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Mississippi says Covid-19 deaths in pregnant women are rising — and it’s pleading with them to get vaccinated

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“Please get vaccinated,” said Dr. Thomas Dobbs, the state medical officer, at one of two press conferences this month to discuss the matter. “You have to protect yourself, you have to protect your baby.”

The situation in Mississippi is likely not unique as Covid-19 deaths among pregnant women in the United States appeared to have increased in August, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But health officials at Magnolia State have been particularly vocal about it.

Eight pregnant women have died of Covid-19 in Mississippi since July 25, bringing the state’s pandemic to a total of 15, Dobbs said Thursday.

The 15 were between 23 and 40 years old, none were fully vaccinated and only one was partially vaccinated, Dobbs said.

At least 12 of the fetuses survived, often through an emergency caesarean section, and some were severely premature, said Dr. J. Martin Tucker, Professor and Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He spoke for the 12 cases his system was involved in; Information on the other three cases was not available.

Mississippi is also analyzing information on 72 stillbirths – deaths of a fetus in the womb at 20 weeks – that have affected Covid-infected pregnant women in the state since the pandemic began, Dobbs said. That seems to be twice the usual stillbirth rate. All of this has led Mississippi health officials to urge pregnant women to get vaccinated – stressing that the CDC and other women now-pregnant wholeheartedly recommend getting vaccinated at any stage of pregnancy – according to The Highly Contagious Delta Variant brought the state’s daily case numbers to the highest ever level this summer.

And the state health department says some injectors may not have helped: it has received anecdotal reports that some pharmacies have turned down applications from expectant mothers to get vaccinated, Dobbs said. In response, the health department issued a standing order to vaccinate pregnant patients last week, he said.

The ordinance gives pharmacies the assurance “that it is okay and that pregnant women are advised to get vaccinated at any stage of pregnancy,” said Dobbs.

Mississippi is still lagging the entire country on vaccination: 41.7% of the state’s population was fully vaccinated as of Thursday, compared with 54.2% of the US population, according to the CDC.

Only about 25.1% of pregnant women ages 18 to 49 in the United States had a baby on Jan.

“We can do better, and we should do better,” Tucker said.

Covid-19 deaths among pregnant women appear to have increased, CDC says

Nationally, from the start of the pandemic to Monday, 155 deaths of pregnant women with confirmed laboratory evidence of Covid-19 were reported to the CDC.

However, since only a third of the case reports contain pregnancy status information and it takes jurisdictions two to four weeks to confirm and report a Covid-19 case in a pregnant woman to the CDC, that number is likely to be outnumbered, CDC spokesman Scott Pauley wrote in an email to CNN.

The incidence of these deaths could increase across the country. The CDC received reports of 15 pregnant deaths from Covid-19 in August last week – the highest number reported to the agency in a single month, Pauley wrote. The August figure could rise as late reports come in.

The CDC does not break these deaths down by state due to the low total number and privacy concerns. It also does not know how many of the 155 are unvaccinated, wrote Pauley.

Covid-19 risks for pregnant women

Pregnant women are at higher risk of severe Covid-19 illnesses compared to non-pregnant women – and of hospitalization, intensive care units, mechanical ventilation and death, Tucker said in an interview with CNN last week.

Tucker is also president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which in its advice to obstetric gynecologists cited several studies that included these points.

As for the reasons, Dobbs cited, in part, changes in the physiology and immune response of pregnant women, and noted that other diseases generally put pregnant women at higher risk as well.

The delta variant could pose a more pronounced challenge, in part because of its higher viral load and increased transmissibility, he said.

“We’re just beginning to analyze what’s going on with Delta, but … Delta is different, and Delta is fatal, and we have tools to prevent hospitalization and death,” including vaccination for prevention and monoclonal antibodies for treatment . he said.

CDC’s Pauley said vaccination for pregnant women is “more urgent than ever” because of “the increased prevalence of the highly contagious Delta variant, low vaccination intake among pregnant women and the increased risk of serious illnesses and pregnancy complications associated with Covid. -19 infection in pregnant women. “

CDC recommends Covid-19 vaccines for pregnant women

As health officials urge pregnant women to get Covid-19 vaccines, they’re reminding them that groups including the CDC last month tightened Covid-19 vaccine recommendation for pregnant women, according to the latest safety data. Previously, the instructions were vague: That pregnant women “can” the vaccine.The latest on the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States“The Covid-19 vaccination is recommended for all people aged 12 and over, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now or could become pregnant in the future,” says the new instructions from the Covid-19 Vaccination during pregnancy increased. These data suggest that the benefits of Covid-19 vaccination outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy, “adds the CDC in the updated guidelines.

