While the best vaccines are thought to be 95% effective, it takes a coordinated campaign to stop a pandemic. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious-disease official in the U.S., has said that vaccinating 70% to 85% of the U.S. population would enable a return to normalcy.

On a global scale, that’s a daunting level of vaccination. At the current pace of 17.2 million a day, it would take years to achieve a significant level of global immunity. The rate, however, is steadily increasing, and new vaccines by additional manufacturers are coming to market.


Are we bending the curve yet?​

Israel was first to show that vaccinations were having a nationwide effect. The country has led the world in vaccinations, and by February more than 84% of people ages 70 and older had received two doses. Severe covid cases and deaths declined rapidly. A separate analysis in the U.K. showed similar results.
It’s now a life-and-death contest between vaccine and virus. New strains threaten renewed outbreaks. In the early stages of a campaign, the effect of vaccinations are often outweighed by other factors of transmissibility: virus mutations, seasonality, effectiveness of mask use and social distancing. In time, higher vaccination rates should limit the Covid-19 burden around the world.

Vaccinations vs. Cases​

Covid rates have generally flattened or declined in the countries where enough vaccines have been given to cover at least of the population.


Note: “People covered” divides the doses administered for each vaccine type by the number of doses required for full vaccination. Vaccine data from Bloomberg’s Covid-19 Tracker. Cases data: Johns Hopkins University.
Since the start of the global vaccination campaign, countries have experienced unequal access to vaccines and varying degrees of efficiency in getting shots into people’s arms. Before March, few African nations had received a single shipment of shots. In the U.S., 48.7 doses have been administered for every 100 people.
Delivering billions of vaccines to stop the spread of Covid-19 worldwide will be one of the greatest logistical challenges ever undertaken.

Race to End the Pandemic​

Gibraltar leads all countries, with enough vaccinations to cover 89.6% of its population


Note: “People covered” divides the doses administered for each vaccine type by the number of doses required for full vaccination. Data from Bloomberg’s Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker

Global Vaccination Campaign​



Note: Population coverage accounts for the number of doses required for each vaccine administered. The daily rate is a 7-day average; for countries that don’t report daily, the last-known average rate is used.

U.S. Vaccinations: State by State​

The U.S. leads the world in total vaccines administered, and more supply is on the way. Drugmakers have promised to deliver enough shots to fully vaccinate 130 million Americans by the end of March and 300 million people by the end of May. That’s more than enough for every adult, and clinical studies in children are underway.
Distribution in the U.S. is directed by the federal government. Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine, as well as Moderna’s shot both require two doses taken several weeks apart. J&J’s inoculation requires just a single dose.

Time to Deliver​

Vaccine makers pledge 700M doses for the U.S. by the end of July—enough to cover 400M people
  • Vaccines available

  • Delivery targets

  • Projected

Source: “Unknown manufacturer” refers to vaccine allocations reported by the White House that are not further identified. Specified allocations are from CDC. Targets are provided by the manufacturers and don’t always align with government forecasts for availability.
The introduction of J&J’s one-shot option in March is speeding up vaccinations and making it easier to vaccinate hard-to-reach populations. So far, 104 million Americans have received at least one dose of a vaccine—40.4% of the adult population. At least 59.9 million people have completed a vaccination regimen.

"
 

missy

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@MamaBee some good news and even though it's about Pfizer I would hope one could expect similar results from Moderna.

From Consumer Lab.

Evidence of persistent immunoprotection
Analysis of data among 46,307 people included in Pfizer's ongoing phase 3 clinical trial showed that the Pfizer vaccine had 91.3% efficacy against COVID-19 and 95.3% efficacy against severeCOVID-19 (as defined by the FDA) when measured from seven days through up to six months after the second dose, confirming that the vaccine is effective for at least 6 months after the second dose. In addition, the data from this clinical trial collected specifically in South Africa, where the B.1.351 variant is prevalent, showed that the vaccine efficacy in this region was 100%
 

MamaBee

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@MamaBee some good news and even though it's about Pfizer I would hope one could expect similar results from Moderna.

From Consumer Lab.

