Covid News Watch
Can Schools Mandate COVID-19 Vaccines? What We Know
Many education officials, public-health officials and parents believe that vaccinating children against COVID-19 will play a key role in resuming normal life in time for in-person learning in the fall. That stance has led some parents to wonder: Will K-12 students be mandated to receive the vaccine to be allowed on campus this fall?
Children as young as 12 years old are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE. Moderna Inc. said Thursday it has asked U.S. health regulators to authorize the use of its COVID-19 shot in adolescents ages 12 to 17, setting up the potential availability of a second vaccine option for adolescents.
CDC to Convene Emergency Meeting on 226 Reports of Heart Inflammation After COVID Vaccine in People Under 30
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Thursday it will convene an emergency meeting of its advisers on June 18 to discuss higher-than-expected reports of heart inflammation following doses of Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines, CBS News reported.
According to the CDC, a total of 475 cases of myocarditis or pericarditis were recorded in patients 30 and younger. The CDC identified 226 reports that might meet the agency’s “working case definition” of myocarditis and pericarditis following the shots, the agency disclosed Thursday during an FDA hearing.
The majority of those affected have recovered, but 41 had ongoing symptoms, 15 are still hospitalized and three are in the intensive care unit.
Dr. Tom Shimabukuro, deputy director of the CDC’s Immunization Safety Office said during Thursday’s meeting there had been a higher-than-expected number of cases of heart inflammation among young people recently vaccinated with their second doses of mRNA vaccine.
As Drug Makers Set Sights on Vaccinating 5-Year-Olds, Latest VAERS Data Show Number of Injuries, Deaths Continues to Climb
This week’s number of reported adverse events among all age groups following COVID vaccines surpassed 329,000, according to data released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The data comes directly from reports submitted to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).
VAERS is the primary government-funded system for reporting adverse vaccine reactions in the U.S. Reports submitted to VAERS require further investigation before a causal relationship can be confirmed.
For Kids, Benefits of COVID Vaccine ‘Don’t Outweigh Risks,’ Experts Tell FDA
While some advisors said it’s too soon to rush the use of vaccines in the pediatric population because kids are at such low risk from the virus, most argued that it’s important to have authorizations on hand should there be a resurgence of the virus in the fall and winter.
The members of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) were not asked to provide specific advice or to vote during the meeting.
Sen. Grassley: ‘We the People Have an Absolute Right to Know Everything the U.S. Government Knows About the Origin of the Virus’
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) criticized Dr. Anthony Fauci on the Senate floor for mishandling taxpayer money used to fund “risky and deadly virus research” at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology as shown in the video below.
Grassley said the focus has rightly shifted to understanding the origins of the virus.
“We the people have an absolute right to know everything the U.S. government knows about the origin of the virus.”
Biden Administration Tells Federal Agencies They Should Not Require Employees to Be Vaccinated to Work On-Site
The Biden administration has told federal agencies that they generally should not require their employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus to work on-site in federal buildings or to disclose whether they are vaccinated.
Employees who disclose they are unvaccinated or refuse to answer a voluntary question about vaccination status should be subject to safety requirements such as mask-wearing and social distancing, new guidance says.
“The Administration strongly encourages all Americans, including Federal employees and contractors, to be vaccinated,” says a Tuesday posting by an interagency task force overseeing pandemic-related policies for the federal workplace. However, “at present, COVID-19 vaccination should generally not be a pre-condition” for federal employees or contractors to work in person, it states, while not specifying possible exceptions.
Lab Risks Face Scrutiny Amid COVID Origins Controversy
Why it matters: Better governance of biorisks would limit the threat of a human-made pandemic — and could help identify the origin of future outbreaks more quickly and with a lot less controversy.
The U.S. Needs a COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Because ‘We’re Not Past The Pandemic,’ Says FDA Adviser
Advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration agree that it’s important to have a COVID-19 vaccine for children, though there’s some disagreement over how potential vaccines are researched and authorized, FDA adviser Dr. Paul Offit said Thursday.
The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee met Thursday to discuss what kind of information the FDA needs to consider ahead of authorizing a vaccine for children 12 and under.
“I’m confident that there was unanimity among the advisers that it’s important to have a vaccine for children,” Offit told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
Young Adults Shun COVID-19 Vaccine as White House Warns of Risks
Young adults in Generation Z are refusing the COVID-19 shot at a higher rate than other age groups, a development that many public health experts and White House officials worry could prolong the virus’s spread and lead to dangerous new mutations
“For young people who may think this doesn’t affect you, listen up, please. This virus, even a mild case, can be with you for months. It will impact on your social life,” President Joe Biden said at the White House on June 2.
CDC Admits Teens Vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna at Higher Risk of Heart Inflammation
As CNN reported Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) advisory committee now acknowledges a higher-than-expected number of cases of heart inflammation among 16- to 24-year-olds who recently received a second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines.