In late July, the ACOG and another leading organization representing obstetricians and gynecologists also recommended vaccination against Covid-19 for pregnant women.

The ACOG and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine said their recommendations were based on safety evidence from thousands of pregnant women.

Studies show that the vaccine is safe and effective in pregnant women

The CDC announced in August that a new analysis of information from its V-SAFE database, which is used to track vaccine side effects and safety, did not reveal an increased risk of miscarriage in people who are before 20 pregnancy. There were also no safety concerns for people vaccinated late in pregnancy – for themselves or for their babies. The miscarriage rate in vaccinated pregnant women was around 13%, which is in line with the rate that would be expected in unvaccinated pregnant women, Sascha Ellington, emergency preparedness and response team leader for the CDC’s reproductive health division, told CNN on Aug. 11. Responding to the myth that the vaccine could cause fertility problems, she said, “There is no data to suggest that the vaccine has no effect on fertility.”

In a separate analysis, Dr. Elyse Kharbanda of the HealthPartners Institute in Minneapolis and colleagues, they looked at various CDC data and also took into account that Covid-19 vaccines do not increase the risk of miscarriage.

They examined data from eight healthcare systems in the United States that covered 105,000 pregnancies as of June. The women who had miscarriages were likely no longer vaccinated, they noted. The results were the same whether women got the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, they said in a September letter to the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Too few pregnant women were given the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to assess the risk, they said.

In Israel, a separate study published this month showed that Covid-19 vaccines are as effective as any other at protecting pregnant women. A study by Israeli researchers of thousands of pregnant women showed that those who were fully vaccinated with Pfizer’s vaccine from December 20 to June 3 were 97% protected against symptomatic infections, similar to what the general population did at the time was, they reported in the journal Nature Medicine. The study did not cover the time after the highly contagious Delta variant had spread.

CNN’s Jacqueline Howard contributed to this report.

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Pandemic

Mayor Bronson in quarantine after head of Anchorage Community Development Authority tests positive for COVID-19

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Mayor Dave Bronson is in quarantine after coming into close contact with Mike Robbins, executive director of Anchorage Community Development Agency, who has now tested positive for COVID-19.

The mayor’s office confirmed on Monday that Robbins was infected with the virus and that Bronson is under quarantine.

Mayor spokesman Corey Allen Young said Bronson was following the city’s COVID-19 containment policy and would be in quarantine for six days and will be tested for the virus on day six.

Nobody else in the mayor’s office came in close contact with Robbins, Young said.

“Nobody else has tested positive or shown any signs of symptoms,” he said via email, adding that the mayor works from home.

Bronson was in close contact with Robbins at a Visit Anchorage event last week. Two other members of the administration were in attendance but had no long close contact with Robbins, Young said.

This is the second time this month that the mayor has been quarantined after close contact with a COVID positive member of his administration. Community leader Amy Demboski and community attorney Patrick Bergt tested positive for the virus earlier this month.

[Anchorage Assembly calls on Mayor Bronson to enforce mask mandate]

On Monday, Bronson gave the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce an “Address of the State” – from Zoom – during the organization’s “Make it Monday” forum.

“Please again accept my apology for not being there in person as I am falling (under) quarantine protocols,” Bronson told the audience.

The mayor has avoided strongly encouraging the wearing of masks or advocating vaccinations, both of which have been shown to reduce virus transmission and the risk of serious illness. Instead, he often leaves Dr. Michael Savitt – his Chief Medical Officer at the Anchorage Department of Health.

Speaking at the chamber’s forum on Monday, Bronson said the city health department’s top priority is coordinating the city’s response to COVID-19, including “advanced testing, targeted vaccinations and monoclonal antibody treatments for improved and targeted treatments, especially in our underserved communities . ”

Now “we are working to return to pre-COVID-19 service levels while returning to all of the traditional services that the Anchorage Department of Health normally provides,” Bronson said.

The health department has also focused on the city’s mass housing, including communal housing in the Sullivan Arena and out-of-community housing, he said.

Combating homelessness remains a top priority for his government, said the mayor.

“We continue to work with the congregation to develop adequate service capacity for those affected by homelessness in our city and will shortly be launching an initiative to reduce the scare-mongering on our streets,” said Bronson.

The pandemic was largely a footnote in Bronson’s Monday statements to the chamber. He highlighted his government’s other priorities: working with the Assembly to approve a budget for the next year; Replacing aging docks, broken piles and other infrastructure challenges in Port of Alaska modernization program; and promoting economic growth in the city, among other priorities.

