VAERS Summary for COVID-19 Vaccines through 11/05/2021

Official Reported Vaccine Adverse Events in the FDA Data Base

For a Complete Report of All Vaccine Reported Adverse Events Through November 5th, 2021 Click Link Below:

http://vaersanalysis.info/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/VAERS-Summary-11052021-3.pdf

Latest Lancet Study Exposes Limits Of Vaccines At Preventing COVID Infection

FRIDAY, OCT 29, 2021 – 05:45 PM

The Lancet has just released another study comparing the efficacy of COVID vaccines to the efficacy of protection provided by previous COVID infections. Their conclusion: while vaccines lower the risk of infections with the delta variant within households, those who are fully vaccinated are still vulnerable to a ‘breakthrough’ infection if somebody they live with gets infected.

What’s more, people who have been vaccinated against COVID can be equally as infectious as the unvaccinated, the study showed.

The new study, which was published Thursday in the Lancet, the British medical journal that published some of the earliest research on COVID, is one of few to use detailed infection data from actual examples of household transmission, and it showed that – as we noted above – the viral loads of both vaccinated and unvaccinated patients infected with COVID are “broadly similar”.

The study involved 621 people in the UK with mild COVID infections, identified via the UK’s contact-tracing system.

The data showed that vaccination status doesn’t make a whole lot of difference in the ability to pass COVID on to others.

Roughly 25% of vaccinated household members subsequently tested positive for the virus after close contact with a fellow household member with a confirmed case of COVID. That’s compared with 38% of infection for people who haven’t been vaccinated.

These data show that the delta variant has a “greater capability for breaching the vaccine’s defenses when compared with predecessors.

“Our findings show that vaccination alone is not enough to prevent people from being infected with the Delta variant and spreading it in household settings,” said Professor Ajit Lalvani of Imperial College London, the co-leader of the study.

The study’s author said the lower transmission rates between vaccinated patients is just another reason to get the jab – although not a particularly compelling one.

“The ongoing transmission we are seeing between vaccinated people makes it essential for unvaccinated people to get vaccinated to protect themselves from acquiring infection and severe Covid-19, especially as more people will be spending time inside in close proximity during the winter months,” he said.

The study also underlines the importance of the vulnerable to get booster shots, since it also shows that vaccine immunity wanes with time.

“We found that susceptibility to infection increased already within a few months after the second vaccine dose – so those eligible for Covid-19 booster shots should get them promptly,” the professor said.

Following a summary of its findings, the Lancet wrote the “interpretation” of the study: “Vaccination reduces the risk of delta variant infection and accelerates viral clearance. Nonetheless, fully vaccinated individuals with breakthrough infections have peak viral load similar to unvaccinated cases and can efficiently transmit infection in household settings, including to fully vaccinated contacts. Host–virus interactions early in infection may shape the entire viral trajectory.”

Inside the life of a COVID long-hauler who “fought like an animal” to make it out of the hospital after 299 days

OCTOBER 27, 2021 / 10:44 AM / CBS NEWS

The past year has seen some dramatic swings in America’s fight against COVID-19. But while the number of COVID cases are trending downward, some long-haulers are having a hard time recovering from the disease. 

Alex Castro of Sandy, Oregon, used to be able to swim, cook and hike, but now it takes every breath he has and baby steps, to just walk across his living room. 

At 44 years old, Castro is just a shell of the man he used to be. COVID caused him heart failure and ravaged his kidneys and lungs. 

He got infected with the coronavirus before there was a vaccine. His wife told CBS News’ David Begnaud they didn’t take the virus seriously. The couple thought it was just like the regular flu.  

Castro spent 299 days at Providence Portland Medical Center in Oregon — 108 of those days were spent on ECMO, which is a heart and lung bypass machine.   

Castro’s oldest son AJ said Castro would be walked with the ECMO “maybe two, three days a week” as blood was being pumped out of his body and back into it, doing the work of his heart and lungs as he walked. 

“The health care workers and the nurses and the doctors all in the ICU, they were a godsend. They literally saved my dad’s life,” AJ said. 

ICU nurse Levi Cole said Castro “fought like an animal” to make it out of the hospital and on the day the hospital took Castro off the ECMO machine, Cole crawled into bed with him. 

“I gave him a big hug and we were both laughing. I had tears in my eyes with pure joy. We all dragged him across the finish line, but he did it himself,” Cole said.  

Castro cannot remember half of the time he was in hospital, but he did remember Cole’s hug. He got emotional as he listened to what Cole told Begnaud. 

AJ is his dad’s primary caretaker during the day. He described to Begnaud what his life is like now. 

“I just turned up just the amount of oxygen that he’s getting through his nose,” AJ said. Castro is on oxygen around the clock and his doctor said he will be on it for the rest of his life. 

“Even like going to the bathroom, like walking with a walker with me to the bathroom, he’ll do pretty good and then it’ll literally just hit him out of nowhere,” AJ said. “He’s just super tired and he’s out of breath and he’ll take a seat wherever he is just to catch his breath again.” 

One walk to the bathroom and about 10 simple arm exercises during occupational therapy really tired Castro out.  

After a short nap, Castro went to physical therapy where he did some knee bends and breathing exercises.  

Everyone is constantly watching Castro’s oxygen saturation level, which dropped to 73 when Castro did some knee bends—95 to 100 are normal levels. 

Despite it all, Castro’s spirit seemed strong. He said yes to everything they asked him to do.  

“Just standing on his feet is probably a better exercise than walking for him,” one occupational therapist said. 