Based on a May 24 report from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Technical Work Group (VaST), the CDC on June 1 updated its website with the following language:
“Data from VAERS [Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System] show that in the 30-day window following dose 2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccination, there was a higher number of observed than expected myocarditis/pericarditis cases in 16–24-year-olds.”
Oregon Confirms 11 Cases of Heart Problems Following COVID Vaccines
The Oregon Health Authority said it was aware of at least 11 cases of myocarditis or pericarditis — inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart — in all age groups following COVID vaccination, according to The Oregonian.
One of the cases is a 15-year-old teen in Beaverton, Oregon, who was hospitalized for heart inflammation after receiving his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
The teen, who requested his name not be used to protect his privacy, said he started feeling some of the more common side effects of the vaccine, such as fever and lack of appetite, one day after being vaccinated. He also told his mother his heart hurt and felt as if it were being squeezed.
Moderna Files for Emergency Use Authorization for Its COVID-19 Vaccine in Adolescents in the United States
Moderna, Inc., (Nasdaq: MRNA) a biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines, today announced that it has requested an emergency use authorization (EUA) for its COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“We are pleased to announce that we have submitted for an emergency use authorization for our COVID-19 vaccine with the FDA for use in adolescents in the United States,” said Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna. “We are encouraged that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was highly effective at preventing COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 infection in adolescents. We have already filed for authorization with Health Canada and the European Medicines Agency and we will file with regulatory agencies around the world for this important younger age population. We remain committed to helping to end the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Australian Woman’s Death Likely Linked to AstraZeneca Vaccine
A 52-year-old woman from New South Wales in Australia is dead after presenting with a “severe form” of blood clotting in the brain “likely linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine.”
The Therapeutic Goods Administration, which monitors and reports on all suspected side effects from the Covid-19 vaccine in Australia, issued a report on Thursday outlining the circumstances of the woman’s death.
“Since last week’s report, a further four reports of blood clots and low blood platelets have been assessed as confirmed TTS (Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome) likely to be linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine,” the report reads.
U.S. Increasingly Unlikely to Meet Biden’s July 4 Vax Goal
For months, President Joe Biden has laid out goal after goal for taming the coronavirus pandemic and then exceeded his own benchmarks. Now, though, the U.S. is unlikely to meet his target to have 70% of Americans at least partially vaccinated by July 4.
The White House has launched a month-long blitz to combat vaccine hesitancy and a lack of urgency to get shots, particularly in the South and Midwest, but it is increasingly resigned to missing the president’s vaccination target. The administration insists that even if the goal isn’t reached, it will have little effect on the overall U.S. recovery, which is already ahead of where Biden said it would be months ago.
Woman Says Blood Clot After COVID Jab Was Diagnosed as Anxiety Three Times
A woman claims she almost died following her Moderna vaccine after blood clots were allegedly misdiagnosed as anxiety – three times
Shamika Brown, 29, began suffering intense aches and pains throughout her body a few days after receiving her first coronavirus vaccination in late April.
“After the first shot, I had normal symptoms such as fever, chills, tiredness, arm soreness, and headache,” said Shamika.
“But a few days later, I began to feel sharp pains on and off by my heart.”
Expanding Research Complex in Berkeley Highlights Dangers of U.S. Biolabs
The Bayer Corporation has made it clear that the creation of a biological research facility on its waterfront property in Berkeley, California, will not have any significant impact on birds, air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, traffic, or noise levels. But while the company’s application to the Berkeley City Council to extend the 30-year development plan for its 46-acre campus is filled with meticulous details, down to the vibration levels of the various pieces of construction equipment that may build it and the degree to which sunlight will reflect off the new buildings, the company has provided area residents with far less clarity on the research that will go on inside its newly expanded complex and how it might affect them.
Hundreds of New Cases a Day Are People Who Had the Vaccine Twice — Third Wave Warning
Cases of coronavirus have been climbing in recent weeks, plunging the full easing of restrictions on 21 June into uncertainty. Although the mass inoculation programme appears to be keeping hospitalisation rates at bay, there is a concerning development. Around 400 people a day who have had both doses of the coronavirus vaccine are testing positive across the United Kingdom.
Speaking to Sky News yesterday, Sir David King, former chief scientific adviser to the UK Government and chair of the Independent Sage Group, issued an ominous warning about the uptick in cases in those vaccinated.
Mum-of-Three Died of Blood Clot After Having AstraZeneca COVID Vaccine
A Devon mum-of-three unexpectedly died of a blood clot two weeks after receiving her first COVID jab.
Jennifer Rose, 65, began feeling unwell two days after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine on February 8.
She was later found dead at home on February 25.
