Coverage about COVID-19 Vaccines

June 9, 2022

White House Reveals Potential Plans For Distributing COVID-19 Vaccines For Children Under Five.

USA Today (6/9, Weintraub) reports, “COVID-19 vaccines could be available for America’s smallest children as soon as June 21, assuming regulatory authorities sign off on the shots next week.” On Thursday, the Administration “released its plans for distributing low-dose vaccines for children ages 6 months to under 5, the last major group of Americans to receive access to the shots.” The vaccine “will be made available for free at pharmacies across the country, but the administration is also making a big push to make the vaccines accessible via pediatricians and primary care providers, children’s museums, libraries, children’s hospitals and health clinics.” The FDA is mentioned.

        CNN (6/9, Judd) reports, “To spread awareness, the administration will partner with the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, which it estimates serves over 6 million people in the US, including almost half of all infants; with Head Start Programs through the Administration for Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services, which it estimates services approximately 1 million families; with Department of Housing and Urban Development programs, which it estimates serves more than 800,000 children under 5; and with Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which serves millions of children under 5, among others.”

        The AP (6/9, Stobbe) reports, “Millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses have been ordered for small children in anticipation of possible federal authorization next week, White House officials say.”

        Reuters (6/9, Renshaw, Aboulenein) reports that while these “pre-orders of vaccines...have been slow,” the Administration “expects vaccinations of young children to begin in earnest as early as June 21, if the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approve the vaccines in separate meetings slated for next week, officials told reporters on Wednesday.”


US Has “Very Serious” Problem With COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake, Health Official Says.

CNN (6/8, Kottasová, Khalil) reports, “The United States has a ‘very serious’ problem with Covid-19 vaccination uptake, a top health official has warned.” According to Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Director Peter Marks, “vaccines are by far the most powerful tool available against the coronavirus.” He added “anything we can do to get people more comfortable to be able to accept these potentially life-saving medical products is something that we feel we are compelled to do.”


Moderna Announces Omicron Booster Candidate Shows “Superiority” Against Variant.

The Washington Post (6/8, Abutaleb, Jeong) reports, “Preliminary data on Moderna’s omicron-targeting coronavirus vaccine booster candidate showed that the shot gives recipients a ‘superior’ antibody response against the variant, Moderna announced Wednesday, expressing hope that the company can make the new shots available by late summer.” Additionally, the company said the booster “also increased antibodies against the alpha, beta, gamma and delta variants.”

        The New York Times (6/8, LaFraniere) reports Moderna’s “researchers tested a booster dose combining the original vaccine with one that specifically targeted Omicron” and “found that among those with no evidence of prior coronavirus infection, the combination produced 1.75 times the level of neutralizing antibodies against Omicron as the existing Moderna vaccine did alone.” The Times adds, “While those results may seem encouraging on their face, many experts worry that the virus is evolving so quickly that it is outpacing the ability to modify vaccines, at least as long as the United States relies on human clinical trials for results.” NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci is mentioned.

        USA Today (6/8, Rodriguez) reports, “Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel appeared to favor the omicron-targeting combination booster in a company statement released Wednesday.” Bancel said, “Looking at these data alongside the durability we saw with our first bivalent booster candidate … we anticipate more durable protection against variants of concern with mRNA-1273.214, making it our lead candidate for a fall 2022 booster.” An FDA advisory committee will meet on June 28 “to discuss COVID-19 boosters for the fall, including whether the original vaccines should be changed to target circulating variants.”


Panel Recommends Authorization Of Novavax Vaccine.

The New York Times (6/7, Zimmer, Robbins) reports that “a federal advisory committee on Tuesday voted to recommend that regulators authorize a Covid-19 vaccine made by Novavax, an early beneficiary of the government’s Operation Warp Speed program.” The Times says that if the FDA “accepts the panel’s recommendation on the Novavax two-dose vaccine, it would become the fourth shot to win clearance for adults in the United States. But before the agency could authorize the shots, the F.D.A. would need to sign off on Novavax’s manufacturing process, which has stumbled again and again over the course of two years.”

        The Washington Post (6/7, Johnson) reports, “Given that other safe, effective vaccines are available, the panel debated whether it was necessary to authorize another option.” However, FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Director Dr. Peter Marks said, “Having a protein-based alternative may be more comfortable for some in terms of their acceptance of vaccine.”


