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Top COVID Experts Privately Urge Biden Admin to Scale Back Booster Campaign

Politico reported:

A vocal contingent of prominent doctors and scientists is pressing the Biden administration to scrap its plans to provide booster shots to all previously vaccinated adults, according to five people familiar with the matter.

Several of these outside experts, including some who advised President Joe Biden’s transition team, objected to the administration’s approach during a private, off-the-record call last week with federal health officials. Current U.S. data on vaccine performance does not justify using boosters widely to reduce the risk of breakthrough infections and slow the virus’ spread, the experts said.

Sweden, Denmark Pause Use of Moderna COVID Vaccine for Younger Age Groups

Reuters reported:

Sweden and Denmark said on Wednesday they will pause the use of Moderna‘s (MRNA.O) COVID-19 vaccine for younger age groups after reports of possible rare side effects, such as myocarditis.

The Swedish health agency said it would pause using the shot for people born in 1991 and later as data pointed to an increase of myocarditis and pericarditis among youths and young adults that had been vaccinated. Those conditions involve an inflammation of the heart or its lining.

Denmark said that, while it used the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as its main option for people aged 12-17 years, it had decided to pause giving the Moderna vaccine to people below 18 according to a “precautionary principle”.

Fully Vaccinated Richardson ISD Teacher, Student Die From COVID Complications

Fox 4 News reported:

Richardson ISD says a fully-vaccinated teacher and a student died due to COVID-19 complications last week.

Sha’Niyah “Nienie” McGee, a junior at Berkner High School, and Eroletta Piascyk, a teacher at the Christa McAuliffe Learning Center, both passed away, the district announced on Monday.

District officials said Piascyk was fully vaccinated and had received a booster shot.

COVID Outbreak Doubles at Denver Jail Despite Public Health Order

Fox 31 Colorado reported:

An outbreak of COVID-19 cases at the two jails operated by the Denver Sheriff Department has only grown, despite measures demanded two weeks ago by the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment.

A website maintained by the City of and County of Denver showed the outbreak grew from 65 cases on Sept. 22, to 159 combined cases on Oct. 4, between the DDC on Colfax Avenue and the Denver County Jail on Smith Road.

So far DSD has administered nearly 1,500 vaccine doses to inmates but it doesn’t keep track of how many inmates declined to get vaccinated.

India’s Bharat Biotech Submits Data on COVID Drug Trial in Children

Reuters reported:

Bharat Biotech said on Wednesday it had submitted data from its COVID-19 vaccine trial in children aged 2 to 18 years to India’s drug regulator, becoming the country’s first company to have tested its shot in very young children.

The South Asian country is turning its focus towards vaccinating children against the coronavirus, having already administered more than 920 million doses to adults among its population of nearly 1.4 billion.

The Quest for COVID’s Origins

The Intercept reported:

In late September, the World Health Organization announced that it had assembled a new team of scientists to revive its investigation into the origins of the virus that causes COVID-19. The new group will be tasked with examining whether the virus could have originated in a lab, months after its predecessor deemed the possibility too unlikely for serious consideration.

The Intercept obtained documents that shed new light on controversial lab experiments, raising questions about the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. With neither of the main theories — natural spillover versus a lab leak — yet proved true, the Intercept is seeking answers as to how much officials knew about proposed behind-the-scenes experiments.

NIH Director Says COVID Origins Controversy Has ‘Nothing’ to Do With Resignation: ‘Time for New Vision’

Fox News reported:

Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, said Tuesday that mounting accusations surrounding the agency’s involvement in gain-of-function research and the Wuhan Institute of Virology had “absolutely” nothing to do with his resignation.

The 71-year-old physician-geneticist, who oversaw the research center for 12 years, announced his resignation Tuesday, saying he will step down from his post by the end of 2021.

Buyers Clamor for Merck’s COVID Antiviral Molnupiravir, but Pricing Is Already Controversial

Fierce Pharma reported:

Less than a week after Merck and Ridgeback released extraordinary data on the effectiveness of experimental COVID-19 drug molnupiravir, the rush is on to lock up supplies.

On Wednesday, Singapore, Australia and South Korea unveiled deals with Merck to secure the drug. The company is said to be in talks with several other countries including Germany, Malaysia and Thailand.

The brisk business comes amid complaints that Merck is overcharging for the treatment. In the company’s supply agreement with the United States, Merck charged 40 times what it costs to produce the drug, The Independent reports.

Pfizer Study to Vaccinate Whole Brazilian Town Against COVID

Reuters reported:

Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) will study the effectiveness of its vaccine against COVID-19 by inoculating the whole population over the age of 12 in a town in southern Brazil, the company said on Wednesday.

The study will be conducted in Toledo, population 143,000, in the west of Parana state, together with Brazil’s National Vaccination Program, local health authorities, a hospital and a federal university.

Pfizer said the purpose was to study transmission of the coronavirus in a “real-life scenario” after the population has been vaccinated.

COVID Infections Dropping Throughout the Americas, Says Health Agency

Reuters reported:

The number of new COVID-19 infections has been dropping over the past month throughout the Americas, even though only 37% of the people in Latin America and the Caribbean have been fully vaccinated, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday.

However, Alaska has the most serious outbreak in the United States today that is overwhelming emergency rooms, and while South America is continuing to see a drop in infections, Chile has seen a jump in cases in the capital Santiago and port cities Coquimbo and Antofagasta.