On Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for the second vaccine produced by Moderna.
What We Know:
- Just last week, the FDA endorsed the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine as the first for emergency use in the United States. Health care workers and nursing home employees were among the first to receive doses of the vaccine on Monday.
- Moderna, a biotechnology company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, developed the second authorized vaccine in partnership with Dr. Anthony S. Fauci’s agency at the National Institutes of Health. In an interview, Dr. Fauci stated the emergence of the two vaccines was “a historic moment”.
- FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D said, “With the availability of two vaccines now for the prevention of COVID-19, the FDA has taken another crucial step in the fight against this global pandemic that is causing vast numbers of hospitalizations and deaths in the United States each day.” Although both vaccines were permitted under an accelerated timeframe, Hahn assures the FDA adhered to the rigorous measures for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality that are all necessary to establish emergency use authorization.
- Moderna’s vaccine, also known as mRNA-1273, holds messenger RNA which carries genetic code from DNA. The vaccine has a small portion of the coronavirus’ RNA that tells the body to create the virus’ spike protein. Once the vaccine enters the body, it makes copies of the spike protein triggering the immune system to teach itself to respond defensively, therefore building the immune system’s counter against Covid-19.
- Unlike Pfizer’s vaccine, Moderna’s vaccine is only for individuals 18 years and older. Yet similar to Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine, Moderna’s vaccination also requires two injections, but instead of a 21-day interval, Moderna doses are 28 days apart.
- In a clinical trial, mRNA-1273 had an efficacy rate of 94.1% in preventing symptomatic coronavirus infection within two weeks following the second dosage. Pfizer’s trials showed a 95% efficacy rate. Currently, the amount of time the Moderna vaccine will grant protection from the virus cannot be determined with the given data. There is also no proof that it will stop the transmission of Covid-19 between people.
- By next week, the federal government plans to allocate nearly 5.9 million doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine to 64 major cities, states, and territories across the United States. This will be done with the funding of Operation Warp Speed, a program that develops and distributes vaccines as fast as possible. The Massachusetts-based biotech company expects to make 20 million doses, primarily for frontline healthcare workers and nursing home residents, by the end of the month and at least a billion doses in 2021.
Dr. Fauci believes the presence of these vaccinations in under a year “is a triumph multiyear investment in biomedical research.” He says, “this is an example of government working. It worked really well.”
U.S. Exceeds 500,000 Deaths From the Coronavirus
On Monday, February 22, 2021, President Biden and Vice President Harris stood outside the White House with a candlelight vigil and mourned 500,00 American deaths caused by the Coronavirus since February 2020.
What We Know:
- More Americans have died from the Coronavirus than in wars in Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Specifically, black and Hispanic/ Latino death rates are six times higher than for Caucasian people. Since super spreading events such as clubs, venues, and restaurants were closed, people started having indoor events or large gatherings, which made spreading the coronavirus more easily. It takes only one person to contact the coronavirus, and then they can transmit it to everybody in the room without knowing it.
- The coronavirus has killed more than 2,462,000 people worldwide, according to NBC News.
- California remains on top with 187,000 new cases, but that is a 30 percent decrease from the previous weeks. Texas is second with approximately 127,000 new positive cases, and those numbers showed a 15 percent decrease. In third is New York, with 90,000 new cases and a 12 percent decrease occurred.
- A few important things start to decrease, such as hospitalization and air population because fewer people are outside or traveling. This is happening because more people are getting the vaccine, the busiest holiday is over, and more people are starting to follow safety protocols.
Even though the numbers are decreasing in certain areas, everybody needs to continue the safety protocols such as wearing masks, avoiding indoor events, especially ones with crowds, and maintain a distance of 6 feet apart at all times.
Michigan Woman Dies After Receiving COVID-Infected Lungs for Transplant
Michigan woman contracted Covid-19 and died two months after receiving a double lung transplant.
What We Know:
- The unnamed woman from Michigan tested negative and showed no symptoms of Covid-19 before her surgery. The woman contracted Covid from the infected lungs of a woman who was declared brain dead after a car accident. After receiving her new set of lungs, she had concerning symptoms of Covid, such as difficulty breathing, a high fever, and her blood pressure fell.
- The doctors realized that the virus took a primarily respiratory route because signs showed lung infection, and when her symptoms got worse, she went into septic shock and had heart function problems. Doctors tested her for Covid-19 and the samples from her new lungs came back positive, which led doctors back to retrieve even more specimens from the transplant donor.
- The test showed that a swab from the transplant donor’s nose and throat retrieved 48 hours later came back negative. The donor’s family said she had no recent travel history or been around anybody with Covid-19 and was not displaying any signs of Covid. It was not until the doctors received a specimen of fluid from the donor’s throat, that they received a positive Covid-19 result. Four days later, the surgeon fell ill after the surgery and tested positive for Covid.
- The test shows that the recipient and surgeon were both infected by the donor, the surgeon later recovered. It’s the only confirmed case out of almost 40,000 transplants in 2020, according to health.com. Now, medical professionals in the transporting department must take extra precautionary measures to avoid the risk of bidirectional viral transmission between patient and surgeon, such as wearing an N95 mask and eye protection during surgeries, even in instances where donors tested negative.
Before donors donate organs, they must take a Covid test, get checked for possible symptoms, and have their exposure history checked. If a donor has been in a high-risk area, the medical team will inform the donor that they must wait 14-28 days after returning. Living donors are asked not to travel 14 days before donation and to monitor their symptoms.
Fauci Urges Americans To Take Any Vaccine Available To Them When Eligible
Dr. Anthony Fauci urges the American Public to take whichever vaccine is most accessible to them.
What We Know:
- Dr. Fauci, Director of the U.S National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said Americans should not compare the vaccines’ statistics. He believes that Americans should take any of the approved three vaccines approved to help combat the spread of the Virus. “All three of them are really quite good, and people should take the one that’s most available to them,” said Fauci in an interview on NBC’s Meet The Press.
- The only vaccines currently available as of late are the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson. Fauci stated that the vaccines all differ in dosage, and the vaccines were all tested under different circumstances. One example is that Johnson and Johnson is a one-shot dosage, while Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna require two-shots.
- According to Fauci, public health officials have recently been very concerned about the virus’s variants that could dodge the vaccines. One variant is B.1.351, which is spreading like wildfire in South Africa. This also serves as a reason why Fauci advises that Americans shouldn’t be comparing the efficacy rates of the virus. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine has a 72% efficacy rate in the U.S, compared to 64% in South Africa.
- Fauci also noted on Meet The Press that the United States has started to see a decline in the number of infections due to COVID and has seen an increase in the number of vaccinations. Fauci urges that we still must stay resilient in combating the virus and that we are nowhere close to lifting restrictions because there is a chance that lifting restrictions will cause another spike.
We are approaching the anniversary of the COVID-19 being declared a National Emergency. However, this news from Fauci might be enough to give the country hope of returning to what we deem as “normal.”
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