The Tennessee Department of Health will halt all adolescent vaccine outreach – not just for coronavirus, but all diseases – amid pressure from Republican state lawmakers, according to an internal report and agency emails obtained by the Tennessean. If the health department must issue any information about vaccines, staff are instructed to strip the agency logo off the documents.
The health department will also stop all COVID-19 vaccine events on school property, despite holding at least one such event this month. The decisions to end vaccine outreach and school events come directly from Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey, the internal report states.
Additionally, the health department will take steps to ensure it no longer sends postcards or other notices reminding teenagers to get their second dose of the coronavirus vaccines. Postcards will still be sent to adults, but teens will be excluded from the mailing list so the postcards are not “potentially interpreted as solicitation to minors,” the report states.
These changes to Tennessee’s vaccination strategy, detailed in an COVID-19 report distributed to health department staff on Friday, then reiterated in a mass email on Monday, illustrate how the state government continues to dial back efforts to vaccinate minors against coronavirus. This state's approach to vaccinations will not only lessen efforts to inoculate young people against coronavirus, it could also hamper the capacity to vaccinate adults and protect children from other infectious diseases.
The American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday recommended that all children over the age of 2 wear masks when returning to school this year, regardless of vaccination status.
The AAP, which said its important for children to return to in-person learning this year, recommends that school staff also wear masks. The AAP is calling the new guidance a "layered approach."
“We need to prioritize getting children back into schools alongside their friends and their teachers — and we all play a role in making sure it happens safely,” said Sonja O’Leary, chair of the AAP Council on School Health. "Combining layers of protection that include vaccinations, masking and clean hands hygiene will make in-person learning safe and possible for everyone.”
The AAP said universal masking is necessary because much of the student population is not vaccinated, and it's hard for schools to determine who is as new variants emerge that might spread more easily among children.
The Fox Corporation has instituted a strict COVID-19 policy that includes a vaccine passport, allowing only the company's fully-vaccinated employees to work in their offices without wearing a mask or social distancing....
The Intercept's Ryan Grim first reported on Monday that Fox began asking its employees to attest to their own vaccination status in May in order to receive a "FOX Clear Pass." Employees who don't inform the company that they've been fully vaccinated — including the dates of their shots and type of immunization — are required to fill out a daily health screening before coming into the office, wear masks, and maintain physical distance from others in the office.
All told, Israeli government data show the Pfizer vaccine is indeed significantly less effective at preventing coronavirus cases of the delta variant (64 percent) than it was for previous variants (95 percent). It’s also significantly less effective at preventing symptomatic cases (64 percent vs. 97 percent). But it performs much more similarly when it comes to preventing serious cases and hospitalization (93 percent vs. 97.5 percent).
In other words, the delta variant means the virus will probably continue to spread, even among vaccinated people and even in a strongly vaccinated country such as Israel, because the vaccines don’t protect from transmission or symptomatic cases nearly as well. But that doesn’t mean the vaccines don’t work, especially when it comes to preventing the worst of the disease.
And beyond that, just because a variant emerges that renders the vaccines less effective doesn’t mean those vaccines weren’t effective in the first place; it means this is a fast-changing pandemic that will require nimble scientists. Israel is as good an example of vaccine efficacy as just about anywhere in the world.
The delta Covid variant is one of the most infectious respiratory diseases ever seen by scientists, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.
The variant is highly contagious, largely because people infected with the delta strain can carry up to 1,000 times more virus in their nasal passages than those infected with the original strain, according to new data.
“The delta variant is more aggressive and much more transmissible than previously circulating strains,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told reporters at a briefing Thursday. “It is one of the most infectious respiratory viruses we know of, and that I have seen in my 20-year career.”
Pfizer Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine provided a strong shield against hospitalization and more severe disease in cases caused by the contagious delta variant in Israel in recent weeks, even though it was just 39% effective in preventing infections, according to the country’s health ministry.
The vaccine, developed with BioNTech SE, provided 88% protection against hospitalization and 91% against severe illness for an unspecified number of people studied between June 20 and July 17, according to a report Thursday from the health ministry.
The data could be skewed because of different ways of testing vaccinated groups of people versus those who hadn’t been inoculated, according to the report.
“The heavily skewed exposure patterns in the recent outbreak in Israel, which are limited to specific population sectors and localities,” means the analysis may not be able to take all factors into account, said Ran Balicer, chairman of Israel’s national expert advisory team on Covid-19 response. “We are trying to complement this research approach with additional ones, taking additional personal characteristics into account. But this takes time and larger case numbers.”
Pfizer and BioNTech are confident in the protection and safety of the two-dose vaccine, Pfizer said in a statement on Friday. BioNTech is conducting a review of study data on the vaccine, a spokeswoman said.
Analysis of the companies’ more than 43,000-person clinical trial shows that effectiveness against symptomatic infection dips over time, from 95% in the first two months to the low- to mid-80% range four to six months after the second dose, Pfizer said.
As the NFL approaches the 2021 season, the league informed clubs that it would not extend the season to accommodate a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players that causes a game cancellation.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Thursday that the NFL sent a memo to its clubs stating that if a game cannot be rescheduled during the 18-week schedule due to a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players, the team with the outbreak will forfeit and be credited with a loss, per sources informed of the situation.
In addition, players on both teams will not be paid for the lost contest, and the team responsible for the cancelled game due to unvaccinated players will cover financial losses and be subject to potential discipline from the Commissioner's office.