Row of Covid-19 vaccine flasks on white background

COVID-19 Updates: New Pfizer Vaccine Expected in March, U.S. Birth Rate Drops, and More

Row of Covid-19 vaccine flasks on white background

Diagnosis tracker

More than 310.6 million cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been diagnosed worldwide as of Monday evening, January 10, 2022, including more than 5.5 million deaths. Healthcare officials in the United States have reported more than 62.3 million positive COVID-19 cases and more than 861,000 deaths. Source:

Vaccine tracker

More than 9.37 billion individual doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered worldwide as of Monday afternoon, including at least 519 million in the United States. Source: GitHub

New version of Pfizer vaccine expected in March

An updated vaccine from Pfizer that is specifically intended to target the COVID-19 Omicron variant is expected to be ready for patients by March, according to a new report by CBS News.

The company has begun to manufacture the new version. Company officials also say they are working to improve the existing formulation of its original vaccine, which was developed jointly along with BioNTech.

The report also states that Dr. Anthony Fauci, MD, the White House’s chief medical adviser and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has not yet suggested that a new Omicron-specific shot will be necessary to maintain immunity.

As of the morning of Jan. 11, an official press release had not yet been prepared on the subject by Pfizer/BioNTech.

Related: COVID-19 Vaccines: What You Need to Know

Pandemic leads to decline in U.S. birthrate

The United States has experienced a decrease in births due to the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent study that describes the dip in births as a “baby bust.”

Researchers at Brookings Institution, a non-profit public policy organization based in Washington, DC that conducts in-depth research on societal issues at the local, national, and global levels, have shown that between October 2020 and February 2021 some 60,000 more babies would’ve been born in the U.S. had it not been due to the pandemic and the concerns it has caused related to overall healthcare, safety, and the economy.

The largest number of missing births were in January 2021, which roughly corresponds to conceptions in April 2020, when many Americans began to process the magnitude of the pandemic, the study suggests.

National statistics on births by month are available through June 2021. Researchers utilized these data to estimate the number of “missing births” that are attributable to the pandemic. The study calculated missing births as the shortfall between actual births and the number of births predicted based on pre-pandemic trends.

The researchers’ calculations identify 60,000 missing births in the months of October 2020 through February 2021, which correspond roughly to conceptions that would have occurred in January 2020 through May 2020. Births returned to pre-pandemic trend levels in March 2021, indicating that conceptions returned to pre-pandemic trend levels in June 2020.

Data are not yet available on births that would have been conceived during the 2020-21 winter wave of the pandemic.

Related: Maternal Child Health Specialty CE Courses for Nursing Professionals

Feds re-release monoclonal antibody treatments

The United States federal government has recently begun to re-distribute all three available monoclonal antibody treatments authorized for early-stage COVID-19 after halting shipments temporarily.

According to a report by the Washington Post, the three drugs, produced by GlaxoSmithKline/Vir Biotechnology, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, and Eli Lilly, are currently being delivered again across the country despite evidence that two of the drugs — those produced by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, and Eli Lilly — could be ineffective against the Omicron variant of the virus.

The distribution of all three drugs has raised concerns among some that providers could face uncertainty about who to administer specific drugs to unless there is certainty about the strain of the virus that each diagnosed patient is infected with.

Laboratory tests have reportedly shown that sotrovimab, the monoclonal antibody therapy produced by GlaxoSmithKline/Vir Biotechnology, works best against the Omicron variant. According to the Post report, government officials are instructing providers that the drugs produced by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly should be used exclusively “only if the delta variant represents a significant proportion of infections in the region and then only with the explicit understanding that these treatments would be ineffective if the patients are infected with the Omicron variant.”

It is advised that these treatments be utilized only when testing confirms that the patient is not infected with the Omicron variant. Government officials will reportedly re-evaluate whether all three antibody treatments should continue to be made available considering the Omicron variant is currently the dominant strain in the U.S.

The shipment of sotrovimab had been stopped in order to stockpile it for the time when Omicron became more prevalent than the Delta variant.

The treatments by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly were paused because laboratory tests have shown that they are less effective against the Omicron variant, according to the Post report. Omicron accounts for 95% of all new U.S. cases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A CDC map of Omicron’s spread shows it accounts for at least 77.4% of sequenced infections in each of 10 regions, with most at greater than 90%.

COVID-19 could increase diabetes risk among children

The risk among children to develop diabetes Type 1 or Type 2 increases after a COVID-19 infection, according to a new study by the CDC.

The study examined two large insurance databases across the United States to document the number of diabetes diagnoses among children younger than 18 who had previously been diagnosed with COVID-19. These children were compared with those who had never been diagnosed with COVID-19. Both groups of children had higher rates of diabetes diagnoses.

However, those who previously had COVID-19 experienced a diabetes increase of 166% compared to a 30% increase among the group free of COVID-19.

COVID-19 infection is also associated with worsening of symptoms among patients who are diagnosed with diabetes, and those living with diabetes are at increased risk for severe COVID-19, the CDC states.

Children ages 18 years and younger who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 were more likely to receive a new diabetes diagnosis 30 days post-infection than were those without COVID-19 and those with pre-pandemic acute respiratory infections.

Non–COVID-19 respiratory infection was not associated with an increased risk for diabetes, according to the CDC.

Related: Diabetes Essentials for Nurses

Pediatric officials collaborate for vaccine reports by state

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association are collaborating to collect and share all publicly available data from states throughout the country on the prevalence of COVID-19 cases among children.

COVID-19 cases among children in the United States are said to be increasing exponentially and exceeding the peak of past waves of the pandemic. For the week ending Jan. 6, for instance, more than 580,000 cases were reported, a 78% increase over the 325,000 added cases reported the week ending Dec. 30 and an almost tripling of case counts from the two weeks prior.

Nearly 8.5 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic and nearly 11% of these cases have been added in the past two weeks. Child COVID-19 cases have been above 100,000 for 22 consecutive weeks. Since the first week of September 2021, there have been more than 3.4 million additional child cases.

The age distribution of reported COVID-19 cases was provided on the health department websites of 49 states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

A further summary of findings include:

  • 8,471,003 total child COVID-19 cases reported, and children represented
  • 11,255 cases per 100,000 children in the population
  • Among states reporting, children ranged from 1.7%-4.3% of the total accumulated hospitalizations
  • 0.1%-1.6% of all child COVID-19 cases resulted in hospitalization

The full report can be accessed online.

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