At least 208 million cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been diagnosed worldwide as of Monday evening, August 16, 2021, including at least 4.37 million deaths. Healthcare officials in the United States have reported at least 36.7 million positive COVID-19 cases and approximately 621,000 deaths. Source: Johns Hopkins University & Medicine
At least 4.72 billion individual doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered worldwide as of Monday evening, including at least 356 million in the United States. Source: GitHub
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Fauci calls for all teachers to get vaccinated
Mandatory vaccines for school teachers in the United States has the support of Dr. Anthony Fauci, according to a recent report by NPR. Fauci claims that the need to protect children who are too young to be vaccinated has grown more important when considering the spread of the Delta variant.
Mandates are expected to become more common when vaccines receive full approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which could come within weeks, the report claims.
However, Fauci says mandates won’t come from the federal level, but rather state and local governments will likely set their own vaccine mandates. The report also states that the American Federation of Teachers is more likely to help to structure school districts’ mandates.
According to the most recent data compiled by the American Academy of Pediatrics, children still make up a small percentage of those who experience the worst outcomes of COVID-19.
FDA authorizes third vaccine dose for immunocompromised patients
The emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have been amended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow for the use of an additional dose for certain immunocompromised individuals.
Specifically, solid organ transplant recipients or those who are diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise are first in line, according to a recent FDA press release.
“The country has entered yet another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the FDA is especially cognizant that immunocompromised people are particularly at risk for severe disease,” said acting FDA commissioner Janet Woodcock, MD. “After a thorough review of the available data, the FDA determined that this small, vulnerable group may benefit from a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines. As we’ve previously stated, other individuals who are fully vaccinated are adequately protected and do not need an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine at this time.”
The FDA reportedly evaluated information on the use of a third dose in these individuals and determined that the administration of third doses may increase protection in this population. These patients should be counseled to maintain physical precautions to help prevent COVID-19, the FDA suggests.
In addition, close contacts of immunocompromised persons should be vaccinated, as appropriate for their health status, to provide increased protection for loved ones.
It is also recommended that healthcare professionals discuss monoclonal antibody treatment options with their immunocompromised patients, should they contract or be exposed to COVID-19. The FDA has authorized monoclonal antibody treatments for emergency use during this public health emergency for adults and pediatric patients (ages 12 and older weighing approximately 88 pounds) with positive results of direct viral testing and who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization.
One authorized product includes use for preventative (prophylaxis) treatment after being exposed to the virus; however, this product is not a substitute for vaccination, according to the FDA.
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CDC deems vaccination safe during pregnancy
Officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released new data on the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant women and are recommending all people 12 years of age and older get vaccinated.
“CDC encourages all pregnant people or people who are thinking about becoming pregnant and those breastfeeding to get vaccinated to protect themselves from COVID-19,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC director, in a prepared statement. “The vaccines are safe and effective, and it has never been more urgent to increase vaccinations as we face the highly transmissible Delta variant and see severe outcomes from COVID-19 among unvaccinated pregnant people.”
New CDC data from the v-safe pregnancy registry assessed vaccination early in pregnancy and did not find an increased risk of miscarriage among nearly 2,500 pregnant women who received an mRNA vaccine before 20 weeks of pregnancy. The study found miscarriage rates after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine were around 13%, similar to the expected rate of miscarriage in the general population.
Previously, data from three safety monitoring systems did not find any safety concerns for pregnant people who were vaccinated late in pregnancy or for their babies. Combined, these data and the known severe risks of COVID-19 during pregnancy demonstrate that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant people outweigh any known or potential risks, say CDC officials.
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