SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – As the COVID-19 pandemic becomes an “endemic,” the idea that people could need a yearly booster is picking up steam.
That would put the COVID vaccine on par with the yearly flu vaccine. New research finds it may be a good idea to combine the two into one shot.
“I think there are all kinds of benefits in putting things together when you can,” says Dr. Robert Schooley from UC San Diego Health.
Both vaccines are readily available. And in many clinics, people can get them simultaneously, but it takes two separate injections.
Dr. Schooley says combining them into one shot takes away many drawbacks to multiple vaccinations. He says people who are afraid of needles, have time constraints, or have difficulty managing numerous appointments could benefit from a combined shot.
“If you separate them … the chances you’re going to get both taken care of are much lower,” Dr. Schooley says.
But combining the vaccines isn’t as simple as mixing them in a needle. Studies need to prove they’re safe and effective when given together.
A study published Monday, January 31, followed more than 300 people to find answers.
Participants were split into three groups: one given just the flu vaccine, one given just an mRNA COVID booster, and one given a mixture of the two.
It found people who got the mixed developed had just as many antibodies against COVID as people who received just the mRNA COVID vaccine.
Similarly, people who got the mixed shot also had just as much protection against the flu as people who received just the flu vaccine.
The study’s authors say that proves the vaccines are effective when mixed.
As for safety, the study found people in all three groups had similar side effects. None reported any “serious adverse events, adverse events of special interest, and medically attended adverse events up to 6 months after injection.”
“You don’t want to take for granted that that won’t happen,” says Dr. Schooley. “So it’s a good thing they’re doing (these) studies.”
In addition to determining the safety of combining the shots, other studies are finding a two-in-one approach makes many people more likely to get a yearly COVID booster.
A study published in November by Penn State and the Commonwealth Fund found that’s especially true among minority groups.
The study surveyed 13,000 Americans. It found just 39% of Black Americans say they plan to get a yearly COVID booster. But that number jumped to 42% if the booster came as part of a shot combined with the flu vaccine.
Among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, 53% say they would get an annual booster shot. That number jumped to 60% if combined.
Latino American acceptance of a yearly COVID booster jumped from 46% to 51% if combined. And the percentage of Native Americans willing to get an annual booster rose from 37% to 44% when combined.
The study’s author wrote that bundling the shots “may be a convenient option to increase uptake of vaccines among minorities.”
There are still a lot of questions. The FDA and CDC have not yet recommended yearly boosters for COVID. They may say only high-risk groups need them. Meanwhile, COVID boosters may need to be variant specific, in the same way the yearly flu shot targets specific strains. So drug companies will have to find a way to make the combined vaccine adaptable from year to year.
Still, Moderna says they’re already working on a combined COVID and flu vaccine. They hope to have it ready in time for the 2023 winter season.
Westmount Mall to open COVID-19 vaccination clinic for month of July – CTV News London
A new COVID-19 vaccination clinic may soon open in a mall near you.
According to a press release issued by the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) on Tuesday, the latest mall-based COVID-19 vaccination clinic is set to open in southwest London in early July.
Westmount Shopping Centre will be the home of the newest vaccination clinic and is slated to open on July 7.
In the press release, the MLHU said due to the previous success of the clinics at CF Masonville Place and White Oaks Mall, “The opening of this latest COVID-19 vaccination clinic continues the Health Unit’s strategy of creating easy and convenient ways for area residents to have optimal protection against the virus.”
The clinic will operate out of a space beside the Bulk Barrel located near the mall’s entrance one location, off Viscount Road.
It will be open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. throughout the month of July. It will operate on a walk-in basis, and individuals can receive any dose they are currently eligible for.
Dr. Alex Summers, MLHU medical officer of health said that due to the summer weather and more people spending time outdoors, Londoners might not be thinking about COVID-19. But, he hopes the new clinic will change that for the better.
“Our clinic at Westmount Shopping Centre will allow people who have not received all the doses they are eligible for to get vaccinated. This will provide additional protection against the COVID-19 virus that continues to circulate in our community.”
Likewise, Amanda Smith, property administrator at Westmount Shopping Centre is optimistic at the upcoming partnership with the MLHU.
“Westmount Shopping Centre Management is pleased to be collaborating with the Middlesex-London Health Unit, as they offer these vaccination services to our Centre and our community,” she said.
A list of the MLHU’s COVID-19 vaccination clinics can be found on the health unit’s website.
Vitamin D supplement 'overdosing' is possible and harmful, warn doctors – Medical Xpress
‘Overdosing’ on vitamin D supplements is both possible and harmful, warn doctors in the journal BMJ Case Reports after they treated a man who needed hospital admission for his excessive vitamin D intake.
‘Hypervitaminosis D’, as the condition is formerly known, is on the rise and linked to a wide range of potentially serious health issues, they highlight.
The case concerns a middle-aged man who was referred to hospital by his family doctor after complaining of recurrent vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, leg cramps, tinnitus (ringing in the ear), dry mouth, increased thirst, diarrhea, and weight loss (28 lbs or 12.7 kg).
