Covid-19 vaccine in the US news summary: 23 May 2021

AS English

COMMENT

Covid-19 vaccine latest news: live

Headlines

- Nine US states pass 70% vaccine target

- CureVac vaccine approval expected in June

- US vaccine rollout tops 357.2 million doses delivered, 285.7 doses administered

- Indian state unable to obtain covid-19 shots directly from Moderna

- Pfizer and BioNTech pledge to give one billion doses to low- and middle-income countries by end of year

- California won’t create vaccine passport, but large events may require vaccine/test proof

- Biden helping overseas by sending 100 million vaccine doses

- New travel rules for vaccinated US citizens (Read more)

- US vaccine roll-out to children aged 12-15

- Study shows AstraZeneca vaccine works well as third booster

- India case total passes 26.5 million

- Ohio lines up $1 million vaccine lottery

- Over 130 million US citizens now fully vaccinated (track CDC data here)

US covid-19: 33.11 million cases / 589,891 deaths (live updates from JHU)

Scroll through some of our related articles:

CDC investigation into Chinese vaccine

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it’s investigating reports of heart inflammation in teenagers and young adults who have received the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus vaccine.

Noting that there have been “relatively few” reports of “mild” cases of myocarditis, the agency said that its covid-19 Vaccine Safety Technical Work Group should investigate and communicate the findings to vaccine recipients.

The agency said that vaccines using the mRNA technology—from pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna—appear to be causing the issue. Vaccines using mRNA, which are relatively uncommon, use messenger ribonucleic acid (RNA) to create a protein that prompts an immune response within an individual, while Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine instead uses an adenovirus that was rendered unable to replicate.

Full story below.

Coronavirus

Can the COVID-19 vaccine cause heart problems?

CDC is examining isolated cases of myocarditis after some patients experience issues after vaccination. Health experts warn against inciting panic before a scientific connection is made. 

Full details

CORONAVIRUS US

What is a vaccine booster and why would people need it?

Several vaccines require a booster shot to strengthen the bodies immunity to a given virus, Moderna CEO says a third covid-19 shot may be needed by September.

Full details

CDC investigation into Chinese vaccine

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it’s investigating reports of heart inflammation in teenagers and young adults who have received the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus vaccine.

Noting that there have been “relatively few” reports of “mild” cases of myocarditis, the agency said that its covid-19 Vaccine Safety Technical Work Group should investigate and communicate the findings to vaccine recipients.

The agency said that vaccines using the mRNA technology—from pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna—appear to be causing the issue. Vaccines using mRNA, which are relatively uncommon, use messenger ribonucleic acid (RNA) to create a protein that prompts an immune response within an individual, while Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine instead uses an adenovirus that was rendered unable to replicate.

Full story below.

Kids lining up for vaccine in Pa and NJ

Tens of thousands of children in Pennsylvania and New Jersey have received their first coronavirus shots, prompting providers to up their orders of doses, bringing school districts into the vaccination effort and ushering in a wave of outreach efforts aimed at kids and parents.

In the first 10 days the two-dose Pfizer vaccine was available to adolescents aged 12 to 15, more than 50,000 in Pennsylvania and nearly 44,000 in New Jersey received first doses. Lines were long at some providers, and school gyms turned into immunization clinics.

But there were also signs that the effort to vaccinate children - seen as key to reaching immunity levels that will suppress the spread of the virus and getting education back to normal - will run up against the same hesitancy barriers and equity divides that have affected the rollout for adults.

Full story from Justine McDaniel, Erin McCarthy, and Maddie Hanna.

Vaccine misinformation makers and their contradictions

For misinformation expert Timothy Caulfield, the most absurd aspect of the vaccine “shedding” conspiracy is that the very same people who once called covid-19 a hoax are now scared of the virus - but only if it comes from people who’ve already been vaccinated.

The myth warns that people who have been immunized can “shed” coronavirus spike proteins and infect others.

“That’s the best example of how completely incoherent their views are,” Caulfield said. “There’s no conceptual consistency at all … The real virus is a hoax, but the shedding virus, which has no scientific foundation behind it at all, is a concern to the degree to which they’re not going to allow people into buildings and they’re going to wear masks. It’s just astounding.”

Omar Mosleh looks at the misinformation peddlers.

Vaccination rates

A picture paints a thousand words, or in this case several million vaccine doses.

New Mexico becomes 9th to reach 70%

The White House senior advisor on covid response, Andy Slavitt, shares the positive news that New Mexico is the latest state to pass 70% of their adults receiving the first vaccine shot.

Biden's vaccine pledge gets A+

You don't have to agree with everything Democratic President Joe Biden says or believes, but it's hard to disagree with his hard push on the vaccine rollout to end the covid-19 pandemic.

