Novel Coronavirus/COVID-19 COVID-19 News from Around the Web

For Some Americans, Getting A Vaccine Is As Easy As Showing Up To Work

NPR - April 19, 2021

Kyle is one of a growing number of workers who are benefitting from a strong push by some companies to provide shots at employment sites, all in coordination with local and state health authorities. It's part of a broader push by these companies to remove potential barriers to get the vaccines for their workforces. Some are even offering financial or work incentives to get their workers to get the shot.

The Blood-Clot Problem Is Multiplying

The Atlantic - April 19, 2021

Which, if any, of these new frontiers might be linked to serious side effects? Which, if any, of the other vaccines could be drawn into this story, too? How can a tiny but disturbing risk be mitigated as we fight our way out of this pandemic? And what might be the implications for vaccine design in the years to come? To answer these questions, scientists will have to figure out the biology behind this rare blood condition: what exactly causes it; when and why it happens. This is not an easy task.

U.S. preparing for 1-year COVID-19 booster shots; Pfizer chief sees need

Reuters - April 16, 2021

The United States is preparing for the possibility that a booster shot will be needed between nine to 12 months after people are initially vaccinated against COVID-19, a White House official said on Thursday. While the duration of immunity after vaccination is being studied, booster vaccines could be needed, David Kessler, chief science officer for President Joe Biden's COVID-19 response task force told a congressional committee meeting. "The current thinking is those who are more vulnerable will have to go first," he said.

US opens more distance in worldwide race against coronavirus

AP - April 16, 2021

Nearly half of American adults have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, and about 30% of adults in the U.S. have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. But the picture is still relentlessly grim in parts of Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia as variants of the virus fuel an increase in new cases and the worldwide death toll closes in on 3 million.

Barbers, artists help defy vaccine myths for people of color

AP - April 16, 2021

A new wave of public health advocacy that is multilingual, culturally sensitive, entertaining and personal is rapidly replacing mundane public service announcements on TV, radio and online in the battle to stamp out vaccine disinformation circulating in communities of color and get more people vaccinated. … The Biden administration this month launched a multimillion-dollar promotional campaign targeting communities where vaccine hesitancy is high and asked 275 organizations — from the NAACP to Ciencia Puerto Rico — to spread the word about vaccine safety and effectiveness.

COVID-19 Vaccines Are Entering Uncharted Immune Territory

The Atlantic - April 16, 2021

Vaccines have promised, to the rest of the world, a return to a semblance of normal life … But they were not designed for, or tested extensively on, immunocompromised or immunosuppressed individuals, whose immune systems have been subdued by underlying conditions, environmental exposures, drugs, or viruses such as HIV. With their defenses down, many of these people can’t yet count on what the rest of us can: that the new shots will protect them from the coronavirus.

Analysis: Countries seek more Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 shots as concerns mount over rival vaccines

Reuters - April 16, 2021

Wealthy governments are looking to COVID-19 shots from Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc to keep their vaccination programs on track, as safety concerns and production problems sideline vaccines from AstraZeneca Plc and Johnson & Johnson, public health experts and industry analysts say.

Budweiser giving away free beer for COVID vaccine with ‘Reunited with Buds’ giveaway. How to sign up.

USA Today - April 16, 2021

Budweiser is the latest brand to raise awareness for the COVID-19 vaccines by offering free beer to those who get vaccinated. The Anheuser-Busch beer brand has brought back its popular Budweiser Clydesdales and a puppy for the commercial called "Reunited with Buds," which posted to YouTube Thursday and is scheduled to run on national television April 26, the company told USA TODAY.

J&J vaccine to remain in limbo while officials seek evidence

AP - April 15, 2021

Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine will remain in limbo for a while longer after government health advisers declared Wednesday that they need more evidence to decide if a handful of unusual blood clots were linked to the shot — and if so, how big the risk really is. The reports are exceedingly rare — six cases out of more than 7 million U.S. inoculations with the one-dose vaccine. … At an emergency meeting, advisers to the CDC wrestled with the fact that the U.S. has enough alternative shots to vaccinate its population but other countries anxiously awaiting the one-and-done vaccine may not.

CDC reports 5,800 Covid infections in fully vaccinated people

CNN - April 15, 2021

About 5,800 people who have been vaccinated against coronavirus have become infected anyway, the CDC tells CNN. Some became seriously ill and 74 people died, the CDC said. It said 396 -- 7% -- of those who got infected after they were vaccinated required hospitalization. It's the first indication from CDC of how effective the vaccine is in real life -- and the first indication the vaccines do not protect completely against severe disease and death. … To date, no unexpected patterns have been identified in case demographics or vaccine characteristics," the CDC told CNN via email.

Red states on U.S. electoral map lagging on vaccinations

ABC News - April 15, 2021

With coronavirus shots now in the arms of nearly half of American adults, the parts of the U.S. that are excelling and those that are struggling with vaccinations are starting to look like the nation’s political map: deeply divided between red and blue states. … The emerging pattern: Americans in blue states that lean Democratic appear to be getting vaccinated at more robust rates, while those in red Republican states seem to be more hesitant.

Merck to continue tests of Covid pill, but stop trial in hospitalized patients

STAT - April 15, 2021

Merck said Thursday that it has seen “encouraging” results in a clinical trial of an antiviral pill to treat Covid-19 early in the disease’s course. At the same time, the company said it will stop efforts to develop both that drug and a second medicine for patients who have already been hospitalized with the disease. The drug giant licensed the anti-Covid pill, molnupiravir, from Ridgeback Biotherapeutics last July.

If you get an insurance bill for your Covid-19 vaccine, it’s a mistake

Vox - April 15, 2021

The Covid-19 vaccine is free to every American — no exceptions. It’s possible, if unlikely, that you might receive a bill or something that looks like a bill from your health insurance company anyway. This just happened to my colleague Sara Morrison … She had received an explanation of benefits from her insurer, Cigna, saying she owed 57 cents for her first dose of the vaccine. … That may sound like a trivial amount, but anything that creates any more confusion or hesitancy about getting the Covid-19 vaccine is an obstacle to ending the pandemic. Previous research has shown that even small out-of-pocket costs, as little as $10, can lead patients to postpone lifesaving medical treatment.

Real-life Professor Snape goes viral for leading Covid-19 vaccine study

NBC News - April 15, 2021

A recent study of coronavirus vaccines led by Dr. Matthew Snape, a professor at the University of Oxford in the U.K., sent Twitter users and "Harry Potter" fans into a frenzy this week.

A New Study Suggests Empty Middle Seats On Planes Reduce COVID Exposure By A Third

BuzzFeed News - April 15, 2021

Emptying airplane middle rows could limit passengers' exposure to the coronavirus during flights by a third, suggests a study released on Wednesday. … The airplane simulations showed a 23% reduction in exposure for the closest scenario: a person separated from an infected passenger by an empty middle seat, compared against sitting right next to them. For a simulation of three rows of airline seats, the reduction in exposure was 57% for passengers separated from infected ones by empty middle seats.

CDC, FDA To Review J&J Shot After 6 Blood Clot Cases Reported Out Of Nearly 7M Doses

NPR - April 14, 2021

The CDC and the FDA said Tuesday they are recommending a "pause" in the use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine out of an "abundance of caution" while a review of reports of rare, potentially dangerous blood clots is conducted. In a joint statement on Tuesday, the two agencies said they are "reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine." "In these cases, a type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia)," … "All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination."