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Joe Biden Says the Government Needs Money Because ‘There’s Going to Be Another Pandemic’
Biden, responding to a question about making vaccines available to young children in the wake of the most recent Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs), said that his administration was working to make sure that there were enough vaccines — but that his administration was also investing money into preparing for the next pandemic.
“We’ll get through at least this year,” Biden began, adding, “We do need more money. But we don’t just need more money for vaccines for children, eventually. We need more money to plan for the second pandemic. There’s going to be another pandemic.”
“We have to think ahead,” President Biden continued.
Moderna to Open Massive U.K. COVID Vaccine Factory
The vaccine maker will collaborate with the U.K. government to build a manufacturing center for messenger mRNA vaccines for COVID and flu in a deal worth £1bn. Under the deal, which is an agreement in principle and needs final approval from both sides, Moderna will also invest in research and development efforts as it seeks to be a world leader in responding to pandemics.
The Boston-based biotech firm has not disclosed how large the facility will be or where it will be built, although reports suggest it is considering between London, Oxford and Cambridge. Once built, the center will produce up to 250 million doses per year, including some for export.
Health secretary Sajid Javid said: “Our new partnership with Moderna will cement the U.K.’s status as a science superpower, significantly boosting the economy and creating jobs — and it has the potential to unlock the next generation of cutting-edge vaccines to fight diseases such as COVID-19, seasonal flu and RSV.”
COVID Vaccines for Kids Under 5 Are Finally Here, but Most Parents Aren’t Jumping in Line
Families with small children lined up at 8 a.m. in a sparsely filled but buzzing auditorium, ready and relieved for COVID-19 vaccine appointments for their little ones at Children’s National Hospital’s research campus in Washington.
Onlookers cooed and clapped as the kids got their shots, each child receiving a high-five, a sticker and a chance to pet Barney and Sprout, two facility dogs specially trained to help soothe children during their recovery.
In polling data from April, 18% of parents said they would vaccinate their young child right away, while 27% said they definitely wouldn’t and 38% said they’d wait and see. Some parents say the vaccine trials conducted among young children were too small to satisfy their safety concerns, said Grant Paulsen, an infectious disease pediatrician and lead researcher for the children under 5 vaccine trials at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
Strokes, Blood Clots, Wheelchairs: B.C. Patients Describe Rare Reactions to COVID Vaccines
As British Columbians were starting to get COVID-19 vaccinations in December 2020 and the first half of 2021, health officials were behind-the-scenes carefully tracking serious side effects from the shots, according to documents recently released under the Freedom of Information Act.
Although the 42-page released contains few examples of severe reactions, those that were flagged sparked immediate responses from health leaders who were monitoring the millions of Canadians getting the new vaccinations.
Pfizer COVID Vaccine Impacts Semen: Study
Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine leads to lower levels of semen, according to a new study. Researchers analyzed 220 samples of semen from three sperm banks in Israel, drawn from men who received two doses of the vaccine. The semen collection was scheduled seven days after receipt of the second dose.
The researchers, led by Dr. Itai Gat with the Sperm Bank and Andrology Unit at the Shamir Medical Center and Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Medical School, found that there was a decrease in sperm concentration between 75 and 120 days post-vaccination.
Follow-up testing completed over 150 days after vaccination revealed “overall recovery,” with semen volume and sperm motility bouncing back, the researchers said. However, the levels outlined in the study were still lower than before vaccination.
Moderna CEO: COVID Variant Vaccine to Be Ready for Shipping in August
Moderna‘s COVID-19 variant vaccine will be ready to ship in August as the company has been making shots ahead of approval, Chief Executive Stephane Bancel told Reuters on Wednesday, adding that the only bottleneck to supply was a regulatory one.
“Our goal is as early as August given we’re going to file all the data in June, by the end of June… hopefully in the August timeframe, the vaccine is authorized,” Bancel said in an interview.
Omicron-Specific COVID Vaccines on the Horizon, Pfizer Chief Says
COVID-19 vaccines that specifically target the Omicron and other variants are under development, Pfizer Inc.’s (PFE.N) chief executive said on Wednesday, adding that the company will be able to quickly adapt shots as the novel coronavirus mutates.
While the ultimate approval decisions rest with U.S. regulators, “we are ready for that,” the drugmaker’s CEO Albert Bourla told MSNBC in an interview, noting that the Food and Drug Administration is convening a meeting later this month.
Survey Shows 3 in 5 Americans Say Pandemic Made Driving Feel Less Safe
The pandemic overall has increased road anxiety, with 65% of Americans claiming they feel more anxious in cars now compared to before the pandemic, according to new research.
A survey of 2,000 adults looked at how people are being more careful on the road and found that over half of drivers “always” or “often” feel anxious about other drivers’ behavior (53%).
Three in 5 agree that the pandemic has made people drive more unsafely (61%) which may be why a similar percentage say it’s more important to drive safely now than ever before (62%).
Omicron Subvariants BA.4, BA.5 Move Closer to Becoming Dominant Coronavirus Strains in U.S.
A pair of Omicron subvariants that only recently started circulating in the U.S. was responsible for more than a third of new coronavirus cases last week, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
CDC data shows that BA.4 and BA.5 caused roughly 35% of new infections last week. That’s up from nearly 23% of cases the prior week and 15% the week before that.
As BA.4 and BA.5 have increased, the prevalence of other Omicron subvariants in the U.S. has decreased. BA.2.12.1, which has been the dominant strain circulating in the U.S. since May, fell from 63% of cases to 56% over the past two weeks. BA.2, or “stealth Omicron,” was the dominant strain before BA.2.12.1 but now makes up less than 10% of infections.
COVID Rebound After Paxlovid Treatment Likely Due to Insufficient Exposure to the Drug
“COVID-19 rebound,” the relapse of symptoms that occurred in some patients treated with Paxlovid, may actually be caused by insufficient drug exposure, according to a recent study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health advisory warning individuals about “COVID-19 rebound” where symptoms of COVID infection returned in some patients after a course of treatment with the medication Paxlovid. Paxlovid is currently the leading oral medication used to prevent severe cases of COVID-19 in high-risk patients, according to the researchers.
The investigators from the University Of California San Diego School of Medicine evaluated one patient who suffered a “COVID-19 rebound” after being treated with Paxlovid. They discovered that the patient’s relapse in COVID symptoms after taking Paxlovid was not caused by a developed resistance to the drug or impaired immunity against the coronavirus, but was due to having insufficient amounts or exposure to the drug, according to the study authors.
Summer Starts in Europe With New COVID Wave
European countries are seeing a significant increase in COVID-19 cases spurred by highly infectious subvariants of Omicron, raising fears of a new global wave of the disease as immunity declines and the summer travel season gets underway.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) warned last week that “the growth advantage reported for BA.4 and BA.5 suggest that these variants will become dominant” throughout the European Union, and probably result in a surge in cases.
Infections are rising in multiple countries, including Portugal, Germany, France, Greece, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and Spain, according to the Our World in Data (OWID) project at the University of Oxford, which tracks the pandemic.
New studies have shown that Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 have a growth advantage compared with earlier variants and appear to be good at evading the immune system. In other words, neither previous infections nor vaccines provide particularly strong protection against the subvariants, which is why they’re becoming the dominant strains.