Pfizer, BioNTech Say Covid-19 Vaccine Is Safe for Children Aged 5 to 11

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/pfizer-biontech-say-covid-19-vaccine-is-safe-for-young-children-generates-immune-response-11632134701

Excerpt:

Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE said their Covid-19 vaccine was found to be safe in children ages 5 to 11 years in a late-stage study and generated a strong immune response in them, bringing the prospect of broader vaccination coverage closer.

Pfizer said it would share the results with regulators in the U.S. and other countries and seek emergency-use authorization in the U.S. as early as the end of the month.

The companies said the two-dose shot was found to be safe and well tolerated among the children in the study. The vaccine generated levels of antibodies that were similar to those of younger adults, meeting the study’s measurements of success, according to the companies.

Pfizer and BioNTech said they hadn’t yet determined vaccine efficacy — how well it protects against Covid-19 — for children in the age group. Not enough young subjects in the study have become sick to compare rates between children who got a vaccine and those who got a placebo, but researchers could still learn more as the trial continues.

Author(s): Jared S. Hopkins

Publication Date: 21 Sept 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

J&J: Booster dose of its COVID shot prompts strong response

Link: https://apnews.com/article/business-health-coronavirus-pandemic-science–4f86b7f00d354c289af17503eeb50824

Excerpt:

Johnson & Johnson released data showing that a booster dose to its one-shot coronavirus vaccine provides a strong immune response months after people receive a first dose.

J&J said in statement Tuesday that it ran two early studies in people previously given its vaccine and found that a second dose produced an increased antibody response in adults from age 18 to 55. The study’s results haven’t yet been peer-reviewed.

Publication Date: 21 Sept 2021

Publication Site: AP News

In The Fight Against COVID, Health Workers Aren’t Immune To Vaccine Misinformation

Link: https://www.npr.org/2021/09/18/1037975289/unvaccinated-covid-19-vaccine-refuse-nurses-heath-care-workers

Excerpt:

As new data shows 1 in 500 Americans has died from COVID-19 and the delta variant continues to surge across the country, the next challenge many health care leaders face is within their own staffs: the 27% of of U.S. health care workers who have not been vaccinated against the disease as of July, according to a study by The COVID States Project.

On top of that, other research shows that since the vaccine first became available to health care workers in December 2020, the rate of vaccination among nurses and nursing home aides has been lower than that of physicians. This may be of particular concern because nurses and aides have such frequent and close contact with patients.

Data shows health care workers have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine at a higher rate than the general population: 73% versus 64% of non-health care workers. And many may assume that people who work in health care industry are more enthusiastic about the vaccine and less apprehensive.

….

While a majority of nurses are vaccinated and more than half support vaccine mandates in the workplace, some are pushing back against requirements to get vaccinated or face mandatory testing and say they would rather leave their jobs. And hospitals are already feeling the effects.

Author(s): Deepa Shivaram

Publication Date: 18 Sept 2021

Publication Site: NPR

Actuaries project future virus surges, end of regulatory flexibility key drivers in 2022 rates

Link: https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/payer/actuaries-project-future-virus-surges-end-regulatory-flexibility-key-drivers-2022-rates

Excerpt:

Uncertainty over future surges of COVID-19 and the end of regulatory flexibilities are going to be major drivers for 2022 premiums on the individual and small group markets, a new actuary report finds.

The report, released Thursday (PDF) by the American Academy of Actuaries, finds insurers face major uncertainties like the end of the public health emergency and the fate of enhanced subsidies for coverage on the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) insurance exchanges.

“Greater degrees of uncertainty could lead to more conservative assumptions and risk margins for some insurers,” the report said. “Alternatively, carriers might lower risk margins, seeing an opportunity to capitalize on the increased enrollment due to the [American Rescue Plan Act] subsidies.”

Author(s): Robert King

Publication Date: 2 September 2021

Publication Site: Fierce Healthcare

A Cure for Government Incompetence

Link: https://www.city-journal.org/britain-successful-vaccine-program

Excerpt:

Almost everyone I know in Britain has been surprised—for once, pleasantly so—by the success of the country’s vaccination program against Covid-19. We are so accustomed to the abject failure of our public administration in almost everything, from its political dithering, followed by self-evidently wrong (and costly) decisions, to its bureaucratic incompetence and moral corruption, that when something goes right, we stand amazed. What, indeed, can explain why something should at last have gone right?

…..

