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Expert Says COVID-19 Booster Shots May Be Recommended By Winter

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Photo by Matt Hoffman

Above: A patient is vaccinated against COVID-19 at the Border View Family YMCA in Otay Mesa, California on February 24, 2021.

Just under two million San Diego’s have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but it remains unclear whether a third booster will be needed in the near future.

“The less the virus circulates, the less critical the boosters are,” said Shane Crotty, an infectious disease expert and professor at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology.

Crotty’s research is known nationwide and has been used by federal health officials in Congressional hearings. When it comes to booster shots, Crotty said drug makers like Moderna have already developed and tested them.

“And the booster shots worked and there was a variant of the booster shots and that worked,” Crotty said.

RELATED: COVID-19 vaccine makers’ booster shots target a moving target: Coronavirus variants

So there will likely be booster shots available, the question is when or if they are needed. Crotty said two things mattered: how long immunity lasts to vaccines, and the unknown about variants.

“Some of these worrying variants are more worrying than the original strain, and some of them are immune to some degree of immunity,” said Crotty. “So the variants are essentially more difficult to stop than the original virus, so the vaccine may not last as long against the variants. Trying to evaluate these two main situations is where we are. “

Crotty estimates that by this winter there is a 50-50 chance of booster shots being recommended, but they may not be right for everyone right away.

“It is entirely plausible that there will be an interim answer – there may be a risk assessment that says, ‘Okay, if you are over 65 you should get a booster vaccination by this time, and if you are.’ you’re under 65, you can wait longer, maybe a year or so, “said Crotty.” It doesn’t have to be a one-size-fits-all solution.

He said the best scenario is for the vaccines to last a couple of years, but we don’t know that yet.

“Basically, we just need more time,” said Crotty. “We just don’t have a clear historical reference point to say, ‘Oh, that’s how long immunity lasts after you’ve been given an RNA vaccine.’ We have to measure that every month and watch the time go by and try to extrapolate from now on to when you will need the booster in the future. “

RELATED: Over Half of Eligible San Diegans Receive First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine

Booster vaccinations could also depend on local infection rates. Crotty added that COVID-19 is likely to stay in communities for now.

“SARS-CoV-2 is not going to be eradicated – it is just too widespread and too easily transmitted from person to person,” he said.

Crotty says some areas are unlikely to achieve herd immunity and will continue to see outbreaks, but he said doing this was an important way to stop the virus, especially in areas toured internationally like San Diego.

“Herd immunity isn’t just that line that you suddenly cross, as if nothing happened before, but everything happens after you’ve crossed it,” Crotty said. “There is progress in that and I think most people think we are in an area where herd immunity should have an effect now and it should get better and better the more people you can vaccinate.”

San Diego County is nearly three-quarters of the way to vaccinate anyone age 12 and older. The state is expected to fully reopen on June 15, lifting almost all COVID-19 restrictions.

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Pandemic

Wimbledon welcomes back the crowds after COVID-19 shutdown

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LONDON, June 24 (Reuters) – It may rain, umbrellas are as much a part of the English summer as striped jackets and strawberries and cream, but the return of Wimbledon will put a spring in the way for tennis fans whatever the weather.

The pristine grass pitches in south-west London went untrodden last year when one of the sports calendar’s highlights was canceled for the first time in three quarters of a century, another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It may not be a “normal service” just yet, the emphasis is still more on social distancing than socializing, but the game will at least resume with eager viewers in the thousands attending next week.

“When Wimbledon was canceled last year, it was a blow in the gut for our sport. A terrible time,” commented three-time Wimbledon winner and ESPN analyst John McEnroe. “So it’s amazing to have it back.”

The tournament is a government approved “pilot event” with a capacity of at least 50% increasing to a full 15,000 spectators for the men’s and women’s singles finals on Center Court.

Ticket holders must still provide proof of vaccination, negative COVID-19 test, or proof of full recovery from the virus and wear face masks when moving around the premises but not while seated.

