Covid-19 vaccine in the US | news summary for 17 May

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Covid-19 vaccine latest news live | Monday 17 May 2021

Headlines

- Covid-19 vaccines have no impact on pregnancy, study finds

- US rollout tops 344..5 million doses delivered, 272.9 doses administered

- US retailers lift mask restrictions

- Canada 'storage' vaccine decision questioned by experts

- New York starts subway vaccine drive

- CDC updates mask advice: not required if vaccinated in most places (full story)

- India cases drop for third day but WHO remains concerned

- Ohio lines up $1 million vaccine lottery

- Leading scientists cast more doubts over covid-19 origin (full story)

- China slams US for hoarding and hundreds of millions of vaccines

- Biden urges parents to vaccinate eligible kids

- Vaccines show less efficacy against India variant

- Over 122 million US citizens now fully vaccinated (track CDC data here)

- New recommendations from CDC for fully vaccinated individuals, read about them here

- Covid-19 vaccine passports apps: which ones can be used in the US? Learn more

US covid-19: 32.99 million cases / 586,352 deaths (live updates from JHU)

Scroll through some of our related articles:

There is a huge disconnect growing where in some countries with the highest vaccination rates, there appears to be a mindset that the pandemic is over, while others are experiencing huge waves of infections. The pandemic is a long way far from over. It will not be over anywhere until it’s over everywhere.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus , World Health Organization Director-General

Low vaccination numbers for disabled in Australia draw criticism 

The Guardian - Fewer than 1,000 people with disability in Australia’s residential care facilities have been vaccinated, despite authorities saying the rollout would ramp up in late April.  

At a disability royal commission hearing on Monday, the federal health department was forced to defend the rollout for people with a disability who live in residential care and the disability support workforce. 

Kate Eastman SC, the counsel assisting, asked a health department official if she accepted the rollout had been an “abject failure”. 

Full story

Hawaii vaccine passport leaves more money in tourists’ pockets 

Hawaii was the second state to launch a “vaccine passport” program of its own last week.  The program allows fully vaccinated inter-island travelers skip testing and quarantine requirements. So far 9,400 people have used the exemption according to the state’s covid-19 website. Since travelers don’t need to pay for a test, they will have extra money that they can then spend at local businesses while visiting neighboring islands.

Coronavirus US

Coronavirus US: who has to wear a mask after the vaccine?

Last weekend, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided an update on their new guidelines for those who have received both shots of the covid-19 vaccine. Those who are now fully vaccinated, they say, are now free to resume activities which they did before the pandemic.

However, the CDC’s new guidelines have caused some confusion as it will have no effect on local mask mandates and some states are advising their citizens to keep wearing masks until infection cases drop to manageable levels.

What are the mask guidelines where you live?

Northern US border communities shares extra covid-19 vaccine with Canada

In the US, more than 36% of the population are fully vaccinated, although the pace of daily doses administered has been slowing. As vaccine demand slips in the US, some Canadians have jumped at the chance to put America's surplus doses to use.

From Alaska to New York, communities along the northern border are putting extra doses of covid-19 vaccine to use before the expire in an effort to be able to relax border controls between neighboring communities. Just over 3% of Canadians are fully inoculated against covid-19. 

Full story

Wearing masks still advised in Chicago

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot confirmed that she will be advising vaccinated people in her city to continue wearing masks despite recent CDC guidance saying they are no longer necessary.

She explained to MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle Reports programme, "I think we’ve got to get some clarification from the CDC,” Lightfoot said. “The rollout, obviously, the reporting has been a bit abrupt, and I think they have a lot of clarifications they need to do. I know for me personally, I’m going to continue to wear a mask in public, and I’m going to encourage others to do so. We’ve got to make sure that people are continuing to follow the public health guidance that has gotten us this far, and masks, I think, are a big and important part of that. To say, well, if you’re vaccinated, you don’t have to wear a mask, that’s great, but what about all of the other people out there that aren’t vaccinated, and there’s no way to know that? So I think, for the time being, most people are going to continue to wear masks … outside of their homes, and I think that’s smart".

Vaccine shots available for over-18s in Ontario

From tomorrow, all Ontario residents over the age of 18 will be able to book a Covid-19 vaccine - one week ahead of the province’s initial rollout schedule. The government said the decision to extend eligibility was based on an increase in vaccine supply.

“With 2.2 million doses scheduled to arrive this week, the government is extending booking eligibility at mass immunization clinics to individuals aged 18 and over,” a statement read.

Dr Tom Frieden's statement on Biden's vaccine announcement

Former CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden applauded President Biden's announcement on Monday that the US will donate 80 million shots of Covid-19 vaccines to other countries to push forward the global rollout.

