Those who initially received Moderna vaccines may experience delays in getting their booster shots, the Biden administration said Friday.
President Joe Biden’s plan, announced last month, was to make third doses available beginning Sept. 20 for most Americans who had previously been fully vaccinated at least eight months prior.
Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration are waiting on data from the shot makers before approving the boosters, and officials said it is unlikely Moderna will meet the requirements in time.
Pfizer is still expected to be on track for Sept. 20 in part because of data collected from its use in Israel. An FDA panel is set to review Pfizer’s third shot data on Sept. 17.
The need for a Johnson & Johnson booster shot has not been determined yet but the CDC says it’s likely.
“The announcement in August kinda jumped the gun,” Dr. Stephen Ostroff, former acting FDA commissioner during the Obama administration, told The Associated Press. “They needed to say something, but they could have just said, ‘we’re working on boosters, more to come.’”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said Thursday he believes that to be considered “fully vaccinated,” Americans will need to obtain a booster shot.
“I would not at all be surprised that the adequate full regimen for vaccination will likely be three doses,” he said.
Also in the news:
► Starting Saturday, vaccinated U.S. travelers heading to the Netherlands will need to quarantine 10 days but can cut the isolation period short if they test negative for coronavirus on day five. The European Union member state is moving the U.S. into its “very high-risk” category, which will prohibit entry among unvaccinated travelers.
► Amid the recent surge in the number of fatal COVID cases, Capital Regional Medical Center in Florida has leased a walk-in cooler that’s being used as a makeshift morgue. Such coolers, which are used in instances of mass fatalities, began making headlines last spring when hospitals and funeral homes first scrambled to find room to handle the COVID death toll.
► The Rev. Jesse Jackson’s wife, Jacqueline, 77, will be released from the hospital after treatment for COVID-19, her family said Friday. Jackson, 79, was previously transferred to a rehabilitation facility after he was also hospitalized for COVID.
► Three schools in Vancouver, Washington — Skyview High School, Alki Middle School and Chinook Elementary — went into lockdown Friday as a safety precaution after right-wing, anti-mask protesters attempted to enter school grounds.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 39.8 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 647,500 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 219.7 million cases and 4.5 million deaths. More than 175.5 million Americans — 52.9% of the population — have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
📘 What we’re reading: Do bad times really make us better people? The 20th anniversary of 9/11 – occurring in the 18th month of the COVID-19 pandemic – offers a reality check. Also, a sobering study in contrasts. Because if 9/11 brought us together, why is COVID tearing us apart? Read more.
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Study: Affluent, white neighborhoods have higher vaccine rates
Richer, majority-white neighborhoods had higher vaccination rates throughout the first five months of vaccine rollout when compared with low-income neighborhoods with more people of color, according to a new analysis published Friday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Neighborhoods with higher vaccination rates had greater shares of white and Asian people and less Black and Hispanic or Latino people. These neighborhoods also had higher incomes on average, lower poverty rates and higher college completion rates, the authors wrote.
The study builds on previous reports about vaccine inequities by finding those disparities at the neighborhood level. Researchers used zip code data from the nine largest U.S. cities, totaling more than 40 million people.
More affluent neighborhoods with high vaccination rates also had less COVID-19 deaths from the start of the pandemic through April, despite those neighborhoods having more older adults, according to the analysis. The number of health care workers differed only slightly between neighborhoods, but in those with higher vaccination rates, health-care workers were more likely to be practitioners rather than support staff.
The researchers said the findings reflect several systemic inequities, including underinvestment in public health resources in segregated communities and unequal access to healthcare.
– Nada Hassanein, USA TODAY
Iowa’s school nurses face more ambiguity, stress in third COVID year
Iowa school nurses had hoped to catch a break this fall after what they went through trying to keep kids safe from coronavirus in the past two years. Maybe the pandemic would wane once vaccines became widely available to adults and adolescents, they thought.
No such luck.
Now they’re even more concerned, said Sharon Guthrie, executive director of the Iowa School Nurse Organization.
The delta variant of the virus is fueling a new wave of infection, just as schools resume. Many classrooms are fuller this fall because at-home learning options have been reduced. On Wednesday, new state data showed that 22% of all new COVID-19 cases in the state were in children 17 and under — a dramatic uptick from the historical average of just 12%.
Also, the state has newly barred facemask mandates and reined in the use of contact tracing and quarantining. School nurses will have fewer regulations to refer to as they try to ensure students’ safety.
“If you’re a school nurse who has to call a parent and tell them they need to take a kid home — guess who’s going to take the heat? The school nurse,” Guthrie said.
-Tony Leyz, Des Moines Register
Men allegedly threaten principal with zip ties after student sent home for COVID-19 exposure
An Arizona man was arrested after he and two others allegedly confronted a school principal with zip ties and threatened a citizen’s arrest, school officials said Friday.
The man, whose son was asked by the school to quarantine, was upset that his son would have to miss a field trip. According to Diane Vargo, principal of Mesquite Elementary School in Tucson, the man barged into her office with his son, and two other men.
“I felt violated that they were in my office claiming I was breaking the law and they were going to arrest me,” Vargo said in a video. “Two of the men weren’t parents at our school, so I felt threatened.”
The elementary school earlier on Thursday contacted the father to confirm that his son and other students were exposed to a person who tested positive for coronavirus.
Contributing: The Associated Press