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                       COVID VACCINE UPDATE

                                            U.S.                                                          California

                                   CASES               DEATHS                          CASES           DEATHS        

December 2020         19,111,443            341,149                       2,120,610           24,241

 

UPDATED WEEKLY - Last updated on 24 January, 2021 3:48 pm PST, John Hopkins Corona Virus Dashboard and Worldometer

Cases Worldwide

                       John Hopkins                                                    Worldometer

  • TOTAL CASES      -  99,105,389                       TOTAL CASES         -   99,727,620

             Recovered       -  54,661,143                          Recovered           -   71,705,668

  • TOTAL DEATHS    -   2,127,206                       TOTAL DEATHS       -     2,137,827

 

Cases in the U.S.

POPULATION  -  is 332,097,997 as of 24 January 2021, 3:50 pm, based on Worldometer  latest United Nations data.

  • TOTAL CASES      -   25,109,148                      TOTAL CASES         -     25,686,946

             Recovered        -                                            Recovered           -     15,399,020

  • TOTAL DEATHS   -        418,982                      TOTAL DEATHS      -          429,287

 

Cases in California

  • TOTAL CASES       -      3,147,735                    TOTAL CASES        -      3,162,017

             Recovered        -                                            Recovered          -      1,408,746

  • TOTAL DEATHS   -           36,846                     TOTAL DEATHS      -           36,928

 

01/24/2021         Cases (WHO)                    Deaths (WHO)               Recovered (WHO)

  • Texas              -   2,255,395                          35,193                            1,408,746
  • Florida            -   1,649,449                           25,312                               833,493
  • New York        -   1,370,080                           42,388                               521,734
  • Illinois            -   1,101,879                           20,680                               886,657
  • Georgia**       -     866,911                           13,250                               381,007
  • Ohio               -     864,322                           10,711                               731,088
  • Pennsylvania   -     808,951                           20,646                               631,966
  • Arizona **      -     722,574                           12,238                                 97,960
  • N. Carolina**  -     718,812                            8,695                                579,573
  • Tennessee      -     708,717                            8,859                                654,335

                                     JANUARY BLOG

A new variant of the virus causing COVID-19,SARS-CoV-2, is thought to be driving increased transmission of the disease in parts of the UK.  The government has put into place new, stricter coronavirus restrictions or Tier 4.  People in Tier 4 areas will not be able to gather with anyone outside their household for Christmas, while those in the rest of the country can only gather on Christmas Day itself.

 

The new variant is perceived to increase transmission of COVID-19 by as much as 70% and increase the “R” or reproduction number by 0.4.  Anything above 1.0 indicates a virus is continuing to find new hosts and is expanding across a community, county or country. The variant carries 14 defining mutations, seven in the spike protein - the protein that mediates entry of the virus into human cells.  This is a relatively large number of changes compared to the many variants we have in circulation globally.

 

This variant is starting to dominate over existing versions of the virus and may be responsible for an increasing proportion of cases.  The lineage or UK variant is defined by an unusual number and combination of mutations.  One of these mutations, N501Y, has previously shown to increase binding of the virus to receptors in our cells. 

 

As for the pathogen that causes Covid-19, "even by March, there were eight major lineages that were all separating," states Susan Hopkins, a Senior lecturer in Infectious Diseases, Imperial College London,  The more critical question is where in the virus such mutations occur, and whether they will make it more infectious and/or deadly.

 

Vaccine trials test for efficacy, whether or not a vaccine protects a participant from contracting a specific disease, in this case COVID-19. Trials do not look at whether a person could still be infectious and give the disease to other people — after receiving a vaccine! 

 

"We just do not know yet the answer to (that) question," said Dr. Jaime Sepulveda, executive director of the Institute for Global Health Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco. "We don't have the clinical trials to show that people who are vaccinated are not shedding the virus," Dr. Dyan Hes, founder of Gramercy Pediatrics in New York City, told CBSN. "They might not be getting sick, but they might still be shedding if they got it."  "The clinical trials were not designed to have that as an endpoint."

 

It won’t be safe for people to stop wearing masks immediately after being vaccinated.  How long people will need to continue wearing masks?  Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi, Associate Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and Co-director of the Texas Children's Center for Vaccine Development, said that “COVID-19 guidelines will need to be followed until we meet two criteria: mass vaccination and a reduction in the curve of cases or in other words — "for a long time.”   The United States reported more than 3,000 coronavirus deaths on Wednesday, December 30, the highest single-day total, according to Johns Hopkins University.

 

One metric of vaccine effectiveness is achieving "herd immunity," occurring when mass vaccination confers widespread immunity to an infectious disease on a population, providing indirect protection.  It is estimated that 70-80% of people need to be vaccinated against the coronavirus to achieve herd immunity. 

 

Vaccine Update - Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker

By Carl Zimmer, Jonathan Corum and Sui-Lee Wee, Updated December 24, 2020

    

       PHASE 1             PHASE 2              PHASE 3              LIMITED         APPROVED

            44                       21                        18                        5                        3

       Vaccines              Vaccines               Vaccines              Vaccines               Vaccines

   testing safety         in expanded        in large scale     approved for early       approved

    and dosage           safety trials        efficacy tests         or limited use            full use

 

VACCINE UPDATES – THE TOP FOUR

  • PFIZER BIONTECH
    • Design type - mRNA
  1. Generic name  -Tozinameran 
  2. Brand name -  Comirnaty,
  • Dose - 2 doses, 21 days apart
  1. Type - Muscle injection
  • Storage - Freezer storage only at –94°F, –70°C for long-term storage; after thawing, vaccine vials can be stored at refrigerator temperatures for up to five days.
  • Efficacy - 95% efficacy roughly means a vaccinated person has a 95% reduced risk of becoming sick, compared with a similar person who wasn’t immunized.    
  • Expected dose availability Worldwide - up to 50 million doses, or enough for 25 million people, by the end of 2020.  1.3 billion doses expected in 2021.
  • Expected timeline - First doses are slated beginning on Dec. 14 to prioritized populations, following the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization on Dec. 11.

 

The mRNA vaccine triggers an immune response against the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which sits on the surface of the virus and is what the virus uses to enter cells.  The mRNA provides instructions for cells to make their own spike proteins, prompting the body to generate protective antibodies and activate T cells.  The lipids help deliver the RNA into cells and prevent it from being degraded too quickly.

 

The FDA noted four cases of Bell’s palsy, temporary facial paralysis, in the vaccine group and none in the placebo group.  A theory, the herpes simplex virus, HSV-1, may be the culprit.   It may hide deep within facial nerves in a deactivated form, activating when its human host comes under stress.  The result a viral activation leading to infection, damage to the local facial nerves, the characteristic facial drooping or muscle weakness.  

 

Serious allergic reactions, anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction occurring within seconds or minutes of exposure to an allergic substance, have been reported in the U.K. and U.S. since the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine began administering.  Many had a history of past severe allergic reactions.   The FDA has indicated people who should not receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine are those who had a serious allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine or one of its ingredients.

 

No serious safety concerns reported other than some relatively rare allergic reactions. The shots routinely elicit a fairly strong temporary reaction in many people that can include injection site pain, fatigue, headache and chills.

 

A growing number of other countries across the world have also given emergency authorization for Comirnaty, including ArgentinaChileCosta Rica, Ecuador, Kuwait, MexicoPanama, and Singapore. The European Union signed off on the vaccine on Dec. 21. Meanwhile, Bahrain, Canada and Saudi Arabia gave the vaccine full approval.

 

  • MODERNA
  • Dose - 2 doses, 28 days apart
  1. Type - Muscle injection
  • Storage - 30 days with refrigeration, 6 months at –4°F, –20°C for long-term storage.  Nov 16. 2020, Moderna announced new data showing that mRNA-1273, remains stable at 2° to 8°C, 36° to 46°F, the temperature of a standard home or medical refrigerator, for 30 days and at room temperature for up to 12 hours.  That difference in fat formulation is thought to be why the Moderna vaccine doesn’t need to be kept as cold — a feature that should make it easier to distribute. 
  • Efficacy - 94.1% efficacy in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in adults two weeks or more after receipt of the second dose, means that a vaccinated person has a 94% reduced risk of becoming sick, compared with a similar person who wasn’t immunized.
  • Expected dose availability - Approximately 20 million doses, or enough for about 10 million people, delivered to the U.S. by the end of 2020, with an expected 85 to 100 million doses ready by the end of March 2021.
  • Expected timeline - Dec. 18, the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization.  Dec. 21, first doses were administered to prioritized populations. 
  • Safety - No serious safety concerns reported. The shots, however, commonly elicit reactions in people that can include injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle or joint pain, and chills.

