Monday, June 27

Vaccination efforts would continue for years in the US due to covid-19 variants

(CNN) — Covid-19 infections may be declining, but the urgency to continue vaccinating the US population is far from over, an expert said.

“We will need to have a highly vaccinated population for years, if not longer. This virus will be circulating in the world for a long time, ”said Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the Vaccine Advisory Committee of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

As the virus spread around the world, it mutated into more transmissible strains, including the alpha and delta variants. Although vaccines have been shown to be effective against these variants, experts caution that getting ahead of them with widespread immunization is critical.

If the virus continues to spread, it has a higher chance of generating variants that are even more contagious, Offit said.

“When a virus is more contagious, it is necessary that a greater percentage of the population be protected, immunized, if you want to stop the spread,” he added.

As of Monday, 52.5% of Americans had received at least one dose of vaccine, but only 43.7% were fully vaccinated, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (CDC).

By winter, he said, when the virus is likely to re-emerge, the US will need to get the number of people fully vaccinated by up to 80% or more to protect the population.

The good news, Offit said, is that although the spread of more contagious variants may be less inhibited by vaccines, the level of protection still appears to be high.

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“I think the vaccines will keep you out of the hospital, keep you out of the ICU and prevent you from dying,” Offit said.

Immune protection can be extended to a year after infection, study finds

Fortunately, people who have been infected with COVID-19 seem to maintain their immune response for at least a year, according to a study published in the journal. Nature.

The researchers reported that the memory B cells of the human immune system continue to generate protection against COVID-19 for at least a year.

Studies have shown that people who have recovered from coronavirus infections may be vulnerable to new variants of the virus, but also that vaccines, especially mRNA vaccines like those made by Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna, generate a strong response that protects people against those variants.

An additional booster with a vaccine can extend the protection recovered patients have, the researchers said.

“Data suggest that immunity in convalescent people will be very long-lasting and that convalescent people receiving available mRNA vaccines will produce antibodies and memory B cells that should protect against circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants,” wrote the researchers. researchers.

“The antibodies produced by memory cells evolved to greater amplitude and potency,” molecular immunologist Michel Nussenzweig of Rockefeller University, who worked on the study, told CNN.

Nussenzweig said the research should encourage people who previously had COVID-19 to get vaccinated if they haven’t already. “Yes, they should get vaccinated,” he said, “and if they do they should be bulletproof for SARS-CoV-2.”

The first state to be completely confined reopens

California was the first state to issue a confinement order due to coronavirus concerns. And now, 15 months later, it is fully reopening.

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Starting Tuesday, capacity limitations and social distancing requirements will be removed for all businesses. Although large events, such as concerts, conventions, and sports, will still have some restrictions, including vaccination verification requirements for those attending indoor events with 5,000 or more people and recommendations for outdoor events with more than 10,000 attendees.

California has administered nearly 40 million vaccines and about 72% of the state’s population is at least partially vaccinated, Governor Gavin Newsom said Monday. About 47% of the state’s residents are fully vaccinated.

There won’t be a vaccine passport, but Newsom plans to announce an electronic version of the state’s vaccine cards later this week.

California has invested an impressive $ 116.5 million in incentives, offering gift cards and cash prizes. On Tuesday, state officials will hold a drawing in which 10 people who have been vaccinated will win a grand prize of $ 1.5 million each.

Unvaccinated people will be required to cover their faces in closed public places, but those who are vaccinated can go without a mask in most situations.

Masks will remain mandatory in certain places, including on public transport and indoors in hospitals and prisons.

Companies can require the use of masks at their discretion, and Cal / OSHA is prepared to adopt new rules for face covering in the workplace, but because that is not expected until the end of June, Newsom indicated that it will sign a decree later this week “to clear up any ambiguity.”

CNN’s Holly Yan, Virginia Langmaid, and Cheri Mossburg contributed to this report.

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