Sen Rand Paul not getting vaccinated

“Until they show me evidence that people who have already had the infection are dying in large numbers or being hospitalized or getting very sick, I just made my own personal decision that I’m not getting vaccinated because I’ve already had the disease and I have natural immunity,” 

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said this during an interview with John Catsimatidis on his radio show on WABC 770 AM. Paul tested positive for covid-19 in March 2020. At the time, he was the first known senator to have contracted the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that those who have recovered from covid-19 get vaccinated because experts are unsure about how long natural immunity lasts. But clearly the senator thinks he knows more than those pesky medical experts.

Vaccine tattoo pride

How proud are you of getting vaccinated for covid-19? Here's one way to remember it...

Indian state unable to obtain covid-19 shots directly from Moderna

An Indian state looking to procure covid-19 shots to combat a nationwide surge in infections on Sunday said that US vaccine maker Moderna had declined to supply its shots and said it can only deal with the federal government, Reuters report.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened vaccinations to all adults from 1 May and allowed states to make their own arrangements to supplement stocks they received from the federal government. But India is facing a shortage of vaccines, with domestic production amounting to about 80 million doses a month.

The northern state of Punjab said that Moderna "refused" to send vaccines to the state government, citing a company policy that allows it to deal only with Modi's federal administration and not with state authorities or private parties.

Moderna did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Vaccine shots coming to you

From the East Coast to the West, health officials are taking the covid-19 vaccines on the road.

Across the country, nurses, technicians, emergency medical workers and community partners are rolling up to the doorsteps, streets and churches of people who are homeless, who live in areas without reliable transportation or who have no internet access.

Their goal: to reach the unvaccinated stragglers in overlooked neighborhoods, plugging a vulnerable gap in the nationwide effort to outmaneuver death. Some people are encumbered by jobs or the responsibility of child care. Others struggle with dire poverty. Many are adrift, out of reach or uninformed.

Full story from Christine Hauser and Ruth Fremson

Popular Chicago street vendor passes away from Covid-19 days before getting vaccine

Rogers Park street vendor, Felipe Vallarta Rosales succumbed to Covid-19 just days before he was due to receive the vaccine, ABC 7 Chicago reports. Last month, just days before the 61-year-old was due to be given the Covid-19 vaccine, he contracted the virus. When he could not breathe, he was rushed to hospital, but weeks later, was not getting better. Rosales' body will be sent back to his native Mexico to be buried alongside his family.

Read the full story here:

Coronavirus

Can an employer ask if you're vaccinated in the US?

Can an employer ask if you're vaccinated in the US?

New CDC guidance on mask-wearing for vaccinated people leaves employers in an awkward position in trying to figure out how to establish office safety.

Read our full coverage for details and advice on how to broach the topic of vaccinations with those close to you.

Over half of all Canadians have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose

More than 50% of Canada's population has been given at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. Data compiled from provincial and territorial health authorities shows that more than 20.6 million doses have been administered across the country, with 50.01% of the population having received at least one jab.

US on track to get 70% of Americans vaccinated by 4 July

Dr. Anthony Fauci believes that if the United States' Covid-19 vaccine rollout continues at the current pace, 70% of the population will be fully vaccinated by Independence Day on 4 July. "If we get to the president's goal, which I believe we will attain, of getting 70% of people getting at least one dose by July 4, there will be enough protection in the community that I really don't foresee there being the risk of a surge," he told the Washington Post. "One thing that is quite certain is that when you have a vaccine or a group of vaccines that are as highly effective in the real world as these vaccines are, and you get a substantial proportion of the population vaccinated, the chances of there being a surge are extremely low".

vaccine

129,006,463 people now fully vaccinated in the US

A total of 162,470,794 people, representing 48.9% of the population, have received at least one shot of one of the three Covid-19 vaccines which have been approved for emergency use in the United States. As of today, 129,006,463 have received both shots and are fully vaccinated - 38.9% of the population.

Swiss scientists discover coronavirus’ ‘Achilles heel’

Researchers at the federal technology institute ETH Zurich have discovered an important weak point of Covid-19 which could lead to the development of antiviral drugs that can also treat more distantly related coronaviruses. During the step-by-step reading of the blueprint from ribonucleic acid (RNA), the ribosome (the cell’s own protein factory) occasionally “miscounts” and omits letters. 

However, certain viruses such as coronaviruses rely on such shifts in the reading frame to regulate the production of their proteins. The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19, induces frameshifting by folding its RNA in an unusual and complex manner, the research team explained, adding that any compound which inhibits frameshifting by targeting this RNA fold could potentially be useful as a drug to combat infection.

Read ETH Zurich's full technical report on frameshifting here:

Covid-19 vaccine available to over-12s in Hamilton, Ontario from today

From today, Sunday 23 May 2021, those aged 12 years old and older will be eligible to book an appointment to receive a Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in Hamilton, Ontario.

Those who book, must be 12 years of age by the date of their appointment. Individuals who are not 12 years old on 23 May 2021 can book an appointment for a later date through the provincial call centre. Book online: ontario.ca/bookvaccine or by phone: 1-888-999-6488

Family asks doctor to share video of the effects of covid-19 

A Vanderbilt University Medical Center ICU doctor shared a video of a Covid-19 patient on Twitter. The video has been viewed over 200,000 times. Dr. Wes Ely said it was the family that wanted to share what could happen if you contract the virus in the hope of encouraging those hesitant to get vaccinated to get their shot. 

"His wife really wanted to use it as an educational tool to help people grapple with this very personal decision of getting the vaccine," Ely said. "Getting vaccinated, in my opinion, is really an act of charity. It's an act of charity towards myself, and it's the act of charity towards other people." 

The video contains images which some may find disturbing:

Pfizer

Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines effective against India Covid-19 variant

Both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines are highly effective at protecting people from the B.1.617 strain of the virus which was first discovered in India in October 2020, according to a study by Public Health England (PHE).

The analysis, which was carried out between 5 April and 16 May, found the Pfizer vaccine was 88% effective against symptomatic disease from the India variant two weeks after a second dose, compared with 93% effectiveness against the Kent B.1.1.7 variant. Meanwhile, the AstraZeneca vaccine was 60% effective, compared with 66% against the Kent variant over the same period.

French Covid-19 tracing app downloaded by 25% of the population

France's Covid-19 contact-tracing app has now been downloaded by 16.5 million people, or 24.6% of the French population, the minister for digital affairs said on Sunday, surpassing the minimum level it needed to work efficiently.

The Tous Anti-Covid (all against Covid) app, initially launched last June under the name 'StopCovid', will grant access to a 'health pass' that people can use to attend sports events, festivals and theme parks with large crowds. This pass, which was approved by French lawmakers earlier this month, will come into effect from 9 June. It will provide proof that a person has either been vaccinated against the coronavirus, holds a recent negative PCR test, or is recovering from Covid-19 and therefore has natural antibodies.

"When people will check this health pass, they won't see any of these details, they'll just see green or red, which means health data are protected," Cedric O told Franceinfo radio. The minister previously said 20% of the population needed to download the app for contact tracing to work efficiently.

The European Union reached a deal on Thursday over Covid-19 certificates designed to open up tourism across the 27-nation bloc this summer, as a rapid pick-up of vaccinations allows widespread easing of coronavirus restrictions.

"We conducted a first test with France, Sweden, Malta, Luxembourg and Croatia which has technically confirmed they were working," Cedric O said, adding the certificates would come into effect on 26 June.

Coronavirus

What freebies can you get for getting the covid-19 vaccine in Florida?

In an effort to encourage more residents to get vaccinated, Florida businesses are offering “freebies” and discounts to those who have had the jab.

Full details on Florida's freebies here:

CORONAVIRUS US

What freebies can you get for getting covid-19 vaccine in California?

Californians who have their covid-19 jab can enjoy free stuff from businesses in the state in the hope of encouraging even more Californians to go out and get vaccinated.

Full details

A look at what children learned from the covid-19 pandemic 

The covid-19 pandemic has forced innumerable changes in everyday life for young and old alike. The resilience of children, how they have adapted to the changes and all they’ve had to learn, though is just mind boggling. Sage Stossel shares what she learned from her son upon getting her final jab of the covid-19 vaccine.

CureVac expecting vaccine approval next month

Germany's CureVac expects European approval of its Covid-19 vaccine in June at the latest and is working to expand production capacity, the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper quoted a company spokeswoman as saying. Around 1,500 volunteers have been taking part in trials with the CureVac vaccine in the Basque Country, Spain.

Since starting out in 2000, the biotech company has focused on so-called messenger RNA (mRNA), a drug and vaccine technology that has also become the recent focus of the European Union's procurement negotiations. The mRNA approach has been validated by the wide use of coronavirus vaccines developed by pioneers BioNTech and its partner Pfizer, as well as by Moderna, in Europe and North America. But more volumes will be needed to boost lagging immunisation coverage in Europe and potentially for repeated booster shots.

"We hope for approval in the course of the second quarter,' the newspaper quoted the spokeswoman as saying in comments released on Sunday. "We are working to further expand production capacity with a growing network of partners."

The Nasdaq-listed firm, which is backed by investor Dietmar Hopp, GlaxoSmithKline as well as the German government, has said it aims to produce up to 300 million doses of the vaccine in 2021 and up to 1 billion in 2022.

Covid-19 vaccine news: welcome

Hello and welcome to our dedicated live blog for Sunday 23 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.

.