Castro standing on his own is a success in the eyes of his medical team. Castro once worked three jobs to support his family. He is now dependent on all of them. His wife and oldest daughter Mari now make most of the money. 

Mari manages the local Burger King where Castro used to work. He said he loved to work and wants to do it again but it is unclear if he ever will ever be able to. 

He’s been out of the hospital for 20 days and there are notable improvements daily. Castro has since received the COVID vaccine. Doctors believe he will likely need a lung transplant.  

The hospital didn’t disclose to CBS News what Castro’s bill will be after spending 299 days there. But they did say that whatever Castro’s insurance won’t pay, the hospital will take care of the rest.   His wife created a GoFundMe page to help pay for any additional expenses that might incur during his long recovery and to make up for Alex’s lost wages.

Vaccinated just as likely to spread delta variant within household as unvaccinated: study

Authors: BY CAROLINE VAKIL – 10/29/21 09:07 AM EDT

People who have received COVID-19 vaccinations are able to spread the delta variant within their household despite their vaccination status just as easily as unvaccinated individuals, a new study published on Friday shows.

According to the study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, people who contracted COVID-19 had a similar viral load regardless of whether they had been vaccinated. The study further found that 25 percent of vaccinated household contacts contracted COVID-19. while 38 percent of unvaccinated individuals were diagnosed with the disease.

Researchers examined 621 symptomatic participants in the United Kingdom over a year.

“Although vaccines remain highly effective at preventing severe disease and deaths from COVID-19, our findings suggest that vaccination is not sufficient to prevent transmission of the delta variant in household settings with prolonged exposures,” the study said.

In contrast, researchers noted that the vaccination was more effective at curbing transmission of the alpha variant within the household, at between 40 and 50 percent. 

“Increasing population immunity via booster programmes and vaccination of teenagers will help to increase the currently limited effect of vaccination on transmission, but our analysis suggests that direct protection of individuals at risk of severe outcomes, via vaccination and non-pharmacological interventions, will remain central to containing the burden of disease caused by the delta variant,” the researchers wrote.

The study comes as the United States has started to see a nationwide decline in COVID-19 cases, though it remains unclear if this decline will be permanent or if a resurgence of cases could come back in the winter. 

Earlier this month, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb predicted that the “pandemic phase” of the COVID-19 will end with the approval of antiviral pills and COVID-19 vaccines for children and that the U.S. would soon transition into an “endemic” phase instead as Americans learn to live with the virus.

Over half of those diagnosed will develop ‘long COVID’

Authors:1by John Anderer OCTOBER 14, 202

A disturbingly high percentage of people who recover from symptomatic COVID-19 continue to struggle with lingering “long COVID” symptoms for months after the fact. It’s been a worrying trend since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, researchers from Penn State report that over half of the 236 million people with COVID-19 worldwide since the pandemic began since will indeed experience long COVID symptoms.

Study authors warn that governments, doctors, and health care organizations should all prepare themselves for an ever-increasing number of long COVID patients in need of treatment for a variety of physical or psychological symptoms. According to the new report, both adults and children may experience several potential health issues for as long as six months post-recovery.

The team analyzed a total of 57 prior studies focusing on COVID-19 patients during this project, encompassing 250,351 unvaccinated adults and children with COVID-19 between December 2019 and March 2021. Among that entire group, 79 percent ended up needing hospitalization for their infection. Most of those hospital patients lived in high-income nations with an average age of 54 years-old. Researchers assessed each person’s post-COVID health on three occasions: one month after recovery, two to five months afterward, and six or more months later.

Overall, one in two patients dealt with long COVID symptoms. In the vast majority of cases, these symptoms interfered with the individual’s mobility, organ function, or well-being. Most long COVID symptoms persisted for at least six months.

More specifically, over half of all patients reported experiencing weight loss, fatigue, fever, or pain. Another one in five lost mobility and close to one in four had a harder time concentrating after COVID-19. Troublingly, doctors diagnosed close to one in three patients with generalized anxiety disorder after recovering.

Long COVID can continue to affect the lungs and heart

COVID-19 is notorious for attacking the lungs. Six in 10 patients displayed chest imaging abnormalities while over a quarter reported difficulty breathing. As far as heart issues, the most common long COVID complaints were increased chest pain and more frequent heart palpitations. Another 20 percent reported hair loss or the development of a rash. Many others dealt with stomach problems like diarrhea, stomach pain, and lack of appetite.

“These findings confirm what many health care workers and COVID-19 survivors have been claiming, namely, that adverse health effects from COVID-19 can linger,” says co-lead investigator Vernon Chinchilli, chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences, in a university release. “Although previous studies have examined the prevalence of long COVID symptoms among patients, this study examined a larger population, including people in high-, middle- and low-income countries, and examined many more symptoms. Therefore, we believe our findings are quite robust given the available data.”

“The burden of poor health in COVID-19 survivors is overwhelming,” adds co-lead investigator Dr. Paddy Ssentongo, assistant professor at the Penn State Center for Neural Engineering. “Among these are the mental health disorders. One’s battle with COVID doesn’t end with recovery from the acute infection. Vaccination is our best ally to prevent getting sick from COVID-19 and to reduce the chance of long-COVID even in the presence of a breakthrough infection.”

What’s causing these lingering symptoms?

Unfortunately, scientists are still uncertain as to what exactly is causing long COVID. The immune system entering “overdrive,” lingering infection, increased production of autoantibodies, and reinfection are all possibilities at this point. Since SARS-CoV-2 is capable of entering the nervous system, symptoms including loss of taste or smell, memory decline, and concentration issues are all common among COVID-19 survivors.

