100 Breakthrough Cases in Massachusetts Have Ended in Death
One hundred people who had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus died from the disease in Massachusetts by the end of July, according to the state Department of Public Health.
In about three-quarter of the breakthrough cases, the patients reported having underlying conditions, the department said. The median age of those who died was 82.5 years.
The deaths represent a tiny fraction — about 0.002% — of all fully vaccinated individuals in the state, according to state health officials.
Iowa Is Tossing Thousands of Expiring COVID Shots: ‘We Literally Cannot Give It Away’
Iowa has started tossing out tens of thousands of expiring COVID vaccine doses as demand for the shots continues to sag.
The state has discarded 81,186 doses of the vaccine so far, said Sarah Ekstrand, spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Public Health. That includes doses that expired, plus some that were wasted for other reasons, such as when a multiple-dose vial was opened and couldn’t be used up quickly enough.
Ekstrand said Monday that federal officials said states could not return unused vaccines to the manufacturers or donate them to other states or countries. “We have exhausted all options prior to vaccine expiring,” she said in an email to the Des Moines Register.
Amid Growing Calls for Vaccine Mandates, Employers and Employees Weigh Options
National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins said Sunday he believes the U.S. should adopt more COVID vaccine mandates. Collins praised businesses for requiring the shots.
“I am glad to see the president insisting that we go forward requiring vaccinations or, if people are unwilling to do that, then regular testing at least once or twice a week, which will be very inconvenient,” Collins told ABC “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos.
When asked if it was time for more compulsory COVID vaccine policies, Collins said, “Yeah, I think we ought to use every public health tool we can when people are dying. Death rates are starting up again.”
“That was about as close to a yes as you could get,” Stephanopoulos said. “You clearly believe vaccine mandates could make a difference.”
Chinese Scientist Acquired SARS-CoV-2 in Lab Accident, Emails Obtained Via FOIA Reveal
In what may be the first known case of a lab-acquired infection with the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, a senior scientist was infected with SARS-CoV-2 in a prestigious laboratory in Beijing in early 2020, according to virologists’ emails obtained by U.S. Right to Know.
The National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention (NIVDC), where the infection is said to have occurred, is a part of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2004, a SARS virus outbreak was traced to a lab–acquired infection from the NIVDC.
The revelation that an experienced scientist was infected with SARS-CoV-2 while working in a premier virology lab in Beijing underscores concerns about the health risks posed by biolabs researching pandemic pathogens, and in particular, facilities operated by the Chinese government.
U.S. Turns to Social Media Influencers to Boost Vaccine Rates
As a police sergeant in a rural town, Carlos Cornejo isn’t the prototypical social media influencer. But his Spanish-language Facebook page with 650,000 followers was exactly what Colorado leaders were looking for as they recruited residents to try to persuade the most vaccine-hesitant.
Cornejo, 32, is one of dozens of influencers, ranging from busy moms and fashion bloggers to African refugee advocates and religious leaders, getting paid by the state to post vaccine information on a local level in hopes of stunting a troubling summer surge of COVID-19.
Colorado’s #PowertheComeback target audience is especially tailored to Latino, Black, Native American, Asian and other communities of color that historically have been underserved when it comes to health care and are the focus of agencies trying to raise vaccination rates.
Pfizer Booster Causes Similar Side Effects To Second Dose: Study
Most people who got a booster shot of the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE Covid-19 vaccine had similar or fewer side effects than they did after the second dose, according to a preliminary study conducted by Israel’s largest health maintenance organization.
Of the 4,500 respondents to the survey, 88% reported “a similar or better feeling” than their reaction to the previous dose, with 31% saying they had localized effects like pain or swelling in the area of injection, according to a statement from Clalit Health Services late Sunday.
About 15% of people had other symptoms like tiredness, muscle aches or fever. Less than 1% reported difficulty breathing or chest pains.
A Snort or a Jab? Scientists Debate Potential Benefits of Intranasal COVID-19 Vaccines
Vaccines that are injected into arm muscles aren’t likely to be able to protect our nasal passages from marauding SARS-CoV-2 viruses for very long, even if they are doing a terrific job protecting lungs from the virus. If we want vaccines that protect our upper respiratory tracts, we may need products that are administered in the nose — intranasal vaccines.
Can they be made? Probably. Will they do what we want them to do, if they are made? Possibly. Is there still room for this type of next-generation product, given the record number of COVID vaccines that have already been put into use? Potentially. Will it be difficult to get them through development? Likely.
Moderna, BioNTech Extend Record Rally Ahead of Booster Plans
Moderna’s shares whipsawed earlier, rising as much as 2.7% to briefly breach $200 billion in market value before plummeting 6% amid a broader selloff in tech and healthcare stocks. The Nasdaq Biotech Index, which Moderna has a nearly 15% weighting on, slid as much as 2.1%.
Prior to today’s slump, the two companies had each surged more than 480% in the past year to record highs. Pfizer Inc., BioNTech’s partner on the shot, which has a fulsome list of other marketed drugs driving its valuation, closed at a 21-year high on Monday as investors piled into vaccine-tied stocks.
California to Offer Vaccine Incentive to Medicaid Population
California announced another round of coronavirus vaccine incentives on Friday, offering up to $50 apiece to more than 11 million people in the state who get their health insurance through Medicaid.
The money is part of a new $350 million plan to get more of the state’s Medicaid population vaccinated as the state is seeing a surge of new cases attributed to the delta variant, a more contagious and dangerous version of the coronavirus. Medicaid is the joint state and federal health insurance program for people who are disabled or have low incomes.
No Need Yet to Adapt Pfizer Vaccine for COVID Variants: BioNTech Chief
The first generation vaccine developed by BioNTech-Pfizer works against coronavirus variants such as the Delta strain and does not need to be modified for the moment, the chief executive of German company BioNTech said Monday.
“It is quite possible that in the next six to 12 months, further variants will emerge and that would require adaptation of the vaccine but it is at the moment not yet the case,” Ugur Sahin told journalists.
A decision to make a switch should be made only if it is clear that the vaccine failed to work or is only offering sub-par protection against the virus.
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