Merck Signs $1.2 Billion Deal With U.S Government for Experimental COVID Treatment
The United States government has agreed to purchase $1.2 billion worth of an experimental COVID-19 treatment from Merck if the drug is approved by regulators, the pharmaceutical company announced Wednesday. This purchase would provide enough medication to fully treat 1.7 million people with the new drug.
Molnupiravir, which is currently in phase 3 clinical trials, is being tested on study participants who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, aren’t hospitalized and have one or more risk factors, such as diabetes, obesity or old age, associated with worse outcomes from the disease.
U.S. to Send 500 million Pfizer Shots to 100 Nations Over Next Year
The White House has reached an agreement with Pfizer and BioNTech to provide 500 million doses of coronavirus vaccine to about 100 mostly low-income countries over the next year, a pact that President Biden plans to announce as early as Thursday, according to multiple people familiar with the plan.
Under intense pressure to do more to address the global vaccine shortage and the disparities in vaccination between rich and poor nations, the president hinted at the plan Wednesday morning, when he was asked if he had a vaccination strategy for the world.
J&J CEO Says People Will Likely Need COVID Vaccine With Annual Flu Shot for Next Several Years as Variants Spread
People will need to get the COVID booster shots until herd immunity is achieved on a global level and world leaders and scientists are able to limit the spread of highly contagious variants, Gorsky said during The Wall Street Journal’s Tech Health conference.
“We could be looking at this tagging along with the flu shot, likely over the next several years,” he said, referring to the Covid vaccines.
Cleveland Clinic: Already Had COVID? Vaccine Provides No Added Benefit
A new preprint study by the Cleveland Clinic found people previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 were less likely to be reinfected than fully vaccinated individuals who never had the virus — suggesting the vaccine is of no benefit to people who already had COVID.
The Cleveland Clinic recently studied the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination among people with a history of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection and those without. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the necessity of COVID vaccination in persons previously infected with SARS-CoV-2.
The study, available on medRxiv, provides insight into how the immune system protects the body once a COVID infection is confirmed, the Cleveland Clinic said.
Watch: Fauci Pal Daszak Admits ‘Chinese Colleagues’ Developing ‘Killer’ Coronaviruses
EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak – who collaborated with the Wuhan Institute of Virology on research funded by Dr. Anthony Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease — appears to boast about the manipulation of “killer” SARS-like coronaviruses carried out by his “colleagues in China” in a clip unearthed by The National Pulse.
Yale Doctor Tells RFK, Jr. How He Was Attacked by Colleagues Over COVID Treatment Recommendation for High-Risk Patients
When Harvey Risch, M.D., Ph.D., published an article in the American Journal of Epidemiology in May 2020 about the safe and effective use of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as an early treatment in COVID patients, he was criticized and attacked by some in the medical industry, including some of his own colleagues.
Risch, a professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health, told Children’s Health Defense Chairman Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., on the “RFK Jr The Defender Podcast,” how 20 of his Yale colleagues signed a letter expressing their “grave concern” about Risch and his recommendation for doctors to start treating COVID patients with HCQ.
New Evidence Suggests COVID-19 Vaccines Remain Effective Against Variants
The emergence of new and more infectious variants of the coronavirus has raised a troubling question: Will the current crop of COVID-19 vaccine prevent these variants from causing disease?
A study out Wednesday in the journal Nature suggests the answer is yes.
Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Chicago Seeing ‘Exponential Decay,’ Delta Variant Concerns
Chicago’s quick drop in coronavirus cases and deaths related to COVID is being called “exponential decay,” according to the city’s top doc.
But while the city is reaching record lows in some metrics, officials are sounding the alarm on a new variant of the virus.
Many Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccine Doses May Be Close to Expiring
As demand for COVID-19 vaccines declines across the country, unused Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses are piling up on state shelves, leaving state officials increasingly concerned that the lack of a coordinated federal plan to redistribute them means hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of doses will go to waste.
The buildup of doses is largely a result of the Food and Drug Administration’s order in early April pausing distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because of safety concerns. Enthusiasm for the one-dose shot was dampened after the 11-day pause, according to state officials.
Kids 5 and Up Get Shots in Tests for COVID Vaccine
Children held stuffed animals, played under chairs and a few cried at Ochsner Medical Center, just outside New Orleans. Their temperature and blood pressure were checked, their noses swabbed and their blood drawn for tests. Finally, they got a shot of either the vaccine or a placebo.
Ochsner is among 98 facilities in 26 states, the District of Columbia, Finland, Poland and Spain where the tests are taking place or planned.
27 Experts Launch Citizen Petition Demanding FDA ‘Slow Down and Get the Science Right’ Before Approving COVID Vaccines
A group of 27 clinicians, researchers and advocates last week filed an urgent Citizen Petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging the agency not to prematurely grant full approval to any COVID vaccine.