 

The vaccine works by triggering an immune response against the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s spike protein, which sits on the surface of the virus and is what the virus uses to enter cells.  The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine includes 30 micrograms of mRNA in each dose and Moderna’s shot has 100 micrograms.    There is no way to catch COVID-19 from this type of vaccine because the vaccine is not made of a virus.

 

How safe is the vaccine?  According to the FDA’s summary of the company’s data, the efficacy was a bit lower in adults 65 years of age or older, 86.4%, interim results did not suggest any differences in efficacy across age, race and ethnicity, or gender.   According to the FDA’s summary, responses are more likely after the second dose and tend to be more severe in younger adults compared with those 65 years of age or older.

 

There were a slightly higher number of cases of Bell’s palsy, in the vaccine group.  The FDA issued guidance with the Moderna vaccine and is advising those who have had a serious allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine or one of its ingredients to not get vaccinated.

 

Moderna had spent two years developing a vaccine for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, MERS, when it saw the genetic sequence of the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.  Scientists realized it was extremely similar to the MERS sequence and quickly shifted focus.  Moderna lost a patent dispute in July over some of their vaccine technology

 

  • Astra Zeneca, Oxford University
  • Design type – inactivated cold virus, adenovirus-vectored
  • Dose – 2 doses, month apart
  1. Type - Muscle injection
  • Storage - AstraZeneca’s vaccine can be stored at higher temperatures than Pfizer’s or Moderna’s and can be transported and stored at the same temperatures in a normal refrigerator - between about 36° and 46° F for as long as six months.  
  • Expected dose availability - 3 billion planned for 2021

 

The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is a chimpanzee adenovirus-vectored vaccine or a virus that normally infects chimpanzees and genetically modified to avoid any possible disease consequences in humans.  Adenoviruses are widespread viruses that usually trigger colds or flu-like signs.

 

The modified virus carries a portion of the Covid-19 coronavirus or the “spike protein.”  When delivered into human cells, it triggers an immune response against the spike protein, producing antibodies and memory cells that will be able to recognize the virus that causes Covid-19.  

 

New results on a possible COVID-19 vaccine from Oxford University and AstraZeneca suggest it is safe and about 70% effective, but questions remain about how well it may help protect those over 55 — a key concern. 

 

Hopes are high for the AstraZeneca vaccine because it can be shipped and stored at normal refrigerator temperatures unlike the others that require freezing until a few hours before they’re given.   The AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine is less expensive and poses fewer issues involved in distribution and administration

 

There were three serious side effects:  

  1. a neurological problem in one person given the vaccine,
  2. anemia in one from the placebo group,
  3. severe fever in a participant whose receipt of vaccine or comparison shots is not yet known.

 

All have recovered.  A mistake led some participants to get a half dose, followed by a full one, rather than two full doses as intended.

 

  • Johnson and Johnson
  • Design typeAd26.COV2.S
  • Dose – 1 dose.  To date, Johnson & Johnson is in front in the running to deliver a single-dose vaccine, a game-changer, from a vaccine perspective.  Clinical trial results are expected to be available by the end of January.
  • Type - Muscle injection
  • Storage - Up to two years frozen at –4° F, –20° C, and up to three months refrigerated at 36–46° F (2–8° C).
  • Expected dose availability 100 million doses if the vaccine is approved

 

PfizerBioNTech and Moderna vaccines, single-stranded RNA, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine makes use of double-stranded DNA.  DNA is just not as fragile as RNA, and the adenovirus’s powerful protein coat helps shield the genetic materials inside.  Adenoviruses are widespread viruses that usually trigger colds or flu-like signs.  The Johnson & Johnson staff used a modified adenovirus that may enter cells however can’t replicate inside them or trigger sickness.