“Our study was not designed to confirm COVID-19 as the sole cause of these symptoms. It is plausible that symptoms reported by patients in some of the studies examined were due to some other causes,” Dr. Ssentongo notes.

Study authors add early intervention and treatment is going to be essential to helping long COVID patients maintain a certain quality of life. Doctors should be prepared for an influx of new patients complaining of issues they had never experienced prior to COVID and, at this point in the pandemic, health care facilities should be prepared to identify and treat long COVID symptoms.

“Since survivors may not have the energy or resources to go back and forth to their health care providers, one-stop clinics will be critical to effectively and efficiently manage patients with long COVID,” Dr. Ssentongo concludes. “Such clinics could reduce medical costs and optimize access to care, especially in populations with historically larger health care disparities.”

Ivermectin disinformation leads to new kinds of chaos

BY JUSTINE COLEMAN – 09/29/21 06:00 AM EDT

An avalanche of misinformation about the antiparasitic drug ivermectin’s ability to treat COVID-19 has caused a series of national problems, from increased calls to poisoning centers to a shortage of the medicine itself. 

Patients have become desperate for a treatment that’s most commonly used for livestock and have taken their disputes over ivermectin with hospitals to court. 

Disinformation has flooded the internet, where dozens of Facebook groups centered around ivermectin remain active despite insufficient evidence that the medicine works in treating people for COVID-19. 

It’s also gone well beyond the internet to popular podcast hosts like Joe Rogan, who has touted the medicine to his millions of listeners. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), other state health departments and even Merck, the drug’s main manufacturer, have all warned against using ivermectin for COVID-19. 

Still, online influences supporting the controversial COVID-19 treatment endure. 

It’s all raising questions about whether the government needs to do more to step in. 

“The promise that there are miracle solutions to an illness is really persuasive,” Jennifer Reich, a professor of sociology at the University of Colorado Denver. “And the idea that individuals can manage their own health, if they read a lot, gather information and make their own decisions is really powerful.”

Media Matters for America found 60 public and private Facebook groups dedicated to ivermectin last month, before the social media giant removed 25 of them after the liberal watchdog’s report. But the other groups still involve more than 70,000 combined users. 

Media Matters released a report on Tuesday concluding that Facebook users are getting around the platform’s moderation strategies by posting links and screenshots of misinformation in the comments of posts and by purposely misspelling keywords such as ivermectin and vaccines. 

“Unfortunately, due to Facebook’s lax moderation of the content on its platform, these evasion techniques are working, and misinformation is thriving on the social media site,” the report reads.

Kayla Gogarty, the associate research director for Media Matters, criticized Facebook for not adequately responding to such misinformation in groups.

“The fact that Facebook has not taken much action against these groups is definitely problematic,” she said.

A Facebook spokesperson told The Hill that the company has removed 20 million pieces of content from Facebook and Instagram for violating COVID-19 misinformation policies.  

“As we enforce our policies against COVID misinformation, we know people will keep trying new tactics to get around our policies and we are constantly evolving to stay ahead of them,” the spokesperson said. 

“We will continue to enforce against any account or group that violates our COVID-19 and vaccine policies,” the statement continued. 

A spokesperson also told The New York Times that the platform removes “content that attempts to buy, sell or donate for ivermectin” and any claims that the drug is “a guaranteed cure or guaranteed prevention.”

Ivermectin is not the first drug to gain traction online as a possible COVID-19 treatment despite lacking evidence. Several experts compared the dewormer’s popularity to that of antimalarial hydroxychloroquine that former President Trump promoted last year.

Yunkang Yang, a postdoctoral research scientist at the Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics at George Washington University, said that influential figures, including Republican politicians, have contributed to the discourse of ivermectin as a “miracle cure.”

For instance, Rogan declared to his millions of listeners that he was taking ivermectin following his COVID-19 diagnosis.

“It would be hard to imagine this information gaining any traction without [their] participation,” he said. 

Misinformation surrounding ivermectin specifically is also not new, as the drug was proposed as a possible treatment earlier in the pandemic, including in some studies retracted due to flawed or fabricated data.

But ivermectin-related calls to poison control centers this year have more than tripled compared to the same period last year, with 1,440 calls through Sept. 20, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. 

July, in particular, saw a five-fold increase in ivermectin calls compared to the “pre-pandemic baseline,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some cases have been fatal, with New Mexico reporting this week two deaths from misusing ivermectin as a COVID-19 medication.

The spikes in ivermectin misuse sparked the FDA to issue an advisory against using the drug for the virus earlier this month. 

“You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it,” the agency said on Twitter. 

While the FDA has approved ivermectin to treat parasitic worms, lice and skin conditions like rosacea among humans, the drug is more often used to treat animals, including cattle and horses. 

In addition to taking unprescribed ivermectin, several cases have emerged where people have been using these animal products. 

“The issue happens when you have inappropriate use where you have a non-human product, for example, that is meant for cattle that has a different formulation composition,” said Ziad Kazzi, a professor of medical toxicology at Emory University.

“The strength of the formulation is different than what you would use in a human,” said Kazzi, who is also the secretary treasurer of the American College of Medical Toxicology,.

Tara Kirk Sell, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said the government can always counter specific COVID-19 rumors such as ivermectin’s effectiveness, but it may not be perceived as a “trusted messenger.”

Instead, she said the government needs to develop a national strategy to fight against misinformation in general so Americans are “more resilient to future misinformation.”

“That can kind of be more of a role for government, rather than deciding what’s true, helping people have the tools to figure it out for themselves,” she said.  

“We’ll see this again with something else,” she added. “And we have to realize that we’re going to have to be pushing back against these rumors for a long time to come.”

