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COVID: Schools Aren’t Infection Hubs, Says Public Health Boss

BBC reported:

Schools are not “drivers” or “hubs” of COVID infection, Public Health England’s medical director has said.

Dr Yvonne Doyle said she understood parents’ nervousness about schools returning after the summer in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

She stressed that lots of measures to cut COVID spread remained in place.

But Prof Calum Semple, a government scientific adviser, said with most adults vaccinated, schools were likely to be a “greater part of the problem”.

Some have suggested a surge in cases in Scotland, where pupils returned in August, could be linked to schools.

New Study: Nursing Home Residents, Healthcare Workers Lose More Than 80% of Their COVID-19 Immunity Six Months After Pfizer Vaccine

Newswise reported:

A new, multi-institutional study led by Case Western Reserve University—in partnership with Brown University — found that COVID-19 antibodies produced by the Pfizer vaccine decreased sharply in senior nursing home residents and their caregivers six months after receiving their second shots.

David Canaday, professor at the School of Medicine, and the research team studied blood samples of 120 Ohio nursing home residents and 92 healthcare workers. In particular, they looked at humoral immunity — also called antibody-mediated immunity — to measure the body’s defenses against the coronavirus.

Nursing Home COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates Protect the Most Vulnerable, But Pose a Hidden Threat to Residents

TIME reported:

With the U.S. in the grips of a fourth wave of COVID-19 fueled by the more transmissible Delta variant, many nursing home companies and other healthcare providers have, like Genesis, announced that staffers must either get vaccinated or agree to regular testing, or be fired or removed from schedules.

Biden’s announcement means that other nursing homes will likely follow suit, as the rule is “effectively a mandate” given the industry’s dependence on Medicaid and Medicare funding, says Dr. David Grabowski, a professor of healthcare policy at Harvard Medical School.

What’s less clear, however, is how many staffers will actually choose vaccination over quitting their jobs. Many will have to make this decision: nine months into the U.S. inoculation campaign, about 39% of U.S. nursing home staffers remain unvaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

AMA Calls on Doctors to Immediately Stop Prescribing Ivermectin for COVID

MSNBC reported:

“We are asking doctors to … follow established guidelines and do the right, safest thing for their patients and stay on the side of science here,” says Dr. Gerald Harmon, president of the American Medical Association, on their calls for doctors to stop prescribing ivermectin.

Gov’t Probes Death of Medical Student After COVID-19 Vaccine

Daily Monitor reported:

The government authorities are investigating the death of Rosette Kyarikunda, a fifth- year medical student of Busitema University, which happened on Tuesday, two weeks after she took the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine jab.

Ms Peace Kalungi, the university spokesperson, confirmed that the deceased had taken the jab as a requirement to resume learning at the institution.

“The student had reported back to the university. Getting the COVID vaccine is voluntary but it is [also] a government requirement so it was wise for her to take the vaccine,” she told Daily Monitor yesterday.

Joe Rogan Says He’s Taking Ivermectin After COVID-19 Diagnosis

The Hill reported:

Popular podcast host Joe Rogan says that he’s taking the dewormer drug ivermectin after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

In an Instagram post on Wednesday, Rogan told his followers that he has to change his comedy tour schedule.

“I got back from the road Saturday night feeling very weary. I had a headache. I felt just run down,” he said.

Rogan did not reveal if he’s been vaccinated against the coronavirus but said he’s been taking a number of medications, mentioning a Z-Pak, prednisolone and ivermectin, which has been approved for use in humans for some conditions but is not recommended for the treatment of COVID-19.

Prince Harry Blames ‘Mass Misinformation’ for COVID Vaccine Hesitancy

The Guardian reported:

The Duke of Sussex has blamed overwhelming “mass-scale misinformation” for COVID vaccine hesitancy and urged governments to address vaccine inequality in poorer countries as he presented an award to the team behind the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab.

Prince Harry warned: “Until every community can access the vaccine and until every community is connected to trustworthy information about the vaccine, then we are all at risk.”

In a virtual appearance at the GQ men of the year awards, Harry presented the prize to Prof Dame Sarah Gilbert, Prof Catherine Green and the Oxford/AstraZeneca team.

