President Joe Biden is expected to address the public on COVID-19 vaccinations on Thursday as a federal advisory committee meets to discuss safety and the need for a booster for people who have received the vaccine from Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.
The Food and Drug Administration’s Advisory Committee on Vaccines and Related Biologics is due to vote on Moderna boosters on Thursday and on J&J boosters on Friday.
While booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were first cleared for some Americans in August, those who received Moderna and J&J as their first vaccines were told to wait before receiving another round.
With the J&J boosters, however, it’s unclear whether the federal committee will have enough data to approve another shot. About 8,000 people have been studied after receiving a second dose of J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine two months after their first, and only 17 were followed after receiving a second injection at six months.
The panel will also hear information on getting a different vaccine as a follow-up on Friday.
Also in the news:
► About 90,000 Americans likely died from June through September for not being vaccinated against COVID-19, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
►A California judge partially blocked an order that came into effect on Friday that requires state prison workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. The temporary prohibition order prevents the execution of the order for unionized guards, while other workers in prisons with health care facilities will need to be vaccinated.
►More than 100 performing arts centers, cruise lines and other businesses, as well as some public officials across Florida are under investigation by the Department of Health for possible violation of a state law prohibiting the use of a passport for the COVID-19 vaccine or other warrants.
► The New Hampshire Executive Council on Wednesday rejected $ 27 million in federal immunization funding. The money would have enabled the state to hire a public health official and a dozen workers to promote COVID-19 vaccines and address concerns about it.
►The Archbishop of Military Services has said that U.S. Catholic servicemen who oppose receiving the COVID-19 vaccine because of their conscience should not be punished.
► About 800 City of San Francisco employees have requested medical or religious exemptions to avoid a looming deadline to get the coronavirus vaccine or lose their jobs. So far, the city has not approved any requests.
?? Today’s numbers: The United States has recorded more than 44.6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 719,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Over 239.2 million cases and 4.8 million deaths. More than 187 million Americans – 56% of the population – are fully immunized, according to the CDC.
📘 What we are reading: Parents have already overcome a shortage of child care providers – the workforce is down about 10% from pre-pandemic levels. Vaccination mandates could make it even more difficult for daycares to hire otherwise qualified staff.
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Study: Americans drank more, smoked more, exercised less during pandemic
Americans drank more, smoked more, exercised less and spent more time in front of computers or TVs compared to pre-pandemic levels, a study by UCLA researchers found.
Among those surveyed, research found that alcohol consumption increased by 23% and smoking by 9%, respectively. Smoking, in particular, could have detrimental effects on those who contract COVID-19: Current and former smokers are 2.4 times more likely to need intensive care unit support or die from the disease , compared to non-smokers, the study showed.
Exercise was reduced by nearly a third and screen time increased by 60%, the researchers found. Other countries like Canada, Italy, Brazil and Poland have seen similar behaviors during the pandemic.
Dr Liwei Chen, lead author of the study and professor of epidemiology at UCLA, said restrictions on non-essential activities and stay-at-home orders negatively impacted certain behaviors in American adults. – especially in minorities.
Hospitals assess COVID vaccine mandates for patients in need of vital organ transplants
After a recent outcry over a hospital demanding that a Colorado woman be vaccinated against the coronavirus before being considered for an organ transplant, several high-profile health systems are also considering rules to add the vaccines COVID-19 to the required list of vaccinations.
Hospitals that transplant hearts, livers, lungs or other organs have strict requirements and prioritize patients based on a range of factors including medical need, suitability and likelihood of success.
“Organs are a scarce resource,” said Deepali Kumar, president-elect of the American Society of Transplantation. “We have a duty to make sure this gift is protected. “
There are two main reasons why transplant doctors recommend that patients get the COVID-19 vaccine before receiving a transplant: Studies have shown that people who have had an organ transplant are more likely to die if they contract COVID-19 from the general population. And vaccines are less effective in post-transplant patients who need to take anti-rejection drugs.
“This only adds to a list of vaccines that are prudent and necessary to prevent the death of an immunocompromised person after a transplant,” said Dr. Art Caplan, chief of the division of medical ethics at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine.
– Ken Alltucker
Study Finds Pfizer or Moderna Boosters May Be Best for J&J COVID Vaccine
The best booster for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine may be Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, according to a National Institutes of Health study released Wednesday.
“The Mix and Match was a big study that people were waiting for, it gave a lot of new data, and there had never been any on Johnson & Johnson with an mRNA booster before,” said Dr Eric Topol , vice-president of research. at Scripps Research in La Jolla, Calif., and a national expert on the use of data in medical research.
The study, which included nearly 500 people, found that the J&J vaccine followed by one of the mRNA vaccines as a booster produced a stronger immune response than two doses of J&J. For people who received the Pfizer or Moderna two-dose series, a booster dose of either mRNA vaccine was effective.
The new study came just a day before a crucial Food and Drug Administration advisory committee began meeting to discuss possible booster doses of Moderna and J&J vaccines. Pfizer boosters were approved on September 24.
– Elisabeth Weise
World Health Organization: Global cases fell 7% last week
The World Health Organization says the number of coronavirus cases around the world has fallen over the past week, continuing a downward trend that began in late August.
In its latest weekly pandemic report released on Wednesday, the United Nations health agency says there were around 2.8 million new cases and 46,000 confirmed deaths last week, a drop of 7% and 10% respectively. Europe has reported a 7% increase in cases, while all other regions of the world have reported a decrease.
The WHO says Europe also saw the biggest increase in the number of deaths in the previous week, with 11% more deaths linked to COVID-19. WHO says the highest number of new cases in Europe have been reported in Britain, Turkey and Russia.
Border residents rejoice as US announces it will lift travel ban
Business owners and besieged families separated by COVID-19 restrictions rejoiced on Wednesday after the United States announced it would reopen its land borders to non-essential travel next month, ending a freeze of 19 month.
Travel across land borders from Canada and Mexico has been largely restricted to workers whose jobs are deemed essential. New rules will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the United States for any reason starting in early November.
Malls and big box stores in U.S. border cities such as San Diego, California, Nogales, Arizona, and Del Rio, Texas, whose parking lots were filled with cars with Mexican license plates, were hit hard by travel restrictions.
In Del Rio, Texas, Mexican visitors account for about 65% of retail sales, said Blanca Larson, executive director of the chamber of commerce and visitors’ bureau for the city of 35,000.
Contributing: The Associated Press