An advisory committee voted unanimously in favor on Friday recommend approval of a COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson for use in adults to pave the way for an expected Food and Drug Administration approval within the next few days.
Johnson & Johnson agreed to provide 100 million doses of its single vaccine in the US by June, including 20 million by the end of March. These doses will be added to the 300 million doses Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna each promised to deliver by the end of July.
The vaccine was shown to be 72% effective and 85% effective in preventing the most serious illness in a US study that benefited all ethnic, racial, and age groups roughly equally.
President Joe Biden called Johnson & Johnson’s shot, expected to be approved by the FDA on Saturday, a “third, safe and effective vaccine.”
Meanwhile, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, on Friday ahead of a “worrying” spike in new COVID-19 cases in recent days, citing the spread of virus variants.
Biden urged the Americans not to forsake their guards.
“It’s not the time to relax,” said Biden. He added, “And for God’s sake, wear your mask.”
Also in the news:
►The federal government has agreed to buy 100,000 doses of a COVID-19 treatment from Eli Lilly, the company said on Friday. The drug bamlanivimab is a monoclonal antibody, which means that it mimics one of the natural antibodies the immune system uses to fight the virus. The FDA authorized the drug late last year.
►The federal government has supported 441 community vaccination centers in the U.S., including 171 that were manned by federal staff, said Andy Slavitt, the White House’s senior advisor on the COVID-19 response. Two new federal vaccination sites in Chicago and Greensboro, North Carolina, were also announced on Friday.
►The Food and Drug Administration allows Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to be shipped and stored in freezers commonly found in pharmacies, rather than in freezers originally required after data from the company showed that the Vaccine in the standard remains stable freezing temperatures for up to two weeks. Thursday’s decision will make it easier to distribute and administer the vaccine.
►A US congressional committee has asked Canada to reassess its cruise banCanada, meanwhile, has approved AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine in people aged 18 and over.
► Ivory Coast is the second country in the world to receive a shipment of COVID-19 vaccines the global COVAX initiative. The The first shipment was sent to Ghana On Wednesday.
A Senate official ruled Thursday that a A minimum wage regulation of US $ 15 cannot be included in the COVID-19 relief package. Senate Democrats use reconciliation to pass the bill, bypassing filibuster rules that require 60 votes, but reconciliation also triggers rules that require provisions of the bill to be tied directly to the budget. The House is ready to pass the relief package Friday.
►Two U.S. Navy warships in the Middle East returned to the port of Bahrain after being hit by COVID-19 outbreaks, officials said Friday. A dozen people aboard the USS San Diego, which carries Sailors and Marines, tested positive for COVID-19 while “several” tested positive on the USS Philippine Sea, Cmdr said. Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for the 5th Fleet.
📈 Today’s numbers: The US has more than 28.4 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 508,900 deaths. according to the Johns Hopkins University. The global total: more than 113.2 million cases and 2.5 million deaths. In the United States, more than 94.3 million vaccine doses have been distributed and about 70.4 million administered. according to CDC.
📘 What we read: Doctors recommend patients Schedule your mammograms before getting a COVID-19 vaccineor place the two appointments after some women mistake swollen lymph nodes for breast lumps.
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Vaccine Waste Allegations, Theft Investigated in Tennessee
Further investigation results from the state of Tennessee revealed this on Friday The COVID-19 vaccine may have been stolen in Shelby CountyIt is believed that children were inappropriately vaccinated and more doses of COVID-19 were wasted than previously thought.
The state found out about the child vaccinations and the alleged theft weeks after the incidents, said Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey in a full Friday afternoon news conference presenting numerous cases of poor vaccine management to reporters and calling the Shelby County Health department an “organization with low accountability “.
Piercey also described Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris and county health officials as slow in reporting problems to authorities and not open enough in talking to state officials.
The revelations were the latest in a series of vaccine management questions in Shelby County released last week.
– Corinne S. Kennedy and Samuel Hardiman, Memphis Commercial Appeal
Cases in nursing homes down 89%
New federal data offers a glimmer of hope in the darkest and deadliest corner of the pandemic. The number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in American nursing homes has fallen significantly since December as millions of vaccine doses were shot into the arms of residents and staff.
