Booster shots exacerbate global vaccine inequity

At the end of last week’s post on booster shots, I wrote that these additional doses take up airtime in expert discussions and in the media, distracting from discussions of what it will take to vaccinate the world. But these shots do more harm than just taking over the media cycle. When the U.S. and other wealthy nations decide to give many residents third doses, they jump the vaccine supply line again—leaving low-income nations to wait even longer for first doses.

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National numbers, October 24

Nationwide, COVID-19 cases continue to go down—slowly but surely. We’re now seeing roughly 70,000 new cases a day, comparable to case counts when the Delta surge started to really pick up at the end of July. It’s worth noting, though, that this is still higher than the peaks of both the spring and summer 2020 surges.

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Booster shots: What we’ve learned—and what we still don’t know

This week, the FDA’s vaccine advisory committee had a two-day meeting to discuss booster shots for Moderna’s and Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccines. From the outside, these meetings may have appeared fairly straightforward: the committee voted unanimously to recommend booster shots for both vaccines. But in fact, the discussions on both days were wide-reaching and full of questions, touching on the many continued gaps in our knowledge about the need for additional vaccine doses.

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National numbers, October 17

COVID-19 cases continue to drop across the U.S., slowly but surely. We’re now reporting about 85,000 new cases a day, down from 97,000 new cases a day last week, down from 108,000 new cases a day the week before last.

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COVID source callout: Booster shot trends

Since August 13, the CDC’s dashboard says, about 7.3 million Americans have received a third dose. These booster shots are obfuscating the country’s vaccination trends. Over one million people have been vaccinated every day for the past week, but roughly half of those people were getting their booster shots.

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New study demonstrates potential for measuring breakthrough risk

Adults with substance use disorders have an increased risk of breakthrough cases, according to a new study published this week in the journal World Psychiatry. Though the chances of a COVID-19 case after vaccination were very low in this group, these patients’ odds of a breakthrough case were about twice as high as the odds for adults without substance use disorders, researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found.

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National numbers, October 10

At the national level, COVID-19 cases continue to go down. The U.S. is now seeing fewer than 100,000 new cases a day, and about 62,000 Americans are currently hospitalized with COVID-19—a 14% drop from last week. 

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