The Lab-Leak Debate Just Got Even Messier

Authors: Daniel Engber  1 day agoLike

As the pandemic drags on into a bleak and indeterminate future, so does the question of its origins. The consensus view from 2020, that in the likeliest scenario SARS-CoV-2 emerged naturally, through a jump from bats to humans (maybe with another animal between), persists unchanged. But suspicions that the outbreak started from a laboratory accident remain, shall we say, endemic. For months now, a steady drip of revelations has sustained an atmosphere of profound unease.https://products.gobankingrates.com/pub/4676bc08-11ad-4872-8fef-ffbda36ebb37?targeting[keyword]=news-tech

The latest piece of evidence came out this week in the form of a set of murkily sourced PDFs, with their images a bit askew. The main one purports to be an unfunded research grant proposal from Peter Daszak, the president of the EcoHealth Alliance, a global nonprofit focused on emerging infectious diseases, that was allegedly submitted to DARPA in early 2018 (and subsequently rejected), for a $14.2 million project aimed at “defusing the threat of bat-borne coronaviruses.” Released earlier this week by a group of guerrilla lab-leak snoops called DRASTIC, the proposal includes a plan to study potentially dangerous pathogens by generating full-length, infectious bat coronaviruses in a lab and inserting genetic features that could make coronaviruses better able to infect human cells. (Daszak and EcoHealth did not respond to requests for comment on this story.)

The document seems almost tailor-made to buttress one specific theory of a laboratory origin: that SARS-CoV-2 wasn’t simply brought into a lab by scientists and then released by accident, but rather pieced together in a deliberate fashion. In fact, the work described in the proposal fits so well into that narrative of a “gain-of-function experiment gone wrong” that some wondered if it might be too good to be true. Central figures in the coronavirus-origins debate were involved: Among Daszak’s listed partners on the grant were Ralph Baric of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an American virologist known for doing coronavirus gain-of-function studies in his lab, and Shi Zhengli, the renowned virus hunter from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. (Shi Zhengli has not responded to a request for comment. A UNC spokesperson responded on behalf of Baric, noting that “the grant applicant and DARPA are best positioned to explain the proposal.”)

There is good reason to believe the document is genuine. The Atlantic has confirmed that a grant proposal with the same identifying number and co-investigators was submitted to DARPA in 2018. The proposal that circulated online includes an ambitious scheme to inoculate wild bats against coronaviruses, carried out in concert with the National Wildlife Health Center, a research lab in Wisconsin. A spokesperson for the U.S. Geological Survey, which oversees the center, acknowledged this connection and affirmed the identifying number and co-investigators, noting that the agency’s involvement in the project ended with DARPA’s rejection of the grant proposal. “This is the proposal that was not funded,” USGS Acting Public Affairs Chief Rachel Pawlitz said after reviewing the PDF. She could not, however, vouch for the document in its entirety.

Jared Adams, DARPA’s chief of communications, said in an emailed statement that the agency was not at liberty to discuss proposals submitted as part of its emerging-pathogenic-threat program, which was launched in January 2018, and that DARPA has never funded “any activity or researcher associated with EcoHealth Alliance or Wuhan Institute of Virology.” An article about the proposal published yesterday in The Intercept points to a tweet by Daszak last weekend, before the PDF was widely shared, that refers obliquely to the release of unfunded grant proposals.

For anyone looking for the great, final vindication of the lab-leak hypothesis, this document will leave you wanting. Does the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic have an unnatural origin? The answer hasn’t changed: probably not. But we have learned something quite disturbing in the past few days, simply from how and when this information came to light.

The pandemic-origins debate is a big, confusing mess—but it’s an important mess, so bear with us. The hottest news in the leaked proposal concerns the researcher’s plan to sift through a large trove of genomic-sequence data drawn from samples of bat blood, feces, and other fluids, in search of (among other things) new kinds of “furin cleavage sites.” When these are encoded into just the right spot on the spike protein of a coronavirus, they allow that spike to be opened up by an enzyme found in human cells. According to the proposal, “high-risk” versions of these sites, once identified, would then be introduced via genetic engineering into SARS-like coronaviruses.

Why does this matter? We’ve long known that the presence of such a site in SARS-CoV-2 increased its pathogenic power, and we also know that similar features have not been found in any other SARS-like coronavirus (though we may find them in the future). For lab-leak proponents, these facts—combined with certain details of the furin cleavage site’s structure—strongly hint at human intervention. As the science journalist Nicholas Wade argued in an influential lab-leak-theory brief last spring, this genetic insertion “lies at the heart of the puzzle of where the virus came from.” The virologist David Baltimore even told Wade that the structure of the SARS-CoV-2 furin cleavage site was “the smoking gun for the origin of the virus.” (Baltimore later walked back his claim.)

As many scientists have since pointed out, the mere presence of the furin cleavage site is not dispositive of a Frankenstein experiment gone wrong. For example, the same genetic feature has come about, quite naturally and independently, in plenty of other, more distantly related coronaviruses, including those that cause the common cold. According to a “critical review” co-authored by 21 experts on viruses and viral evolution that was posted as a preprint in July, “simple evolutionary mechanisms can readily explain” the site’s presence in SARS-CoV-2, and “there is no logical reason” why it would look the way it does if it had been engineered inside a lab. “Further,” the authors wrote, “there is no evidence of prior research at the [Wuhan Institute of Virology] involving the artificial insertion of complete furin cleavage sites into coronaviruses.”

