CVS pharmacies and some hospitals in the US will begin administering Pfizer BioNTech shots to 12-15 year olds today on the recommendation of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It’s another important step in America’s way out of the pandemic. While serious illnesses from Covid-19 are relatively rare in teenagers, they can still spread the virus – and getting them in the vaccination program is key to any hope of herd immunity.
However, as the focus in the US shifts to vaccinating younger people and convincing those who are reluctant to get the shot, much of the rest of the world is struggling to get vaccines, even for those who need them most including vulnerable people and healthcare workers.
India, grappling with the worst coronavirus outbreak, yesterday suspended vaccinations for people aged 18-44 in two states and Union territory in Delhi due to bottlenecks.
This announcement is all the more worrying given that India is the world’s largest vaccine maker and a key supplier to COVAX, the vaccine sharing initiative that offers free and discounted doses to low-income countries.
In a desperate attempt to contain the infection, the Indian government restricted exports of Covid-19 vaccines from its huge manufacturing centers in late March to meet some of the country’s more pressing needs.
The struggle is now affecting developing countries. The World Health Organization said last week that COVAX would need 20 million doses by the end of June to cover the deficit.
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED.
Q: What is the difference between eradication, elimination and herd immunity?
A: The long war against Covid-19 is at a critical stage. The hope of eradication or elimination is a formidable endeavor. Herd immunity has now become a moving target that requires many things to go right – and stay right – experts say.
The terms mean the following:
Herd immunity requires a certain percentage of people to be infected or vaccinated to stop the spread. However, experts say it depends on the flock or community, as well as their density, the number of people susceptible, and other factors.
extermination is the unicorn of infectious disease. It was only achieved twice: with rinderpest and smallpox.
Elimination is more common. This is the case when cases are reduced to zero or close to zero in a certain area as efforts are constantly being made to prevent transmission. In the United States, measles, rubella, and diphtheria are examples of diseases that have been largely eradicated. The key word is “largely”. Measles show the temporary nature of elimination if control measures are not followed.
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WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY?
The Covid-19 crisis in Nepal is worsening
In Nepal, scenes of pyres and people lining up outside hospitals are repeated, where hospitals run out of oxygen and patients are turned away.
Just a month ago, the 31 million Himalayan nation was reporting around 100 Covid-19 cases a day. According to the Ministry of Health, 9,483 new cases and 225 virus-related deaths were reported on Tuesday – the highest death toll in a day since the pandemic began.
Critics say public complacency and government inaction likely made the Nepalese coronavirus outbreak worse. Public anger has now forced the country’s prime minister to resign. KP Sharma Oli, who announced unproven coronavirus remedies and attended crowded events even though cases increased, was removed from his position after losing a vote of confidence on Monday.
Early UK data suggests that Covid-19 vaccines are being mixed, which is associated with more side effects
People who have received mixed doses of coronavirus vaccines – who are given a different second type of vaccine than the first – appear to be more likely to have mild side effects such as fever, chills, fatigue or headache, researchers in the UK reported yesterday.
However, the side effects after mix-and-match vaccinations were short-lived and there were no other safety concerns, the researchers reported in the Lancet Medical Journal.
Olympic host cities in Japan are canceling offers for host athletes
Dozens of Olympic “host cities” have canceled offers for athletes for the upcoming Tokyo Summer Olympics due to concerns about Covid-19. At least 35 of the 528 host cities have withdrawn from their agreements, Yasuhiro Omori, a cabinet official for the Olympic Games and Paralympics, told CNN.
The anti-Olympic campaign is gaining in importance in Japan. An online petition calling for the games to be canceled has collected almost 200,000 signatures within a few days. However, the International Olympic Committee said they are moving forward as planned.
ON OUR RADAR
- The Covid-19 pandemic could have “been prevented” if the world had acted earlier, according to a report commissioned by the WHO.
- The CDC has received reports of fewer than 10,000 “breakthroughs” of Covid-19 infections in vaccinated people.
- California Governor Gavin Newsom said the state will effectively end the mask mandate when it fully reopens next month.
- Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand could open its borders to vaccinated travelers before it completes its own vaccine rollout.
- People in Taiwan are rushing to get vaccinated after the country’s Covid-19 cases hit a daily high of 16.
- The Maldives has temporarily suspended arrivals from South Asian countries.
- The risk of dying from Covid-19 is 40 times higher than the risk of getting a rare blood clot after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a CNN analysis shows.
TODAY’S TOP TIP
Once the Pfizer BioNTech shot is available to U.S. teens, parents will decide whether to vaccinate their children. We reached out to CNN’s medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen, ready to seek advice and answer some common parents’ questions about the vaccine.
Wen is an Emergency Doctor and Visiting Professor of Health Policy and Management at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health.
Your first suggestion? “Talk to your child. Most likely they have a strong opinion,” she said.