Tag: Covid

HEALTH
U.S. hits 16 million COVID cases even as vaccine begins roll-out

(Reuters) – The United States hit a record 16 million COVID-19 cases on Saturday afternoon, with deaths closing in on the 300,000 mark, even as millions of doses of a new vaccine were expected to start rolling out across the nation on Sunday.

Healthcare workers take part in a rehearsal for the administration of the Pfizer coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S., December 11, 2020. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston

The first vaccine was approved late on Friday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is expected to touch off a mass-inoculation campaign of unparalleled dimension to end the pandemic that has upended daily life and devastated the U.S. economy.

“FDA APPROVES PFIZER VACCINE FOR EMERGENCY USE!!!” President Donald Trump announced on Friday night on Twitter. He promised Americans the vaccinations would begin in less than 24 hours.

But U.S. Army General Gustave Perna said on

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PREGNANCY
FDA Gives Guidance on Allergy, Pregnancy Concerns for COVID Vaccine

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has clarified its guidance on administration of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, stating that it is safe for people with any history of allergies, but not for those who might have a known history of severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine.

The warning is included in the FDA’s information sheet for health care providers, but questions are arising as to whether the vaccine — which was authorized for emergency use by the FDA on Friday — should not be given to anyone with a history of allergies.

Sara Oliver, MD, an epidemic intelligence service officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported at a December 11 meeting of the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices that two UK health care workers with a history of significant allergic reactions had a reaction to the Pfizer vaccine. A third health

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HEALTH
US public to receive Covid vaccinations on Monday

The US public will start receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine from Monday after it was authorised for emergency use, officials say.

The first doses of the vaccine were being shipped “across all states” over the weekend, said Gen Gustave Perna, the official in charge of distribution.

The vaccine offers up to 95% protection against Covid-19 and was deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA said its approval for use was a “significant milestone” in the crisis.

The US agency authorised the emergency use of the Pfizer/BioNTech on Friday, after coming under intense pressure from the Trump administration to do so.

During a news conference on Saturday, Gen Perna – speaking for the government’s vaccination campaign Operation Warp Speed – said doses of the vaccine were being packed into shipping containers for transportation “within the next 24 hours”.

“Expect 145 sites across the states to receive the

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HEALTH
White House threatens to fire FDA chief unless Covid vaccine OKed Friday: reports

U.S. President Donald Trump and Stephen Hahn, Director of the Food and Drug Administration participate in the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on April 24, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told the head of the Food and Drug Administration to submit his resignation if the agency doesn’t clear Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use by day’s end, The Washington Post reported Friday.

The warning led FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn and the agency to accelerate its timetable for clearing America’s first Covid-19 vaccine from Saturday morning to later Friday, according to the Post, which cited anonymous sources.

The New York Times, Axios and Reuters also reported that Meadows told Hahn to resign if he didn’t move quickly to clear the vaccine.

In a statement, Hahn called the Post’s report “an untrue representation.”

“This is an untrue

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HEALTH
‘A little person in history’: the adolescents who signed up to test the COVID vaccine

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Two adolescent siblings in the United States who signed up for a coronavirus vaccine trial said they did it because they wanted to make their own small contribution to history.

Nathan Williams, 17, and his sister Delilah, 12, signed up for the trial after spending months in pandemic isolation. Their mother, Melanie Williams, is a nurse and hospital administrator who works on a ward dealing with COVID-19 patients.

“The first thing that came to mind was to be a man for others, primarily just to help everyone else before worrying about my own worries,” said Nathan.

He enrolled first in Pfizer Inc’s vaccine research trial at Ochsner Health, based in New Orleans, Louisiana, and was later joined by Delilah.

It was totally their decision, said Melanie.

“They would watch me come home and meticulously take my shoes off at the door and not bring anything in.

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HEALTH
More women than men in U.S. nervous about fast rollout of COVID vaccine, and that’s a problem: Reuters/Ipsos poll

NEW YORK (Reuters) – American women, who traditionally make most of the healthcare decisions in their families, are more wary than men of the new, rapidly developed COVID-19 vaccines, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, presenting a potential challenge to efforts to immunize the public.

The Dec. 2-8 national opinion survey showed that 35% of women said they were “not very” or “not at all” interested in getting a vaccine, an increase of 9 points from a similar poll conducted in May when vaccines were still being developed.

Some 55% of women said they were “very” or “somewhat” interested in getting vaccinated, a drop of about 6 percentage points in the same time span. Meanwhile, 68% of men said they would get vaccinated, which is unchanged from May.

Overall, 61% of Americans said in December that they are open to getting vaccinated – a 4 point

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HEALTH
Walmart readies for COVID vaccines; 5,000 pharmacies being prepared

Eggs. Bread. Milk. And a COVID vaccine.

Walmart is preparing its pharmacies to be able to administer the COVID vaccine once it is approved in the U.S. The preparations involve some 5,000 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies.

“With 90% of the American population living within 10 miles of a Walmart, we will play an important part in making sure those who want a vaccine can get one when they are eligible based on their state’s prioritization, especially those in hard to reach parts of the country that have recently been hit hard by the epidemic,” said Dr. Tom Van Gilder, Chief Medical Officer, Walmart.

Gilder said pharmacies are being equipped with freezer, as well as dry ice, to handle any requirements for storing the vaccine. Walmart is also entering into agreements with states to be able to support vaccinations where needed, whether in its own pharmacies or long-term care facilities.

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HEALTH
The Year of Covid. And (Hopefully) the Year of Easy, Home-Based Testing

There is no question that this pandemic has been the defining event of 2020—one that has shuttered economies, caused far too many deaths and will have effects that far outlast this year and next. For 11 months, all eyes have been focused on ending this pandemic, which is why the recent developments with vaccines are welcoming and positive news.

However, despite the progress being made with vaccines, they won’t be widely available to the greater population for a number of months. In addition, we do not yet know how well the vaccine will stop transmission, how long the protective levels will last, and we must always be prepared should the virus evade vaccine protection. We are in a position today where about 2,500 Americans are dying each day, hospitals are at capacity, and the country is enduring major lockdowns.

Fortunately, we have the chance to improve things quickly—by making simple,

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