Evidence of persistent immunoprotection
Analysis of data among 46,307 people included in Pfizer's ongoing phase 3 clinical trial showed that the Pfizer vaccine had 91.3% efficacy against COVID-19 and 95.3% efficacy against severeCOVID-19 (as defined by the FDA) when measured from seven days through up to six months after the second dose, confirming that the vaccine is effective for at least 6 months after the second dose. In addition, the data from this clinical trial collected specifically in South Africa, where the B.1.351 variant is prevalent, showed that the vaccine efficacy in this region was 100%

I read that @missy..I would feel better knowing Moderna gets the same results...I read an earlier article that Moderna antibiotics drop quickly...This was written in December of last year...so it needs to be updated. They didn’t have enough data to be honest.
 

missy

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I read that @missy..I would feel better knowing Moderna gets the same results...I read an earlier article that Moderna antibiotics drop quickly...This was written in December of last year...so it needs to be updated. They didn’t have enough data to be honest.

Yes but there’s indication it could last (much) longer. We won’t know anything definitively as it is too soon. But it looks hopeful imo.



“ snip..Looking at studies on natural immunity from the coronavirus, experts hypothesize that protective immunity from the vaccines will last at least six to eight months. And if immunity from SARS-CoV-2 ends up being similar to other seasonal coronaviruses, such as “common colds,” it is even possible the vaccines could provide protection for up to a year or two before requiring a booster, the experts said.”


“ snip...research also shows people who had more severe cases developed a stronger immune reaction than those with milder forms of the disease. And because vaccine-induced immunity appears to be more similar to natural immunity that is derived from severe covid-19 infections, researchers say they believe people who take a coronavirus vaccine will be protected better than most people with natural immunity, said David Topham, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Rochester.”
 

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@missy Thanks for linking that article. I’ve been trying to find one that mentioned Moderna specifically...This looks promising...It looks like Moderna is being more conservative with saying how long their vaccine’s immunity will last.
 

missy

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@missy Thanks for linking that article. I’ve been trying to find one that mentioned Moderna specifically...This looks promising...It looks like Moderna is being more conservative with saying how long their vaccine’s immunity will last.

My educated opinion (based on limited information however so take it with a grain of salt) is that the results of the Moderna vaccine should be similar to Pfizer vaccine due to the similarity of the vaccines. The ingredients are very similar though Moderna has more material in it.

Fingers crossed the vaccines last a year at least and all we’ll need is a yearly booster.
 

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My educated opinion (based on limited information however so take it with a grain of salt) is that the results of the Moderna vaccine should be similar to Pfizer vaccine due to the similarity of the vaccines. The ingredients are very similar though Moderna has more material in it.

Fingers crossed the vaccines last a year at least and all we’ll need is a yearly booster.

I hope with everything that this proves to be true...I still would want a booster at six months for the people that are higher risk...or choose to have it.
 

missy

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I hope with everything that this proves to be true...I still would want a booster at six months for the people that are higher risk...or choose to have it.

Have you read anything about this? Please share a link if there’s any info. Thanks :)
 

missy

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missy

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Here you go @missy!

Thanks Joanne.
I knew we would need a booster and hoped it would be by autumn and reading the article you linked that looks very possible. I hope everyone can get it in a timely fashion and that it is easier to schedule than the original vaccines were.
 

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Thanks Joanne.
I knew we would need a booster and hoped it would be by autumn and reading the article you linked that looks very possible. I hope everyone can get it in a timely fashion and that it is easier to schedule than the original vaccines were.

Pennsylvania was pretty bad in getting the first round out. I can’t even imagine them getting a booster shot out in a reasonable time frame. Someone in my area called the distribution like The Hunger Games. They’re right too..
 

AprilBaby

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Hubs and I are both done, daughter in law #1 is done, daughter is done, bf of daughter has had 1 shot so far, son #1 has first shot scheduled, son#2 not eligible yet, son#3 had Covid Election Day and is hoping for a vaccine soon. Daughter in law #2 is pregnant and waiting till baby is born in May.
 