Changing recommendations for boosters lead to confusion for the vaccinated and their doctors

Author: Carissa Wolf, Frances Stead Sellers, Ashley Cusick, Kim Mueller  1 day ago

Even in Idaho, which has one of the lowest coronavirus vaccination rates in the country, clinics have been gearing up for an onslaught of calls and emails requesting booster shots.

Administrators at the Primary Health Medical Group updated their website Thursday and then set about revising it Friday when government eligibility recommendations for boosters suddenly changed to include workers in high-risk jobs. Even then, the clinic’s chief executive had to figure out which occupations that meant.

“Who’s at high risk? I had to look it up. Is it firemen? I don’t know,” said David Peterman. “This is so confusing to the public and creates mistrust. And we can’t have that right now. Right now, we need the public to say, ‘Let’s get vaccinated.’ And for those that need boosters, we need to say that ‘This is safe, and this is what we need to do.’”

Confusion over boosters, which has been brewing for months, heightened over the past week as government regulators and advisers met to hash out the pros and cons of administering third doses.

Hours of meetings were followed by a dramatic decision Thursday: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advisory group narrowed the Food and Drug Administration’s recommendation for who should get a third Pfizer shot, only to be overruled in a late-night announcement by the CDC director: Along with Americans 65 and older, nursing home residents and people ages 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions, who the advisory panel had suggested should get shots, Rochelle Walensky added the people in high-risk jobs.

“It’s a communications crisis,” said Robert Murphy, executive director of the Institute for Global Health at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, who said he received worried calls Thursday evening from health-care workers who thought they would not be eligible for the shots, followed by messages Friday from colleagues wondering when and where to go.The deluge of phone calls about booster shots to Primary Health clinics in Southwestern Idaho began weeks ago. On Friday morning, the group’s Garden City clinic, where Maddie Morris fields inquiries, saw an increase in calls, mostly from senior citizens.

“The calls seem pretty nonstop,” the customer service representative said. “It seems like a lot of people are anxious to get a booster.”

Doctors say confusion clouds patients’ willingness to receive boosters. In Idaho, the problem coincides with the primary health-care system’s struggle to meet the demands of the latest covid-19 crush, which earlier this month plunged the state into crisis standards of care — essentially the rationing of health care as demand overwhelms resources.Four patients, two dialysis machines: Rationing medical care becomes a reality in hospitals overwhelmed with covid patients

Peterman expects the new booster guidelines to prompt an increase in inquiries just as the number of providers out sick is at an all-time high.

“We went from 40,000 phone calls daily at 21 clinics to 80,000. Eighty thousand! On top of that, we went from maybe 20 of our employees being out a day to 30 to 40,” Peterman said.

“In the next 72 hours, I want [the CDC] to answer our phones,” he said.

Many newly eligible patients are over 65 and not comfortable using the Internet to find information. So the phones keep ringing at Morris’s desk.

“You really can’t take a breather. You just have to jump to the next call,” she said. And Peterman says he has had to ask staffers to take extra shifts and work long into the night to help close the staffing gap.

Much of the muddle stems from legacy systems at the FDA and CDC that were set up to handle routine drug approvals and childhood vaccinations, not a fast-moving public health crisis involving the entire population, said Jay A. Winsten, the founding director of the Center for Health Communications at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices includes infectious-disease specialists, obstetricians and pediatricians who grappled Thursday with questions in which they have no expertise, such as whether offering boosters might undermine public confidence in the vaccines’ efficacy.

“What’s missing from the equation are communication experts,” said Winsten, including specialists in public-opinion polling and behavior change. “They need a seat at the table.”

Health-care providers across the nation have been helping patients for weeks to filter through not just misinformation and disinformation about boosters but also a surfeit of real-time information.

“That’s the biggest problem,” said Clay Marsh, a pulmonary critical care doctor and executive dean for health sciences at West Virginia University. “The amount of information is dizzying,” Marsh said, “It creates chaos.”

Across the New Orleans metropolitan area, new CDC guidelines had failed to trickle down to many administration sites by Friday morning.

The Louisiana National Guard, which helps to run testing and vaccination sites, was still awaiting clarity.

“We are just administering the first and second doses,” said Sgt. Gaynell Leal, a guard spokeswoman. “As far as the booster part of it, that hasn’t come our way yet.”

“The biggest thing is gaining people’s confidence in science,” Leal said. “My civilian job is I’m a funeral director. So I’ve seen this on both sides.”

On the ground, some National Guard-run sites did offer booster shots Friday, but the eligibility benchmarks they used had not yet caught up with the CDC’s latest guidelines.Tracking the coronavirus vaccine

At a drive-through testing and vaccine site in Meraux, La., just east of New Orleans, medics offered booster shots to those who met the requirements laid out on a “self-risk attestation form” issued in mid-August by the Louisiana Department of Health. That form offered a checklist of reasons one might qualify for a third dose, including active cancer treatment, HIV infection, immunodeficiency issues or the use of immunosuppressants. The form did not account for the age or job-related eligibility factors the CDC announced late this week.

In the French Quarter, Tara Thompson, 53, enjoyed a drink in Pirate’s Alley with her husband.

Thompson said that although she took the vaccine to spend time with her elderly parents, she hoped this week’s guidelines would not lead to booster shots soon being pushed on the public.

“I personally don’t want it if I don’t have to have it,” she said. “It’s a matter of trusting the science that seems to be skewed toward the benefit of certain political mind-sets.”

Thompson said she could change her mind if the shots help with travel.

“Or, if the booster shots help Mardi Gras to happen,” she said. “I might consider it then.”

In Chalmette, La., Kerissa Fernandez, 37, wanted more clarity on how the new booster shot guidelines applied to her.

