Archive for the ‘CDC’ Category

At 38.5% vaccinated, US may be running low on people eager for a shot

April 17th, 2021
Residents wear protective masks while waiting to be vaccinated at a West Virginia United Health System Covid-19 vaccine clinic in Morgantown, West Virginia, U.S., on Thursday, March 11, 2021.

Enlarge / Residents wear protective masks while waiting to be vaccinated at a West Virginia United Health System Covid-19 vaccine clinic in Morgantown, West Virginia, U.S., on Thursday, March 11, 2021. (credit: Getty | Bloomberg)

The US logged another 4 million or so vaccinations Friday, bringing the total doses administered in the country over 200 million at the time of writing. Over 127 million adults—38.5 percent of the US population—have received at least one shot. Over 80 million adults—24 percent of the US population—are now fully vaccinated.

The seven-day rolling average of US vaccinations per day is now around 3.35 million and the Biden administration is on track to make its latest goal of 200 million vaccinations within the first 100 days in office.

Even with a current pause in use of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, Biden officials expect availability of vaccine to remain strong.

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Posted in CDC, COVID-19, immunity, Infectious disease, public health, science, vaccination, vaccines | Comments (0)

99.992% of fully vaccinated people have dodged COVID, CDC data shows

April 15th, 2021
Residents wait in an observation area after receiving Covid-19 vaccines at a vaccination site in Richmond, California on Thursday, April 15, 2021.

Enlarge / Residents wait in an observation area after receiving Covid-19 vaccines at a vaccination site in Richmond, California on Thursday, April 15, 2021. (credit: Getty | Bloomberg)

Cases of COVID-19 are extremely rare among people who are fully vaccinated, according to a new data analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among more than 75 million fully vaccinated people in the US, just around 5,800 people reported a “breakthrough” infection, in which they became infected with the pandemic coronavirus despite being fully vaccinated.

The numbers suggest that breakthroughs occur at the teeny rate of less than 0.008 percent of fully vaccinated people—and that over 99.992 percent of those vaccinated have not contracted a SARS-CoV-2 infection.

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Posted in Breakthrough, CDC, COVID-19, infection, Infectious disease, public health, SARS-CoV-2, science, vaccines | Comments (0)

CDC expert panel punts on deciding fate of J&J COVID vaccine

April 15th, 2021
Boxes of Johnson & Johnson's Janssen COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in Florida.

Enlarge / Boxes of Johnson & Johnson's Janssen COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in Florida. (credit: Getty | Paul Hennessy)

An advisory committee for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declined to vote on the fate of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday, likely leaving in place a pause on the vaccine’s use until the committee reconvenes in seven to 10 days.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP, expects that the coming week or so will provide additional data and analyses on the vaccine’s potential risks. Until it has more information, ACIP opted to provide no new recommendations on the use of the vaccine.

On the table, however, was everything from recommending against use of the vaccine altogether; recommending that only certain groups receive the vaccine, such as only men or only people over a certain age; or recommending that the pause be lifted and use continue in all adults as before.

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Posted in ACIP, CDC, COVID-19, CVST, Johnson & Johnson, platelets, science, vaccine | Comments (0)

The very common vaccine ingredient at the center of J&J, AstraZeneca drama

April 14th, 2021
Adenoviruses seen via transmission electron microscopy.

Enlarge / Adenoviruses seen via transmission electron microscopy. (credit: Getty | BSIP)

Out of an abundance of caution, US officials on Tuesday recommended pausing use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. Officials linked the vaccine to six peculiar illnesses in which people developed life-threatening blood clots in combination with low levels of blood platelets, the cell fragments in blood that form clots. One person died from their condition and another is in critical condition.

It’s unclear if the vaccine caused the illnesses. Even if it did, the illnesses would represent an exceedingly rare side effect. The six cases occurred among more than 6.8 million people in the US who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. That would make it a side effect seen in fewer than one in a million. The risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19, which the vaccine protects against, easily exceeds those odds. Without question, the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the potential risks.

Still, with robust supplies of vaccine from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNtech—neither of which have been linked to these unusual cases—US officials took the cautious route of pausing Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine while they investigate the cases further and inform clinicians about how to spot and treat any others that may arise. This latter point is critical, because if doctors try to use standard blood clot treatments in these vaccine-linked cases, the outcomes can be fatal.

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Posted in adenovirus, Astrazeneca, CDC, COVID-19, fda, Features, Infectious disease, Johnson & Johnson, science, vaccine development, vaccines, viral vector | Comments (0)

J&J COVID vaccine use paused due to one-in-a-million complication

April 13th, 2021
Image of a woman receiving a vaccine.

Enlarge / A nurse practitioner named Heidi Johnson administers a vaccine from Johnson & Johnson. (credit: Tom Williams / Getty Images)

On Tuesday morning, the US Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a release acknowledging an extremely rare clotting disorder was associated with the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine. The problem is actually less than a one-in-a-million issue; in data from the US, where 6.8 million doses of this vaccine have been used, there have only been six instances of the clotting problem detected.

Because the clots call for an unusual treatment, however, the organizations are calling for a pause in administering the shot. This will provide them with time to ensure the medical community is aware of the appropriate treatment.

This is not the first vaccine to create extremely rare clotting issues. They've also been seen following use of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The problem appears to be caused by the harmless virus (an Adenovirus) that carries a single gene from SARS-CoV-2 in order to elicit an immune response.

