The development of a COVID-19 vaccine specifically designed to target the omicron variant is “the most likely scenario,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on Monday, as new coronavirus cases rose to more than 700,000 per day in the US. On average, erasing the record set a year ago. .
Bourla said in the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference that Pfizer is developing a vaccine targeting omicron, in addition to an injection that includes both the older vaccine and the omicron-specific vaccine, or a “hybrid” as it described.
“Not only will we have data, but I think we will be almost ready to present and launch if it is successful and if we need the lawsuit,” he said. “And in fact, I want to tell you that we have already started to produce all the preparation at risk.”
Bourla said the drugmaker will have the quantities to launch the vaccine in March. And while he said “no one has a crystal ball,” the CEO said he believes the general population will have to receive an annual booster shot to keep COVID-19 at bay.
“We will always stay ahead of the virus with the correct vaccine update that hopefully we could give it annually, and perhaps for some groups that are high risk, more frequently,” he said at the press conference.
Meanwhile, the omicron variant appears to be causing milder disease than the delta variant.
Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that health care workers who have no symptoms can return to work after seven days with a negative test, but that isolation time can be further reduced if there are staff shortage.
Also in the news:
►10 days after the month, January 2022 is already the highest month for COVID-19 cases in the entire pandemic.
► The CDC is considering updating its mask guide to recommend that people wear N95 or KN95 masks that are used by healthcare professionals, the Washington Post reported.
📈 Today’s Numbers: The US has recorded more than 61 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 839,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global Totals: More than 310 million cases and 5.49 million deaths. More than 207 million Americans, 62.6%, are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
📘What we are reading: As Americans across the country continue to struggle to access rapid and reliable COVID-19 tests amid a national shortage, state and local authorities are warning residents to be on the lookout for Fraudulent pop-up sites that try to scam people out of money and personal information.
Chicago teachers and students they were ready to go back to the classroom this week after city leaders reached an agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union on COVID-19 safety protocols amid a nationwide surge in cases fueled by the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Teachers were expected to return to work Tuesday and students to return Wednesday for the first time in a week, city leaders said. The Chicago Teachers Union voted Monday night to suspend its labor action after the city and the union reached a tentative agreement, but the union’s 25,000 members have yet to vote on the agreement.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city and the union have committed to a metric that would automatically switch a school to remote learning if a certain number of students and staff test positive. She said she hoped the teachers would ratify the agreement.
Classes stopped last week after 73% of union members voted to temporarily switch to remote learning, and the district reacted by canceling classes entirely. Both the city and the union filed complaints with a state labor board, and a group of school families filed a lawsuit in Cook County.
– Grace Hauck and Erin Richards, USA TODAY
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday that he will send more members of the National Guard to help hospitals, which are “filling up” as the omicron variant of the coronavirus “continues to burn in the community.”
With 26% of people testing for COVID-19 now testing positive, hospitals have seen a “pretty significant increase,” Beshear said, and “if we continue (our) trajectory, all of our beds will be filled very soon. “.
With the new deployment, Kentucky will have 445 active guard members assisting hospitals across the state. They will be in 27 hospitals and 10 other facilities, such as nursing homes.
“Even if omicron is still a milder disease,” Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said Monday, “with our hospitals struggling now, the next few weeks could get worse.”
– Sarah Ladd and Olivia Krauth, Louisville Courier-Journal
Contributing: The Associated Press
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism