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

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US covid-19 vaccine news: latest updates 18 April

Headlines

- 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 GetTheVaccine.dshs.texas.gov

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

Related articles:

Big guns come out to support vaccine distribution

In a virtual conversation regarding the ongoing vaccination rollout effort, former President Barack Obama spoke to basketball stars Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley. They attempt to assuage fears about the vaccines and encourage more Americans to get the life-saving shot. Earlier today it was announced that over half of the adult population in the US had received at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine. 

Fauci predicts J&J vaccine pause could end on Friday

The White House' chief medical advisor, Dr Anthony Fauci, has told reporters today that he believes there will be some resumption of use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by Friday. The J&J shot has been put on temporary pause while the FDA and CDC can investigate reports of blood clots related to the vaccine. 

Fauci's prediction that a decision will be made by Friday tallies with the FDA's own announcement last week, which said they would need 7-10 days to fully establish the facts. 

Calls for vaccines to be shared to tackle global pandemic

Little over a year after the coronavirus pandemic really took hold, some countries are approaching significant milestones in efforts to vaccine their populations against covid-19. In the last hour officials in the US confirmed that over half of the adult population has received at least one shot.

However Dr Tom Frieden, former director of the CDC, has called on developed nations to ensure that other countries are not left behind. 

US reaches covid-19 vaccine milestone

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed that more than half of American adults have now received at least one coronavirus vaccination, bringing the prospect of herd immunity closer. Despite misgivings amongst certain groups, 130 million adults have now had a shot. 

Fauci explains the J&J vaccine pause

In a video posted on the White House twitter account, President Biden's chief medical advisor Dr Anthony Fauci breaks down the reasons why the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been suspended temporarily. No more doses will be administered will the CDC and FDA carry out more research on the side effects, which have been linked to several serious blood clots. 

Vaccine rollout slowed by partisan divide 

There are concerns that the continued politisation of the vaccination effort may be hampering the rollout, and may cause the pandemic to drag on for longer than is neccessary. Across the US, counties who voted for Donald Trump in the most recent election are far more likely to express doubts about the vaccine. 

Hailey Bloom, a registered Republican and the public information officer for a Wyoming health department is quoted as saying: “I just never in a million years ever expected my field of work to become less medical and more political."

“It’s terrifying to think that this may never end,” she said. “So much hinges on these vaccinations.”

Vaccine progress report: Nashville

Mayor John Copper has provided an update on the rolloout in Davidson County where they have just passed the 35% mark. That is of those eligible having had at least one dose.

As he says, this is making progress towarsd the 50% goal to be achieved by May and that tomorrow Nashville Health will offer the Pfizer vaccine to 500 walk-ins per day.

Vaccine appointment: Massachusetts

About 2 million Massachusetts residents are fully vaccinated against covid-19. A million more have received their first shots and likely have second shots booked.

But on Monday 19 April (tomorrow) the rest of the adult population will become eligible to sign up for a vaccine appointment. People who live or work in Massachusetts, 16 years or older, will now be able to get the shot. The state estimates about 1.7 million people will become eligible on this day (they had previously said it was 2.55 million people) — the largest group to get the go-ahead in one day. And on a state holiday, Patriots' Day, to boot.

Demand is sure to overwhelm supply at first. Gov. Charlie Baker is urging residents to be patient and expect that it may take a few weeks to lock down an appointment. Find out more below:

Understanding vaccine side effects

As more people are eligible to get vaccinated, reports of side effects after the second Pfizer and Moderna shots are surfacing.

Dr. Robert Wachter, chief of medicine at UCSF says many of these side effects could last two to three days. Dr. Wachter says side effects after the second shot are more common because the immune response to the second shot is even stronger than the response to the first shot.

Luz Pena investigates:

Fauci believe health officials will just cancel J&J vaccine

Dr. Anthony Fauci said that he doesn't think that public health experts will dump the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which has been paused after cases of blood clotting. The CDC Advisory Committee is due to meet on Friday when the situation regarding the J&J vaccine will be addressed.

