Vaccine advisory panel will meet to discuss J&J boosters: Live COVID-19 updates

Vaccine advisory panel will meet to discuss J&J
boosters: Live COVID-19 updates 1

Members of a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel are expected to meet again Friday to discuss a host of issues surrounding COVID-19 vaccines, including whether “mix-and-match” doses should be approved.

The panel, which on Thursday endorsed a low-dose Moderna booster for certain populations, will consider a booster shot of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson.

It’s unclear whether the committee will have sufficient data to approve the J&J extra dose. About 8,000 people were studied after receiving a second dose two months after their first, and only 17 were tracked after getting a second shot at six months. 

The panel will also consider whether people who initially got a J&J one-dose shot should receive an extra dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna shots. A National Institutes of Health study published this week suggested that the best booster for J&J recipients may be from one of the other two manufacturers. The study found a J&J shot followed by a booster from another manufacturer provided more protection than two doses of J&J.

An extra dose of Pfizer for older adults, adults with underlying conditions and those who work in high-risk environments jas already been approved. According to the CDC, 5.3% of American adults have received a booster dose of their COVID vaccine. 

Also in the news:

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►More than 100 workers at Los Alamos National Laboratory, the nuclear lab where the atomic bomb was created, are suing over a vaccine mandate that gives them until Friday to be vaccinated or fired. 

►Finnish President Sauli Niinsto’s office says he is self-isolating as a precaution after he may have been exposed to coronavirus following a meeting with a Latvian colleague in Sweden.

►Anyone age 12 and older will have to provide either proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative test to attend large events in Washington state starting Nov. 15.

►Alaska state Sen. Lora Reinbold, who was banned from Alaska Airlines flights after allegedly refusing to comply with the airline’s policies on face masks, has tested positive for COVID-19.  

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 44.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 721,500 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 239.5 million cases and 4.8 million deaths. More than 188.2 million Americans — 56.7% of the population — are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

📘 What we’re reading: Amid the pandemic, some college football coaches cashed in despite COVID-related cutbacks. Doing so, created a “bewildering” dissonance between “spending as usual” and “poormouthing and penny-pinching” since the start of the pandemic, said Brian Goff, economics professor at Western Kentucky.

Keep refreshing this page for the latest news. Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY’s Coronavirus Watch newsletter to receive updates directly to your inbox and join our Facebook group.

Florida governor vows to challenge Biden’s COVID vaccine mandate

Florida will challenge the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate in federal court, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday, vowing that the pending requirement on businesses and hospitals “will go down.”

President Joe Biden’s mandate has yet to be released but is expected this month. It would apply to hospitals that treat Medicare and Medicaid patients and employers with 100 or more employees.

Some Florida hospitals already have COVID-19 vaccine requirements in anticipation of the coming federal rule.

“We are going to contest that immediately,” DeSantis said Thursday at a Florida Department of Health office, where he was linking his promotion of monoclonal antibody treatments to the recent drop of COVID hospitalizations statewide. “And I think that the mandate is going to lose in court. I also think that we have a responsibility at the state level to do whatever we need to do to protect Floridians from mandates that could result in them losing their jobs.”

DeSantis, who has been steadfast in his opposition to vaccine requirements, also cited unverified figures from the monoclonal treatment centers suggesting that large percentages of people seeking those treatments have already been vaccinated. The USA TODAY Network — Florida filed a public records request more than a week ago seeking those figures. The Florida Department of Health has not produced them.

— Frank Gluck, Fort Myers News-Press

Moderna booster backed by advisory panel for elderly, at-risk

A federal advisory committee unanimously supported booster shots of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for people 65 and older, as well as younger adults with certain medical conditions or jobs that put them at increased risk for infection. The booster would be half the regular dose, given at least six months after the second shot.

If the panel’s decision is verified by a second advisory group and by top officials at the Food and Drug Administration, Moderna’s booster will be the second one to receive emergency use authorization. The Pfizer-BioNTech extra shot was authorized late last month.

Karen Weintraub and Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY

Contributing: The Associated Press

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