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Pfizer says third dose of vaccine protects against omicron: Updates

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Even earlier than the omicron variant establishes a agency foothold within the U.S., coronavirus infections and hospitalizations are hovering once more, together with in extremely vaccinated areas like New England.

The mixture of the late fall’s colder climate, vacation gatherings, elevated journey and pandemic fatigue has doubtless performed a significant position in the surge, as has the failure to vaccinate a bigger portion of the inhabitants. Greater than 35% of eligible People, together with 28% of adults, nonetheless aren’t absolutely vaccinated. 

New instances within the U.S. climbed from a mean of practically 95,000 a day on Nov. 22 to virtually 119,000 a day this week, and hospitalizations are up 25% from a month in the past. The will increase are virtually fully from the delta variant, although omicron has been confirmed in at least 21 states and is certain to unfold much more.

Deaths are operating near 1,600 a day on common, again as much as the place they have been in October. And the general U.S. loss of life toll lower than two years into the pandemic figures to hit the 800,000 milestone in a matter of days.

Federal officers are touting vaccination charges which have climbed lately: 12.5 million pictures administered final week, the best whole since Might. It is nonetheless not clear how efficient vaccines might be at heading off the omicron variant, although Pfizer-BioNTech said Wednesday a 3rd shot of their vaccine produces a 25-fold improve in neutralizing antibodies in comparison with the unique two-jab routine.

The Biden administration has been selling booster pictures – a one-week excessive of practically 7 million have been administered final week – and particularly focusing the messaging on seniors, who’re extra weak to COVID-19.

Nonetheless, even states with excessive vaccine uptake like these in New England are encountering a number of the worst an infection surges for the reason that begin of the pandemic, as has a lot of the less-vaccinated Midwest. Many hospitals are suspending non-urgent surgical procedures in anticipation of a crush of COVID instances.

“The virus will discover you,” stated Lawrence Gostin, director of the WHO Collaborating Heart on Public Well being Legislation and Human Rights at Georgetown College. “It’s looking for hosts that aren’t immune. The truth that you reside in New England or New York doesn’t insulate you.”

Additionally within the information:

►The FDA on Wednesday granted emergency use authorization to AstraZeneca’s Evusheld, a monoclonal antibody remedy for the prevention of COVID-19 on people who find themselves immunocompromised and those that are allergic to the vaccine.

►Minnesota’s intensive care items are at 98% capability – the highest level yet during the pandemic.

►Louisiana’s Supreme Courtroom introduced Tuesday that it’s going to hear arguments in a pastor’s combat towards felony fees he faces for violations of pandemic gathering limits that were in effect last year.

►Surgical procedure charges rebounded inside months of preliminary COVID shutdowns and remained at pre-pandemic ranges even by later peaks of the pandemic, a study revealed Wednesday in JAMA Community Open discovered. 

📈As we speak’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded greater than 49.5 million confirmed COVID-19 instances and greater than 793,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. International totals: Greater than 267.7 million instances and 5.27 million deaths. Greater than 199 million People – 60% of the inhabitants – are absolutely vaccinated, according to the CDC.

📘 What we’re studying: Is it the chilly? The flu? Or COVID? Breakthrough infections of COVID-19 in vaccinated individuals usually lead to delicate signs which can be easy to confuse

Maintain refreshing this web page for the most recent information. Need extra? Join USA TODAY’s Coronavirus Watch free newsletter to obtain updates on to your inbox and join our Facebook group.

CDC: Greater than 75% of omicron instances in US contain vaccinated individuals, however signs are delicate

One disturbing growth together with an encouraging one are rising within the first days for the reason that omicron variant was first confirmed within the U.S. on Dec. 1.

The brand new coronavirus variant seems pretty adept at piercing the safety from vaccines, even boosters in some instances, however not produce extreme illness. The second indication is in step with what scientists have noticed in South Africa, the place the variant was first recognized.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, advised the Related Press on Wednesday that of the 40-plus individuals identified to be contaminated by omicron to date within the U.S., greater than three-quarters have been vaccinated, and one third had obtained a booster shot. 

Nevertheless, she added that the majority the instances resulted in delicate sickness — with cough, congestion and fatigue as the principle signs. Just one case required hospitalization, and no deaths have been reported.

