Infectious disease experts are weighing the need for booster shots of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna mRNA-based vaccines for Americans who received Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine due to the increasing prevalence of the more contagious Delta coronavirus variant.
A few say they have already done so themselves, even without published data on whether combining two different vaccines is safe and effective or backing from U.S. health regulators. Canada and some European countries are already allowing people to get two different COVID-19 shots.
The debate centers on concerns over how protective the J&J shot is against the Delta variant first detected in India and now circulating widely in many countries. Delta, which has also been associated with more severe disease, could quickly become the dominant version of the virus in the United States, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky has warned.
There is no substantial data showing how protective the J&J vaccine is against the new variant. However, UK studies show that two doses of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or AstraZeneca vaccines are significantly more protective against the variant than one.
Andy Slavitt, former senior pandemic advisor to U.S. President Joe Biden, raised the idea this week on his podcast. At least half a dozen prominent infectious disease experts said U.S. regulators need to address the issue in short order.
“There’s no doubt that the people who receive the J&J vaccine are less protected against disease,” than those who get two doses of the other shots, said Stanford professor Dr. Michael Lin. “From the principle of taking easy steps to prevent really bad outcomes, this is really a no brainer.”
The CDC is not recommending boosters, and advisors to the agency said at a public meeting this week there is not yet significant evidence of declining protection from the vaccines.
Jason Gallagher, an infectious diseases expert at Temple University’s School of Pharmacy, recently received a Pfizer dose at the Philadelphia vaccine clinic where he has been administering shots. He got the J&J vaccine in a clinical trial in November.
Gallagher said he was concerned about the UK data https://www.gov.uk/government/news/vaccines-highly-effective-against-b-1-617-2-variant-after-2-doses showing lower efficacy against the Delta variant for people who received one vaccine dose.
“While the situation has gotten so much better in the U.S., the Delta variant that’s spreading … and really quickly taking over in the U.S. looks a little more concerning in terms of the breakthrough infections with the single-dose vaccines,” he said. “So I took the plunge.”
Cases, hospitalizations and deaths have plummeted in the United States with 56% of the adult population fully vaccinated.
J&J said it is testing whether the immune response from its vaccine is capable of neutralizing the Delta variant in a laboratory setting, but no data is available yet.
Both mRNA vaccines showed efficacy rates around 95% in large U.S. trials, while J&J’s vaccine was 66% effective in preventing moderate-to-severe COVID-19 globally when more contagious variants were circulating.
Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a researcher at the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, said on Twitter she had gotten a dose of Pfizer’s vaccine this week after receiving J&J’s in April.
Rasmussen, who declined to be interviewed, encouraged Americans who received the J&J vaccine to talk to their doctors about a possible second shot.
“If you live in a community with overall low vaccination, I’d suggest you strongly consider doing so,” she tweeted.
Vaccine expert Dr. Peter Hotez from Baylor College of Medicine in a tweet said adding a second J&J dose or one of the mRNA vaccines might provide broader protection, “but we need data and CDC-FDA guidance.”
The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is running a trial to determine the need for boosting all currently authorized shots with another dose of Moderna’s vaccine. NIAID scientist Dr. John Beigel told Reuters the agency hopes to have that data by September to help inform regulators’ decisions on boosters.
As long as case counts remain low in the United States, J&J recipients should wait for more data, he said.
If Delta variant-driven infections and hospitalizations increase significantly, he said, “then decisions might need to be made with an absence of data. But right now, I do think it’s appropriate that they wait.”
(Reporting by Michael Erman; Editing by Caroline Humer and Bill Berkrot)
People Recovered From Covid-19 Still Need Vaccine – TheHealthMania
The Covid-19 vaccine is now available in most countries across the world and health experts recommend getting the jab as soon as possible. Amid the rollout of vaccines, some people who contracted the virus and recovered from it wonder if they should get the vaccine or not. Since exposure to the coronavirus leads to the production of antibodies, some people think they have adequate immunity against the virus. However, the health experts recommend otherwise and suggest getting the vaccine like any other person.
According to the Lake County health officer, Dr. Chandana Vavilala, everyone should get the Covid vaccine at the earliest no matter if they developed a coronavirus infection or not. She recommends getting the vaccine as the cases of Covid-19 surge again in this region as the summer season comes to an end. Dr. Vavilala also mentioned that we can prevent the next wave of the pandemic by getting vaccinated as early as possible. It can help save from contracting the fatal virus and protect the community as well.
The data from the Indiana Department of Health shows nearly 48% of the residents of Lake County fully vaccinated. The data shows that these people received both shots of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine. Also, this data includes those who got the single-shot vaccine, Johnson and Johnson.
Some health experts including Dr. Vavilala believe that some of the people who did not receive any vaccine are those who previously contracted the coronavirus infection. These individuals may believe that they have lifetime protection against the virus after developing the infection. However, it is not the case and they need the vaccine shot just like other residents of their community.
