Over Half of Parents Are Skeptical About the Safety, Efficacy of COVID Vaccines for Children: Poll
A new poll suggests more than half of parents in the U.S. are skeptical about the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines for children as eligibility recently opened to kids 5 to 11.
The Washington Post-ABC News survey found that just under half, or 46%, of parents with a child under 18 said they were either very or somewhat confident that the coronavirus vaccines are safe for children ages 5 to 17, while 47% said they were confident the vaccines are effective at preventing serious illness and death for the age group.
Meanwhile, 52% of parents polled were not so sure. The poll found 41% of respondents said they are “not at all” confident that the vaccines are safe for children in that age group, and 11% saying they are “not so” confident; 52 % also said they were “not at all” or “not so” confident of the vaccine’s efficacy.
5,266 New Infections, Hospitalizations Continue to Grow: Breakthrough Cases Continue to Climb
Minnesota state officials continue to urge residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19, saying it is the best way to prevent a severe infection and to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
But infections, hospitalizations and deaths in people who are fully vaccinated continue to climb. Breakthrough cases account for 17% of all infections diagnosed in 2021 as well as 15.2% of hospitalizations and 15.7% of deaths.
Health officials say breakthrough rates are not an accurate measure of vaccine efficacy. But the rate of such cases has grown significantly this fall.
The Enormous Mental Health Impact of COVID
While only a miniscule percentage of humans on Earth have not been affected in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ways in which people’s lives have been altered are as diverse as the severity of the effects themselves (with some having even seen positives to come out of the situation).
Latest estimates from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) show that increases in the prevalence of depression or its symptoms have been observed in all of the countries in its remit that have available data.
The Moderna and Myocarditis Link Needs More Study
Some 71 million Americans have been vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine. The company has seen its stock price soar. But last week, Moderna announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would take more time to decide whether the company’s two-dose vaccine could be used on children aged 12 to 17 after studies showed the vaccine resulted in a higher incidence of myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart, in males.
Europe approved the Moderna vaccine for use in adolescents in July. But Finland has paused use in young men; Sweden, Germany and other European countries have also announced age-related restrictions.
New Antiviral Drugs Mark a Big Turning Point in the COVID Pandemic
The latest news in the fight against COVID-19 is encouraging. Two new antiviral drugs have been deemed so effective that clinical trials ended early. Data from these trials have not yet been published. However, regulators are moving swiftly to consider general use of the drugs. They will fill a large gap in the toolkit doctors are using to fight the virus, and could well help end the global pandemic.
The new drugs are molnupiravir (Lagevrio), developed by Merck, a pharmaceutical company, working with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, a biotech firm, and Paxlovid, which was developed by Pfizer. All three are American companies.
Those most at risk from the serious effects of COVID are far less likely to be hospitalized, or die, if they take a course of either of these pills in the five days after symptoms first appear.
Opinion: A Pandemic of Misery Has Lessons Not to Be Forgotten. A National Commission Will Help.
Four senators, two Democrats and two Republicans, have proposed legislation to create a 9/11-commission-style national panel that would examine the pandemic and help prepare for the future. This bill ought to be approved by Congress.
Their bill would create a 10-member commission, five from each party, with powers to hold hearings and issue subpoenas, as well as handle intelligence information. It would report within 20 months.
One vital area of inquiry is public health systems, which were overwhelmed during the pandemic. Another part of the probe would focus on the virus origins. The recent U.S. intelligence community report on the virus origins was inconclusive. A commission with time and resources could get closer to the truth, although unfettered cooperation by China is essential, and so far has not been forthcoming.
A Zoo’s Three ‘Beloved’ Snow Leopards Die of COVID
On Friday, the Lincoln Children’s Zoo announced that the leopards — Everest, Makalu and Ranney — had died of complications from COVID-19, about one month after the animals had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Two Sumatran tigers, Axl and Kumar, were also infected, but the zoo said Friday that they “have made a seemingly full recovery from their illness.”
In a statement in October, the zoo said the infected animals were being treated with steroids and antibiotics, but it did not say whether they had been vaccinated. Zoetis, a former Pfizer subsidiary based in New Jersey, has provided an animal-specific coronavirus vaccine to zoos across the country. The Lincoln Children’s Zoo did not immediately respond to an interview request.
UK Firm to Trial T-Cell COVID Vaccine That Could Give Longer Immunity
An Oxfordshire-based company will soon start clinical trials of a second-generation vaccine against COVID-19, an easy-to-administer skin patch that uses T-cells to kill infected cells and could offer longer-lasting immunity than current vaccines.
The vaccines prime T-cells to remove infected cells from the body quickly after infection, thus preventing viral replication and disease. While the antibodies produced by the current COVID vaccines stick to the virus and stop it infecting cells, T-cells find and destroy infected cells.
Israel Approves Coronavirus Vaccines for Younger Children
Israel on Sunday approved giving the COVID-19 vaccine to children between the ages of 5 and 11.
The Health Ministry decision follows approval by U.S. health authorities earlier this month to OK the vaccine for the same age group.
Israel was one of the first countries in the world to carry out a broad vaccination campaign in its adult and adolescent population early this year, and it became the first country to carry out a widespread booster campaign over the summer.
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