The Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine raises concerns again.
The Food and Drug Administration warned Monday of a possible link between that vaccine and the autoimmune disease known as: Guillain-Barré syndrome. In a statement, the agency said the data “suggest a link” between the vaccine and a higher risk of the condition, but not enough “to establish a causal relationship.”
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The Washington Post reported there have been about 100 cases of the possible association, mostly among men and in many cases among those over 50. Approximately 12.8 million doses of the J&J injection have been administered.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say on their website that people who have had Guillain-Barré syndrome can be vaccinated against COVID-19 and that no cases of the condition have been reported in clinical trials for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. One case was reported in J&J studies.
Use of the J&J vaccine, praised for the convenience of a single injection, was paused for 10 days in April as federal health authorities investigated reports of six women developing rare but serious blood clots within two weeks of receiving the injection. The agencies later determined that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.
Also in the news:
►Tennessee state government fired its top vaccination officer Monday, becoming the last of about two dozen states to lose years of institutional knowledge about vaccines amid the coronavirus pandemic.
►Utah Governor Spencer Cox apologized monday after his administration discovered a state agency last week that 70 percent of the state’s residents had received one dose. After correction, the percentage dropped to 67%.
►Federal health officials maintained their position that Americans who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need a booster shot after meeting Monday with representatives from vaccine maker Pfizer.
📈 Today’s figures: The US has had more than 33.8 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 607,300 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The global totals: more than 187.2 million cases and more than 4 million deaths. Nearly 160 million Americans – 48% of the population – are fully vaccinated, According to the CDC.
📘 What we read: As many adolescents and young adults prepare to return to the classroom in the fall, amid the spread of the delta variant, the lagging vaccination rate among Generation Z raises concern among experts.
The death toll from a catastrophic fire that broke out the day before at a coronavirus hospital ward in southern Iraq rose to 64 on Tuesday, Iraqi medical officials said. Two health officials said more than 100 people were injured in the blaze that set fire to the coronavirus ward of al-Hussein Teaching Hospital in Nasiriyah city on Monday.
Frightened relatives were still searching for traces of their loved ones Tuesday morning, rummaging through the rubble of charred blankets and belongings in the burnt remains of the ward. A blackened skull of a deceased female patient from the ward was found. Many wept openly, their tears filled with anger, blaming both the provincial government of Dhi Qar, where Nasiriyah is located, and the federal government in Baghdad for years of mismanagement and neglect.
“The whole state system has collapsed, and who paid the price? The people in here. These people have paid the price,” said Haidar al-Askari, who was at the site of the fire.
At night, firefighters and rescuers — many with only flashlights and blankets used to fight small fires still smoldering in places — had frantically searched the venue in the dark. As dawn broke, bodies covered with sheets were laid on the floor outside the hospital.
Earlier, officials had said the fire was caused by an electrical short, but gave no further details. Another official said the fire broke out when an oxygen cylinder exploded. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.
— Associated Press
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, new cases of COVID-19 are up 97.4% in the last seven days in the US from the previous week, with 47 states now reporting an increase in infections. But the big increase is likely due to states that failed to report during the July 4 public holiday and closed Monday, likely artificially inflating the number of new infections.
The US is again reporting cases at a rate of nearly 1,000 per hour. That’s more than double the rate the country saw a few weeks ago, before the number of cases started to rise again.
More than 99% of deaths are now among people who have not been vaccinated, reports the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“If (patients) are sick enough to be hospitalized, they’re not vaccinated. That’s the absolute common denominator among those patients,” Dr. Howard Jarvis, an emergency medicine physician in Springfield, Missouri, told CNN Monday. “I see the regret on their faces. You know, we ask them because we want to know, have you been vaccinated? And it’s very clear that a lot of them are sorry (not being vaccinated).”
— Mike Stucka
New California state rules prohibit K-12 students from attending face-to-face classes without a mask, under new state regulations released Monday.
The rules go against the CDC’s recommendations that allow vaccinated students to attend classes without a mask. California has added stricter rules in addition to federal recommendations.
State supp. of Public Education Tony Thurmond told the Los Angeles Times that part of the reason is that those 12 and under are still ineligible to get vaccinated. Masks are a useful addition when physical distancing can be difficult in full presence.
“That makes it more sustainable that everyone can come back and that everyone can be safe,” Thurmond said. “So I see this as a common sense measure to promote safety, but give everyone the opportunity to come back.”
The California Department of Public Health tweeted monday that school guidance will be clarified with regard to mask enforcement and safety.
Contributions: The Associated Press.
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