“I think we can confidently say that the worst is behind us,” Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of Brown University School of Public Health, said Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America”. “We will not see the kind of suffering and death that we have experienced during the holidays. I think we are in a much better shape in the future.”
The only thing that could threaten the outlook, he said, was the spread of coronavirus variants, which made the increase in vaccinations even more critical.
More than 146 million people have now received at least one dose of the vaccine and more than 103 million people have been fully immunized, according to CDC data.
Based on the most recent estimates, around 80% of the U.S. population is currently eligible for a coronavirus vaccine based on their age. Making people aged 12 to 15 eligible would open up vaccinations at an additional 5%, bringing the country closer to collective immunity.
CDC insists on routine vaccinations for teens
But teens also lack routine vaccines, according to CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky, who told an event for academic pediatric societies that those vaccinations were down this year.
And with the need for routine vaccines for children returning to school, the rollout of the annual influenza vaccine and the expected availability of Covid-19 vaccines for children 12 and older can present a logistical challenge.
“It will take a truly coordinated effort between families, health care providers and public health officials at local, state and federal levels to achieve both the deployment of the Covid-19 vaccine in adolescents and catch-up rapid routine immunizations, ”Walensky said.
The CDC recommends against giving other vaccines within 14 days of a Covid-19 vaccine, so giving all the vaccines at the same time is not an option.
“This means a period of up to eight weeks during which a teenager may not be eligible to receive the recommended routine immunizations,” Walensky said.
“Vaccination programs located in schools could increase adolescent immunization coverage, both at mass immunization sites before school starts and as catch-up campaigns in the fall,” she said. noted, calling on pediatricians to contribute to the effort.
“To achieve high vaccine coverage rates and reduce transmission of Covid-19, we need rapid and widespread vaccination of children under 18,” she said.
Pfizer / BioNTech’s vaccine has been approved for emergency use for people 16 years of age and older, while those from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are approved for people 18 years and older.
Pfizer has submitted an amendment to the Emergency Use Authorization for its vaccine by the Food and Drug Administration to extend the authorization to people aged 12 to 15, while Moderna says it expects its vaccine will be authorized for people 12 years of age and over this summer.
Pfizer and Moderna are also studying their vaccines in children as young as 6 months old.
Deaths projected by the model decrease
About 598,882 Americans will have died from the coronavirus by August 1, according to the latest projection from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).
“Daily cases and deaths continue to decline, signaling that despite the widespread release of B.1.1.7, the combination of increased vaccination and declining seasonality is leading to a decline in the epidemic,” a said the IHME team.
A lower death rate and higher vaccination rate would make the target of a full reopening by July 1 reasonable, Walensky said on Friday.
“We are focusing on vaccinating people, reducing the rate of cases,” she said during a White House press briefing on Covid-19. “If we can continue at this rate, case rates are going down, vaccinations are going up, so I think July 1 would be a reasonable target.”
But, she warned, “the virus has already fooled us” and it will be crucial to keep tabs on cases in the months to come.
But CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen fears the United States will achieve collective immunity if people who are “on the fence” of getting vaccinated see things back to normal and become complacent. .
“What really worries me is that the people who are already on the fence aren’t getting vaccinated. We don’t achieve herd immunity in the fall and then with the winter, because coronaviruses are winter respiratory viruses, we have a strong resurgence. “Maybe we have variants from other countries,” she told CNN’s Michael Smerconish on Saturday.
“And we could start this whole process over again,” she said, stressing the importance of incentives for those vaccinated.
Most side effects of the J&J vaccine are not serious
Rare cases of blood clots had raised concerns about the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, but a new review of safety data found that only 3% of reactions reported after receiving the vaccine are classified as serious.
The report noted that the vaccine’s safety profile so far has been similar to what has been seen in clinical trials, but safety monitoring during vaccine deployment quickly identified incidents of blood clots.
“A rare but serious adverse event occurring predominantly in women, blood clots in large vessels accompanied by a low platelet count, was quickly detected by the US vaccine safety monitoring system,” the researchers wrote. CDC in the report. “Monitoring for common and rare adverse events after receipt of all COVID-19 vaccines, including the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, continues.”
The data included 88 deaths reported after vaccination. Of those deaths, three were in patients with cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and CDC researchers wrote that, after preliminary examinations, “no other deaths appear to be related to vaccination.”
CNN’s Melissa Alonso, Jen Christensen, Jacqueline Howard, Virginia Langmaid and Lauren Mascaren contributed to this report.