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Tennessee GOP Leaders Urge Delay of Toddler COVID Shots
Top Tennessee Republican House leaders on Wednesday urged Gov. Bill Lee to delay the state’s health department from distributing and promoting the COVID-19 vaccines to infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
In a letter sent to the Republican governor, House leaders said they had too many concerns surrounding the vaccine for those under 5 years old. “We ask that you direct the Tennessee Department of Health to halt distribution, promotion or recommendation of COVID-19 vaccines for our youngest Tennesseans,” the letter stated. It was signed by leading Republicans including House Speaker Cameron Sexton and House Majority Leader William Lamberth.
The lawmakers added that the “COVID-19 emergency has long passed in Tennessee” though that declaration is disputed by public health experts.
Tennessee’s Republican lawmakers have long been skeptical of the COVID-19 vaccine ever since it became available in late 2020, even as U.S. regulators have maintained the shot is safe for adults and children. Nevertheless, the GOP-controlled General Assembly has enacted legislation largely banning vaccine requirements and some members threatened to dissolve the state’s health agency after it encouraged kids to get the vaccine.
Publix Not Giving COVID Vaccine to Children Younger Than 5
Health officials approved COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as 6 months last week, but Florida-based Publix will not be offering the Moderna and Pfizer shots to children younger than 5.
A spokesperson for the supermarket, which is headquartered in Lakeland and has nearly 1,300 locations across the southeast, confirmed the news to Fox 13 Tampa Bay on Wednesday.
About two-thirds of Publix stores are in Florida, which was the only state not to preorder vaccines from the federal government in anticipation of them being approved for toddlers.
U.S. Delivers Over 4 Million Doses of COVID Vaccine for Young Children
The United States has already delivered more than 4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5 years old to sites that will administer the shots, a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spokesperson said on Thursday.
HHS has received about 4.3 million orders for vaccines for young children since pre-ordering began a few weeks ago, and will continue to take new orders, the spokesperson said.
Delivery to vaccination sites such as pharmacies, doctors’ offices and children’s hospitals, began on Friday, immediately after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted the emergency use authorization.
U.S. CDC Advisers Weigh Moderna COVID Vaccine for Teens, Older Children
Advisers to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are meeting on Thursday to decide on the use of Moderna Inc’s (MRNA.O) COVID-19 vaccine for children and adolescents aged 6 to 17, after months of delay in that age group due to safety concerns.
Should they vote to recommend its use, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky must then sign off for the U.S. government to start rolling the Moderna vaccine out for these children and teens.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November delayed a decision on Moderna’s shot in the age group now under consideration on concerns that it could cause heart inflammation, particularly in younger men, at higher rates than the Pfizer vaccine.
The FDA authorized Moderna’s vaccine just last week for the 6-11 age group, along with clearance for use in children aged 5 and under.
Signals From Monkeypox: Create an External Advisory Group to Start Preparing for the Next Pandemic
As the U.S. reels from more than 1 million reported deaths due directly to the COVID-19 pandemic, another infectious disease — monkeypox — is beginning to percolate. Cases of monkeypox, which scientists have been warning about for years, continue to rise worldwide.
COVID-19 followed by monkeypox offers an opportunity to reflect on what can be done to reduce the impact of this and future pandemics.
One of the most important actions that can be taken now is to bring together an external advisory group — a private-public partnership — to address disease modeling and interventions (both pharmaceutical and nonpharmaceutical), as well as be available before, during, and after a pandemic, just as we have external advisory groups for making clinical recommendations on vaccines to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.
Biden Delivers Humiliating Snub to CDC Director
President Joe Biden appeared to demote his Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Tuesday in a humiliating snub caught on video.
Biden was speaking to a group assembled at a Washington, DC, clinic Tuesday when he introduced Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID response coordinator. Except the president did not use that title.
“You see Dr. Jha there,” Biden said, pointing him out. “He’s the guy that’s running the CDC for me these days, basically.”
The introduction must have come as news to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the actual director of the CDC. She began leading the agency on January 20, 2021. Prior to taking the high-level Biden administration job, Walensky was the top infectious diseases expert at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor at Harvard Medical School.
Social Stress Prematurely Ages Your Immune System, Study Finds
Social stress such as discrimination and family problems, along with job and money problems, can contribute to premature aging of your immune system, a recent study found. That’s a double whammy, as the immune system already deteriorates with age.
Immune aging can lead to cancer, heart disease and other age-related health conditions and reduce the effectiveness of vaccines, such as COVID-19, said lead author Eric Klopack, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Southern California’s Leonard Davis School of Gerontology.
“People with higher stress scores had older-seeming immune profiles, with lower percentages of fresh disease fighters and higher percentages of worn-out T-cells,” Klopack said.
Long COVID Affects 1 in 5 Virus Patients, U.S. Survey Finds
Almost one-fifth of U.S. adults who have had COVID-19 are currently experiencing symptoms of long COVID that persist for at least three months, new federal data show.
The results of a June survey by the U.S. Census shed light on how frequently the virus’s symptoms linger beyond the initial period when people are acutely sick. More than one-third of U.S. COVID patients reported ever having long COVID symptoms, and 19% said they currently were experiencing them.
Health Emergencies: WHO’s Highest Form of Alert
World Health Organization (WHO) experts meet on Thursday to evaluate whether monkeypox constitutes an international emergency, its highest form of an alert.
Only six such emergencies have previously been declared: COVID-19 (2020), the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (2019), Zika virus (2016), polio (2014), West Africa’s Ebola outbreak (2014) and the H1 virus that caused an influenza pandemic (2009).
WHO does not declare pandemics, but it did start using the term to describe COVID-19 in March 2020. For many governments, that — rather than WHO’s earlier declaration of an emergency — was the moment they began to take real action to try to contain the disease, which proved to be far too late to make a difference.
EMA Recommends Novavax COVID Vaccine for Adolescents
The advisory committee to the European Union’s drug regulator on Thursday recommended expanding the use of Novavax Inc.’s (NVAX.O) COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents aged 12 to 17 years.