Fernandez, a family nurse practitioner, said she and the staff at the small urgent care clinic she runs with her husband all meet the front-line worker requirement for booster shots. But none of the staffers at the Bayou Urgent Care Clinic had received the Pfizer vaccine, she said.

“I had Moderna. We all got Moderna,” she said. But when the delta variant reached record numbers in Louisiana, she and her husband both ended up with breakthrough infections.

Knowing firsthand the virus’s ability to shape-shift, Fernandez said she and her staff are all eager to get booster shots.

Many newly eligible people say they aren’t waiting for the rules and recommendations to change again. Ann Mackey, 66, qualifies for a booster shot.

“I have a doctor’s appointment next week, so I might see if they can jab me then,” she said from her high-rise apartment in downtown Kansas City, Mo.

The former FDA employee said the government’s conflicting messages have been confusing. She doesn’t understand why she can receive a Pfizer booster, but her friends and family can’t get their third Moderna shot. She is confused about how the government defines “high risk” and who will enforce the newest set of recommendations. And she worries that public confusion will provide another excuse for people to avoid getting their first dose.

“There already is a lot of vaccine hesitancy, and they are just looking for reasons not to get vaccinated,” Mackey said.Americans are sneaking extra coronavirus shots as officials weigh who should get them

Others are considering creative ways to get boosters.

Derek Hoetmer has been following the news closely, hoping he and his wife, a nurse who worked on a covid response team, could get a booster before the Missouri winter.

The problem is that the rules keep changing — and not in the Hoetmers’ favor. They were pleased to wake Friday morning to find the vaccination door had been opened to people in high-risk jobs.

But not wide enough for the Hoetmers, who won’t qualify because their first two doses were Moderna jabs.

With the Missouri winter only two months away, Hoetmer is considering his options. He has heard that other Americans who do not qualify are secretly getting boosters, anyway.

n situation in letter to opposition

Even in Idaho, which has one of the lowest coronavirus vaccination rates in the country, clinics have been gearing up for an onslaught of calls and emails requesting booster shots.© Scott Olson/Getty Images HINES, ILL. – SEPTEMBER 24: Lalain Reyeg administers a coronavirus booster vaccine and an influenza vaccine to Army veteran William Craig at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital on September 24, 2021 in Hines, Ill. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Administrators at the Primary Health Medical Group updated their website Thursday and then set about revising it Friday when government eligibility recommendations for boosters suddenly changed to include workers in high-risk jobs. Even then, the clinic’s chief executive had to figure out which occupations that meant.

“Who’s at high risk? I had to look it up. Is it firemen? I don’t know,” said David Peterman. “This is so confusing to the public and creates mistrust. And we can’t have that right now. Right now, we need the public to say, ‘Let’s get vaccinated.’ And for those that need boosters, we need to say that ‘This is safe, and this is what we need to do.’”

Confusion over boosters, which has been brewing for months, heightened over the past week as government regulators and advisers met to hash out the pros and cons of administering third doses.

Hours of meetings were followed by a dramatic decision Thursday: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advisory group narrowed the Food and Drug Administration’s recommendation for who should get a third Pfizer shot, only to be overruled in a late-night announcement by the CDC director: Along with Americans 65 and older, nursing home residents and people ages 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions, who the advisory panel had suggested should get shots, Rochelle Walensky added the people in high-risk jobs.

“It’s a communications crisis,” said Robert Murphy, executive director of the Institute for Global Health at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, who said he received worried calls Thursday evening from health-care workers who thought they would not be eligible for the shots, followed by messages Friday from colleagues wondering when and where to get them.

“Everyone is kind of confused,” he said. The current discontent has deep roots. In April, Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla said a third coronavirus dose was “likely” to be needed. In late July, Pfizer-BioNTech announced that their vaccine’s efficacy waned over time. Data from Israel confirmed a drop. Then, last month, as the delta variant of the coronavirus surged and the World Health Organization decried the distribution of third shots in wealthy countries while poor countries were lacking first doses, President Biden announced that most Americans could begin getting boosters of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines Sept. 20 — subject to the government’s regulatory processes, which unfolded in recent days and focused only on Pfizer. R22egulators already allowed third shots for the immunocompromised who have received Pfizer or Moderna shots but have not yet made recommendations for all recipients of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.People who got Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus shot feel left behind in push for boosters

The deluge of phone calls about booster shots to Primary Health clinics in Southwestern Idaho began weeks ago. On Friday morning, the group’s Garden City clinic, where Maddie Morris fields inquiries, saw an increase in calls, mostly from senior citizens.

“The calls seem pretty nonstop,” the customer service representative said. “It seems like a lot of people are anxious to get a booster.”

Doctors say confusion clouds patients’ willingness to receive boosters. In Idaho, the problem coincides with the primary health-care system’s struggle to meet the demands of the latest covid-19 crush, which earlier this month plunged the state into crisis standards of care — essentially the rationing of health care as demand overwhelms resources.Four patients, two dialysis machines: Rationing medical care becomes a reality in hospitals overwhelmed with covid patients

Peterman expects the new booster guidelines to prompt an increase in inquiries just as the number of providers out sick is at an all-time high.

“We went from 40,000 phone calls daily at 21 clinics to 80,000. Eighty thousand! On top of that, we went from maybe 20 of our employees being out a day to 30 to 40,” Peterman said.

“In the next 72 hours, I want [the CDC] to answer our phones,” he said.

Many newly eligible patients are over 65 and not comfortable using the Internet to find information. So the phones keep ringing at Morris’s desk.

“You really can’t take a breather. You just have to jump to the next call,” she said. And Peterman says he has had to ask staffers to take extra shifts and work long into the night to help close the staffing gap.

