A federal advisory committee will decide on Friday whether the third COVID-19 vaccine injections are safe and protective against infection.
At its core, the question is whether the extra injections are “luxuries” or an essential part of providing full protection against the virus, Presidential Advisor Dr Anthony Fauci said this week.
He and other federal officials, including President Joe Biden, believe it’s time to start offering third injections to make up for what appears to be fading protection. The government has agreements to purchase the doses and provide them free to consumers.
Others, especially the director-general of the World Health Organization, argue that Americans would gain much more from immunizing unvaccinated people around the world.
The Food and Drug Administration advisory committee will review information from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech to decide whether or not to allow companies to provide third doses of the vaccine to people 16 years of age and older.
– Karen Weintraub and Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY
Also in the news:
►Two dozen Republican attorneys general on Thursday threatened to sue President Joe Biden’s vaccination warrants that are expected to affect around 100 million American workers. The White House announced mandatory vaccines for employers with more than 100 employees, as well as for all federal workers.
►The government of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi adopted a decree requiring workers in the private and public sectors to present a health card to access workplaces. The pass is issued to those who have been vaccinated, recently recovered from COVID-19 or a recent negative test.
►St. Montana’s Peter’s Health Hospital has implemented crisis care standards, officials said Thursday, under which healthcare workers may have to choose how to allocate scarce crisis resources. Hospital officials said the situation was worse than at the start of the pandemic, and intensive care and the mortuary were full.
►Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro could be banned from attending the UN General Assembly next week because he has not received a vaccine against COVID-19. Attendees will need to be vaccinated, but Bolsonaro said he plans to travel to New York for the assembly.
??Today’s numbers: The United States has recorded more than 41.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 669,900 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Over 226.9 million cases and 4.6 million deaths. More than 180 million Americans – 54.2% of the population – have been fully immunized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
??What we read: Long-haul COVID-19 can last for months. But here’s why experts are optimistic about the recovery.
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FDA clears co-use of treatments to prevent COVID-19 after exposure
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday extended emergency use authorization to allow two monoclonal antibody treatments to be given together to prevent infection in high-risk people who have been exposed to a person infected with COVID-19 or who are at high risk of exposure in an institutional setting, such as a nursing home or prison.
The authorization applies to patients aged 12 and older who have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or who are not expected to develop an adequate immune response, pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company said in a statement .
“Recent reports suggest fully vaccinated residents of nursing homes have contracted COVID-19, some of which have fallen very ill,” said Dr Myron Cohen, director of the Institute of Global Health and Infectious Diseases of the UNC, in a press release. “This additional authorization for the emergency use of monoclonal antibodies for post-exposure prophylaxis in addition to the treatment of COVID-19 offers a significant advance in the fight against this pandemic.”
White House offers call for vaccine information to Nicki Minaj
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday the White House was in a “very early stage appeal” with Nicki Minaj’s staff after a Twitter message from the rapper alleging the COVID vaccine -19 cause impotence went viral, and added that the White House is hoping celebrities share “specific information” about the vaccine.
“We offered to call Nicki Minaj and one of our doctors to answer her questions about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine,” Psaki said. “It’s pretty standard and something we do all the time.”
Responding to a tweet from a fan saying Minaj should speak at the United Nations General Assembly after her vaccine messages, the Trinidad-born rapper tweeted on Wednesday that “the White House invited me” and ” Yes I’m going .” The White House said the rapper just got a call.
– Rebecca Morin, USA TODAY
South Dakota Governor Responds to Biden Vaccine Orders
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said his state would challenge the constitutionality of President Joe Biden’s sweeping ordinance requiring vaccines for all employers with more than 100 employees and for all federal workers, a plan that should reach up to 100 million workers in the United States.
In an editorial for USA TODAY, Noem wrote that public health orders should be a decision left to individual states.
“As governor, I will continue to honor the wishes of our founders by drawing inspiration from the Constitution. I will continue to value freedom and personal responsibility,” she wrote.
Contribution: The Associated Press