Indian MP claims drinking cow urine can stave off Covid-19

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Pragya Thakur has caused outrage by suggesting that drinking cows' urine is an effective way of surpressing Covid-19 infection. Speaking at a part event this weekend, she said, "I consumed cow urine daily and it is a kind of acid which purifies my body. It also purifies the lungs and saves me from Covid-19 infection. I don’t take any medicine against corona but I am safe"

4-5 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses needed to vaccinate the planet

Vaccine scientist and pediatrician Professor Peter Hotez responded to President Joe Biden's offer to donate 80 million shots of the Covid-19 vaccine to countries outside of the United States. Professor Hotez replied on Twitter: "Yes, definitely a good development, but we should remember what this means: we must vaccinate 1.1 billion people in SubSaharan Africa, 650 million in Latin America, another 0.5 billion in smaller low income Asian countries, so at least 4-5 billion doses of vaccine, so this = <1%. Here’s what we need: a comprehensive US foreign policy for vaccine diplomacy to produce and deliver those doses, with the ambitious goal of doing this before the end 2021".

 

Jen Psaki

US to ship 20 million Covid-19 vaccine doses abroad in the next six weeks

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during today's daily briefing that the United States will be sending out a further 20 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to other countries over the next six weeks. "The President will be announcing that the United States will send 20 million doses, authorised for use in the United States to help countries battling their pandemic, by the end of June. This is in addition to sending all  of the manufactured Astrazeneca vaccine doses overseas during May and June, as a soon as these 16 million doses are cleared. So that is a total of 80 million doses. This is the most doses donated by any country in the world, by five times. We are waiting for Astrazeneca to go through the approval process by the FDA, but this will put 80 million doses out into the world by the end of June".

Democracy will lead the world out of this pandemic - Biden

US President Joe Biden gave a press briefing at the White House on Monday afternoon  in which he spoke about the success of the country's Covid-19 vaccine rollout. "By tomorrow, 60% of all American adults will have received at least one shot. Look what you've done America. There is not a single thing beyond our capacity, to do in this country - when we decide to do something, we do it together. We can do whatever we set our minds to do, if we do it together. And that's exactly what we are going to do. Solve the problem here in the United States which is what we are well on our way to doing, and help solve the problem for the world by  organising the rest of the democracies of the world".

Kent variant remains the most common strain in the United States

The B.1.1.7 Covid-19 strain which was first identified in Kent, England is the most common strain in the US, representing 27.2% of all new cases. The lineage B.1.2 variant is the second most prevalent, it accounts for 19.8% of all new cases and has been spreading predominantly in the South and Southwest

Almost 60% of the US population have received at least one shot of the Covid-19 vaccine

According to the latest data, 157,132,234 people - 59.7% of the US population, have received at least one shot of the Covid-19 vaccine while 122,999,721, or 37% of the country is now fully vaccinated. Vermont and Massachusetts are the states who have vaccinated the highest percentage of their citizens, Mississippi is currently the furthest behind with just under 57% having received a shot.

World has entered stage of 'vaccine apartheid' - WHO chief

The world has reached a situation of 'vaccine apartheid', World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday, and was no longer just at risk of that status.

"The big problem is a lack of sharing. So the solution is more sharing," he told a virtual Paris Peace Forum event. Earlier, he called on Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers to make shots available to the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility sooner than planned due to a supply shortfall left by Indian export disruptions.

US NEWS

Ohio Vaccine Lottery: how to enter and sign up to win $1 million

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has announced an ingenious way to encourage the state’s residents to sign up for a covid-19 vaccine, as fears grow that the rate of uptake is beginning to slow.

On Wednesday DeWine unveiled details of a state-wide lottery that will see five weekly draws made from 26 May onwards, giving vaccine recipients the chance to win $1 million. The lucrative prize money will come from the federal coronavirus relief funds.

The lottery idea has generated a lot of interest in recent days as well as questions about the legality of utilising federal funds to offer cash prizes. Here’s everything you need to know to be involved in the draw…

Read the full story

Side effects can often be managed by acetaminophen or another pain reliever

WSJ - A small study conducted recently by scientists at the University of Pennsylvania found that people who had more robust side effects after receiving either of the two leading vaccines in the US - Pfizer and Moderna, had slightly higher antibody levels than those who had less robust side effects. Yet all people getting the vaccine in the study had good immune responses, said study co-author E. John Wherry, director of the Penn Institute for Immunology.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use RNA-based technology and can cause similar side effects. Ranging from injection-site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, in addition to fever and chills, these typically arise within a day of vaccination and resolve within a couple of days. The side effects can often be managed by taking acetaminophen or another pain reliever.

The vaccines were at least 94% effective at protecting against covid-19 in separate, large clinical trials that started last year. 

Covid-19 vaccine works, even if side effects differ for all, doctors say

Infectious disease specialists are working to reassure people that they are still getting protection from covid-19 vaccines, even if they don’t experience the flulike side effects that hit some people after vaccination.

Fatigue, chills and other symptoms in the days following vaccination are evidence that the vaccine is having the desired effect on the body’s immune system, according to public health officials. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization say on their websites that side effects mean the body is “building protection” against the coronavirus.

That message may lead some people to infer that the absence of side effects indicates that vaccination isn’t causing the body to build immunity to the virus. Yet infectious-disease doctors say most people get protection from the vaccines, even if they don’t experience side effects.