The weekly rate of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes decreased by 89% from the beginning of December to the second week of February. By comparison, the nationwide case rate fell 58% and remains above the numbers reported before the end of October.
The dramatic decline in nursing home cases, where nearly 130,000 residents and employees have died since the virus emerged in the U.S., is fueling optimism for better days in nursing homes and communities as a whole as more Americans are being vaccinated, experts say.
– Ken Alltucker and Jayme Fraser
CDC director warns of “worrying” case increase
After several weeks of decline in COVID-19 cases and hospital stays, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Rochelle Walensky, on Friday facing a “worrying” surge in cases in recent days.
The most recent 7-day average of daily new cases was over 66,000 and above the average on Wednesday, Walensky said, citing CDC data.
The peak in early January was the highest in the pandemic, and while current averages are lower, they’re still high, Walensky said. “Things are difficult. Now is not the time to relax restrictions,” she said, pointing to the spread of new variants of the coronavirus.
“We may now see the first effects of these variations in the latest data,” she added.
NYC School Chancellor, who lost 11 family members to COVID-19, resigns
Richard Carranza, Chancellor of the New York Schools, said Friday he would step down from his roleciting the need for time to grieve his 11 family members and close friends who have died of COVID-19.
“I feel like I can take this time now because of the place we are and the work we have done together,” he said.
Most of the city’s schools were heralded for reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Carranza said the system had reopened safely to children of key workers, distributed over half a million electronic devices for distance learning and 80 million meals to his Student delivered.
“We have stabilized the system in a way that nobody thought possible,” he added. “The light, my New Yorkers, really is at the end of the tunnel.”
Carranza will be succeeded by Meisha Ross Porter, Executive Superintendent of the Bronx, who will become the first black woman to lead the country’s largest school district.
Mass shootings reached a record high in the pandemic year. Can vaccines bring peace in 2021?
Dimensions Shootings increased nearly 50% in 2020, in large part due to a pandemic year widespread with crippling unemployment, violent protests and idle youth. With COVID-19 cases fall With the introduction of vaccines, some criminologists are hoping for a recovering economy and reopening schools that will bring those numbers down in 2021.
Initial results are promising, says Mark Bryant, founder of the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that tracks trends in gun incidents. In the first seven weeks of this year there were 63 mass shootings – defined as four or more people injured or killed in an incident – which, if continued, would show a decline from 2020, he said.
“I hope last year turns out to be an anomaly,” said Bryant. “The pressures from work to illness over the past year were not just an urban or a rural issue. We saw bumps in cities in Louisiana and Mississippi, as well as Chicago and Philadelphia. “
– Marco della Cava and Mike Stucka
Queen Elizabeth urges vaccines as the UK to give priority to people 40 and over
People aged 40 and over will next line up for the vaccine in the UK, the country’s health authorities said. The BBC reported that the Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee had chosen an age-based rollout to avoid slowing down a “more complex” job-related rollout.
Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth urged the public to get vaccinated, saying the process was quick and painless. “Well, when you have the vaccine that you feel protected, which I think is very important,” the Queen said on Friday.
The 94-year-old monarch said she understood that some might hesitate, but that “they should think of other people rather than themselves”.
“We have to fight this together,” says Joe Biden to the governors
When Washington State Governor Jay Inslee spoke to Donald Trump last year about the previous administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, then-President Inslee called a snake.
“I can still be one,” said the governor with a chuckle on Thursday when asked how things have changed under President Joe Biden. “But I’m a well-groomed snake.”
During the National Governors Association’s winter meeting, practically held on Thursday, Biden called states the “laboratories of democracy” to indicate their independence. But he emphasized that A national approach is needed to the pandemic and other problems because “so many of our challenges do not stop at our border with our states”.
“We have to fight this together,” Biden told the governors.
– Maureen Groppe and Courtney Subramanian
Featuring: Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY; The Associated Press