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Only One Vaccine Is OK’d for Older Teens. It’s Also the Hardest to Manage in Rural America.

April 26, 2021

(Medscape) – As states expand covid-19 vaccine eligibility to allow shots for 16- and 17-year-olds, teens in rural America may have trouble getting them. Of the three vaccines authorized in the U.S., currently only one can go to that age group: the Pfizer-BioNTech shot. That vaccine comes in 1,170-dose packages at minimum and expires after five days in a fridge, meaning too many doses on too tight a deadline for many rural communities to manage.

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Vaccinating Homebound Patients Is an Uphill Battle

April 26, 2021

(Medscape) – The suspension of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has made inoculation efforts against COVID-19 more complicated for one of the most vulnerable groups – homebound patients. There are about 2 million to 4 million homebound patients in the United States, according to a webinar from the Trust for America’s Health, which was broadcast in March. But many of these individuals have not been vaccinated yet because of logistical challenges.

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Malaria Vaccine Shows Promise–Now Come Tougher Trials

April 26, 2021

(Nature) – A vaccine against malaria has shown promise in early clinical trials, raising hopes that it might one day prove to be an effective weapon against one of the world’s biggest killers of children. In a trial in 450 children aged 5–17 months, the vaccine, called R21, was up to 77% effective at preventing malaria over the course of one year — which, if confirmed, would clear a 75% effectiveness target set by the World Health Organization. The results are presented in a preprint posted on the server SSRN on 20 April.

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CDC Panel: End Pause of J&J Vaccine, but Add Warning

April 26, 2021

(Medscape) – Use of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine should resume in the United States for all adults 18 and over, an advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) decided Friday. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) panel voted for that recommendation 10-4 with one abstention. The announcement comes with an updated warning in the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) language directed at women under 50 who have an increased risk for a rare but serious blood clot disorder called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS).

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Millions Are Skipping Their Second Doses of Covid Vaccines

April 26, 2021

(New York Times) – Millions of Americans are not getting the second doses of their Covid-19 vaccines, and their ranks are growing. More than five million people, or nearly 8 percent of those who got a first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, have missed their second doses, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is more than double the rate among people who got inoculated in the first several weeks of the nationwide vaccine campaign.

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Creation of First Human-Monkey Embryos Sparks Concern

April 26, 2021

(Wall Street Journal) – Imagine pigs with human hearts or mice whose brains have a spark of human intelligence. Scientists are cultivating a flock of such experimental creations, called chimeras, by injecting potent human cells into mice, rats, pigs and cows. They hope the new combinations might one day be used to grow human organs for transplants, study human illnesses or to test new drugs. In the latest advance, researchers in the U.S. and China announced earlier this month that they made embryos that combined human and monkey cells for the first time.

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Malaria Vaccine Hailed as Potential Breakthrough

April 23, 2021

(BBC) – A malaria vaccine has proved to be 77% effective in early trials and could be a major breakthrough against the disease, says the University of Oxford team behind it. Malaria kills more than 400,000 people a year, mostly children in sub-Saharan Africa. But despite many vaccines being trialled over the years, this is the first to meet the required target. The researchers say this vaccine could have a major public health impact.

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Brazil’s ‘Rapid and Violent’ Covid Variant Devastates Latin America

April 23, 2021

(The Guardian) – Similar sentiments of incredulity and despair are being voiced across Latin America as the apparently more contagious P1 variant linked to Brazil makes an already shattering Covid crisis somehow even worse. Nearly 1 million Latin American lives have been lost here since the region’s first Covid case was detected in February 2020, and the pandemic is now accelerating again in countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela and Uruguay, with many convinced the Brazilian variant bears much of the blame.

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EU Agency to Issue More Guidance on AstraZeneca’s COVID Shot

April 23, 2021

(Associated Press) – The European Medicines Agency is expected to provide updated guidance Friday on how countries across Europe should use the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca. Earlier this month, the Amsterdam-based drug regulator for the 27-nation European Union said there was a “possible link” between the AstraZeneca vaccine and rare blood clotting disorders, but that the benefits of getting the shots outweighed the risks.

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Japan Issues 3rd Virus Emergency in Tokyo, Osaka Area

April 23, 2021

(Associated Press) – Japan declared a third state of emergency for Tokyo and three western prefectures on Friday amid skepticism it will be enough to curb a rapid coronavirus resurgence just three months ahead of the Olympics. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced the emergency for Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo from April 25 through May 11.

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Indian Hospitals Plead for Oxygen, Country Sets Virus Record

April 23, 2021

(Associated Press) – India put oxygen tankers on special express trains as major hospitals in New Delhi on Friday begged on social media for more supplies to save COVID-19 patients who are struggling to breathe. More than a dozen people died when an oxygen-fed fire ripped through a coronavirus ward in a populous western state.

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The Next Generation of Coronavirus Vaccines Won’t Come as Quickly

April 23, 2021

(Axios) – A flood of cash from Operation Warp Speed helped coax a slew of biotech companies into the race for a coronavirus vaccine, but the incentives to keep working on new competitors won’t be nearly as strong. Why it matters: That initial flood of cash worked — it delivered multiple, highly effective vaccines in record time. In other disease areas, though, second- and third-generation vaccines usually become the dominant products. And the first COVID-19 vaccines aren’t necessarily a great fit for the whole world.

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Healthcare Providers Rarely Catch COVID-19 on the Job

April 23, 2021

(Medscape) – Healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States rarely become infected with SARS-CoV-2 through patient care, new research suggests. Researchers evaluated SARS-CoV-2 infections in a group of healthcare personnel (HCP) and found that most infections could not be linked to a patient or co-worker – suggesting that good adherence to infection-control procedures offer significant protection to HCP caring for COVID-19 patients.

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Update 1–U.S. FDA Finds Peeling Paint, Debris at U.S. Plant Making J&J’s COVID-19 Vaccine

April 23, 2021

(Medscape) – A U.S. plant that was making Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine must fix a long list of problems including peeling paint and unsanitary conditions and practices to resume operation, according to a highly critical report by the Food and Drug Administration. Experts said addressing the issues raised in the scathing FDA inspection report could take months.

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Covid-19 Hospitalizations Tumble Among US Senior Citizens

April 22, 2021

(Associated Press) – COVID-19 hospitalizations among older Americans have plunged 80% since the start of the year, dramatic proof the vaccination campaign is working. Now the trick is to get more of the nation’s younger people to roll up their sleeves. The drop-off in severe cases among people 65 and older is so dramatic that the hospitalization rate among this highly vaccinated group is now down to around the level of the next-youngest category, Americans 50 to 64.

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Covid-19: Delhi Hospitals Run Out of Oxygen Supplies

April 22, 2021

(BBC) – Six hospitals in the Indian capital Delhi have completely run out of oxygen and doctors say other hospitals have just a few hours’ worth of supply left. A number of people have died while waiting for oxygen, and more than 99% of all intensive care beds are full. India is in the grips of a second wave of Covid infections and on Thursday recorded the highest one-day tally of new cases anywhere in the world.

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UK Reports 32 Deaths from Clots After AZ Jab

April 22, 2021

(Medical Xpress) – A total of 168 people have suffered rare blood clots after taking the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine in Britain, and 32 have died, the UK’s medicines regulator said Thursday. The figures for clots or “thromboembolic events” run up to April 14, by when 21.2 million people had received first doses of the vaccine, according to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

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Coronavirus: WHO Urges African Nations to Keep Expired Vaccines

April 22, 2021

(BBC) – The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged African countries not to destroy Covid-19 vaccines that may have passed their expiry date. Countries have been told to keep hold of them and wait for further guidance. The appeal comes after Malawi and South Sudan said they would destroy more than 70,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab because they expired in mid-April. But the Africa Centres for Disease Control (Africa CDC) said it had been assured the doses were safe to use.

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Do Kids Really Need to Be Vaccinated for Covid? Yes. No. Maybe.

April 22, 2021

(Undark) – Pfizer is not alone. Rival drugmakers Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are also testing their vaccines in teenagers, and all three companies have begun early trials in infants as young as six months old. It’s part of a groundswell of pharmaceutical science and public health messaging around what many experts view as the urgent next step in ending the Covid-19 pandemic: vaccinating adolescents and younger children. Voiced by some leading physicians and researchers, and amplified by a drumbeat of like-minded press coverage, the notion that the Covid-19 pandemic cannot be curbed without vaccinating children has quickly become axiomatic in parts of the public health world. 

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Chiropractor First Person Charged Under COVID-19 False Claims Law

April 22, 2021

(Medscape) – A US district court will decide whether a chiropractor who is charged with 10 counts of making false marketing claims related to COVID-19 will be the first person convicted under a new federal law. Eric Nepute, owner of Quickwork, based in St. Louis, Missouri, was the first person charged by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) under the COVID- 19 Consumer Protection Act. According to the FTC complaint, filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, the company, which has several locations in St. Louis County, advertised its vitamin D and zinc products on social media and the internet as drugs that could treat or prevent COVID-19.

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