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Moderna to Study Its COVID Vaccine in Babies as Young as 3 Months
The Cambridge, Mass., company said Wednesday it is in the final stages of planning the study, to be called BabyCove, and expected to begin enrolling as many as 700 babies in September.
Florida Is the Only State to Skip Pre-Ordering COVID Vaccines for Kids
The Florida Department of Health, through a statement, said Wednesday that it did not place an order with the federal government for vaccine doses for kids five and under in part because it doesn’t advise all children get vaccinated. The deadline for placing a pre-order was Tuesday and 49 other states met the cutoff date.
Florida’s Department of Health is led by state Surgeon General Joe Ladapo, an outspoken skeptic of the COVID-19 vaccine. Ladapo has been voicing concerns about the safety of the vaccines since the first doses were made available. Ladapo joined 20 other doctors in signing a petition in July 2021 urging the FDA not to give the Pfizer vaccine its final approval without years of studies and clinical trials.
Explainer: What to Know About COVID Vaccines for Young Children
A panel of advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday unanimously voted to recommend Moderna Inc.’s (MRNA.O) COVID-19 vaccine for children under 6 years old and Pfizer Inc. (PFE.N) and BioNTech SE’s (22UAy.DE) for children under 5.
Moderna’s vaccine was estimated to be 50.6% effective at preventing symptomatic infections among children 6 months to under 2 years old and 36.8% effective at doing so in children ages 2 to 6 in a clinical trial of over 5,000 subjects.
It is not yet known how effective the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is at preventing infection in people under age 5 because of the low number of symptomatic COVID-19 cases among the children in its trial. An early analysis based on 10 symptomatic COVID-19 cases suggested a vaccine efficacy of 80.3% in this group. Once 21 children in the trial contract symptomatic COVID-19, the companies can finalize the vaccine’s efficacy.
Biden Administration Sued Over Records on Withholding COVID Treatment From Florida
But the Department of Health and Human Services and two subagencies — the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) — haven’t complied with legal requirements outlined in the Freedom of Information Act, the watchdog says, prompting a lawsuit in federal court.
“The only way we’re going to be able to obtain these documents is through a lawsuit and that’s why we are suing HHS, NIH and NIAID,” Peter McGinnis, a spokesman for FGI, told The Epoch Times.
Dr. Anthony Fauci Tests Positive for COVID
Fauci, 81, has directed the institute since 1984. He is fully vaccinated and has received two booster shots. His positive result came from a rapid test.
‘Part of a New Normal’: COVID Reinfections Are Here to Stay
In 2020, COVID reinfections were considered rare. In 2021, breakthrough infections in vaccinated individuals could occur, but again, the risk was low. In 2022, that’s no longer the case for either. As more immune-dodging coronavirus variants emerge, reinfections and breakthrough infections appear increasingly normal.
The United States isn’t currently tracking COVID reinfections. However, U.K. researchers have found that the risk of reinfection was eight times higher during the Omicron wave than it was in last year’s Delta wave.
“I would not be surprised if we see people get infected more than once per year,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, said in an interview with NBC News last week, though he added that he feels optimistic that it will eventually settle into becoming just a seasonal occurrence, like the flu. (Fauci, who has received two vaccine boosters, himself tested positive for COVID on Wednesday, saying he has mild symptoms.)
Rapid COVID Tests Give Many False Negatives, but That Might Mean You’re Not Contagious
In early January, more than 700 Stanford University athletes took rapid COVID tests upon returning to the campus. Those who tested negative — and some who tested positive — were also given PCR tests. The students were all participants in an experiment run by the Stanford University School of Medicine, which assessed the accuracy of BinaxNOW rapid tests.
The results, published Wednesday in JAMA Network Open, showed that the rapid tests caught 63% of positive cases, meaning they produced quite a few false negatives. The accuracy varied significantly depending on whether the infected athletes had symptoms. The tests caught 78% of symptomatic cases but 39% among asymptomatic athletes.
False positives weren’t a problem though: The tests were accurate in nearly 100% of cases in which athletes did not have COVID. “I do think that the viral load is the big issue here,” said Dr. Calvin Hwang, the study’s lead author and a clinical assistant professor at Stanford. Viral load refers to the amount of virus in a person’s body.
“Only the people shedding the most virus are going to be positive with a rapid test, but those are the people you especially want to identify because they’re the most infectious,” said Dr. Sheldon Campbell, an associate professor of laboratory medicine at the Yale School of Medicine who wasn’t involved in the research.
Flu Shots Lag in States With Low COVID Vaccine Uptake
University of California, Los Angeles researchers point to declining trust in public health agencies caused by controversy over COVID-19 vaccines as a possible reason for the falloff in flu vaccination.
Flu shot rates in the second flu season of the pandemic (2021-2022) — when COVID-19 vaccines were widely available — fell from about 44% to around 39% in states with below-average rates of COVID-19 vaccination.
Camp Counselors Receive Mental Health Training in NH
Counselors are being trained to recognize signs of mental health struggles in campers under a new initiative in New Hampshire to make summer camp more accessible, New Hampshire officials said.
The state’s education commissioner, Frank Edelblut said the new program, funded by federal COVID-19 relief aid, has partnered with 10 staff members from mental health facilities across the state to work with camps in the community, WMUR-TV reported Tuesday.