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"
(CNN)The coronavirus variant first identified in the United Kingdom is now the most common strain of coronavirus in the United States, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday.
"Based on our most recent estimates from CDC surveillance, the B.1.1.7 variant is now the most common lineage circulating in the United States," Walensky said at the White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing.
Coronavirus pandemic: Live updates
Studies have suggested that the UK variant is more contagious than the original strain, is possibly more dangerous and associated with a higher risk of death.


There are currently 16,275 confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 variant in the United States, according to the CDC.
The country's daily rate of new cases rose over most of the last four weeks. Part of that is due to the spread of B.1.1.7 and other concerning variants, Walensky said this week.
Last month, evidence was mounting that the variant was possibly already dominant across the US. At the time, the CDC declined to say if the variant was dominant -- but predicted it would be within a few weeks."
 

missy

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Antibody Persistence through 6 Months after the Second Dose of mRNA-1273 Vaccine for Covid-19




“Although the antibody titers and assays that best correlate with vaccine efficacy are not currently known, antibodies that were elicited by mRNA-1273 persisted through 6 months after the second dose, as detected by three distinct serologic assays. Ongoing studies are monitoring immune responses beyond 6 months as well as determining the effect of a booster dose to extend the duration and breadth of activity against emerging viral variants. Our data show antibody persistence and thus support the use of this vaccine in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic.”
 

dk168

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On a personal note, I am looking forward to further restrictions being lifted on 12 April 2021.

I shall have my first hair cut on 13 April 2021 since the last one in November 2020, probably with a slightly longer style. :roll2: :lol-2:

Also looking forward to the first beer and a meal in a pub and a restaurant, plus a camping trip!

DK :))
 

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@MamaBee FYI




"Evidence from a small sample (33) of people in the Moderna vaccine study showed that neutralizing antibody remained high through six months after the second dose. There was, however, some decline over time, particularly among those aged 56 and older (Doria-Rose, N Eng J Med 2021).
 

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@MamaBee FYI




"Evidence from a small sample (33) of people in the Moderna vaccine study showed that neutralizing antibody remained high through six months after the second dose. There was, however, some decline over time, particularly among those aged 56 and older (Doria-Rose, N Eng J Med 2021).

Thanks @missy! Of course I’m over 56 but hopefully it’s not a rapid decline of immunity over the course of six months.
 

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PSA

After 15 months of eating mostly home-cooked and healthy foods, do not, I repeat, do not, make the first meal out bacon wrapped shrimp with a side of beans, rice, avocado, sour cream and tortillas washed down by beer and followed by churros for dessert.
 

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"
April 13, 2021Updated 7:08 a.m. ET
WASHINGTON — Federal health agencies on Tuesday called for an immediate pause in use of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose coronavirus vaccine after six recipients in the United States developed a rare disorder involving blood clots within about two weeks of vaccination, officials briefed on the decision said.
All six recipients were women between the ages of 18 and 48. One woman died and a second woman in Nebraska has been hospitalized in critical condition, the officials said.
Nearly seven million people in the United States have received Johnson & Johnson shots so far, and roughly nine million more doses have been shipped out to the states, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Today FDA and @CDCgov issued a statement regarding the Johnson & Johnson #COVID19 vaccine. We are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” the F.D.A. announced on Twitter at 7 a.m. A news conference is scheduled for 10 a.m.

While the move was framed as a recommendation to health practitioners in the states, the federal government will pause administration of the vaccine at all federally run vaccination sites. Federal officials expect that state health officials will take that as a strong signal to do the same.

Scientists with the Food and Drug Administration and C.D.C. will jointly examine possible links between the vaccine and the disorder and determine whether the F.D.A. should continue to authorize use of the vaccine for all adults or limit the authorization. An emergency meeting of the C.D.C.’s outside advisory committee has been scheduled for Wednesday, officials said.
The move could substantially complicate the nation’s vaccination efforts at a time when many states are confronting a surge in new cases and seeking to address vaccine hesitancy. Regulators in Europe and elsewhere are concerned about a similar issue with another coronavirus vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University researchers. That concern has driven up some resistance to all vaccines, even though the AstraZeneca version has not been approved for use in the United States.

