Pfizer says third dose of its vaccine offers protection against omicron: Latest COVID-19 updates

Written by on December 8, 2021

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A 3rd dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine could shield in opposition to omicron, the most recent variant of the coronavirus labeled a “variant of concern” by the World Well being Group after it was reported by South African well being officers.

The businesses stated Wednesday that two doses of their vaccine could present safety from extreme illness however is probably not enough to guard in opposition to an infection with omicron, in keeping with preliminary lab information. A third dose gives extra sturdy safety, offering a degree of neutralizing antibodies in opposition to omicron much like the extent noticed after two doses in opposition to the unique coronavirus and different variants.

Antibody ranges predict how properly a vaccine could forestall 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.

Scientists and well being officers are nonetheless conducting research to be taught extra about omicron. There are already circumstances in a minimum of one-third of U.S. states, and early data signifies it could possibly be extra contagious, however maybe much less harmful than earlier variants akin to delta.

“Our preliminary, first information set point out {that a} third dose might nonetheless supply a enough degree of safety from illness of any severity attributable to the omicron variant,” CEO and Co-Founding father of BioNTech Ugur Sahin stated in an announcement.

Additionally within the information:

►Minnesota’s intensive care items are at 98% capability – the very best degree but through the coronavirus pandemic.

►Louisiana’s Supreme Court docket introduced Tuesday that it’ll hear arguments in a pastor’s battle in opposition to legal fees he faces for violations of pandemic gathering limits that have been in impact final yr.

►Canadian drug producer Medigo says that its plant-based, two-dose COVID vaccine is 71% efficient, and it’ll search approval in Canada, the U.S., the UK and different international locations.

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

📈At this time’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded greater than 49 million confirmed COVID-19 circumstances and greater than 791,000 deaths, in accordance to Johns Hopkins College information. International totals: Greater than 267.3 million circumstances and 5.2 million deaths. Greater than 199 million People – 60% of the inhabitants – are absolutely vaccinated, in keeping with the CDC.

📘 What we’re studying: Is it the chilly? The flu? Or COVID? Breakthrough infections of COVID-19 in vaccinated individuals usually end in gentle signs which might be simple to confuse. 

Preserve refreshing this web page for the newest information. Need extra? Join USA TODAY’s Coronavirus Watch free publication to obtain updates on to your inbox and be part of our Fb group.

Margaret Keenan advised the BBC on Wednesday that she has had a “fantastic yr” since turning 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, obtained her Pfizer-BioNTech shot on Dec. 8, 2020, dubbed “V-Day” or “Victory Day” by Well being Secretary Matt Hancock  – a phrase that usually refers to the Allied victories in World Conflict II. Photographs of Keenan rolling up her sleeve made international headlines and video confirmed hospital workers applauding and cheering as she was wheeled down a hospital ward.

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

Keenan, a former jewellery store worker initially from Northern Eire, advised BBC when strangers strategy 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.

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 ballot carried out Dec. Three by means of Dec. 6 discovered that 94% of People have heard of omicron. Forty-seven % of People stated that whereas they’ve heard of it, they know nearly nothing about it. 

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

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 Court docket 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 workers vaccinated.

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

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

– Sandy Hodson, The Augusta Chronicle

Tennessee’s medical licensing board voted Tuesday to delete a coverage opposing coronavirus misinformation from its web site due to fears a strong conservative lawmaker would in any other case dissolve the board and change its members.

The coverage, unanimously adopted by the Board of Medical Examiners in September, establishes that docs who unfold demonstrably unfaithful details about COVID-19 vaccines might have their licenses suspended or doubtlessly revoked. Members voted 7 to three to delete – however not rescind – the coverage.

The deletion was spurred by Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, a co-chair of the Joint Authorities Operations Committee. Over the previous two months, Ragan despatched letters pressuring the board to delete the coverage or seem earlier than the committee to elucidate itself.

Ragan later made a “menace” to dissolve the board in behind-the-scenes discussions with the Division of Well being, in keeping with a letter from a division lawyer obtained by The Tennessean, a part of the USA TODAY Community.

Though board members deleted the coverage to appease Ragan, they stated they’d not abandon its authentic function.

– Brett Kelman, The Nashville Tennessean

Contributing: The Related Press

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