Fauci told Meet the Press on Sunday, "I think by Friday we will know which way we are going with this, hopefully we'll get back on track. But I don't think there'll be anything that will linger beyond that. I hope not, I don't think so. Hopefully it will be a temporary pause. It is extremely rare - you have six cases in close to 7 million people. My estimate is that we will continue to use it in some form - I doubt very seriously that they will just cancel it. I don't think that's going to happen. I do think there will likely be some sort of warning, or restriction or risk assessment. I don't think it will be a case of going, 'ok everything's fine, let's go right back' - more likely a case of, we are going to use it, but be careful under these circumstances".

 

Astrazeneca

AstraZeneca vaccine to combat SA variant expected by end of 2021

A modified version of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine tailored to combat a coronavirus variant first documented in South Africa could be ready by the end of 2021, an AstraZeneca official in Austria said in an interview published on Sunday.

Sarah Walters, AstraZeneca's Austria country manager, told the Kurier newspaper that studies, so far, indicating the existing AstraZeneca vaccine was less effective against the more infectious variant first documented in South Africa were 'too small to draw final conclusions'.

"In the meantime, AstraZeneca and Oxford University have started on modifications to the vaccine for the South African variant and we expect it will be ready by the end of the year, should it be needed," Walters said.

Walters blamed challenges - including delivery delays for the AstraZeneca shot in the European Union - on the 'complex process' of producing a vaccine, coupled with the extremely high demand arising from the coronavirus pandemic. "We had to work without keeping a supply in reserve. As a result, we couldn't make up for unexpected events," she explained. "We are confident that we will fulfill our commitment to deliver 300 million doses to the European Union this year."

The Kurier interview did not directly address ongoing investigations into health concerns over the AstraZeneca shot. The EU has put a warning label on the vaccine over its possible linkage to extremely rare blood clots, Denmark has completely halted use of the vaccine and Britain has advised people under 30 to get another brand of vaccine.

 

US NEWS

How to get Covid-19 a vaccine appointment in Florida?

On April 5, Florida expanded Covid-19 vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 years old and over. Here's all the information you need on how to book a vaccine appointment.

 

Fauci says decision on J&J vaccine expected on Friday

Head of the White House Coronavirus task force, Dr. Anthony Fauci has told CBS he expects a decision on the J&J vaccine by Friday. The J&J vaccine rollout was paused last week as federal authorities investigate its possible links to a rare blood clot disorder suffered by six recipients of the jab.

Vaccine vacation in Alaska

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has said that covid-19 vaccines would be made available at key airports in the state starting 1 June, in unveiling plans aimed at bolstering the state’s pandemic-battered tourist industry.

Dunleavy, a Republican, outlined plans for a national marketing campaign aimed at luring tourists using federal aid money and said the vaccine offering is “probably another good reason to come to the state of Alaska in the summer.” 

Dunleavy and other state leaders have been pushing to allow large cruise ships to return to Alaska after covid-19 restrictions kept them away last year, hitting hard businesses and communities, particularly in southeast Alaska, that rely heavily on summer tourism.

Read more:

International Medical Corps lending a hand in South Central, LA

The International Medical Corps is providing voluntary support in South Central LA to assist the vaccine rollout in one of the hardest-hit areas in California. California hit a crucial benchmark for vaccine equity this weekend, as 4 million doses have now been administered in the lowest income areas.

Trump blasts decision to pause J&J vaccine

Donald Trump has expressed his anger at the decision to pause the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

"The federal pause on the J&J shot makes no sense. Why is the Biden White House letting insanely risk-averse bureaucrats run the show?" asked Trump in the statement on Friday evening.

"Just six people out of the nearly 7 million who've gotten the Johnson & Johnson vaccine reported blood clots. The condition is more common in the general population, and every vaccine — indeed, every medication — carries some risk, including the Moderna and Pfizer jabs," the former president continued.