Full story via WSJ

When will the US share its vaccines?

Bloomberg - Why isn’t the U.S. sharing its extra vaccine doses with the rest of the world? 

America led the world in buying up the messenger RNA vaccines that have proven most effective against covid-19. It’s now starting to lead the world in not using them. 

Across the US, there are more than 27 million unused Moderna doses and 35 million from Pfizer and BioNTech, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s led to calls by prominent public health voices to pack America’s surplus in dry ice and ship it to places like India, where the outbreak is still raging.

As American vaccinations slow and doses accumulate, the US is at a health, ethical and diplomatic crossroads. Should it continue to buy and distribute millions of mRNA vaccines a week, targeting people who are in no hurry to be vaccinated or who are lower-risk? Or should it pare back its orders and free up drugmakers to send more doses to other countries in need?

Full story

As California expands vaccine eligibility to adolescents, parents weigh the risks

Nearly every phase of California’s covid-19 vaccine rollout has been met with a mixture of enthusiasm and angst. But few groups have been as eager — or as concerned — as the latest to wrestle with the availability of vaccines: parents.

The state on Thursday expanded eligibility for covid-19 vaccines to adolescents from the ages of 12 to 15. In Los Angeles and many other counties, people in that age group must be accompanied by or receive consent from a parent or guardian to receive their shot.

Some parents are jumping at the chance to protect their kids from covid-19, and from its rare but worrisome counterpart, multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C. Downtown L.A. resident Ginny Brideau has already secured an appointment for her 12-year-old daughter, Iolani, to be vaccinated at Ralphs on Monday.

Full story

US vaccination effort tops 270m doses

A new report from Reuters has confirmed that the United States has administered 270,832,342 doses of coronavirus vaccines as of Saturday morning. In total, a massive 344,503,395 doses of the life-saving shots has been distributed by health authorities across the country but some groups are proving reluctant to receive the vaccine. 

Crucially, more than 156 million people had received at least one dose of a vaccine, while 121 million Americans are fully vaccinated against covid-19. 

CORONAVIRUS US

Covid-19 vaccine for tourists in New York: how much and where can people get it?

As well as its inventive initiative to get people vaccinated on their commute on the New York Subway system, the authorities in the Big Apple are also offering US tourists a free souvenir to take home with them, a jab of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson covid-19 vaccine at some of the Big Apple's most famous tourist sites.

Full story

China administers 392.99 million vaccines as of May 15

China carried out around 12.4 million vaccinations against covid-19 on May 15, bringing the total number of administered doses to 392.99 million, the country's National Health Commission said on Sunday.

Rio's vaccine the redeemer

Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue was lit up with a message - 'Vaccine saves, United for vaccines’

NFL

Fully vaccinated NFL players, staff no longer required to wear masks at team facilities

Players and staff in the National Football League (NFL) who are fully vaccinated against covid-19 will no longer be required to wear masks at team facilities, the league said, in line with updated guidance from the U.S. health agency.

On Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said fully vaccinated Americans do not need to wear masks outdoors and can avoid wearing them indoors in most places.

People are considered "fully vaccinated" if fourteen days have passed since their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or their single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the NFL said.

"Effective immediately, fully vaccinated ... staff and players will not be required to wear masks anywhere in the club facility, either indoors or outdoors," the NFL said in a statement.

CDC recommends US schools continue to use masks

Schools in the United States should continue to use masks for the 2020-2021 academic year as all students will not be fully  vaccinated, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said this weekend.

The CDC in its latest guidance said all kindergarten through grade 12 schools "should implement and layer prevention strategies and should prioritize universal and correct use of masks and physical distancing."

The recommendation comes after the agency on Thursday said fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks outdoors and can avoid wearing them indoors in most places.

The CDC said masks should be worn at all times by all people in school facilities and buses, while maintaining a six foot distance between teachers and students.

CDC vaccine study backs vaccine efficacy

As reported by Forbes, Pfizer and Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccines are almost 95% effective after two shots and over 80% effective after just one shot, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in a study of vaccinated healthcare workers released Friday, offering what the CDC calls “the most compelling evidence to date” vaccines work well enough that immunized people don’t need to wear masks.

Full story

Cov

People wait for their Covid-19 vaccine inside the International Conference Centre during Peel Region's 'Doses After Dark' overnight Covid-19 vaccination clinic in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, on May 15, 2021.

Photo by Cole BURSTON / AFP

US News

Where to get 12-15 year old kids vaccinated in California

According to the California Department of Public Health, there are around 2.1 million children in the 12-15 age group in the state eligible for a covid vaccine.

However, experts have warned a state mandate enforcing vaccination will be almost impossible to achieve due to public hesitation and political hurdles.

As yet, no state in the US has issued such a mandate as the country aims to get kids back into five-day-a-week, in-person classes for the new school year.

Full story

Covid-19 vaccine news: welcome

Hello and welcome to our dedicated live blog for Monday 17 May 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 and around the world.

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