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The bivalent COVID:

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    Wall Street Journal (WSJ) editorial board member Allysia Finley took to task both the federal government and the pharmaceutical giants profiting from the sale of their COVID mRNA booster shots for a “deceptive advertising” push for Americans to continue taking boosters without proof of their safety or effectiveness. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its health and regulatory agencies are engaged in a “deceptive advertising” campaign, wrote Finley Sunday, suggesting the pressure tactics “shouldn’t come as a surprise,” since the federal government “took the unprecedented step of ordering vaccine makers to produce them and recommending them without data supporting their safety or efficacy.” Finley observed “three scientific problems” that have emerged with the bivalent boosters: First, the virus is evolving much faster than the vaccines can be updated. Second, vaccines have hard-wired our immune systems to respond to the original Wuhan strain, so we churn out fewer antibodies that neutralize variants targeted by updated vaccines. Third, antibodies rapidly wane after a few months. Finley cited two studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM)...
    A preliminary link between Pfizer's Covid vaccine and an increased stroke risk in seniors cannot be stood up in further datasets, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have said. On Friday the CDC and FDA announced one of the four main databases used to track Covid vaccine injuries had detected an association between the updated bivalent shot and ischemic strokes in over-65s. The find came from the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD), a near real-time surveillance system monitoring the safety of vaccines containing health records of more than 12 million Americans. It found that 130 seniors had the stroke within 21 days of the shot — representing 0.02 percent of the roughly 550,000 seniors who received the shot. The agencies said it was 'very unlikely' the signal represents 'a true clinical risk' because it was only a tiny proportion of the group and the finding was not stood up in four other large databases that had a much larger sample size. The Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) found that 130 people ages 65 and older had a stroke...
    Updated COVID-19 booster shots are now available for the youngest children in California, a welcome development for officials hoping to augment vaccine coverage and head off a viral resurgence this winter. Availability and uptake, however, are two different things. And given the meager vaccination rate among youngsters under 5, as well as modest overall demand for the new bivalent doses, it remains to be seen whether this latest expansion of eligibility will significantly increase the number of shots given. A constraint at the outset is that most children in this age range have yet to be vaccinated for COVID-19 at all. “We’re always concerned with lower vaccination rates among children,” said Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, “in particular because, as we’ve seen, some children will still get severe illness.” Science & Medicine FDA clears updated COVID-19 vaccines for kids under age 5 U.S. regulators have cleared pediatric doses of the updated COVID-19 vaccines to children ages 6 months to 5 years. U.S. regulators this month cleared the way for children ages 6...
    A rising Covid subvariant soon to become dominant across the US makes the updated bivalent vaccines significantly weaker, according to a study. The BQ.1.1 strain - a descendent of BA.5 and the original Omicron variant - already makes up a third of cases nationwide and is out-competing all other versions of the virus, suggesting it has an evolutionary edge. Researchers from the University of Texas tested the new strain against Pfizer and Moderna's new bivalent shots - designed to target the original Omicron - to see if the new variant spreads so quickly because it can duck vaccines. They did so by taking blood of Americans given those vaccines and exposing them to the virus in a lab.  Results showed the number of antibodies - immune proteins that help fight viruses - produced in response to BQ.1.1 were four times lower than those that prevented the BA.5 strain. Experts have repeatedly stressed that antibodies are just one small part of a complex immune response and caution people not to read too much into the results of such studies. America is...
    US health officials today approved Pfizer and Moderna's bivalent Covid vaccines for babies, in a move bound to draw criticism. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has green-lit plans for the updated shots to be given as part of a three-dose course for children aged six months to four years. Agency officials said they 'encourage parents and caregivers' to get their child vaccinated 'especially as we head into the holidays and winter months'. It comes after a study found the bivalent vaccines are significantly weaker against a rising Covid variant expected to become dominant in the US in months. US health officials today approved Pfizer and Moderna's bivalent Covid vaccines for babies, in a move bound to draw criticism RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next New Zealand court seizes custody of dying baby from antivaxx... New BQ.1.1 Covid variant rising quickly n the US makes... Is this why childhood allergies are on the rise? Additives... Smoke and minors: Child marijuana use has soared 250% in... Share this article Share Pre-school-aged children...
    As residents prepare to roll up their sleeves for a third, fourth or even fifth dose of COVID-19 vaccine, some may be wondering: Do I need to stick with the same brand, or is it safe to mix it up? When it comes to the new COVID-19 Omicron bivalent booster, the answer is, yes, you can mix and match. You can get either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna version, regardless of which offering you previously received. California When should I get the new COVID-19 Omicron bivalent booster? What experts say Although a person’s schedule could change depending on health, occupation or travel plans, officials generally recommend the dose before holiday season. “The best booster for you is the one that you can get — either the Pfizer or the Moderna can be used, and they can be mixed or matched,” said Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, epidemiologist and infectious disease expert at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. “If there’s shortages of one, you should not have hesitancy to take the other.”Mixing and matching Say a person...
    When is the best time to get the updated Omicron booster shot? Although someone’s schedule could change depending on health, occupation or travel plans, officials generally recommend getting the additional bivalent dose ahead of the busy fall-and-winter holiday season. With Halloween a little over a month away, “planning to increase your protection by getting this updated booster in the next few weeks is a good idea,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, a UC San Francisco infectious diseases expert, suggested that eligible people get both the new booster and flu shot no later than October. “If you’re trick-or-treating for Halloween and you haven’t gotten your flu shot or your booster yet, that’s probably the time that you should really run out and get it,” he said. California Should I get the Omicron booster now or wait a few weeks? Whenever you opt to roll up your sleeve, it’s important to note that it takes two weeks for the full effect of the booster to hit. Officials say it...
    If you want the new COVID-19 booster that protects against the latest circulating omicron variants, you have lots of options for appointments, except if you have your heart set on Moderna.. People hoping to get Moderna’s version of the new bivalent booster instead of Pfizer’s may have to travel — or wait a while to get their shot. “Moderna bivalent booster supply is temporarily delayed,” Kaiser’s online scheduler tells members, though Pfizer boosters were available in San Jose starting Sept. 27. “If seeking a booster, please select Pfizer-BioNTech.” “We’re sorry, but no Moderna appointments were found within 25 miles,” Walgreens’ online scheduler reported for a downtown San Jose ZIP code. CVS? Rite Aid? No-derna. The new “bivalent” boosters approved by the federal government early this month protect against both the original strain of the coronavirus and its most recent omicron variants, BA.4 and BA.5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the booster shots Sept. 1 for everyone 12 and older at least two months after their last COVID-19 vaccine shot. Those who recently had a COVID-19 infection are recommended...
    On Aug. 31, 2022, the Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of updated COVID-19 booster shots that are specifically tailored to combat the two most recent and contagious omicron subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5. Following the FDA’s emergency use authorization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to endorse the shots, allowing them to be administered within days. The new booster shots—one by Moderna and another from Pfizer-BioNTech —come as more than 450 people are still dying of COVID-19 every day in the U.S. As of Aug. 31, 2022, only 48.5 percent of booster-eligible people in the U.S. have received their first booster shot, and just under 34 percent of those eligible have received their second. These low numbers may in part be influenced by people waiting for the newer versions of the vaccines to provide better protection. But booster shots have proven to be an essential layer of protection against COVID-19. Prakash Nagarkatti and Mitzi Nagarkatti are immunologists who study infectious disorders and how vaccines trigger different aspects of the immune system to fight infection. They weigh...
    The COVID vaccine is getting an upgrade. For two years, we’ve been protecting ourselves with a vaccine modeled after the original version of the virus. But soon after Labor Day, a new booster – call it vaccine 2.0 — will be available to every adult in the U.S. The current vaccine still prevents severe disease and hospitalization, scientists say, but its power is declining. There’s concern that this could worsen the pandemic this fall and winter. Because the virus has been mutating, “we’re long overdue,” according to Dr. Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in San Diego.  “The FDA should be commended for wanting to take an aggressive, expedient approach.” But there are some uncertainties about this updated vaccine’s effectiveness. While the new booster is proven safe, studies about efficacy, so far, have only been completed in mice. Should you hurry to get it? Here are some things to consider before deciding. Q: How is it different? A: The new mRNA product, made by both Pfizer and Moderna, is a two-in-one, or “bivalent” vaccine. One part targets...
    Britain has become the first country in the world to approve Moderna's bivalent Covid-19 vaccine, which targets both the original strain of the virus and the newer Omicron variant.Long Visual Press | Universal Images Group | Getty Images LONDON — Britain on Monday became the first country in the world to approve a dual Covid-19 vaccine, which tackles both the original virus and the newer omicron variant. The updated Moderna vaccine — known as a bivalent because it targets two variants — is expected to be available to adults as a booster jab from the fall after receiving the go-ahead by the U.K.'s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency on Monday. It also received endorsement from the British government's independent scientific advisory body, the Commission on Human Medicines. The MHRA said that while existing vaccines — which were designed to combat the original strain of Covid — continue to provide good protection, the augmented version would provide better defense as the virus evolves. "The first generation of Covid-19 vaccines being used in the UK continue to provide important protection against...
    THE FIRST Covid vaccine that targets the Omicron variant has been approved by UK drug regulators. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has given the green light to use the jab as a booster shot. 1Moderna has been approved for its jab that targets both Omicron and the original coronavirusCredit: Reuters Made by Moderna, half the vaccine targets the original coronavirus strain, and the other half targets Omicron. Omicron has been dominant in the UK for a year in December. There have been various strains of the super-infectious bug, including BA.1 (December/January) and BA.2 (spring). Currently BA.4 and BA.5 are dominant, causing some 4,000 cases per day. Read more on Covid GOUT OF ORDER Lockdown sparked surge in cases of agonising gout, experts warnKILLER WAITS Cancer patients becoming terminally ill and 'dying because of long NHS waits' The MHRA said that a clinical trial showed that a booster with the bivalent Moderna vaccine triggered a strong immune response against both Omicron (BA.1) and the original 2020 strain.  In an exploratory analysis the bivalent vaccine was also found to generate...
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