"With COVID cases still rising nationwide, it's sheer lunacy to delay millions of vaccinations and feed fears among the vax-resistant," he added.

"Indeed, this moronic move is a gift to the anti-vax movement," Trump concluded. "The science bureaucrats are fueling that deranged pseudo-science."

aadad

In pictures: Camila Gutierrez, a junior at Florida International University, receives a Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine from Jason Rodriguez, a pharmacy student, at the Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida.

Jackson Memorial Hospital began a vaccination initiative with all the colleges/universities in Miami-Dade County, in which all students will be able to get the vaccine, as long as they show a valid student ID and a license. Universities and colleges across the country will be deciding if they will mandate students returning to campus be vaccinated. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP)

CEO of world's largest vaccine maker calls on Biden to remove export ban on raw materials

Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest maker of vaccines, has urged President Joe Biden to end an export ban on raw materials for vaccines, saying it is impeding vaccine production around the rest of the world.

"If we are to truly unite in beating this virus, on behalf of the vaccine industry outside the U.S., I humbly request you to lift the embargo of raw material exports out of the U.S. so that vaccine production can ramp up," Poonawalla tweeted on Friday.

adad

More than 5m completely vaccinated In Florida

More than 7.9 million people in Florida have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 5,012,332 people have completed their vaccination, according to the Florida Health Department's latest report on Saturday.

According to the report, 526,166 have received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is now on pause, while another 4,486,166 have completed the two-dose series needed for the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. (Photo: AFP)

New York: City-run vaccination sites now accepting walk-in appointments for over-50s

Getting a vaccine has become much easier for some in New York, as City-run vaccination sites have now moved to accept walk-in appointments for anyone over 50. As CBS2’s John Dias reports, the city is hoping this new lowered age limit will help prevent a backlog of Covid vaccines.

Around 41% of the population of New York State has received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, with approx. 28% now fully vaccinated.

DoD to send Moderna vaccines instead of J&J jabs to overseas military bases

The Department of Defense Covid-19 task force plans to send doses of the Moderna vaccine to overseas US military bases to compensate for the suspension of the delivery of Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses that had been earmarked for overseas based but has since been paused.

Each US military service will now send "a total of approximately 30,000 additional doses of Moderna throughout the month of May," Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said during a press briefing on Friday (via CNN). "That's around roughly 10,000 per week beginning May 10."

He added: "This will help keep the vaccination efforts right on pace to provide initial doses to over 70 percent of our overseas personnel and their families by the end of May."

Marshawn Lynch discusses vaccine hesistancy with Fauci

NFL veteran Marshawn Lynch released a 30-minute interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci on his YouTube channel Friday, becoming the latest prominent athlete to sit down with him to discuss the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines as the U.S. continues to combat the pandemic...

We’re giving out a vaccine to 300 million people in the United States alone. The odds of something not happening are smaller than the odds of something happening."

Tara Haelle, author of Vaccination Investigation: The History and Science of Vaccines in an interview with Slate

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.

Vaccine uptake factors

“The hesitancy is definitely a concern. As far as the supply, I feel like that’s better. As far as the resources, we have been intentional in addressing that, because I can tell you that the majority of the patients that I see that represent patients in the minority community, they actually want it,” said Dr. Justin Turner, who is Black. “But the reality is, there’s a lot of people that don’t look like me that do not want it. And those individuals make up the majority in Mississippi.”

Turner believes Mississippi’s ranking, and a similar study dismissed by Reeves as “liberal” spin , shows that the state needs to take a hard look at things that could drive that percentage higher, like Medicaid expansion.

“Until we get serious and realize that every Mississippian, regardless of background, can have access to quality health care, we still gonna be ranked 45, 48, 50th,” Turner said.

Covid-19 vaccine news: welcome

Hello and welcome to our dedicated live blog for Sunday 18 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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