Much of the muddle stems from legacy systems at the FDA and CDC that were set up to handle routine drug approvals and childhood vaccinations, not a fast-moving public health crisis involving the entire population, said Jay A. Winsten, the founding director of the Center for Health Communications at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices includes infectious-disease specialists, obstetricians and pediatricians who grappled Thursday with questions in which they have no expertise, such as whether offering boosters might undermine public confidence in the vaccines’ efficacy.

“What’s missing from the equation are communication experts,” said Winsten, including specialists in public-opinion polling and behavior change. “They need a seat at the table.”

Health-care providers across the nation have been helping patients for weeks to filter through not just misinformation and disinformation about boosters but also a surfeit of real-time information.

“That’s the biggest problem,” said Clay Marsh, a pulmonary critical care doctor and executive dean for health sciences at West Virginia University. “The amount of information is dizzying,” Marsh said, “It creates chaos.”

Across the New Orleans metropolitan area, new CDC guidelines had failed to trickle down to many administration sites by Friday morning.

The Louisiana National Guard, which helps to run testing and vaccination sites, was still awaiting clarity.

“We are just administering the first and second doses,” said Sgt. Gaynell Leal, a guard spokeswoman. “As far as the booster part of it, that hasn’t come our way yet.”

“The biggest thing is gaining people’s confidence in science,” Leal said. “My civilian job is I’m a funeral director. So I’ve seen this on both sides.”

On the ground, some National Guard-run sites did offer booster shots Friday, but the eligibility benchmarks they used had not yet caught up with the CDC’s latest guidelines.Tracking the coronavirus vaccine

At a drive-through testing and vaccine site in Meraux, La., just east of New Orleans, medics offered booster shots to those who met the requirements laid out on a “self-risk attestation form” issued in mid-August by the Louisiana Department of Health. That form offered a checklist of reasons one might qualify for a third dose, including active cancer treatment, HIV infection, immunodeficiency issues or the use of immunosuppressants. The form did not account for the age or job-related eligibility factors the CDC announced late this week.

In the French Quarter, Tara Thompson, 53, enjoyed a drink in Pirate’s Alley with her husband.

Thompson said that although she took the vaccine to spend time with her elderly parents, she hoped this week’s guidelines would not lead to booster shots soon being pushed on the public.

“I personally don’t want it if I don’t have to have it,” she said. “It’s a matter of trusting the science that seems to be skewed toward the benefit of certain political mind-sets.”

Thompson said she could change her mind if the shots help with travel.

“Or, if the booster shots help Mardi Gras to happen,” she said. “I might consider it then.”

In Chalmette, La., Kerissa Fernandez, 37, wanted more clarity on how the new booster shot guidelines applied to her.

Fernandez, a family nurse practitioner, said she and the staff at the small urgent care clinic she runs with her husband all meet the front-line worker requirement for booster shots. But none of the staffers at the Bayou Urgent Care Clinic had received the Pfizer vaccine, she said.

“I had Moderna. We all got Moderna,” she said. But when the delta variant reached record numbers in Louisiana, she and her husband both ended up with breakthrough infections.

Knowing firsthand the virus’s ability to shape-shift, Fernandez said she and her staff are all eager to get booster shots.

Many newly eligible people say they aren’t waiting for the rules and recommendations to change again. Ann Mackey, 66, qualifies for a booster shot.

“I have a doctor’s appointment next week, so I might see if they can jab me then,” she said from her high-rise apartment in downtown Kansas City, Mo.

The former FDA employee said the government’s conflicting messages have been confusing. She doesn’t understand why she can receive a Pfizer booster, but her friends and family can’t get their third Moderna shot. She is confused about how the government defines “high risk” and who will enforce the newest set of recommendations. And she worries that public confusion will provide another excuse for people to avoid getting their first dose.

“There already is a lot of vaccine hesitancy, and they are just looking for reasons not to get vaccinated,” Mackey said.Americans are sneaking extra coronavirus shots as officials weigh who should get them

Others are considering creative ways to get boosters.

Derek Hoetmer has been following the news closely, hoping he and his wife, a nurse who worked on a covid response team, could get a booster before the Missouri winter.

The problem is that the rules keep changing — and not in the Hoetmers’ favor. They were pleased to wake Friday morning to find the vaccination door had been opened to people in high-risk jobs.

But not wide enough for the Hoetmers, who won’t qualify because their first two doses were Moderna jabs.

With the Missouri winter only two months away, Hoetmer is considering his options. He has heard that other Americans who do not qualify are secretly getting boosters, anyway.

“I won’t lie. I’ve thought about that option,” Hoetmer said. “I would rather go about it the right way and not take away someone’s booster shot.”

Experts said that in people who had been vaccinated five months earlier, the booster increased vaccine efficacy tenfold compared with vaccinated patients who didn’t receive it.

By ILAN BEN ZIONyesterday

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel is pressing ahead with its aggressive campaign of offering coronavirus boosters to almost anyone over 12 and says its approach was further vindicated by a U.S. decision to give the shots to older patients or those at higher risk.

Israeli officials credit the booster shot, which has already been delivered to about a third of the population, with helping suppress the country’s latest wave of COVID-19 infections. They say the differing approaches are based on the same realization that the booster is the right way to go, and expect the U.S. and other countries to expand their campaigns in the coming months.

“The decision reinforced our results that the third dose is safe,” said Dr. Nadav Davidovitch, head of the school of public health at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University and chairman of the country’s association of public health physicians. “The main question now is of prioritization.”