Dr. Vavilala also mentioned that the three approved Covid-19 vaccines in Lake County are more effective as compared to the natural route of infection. These vaccines provide a stronger and more long-lasting immune response to keep severe infection at bay. Moreover, these vaccines are also effective against the different variants of the coronavirus.
According to Dr. Vavilala, most people hospitalizing after contracting coronavirus are those who did not receive any vaccine. This shows that the coronavirus vaccine works despite the evolution of the virus. Also, the number of variants released into the communities. She also mentioned that new variants spread faster and cause more severe infections as compared to the original strain. Hence, it is strongly recommended to get the coronavirus vaccine to prevent the infection.
Dr. Vavilala also mentioned that the increased number of vaccinated people will help the communities develop an overall immunity against the virus. Therefore, it can help those who could not get the shot because of their health condition or age. She said that the people who previously got the coronavirus infection should go ahead and receive their vaccine dose. It does not matter if they got the infection in the past as it does not provide adequate immunity.
The increased immunization rate can help prevent the rapid spread of new coronavirus variants. Also, it can provide help for those who are unable to get their vaccine due to one reason or another.
Ontario reports 170 COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths; 124K more vaccines administered – Global News
Ontario reported 170 COVID-19 cases on Saturday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 549,156.
“Locally, there are 44 new cases in Toronto, 26 in Peel Region, 17 in Hamilton, 15 in the Region of Waterloo and 13 in Grey Bruce,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said.
For comparison, last Saturday 176 cases were reported.
Three new deaths were also announced on July 24, bringing the provincial virus-related death toll to 9,311.
A total of 538,421 coronavirus cases are considered resolved, which is up by 150 and is 98 per cent of all confirmed cases.
More than 19,100 additional tests were completed. Ontario has now completed a total of 16,451,025 tests and 5,325 remain under investigation.
The province indicated that the positivity rate for the last day was 0.8 per cent, which down slightly from Friday’s report, when it was 0.9 per cent, and up from last Saturday’s report, when it was 0.6 per cent.
Provincial figures showed there are 132 people in intensive care due to COVID-19 (down by four), 86 of whom are on a ventilator (up by two).
Science advisory table proposes COVID-19 vaccine certificates for Ontario
Here is a breakdown of Ontario’s cases by age and gender:
- 273,725 people are male
- 271,734 people are female
- 88,751 people are 19 and under
- 205,695 people are 20 to 39
- 156,528 people are 40 to 59
- 72,892 people are 60 to 79
- 25,196 people are 80 and over
The province notes that not all cases have a reported age or gender.
The province also notes that the number of cases publicly reported each day may not align with case counts reported by local public health units on a given day. Local public health units report when they were first notified of a case, which can be updated and changed as information becomes available. Data may also be pulled at different times.
As of 8 p.m. Friday, 18,848,661 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in Ontario, marking an increase of 124,261. Of those, 105,628 were second doses.
In Ontario, 80.7 per cent of adults aged 18-plus have received at least one vaccine dose and 67.1 per cent are fully vaccinated.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
NB businesses ponder how to proceed once pandemic restrictions are removed – CBC.ca
How fast to return to normal? That’s the question some business owners are asking in the wake of news that New Brunswick will remove its COVID-19 restrictions in less than a week.
More than 16 months have passed since the province implemented restrictions limiting the number of customers inside businesses, and enforcing mandatory masking and physical distancing.
At the end of the day next Friday, July, 30, those pandemic restrictions will end.
But when the clock strikes midnight don’t expect those precautions to magically disappear from all businesses.
The province has said businesses can choose to ease out of the restrictions more slowly if they want.
Dave Traboulsee, the owner of River Valley Footwear in downtown Fredericton, said that’s exactly what he plans to do.
Gauging by what he’s heard from his customers, he’s planning a cautious approach.
“I don’t think we can fully go back to normal yet — there’s still a lot of anxiety out there with shopping,” he said.
Until now he’s only been allowing people from two bubbles inside the store at a time.
He plans to increase that capacity slightly once the restrictions are removed, but said he hopes to talk to other business owners in the area to get a sense about whether masks should still be worn.
“It’s quite a big move to go from certain restrictions and keeping masks on to a free-for-all — and I don’t think we can go to a free-for-all,” he said.
In Moncton, those who work at Café Cest la Vie are hoping the move will bring more people back to work downtown again, and in turn, bring more people back into their shop.
Rebecca McCabe is a barista at the cafe and said masks will no longer be required, and they intend to get back to doing events again, like poetry readings and live music.
“It also means it’s an opportunity for us to have more people in the cafe so we can open up our capacity again.”
McCabe said they are still trying to figure out if there will be any restrictions in place at the cafe, but generally expects it to be a return to normal.
“Everyone seems pretty excited honestly — I think it will be nothing but help,” she said.
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