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Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine; Joe Biden 25M masks; Alaska

Elinor Aspegren

John Bacon


Pfizer-BioNTech will start testing a booster shot to fight COVID-19 variants, the businesses introduced Thursday.

The announcement got here in the future after new analysis revealed within the New England Journal of Drugs means that two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine minimize symptomatic COVID-19 instances throughout all age teams by 94%.

Now the two-company collaboration has requested 144 volunteers who participated within the earliest section of its scientific vaccine trials final 12 months to volunteer once more to obtain the booster, a 3rd shot of the identical vaccine designed to see if it would assist them combat off new, extra infectious variants which were circulating in latest months.

Pfizer-BioNTech additionally desires to check a distinct vaccine that may particularly goal the B.1.351 variant, initially seen in South Africa. The U.S. Meals and Drug Administration must log off on any change to the vaccine or its supply.

The information follows an announcement Wednesday afternoon by Moderna, the opposite firm which makes one of many two approved COVID-19 vaccines, that it’s beginning a scientific trial of a brand new vaccine designed to fight the B.1.351 variant. Different vaccine makers, together with Novavax, even have stated they’re creating various variations of their vaccines to handle doable variants.

It’s not but clear whether or not a brand new vaccine or booster can be wanted to handle the recognized variants. However firms wish to be ready if research present a brand new vaccine is required.

“Whereas now we have not seen any proof that the circulating variants lead to a lack of safety supplied by our vaccine, we’re taking a number of steps to behave decisively and be prepared in case a pressure turns into immune to the safety afforded by the vaccine,” Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s chairman and CEO stated in a ready assertion.

– Karen Weintraub

Additionally within the information:

►Nation music star Trisha Yearwood is “below the best care” at house after contracting the virus, her husband, Garth Brooks, stated in an announcement. The press launch says Yearwood is  coping with unspecified signs however “doing okay to date.”

►A couple of quarter of the nation’s largest college district’s 1 million college students can be again in lecture rooms Thursday as New York Metropolis reopens public center faculties. The transfer will present in-classroom studying for one more 62,000 college students whose mother and father opted out of distant training.

►President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are scheduled to honor 50 million COVID-19 vaccine pictures throughout a White Home ceremony on Thursday afternoon.

►Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has examined constructive for COVID-19 and has delicate signs, his workplace stated Wednesday. Dunleavy, a 59-year-old Republican, started feeling signs Tuesday evening and was examined on Wednesday morning.

►Greater than 150,000 People have already been reported useless of COVID-19 in lower than two months this 12 months, a USA TODAY evaluation of Johns Hopkins College knowledge exhibits. The U.S. initially recorded its 150,000th COVID fatality July 28, 5 months after the nation’s first reported loss of life and 6 months after the primary reported case.

►Dr. Anthony Fauci says a brand new, eased steerage for individuals who have been vaccinated ought to be coming quickly from the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

📈 Right this moment’s numbers: The U.S. has greater than 28.3 million confirmed coronavirus instances and 505,800 deaths, based on Johns Hopkins College knowledge. The worldwide totals: Greater than 112.5 million instances and a pair of.49 million deaths. Greater than 88.6 million vaccine doses have been distributed within the U.S. and about 66.4 million have been administered, based on the CDC.

📘 What we’re studying: Surgical procedure for a kid, automobile mortgage, electrical payments: We requested People how they’d spend $1,400 stimulus checks. That is what they stated.

USA TODAY is monitoring COVID-19 information. Maintain refreshing this web page for the newest updates. Are you on Clubhouse? In that case, tune in to our stay dialogue on COVID-19 at 7 p.m. EST Thursday.

Lower than 14% of the U.S. inhabitants has obtained the vaccine, and preliminary knowledge suggests individuals of colour are being vaccinated at decrease charges than white People. Chelsea White, govt director of the Dallas Bethlehem Middle, stated traditionally the neighborhood has not trusted the federal government or exterior teams, significantly in the case of well being care.

“COVID is dangerous sufficient for anybody, however when you’ve this sort of disaster on this neighborhood, it’s simply catastrophic and it’ll have an effect on this neighborhood for years,” White stated. “They’ll overpromise, underdeliver after which go away.”

The Advert Council’s $500 million marketing campaign to advertise the COVID-19 vaccines launched Thursday, aimed on the 40% of People who haven’t but made up their minds about getting vaccinated. It will slowly change because the panorama of who’s eligible for vaccine and what questions they’ve shifts.

“We’re coping with the most important problems with our lifetime,” stated the Advert Council’s president and CEO Lisa Sherman. “We acknowledged fairly rapidly that except individuals may study extra in regards to the vaccine and get educated, they could not take them. After which we wouldn’t be any higher off subsequent 12 months than we’re this 12 months.”

The advertisements, which can seem on TV, radio and on-line characteristic photos of individuals holding fingers, households at a toddler’s birthday, individuals strolling into church collectively or mates sharing pizza facet by facet, a reminder of how a lot issues have modified in a 12 months. 

The tagline to all is “It’s as much as you.” To not get vaccinated, however to get knowledgeable, stated Sherman. 

– Elizabeth Weise

Detailed info on a Johnson & Johnson candidate vaccine for COVID-19 raises no security considerations, based on a report launched early Wednesday. A Meals and Drug Administration advisory committee is holding an all-day assembly Friday to assessment the information and is probably going to present the vaccine a thumbs-up. That might lead to an FDA authorization for the vaccine inside the subsequent few days. J&J vice chairman Richard Nettles has stated the corporate will make 20 million doses of the vaccine out there by the tip of March.

The J&J vaccine differs from the 2 already approved as a result of just one shot is beneficial as a substitute of two, and it would not must be saved in a freezer.

The FDA advisory committee, referred to as the Vaccines and Associated Organic Merchandise Advisory Committee or VRBPAC, is predicted to log off on the vaccine as a result of it appears to have met all of the standards for authorization the FDA established final 12 months.

– Karen Weintraub

Contributing: The Related Press

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