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Covid vaccine in the US: J&J vaccine recall, blood clots, Fauci statements, My Turn...

Registered Nurse Pat Heinen waits for more patients to arrive to receive coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines at a rural vaccination site in Columbus, New Mexico, U.S., April 16, 2021.  REUTERS/Paul Ratje

US vaccine news latest updates: 17 April


- Half of US adults (more than 128 million) have received at least one vaccine shot, with nearly a third fully vaccinated - CDC

J&J scientists refute idea that covid-19 vaccine's design linked to clots

- Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson covid-19 vaccines: how are they different?

- President Biden has arranged for 300 million doses to be available to US citizens by the end of June

- Estimations are that 500 million Americans will be fully vaccinated by the end of August/early September

- Fauci says J&J vaccine rollout pause is a matter of "days to weeks, not weeks to months"

- CDC and FDA will continue to investigate J&J vaccine safety after six reported cases of rare clotting - cerebral venous sinus thrombosis - emerge

- US will draw on stocks of Moderna and Pfizer after J&J rollout halted

State specific news:

- New York: All New Yorkers 16 years of age and older are now eligible to be vaccinated. Use the City's Vaccine Finder to search for a location near you

- California: Every Californian aged 16 and up is now eligible for vaccination. Book an appointment using My Turn

- Florida: All Florida residents are now eligible to receive any covid-19 vaccine. Find a vaccine location using the state's vaccine location finder

- Texas: Everyone aged 16 and older is now eligible to receive a covid-19 vaccine in Texas. Sign up and register online at

- Alaska: vaccines to be made available at key airports starting 1 June

Related articles:

Canada has second case of rare blood clots after AstraZeneca vaccine

Canada on Saturday reported a second case of rare blood clots with low platelets after immunization with AstraZeneca's covid-19 vaccine in a week, while it said it still recommended the use of the shot.

The person who experienced the very rare event has been treated and is recovering, Canada's health ministry said in a statement, adding that the person lives in the province of Alberta.

Based on the evidence available, Canada still maintains that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the potential risks, the statement said.

Canada health authorities "will continue to monitor the use of all covid-19 vaccines closely and examine and assess any new safety concerns," the statement said.

Canada reported a first blood clotting associated with the vaccine on Tuesday, and a day later, after a review, health authorities said they would not restrict use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

A separate advisory council had earlier recommended Canada stop offering the vaccine to people under 55. That panel is in the process of reviewing its advice.

Canada has been ramping up its vaccination campaign, but still has a smaller percentage of its population inoculated than dozens of other countries, including the United States and Britain.

Amid a spiking third wave of infections, Ontario, Canada's most populous province, announced new public health restrictions on Friday, including closing the provinces borders to domestic travelers.


Are Republicans denying getting vaccine?

It certainly appears that way. What on earth are they thinking?

These people have been elected to represent their constituents but seem to be choosing to play politics in an attempt to stop the Biden vaccine rollout from being a success.

That approach only hurts, and maybe kills, others, as well as delaying our return to normalcy. How can we vote for any of them again?

Half of US adults have had vaccine

Roughly half of US adults have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released Saturday.

Across the country, more than 128 million people ages 18 and older have received at least one shot, with more than 82 million fully vaccinated with one of the three vaccines approved for emergency use in the US, the CDC said.

Overall, 49.7 percent of US adults have received at least one vaccine dose, according to the data, and nearly a third are fully vaccinated.

The milestone comes a day after the CDC announced that 30 percent of US adults had been fully vaccinated, a percentage likely to increase rapidly over the next few weeks following President Biden’s decision to open up vaccine eligibility to all Americans ages 18 and older by Monday.

Celine Castrnuovo reports for The Hill.

Vaccine shot shoutout

"It was quick, easy and it didn’t hurt! We’re in this together!"

'Own your covid/vaccine ignorance'

In his own inimitable style, Bill Maher calls for Democrats to own their ignorance on the effects of the pandemic, in the same way he urges Republicans to own their misinformation on things like climate change.

Have a listen as he points to how being pushed too hard with messages can drive a base to be far from reality. And then ask yourself where you sit...

Vaccines, blood clots and birth control

Although the intentions of making the statistical comparisons between blood clot risks and various drugs is to positively promote vaccine take-up, there's an important message that cannot be missed.

The narrative, in addition to missing important nuances, sometimes takes the tone that birth-control-linked clots are no big deal and overlooks the real women who have suffered and, in some cases, died from them.

Anna Medaris Miller explains more.

Colombia Valley open up to 18-year-olds

Due to a sharp rise in covid-19 cases in the Columbia Valley in recent weeks, local residents 18 years of age and older in regional communities can begin booking vaccine appointments, starting Monday, April 19.

A clinic will be run out of the Invermere Catholic Church Monday to Friday between April 19-May 12, but area residents still need to register and book their immunization appointments.

Only local residents are eligible to book and receive the covid-19 vaccine, says Interior Health.