“Premature FDA approval of any COVID-19 vaccine could negatively impact the health and safety of U.S. residents, with global ramifications considering the international importance of FDA decisions,” the group said.
The FDA citizen petition process, described in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR Part 10), allows individuals and community organizations to request the agency make changes to health policy. At any time, any “interested person” can request the FDA “issue, amend or revoke a regulation or order,” or “take or refrain from taking any other form of administrative action.”
‘Breakthrough’ COVID Death: Fully Vaccinated California Woman Dies From Virus
A Napa, Calif., woman has died of COVID-19 despite being fully inoculated, offering a sharp reminder that vaccinated people are not invincible, especially if they are medically vulnerable and the virus is still circulating widely.
“No vaccine is 100% effective, but this does not diminish the urgency and importance of getting vaccinated, especially as more variant strains emerge,” said Napa County Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Relucio. “Vaccines provide exceptional protection against death and illness from the virus and all residents should continue to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.”
Florida, Alabama Discontinue Daily COVID Data Reporting in Shift to ‘Next Phase’ of Pandemic
Florida and Alabama will no longer report daily COVID cases and fatalities as vaccinations rise and states begin shifting to the “next phase” of the pandemic.
On Friday, Florida implemented a weekly reporting schedule for COVID data, the state’s Division of Emergency Management said on its website.
China to Offer COVID-19 Vaccine to Children as Young as Three
China has approved the emergency use of a COVID-19 vaccine for those as young as three, the drugmaker confirmed Tuesday, making it the first country to offer jabs to young children.
Since the coronavirus first emerged in central China, Beijing has mostly managed to bring the country’s outbreak under control, and has administered over 777 million vaccine doses after a sluggish start.
Biden’s Vaccine Push Fails to Gain Traction With African Americans
The Biden administration knew the key to a successful COVID vaccination campaign would be reaching the most vulnerable populations. But more than five months in, even a blueprint that’s worked with other ethnic and racial groups isn’t doing enough to win over Black Americans.
Less than a quarter of Black Americans had received their first COVID-19 shot as of June 7 based on available federal data, amid a weekslong stagnation that has defied the government’s ramped-up effort to accelerate vaccinations and reach the nation’s most vulnerable communities.
Washington State Kicks Off ‘Joints for Jabs’ to Promote COVID-19 Vaccinations
The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board announced Monday that the promotion, called “Joints for Jabs,” was effective immediately and would run through July 12. During the afforded time period, state-licensed cannabis retailers are permitted to give one free pre-rolled joint to customers who are 21 or older when they receive their first or second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at an active, on-site vaccination clinic. Customers can only claim the complimentary joint from the retail location during the same visit as receiving the jab, according to the board.
Pfizer to Test COVID-19 Vaccine in Larger Group of Children Below 12
The study will enroll up to 4,500 children at more than 90 clinical sites in the United States, Finland, Poland and Spain, the company said.
Based on safety, tolerability and the immune response generated by 144 children in a phase I study of the two-dose shot, Pfizer said it will test a dose of 10 micrograms in children between 5 and 11 years of age and 3 micrograms for the age group of 6 months to 5.
Johnson Johnson’s Vaccine Drive Stalls Out in U.S After Safety Pause
Safety concerns about Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ.N) COVID-19 vaccine along with overall flagging demand for vaccinations have slowed its U.S. rollout to a crawl, leaving close to half of the 21 million doses produced for the United States sitting unused.
J&J’s vaccine was supposed to be an important tool for reaching rural areas and vaccine hesitant Americans because it requires only one shot and has less stringent storage requirements than the two-dose vaccines from Pfizer Inc/BioNTech SE and Moderna Inc.
Vaccination Rates Plunge in Some States, Slowing Progress in the Fight to End COVID-19
The US reached its peak of daily vaccinations on April 1, with more than 4.3 million people inoculated in one day, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Since then, the numbers have plummeted. Over the past week, an average of roughly 560,000 Americans have been vaccinated each day.
COVID Vaccination Tours? Russia Is Looking at Travel Packages to Revive Its Tourism Industry
With uptake of Russia’s coronavirus shot Sputnik V sluggish among its own citizens, Russia is considering launching COVID vaccination travel packages for tourists.
Russian state news agency Tass cited one of the country’s tourism industry chiefs as saying the “vaccination tours” were ready, but that visas and entry requirements for foreign visitors were holding them up.
“The product is ready, but the issues of visa support and legal entry for foreigners wishing to receive the Russian vaccine are yet to be resolved,” Andrei Ignatyev, president of the Russian Union of Travel Industry (RUTI), told Tass.
The price of a three-week vaccine tour for foreigners will range between $1,500 to $2,500, excluding airline costs, Ignatyev added.