The World Health Organization has called for a moratorium on boosters until at least the end of the year so that more people in poor countries can get their first two doses, but Israeli officials say the booster shot is just as important in preventing infections.

“We know for sure that the current system of vaccine nationalism is hurting all of us, and it’s creating variants,” said Davidovitch, who is also a member of an Israeli government panel of experts. But he added that the problem is “much broader than Israel.”

Israel raced out of the gate early this year to vaccinate most of its adult population after striking a deal with Pfizer to trade medical data in exchange for a steady supply of doses. It has also purchased large quantities of the Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines.

Most adults had received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine by March, causing infection levels to plummet and allowing the government to lift nearly all coronavirus restrictions.

But in June, the highly infectious delta variant began to spread. After studying the matter, experts concluded that the vaccine remained effective against the virus, but that its efficacy waned roughly five months after the second shot.

In late July, Israel began distributing booster shoots to at-risk citizens, including those over 60. Within weeks, it expanded the campaign to the general population.

More than 3 million of Israel’s 9 million citizens have gotten a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine, according to the Health Ministry.

In a study published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, Israeli experts said that in people who had been vaccinated five months earlier, the booster increased vaccine efficacy tenfold compared with vaccinated patients who didn’t receive it.

That study tracked about 1 million people 60 and older and found that the booster was “very effective at reducing the rate of both confirmed infection and severe illness,” the Health Ministry said.

A senior Israeli health official, Dr. Sharon Alroy Preiss, was among the experts testifying before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel last week in favor of the booster shot. But the regulator decided against boosters for the general population, opting only to authorize it for people aged 65 or older and those in high-risk groups.

Experts cited a lack of safety data on extra doses and also raised doubts about the value of mass boosters, rather than ones targeted to specific groups. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made a similar endorsement Thursday.

The Israeli Health Ministry said the FDA decision “gave validity to the third vaccine operation” underway in Israel, which “decided to act responsibly and quickly in order to treat growing infections.” It said statistics show the booster dose has “restored protection.”

Recent weeks have seen “a declining rate of new infections among the elderly,” the vast majority of whom have received booster shots, and “a continuous increase in the proportion of unvaccinated individuals within the new severe cases,” Dr. Ran Balicer, head of the government’s expert advisory panel on COVID-19, told The Associated Press.

In recent weeks, as the booster campaign has been rolled out, the percentage of unvaccinated among serious COVID-19 cases has climbed, and the overall new cases among people with at least two shots has dropped.

As of Friday, around 70% of Israel’s 703 serious cases of COVID-19 were among the unvaccinated, and about 20% had not received a booster. A month earlier, after Israel vaccinated 1.5 million people with a third dose, those two groups were equally represented among the serious cases.

Over 60% of Israelis — the overwhelming majority of the adult population — have received at least two doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

Some experts noted that the U.S. and Europe were several months behind Israel’s vaccination campaign and predicted those countries would follow suit in the months ahead.

“We are experiencing first a phenomenon that will become apparent likely in many other countries in the coming months and create a similar challenge there,” Balicer said. “Few, if any at all, other countries are walking in our shoes right now.”

The U.K. already is rolling out a booster campaign, with third doses to be offered to anyone over 50 and other vulnerable groups.

The WHO has called on rich countries to refrain from exhausting vaccine stockpiles on boosters while much of the world has yet to receive any. A third shot may be necessary for people with certain health conditions, but “boosters for the general public are not appropriate at this stage of the pandemic,” it said.

“The longer vaccine inequity persists, the more the virus will circulate and change, the longer social and economic disruptions will continue, and the higher the chances that more variants will emerge that render vaccines less effective,” it said in a statement Friday.

Balicer said that Israel, as a small country, has little effect on global supplies and that its role as the world’s laboratory provides “a very important source of knowledge” for other countries.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has exhorted the public to get vaccine boosters as part of his aggressive public relations campaign since taking office in June.

“Israel is the only country in the world that is giving its citizens this gift of the possibility — both legally and in terms of supply — of a booster,” he said last week.

Balicer said other states should ready national plans for the rollout of booster shots.

“Countries that vaccinated more recently should be prepared for the impact of waning vaccine immunity manifesting in midwinter, further intensifying the challenge,” he said.

___

Fauci Doesn’t Have An Answer To Why Those Who Recovered From Covid Are Required To Take Vaccine

Authors: JORDAN LANCASTER REPORTER September 10, 20214:03 PM E

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday night on CNN that he didn’t have a “firm answer” as to why those who have been previously infected with Covid and have natural immunity are being required to take the vaccine.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, pointed out a recent study from Israel that found people with natural immunity from Covid due to a previous infection were much less likely to become infected, be hospitalized, or die from Covid than their counterparts who had never been infected but had received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine. The scientists also found that previously infected people were more protected if they had one dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Gupta asked if previously infected people should also get the vaccine, and if so, how Fauci plans to make the case for those people to get it.

“You know, that’s a really good point, Sanjay. I don’t have a really firm answer for you on that,” Fauci said. “That’s something that we’re going to have to discuss regarding the durability of the response.”

Fauci also said that the study didn’t discuss how long the immunity lasts. (RELATED: Natural Immunity To COVID-19 May Last More Than A Year After Infection, New Studies Show)

“The one thing the paper from Israel didn’t tell you is whether or not as high as the protection is with natural infection – what’s the durability compared to the durability of a vaccine? So it is conceivable that you got infected, you’re protected, but you may not be protected for an indefinite period of time,” he added. “So I think that is something that we need to sit down and discuss seriously, because you very appropriately pointed out it is an issue, and there could be an argument for saying what you said.”