Most of the nation’s vaccine supply comes from two other manufacturers, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which together deliver more than 23 million doses a week of their two-shot vaccines. There have been no significant safety concerns about either of those vaccines.
But while shipments of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been much more limited, the Biden administration had still been counting on using hundreds of thousands of doses every week. In addition to requiring only a single dose, the vaccine is easier to ship and store than the other two, which must be stored at extremely low temperatures.


It is unclear to what degree the pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will set back the Biden administration’s plans to deliver enough vaccine to be able to inoculate all adults in the United States by the end of May.
In the United States alone, 300,000 to 600,000 people a year develop blood clots, according to C.D.C. data. But the particular blood clotting disorder that the vaccine recipients developed, known as cerebral venous thrombosis, is extremely rare. All of the women developed the condition between six and 16 days of vaccination, and government experts are concerned that an immune system response triggered by the vaccine was the cause.
The decision is a fresh blow both to Johnson & Johnson and to the administration’s plans. Late last month, the company discovered that workers at a Baltimore plant run by its subcontractor had accidentally contaminated a batch of vaccine, forcing the firm to throw out the equivalent of 13 million to 15 million doses. That plant was supposed to take over supply of the vaccine to the United States from Johnson & Johnson’s Dutch plants, which were certified by federal regulators earlier this year.
The Baltimore plant’s certification by the F.D.A. has now been delayed while inspectors investigate quality control issues, sharply reducing the supply of Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The sudden drop in available doses led to widespread complaints from governors and state health officials who had been expecting much bigger shipments of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine this week than they got.
States have been using the vaccine in a broad range of settings, including at mass vaccination sites and on campuses. Officials have also directed it to transient, rural and isolated communities where following up with a second dose is more complicated.
It is common for regulators to investigate so-called “safety signals” in new vaccines and other medical products. Very often, the signals prove not to be of concern. But the concerns about Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine mirror concerns about AstraZeneca’s, which European regulators began investigating last month after some recipients developed blood clots.
Out of 34 million people who received the vaccine in Britain, the European Union and three other countries, 222 experienced blood clots that were linked with a low level of platelets. The majority of these cases occurred within the first 14 days following vaccination, mostly in women under 60 years of age.
On April 7, the European Medicines Agency, the main regulatory agency, concluded that the disorder was a very rare side effect of the vaccine. Researchers in Germany and Norway published studies on April 9 suggesting that in very rare cases, the AstraZeneca vaccine caused people to make antibodies that activated their own platelets.
Nevertheless, the regulators argued, the benefit of the vaccine — keeping people from being infected with Covid-19 or those few who get it out of the hospital — vastly outweighed that small risk. Countries in Europe and elsewhere continued to give the vaccine to older people, who face a high risk of severe disease and death from Covid-19, while restricting it in younger people.
Both AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson use the same platform for their vaccine, a virus known as an adenovirus. On Tuesday, the Australian government announced it would not purchase Johnson & Johnson vaccines. They cited the fact that Johnson & Johnson, like AstraZeneca, used an adenovirus as the basis of its vaccine. But there is no obvious reason adenovirus-based vaccines in particular would cause rare blood clots associated with low platelet levels.
AstraZeneca has not yet applied for an emergency use authorization in the United States.
In addition to Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, the F.D.A. has authorized the vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech. Those two vaccines use a different technology to produce immunity.
The first sign of concern about Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine came on April 9, when the European Medicines Agency announced that they were investigating reports of four cases of blood clots in people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the United States. One case occurred in the clinical trial that took place before the vaccine was authorized. Three occurred in the vaccine rollout. One of them was fatal, the agency said.
The regulators described these reports as a “safety signal” — a cluster of cases requiring further investigation. But they said it wasn’t clear if the vaccines caused the clots.
Johnson & Johnson responded with a statement saying, “At present, no clear causal relationship has been established between these rare events and the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine.” Janssen is the name of Johnson & Johnson’s division that developed the vaccine."
 

Arcadian

Ideal_Rock
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PSA

After 15 months of eating mostly home-cooked and healthy foods, do not, I repeat, do not, make the first meal out bacon wrapped shrimp with a side of beans, rice, avocado, sour cream and tortillas washed down by beer and followed by churros for dessert.

Regret at 3am?
 
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