COVID-19 Transmission at School Rare for Children With Disabilities

Newswise reported:

Studies have determined that in-school transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 is rare when masking, social distancing and other safety protocols are followed. However, little has been known about COVID-19 risks at school for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These students often are unable to mask or maintain social distancing and may have underlying medical conditions that make them more susceptible to the virus and related complications.

New research shows that rapid saliva test screenings — aimed at early detection of the virus — contributed to exceedingly low transmission of the virus among students, teachers and staff in the six schools overseen by the Special School District of St. Louis County, the largest specialized education provider in Missouri. Precautions such as masking and social distancing also were implemented when appropriate. The study was led by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, in collaboration with Special School District.

FDA Calls Meeting of Its Advisers to Discuss COVID Vaccine Boosters

CNN reported:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday it has called a meeting of its vaccine advisers for September 17 to discuss booster doses of coronavirus vaccine.

That’s three days before the September 20 target date to start offering booster doses announced by the White House last month.

“The administration recently announced a plan to prepare for additional COVID-19 vaccine doses, or ‘boosters,’ this fall, and a key part of that plan is FDA completing an independent evaluation and determination of the safety and effectiveness of these additional vaccine doses,” Dr. Peter Marks, who heads FDA’s vaccine division, said in a statement.

Pfizer/BioNTech applied to FDA to approve booster doses of its vaccine last month. Moderna applied Wednesday.

Pfizer, Merck Launch New Trials of Oral COVID-19 Drugs

Reuters reported:

Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N) announced on Wednesday new trials of their experimental oral antiviral drugs for COVID-19 as the race to develop an easy-to-administer treatment for the potentially fatal illness heats up.

Pfizer said its latest mid-to-late-stage trial will enroll 1,140 non-hospitalized adults diagnosed with coronavirus infection who are not at risk of severe illness. Patients in the trial will be given Pfizer’s pill, known as PF-07321332, and a low dose of ritonavir, an older medication widely used in combination treatments for HIV infection.

WHO Warns New Mu Coronavirus Variant Could Be More Vaccine-Resistant

The Hill reported:

The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated the mu SARS-CoV-2 strain, first detected in Colombia, as a “variant of interest” adding in its weekly bulletin that it will be monitoring the variant’s spread.

According to WHO, the mu variant was first detected in Colombia in January.

Variants of interest have been found to have genetic changes that affect virus characteristics including transmissibility, disease severity and immune escape. Variants of interest differ from variants of concern, which have been found to cause a decrease in effectiveness of public health measures, vaccines or therapeutics.

Moderna Seeks U.S. Authorization for COVID19 Vaccine Booster

Reuters reported:

Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) on Wednesday asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow the use of a third booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine.

The FDA is considering booster shots of the Pfizer Inc (PFE.N)and BioNTech SE vaccine, but so far has only allowed people with weakened immune systems to receive third doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer shots.

The agency said on Wednesday that a group of its advisers will meet to discuss Pfizer’s booster shot application on Sept. 17, but it is not clear whether they will discuss Moderna’s.

Moderna to Recall COVID-19 Doses in Japan After Stainless Steel Contaminants Found

Reuters reported:

Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd (4502.T) on Wednesday said they are working with Japanese authorities to recall three batches of COVID-19 vaccine after an investigation found stainless steel contaminants in some vials.

Japanese authorities had suspended use of these batches of Moderna shots containing 1.63 million doses last week after being notified of the contamination issue.

Japan’s health ministry said on Wednesday, based on information from the companies’ investigation, that it did not believe the particles of stainless steel pose any additional health risk. Moderna said the stainless steel contamination probably occurred during production.

Detroit Zoo’s Most Susceptible Animals Are Getting COVID-19 Vaccinations

Detroit Free Press reported:

Even Detroit’s zoo animals are getting vaccinated now.

It’s unclear, however, whether there will be backlash online from anti-vaxxers, which have aggressively criticized other zoos nationwide that have administered the shots to their animals.

The Detroit Zoological Society said Monday that it has begun to vaccinate the animals that may be most susceptible to COVID-19. The gorillas, chimpanzees, tigers and lions are going first.