Omicron-Specific COVID-19 Booster Shots Taking Longer Than Expected.

The Boston Globe (6/6, Cross) reports, “Pfizer once promised to update its COVID-19 vaccine in 100 days, but developing...a shot” specifically targeting the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 is taking twice that long. According to the Globe, “That self-imposed deadline passed with few updates and no explanations for the delay. By the time the US Food and Drug Administration convenes a meeting late this month to discuss plans for updating booster shots in the fall, more than 200 days will have elapsed since Moderna and Pfizer began working on their Omicron vaccines.” The pace “has frustrated some scientists who believe updated vaccines would help increase the strength and breadth of the immune system’s ability to fight Omicron.” The National Institutes of Health is mentioned.


Columnist Criticizes Florida For Threatening To Fine Special Olympics For COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate.

Michael Hiltzik writes in his column for the Los Angeles Times (6/6), “Ever since the advent of COVID-19 vaccines early in 2021, the Special Olympics organization has been in the forefront of promoting their benefits.” However, on Thursday, “the Special Olympics abruptly canceled the vaccine mandate for the Orlando games. The decision wasn’t based on any reassessment of the health risks of the vaccine, or of the hazards of participating in the games without vaccination.” Hiltzik says, “It was entirely a response to an astonishing threat from the state of Florida to fine the games $27.5 million for imposing a vaccine mandate.” He criticizes Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and others for the threat of the fine.


Special Olympics Lifts Vaccine Mandate After Threat Of Fines From Florida.

The AP (6/3, Izaguirre) reported the Special Olympics decided to drop “a coronavirus vaccine mandate for its games in Orlando after Florida moved to fine the organization $27.5 million for violating a state law against such rules.” On Friday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) “announced the organization had removed the requirement for its competition in the state, which is scheduled to run June 5 to June 12.”

        The Palm Beach Post (USA) (6/3) reported, “DeSantis touted the decision Friday, joined by state Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, whose Health Department notified the organization about the possible fine a day earlier.” DeSantis said, “Your rights or your freedom should not be circumscribed by your decision to take or not take the COVID vaccine.” DeSantis “continued his criticism of COVID-19 policies by other state and local governments, the Biden administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

        The New York Times (6/3, Tumin) reported DeSantis “said that Special Olympics’ vaccine requirement had no ‘connection’ to competition and unfairly targeted a marginalized group.” DeSantis “said that ‘a lot of these Special Olympians have had Covid by now – I mean, most people have had it – and to impose that mandate now in June of 2022 did not make sense.’”

        Also reporting are Politico (6/3, Sarkissian), Forbes (6/4, Lee), the New York Daily News (6/3, Wilkinson), and the New York Post (6/3, Zilber).

        Columnist: DeSantis Falls To “Disgraceful New Low In Bullying Special Olympics.” In his column for USA Today (6/4), Mike Freeman accuses Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) of being a “bully” and “a cruel human being” for “attacking people who don’t always have the political power or resources to defend themselves.” Moreover, Freeman claims, “what he did to Special Olympians goes beyond bullying. It’s possibly extremely dangerous.” The CDC “last year updated its guidelines to include people with Down Syndrome at increased risk for severe COVID disease.” Freeman argues that with his actions regarding the Special Olympics, DeSantis is “appealing to anti-vaxxers. This group lacks critical thinking skills, but some of them do figure out how to work a voting machine, and DeSantis wants every voter he can get.”


CBS News (June 2)

Why Boosted Americans Seem To Be Getting More COVID-19 Infections

As COVID-19 cases began to accelerate again this spring, federal data suggests the rate of breakthrough COVID infections in April was worse in boosted Americans compared to unboosted Americans — though rates of deaths and hospitalizations remained the lowest among the boosted. The new data do not mean booster shots are somehow increasing the risk. Ongoing studies continue to provide strong evidence of additional protection offered by booster shots against infection, severe disease, and death. Instead, the shift underscores the growing complexity of measuring vaccine effectiveness at this stage of the pandemic.


Only 17.5% Of Massachusetts Residents 50 And Older Received Second COVID-19 Booster Shot.

The Boston Globe (6/2, Finucane, Prignano Deering) reports, “The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that people 50 and older get a second COVID-19 booster shot, but so far Massachusetts residents have not jumped at the opportunity.” Only “about 17.5 percent of the 2.7 million people in that age group” received a second booster.

Last modified on 06/09/2022

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