The government decided that everyone should be immunized according to risk—first the oldest people and health workers, then the slightly less old and those with compromised immunity, and then the still less old, and so forth, until all adults will have been covered. By spring, more than half the population had received a first (and most important) dose of a vaccine. Almost no opposition to, or even criticism of, this manner of proceeding has arisen— unlike with almost everything else the government has done in its response to the pandemic—and the uptake of the vaccination offer has been high, except among some ethnic minority groups.

The government website to make a vaccination appointment could hardly have been better designed. It gave a large choice of locations, based on their distance from one’s home; we could select time and place. My wife and I chose the following day at noon at Ludlow Racecourse, where a large vaccination center was operating. We could have had our vaccination at my local doctors’ office, 300 hundred yards away from where we lived, but in a time of lockdown, we wanted a day out: so reduced have been our horizons of late that a drive of 20 miles or so seemed almost exciting.

Author(s): Theodore Dalrymple

Publication Date: Summer 2021

Publication Site: City Journal

How your DNA may affect whether you get COVID-19 or become gravely ill

Excerpt:

Some people can blame their DNA for making them more likely to get COVID-19 or becoming severely ill if they get infected.

A study of more than 45,000 people with COVID-19 has uncovered 13 genetic variants linked to an increased risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 or a higher chance of developing severe illness, researchers report July 8 in Nature. The team includes more than 3,300 researchers in 25 countries.

Some of the variants had been uncovered in previous studies. For instance, researchers again confirmed a genetic link between blood type and the likelihood of getting infected, but don’t know why people with type O blood may be slightly protected. The study also verified that a variant that disables the TYK2 gene raises the risk of critical illness and hospitalization. That variant is known to protect against autoimmune disease, but leaves people more vulnerable to tuberculosis.   

Author(s): Tina Hesman Saey

Publication Date: 8 July 2021

Publication Site: Science News

Biden Lays Out Plan To Mandate Vaccines Or Testing For Millions Of Workers

Link: https://www.npr.org/2021/09/09/1035149651/biden-will-require-vaccines-for-federal-workers-as-part-of-a-new-covid-strategy

Excerpt:

President Biden on Thursday unveiled a series of steps to combat the newly surging pandemic, including the announcement of a forthcoming federal rule that all businesses with 100 or more employees have to ensure that every worker is either vaccinated for COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing for the coronavirus.

….

Among the other steps, Biden also announced that federal workers and contractors will be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19, eliminating an option laid out in July for unvaccinated employees to be regularly tested instead.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said federal workers would have about 75 days to become fully vaccinated, once Biden signed an executive order later Thursday. She said there would be limited exemptions for religious or medical reasons.

Some federal agencies will require proof of vaccination while others will accept attestations, Psaki said. Workers who fail to comply with the requirement will be counseled by their human resources departments, and then will face “progressive disciplinary action,” she said.

…..

Biden announced that 17 million health care workers at hospitals and other health care settings like dialysis clinics and home health agencies that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding will have to be vaccinated.

There will be similar requirements for teachers and staff at the Head Start early education program and other federally funded educational settings, such as schools on military bases.

Author(s): Alana Wise, Tamara Keith

Publication Date: 9 September 2021

Publication Site: NPR

Data Shows Less Alarming Picture of Delta

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/07/briefing/risk-breakthrough-infections-delta.html

Excerpt:

How small are the chances of the average vaccinated American contracting Covid? Probably about one in 5,000 per day, and even lower for people who take precautions or live in a highly vaccinated community.

Or maybe one in 10,000

The estimates here are based on statistics from three places that have reported detailed data on Covid infections by vaccination status: Utah; Virginia; and King County, which includes Seattle, in Washington state. All three are consistent with the idea that about one in 5,000 vaccinated Americans have tested positive for Covid each day in recent weeks.

The chances are surely higher in the places with the worst Covid outbreaks, like the Southeast. And in places with many fewer cases — like the Northeast, as well as the Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco areas — the chances are lower, probably less than 1 in 10,000. That’s what the Seattle data shows, for example. (These numbers don’t include undiagnosed cases, which are often so mild that people do not notice them and do not pass the virus to anyone else.)

Here’s one way to think about a one-in-10,000 daily chance: It would take more than three months for the combined risk to reach just 1 percent.

Author(s): David Leonhardt

Publication Date: 7 September 2021

Publication Site: NY Times

New Study Shows Breakthrough Infection Risk Not All It’s Cracked Up to Be

Link: https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/rick-moran/2021/09/07/new-study-shows-breakthrough-infection-risk-not-all-its-cracked-up-to-be-n1476621

Excerpt:

According to data compiled by the Centers For Disease Control, approximately one in every 5,000 vaccinated Americans has tested positive for the coronavirus. That number is probably much lower in places with significantly fewer cases — like the Northeast, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco areas, where it is probably fewer than one in 10,000.

