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Nursing Homes in Chicago, Kentucky Report COVID-19 Infections Among Those Vaccinated
Public health officials in Chicago and Kentucky have identified dozens of residents and staffers at skilled nursing facilities who tested positive for COVID-19 more than two weeks after they were fully vaccinated against the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The information came in a pair of CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports issued Wednesday.
According to one report, the Chicago Department of Public Health — through routine screening in February — identified one nursing facility resident who became infected more than 14 days after receiving the second dose.
Then more cases came to light.
Pfizer’s COVID Vaccine May Trigger Herpes Virus That Causes Shingles, Study Says
A recent study published in the journal Rheumatology found six women out of 491 patients who developed a skin rash known as herpes zoster (HZ) infection — or shingles — within three to 14 days of receiving either the first or second dose of the Pfizer’s COVID vaccine.
Researchers from Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Carmel Medical Center in Haifa also found the risk of developing HZ infection following a COVID vaccine increases among people with autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic diseases, Jerusalem Post reported.
FDA Slams Troubled COVID Vaccine Manufacturer Over Quality Control Issues as Shareholders Sue Company
A Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID vaccine manufacturing plant where an ingredient mix-up last month resulted in 15 million doses of J&J vaccine being discarded may have contaminated additional doses, according to a report released Wednesday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The 13-page report also identified a series of other problems at the Baltimore facility owned by Emergent BioSolutions. Emergent, which in June received $628 million in taxpayer funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish the primary U.S. manufacturing facility for J&J’s and AstraZeneca’s COVID vaccines, agreed this week to temporarily shut down operations.
According to the FDA report, “There is no assurance that other batches have not been subject to cross-contamination.” The report also said the plant was “not maintained in a clean and sanitary condition.” Inspectors found peeling paint and unidentified black and brown residue on the floors and walls, as well as a failure to properly decontaminate waste generated during the manufacture of the vaccine.
How Wyoming Became the Most Vaccine-Hesitant State
Wyoming has emerged as the most vaccine-hesitant state in the country — an estimated 33% of adults said they were are reluctant to get a COVID-19 vaccine, compared with an estimated 16% of nationwide.
According to an ABC News analysis of county-level data, vaccine hesitancy is estimated to be higher in rural areas, particularly in the West and South. Counties with high estimated hesitancy also tend to be younger, poorer and more likely to have been won by former President Donald Trump during the 2020 presidential election.
Vaccine hesitancy estimates in Wyoming’s neighboring states outpaced most other areas of the country. In Montana, North Dakota and Idaho, roughly a quarter of residents were reluctant to get vaccinated, compared with 8% of residents in Connecticut.
Some People Reporting Abnormal Periods After Receiving COVID-19 Vaccine
Dr. Kate Clancy, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois says, “I actually got my first post-vaccine period, and it was a raging period.”
Dr. Clancy shared her story on Twitter, generating a huge response.
Others tweeted about periods arriving early and heavy. Women in menopause said they suddenly got a period again. And plenty tweeted back that they were scared by changes.
So, Dr. Clancy and Dr. Katharine Lee at Washington University School of Medicine launched a research project on “Menstrual experiences with COVID 19 vaccines.”
The Number of Americans Getting Vaccinated Is on the Decline
The daily pace of vaccinations nationwide appears to be flattening out and could be on the decline, suggesting that America is moving from a phase of desperate vaccine searches to one of aggressive government outreach and education to sway those who have not yet scheduled an appointment.
More than half of U.S. adults have had at least one vaccine shot. But according to data on daily vaccinations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the seven-day average count of people receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine started dropping slightly nine days ago.
EU Preparing Legal Case Against AstraZeneca Over Vaccine Shortfalls
“What can we do in practical terms if AstraZeneca says, ‘Take a closer look at our production sites: We just have no vaccines,'” the diplomat said, adding that some countries were “not assured this is enforceable.”
