Pfizer booster extends COVID vaccine protection: Latest updates

A booster of Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine greatly expands protection, as a new study by the companies shows as the number of cases in the US has been rising for weeks and the rate of hospital admissions has started to rise.

While the companies plan to submit the data to the Food and Drug Administration for approval, neither they nor the government recommend booster injections until their safety and effectiveness can be fully evaluated.

Another study published Thursday in the journal Nature found that a single dose of the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines “barely inhibits” the Delta variant, first discovered in India. However, a second dose “produced a neutralizing response” in 95% of people, even if it was slightly less effective than against previous versions of the virus.

“On the one hand, we’ve seen the success of our vaccination programs over the past eight months … and on the other, we’re seeing some new and worrying trends,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Thursday.

Because the approved vaccines largely protect against hospitalization and death from the Delta variant, this trend has been largely driven in unvaccinated populations, she said.

Also on the news:

►Do you need a vaccination certificate for the trip? The answer is no – at least for now.

►All reported coronavirus deaths in Maryland last month consisted of unvaccinated people, as well as most new cases and hospitalizations, the state reported Tuesday.

► Cases have increased over 160% in the past week in Los Angeles County, although vaccinated people continue to be well protected, the Los Angeles Department of Health said.

►Trinity Health, one of the largest Catholic healthcare systems in the United States, requires all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to stop the spread and protect patients, employees, and their communities. Trinity is one of the first hospital groups to require vaccinations.

►Australian authorities are further tightening restrictions in Sydney after reporting 44 new cases in the community, the highest number since a coronavirus outbreak began there last month. The city of more than 5 million people is already in lockdown.

►Arizona hit a coronavirus milestone on Thursday as 50% of its population, or nearly 3.6 million people, received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

📈 Today’s numbers: There are more than 33.79 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 606,400 deaths in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University. The global total: more than 185.5 million cases and more than 4 million deaths. More than 158.28 million Americans – 47.7% of the population – have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

📘What we read: As COVID-19 vaccination rates continue to decline, several states have spent millions of dollars on lottery prizes to encourage unvaccinated Americans to get their vaccination. Did it work?

Keep updating this page for the latest news. Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY’s Coronavirus Watch newsletter to receive updates straight to your inbox and join our Facebook group.

The debate rages as states cut unemployment benefits and workers seek better pay

While the economy took a big leap forward in June when employers created 850,000 jobs, many companies say they are struggling to find workers.

Some employers and Republican lawmakers blame federal unemployment assistance for the shortage, which they believe is preventing people from returning to work. Economists disagree on whether the additional support is holding back job hunting, even if 26 states end the federal hike of $ 300 a week before it officially ends on September 6.

What is more evident is that some workers, especially those with low wages, are more picky about their job. They are determined to find better paying and more fulfilling jobs than those they left or lost during the pandemic.

“They know they have to go back to work,” says Andrew Stettner of The Century Foundation, a left-wing think tank. “People are looking for the right job that suits their sense of security.”

– Charisse Jones and Jessica Menton

CDC warns 3rd dose not yet required

State health officials said Thursday a third shot of the COVID-19 vaccine was not yet required after a new study found a booster dose of Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine greatly extended protection.

The companies said they were developing a vaccine that directly targets the Delta variant, and the data showed that a third dose of their vaccine given six months after the second produced neutralizing antibodies to the original virus and beta Variant increased by five to ten times.

In a joint statement late Thursday, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasized that people who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster vaccination yet.

“The FDA, CDC and NIH are running a science-based, rigorous process to see if or when a refresher might be needed,” the government statement said. “This process takes into account laboratory data, clinical trial data, and cohort data – which may include data from certain pharmaceutical companies, but does not rely solely on that data … We are prepared for booster doses if and when science supports it.”

– Karen Weintraub

Iowa stops reporting COVID activity data on a daily basis

The Iowa Department of Public Health’s pandemic reporting website is no longer updated daily as the state continues to “move on to recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the state memo.

State officials explained the changes in a June 24 memo to local health officials. The changes to went into effect on Wednesday.

All positive and negative tests will continue to be reported, along with demographics such as location, age, gender, race, and ethnicity. The positive case analysis, the hospital stay analysis, the regional medical coordination center dashboard and the special pages for the death analysis are still active.

The changes come as the case numbers continue to fluctuate from April 2020, just before the pandemic started and before the coronavirus hit the state. On Wednesday, 85 people were hospitalized in Iowa with COVID-19, an increase from the recent low of 46 on June 24, but a far cry from the November increase that saw more than 1,500 COVID-19 patients on a single Day hospitalized.

In March, the Oklahoma State Department of Health adjusted the amount of information previously reported in its daily updates. Oklahoma residents cannot see much of the information previously provided last year; The sex and age of the victims are no longer available, but deaths are still reported with their general whereabouts.

– Nick Coltrain, Des Moines Register

Vaccination delay isn’t the only reason for low vaccination rates in black and Latin American communities

Black and Latino communities often have low vaccination rates, and the reason is often due to vaccination reluctance. A study by CommuniVax shows that the reason is more nuanced.

The medical anthropologists who contributed to the study said in The Conversation that many people in these communities are not “vaccine hesitant” but rather “vaccine disabled”.

The people involved in the study stated that they felt excluded from the vaccination due to the lack of access. Challenges included finding transportation, internet access, and general information on how to get the vaccine.

Some, according to the study, were ambivalent about the vaccine because they believed the vaccine had the same level of threat as being infected with COVID-19. They thought that either could lead to disease or complications.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 63.4% of adults received at least one injection, well below President Joe Biden’s July 4 goal of 70%. About 20 percent of Americans either refuse to get vaccinated or, according to the US House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, are unsure.

– Steven Vargas

Contribution: The Associated Press.

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