The news of Robbin’s positive test result – and Bronson’s quarantine – comes as Anchorage struggles with persistently high virus transmission rates across the community, part of a spike that increased dramatically in late summer and was fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant.

Bronson had a mild bout of COVID-19 last fall and suffered long-term symptoms, he said.

[What’s bringing people to Anchorage’s COVID-19 vaccine clinics: Work mandates, high case counts and good timing]

The Mayor firmly opposes COVID-19 restrictions, including the city’s current Masking Ordinance, which the Anchorage Congregation passed earlier this month. Bronson vetoed the ordinance requiring the wearing of masks in indoor public spaces, but the congregation quickly voted to lift the veto.

Bronson and most of his administration have attended congregational meetings unmasked since he took office. The Emergency Mask Ordinance exempts Bronson and its administration from the requirement, and members said the ordinance was not about getting the mayor to wear a mask, but rather about protecting public health and safety.

Bronson has spoken out against vaccination regulations and against vaccination regulations for staff in local hospitals. In his campaign, at Congregation gatherings and other public forums, he downplayed the severity of the pandemic and its impact on hospitals.

Robbins did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Young didn’t immediately respond to a question about whether Robbins had symptoms.

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Gov. Pritzker to Give COVID-19 Update, Discuss Pediatric Vaccinations Monday – NBC Chicago

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NOTE: NBC Chicago will be streaming the governor’s address live starting at 1:30 p.m. CT. See it live in the player above.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker is expected to give a COVID-19 update on Monday, which is expected to be a day before an FDA panel on pediatric vaccination to discuss whether Pfizer child-size vaccinations for children ages 5 through 11 years should be recommended or not.

The governor is expected to speak from the Thompson Center in Chicago at 1:30 p.m.

The governor’s address comes shortly after the White House announced that children ages 5-11 can get a COVID-19 shot at their pediatrician office, local pharmacy, and possibly even school, which the plans state Elementary school children will be listed for the expected approval of the Pfizer shot in a matter of weeks.

This week will be an important step in getting COVID vaccines approved for such age groups.

The Food and Drug Administration’s panel of experts will discuss Tuesday whether the Pfizer shots are ready for the roughly 28 million children ages 5-11.

Federal health officials said late Friday that child-sized doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine appeared to be highly effective in preventing symptomatic infections in elementary school children and did not cause any unexpected safety issues.

In their analysis, FDA scientists concluded that the vaccine’s benefits in preventing hospitalizations and death from COVID-19 would outweigh any serious potential side effects in children in almost any scenario. But the agency’s reviewers stopped asking for Pfizer’s shot to be approved.

If the FDA approves the syringes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will make additional recommendations on who should be given them in the first week of November. Children could start vaccinations early next month – with the first children in line, fully protected until Christmas.

Full-strength Pfizer syringes are recommended for ages 12 and up, but pediatricians and many parents are eagerly awaiting protection for younger children in order to contain infections from the extra-contagious Delta variant and keep the children in school. Both Moderna’s and J & J’s vaccines can only be used in people aged 18 and over, although Moderna is also researching its vaccines in elementary school children.

While children are at lower risk of serious illness or death than the elderly, COVID-19 has killed more than 630 Americans under the age of 18, according to the CDC. Almost 6.2 million children contracted the coronavirus, more than 1.1 million in the last six weeks when the Delta variant increased, says the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Doctors at Advocate Children’s Hospital said last week that while children’s cases tend to be less severe than adults, “more children are hospitalized with severe COVID-19 infection than earlier in the pandemic”.

The group also warned that multiple cases of a life-threatening COVID-19-related illness called Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome have been reported in the Chicago area, and that experts are still unaware of the long-term effects of COVID-19 on children.

The Biden government has bought enough child-sized doses – in special orange-capped vials to distinguish them from the adult vaccine – for the country’s 5-11 year olds. When the vaccine is approved, millions of doses, along with child-sized needles, will be shipped across the country in an instant.

More than 25,000 paediatricians and general practitioners have already signed up to receive the syringes in little arms.

Pfizer and Moderna are also investigating vaccinations in even younger toddlers up to 6 months old. Results are expected later in the year.

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Wasted COVID-19 vaccine doses exceed 50% for some Erie County providers

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UPMC Hamot and Albion Pharmacy wasted almost the same number of COVID-19 vaccine doses. Hamot disposed of 384 unused doses while Albion Pharmacy disposed of 376 doses.

