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The rapid expansion of COVID-19 vaccinations to senior citizens across the U.S. has led to bottlenecks, system crashes and hard feelings in many states because of overwhelming demand for the shots.

Mississippi’s Health Department stopped taking new appointments the same day it began accepting them because of a “monumental surge” in requests. People had to wait hours to book vaccinations through a state website or a toll-free number Tuesday and Wednesday, and many were booted off the site because of technical problems and had to start over.

In California, counties begged for more coronavirus vaccines to reach millions of their senior citizens. Hospitals in South Carolina ran out of appointment slots within hours. Phone lines were jammed in Georgia.


Kimberly Redmond | Equities.com |

Johnson & Johnson says data from its early-stage COVID-19 vaccine trials shows that nearly all participants had immunity after just one shot, giving the pharmaceutical company confidence its immunization is just as effective as the double-dose manufactured by Moderna and Pfizer.

According to a report published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, over 90% of the 800 participants developed neutralizing antibodies 29 days after a single dose of the experimental vaccine and the levels of these antibodies stayed stable for at least 71 days after injection.


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The Trump administration is asking states to speed delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to people 65 and older and to others at high risk by no longer holding back the second dose of the two-dose shots, officials said Tuesday.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that “the administration in the states has been too narrowly focused.”

As a result, he said, the Trump administration is now asking states to vaccinate people age 65 and over and those under 65 with underlying health conditions that put them at high risk. He said the vaccine production is such that the second dose of the two-shot vaccine can be released without jeopardizing immunization for those who got the first shot.


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Public health officials sounded the alarm for months, complaining that they did not have enough support or money to get COVID-19 vaccines quickly into arms. Now the slower-than-expected start to the largest vaccination effort in U.S. history is proving them right.

As they work to ramp up the shots, state and local public health departments across the U.S. cite a variety of obstacles, most notably a lack of leadership from the federal government. Many officials worry that they are losing precious time at the height of the pandemic, and the delays could cost lives.


Reuters | Equities.com |

Moderna Inc said on Monday it would produce at least 600 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in 2021, up by 100 million doses from its previous forecast, as the United States continues to roll-out the vaccine.

The company was working to invest and hire in order to deliver up to 1 billion doses this year, the higher end of its production forecast, it said.


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California on Wednesday announced the nation’s second confirmed case of the new and apparently more contagious variant of the coronavirus, offering a strong indication that the infection is spreading more widely in the United States.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the infection found in Southern California during an online conversation with Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“I don’t think Californians should think that this is odd. It’s to be expected,” Fauci said.


Reuters | Equities.com |

Novavax Inc has begun a large late-stage study of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, the drug developer said on Monday, after delaying the trial twice due to issues in scaling up the manufacturing process.

It will enroll up to 30,000 volunteers across about 115 sites in the United States and Mexico, with two-thirds of them receiving the shot 21 days apart and the rest getting placebo, the company said.

Novavax lags behind other dru...


Reuters | Equities.com |

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sunday reported 18,909,910 cases of new coronavirus, an increase of 179,104 cases from its previous count, and said deaths had risen by 1,309 to 330,901.

The CDC reported its tally of cases of the respiratory illness known as COVID-19 as of 4 p.m. ET on Saturday versus its previous report a day earlier.

The CDC figures do not necessarily reflect cases reported by individual states.

...


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Pfizer and BioNTech will supply the U.S. with an additional 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine under a new agreement.

The drugmakers said Wednesday that they expect to deliver all the doses by July 31.

Pfizer already had a contract to supply the government with 100 million doses of its vaccine, and the latest agreement will double that.

The companies will deliver at least 70 million of the additional doses by June 30, with the remaining 30 million doses to be delivered no later than July 31. The government also has the option to acquire up to an additional 400 million doses.


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Fearful of sending her two children back to school as the coronavirus pandemic raged in Mississippi, Angela Atkins decided to give virtual learning a chance this fall.

Almost immediately, it was a struggle. Their district in Lafayette County didn’t offer live instruction to remote learners, and Atkins’ fourth grader became frustrated with doing worksheets all day and missed interacting with teachers and peers. Her seventh grader didn’t receive the extra support he did at school through his special education plan — and started getting failing grades.

After nine weeks, Atkins switched to home schooling.