Coronavirus News Briefing – Oct. 14: Mix and Match Vaccine Boosters Are Effective, NIH Study Finds

By Anna Breuer on 14 October 2021
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A nurse at a N.Y.C. vaccine center waits for a patient

At press time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisors were meeting to discuss booster shots for the coronavirus vaccine, including reviewing data for Moderna’s Covid-19 booster.  Earlier this week, Moderna recommended that the agency recommend a half-size booster dose, saying it increased protection against the virus.

Health officials from Israel told the FDA panel that booster shots “improved protection” against the virus. In one meeting, Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis of Israel’s Ministry of Health and Ron Milo of the Weizmann Institute in Israel presented data on the use of booster shots in their country.

Finally, a new study from the National Institutes of Health on the mixing and matching of vaccines found that it was safe for people to receive a Covid-19 booster dose that was from a different drug maker than what they originally received and that these shots generated a robust immune response.

As of Thursday morning, the world has recorded 240 million Covid-19 cases and almost 4.9 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, over 217.4 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus.

The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 88,612, a -22% change.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 1,887, a change of -5% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has as of Saturday recorded over 45.5 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 739,803. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 34 million, and a death toll of 451,509, although experts believe that both numbers are in reality significantly higher.  Finally, Brazil has recorded the second highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 601,643, and has seen almost 21.6 million cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Thursday, 217.6 million people in the United States – or 65.6% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 56.6%, or 187.9million people, are now fully vaccinated, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 404.4 million. Breaking this down further, 78.5% of the population over the age of 18 – or 202.7 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 68% of the same group – or 175.7 million people – is fully vaccinated.

More than 3.78 billion people across the globe  have received a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, a figure that roughly equates to 49.2% of the world’s population, a 0.3 percentage point increase in the past 24 hours. There remains, however, a stark gap between the percentage of individuals vaccinated in more advanced countries such as Canada, China, Denmark, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, where at least 65% of the population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, and countries such as Ethiopia, Haiti, Syria, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda, for example, where vaccination rates are in the single digits, if not lower.

Figures from the World Health Organization show that well-off countries are vaccinating people at the rate of one person per second, while the majority of poor countries have yet to give a single dose to its citizens.

It is critical that the world do a better job of sharing vaccines with poorer nations.

Sharing vaccines is not merely a form of charity.  Rather, the equitable distribution of vaccines is in every country’s health and economic interest and no country will be able to move past the pandemic until other countries have recovered as well.

Jonathan Spira contributed to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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