These symptoms had been going on for nearly 3 months, and had started around 1 month after he began an intensive vitamin supplement regimen on the advice of a nutritional therapist.
The man had had various health issues, including tuberculosis, an inner ear tumor (left vestibular schwannoma), which had resulted in deafness in that ear, a build-up of fluid in the brain (hydrocephalus), bacterial meningitis, and chronic sinusitis.
He had been taking high doses of more than 20 over the counter supplements every day containing: vitamin D 50000 mg—the daily requirement is 600 mg or 400 IU; vitamin K2 100 mg (daily requirement 100–300 μg); vitamin C, vitamin B9 (folate) 1000 mg (daily requirement 400 μg); vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B6, omega-3 2000 mg twice daily (daily requirement 200–500 mg), plus several other vitamin, mineral, nutrient, and probiotic supplements.
Once symptoms developed, he stopped taking his daily supplement cocktail, but his symptoms didn’t go away.
The results of blood tests ordered by his family doctor revealed that he had very high levels of calcium and slightly raised levels of magnesium. And his vitamin D level was 7 times over the level required for sufficiency.
The tests also indicated that his kidneys weren’t working properly (acute kidney injury). The results of various X-rays and scans to check for cancer were normal.
The man stayed in hospital for 8 days, during which time he was given intravenous fluids to flush out his system and treated with bisphosphonates—drugs that are normally used to strengthen bones or lower excessive levels of calcium in the blood.
Two months after discharge from hospital, his calcium level had returned to normal, but his vitamin D level was still abnormally high.
“Globally, there is a growing trend of hypervitaminosis D, a clinical condition characterized by elevated serum vitamin D3 levels,” with women, children and surgical patients most likely to be affected, write the authors.
Recommended vitamin D levels can be obtained from the diet (eg wild mushrooms, oily fish), from exposure to sunlight, and supplements.
“Given its slow turnover (half-life of approximately 2 months), during which vitamin D toxicity develops, symptoms can last for several weeks,” warn the authors.
The symptoms of hypervitaminosis D are many and varied, they point out, and are mostly caused by excess calcium in the blood. They include drowsiness, confusion, apathy, psychosis, depression, stupor, coma, anorexia, abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, peptic ulcers, pancreatitis, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythm, and kidney abnormalities, including renal failure.
Other associated features, such as keratopathy (inflammatory eye disease), joint stiffness (arthralgia), and hearing loss or deafness, have also been reported, they add.
This is just one case, and while hypervitaminosis D is on the rise, it is still relatively uncommon, caution the authors.
Nevertheless, complementary therapy, including the use of dietary supplements, is popular, and people may not realize that it’s possible to overdose on vitamin D, or the potential consequences of doing so, they say.
“This case report further highlights the potential toxicity of supplements that are largely considered safe until taken in unsafe amounts or in unsafe combinations,” they conclude.
Vitamin D intoxication and severe hypercalcaemia complicating nutritional supplements misuse, BMJ Case Reports (2022). DOI: 10.1136/bcr-2022-250553
British Medical Journal
Vitamin D supplement ‘overdosing’ is possible and harmful, warn doctors (2022, July 5)
retrieved 6 July 2022
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part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Pharmacists in London, Ont., hope medication shortage is resolved before cold and flu season – CBC.ca
An Ontario-wide shortage of cold and flu medication has led to partially empty shelves in pharmacies in London.
The Ontario Pharmacists Association told CBC News in April that drug stores were seeing an increase in people looking to treat symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections, due to COVID-19, influenza or the common cold, after mask mandates were lifted on March 21.
Months later, pharmacists in London say the shortage has been further exacerbated by allergy season and ongoing supply chain issues.
“Demand is the same, but we hear patients are going from one pharmacy to the other looking for the product,” said Gamal Awad, owner of Guardian Wonderland Pharmacy.
For the past month, wholesalers of over-the-counter medications for cold and flu have been unable to make their delivery dates. Pharmacies have lost out on sales, said Awad, while customers are scrambling for back-ordered items like cough syrup, Tylenol or Advil.
“The only thing we can ask our patients is to wait as we look back on our supplier website to see when those medications are going to be back online or when we can order them,” said Fadi Shatara, a pharmacist at Chapman’s Pharmacy.
The shortage includes medication for children, said Shatara. He advises parents to refer to their doctors for alternatives if they’re unable to find what they need.
Risk of transmission is low, for now
London’s medical officer of health, Dr. Alex Summers, said outdoor movement in summer generally brings a lower risk of respiratory illness transmission, even as COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.
However, the absence of those measures and return to indoor activity mean risk for cold, flu and COVID-19 will rise in the fall and winter months.
“The more people gather indoors, the greater the risk of transmission. The less people are wearing masks, the greater the risk of transmission, the less people are vaccinated, the greater the risk of transmission,” he said.
That leaves pharmacists like Shatara bracing for the changing seasons and hoping the medication shortage is resolved by then.
“If it happens again, that’s going to be devastating, especially with the lack of medications,” he said. “Now, if that lasts until winter or fall, it’s going to have a huge impact on everyone.”
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