Covid-19 Vaccine Latest Updates
COVID-19 Vaccine. Photo: The Financial Express

NY Covid-19 vaccine appointments open for those with the underlying health issue

New York residents with certain pre-existing health conditions will be able to start booking Covid-19 vaccine appointments at 8 a.m. Sunday, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Those appointments will be available on the state’s “Am I Eligible” website. New appointment slots will be released “on a rolling basis over the next weeks,” Cuomo said in a news release today. Next week, local health officials will also receive vaccine for these people, who may have cancer, diabetes, liver disease or other qualifying conditions.

It’s not clear, though, how many new appointments will be available on Sunday. As of about noon today, the appointments at the state’s 13 large-scale vaccination sites were nearly all booked.

New York’s vaccine allotment is going up by 20 percent over the next three weeks, according to Cuomo.

But the expanded eligibility is expected to exacerbate the race to book appointments online.

“New York’s vast distribution network and large population of eligible individuals still far exceed the supply coming from the federal government,” the release said. “Due to limited supply, New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment.”

Once securing an appointment, people with underlying health issues will need to show they are eligible with: Doctor’s letter, or Medical information evidencing comorbidity, or Signed certification.

The expanded eligibility includes people with: Cancer (current or in remission, including 9/11-related cancers), , Chronic kidney disease, Pulmonary Disease, including but not limited to, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma (moderate-to-severe), pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and 9/11 related pulmonary diseases, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities including Down Syndrome, Heart conditions, including but not limited to heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, or hypertension (high blood pressure), Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) including but not limited to solid organ transplant or from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, use of other immune weakening medicines, or other causes, Severe Obesity (BMI 40 kg/m2), Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2), Pregnancy, Sickle cell disease or Thalassemia, Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus, Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain), Neurologic conditions including but not limited to Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia, Liver disease.

Pharmacies start administering their first 1 million Covid-19 vaccine doses from the federal government

More retail pharmacies around the country began administering Covid-19 vaccines by appointment on Friday under a new federal program that is shipping doses directly to them.

One million doses have been allocated to 6,500 pharmacies — including some CVS, Walmart, Walgreens and Rite Aid locations — in the first phase of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, and the stores started giving these shots Friday.

This comes on a day when the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines for reopening schools safely. The CDC is encouraging states to prioritize teachers for vaccination but does not make inoculation one of its key recommendations.

And a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation says that nearly a third of Americans — 31% — say they plan to “wait and see” how the vaccines work for others before deciding to get vaccinated themselves.

As for vaccines in pharmacies: Many stores still do not have the vaccine in this first phase of the new federal program. Walgreens will now have it in certain stores in 15 states; Rite Aid has it in six states; and Walmart and Sam’s Clubs have it in 22 states. The coverage area is expected to expand as supplies increase.

The doses sent directly to pharmacies are separate from the millions per week that the federal government already has been distributing to states — a few of which already were providing doses to a small number of pharmacies.

A person’s eligibility still varies by state. All states began with priority populations — often health care workers and people in long-term care facilities — followed by seniors and/or essential workers, or people with certain health conditions.

More and more states are expanding eligibility to people with pre-existing or underlying conditions. Currently, that’s the case in 11 states — Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Texas — according to a CNN analysis of public health department websites.

In New York, people with comorbidities and underlying conditions can sign up for appointments starting Sunday, with vaccinations beginning Monday. California on Friday announced it will expand eligibility to millions of people who have “serious underlying health conditions” or are “at high risk with developmental and other disabilities” beginning March 15, according to channel3000.

Oxford launches the first study to learn how children and young adults (ages 6 to 17)

Together with three partner sites in London, Southampton and Bristol, Oxford will launch the first study to learn how children and young adults (ages 6 to 17) respond to the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 coronavirus vaccine.

Previous trials of the vaccine have shown that it is safe, but this phase 2 trial -- funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and AstraZeneca -- will show if kids have a good immune response to the shot.

Oxford said in a press release that 300 volunteers will be enrolled in the study -- 240 of them will receive the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine and the remainder a control meningitis vaccine, "which has been shown to be safe in children but is expected to produce similar reactions, such as a sore arm."

"While most children are relatively unaffected by coronavirus and are unlikely to become unwell with the infection, it is important to establish the safety and immune response to the vaccine in children and young people as some children may benefit from vaccination," Andrew Pollard, a professor of paediatric infection and Immunity, and the chief investigator on the Oxford vaccine trial, said. "These new trials will extend our understanding of control of SARS-CoV2 to younger age groups."

The news comes as school districts across the country battle with reopening schools due to the risks associated with the virus.

The trial will begin Saturday, according to Oxford's statement, and the first shots are expected to be given sometime this month, as reported by Abcnews.

California adds millions to COVID-19 vaccine eligibility list but frustrating waits

Covid-19 Vaccine Latest Updates
Photo: nytimes

California is adding 4 million to 6 million more people to the eligibility list to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but officials warn that actually getting inoculated will remain a frustrating process as long as chronic shortages in supply remain.

