A senior US official suggested on Wednesday that people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are likely to be protected against the Delta variant.
US surgeon general Dr. Vivek Murthy told CNBC that data shows that the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot – a “cousin” of the J&J – is highly effective against the variant first identified in India and currently being spread across the country.
“While we are still waiting for direct trials on Johnson & Johnson and the Delta variant, we have reason to be hopeful because the J&J vaccine has been shown to be quite effective against hospitalizations and deaths in all of the variants we have seen Date” said Murthy.
Murthy’s comments come after other companies like Moderna announced their vaccine was effective against all variants of COVID-19, including the Delta variant, which is believed to be more contagious.
The World Health Organization recommended that even vaccinated people continue to wear masks, given the Delta variant that has become widespread in recent weeks, although the Centers for Disease Control assures vaccinated Americans that they are safe from the variant and do not need to wear masks. Read more here.
Also on the news:
►52 Italian prison officials have been suspended for alleged involvement in an attack on inmates who protested the lack of face masks and virus tests at the height of the Italian pandemic last year.
►77% of vaccinated adults said everyone in their household was vaccinated, while 75% of unvaccinated adults said no one they live with is vaccinated, according to a recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
►A Washington state lawmaker apologized in a weekend speech Wednesday for wearing a yellow Star of David – a symbol imposed on Jews by the Nazis during the Holocaust – to oppose restrictions put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic protest.
►More than 80 teenagers and adult workers tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a summer camp in central Illinois that did not require indoor masks or vaccination status.
📈 Today’s numbers: There are more than 33.6 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and at least 604,700 deaths in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University. The global totals: more than 182.1 million cases and more than 3.94 million deaths. More than 154.8 million Americans have been fully vaccinated – nearly 46.7% of the population, according to the CDC.
📘 What we read: As a diabetic, Joshua Garza had the chance to receive the COVID-19 vaccine within the first month. He insisted on a decision that will haunt him forever; he thought the vaccine was too new. Read more here.
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Whitmer Announces Sweepstakes and Scholarships for Michigan COVID-19 Vaccines
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer plans on Thursday to reveal details of COVID-19 vaccine sweepstakes that give vaccinated Michigandans the chance to collect more than $ 5 million in cash and nine college scholarships $ 55,000 each to be won.
The lottery-style raffle, known as the MI Shot to Win Sweepstakes, is being run by the state in partnership with Meijer and the Michigan Association of United Ways as an incentive to encourage more residents to get vaccinated.
Any resident aged 18 and over who has received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine can enter the competition. Teenagers and tweens ages 12-17 have the opportunity to win one of nine four-year Michigan Education Trust (MET) Charitable Tuition Program contracts valued at $ 55,000. The scholarships can be used to pay tuition and compulsory fees at a college or university in accordance with MET terms.
As of Wednesday, just over 5 million Michigans ages 16 and up had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, which is 61.8% of that population, according to the state’s COVID-19 vaccine dashboard. The state saw an increase in cases related to the alpha variant in April.
– Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press
CureVac says the shot is 48% effective overall
German vaccine maker CureVac said on Wednesday that its vaccine is 53% effective against COVID-19 of any severity in 18- to 60-year-olds. Overall, CurveVac says the vaccine is 48% effective, based on 83 cases in the vaccine group and 145 in the placebo group.
The World Health Organization has said it is worth using vaccines that are over 50% effective, although many of the vaccines already approved have a far higher rate.
CureVac says it sent the data to the European Medicines Agency, which is doing an ongoing review of the vaccine.
CureVac CEO Franz-Werner Haas says the vaccine fully protects 18- to 60-year-olds from hospitalization. He calls it “an important contribution to coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and the dynamic spread of variants”.
The company says it sequenced 204 case samples to identify the variant causing the infection, but did not provide full details about the variants found.
CDC director reaffirms face mask policy
The head of the CDC reiterated on various networks on Wednesday that fully vaccinated Americans are still not required to wear COVID-19 face masks in most situations, but recognized local officials can implement stricter guidelines.
“We’re lucky here in the United States. We have three vaccines that we know are safe and effective. We have two thirds of the adult population who are fully vaccinated and actually quite protected from the variants we have around here. “CDC director Rochelle Walensky said on NBC News’ Today” Wednesday morning.
Walensky’s comments come after the World Health Organization this week recommended that self-vaccinated people continue to wear masks, and Los Angeles health officials recommended that all people wear them indoors due to concerns about the delta coronavirus variant.
“We are still seeing an increase in cases in low vaccination areas, and in this situation we suggest that guidelines be taken at the local level. And these masking guidelines are really supposed to protect the unvaccinated. In our opinion, the vaccinated are still safe. ”, Said Walensky on“ Good Morning America ”.
The delta variant, believed to be more contagious, accounts for more than one in four COVID-19 cases in the US, according to estimates by the CDC.
– Grace Hauck
Contribution: The Associated Press