Amid reports of vaccine shortages occurring around the world, a new study (pdf) suggests that people who have already had COVID-19 should get only one shot of the mRNA vaccine to avoid possible unnecessary adverse reactions and free up supplies for those who need it more.
The study, which hasn’t been peer-reviewed, evaluated vaccine reactions after receiving the first dose in 231 individuals—83 with a past infection of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus and 148 who had never had an infection.
Researchers found that both groups equally reported experiencing pain, swelling, and redness at the injection site at the time of vaccination, which improved in a couple of days. However, people with a prior infection experienced more severe systemic reactions—fever, headache, chills, muscle or joint pain, and fatigue—than those who had never been infected.
Feds Misspent $500 Million Meant for Vaccines, Public Health Emergencies
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials spent more than $500 million Congress meant for developing vaccines on office moving expenses, administrative costs, news media subscriptions, lawyers, and salaries.
Beginning in 2009 under President Barack Obama and continuing through 2019, HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) misused funds Congress appropriated for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) so frequently that it became known informally as the “Bank of BARDA,” according to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.
Mexico Sees Near-Record Daily Deaths
Mexico reported a near-record 1,707 confirmed deaths from the CCP virus on Wednesday, as the country runs scarce on vaccines.
The Health Department reported Mexico’s COVID-19 deaths now total 161,240 and confirmed infections rose by 12,153 to nearly 1.89 million. Estimates based on excess-death statistics suggest the real death toll is over 195,000.
Australian Open Players Cleared
All 507 Australian Open players and staff who stayed at a quarantine hotel where a worker contracted the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly referred to as the novel coronavirus, have tested negative and been cleared to participate in the Grand Slam, tournament director Craig Tiley said on Friday.
Health officials said on Wednesday that a worker at the Grand Hyatt hotel had contracted the virus, prompting the testing and quarantining of 160 players, as well as coaches and Australian Open officials. Warm-up matches at Melbourne Park were called off on Thursday but resumed on Friday.
Experts Warn Against Sharing Vaccination Cards on Social Media
Officials and experts are warning against sharing CCP virus vaccination cards on social media, saying it may lead to identity theft.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said Wednesday that doing so gives scammers the opportunity to steal identities or hack financial accounts, because of the information it contains. Moody added that photos of the vaccination cards may also aid scammers in creating counterfeit COVID-19 vaccine documents that appear authentic.
Former CDC Director Joins Chorus Supporting School Reopenings
A former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday said he supports schools reopening if proper measures are put into place, joining a chorus of current and former officials from the public health agency.
Schools in all 50 states have reopened since the nationwide shutdown in spring 2020 but a number remain closed, primarily because of resistance from teachers unions.
UK Variant Found in Kansas
The Kansas health department says a more contagious variant of the CCP virus first identified in Great Britain has arrived in the state.
The health department reported Wednesday evening that a case of the variant had been identified in Ellis County in northwestern Kansas. The department said officials are conducting an investigation to determine how the patient contracted the virus and whether other people were exposed. It did not release details about the patient.
Most Ontario Schools Return to In-Class Learning
Canada’s most populous province of Ontario will reopen all schools for in-class learning this month despite the presence of new COVID-19 variants and a high number of infections in Toronto and its suburbs.
The majority of schools will reopen Monday while those in Toronto and its suburbs will resume in-person learning on Feb 16. There are no plans to vaccinate teachers.
A US Company’s Risky Effort to Build a New Mask Factory
Dan Izhaky is betting $4 million that the pandemic will change what Americans are willing to pay for high-quality face masks from his new factory here in this suburb of Los Angeles.
Izhaky is president of United Safety Technology Inc, a startup that is poised to open a new N95 mask factory possibly within weeks. While the plant is still being fitted with machinery, his goal is to make 1 million masks a day when it’s up and running. Izhaky said if they get approval from regulators soon, the plant could be shipping that amount by the end of the second quarter.
Meiling Lee, Isabel van Brugen, Zachary Stieber, Reuters, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.