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Coronavirus update: Johnson & Johnson vaccine gets a warning, study advocates for frequent testing in schools

Which divorced parent decides whether kids get vaccinated?

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

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 33,895,607 (33,855,918)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 607,523 (607,160)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 187,512,171 (186,969,976)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 4,043,963 (4,034,450)‌

FDA attaches warning to Johnson & Johnson vaccine

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is placing a warning on the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson because of a potential link to Guillain-Barré, a rare nerve disorder. The warning was added to the vaccine’s fact sheet.

The agency says it has received about 100 reports of Guillain-Barré cases among people who have received the vaccine. It’s a tiny percentage, however, since around 12.5 million people have received the Johnson & Johnson shot.

"Although the available evidence suggests an association between the Janssen (J&J) vaccine and increased risk of GBS, it is insufficient to establish a causal relationship," the FDA said in a statement, adding that “the potential benefits clearly outweigh the known and potential risks."

Study: Frequent testing can limit COVID-19 in schools

When schools reopen for the fall term, there’s a good chance that most children will not be vaccinated. A new study from Simon Fraser University suggests that frequent testing for COVID-19 can keep the virus from spreading through classrooms.

Researchers used simulations that showed that in a classroom with 25 students, anywhere from zero to 20 students might be infected after exposure. They also determined that giving all students frequent rapid-result tests identified infected people before they showed symptoms and contained the spread of the virus.

"We found that interventions that only took effect after someone developed symptoms and tested positive were too slow to prevent large clusters; only regular monitoring of asymptomatic individuals could prevent the worst outcomes," said researcher Caroline Colijn.

When parents divorce, who decides if kids will be vaccinated?

Adults make up their own minds about whether to be vaccinated, but parents decide for their children. But what happens when the parents are divorced?

Jennifer Hargrave, a divorce attorney at Hargrave Family Law in Dallas, tells WebMD that in a normal situation with two parents living in the same household, either parent can consent for the child to be vaccinated. In a divorce, one parent loses a vote.

“Once the parents separate and are living under a parenting order such as a divorce decree, the order will govern which parent has the rights to decide on a child’s medical care, including ‘invasive medical procedures such as vaccines, since these puncture the skin,” she said.

Around the nation

  • Kansas: While efforts continue to persuade more residents to get vaccinated, state health officials warn that cases of COVID-19 are increasing statewide. A spokesperson for the state health department says the Delta variant of the virus is showing up with more frequency.

  • Tennessee: You can add Tennessee to the list of southern states where the virus is spreading quickly. Health officials report that new coronavirus cases surged in Tennessee last week, rising 250.5% as 2,345 cases were reported. The previous week had 669 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.

  • Ohio: State health officials have traced a severe outbreak in the state to a church retreat that took place at Camp Chautauqua in Miamisburg from June 27 to July 3. The retreat included attendees and churches from Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, and Indiana.

  • Maine:  The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported an increase of only 18 COVID-19 cases since Friday. The additional cases bring the total since the beginning of the outbreak last year to 69,219. No new deaths were reported.

  • Oregon: Health officials warn that cases are on the rise across the state. New COVID-19 cases rose by nearly 33% last week, increasing from 900 to 1,193. Oregon ranked 27th among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis.

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