The difference is that Hamot received 66,105 doses of vaccine, which is only 0.6% of its vaccine wasted, while Albion Pharmacy received 550 doses of vaccine, of which 68.4% was wasted.

“When we first ordered the vaccine, the only way to order it was to get 450 doses from Pfizer,” said Megan Dreher, manager of Albion Pharmacy. “We didn’t have any special refrigeration to store it, so the vaccine was only good for six weeks. There just wasn’t much demand. We even tried to get to schools.”

COVID-19 vaccine waste was a major issue earlier this year when demand was high and the vaccine was in short supply. Hamot and other providers have taken exceptional measures to use each dose, including driving to people’s homes after a vaccine clinic closed for the day to give extra doses.

Now there are enough vaccines and the demand has decreased. Still, vaccine providers don’t want to waste doses.

“I continue to believe that vaccine waste is a big deal,” said Melissa Lyon, director of the Erie County’s Department of Health. “This is a very powerful vaccine and we don’t even want to waste a single dose.”

More:COVID-19 vaccine required for Penn State Behrend faculty, staff until December 8th

The county health department disposed of 4,192 of its doses – 14.4% of the 29,060 received – without administering them. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, this is the highest number of wasted doses of any vaccine supplier in Erie County.

A total of 1,414 of these doses were spoiled, while a further 2,771 doses were not administered after opening the vial. Other ways to waste doses are if the vial is broken or if the vaccine is drawn but not given within a period of time, usually two to 12 hours, depending on the type of vaccine.

“One thing that happened was when the state ordered walk-ins to be accepted in vaccination clinics,” Lyon said. “That took control out of you to avoid any waste. If someone wanted a dose, you had to open a vial (with six or ten doses), even if no one else got a syringe. “

More:Erie Hospitals See More Breakthrough COVID-19 Patients, With Nearly 30% Fully Vaccinated

Officials from Adagio Health, a Pittsburgh-based health organization whose clinics primarily serve women and low-income residents, offered a similar explanation for the high percentage of wasted vaccine doses in their Erie County offices.

Its Erie and Edinboro offices disposed of 1,695, or 59.2%, of their combined 2,860 cans.

“When we completed our training with the state health department about the vaccine, they emphasized the importance of putting doses in people’s arms,” ​​said Natalie Crouse, senior director of clinical operations at Adagio Health. “Vaccinating one person and having to dispose of the other five doses in one vial is better than leaving the vial in the refrigerator and letting all six doses expire.”

Larger vaccine providers have wasted little vaccine

Other providers have been able to staff clinics and complete walk-in appointments without wasting a lot of vaccine.

Saint Vincent has set up remote clinics in addition to providing COVID-19 vaccines in the hospital and recently in its doctor’s offices and emergency centers. It wasted 894, or 1.3% of its 70,205 doses.

“Remember, some of those doses weren’t actually wasted,” said Steve Henderson, director of Saint Vincent Pharmacy. “If you look at the ‘other’ category of wasted cans, it includes inexplicable ones. The Food & Drug Administration approved six doses from each Pfizer vial, but none of them contain six doses, so you had to report one as unaccountable. “

Hamot has kept the percentage of doses wasted low, in part because it has the vast majority of its vaccination clinics in one location – the UPMC Health Plan Operations Center, 380 E. Bayfront Parkway.

“But we have held remote clinics and have been very vigilant from the start,” said Jason Chenault, Hamot’s director of emergency, hospital and critical care services. “We continue to focus precisely on the dosages and how many are planned. When we have additional doses, we reach out to the appropriate people to administer them.”

Here’s a look at the number and percentage of wasted vaccine doses from Erie County vendors who disposed of at least 200 doses without administering them:

  • Albion Pharmacy – 376 doses wasted, 68.4% of all doses received
  • Adagio Health, Erie, and Edinboro offices – 1,695, 59.2%
  • Erie County Jail – 269, 22.8%
  • Millcreek Manor Pharmacy – 1,601, 19.4%
  • Erie County Department of Health – 4,192, 14.4%
  • Millcreek Community Hospital – 1,450, 13.7%
  • St. Vincent Hospital – 894, 1.3%
  • UPMC Hamot – 384, 0.6%

Nationwide, vaccine providers wasted 0.28% of their doses, according to the state health ministry.

One way to avoid waste in the future is for vaccine manufacturers to sell syringes filled with a single dose of the vaccine, Lyon said.

“It’s more expensive to make, but it would reduce waste,” said Lyon.

Contact David Bruce at dbruce@timesnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ETNBruce.

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