They also play a part in reaching community immunity. “We really need to add another group of children to be vaccinated to come across that threshold to reach herd immunity,” said Dr. Claire Boogaard, a pediatrician and medical director of the Covid-19 vaccine program at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC.
“More concerning were the number of adolescents admitted to the hospital who required treatment in the intensive care unit with mechanical ventilation,” Walensky said. “It is these findings within this publication — one that demonstrates the level of severe disease, even among youth, that are preventable — that force us to redouble our motivation to get our adolescents and young adults vaccinated.”
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED.
Q: Some parents are hearing on social media that the vaccine might have a long-term impact on fertility. How can a parent be sure that the Covid-19 vaccine won’t affect their child’s development?
The Pfizer vaccine uses mRNA — it enters the cell and serves as a template for development of the spike protein in the human cell — which then can stimulate antibody development, she said. “The mRNA is made out of nucleic acids, which are basically the building blocks of all our cells, and these aren’t incorporated into anything. They just fall apart and are eliminated. Bottom line: I think that’s ridiculous,” she added.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY
Biden administration plans to share vaccines abroad as US vaccination campaign slows
Third wave is threatening Africa, warns WHO
A rise in cases in many parts of Africa could lead to a third wave, the WHO warned Thursday, as the pandemic has trended upwards in 14 countries on the continent in the past week alone, including South Africa, Uganda, Angola and Namibia.
Many African nations have been hampered by a lack of access to Covid-19 vaccines, and their health infrastructure is ill-equipped to handle a surge, the WHO warned. Nearly 20 African countries have used up three-quarters of their shots, and of the 50 African countries to receive vaccines, only 2% of their populations have received a first dose.
“The threat of a third wave in Africa is real and rising. Our priority is clear — it’s crucial that we swiftly get vaccines into the arms of Africans at high risk of falling seriously ill and dying of Covid-19,” Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa, said in a statement.
Variant identified in India now Britain’s most dominant strain
The “Delta” coronavirus variant, first identified in India, is now the dominant strain in the UK, Public Health England (PHE) said Thursday, adding that early evidence suggests it may be more transmissible and could cause an increased risk of hospitalization.
Speaking to the BBC, leading epidemiologist Neil Ferguson said the variant may be around 60% more transmissible than variant first identified in the UK. He added that while there is an increased risk of hospitalization with the new variant, the bulk of Covid-19 patients currently in hospitals are unvaccinated.
The news raises questions about the planned lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in England later this month. UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock told CNN Thursday the final decision has yet to be made. “We have said that the remaining restrictions will not be lifted before 21 June and we’ll set out over the next couple of weeks whether the data will justify that,” Hancock said.
ON OUR RADAR
- A coalition of realtor groups asked the Supreme Court to block the CDC’s eviction moratorium, which prevents landlords from evicting tenants who fail to pay rent during the pandemic.
- When Covid-19 brought her business to a halt, this chef tackled food insecurity with a free meal program. Since March 2020, she has cooked healthy meals and made daily deliveries to tens of thousands of families in need.
- British travelers are disappointed after Portugal was cut from the UK’s “green list” of countries where quarantine-free travel is permitted.
- Massive turnover rates. Dissatisfaction with pay. Demanding bosses. Some workers who helped Amazon take advantage of the business opportunity the pandemic brought say they aren’t pleased.