A day after a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory group voted to approve a booster shot of the Moderna vaccine for the elderly and other at-risk groups, it will meet again to discuss a booster shot of the Johnson & Johnson single dose regimen and weigh in on who, if any, it should be offered.
The FDA is under no obligation to follow the committee’s advice, but it often does. After that, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet to make a final decision on the matter.
Health experts are not yet convinced that a large booster program is necessary, as vaccines appear to maintain their effectiveness for most people for months, although those with weakened immune systems, or any patient with risk of serious illness, may need it.
COVID-19 remains a high risk for unvaccinated people, who account for the majority of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective in preventing serious illness and death.
The panel approved Moderna’s MNA,
proposed a half-dose booster, which the company says has triggered fewer side effects such as fever and pain in clinical trials, and which will also leave more vaccines available to the rest of the world, such as reported by the Associated Press.
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The White House announced Thursday that it will donate more than $ 17 million to J&J JNJ,
doses from its domestic supply to the African Union, NPR reported. The announcement came as President Joe Biden met with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, and will come in addition to the 50 million doses already given.
The United States still averages more than 1,800 COVID deaths per day, according to a New York Times tracker, although new cases and hospitalizations are declining, with the exception of some hot spots including Alaska and Minnesota, where hospitals are struggling with a high number of cases.
The federal government has pledged $ 100 million in funding to address staff shortages in rural areas in particular, the Washington Post reported. The move is part of a larger effort to counter the decline in the number of healthcare workers in the United States after some quit due to burnout during the pandemic.
The funds will be used to help health professionals repay their student loans and prevent them from taking other higher paying jobs in other sectors. More than half a million healthcare workers left their jobs between February 2020 and September.
The U.S. vaccination program, meanwhile, stutters with just 57% of the total population fully vaccinated, according to a CDC tracker. This is well below the 70% required to contain the spread.
Among those resistant to vaccines, it is worth noting some police officers and the unions that represent them, even though COVID was the leading cause of work-related deaths during the pandemic, according to Officer Down Memorial Page. More than 460 law enforcement officers have died from COVID since the start of the epidemic.
The Chicago Police Union leader on Thursday called on his members to challenge the city’s requirement to report their immunization status or be put on unpaid leave, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara said in a video released Tuesday that sending non-compliant officers home could cut the city’s police presence in half over the weekend.
âI can guarantee you that the non-payment status will not last longer than 30 days,â Catanzara said in the video. “There is no way they will be able to keep a police force at 50% capacity or less for more than seven days without something moving.”
Governor JB Pritzker has signaled willingness to deploy National Guard troops to take over from Chicago Police if applicable.
Elsewhere, there were protests in Italy on Friday as one of Europe’s toughest anti-coronavirus measures took effect on Friday, demanding that all workers, from magistrates to chambermaids, present a laissez-faire. pass sanitary to enter their workplace, the AP reported.
Police were out in force, schools were planning to end classes earlier and embassies have issued warnings of possible violence, fearing anti-vaccination protests could turn violent, as they did in Rome over the weekend latest.
France has ended free COVID testing for all in an effort to persuade the unvaccinated to get vaccinated, AFP reported. A recent negative test, proof of recovery, or a full vaccination is required to obtain a health pass, which is required to access cafes, restaurants, sports facilities and entertainment venues such as cinemas.
The UK Department of Health has suspended COVID testing in a private laboratory as part of an investigation into thousands of people who may receive false negative results. NHS Test and Trace said it had halted laboratory operations at Immensa Health Clinic in Wolverhampton, where around 400,000 samples had been processed.
While the “vast majority” will have tested negative, around 43,000 people could have received incorrect negative PCR test results between September 8 and October 12, mainly in the south-west of England, said the British Health Safety Agency in a statement on Friday.
The global tally of coronavirus-borne illnesses topped 239.6 million on Friday, while the death toll topped 4.88 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.
The United States continues to dominate the world with a total of 44.8 million cases and 721,567 deaths.
India ranks second in cases after the United States with 34 million and has suffered 451,814 deaths. Brazil has the second highest death toll with 602,099 and 21.6 million cases.
In Europe, Russia reported the highest number of deaths with 216,402, followed by the United Kingdom with 138,647.
China, where the virus was first discovered in late 2019, has recorded 108,836 confirmed cases and 4,809 deaths, according to its official figures, which are widely considered massively underreported.