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Posted in Astrazeneca, CDC, clotting, COVID-19, fda, Johnson & Johnson, medicine, science, vaccine | Comments (0)

It’s too late for vaccines to save Michigan, CDC director explains

April 12th, 2021
A woman adjusts her face mask while sitting in front of a microphone.

Enlarge / Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adjusts her protective mask during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty | Bloomberg)

Highly effective COVID-19 vaccines are simply too slow to stop surges like the one underway in Michigan, Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday.

Dr. Walensky’s explanation during the White House COVID-19 press briefing comes amid mounting requests and calls for federal authorities to flood Michigan with vaccine supply. The state has seen a 400 percent spike in cases since March 5, when state officials eased restrictions on residential gatherings and occupancy limits for bars, restaurants, venues, and stores. Since then, the highly transmissible B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant has also increased in prevalence. Now, the state’s seven-day average for new daily cases is over 7,377, and hospitals are filling up.

On March 30, when the surge was already in full swing, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appealed to the White House for additional vaccine shipments. However, the White House declined, opting to stick to its largely population-based strategy for dolling out vaccine supply to each state and jurisdiction.

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Posted in CDC, COVID-19, Infectious disease, lockdown, Michigan, outbreak, science, social distancing, surge, vaccine, WHO | Comments (0)

“Are schools safe?” is the wrong question to be asking

March 27th, 2021
Image of mask-wearing students in a classroom.

Enlarge (credit: MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images )

Is it safe to open schools? From the moment it became clear that the COVID-19 pandemic had set up shop in the US, answers to that question have been scrutinized, analyzed, and even politicized. Lost in all of this is the realization that it's a terrible question—because there's no single answer to it.

Instead, any answer to that question only applies to individual communities and, in many cases, individual schools. It's also subject to change with the evolving dynamics of the pandemic, including the appearance of new variants. Fortunately, a detailed understanding of why the question is bad can help people understand which questions they should be asking instead.

Schools are part of a community

A couple things that are relevant to school safety have become clear over the course of the pandemic. One is that school-aged children are the least likely to be hospitalized or die of any age group tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Out of the over half-million COVID-19 deaths in the US, only a few hundred have been kids under the age of 17. In addition, in a few cases where new infections were tracked in detail, schools that adopted adequate safety measures saw lower infection rates than the surrounding community.

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Posted in CDC, COVID-19, Health, medicine, pandemic, SARS-CoV-2, schools, science | Comments (0)

Experts sound alarm of possible new COVID surge as US cases once again rise

March 26th, 2021
A health advisory sign on a beach in Florida.

Enlarge / A health advisory sign on a beach in Florida. (credit: Getty | Jeff Greenberg)

In mid-January, US cases of COVID-19 were in a nosedive from a towering record of over 315,000 new cases in a single day earlier in the month. And now, the pace of vaccinations has reached a heartening clip of 2.5 million per day. There’s almost a whiff of freedom from our pandemic confines in the sweet spring breeze.

But as anxious as we all are to return to normal life, the pandemic is not yet done with us.

The dramatic decline in cases ended weeks ago and plateaued at a disturbingly high level, matching daily case numbers seen in mid-October, at the base of the winter surge. Meanwhile, more transmissible variants of the pandemic coronavirus are swirling around the country. The B.1.1.7 variant—estimated to be around 50 percent more transmissible than earlier versions of the virus—is expected to become the predominant virus circulating in the US next month.

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Posted in cases, CDC, COVID-19, Infectious disease, science, vaccination | Comments (0)

Under pressure, CDC drops school spacing to 3 ft in many classrooms

March 19th, 2021
Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adjusts her protective mask during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC. Susan Walsh/AP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Enlarge / Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adjusts her protective mask during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC. Susan Walsh/AP/Bloomberg via Getty Images (credit: Getty | Bloomberg)

With universal masking, just 3 feet of distancing is safe for students in many classrooms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in updated guidance released on Friday.

According to the new recommendations, elementary schools with universal masking policies are advised to maintain at least 3 feet of distancing between students in classrooms, regardless of the current level of community transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

Middle and high schools with universal masking are also advised to maintain at least 3 feet of distancing between students in classrooms if community transmission is currently low, moderate, or substantial. If the community transmission is high and student cohorting/podding is not possible, then distancing of at least 6 feet should be maintained in middle and high school classrooms.

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Posted in CDC, COVID-19, distancing, Infectious disease, public health, SARS-CoV-2, school, science | Comments (0)

Fully vaccinated Americans can safely visit unvaccinated family, CDC says

March 8th, 2021
Fully vaccinated Americans can safely visit unvaccinated family, CDC says

Enlarge (credit: Getty | UniversalImagesGroup)

People who are fully vaccinated can safely have private visits with unvaccinated people who have a low risk for severe COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced today in highly anticipated guidance for vaccinated people.

In the guidance, the CDC considers people fully vaccinated once they have waited two weeks after their second dose of either the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine or the Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Though it may still be possible for fully vaccinated people to contract the pandemic coronavirus, have an asymptomatic or mild infection, and possibly spread the virus, the risk is considered low.

As such, once people are fully vaccinated, they can meet in private indoor settings—such as a home—with other fully vaccinated people without masks and without physical distancing.

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