“Immunization clinics will verify postal codes at the time of appointments,” reads a statement from Interior Health. “We are aware of some instances of people traveling from other regions to seek vaccinations in these communities. This not only takes away from the calculated vaccine supply for the community but may also potentially expose residents to covid-19 when people travel from other regions.”

Full story:

Vaccine discussion

If you fancy listening to science writer Leigh Philips and the team as they discuss the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause and the flawed global vaccine rollout, jump on now.

J&J scientists refute vaccine blood clot link

A reminder of earlier news that scientists at Johnson & Johnson have refuted an assertion in a major medical journal that the design of their covid-19 vaccine, which is similar to AstraZeneca's, may explain why both have been linked to very rare brain blood clots in some vaccine recipients.

The United States earlier this week paused distribution of the J&J vaccine to investigate six cases of a rare brain blood clot known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), accompanied by a low blood platelet count, in US women under age 50, out of about seven million people who got the shot.

US parents consider children getting covid-19 vaccine

Tristen Sweeten, a 34-year-old nurse in Utah, hopes her three children will receive Moderna's covid-19 vaccine through its pediatric clinical trial. The sooner the better, she said, for their safety and the greater goal of ending the pandemic.

Angie Ankoma, a 45-year-old Black mother of four who works in philanthropy in Rhode Island, believes trials must include diverse populations and participated in one for a covid-19 vaccine herself.

Volunteering her kids for possible inclusion in Moderna's trial was a tougher call.

Sweeten and Ankoma are among thousands of US parents who volunteered to have their children participate in new trials run by Pfizer with BioNTech or Moderna, the first companies making strides toward developing a safe covid-19 vaccine for the country's 48 million children under age 12.

Health officials say vaccines are crucial to ending the pandemic. But many are concerned vaccine hesitancy in some adults will be even more pronounced when it comes to their children. Parents may question the risks versus benefits, given the unknowns about the vaccines' long-term impact on children's' development and data on how few young kids have been hit hard by covid-19.

Knowing your vaccine rights

More New Yorkers are getting vaccinated — in fact, about one in three city residents has received at least one dose.

Until recently, however, a lot of people doing essential work (and thus at higher risk of being exposed to the coronavirus) didn’t qualify for the vaccine. Some, like nail salon workers, were pushing state and city leaders to grant eligibility based on work that requires close contact with other people. 

And now everyone 16 and older in New York can get the shots.

If you’re a worker and haven’t been vaccinated yet, check below for what you need to know:

Vaccine boost to Biden approval

100 days in to his presidency and Joe Biden has a relatively strong job approval rating and the public continuing to express positive views of the coronavirus aid package passed by Congress last month. Moreover, nearly three-quarters of Americans (72%) say the Biden administration has done an excellent or good job managing the manufacture and distribution of covid-19 vaccines to Americans.

Currently, 59% approve of the way Biden is handling his job as president, while 39% disapprove. Biden’s job approval rating has increased modestly from 54% in March. Biden’s job approval is comparable to several of his predecessors – including Barack Obama and George H. W. Bush – and much higher than Donald Trump’s in April 2017.

Full analysis on the survey from Pew:

NYP comes under fire for misleading article

The New York Post has come under criticism for spreading unnecesary hysteria about the J&J vaccine with this misleading article in which the headline reads: "University of Cincinnati student dead a day after getting J&J vaccine." Although, in the very same article, the NYP admits: "There is no evidence that his death is related to the Johnson & Johnson shot"


In pictures: Volunteers and nursing students welcome a recently inoculated patient to a monitoring area as California opens up vaccine eligibility to any residents 16 years and older during the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Chula Vista, California, U.S

Biden administration to invest $1.7 billion to fight COVID-19 variants

The Biden administration on Friday said it will invest $1.7 billion to help states and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fight COVID-19 variants that are rapidly spreading across the United States.

The investment, which will be part of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, will improve detection, monitoring, and mitigation of these variants by scaling up genomic sequencing efforts - a key step in containing the spread, the White House said.

"The original strain of COVID-19 comprises only about half of all cases in America today. New and potentially dangerous strains of the virus make up the other half," the White House said in a statement.

In early February, U.S. laboratories were only sequencing about 8,000 COVID-19 strains per week. Since then the administration has invested nearly $200 million to increase genomic sequencing to 29,000 samples per week - an effort that will get a boost with the new funding.

The investment will be broken down into three areas: $1 billion to expand genomic sequencing, $400 million to help build six research centers for genomic epidemiology and $300 million to build a national bioinformatics infrastructure - which will help build a repository of data. (Reuters)

Update: global vaccination drive

courtesy of The Economist:

- One billion doses of covid-19 vaccines have now been made.

- 840m doses have been administered around the world, more than 200m of which have been administered in the US

- 156 countries have mass-vaccination programmes underway

Half of eligible Californians have received at least one vaccine dose

The office of the Governor of California has announced that half of all Californians eligible for the vaccine have now received at least one dose. California extended eligibility to everyone aged 16 and up as of 15 April.

Alaska to offer free vaccinations to tourists

Alaska is to begin offering free covid-19 vaccinations to visitors to the state in a bid to kickstart its tourism industry, Governor Mike Dunleavy said on Friday.