Starting March 15, people ages 16 to 64 who are disabled or at high risk for morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 will be eligible for vaccination. That will bring the total number of Californians eligible to 17 million to 20 million.

But with supplies so limited, ultimately it will be up to local providers to decide who gets the vaccine immediately, with medical workers, first responders, people 65 and over, teachers and essential workers all vying for shots.

“We’re all frustrated,” said Dr. Paul Simon, chief science officer for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “We know we could do much more if we had available doses.”

“Reprioritizing who gets doses does not get us more doses, and that’s what we need,” added Kat DeBurgh, executive director of the Health Officers Assn. of California, Latimes cited.

U.K.-Based Variant Is Probably More Lethal, Scientists Say

British government scientists are increasingly finding the coronavirus variant first detected in Britain to be linked to a higher risk of death than other versions of the virus, a devastating trend that highlights the serious risks and considerable uncertainties of this new phase of the pandemic.

The scientists said last month that there was a “realistic possibility” that the variant was not only more contagious than others, but also more lethal. Now, they say in a new document that it is “likely” that the variant is linked to an increased risk of hospitalization and death.

The British government did not publicly announce the updated findings, which are based on roughly twice as many studies as its earlier assessment and include more deaths from Covid-19 cases caused by the new variant, known as B.1.1.7. It posted the document on a government website on Friday.

The reasons for an elevated death rate are not entirely clear. Some evidence suggests that people infected with the variant may have higher viral loads, a feature that could not only make the virus more contagious but also potentially undermine the effectiveness of certain treatments.

But scientists are also trying to understand how much of the increased risk of death may stem from the propensity of the variant to spread very easily through settings like nursing homes, where people are already vulnerable.

No matter the explanation, scientific advisers to the British government said on Saturday, the new findings laid bare the dangers of countries easing restrictions as the variant takes hold.

The variant has spread to at least 82 countries, and is being transmitted 35 to 45 percent more easily than other variants in the United States, scientists recently estimated. American officials have suggested that the variant could be the dominant source of infection there by March.

“The overall picture is one of something like a 40 to 60 percent increase in hospitalization risk, and risk of death,” Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist and scientific adviser to the British government, said in an interview on Saturday. Referring to the tight restrictions on socializing that are in effect across Britain, he said, “It reinforces the policy measures in place.”

China’s Covid-19 Vaccine Diplomacy Boosts Its Influence in Europe

Some small European governments are turning to China for Covid-19 vaccines as European Union procurement stumbles and Western vaccine makers’ production hiccups hamper the continent’s fight against the pandemic.

The trend could increase China’s influence in the region as it campaigns to present itself as a reliable ally in fighting the coronavirus that was first detected on its soil.

The European Union, which buys vaccines on behalf of its 27 member states, has authorized three shots developed in Germany, the U.S. and the U.K. But the bloc was slow to sign contracts and authorize the shots, while manufacturers have struggled to deliver the doses promised. Shortages have been even worse in non-EU countries in Europe.

So far, it is mainly small nations on the bloc’s margins that have turned to Beijing for help. Yet as voters’ frustrations mount, larger members are now considering China’s two vaccines and another developed in Russia.

On Jan. 31, German Health Minister Jens Spahn called on the EU to approve the shot made by China’s Sinopharm Group if it were found to be safe and effective. Then, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said the company should manufacture its shots in his country.

Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss to get COVID-19 Vaccine

Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss to get COVID-19 Vaccine

Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss will get COVID-19 vaccine March 4, 2021 at 11:10am and the 2nd shot April 1, 2021. The location will be at Essex County College, 303 University Ave, Newark, NJ 07102.

“I noticed that there were a lot of white people getting the vaccine, compared to Black and Brown people” said the Mayor. Low numbers of Black and Brown people have taken the vaccine so far,” we need to reverse this trend, or we will continue to see more Black and Brown fathers, mothers, grandparents, sons, daughters die of this virus”.

Mayor Tony Vauss said he is determined to get more Black and Brown people into that line. You can reserve your spot to get the vaccine now by pre-registering, if you are eligible to receive the vaccination go to Getting vaccinated is one of the most important things you can do to keep yourself and your family healthy.

After consulting with his doctor, due to having Bronchitis (an inflammation of the lining of your bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from your lungs), the Mayor wants to set the example of how important it is for Black and Brown people to get the vaccine.

We all know that history is working against Us. Past misdeeds such as the Tuskegee Experiment — in which doctors in the 20th century left Black men untreated for syphilis, without their knowledge, as part of a study — did much to erode trust in the medical profession among Black and Brown people.

Mayor Tony Vauss will begin a campaign to build trust in the vaccine. Part of his plan is to call on pastors and other Black leaders to speak out for the vaccine — and possibly get the vaccine in some sort of public way to build trust.

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