 

Nov. 16, Johnson & Johnson announced that they were also launching a second Phase 3 trial to observe the effects of two doses of their vaccine, instead of just one.

 

The study of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine has been paused due to an unexplained illness in a study participant.  The Johnson & Johnson trial is the biggest trial of the vaccine, 60,000 people.  Within that trial you'd expect pauses," the drug maker said, “there is a significant distinction between a ‘study pause’ and a ‘regulatory hold’ on a clinical trial.”

 

The jury’s still out on how long people might remain immune to Covid-19 naturally.  Studies have found robust immunity months later while others have found immune responses already beginning to drop off after a few weeks.  The preliminary data suggests that Covid-19 reinfections are caused by different strains of the virus.

 

Pfizer Criticizes Sudden Change in Coronavirus Vaccine Dosing Regime in the U.K.

The gap between the first and booster doses of Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech's (NASDAQ:BNTX) coronavirus vaccine has been widened substantially in the U.K. -- and Pfizer is not pleased! 

 

The U.K.'s joint committee on vaccination and immunization, an advisory body for government healthcare agencies, approved new dosing guidelines for both Pfizer/BioNTech's BNT162b2 and AZD1222 from AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.  The new guidelines state that both vaccines' two requisite shots can be administered as much as three months apart.

 

The key aim of the new recommendation is to get as many people inoculated as possible with the initial shot.  Research indicates that partial protection against the coronavirus can start as soon as 12 days after the first jab.   The safety and efficacy of the vaccine has not been evaluated on different dosing schedules, as the majority of trial participants received the second dose within the window specified in the study design."  Developers of the vaccine have said that quick deployment will help reduce hospitalizations from COVID-19 as daily cases topped 50,000. 

 

What to do to protect yourself till vaccinated?  Basically the same waiting for the vaccine!

If you have a serious underlying medical condition:

 

  • Wear a cloth mask or face protection.
  • Stay home if possible.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or clean them with an alcohol-based sanitizer.  This kills viruses on your hands.
  • Practice social distancing - you can have and spread the virus without knowing it.  If you do have to go out, stay at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Don’t touch your face - Coronaviruses can live on surfaces from minutes to several hours dependent on the surface.  If they get on your hands and you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth, they can get into your body.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched services.
  • Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying condition or if you are sick.

 

For more information on steps you can take to protect yourself, see CDC’s How to Protect Yourself

 

The Immune System

White blood cells are the first line of defense!  The immune system fights off disease causing microorganisms and engineers the healing process.  The immune system is vital to fighting every assault on the body!  Understanding the role the immune systems plays in overall health will provide you the ability to take responsibility for your own health.  The responsibility of the immune system is to learn and identify those things that naturally belong in the body and those foreign or harmful.    Read the June issue of the blog for a list of immune boosters.

 

Do You Have Legal Protections?   NO!

If you experience severe side effects after getting a Covid vaccine, lawyers tell CNBC there is basically no one to blame in a U.S. court of law.  The federal government has granted companies like Pfizer and Moderna immunity from liability if something unintentionally goes wrong with their vaccines.

 

“It is very rare for a blanket immunity law to be passed,” said Rogge Dunn, a Dallas labor and employment attorney. “Pharmaceutical companies typically aren’t offered much liability protection under the law.”

You also can’t sue the Food and Drug Administration for authorizing a vaccine for emergency use, nor can you hold your employer accountable if they mandate inoculation as a condition of employment.

 

In February, Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar, invoked the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act.  The law empowers the HHS secretary to provide legal protection to companies making or distributing critical medical supplies, such as vaccines and treatments, unless there’s “willful misconduct” by the company The protection lasts until 2024.

 

Stay safe.  Mask.  Social distance.  Frequent hand washing.  Avoid crowds.

 

ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR PERSONAL HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL

 

  • Lucy van Dorp, The Conversation, Mon, December 21, 2020, 11:38 AM PST, Dado Ruvic/Reuters
  • Eric Volkman, (TMFVolkman), The Motley Fool, Dec 31, 2020 at 7:37PM
  • Alistair Smout, Reuters, Wed, December 30, 2020, 11:18 AM PST

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