The program will be carried out at its four major airports: Anchorage, Juneau, Ketchikan and Fairbanks.

"The idea is that we have access to vaccines, so why not use them? So this is what we’re saying to our tourists: If you come to Alaska - and this will start on June 1 - if you come to Alaska, you get a free vaccination," Dunleavy said, per the Anchorage Daily News.

Governor Cuomo publishes vaccine update

As of Friday, 12,872,765 doses of the coronavirus vaccine had been administered in New York, with 40.2% of the state's population having received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 27% are now fully vaccinated. 233,973 total doses were administered over the past 24 hours.

As of April 6, all New Yorkers age 16 and older are now eligible to schedule appointments to get vaccinated. To book a vaccine appointment in NYC, start by using the City's Vaccine Finder to search for a location near you.

J&J scientists refute "class effect" to blame for clots in those who got its vaccine

Scientists at Johnson & Johnson on Friday refuted an assertion in a major medical journal that the design of their covid-19 vaccine, which is similar AstraZeneca's, may explain why both have been linked to very rare brain blood clots in some vaccine recipients.

The United States earlier this week paused distribution of the J&J vaccine to investigate six cases of a rare brain blood clot known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), accompanied by a low blood platelet count, in US women under age 50, out of about 7 million people who got the shot.

The blood clots in patients who received the J&J vaccine bear close resemblance to 169 cases in Europe reported with the AstraZeneca vaccine, out of 34 million doses administered there.

Both vaccines are based on a new technology that uses a modified version of adenoviruses, which cause the common cold, as vectors to ferry instructions to human cells. Several scientists have suggested the issue may be a "class effect" linked to this type of vaccine.

In a letter on Friday in the New England Journal of Medicine, J&J scientists refuted a case report published earlier this week by Kate Lynn-Muir and colleagues at the University of Nebraska, who asserted that the rare blood clots "could be related to adenoviral vector vaccines."

In an interview with Reuters on Thursday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert and an adviser to the White House, said the fact that they are both adenovirus vector vaccines is a "pretty obvious clue" that the cases could be linked to the vector. "Whether that is the reason, I can't say for sure, but it certainly is something that raises suspicion," Fauci said.

In the correspondence on Friday, Macaya Douoguih, a scientist with J&J's Janssen vaccines division, and colleagues pointed out that the vectors used in its vaccine and the AstraZeneca shot are "substantially different" and that those differences could lead to "quite different biological effects."

Specifically, they noted that the J&J vaccine uses a human adenovirus while the AstraZeneca vaccine uses a chimpanzee adenovirus. The vectors are also from different virologic families or species, and use different cell receptors to enter cells.

The J&J shot also includes mutations to stabilize the so-called spike protein portion of the coronavirus that the vaccine uses to produce an immune response, while the AstraZeneca vaccine does not.

"The vectors are very different," said Dr. Dan Barouch of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Harvard’s Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center in Boston, who helped design the J&J vaccine. "The implications of issues with one vector for the other one are not clear at this point," he said in an interview earlier this week.

The J&J scientists said in the letter there was not enough evidence to say their vaccine caused the blood clots and they continue to work with health authorities to assess the data.

A panel of advisers to the US Centers for Disease Controland Prevention are expected to meet on 23 April to determine whether the pause on use of the J&J vaccine can be lifted.


'Roll Up Your Sleeves': Michelle Obama and friends to urge Americans to get vaccine

Former First Lady Michelle Obama is to appear in a star-studded NBC special aimed at encouraging Americans to get vaccinated against covid-19. Called ‘Roll Up Your Sleeves’, the hour-long show will be hosted by Russell Wilson and Ciara, and will also feature the likes of Demi Lovato and Wanda Sykes.

Annual Covid-19 jab may be necessary says Pfizer CEO

According to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine may be needed ahead of winter. He told CNBC: "A likely scenario is that there will be likely a need for a third dose, somewhere between six and 12 months and then from there, there will be an annual revaccination, but all of that needs to be confirmed. Protection goes down by time. It is extremely important to suppress the pool of people that can be susceptible to the virus".


Fauci hopeful J&J vaccine will "get back on track" soon

(Reuters) Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States' top infectious disease expert, hopes US regulators will make a quick decision to lift a pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and get that vaccine "back on track," he said in an interview with Reuters on Thursday.

His comments come a day after a panel of advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) delayed a vote on whether to resume the J&J shots for at least a week, until it had more data on the risk.

The US earlier this week decided to pause distribution of the J&J vaccine to investigate six cases of a rare brain blood clot linked with low platelet counts in the blood.

Fauci said the pause was "an indication that the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration take safety very seriously. I hope they make the conclusion of this quickly, and get back on track," he said. "And I believe they will."


Covid-19 vaccine news: welcome

Hello and welcome to our dedicated live blog for Saturdy 17 April 2021.

Here we aim to keep you fully up to date with all the latest news and updates regarding the covid-19 pandemic and all aspects of the vaccine development and rollout across the United States.


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