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Coronavirus update: Doctors concerned that pregnant women are avoiding vaccinations; Pfizer makes its case for a booster

Many parents eager to enroll their children in clinical trials

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Photo (c) Arhunus - Getty Images
Coronavirus‌ ‌(COVID-19)‌ ‌tally‌ ‌as‌ ‌‌compiled‌‌ ‌by‌ ‌Johns‌ ‌Hopkins‌ ‌University.‌ ‌(Previous‌ ‌numbers‌ ‌in‌ ‌parentheses.)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 41,645,545 (41,371,382)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 666,806 (664,019)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 226,643,823 (225,988,972)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 4,662,980 (4,652,516)‌

CDC: Pregnant women more likely to avoid vaccination

Pregnant women appear to be avoiding COVID-19 vaccinations. As a group, they have one of the lowest vaccination rates in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of Sept. 4, the agency said only about 25% of pregnant women ages 18 to 49 had received at least one vaccine dose.

The CDC says all women in that age group have a 61% vaccination rate. Doctors interviewed by The Texas Tribune say there’s no single reason pregnant women have avoided vaccination, although they suggest vaccine hesitancy and misinformation have played a role. Doctors say it’s a cause for concern.

“We’re just seeing a lot more of them progress [to serious illness] very quickly,” said Dr. Manisha Gandhi, chief of maternal-fetal medicine at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “This variant is much more aggressive, [and] pregnant women are getting sicker much faster.”

Pfizer makes its case for a booster shot

Scientists are not in agreement whether healthy people need a COVID-19 booster shot, but Pfizer has submitted data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration making a case for its product. The company said a third shot six months after the second restores the vaccine efficacy to 95%.

Pfizer's report, based on real-world data from Israel, said the two doses of the vaccine become less effective as time passes, with efficacy dropping to around 84% four months after the second shot.

An FDA advisory panel meets tomorrow for what may be a spirited debate about booster shots. Some scientists question the need for healthy people to receive another dose.

Many parents want their young children to get vaccinated ASAP

Many Americans refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19. But a growing number of parents are so eager to have their children get the shot that they are competing to have them enrolled in clinical trials that are administering the different vaccines to children under age 12.

The Wall Street Journal quotes Rachael DiFransico, mother of 14-month-old daughter Sybil, who was recently enrolling her child in a vaccine trial in Cleveland.

“This trial is our best shot at getting the vaccine as quickly as possible,” said DiFransico. “We want some semblance of normalcy for her.”

Around the nation

  • Wisconsin: State health officials say COVID-19 cases spiked this week, with 3,400 confirmed positive test results on both Tuesday and Wednesday. There was some good news, however, as the positivity rate fell last week to below 8%. The Wisconsin Hospital Association reports 1,054 COVID-19 patients are currently being treated in hospitals, with more than 300 in intensive care.

  • Alaska: The state’s largest hospital has shifted to crisis standards of care, prioritizing resources and treatments on the basis of the predicted outcome. “While we are doing our utmost, we are no longer able to provide the standard of care to each and every patient who needs our help,” Dr. Kristen Solana Walkinshaw, chief of staff at Providence Alaska Medical Center, wrote in a letter to Alaskans.

  • California: Officials in Los Angeles County are imposing more requirements to visit indoor public places. Consumers will need to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination at indoor bars, wineries, breweries, nightclubs, and lounges throughout the county.

  • Florida: Cases of the coronavirus have surged throughout the state over the summer, and a report from AARP, the senior advocacy group, says the state’s nursing home population has been hit especially hard. “These sadly predictable data trends are also preventable,” said AARP’s state director, Jeff Johnson. “Our most vulnerable residents deserve to be protected from this devastating disease. The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is to get vaccinated.”

  • Delaware: The Newark City Council plans to reintroduce limits on large gatherings after cases of the virus spiked at the University of Delaware. The measure was first implemented in August 2020.

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