The organizers warned that some distancing was required, especially when managing queues.

The most famous queue of them all – for returns and daytime tickets – has left the park and, like so much last year, has gone virtual, with sales on a mobile app and initially only to UK residents.

‘Henman Hill’, the grassy hill outside Court One where many fans usually gather to watch games on the big screen, will be open but details on the numbers allowed are still sketchy.

Players are limited to a maximum entourage of three, and even the biggest names must stay in approved hotels rather than renting private homes in the upscale neighborhoods as usual. Those who normally live in London also have to check into these so-called Wimbledon Bubble Hotels.

The reaction of the top players is full of excitement to go out again in the only Grand Slam tournament that did not take place last year.

“It’s going to be an incredible event … It’s our Augusta National, how green it is, how much this tournament has,” commented the hard-hitting American John Isner. “Everyone will be happy to come back.

Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, a 2019 women’s semi-finalist, agreed that she was sorely missed.

“I think the whole Wimbledon experience is magical because we know the rules are pretty strict and this year they are getting even stricter with all the protocols we have to follow,” she said.

“But you’re only in white, you’re at such a beautiful venue, a historic venue, so the whole atmosphere that the fans make and walking on the square, that’s the whole experience I would say.”

Additional coverage by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Heart Inflammation In Young Adults After COVID-19 Vaccine Is Rare, CDC Says : NPR

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A teenager enters a pop-up vaccine site for COVID-19 in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens in New York City earlier this month. Scott Heins / Getty Images Hide caption

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A teenager enters a pop-up vaccine site for COVID-19 in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens in New York City earlier this month.

Scott Heins / Getty Images

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 323 cases of heart inflammation have been confirmed in people who received the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have mainly been observed in adolescents and young adults between 12 and 39 years of age – mostly after the second dose of vaccine. Symptoms include chest pain or pressure, and abnormal EKG and blood test results.

The CDC says most people who have experienced this side effect have recovered from their symptoms and are fine. Of the 323 cases, 295 were discharged from the hospital, nine remained in the hospital until last week, and 14 were not hospitalized at all. Results data were missing in five cases. No deaths have been associated with this side effect.

The CDC says that after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, some cases of heart inflammation have been reported to the vaccine adverse event reporting system, albeit not as many as for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

Pfizer's Teenage COVID Vaccine and Myocarditis: What You Need To Know

The number of cases has not increased much since last week when CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told reporters at a White House briefing that the agency knew of “over 300” cases.

Officials say the side effect is extremely rare

The CDC says the results do not change the basic recommendation that all people 12 and older should receive either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. However, if a person develops myocarditis after the first dose, a second dose should be postponed until the condition has completely resolved and the heart has returned to normal.

“The facts are clear: this is an extremely rare side effect and only an extremely small number of people will experience it after vaccination,” said a statement. “What is important is that most cases are mild for the young people who do this, and those affected often recover on their own or with minimal treatment. Additionally, we know that myocarditis and pericarditis are much more common when you get COVID-19, and what are the risks? to the heart from COVID-19 infection can be more serious. ”

A representative from the Food and Drug Administration who attended the meeting, Dr. Doran Fink said the agency will add a warning to vaccine datasheets reflecting the risk of this rare complication.

Naturally occurring heart infections are rare, but do occur from time to time in teenagers and young adults. The rate seen after these vaccines is slightly higher than what would be expected for this age, which is cause for concern.

The data will be presented at a meeting of expert advisors convened by the CDC, which will be held practically on Wednesday and will be open to the public.

Teens receive vaccination cards after receiving an initial dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at a mobile clinic at YMCA Weingart East Los Angeles in Los Angeles last month. Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images Hide caption

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Teens receive vaccination cards after receiving an initial dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at a mobile clinic at YMCA Weingart East Los Angeles in Los Angeles last month.

Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images

Officials are also testing booster shots

The group also deals with the issue of booster doses. A CDC report submitted to the panel of experts said the agency would recommend a booster dose only if there is evidence that people who have received the vaccines become infected in significant numbers. The agency wouldn’t rely on a decrease in antibodies alone.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices makes recommendations for the use and planning of all approved and approved vaccines in the United States. It was not planned to vote on recommendations regarding the use of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines on Wednesday.

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St. Louis Pandemic Doctor: COVID-19 Now Almost ‘Universally Preventable’ With Vaccines

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For more than 14 months, Dr. Alex Garza, as the head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, a group of senior leaders from the area’s hospitals, is the face of the area’s COVID-19 response.

The task force has suspended its weekly livestream conferences as coronavirus cases and hospital stays in the region’s hospitals have remained relatively flat.

Sarah Fentem, of St. Louis Public Radio, interviewed Garza about his job, the ongoing challenge of the coronavirus pandemic, and how health workers have dealt with last year’s psychological toll.

Sarah Fentem: One of the most interesting aspects of the briefings for me was seeing doctors and health care professionals show a lot of emotion and show the human side of health care that I don’t think many patients see. How are the workers now? Are they still taking a psychological toll?

Alex Garza: I would be surprised if they weren’t still wearing it. I think, as you know, and as many people know, I am also in the military and one of the things that has long ends after conflict is the post-conflict problems with PTSD and the psychological distress that goes on for a long time. And that’s really not much different. There are physical manifestations that will last for a long time.

From a social perspective, too, I think we have to go back and look at what has just happened in the past year and a half. How did we react as a society? What worked, what didn’t work, why didn’t some things work the way we wanted them to? And ask these serious questions.

Many of the topics are not necessarily scientific and medical topics. I think they’re more cultural and social than anything to do with “How do we make vaccines”. or ‘What are the protective things we have to do?’ The scientific knowledge has already occurred with the fact that it is above all the cultural and social things that pose the questions to be answered.

Fentem: The obvious follow-up question is: What questions do we have to ask ourselves culturally? You are probably thinking about vaccines, right?

Garza: During the pandemic, there have always been challenges with the counter-narrative, be it “this is none other than the flu” or “these classes of drugs will work,” although it has been scientifically proven that they don’t work. The whole theme of wearing masks, which sparked a whole new political and social dynamic, although science had undoubtedly proven its effectiveness. And the same with vaccines.

Fentem: Do you think doctors and the entire healthcare industry underestimated that in the beginning?

Garza: I think we have, I really do. Fortunately, we don’t have much experience with rampant pandemics and how they will be interpreted and how they will affect societies and countries.

The advent of social media and things like that presented a much greater challenge in protecting communities and encouraging people to do the right things to protect and prevent its spread. I think that was underestimated.

Fentem: Let’s talk about what’s going on in the hospitals right now. Who do you see coming to the hospitals and is the number of cases manageable at the moment?

The last time we somehow broke this, about 97% of the people who were hospitalized were unvaccinated. And it’s a younger cohort of patients too, which comes with the narrative of vaccinations. I think it is very frustrating and somewhat disappointing for health care workers to still care for patients with this disease, which by and large is preventable almost everywhere.

Fentem: The last question is related to that. We look at the hesitation of vaccines, and I hear a lot about the variants ahead. Is it possible that these two factors together take us back to last year? Is that something you are worried about?

Garza: I’m worried about that. I think it is possible that the number of younger patients will increase, but probably not at the level we saw in the fall and winter. The challenge is that when you look at what is driving the pandemic, there are a few things. One is the virus, how communicable is the virus? Of course, if you throw in a new virus that is more communicable and causes more disease, it leads to more cases and hospitalizations. The second is: What kind of mitigation strategies do I have? Virtually all of the mitigation strategies are now gone.

This is why you are seeing such a large increase in cases in places that are unvaccinated and have no public containment strategies. And you throw in those variations … it’s just science and math, there’s no magic. You introduce a highly virulent virus into a naive population, it will spread unless you take steps to prevent it from spreading.

Follow Sarah on Twitter: Petit_Smudge

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