Additionally Wednesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that of the 12 individuals contaminated by omicron in an East Bay outbreak, 11 have been vaccinated and boosted staffers of an Oakland hospital who attended an out-of-state marriage ceremony. The newspaper stated all have delicate signs.

Pfizer says booster shot gives safety towards omicron 

A 3rd dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine appears to protect against omicron, the troubling new variant of the coronavirus that has been confirmed in at least 21 U.S. states and greater than 50 international locations.

The companies said Wednesday that two doses of their vaccine might present safety from extreme illness however is probably not enough to guard towards an infection with omicron, in response to preliminary lab information. A third dose provides extra strong safety, offering a degree of neutralizing antibodies towards omicron just like the extent noticed after two doses towards the unique coronavirus and different variants.

Antibody ranges predict how effectively a vaccine might stop an infection with the coronavirus, however they’re only one layer of the immune system’s defenses. The businesses are additionally growing an omicron-specific vaccine.

“The primary line of protection with two doses of vaccination is perhaps compromised (by omicron), and three doses of vaccination are required to revive safety, Özlem Türeci, BioNTech’s chief medical officer, stated in a Wednesday information convention. 

Scientists and well being officers are nonetheless conducting research to study extra about omicron. Early info signifies it could possibly be extra contagious however maybe much less harmful than earlier variants akin to delta.

– Contributing: Karen Weintraub

Most People are involved about omicron however will not nix vacation journey, ballot reveals

Lower than two weeks after information of the omicron variant of the coronavirus unfold worldwide, the overwhelming majority of People have heard of it. Whereas most are a minimum of considerably involved in regards to the variant, few say they’ll change their vacation plans due to it.

An Axios-Ipsos poll performed Dec. 3 by Dec. 6 discovered that 94% of People have heard of omicron. Forty-seven % of People stated they’ve heard of it however know virtually nothing about it. 

Practically three-quarters of People, 71%, stated they have been a minimum of considerably involved by the variant. However solely 23% stated they might cancel vacation journey, and 28% stated they might cease gathering with individuals outdoors their households, the survey discovered.

Decide blocks Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal employees

A federal decide has dominated in favor of seven states and a number of other contractors within the authorized battle over enforcement of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors.

In a 28-page order launched Tuesday, U.S. District Courtroom Decide R. Stan Baker granted the states a preliminary injunction that halts enforcement of President Joe Biden’s government order that required all federal contractors to have their staff vaccinated.

Quoting a federal decide in Kentucky who additionally granted an injunction halting the enforcement of vaccine mandates final week, Baker wrote: “This case will not be about whether or not vaccines are efficient. They’re.” And Baker acknowledged the tragic toll of COVID in the USA and around the globe.

“Nevertheless, even in instances of disaster, this court docket should protect the rule of regulation and be sure that all branches of presidency act inside the bounds of their constitutionally granted authority,” Baker wrote.

– Sandy Hodson, The Augusta Chronicle

91-year-old UK lady displays on being first to get COVID vaccine one yr later

Margaret Keenan advised the BBC on Wednesday that she has had a “great yr” since changing into the primary individual to get a COVID-19 vaccine within the West’s first mass immunization program. And he or she’s nonetheless encouraging others to get vaccinated.

Keenan, 91, got her Pfizer-BioNTech shot in the UK on Dec. 8, 2020, dubbed “V-Day” or “Victory Day” by then-Well being Secretary Matt Hancock  – a phrase that usually refers to the Allied victories in World Conflict II. Photos of Keenan rolling up her sleeve made information shops worldwide and video confirmed hospital workers applauding.

The landmark second within the coronavirus pandemic got here lower than a yr after the illness first emerged. 

Keenan, a former jewellery store worker initially from Northern Eire, advised BBC that when strangers method her on the street to thank her, she tells them to “please, please do have the jab.

“Do not give it some thought. Simply go and have it carried out,” she stated.

Margaret Keenan, 90, becomes the first patient in the world to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. The shot was administered by nurse May Parsons, right, at University Hospital, Coventry, England, on Dec. 8, 2020.

Contributing: The Related Press

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