This is the first detailed data about so-called “breakthrough” infections — positive tests from people fully vaccinated. The data suggests that politicians and public health officials are wildly overreacting to the delta variant’s effect on the already vaccinated.

Author(s): Rick Moran

Publication Date: 7 September 2021

Publication Site: PJ Media

Biden Could Share Vaccine Data With The World

Link: https://www.dailyposter.com/biden-could-share-vaccine-data-with-the-world/

Excerpt:

Wealthy, vaccine manufacturing countries like Germany, France, and the U.S. have pledged to fully vaccinate their own populations while also sharing doses with the developing world. But it’s not clear that a sufficient number of doses currently exist for them to make good on this promise. The European Union, for example, is on track to fall far short of its goal of donating 200 million doses to non-member states by the end of the year. And as of August, COVAX, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) vaccine sharing initiative, had distributed 188 million vaccines worldwide, just 19 percent of the 1.1 billion that the WHO says are needed to end the pandemic.

The more people remain unvaccinated worldwide, the likelier it is that new variants will emerge, endangering vaccinated and unvaccinated alike.

The Biden administration’s strategy for expanding worldwide vaccine access has largely relied on pushing for vaccine patent waivers through negotiations at the World Trade Organization. But those negotiations have been stymied by strong opposition from member states of the European Union, meaning that unilateral American action may be necessary to expand vaccine access on the necessary scale.

Legally, the U.S. may already have the ability to do so. The terms between Moderna and the federal government specify that the government possesses rights to the vaccine technology developed under the contract, meaning that it can unilaterally publish or share the data with anyone. Furthermore, an essential component of the Moderna vaccine was invented and patented by U.S. government researchers, meaning that the government could threaten a patent infringement suit against Moderna if the company refuses to share its vaccine know-how.

Author(s): Sam Mellins

Publication Date: 7 September 2021

Publication Site: The Daily Poster

Israel is planning to administer FOURTH Covid shot which could be adjusted to fight new variants as country battles wave of infections despite hugely successful vaccine roll-out

Link: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9959811/Israel-planning-administer-FOURTH-Covid-vaccine-adjusted-fight-new-variants.html

Graphic:

Excerpt:

Israel is set to begin preparations to administer fourth doses of the coronavirus vaccines as the country deals with soaring cases despite its trail-blazing roll-out of jabs. 

The country’s national coronavirus czar Salman Zarka said the country needs to prepare for a fourth injection, which could be modified to better protect against new variants of the virus.     

…..

‘It seems that if we learn the lessons from the fourth wave, we must consider the [possibility of subsequent] waves with the new variants, such as the new one from South America,’ he said at the time. 

‘Thinking about this and the waning of the vaccines and the antibodies, it seems every few months — it could be once a year or five or six months — we’ll need another shot.’

He added that he expects Israel to be given out vaccines that had been specially adapted to cope with different variants of the virus by late 2021 or early 2022.  

While Israel is seeing record case numbers in its fourth wave, the jabs are still protecting against severe illness with Covid deaths running at about half of the level of its second wave.

Author(s): Gemma Parry

Publication Date: 5 September 2021

Publication Site: Daily Mail UK

Nursing homes warn vaccine mandate could lead to staff shortages

Link: https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/570807-nursing-homes-warn-vaccine-mandate-could-lead-to-staff-shortages

Excerpt:

The Biden administration’s vaccination requirement is putting a squeeze on nursing homes as they try to balance protecting residents and retaining low-wage staff that have been reluctant to get the shot.

Later this month, the administration will outline a policy that requires all staff working at nursing homes to be vaccinated or risk the facilities losing federal funding.

The specifics of the policy are sparse so far, but it would effectively be a mandate for an industry that relies heavily on Medicare and Medicaid funding.https://aef67baff698e02f95a8ec2b0d53753d.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Only about 62 percent of nursing home and long term care facility staff are fully or partially vaccinated nationally, according to federal data compiled by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

…..

“The biggest group of unvaccinated staff are certified nurse aides. They’re making close to minimum wage. They can make that, maybe even more, plus maybe even better benefits out in retail jobs, restaurant jobs. The vast majority of those employers are not imposing mandates,” Grabowski said.

Author(s): NATHANIEL WEIXEL

Publication Date: 4 September 2021

Publication Site: The Hill