Coronavirus update: Is the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ changing?

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A drug company says its antibody cocktail can treat the Omicron variant

Coronavirus (COVID-19) ‌tally‌ ‌as‌ ‌‌compiled‌‌ ‌by‌ ‌Johns‌ ‌Hopkins‌ ‌University.‌ ‌(Previous‌ ‌numbers‌ ‌in‌ ‌parentheses.)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 49,314,743 (49,101,715)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 790,118 (788,436)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 266,815,426 (266,145,318)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 5,267,917 (5,259,488)‌

Is the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ changing?

Since the vaccine rollout early this year, the definition of “fully vaccinated” has been consistent: two shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. But with the government greatly expanding eligibility for booster shots, will “full vaccinated” come to mean having a booster?

“The definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ has not changed,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “We are absolutely encouraging those who are eligible for a boost six months after those mRNA doses to get your boost. But we are not changing the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ right now.” 

That said, the current definition is not set in stone, especially since the new Omicron variant is making its way across the country. “As that science evolves, we will look at whether we need to update our definition of ‘fully vaccinated,’” Walensky said.

Drug company says its drug works against Omicron

There is still more that is unknown about the Omicron variant than is known, but drug giant GlaxoSmithKline reports that an antibody drug called sotrovimab, produced in conjunction with Vir Biotechnology Inc., showed effectiveness against it in laboratory studies.

“We are confident that sotrovimab will continue to provide significant benefit for the early treatment of patients hoping to avoid the most severe consequences of Covid-19,” said George Scangos, CEO of Vir Biotechnology. 

He said tests showed that sotrovimab was slightly weakened by the Omicron variant but that the difference wasn’t significant.

Pandemic has changed consumer shopping trends

It’s well documented how consumers have shifted more of their purchases to online channels during the pandemic, but a new report from 1WorldSync shows just how pervasive the shift has been. The report finds that the line between online and in-store shopping has blurred.

For example, 87% of consumers adopted e-commerce for items they primarily or exclusively purchased in-store prior to the pandemic. Clothing, groceries, and health and personal care items make up the leading categories. 

The data is not encouraging for stores without a robust online channel. About 38% of the consumers in the survey said the change is likely to be permanent. Just over half said they will continue occasional online purchases of items they once purchased exclusively in a brick-and-mortar store.

Around the nation

  • Wisconsin: The Green Bay Packers have placed backup quarterback Jordan Love on the reserve/COVID-19 list after he tested positive for the virus. Love, who is fully vaccinated, will be required to isolate but is eligible to rejoin the team if he remains symptom-free.

  • Washington: When the pandemic stuck, Washington implemented some of the most strict mitigation measures of any state. A new report by the Georgia Center for Opportunity (GCO) found that the crackdown had a negative impact in terms of job losses and recovery from those losses without the benefit of reducing hospitalizations.

  • Florida: After dealing with a surge in COVID-19 cases during the late summer, cases and hospitalizations have fallen across the state, with one exception. Federal health officials report that Orange County -- the Orlando area -- is the only county in the state where cases are on the rise.

  • Kentucky: Cases of the coronavirus are surging across the state once again. Health officials report cases in Henderson County are up 142%. Statewide, cases have risen 108% in the last week. That compares to a 67% jump in cases nationwide.

  • Illinois: Vaccinations continue to be a contentious, partisan issue. Democratic State Rep. Jonathon Carroll has introduced legislation that would require unvaccinated residents to pay for their own COVID-19 treatment. “If you get life insurance and you’re a smoker, you pay a higher premium than those who don’t,” he reasoned.

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