Pfizer and German partner BioNTech are planning to seek authorization for their COVID-19 vaccine booster injection for anyone 18 and older living in the U.S., according to a new report, a move that would significantly expand the program and increase the number of people living in the U.S. would increase protection levels.
The officials quoted said the FDA is likely to support the application, effectively fulfilling President Joe Biden’s goal, expressed over the summer, of getting boosters for all adults to address dwindling vaccine protection. The news comes exactly one year ago that Pfizer unveiled the vaccine, saying it was effective in protecting against the virus.
According to a New York Times tracker, the US still averages about 1,200 deaths a day, an unwelcomely high level nearly two years after the pandemic. And while the number of cases is decreasing, there are still an average of more than 70,000 per day and nearly 50,000 people are hospitalized per day.
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Hot spots also remain, including California and Colorado, and experts are concerned that cases could rise again during the cold winter months, when people are likely to gather indoors.
Many states have largely abandoned public safety measures introduced last year, and there are still millions of eligible Americans who have chosen not to get vaccinated. Experts lament that there are so many deaths in that group, and that those people are dying what are preventable deaths.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine tracker shows that 194 million Americans are fully vaccinated, which is equivalent to 58% of the total population. That number has barely increased in weeks and is well below the 70% needed to stop the spread. About 24.8 million people have had booster shots, which exceed primary doses daily.
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A university in Colchester, Vermont, is blaming Halloween celebrations for an outbreak of cases that led the state to record numbers in the past week, according to a New York Times report. The number of new daily cases is up 51% in the past two weeks, according to the Times tracker, and hospitalizations are also increasing, raising concerns about the state’s hospital capacity as winter approaches.
The Biden administration Monday drafted its life-or-death vaccine mandate for private employers in a legal filing seeking to get the requirement back on track after it was halted by a federal court, the Associated Press reported.
The filing was filed in response to a suspension issued over the weekend by the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, saying there is no reason to rush into a ruling on whether the suspension should be made permanent because the vaccine mandate will not take effect until January 4. Stopping the mandate’s entry into force will only prolong the COVID-19 pandemic and would cost “tens or even hundreds of lives a day,” lawyers from the Justice and Labor departments said.
The White House has been sued by more than two dozen Republican attorneys general and others over its vaccine mandate for companies with more than 100 employees.
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In other medical news, Moderna MRNA,
is looking for an update on the conditional admission of its COVID-19 vaccine in Europe to include children between the ages of 6 and 11.
Moderna delayed its application for authorization in this age group in the US until the Food and Drug Administration’s assessment of myocarditis risk in teens is resolved, likely in January. Moderna’s clinical data shows that the injection has an 80% efficacy in preventing infection with the virus, including symptomatic and asymptomatic cases, in children in this age group two weeks after receiving the second dose.
and partner, the privately owned Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, said the US government will exercise options to buy 1.4 million additional courses of the company’s antiviral pill molnupiravir for $1 billion if the COVID-19 treatment or Emergency Use Authorization is granted or is approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
That brings the US government’s total commitment to 3.1 million courses of molnupiravir for $2.2 billion between authorization and early 2022.
Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd. said Tuesday it has launched the first generic version of molnupiravir, an oral product to treat symptomatic Covid-19, in Bangladesh, Dow Jones Newswires reported.
Elsewhere, according to the health ministry, Singapore will no longer cover the medical bills of people “not vaccinated by choice” after December 8, according to the health ministry.
“Currently, unvaccinated individuals make up a significant majority of those in need of intensive inpatient care, contributing disproportionately to the strain on our health care resources,” the ministry said in a statement.
In China, the city of Heihe is offering thousands of dollars to anyone who provides clues in pinpointing the source of the latest outbreak as part of a “people’s war” to stamp out one of the country’s biggest upswings in months, it reported. AFP. China on Tuesday reported 43 local cases in a Delta-induced wave that has expanded to 20 provinces and regions, keeping the number of new cases in double digits over the past three weeks.
Russia said the decision to close workplaces for a week helped turn the tide in the wave of COVID cases, the Guardian reported. The health minister told a televised government meeting on Tuesday that the increase in the number of patients receiving medical care had slowed down for the first time since early August last week, although he said it remained “quite high”.
However, the country still reported a record one-day death toll of 1,211 on Sunday.
See: US reopens to vaccinated travelers from 33 countries after 18 months as global number of COVID-19 cases surpass 250 million
According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University, the global number of coronavirus-borne illnesses soared above 250.5 million on Tuesday, while the death toll surpassed 5.06 million.
The US continues to lead the world with a total of 46.6 million cases and 755,732 deaths.
India is second only to the US with 34.4 million and has suffered 461,389 deaths. Brazil has the second highest death toll with 609,573 and 21.9 million cases.
In Europe, Russia has the highest number of fatalities with 244,588 deaths, followed by the UK with 142,293.
China, where the virus was first discovered in late 2019, has had 110,331 confirmed cases and 4,809 deaths, according to official figures, which are widely considered hugely restrained.