US FDA authorizes Pfizer booster for people 65 and over; Iowa sets new 2021 high for coronavirus hospitalizations: COVID-19 updates
Overnight Health Care — Departing FDA vaccine regulators argue against COVID-19 booster shots
Welcome to Monday's Overnight Health Care, where we're following the latest moves on policy and news affecting your health. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup. The Dude Abides, and is COVID-free. Actor Jeff Bridges said COVID-19 made "cancer look like a piece of cake" when announcing his lymphoma is in remission. Two of the FDA's top vaccine regulators were among the co-authors of a paper arguing that the evidence doesn't supportThe Dude Abides, and is COVID-free. Actor Jeff Bridges said COVID-19 made "cancer look like a piece of cake" when announcing his lymphoma is in remission.
The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for people 65 and older and those whose jobs put them at high risk for exposure to COVID-19.
Individuals 18 and up who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 were also included in the authorization, which only covers those who are at least six months out from their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
High-risk jobs include "health care workers, teachers and day care staff, grocery workers and those in homeless shelters or prisons, among others,” said acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock.
Alaska's largest hospital implements crisis standards of care; Florida makes death data public after secrecy: COVID-19 updates
Alaska’s largest hospital applies rations care, prioritizing resources to those patients who have the potential to benefit the most. COVID-19 updates.“While we are doing our utmost, we are no longer able to provide the standard of care to each and every patient who needs our help,” Dr. Kristen Solana Walkinshaw, chief of staff at Providence Alaska Medical Center, wrote in a letter addressed to Alaskans distributed Tuesday.
The decision comes almost six weeks after the FDA authorized extra doses of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for people who are severely immunocompromised.
"We believe boosters have an important role to play in addressing the continued threat of this disease, alongside efforts to increase global access and uptake among the unvaccinated," said Albert Bourla, Pfizer chairman and chief executive officer.
-Elizabeth Weise and Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY
Also in the news:
► Mormon temples will require face masks indoors to limit COVID spread, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Wednesday.
► A doctor who wasto administer to family and friends sued the county Tuesday, accusing it of discriminating against South Asians and issuing disinformation about him.
Overnight Health Care — FDA panel backs boosters for some, but not all
FDA panel backs boosters for some, but not all Welcome to Friday's Overnight Health Care, where we're following the latest moves on policy and news affecting your health. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.Are we living in Jumanji? All of the National Zoo's lions and tigers have been infected with COVID-19. And the zebras are still on the loose in Prince George's County. An FDA panel voted to recommend booster shots of Pfizer'sWelcome to Friday's Overnight Health Care, where we're following the latest moves on policy and news affecting your health. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.
►President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that the United States is doubling its purchase of Pfizer’s COVID-19 shots to share with the world — 1 billion doses — as he embraces the goal of vaccinating 70% of the global population within the next year.
►Michigan reached a grim milestone Wednesday, passing 1 million COVID cases since the start of the pandemic early last year, its health department said. The state also has more than 20,000 deaths due to COVID-19.
???? Today's numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 42 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 681,000 deaths,. Global totals: More than 230 million cases and 4.7 million deaths. More than 182 million Americans — 54.9% of the population — have been fully vaccinated, .
???? What we're reading: COVID-19 vaccines for kids may be just around the corner. So, when can little ones get the vaccine?
MLB to require vaccinations for players to participate in Arizona Fall League
Major League Baseball is requiring players to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to participate in the Arizona Fall League, reports Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. It marks the first instance of an MLB vaccination mandate directly affecting players. © Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Last week, Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic reported that MLB was mandating vaccinations among non-playing team personnel in order for those individuals to be granted access to the field during postseason play.
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Quarantine now optional for students exposed to COVID in Florida
Florida's new surgeon general, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, an outspoken critic of lockdowns and COVID mandates, signed new protocols Wednesday allowing students exposed to COVID not to quarantine if their parents choose.
Students who are asymptomatic after being exposed to someone who tested positive can remain in school, the new state guidance says. Previous guidance required students to quarantine at least four days away from school after being exposed.
“Quarantining healthy students is incredibly damaging for their educational advancement,” Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said. “It’s also disruptive for families. We are going to be following a symptoms-based approach.”
The CDC recommends that students quarantine for 14 days if they are unvaccinated, and seven days if they test negative after exposure. Children under 12 years old are not currently eligible for a vaccine.
Report: Buccaneers' Antonio Brown positive for COVID-19, unlikely to play at Rams
Brown is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, meaning he can return to team activities if he stays asymptomatic and produces two negative virus tests 24 hours apart. Nevertheless, Arians added he's preparing as if both Brown and Minter won't be available against the Rams. Brown leads Tampa Bay with 23.0 yards per catch on six receptions and is second on the team with 138 receiving yards this season. He caught one touchdown over the first two games of the campaign, both Tampa Bay wins. The Rams are also 2-0 on the campaign. Subscribe to Yardbarker's Morning Bark, the most comprehensive newsletter in sports.
Iowa sets new 2021 high for COVID hospitalizations
More Iowans are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 than at any point earlier in 2021, according to data released by the Iowa Department of Public Health on Wednesday.
The weekly data release shows 638 people hospitalized in Iowa with COVID-19, up from 578 last week. While that's not close to the November 2020 peak of 1,527 concurrent COVID-19 hospitalizations, it's the highest that number has been since Dec. 22, 2020.
There are 161 COVID-19 patients in the ICU and 74 on ventilators, both up from the previous week as well.
The first time Iowa dealt with this number of COVID-19 patients, it was a precursor to the November spike that stretched the health care system to the brink. Now, health care officials are worried about the pressure it's putting on a workforce battered by 18 months of pandemic care.
-Tim Webber and Nick Coltrain, The Des Moines Register
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY:
Booster confusion takes hold as Biden announces expanded eligibility .
"We have the tools to beat Covid if we come together as a country and use the tools we have," Biden said.Biden said his administration will begin to deliver booster shots after the nation’s two leading health agencies endorsed a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine for people 65 and older and those at elevated risk of severe Covid-19. The announcement is the culmination of weeks of debate inside the administration about whether data showed that vaccine efficacy was waning enough to begin to roll out doses to large swathes of the country.