Further, some ambassadors warned that a lawsuit would further diminish citizens’ trust in the vaccine because it would sully the image of AstraZeneca, according to the diplomat. In “emotional terms,” the diplomat said the Commission understandably wants to hit back at the vaccine producer over the delivery shortfalls — but added that the company is also needed in the global response against COVID-19.
According to some of the diplomats, the Commission also hasn’t elaborated to EU countries on its legal reasoning for such a move, prompting intense debate at the meeting. One diplomat said the lawsuit would address the company’s failure to meet the deliveries schedule set out in its EU advance-purchasing agreement, while another said the point is to make it mandatory for AstraZeneca to provide the doses set out in its EU contract.
The CDC Finds No Safety Risks for Pregnant People Who Get the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines
The study, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, used data from CDC’s smartphone-based tracking system, called V-safe, that included 35,691 vaccinated pregnant people between December 14, 2020 and February 28, 2021.
They found pregnant folks more likely to report injection site pain than non-pregnant people, but less likely to report other side effects like headache, chills, and fever.
When looking more closely at the 3,958 participants who enrolled in a pregnancy registry, they found that 86.1% completed their pregnancies while 13.9% experienced a pregnancy loss. That’s in line with what you’d expect to see in the general population, where about 15% to 20% of known pregnancies in the US end in miscarriage.
EU Snubs Extra 300 Million J&J, Astra Shots in Bet on Pfizer
The European Union won’t take up an extra 300 million doses of AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines that it has secured as options under existing contracts, a senior EU official told Reuters.
The decision is the latest sign Brussels is looking to distance itself from AstraZeneca amid simmering tensions after the drugmaker slashed its delivery targets due to production problems.
It is also further evidence the bloc is sidelining vaccines that have been linked with a very rare, but potentially fatal side effect, and is confident current suppliers – led by Pfizer/BioNTech – will deliver enough doses to inoculate at least 70% of EU adults by the end of the summer.
Big Shortfall in Covax COVID Vaccine-Sharing Scheme
The global vaccine-sharing initiative Covax has so far delivered about one in five of the Oxford/AstraZeneca doses it estimated would arrive in countries by May, according to a Guardian analysis, starkly illustrating the cost of export bans, hoarding and supply shortages for a scheme that represents a key lifeline for many in the developing world.
The organisations that run Covax had predicted countries would receive fewer vaccines than expected after the Indian government restricted exports from its largest manufacturer in response to a catastrophic second wave there, but the figures reveal the shortfall to be severe, leaving many governments scrambling to secure doses elsewhere.
With Vaccines Open to 16- to 17-Year-Olds, High Schools Set Up Shop to Give the Shots
Now that all states have expanded eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines to anyone ages 16 and up, older teenagers are lining up for the shots — often with the help of high schools.
Getting shots in the arms of 16- and 17-year-olds is “essential,” said Tifini Ray, the project manager for school health services at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
That’s partly because the number of pediatric COVID-19 cases is rising in the U.S. The American Academy of Pediatrics said about 88,500 new cases in children were reported last week — a 5 percent increase from previous weeks.
Science Isn’t Necessary to Decide on Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine
In the debate over whether one should — or should not — get a COVID vaccine much has been said about the “science.” However, I’m not sure any encyclopedic knowledge of “science” is required to make this health decision. Simple statistical analysis should suffice to inform one’s ultimate decision.
Statistics is primarily a study of probabilities. Fortunately, as it regards COVID mortality rates, these probabilities are now known. That is, COVID mortality statistics broken down by age cohorts are now “known knowables.”
For example, through statistics as of April 7, the odds an American under the age of 25 would die from COVID were 1-in-106,217. On the extreme other end of the age spectrum, the odds an American 85 or older would die from the disease were an eye-opening 1-in-39.4. (Not surprisingly, albeit under-reported, the largest category of COVID victims by age cohort is Americans 85 and older).