As the Biden administration ramps up efforts to get the shots fired, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday released a new study that highlights the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines against serious illness or death.
The study, which looked at hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19 over a period of more than three months, found that unvaccinated people are more than 10 times more likely to be hospitalized with Covid-19 than those who have been vaccinated, and 11 times more likely to die from the virus, according to CDC director Rochelle Walensky.
The study – along with two others also released by the CDC on Friday – is still an early version, which means there could be changes in the final version. But the results nonetheless provide some clarity on the state of the pandemic as the delta variant leaves its mark on communities across the country.
As the delta variant spread in the United States over the summer, the study also found that protection against initial infections decreased slightly – but “the vaccine’s effectiveness against the hospitalization and death hardly declined during the entire period, “according to the Washington Post.
Another of the studies confirmed that the efficacy remains high overall. The three vaccines available in the United States – manufactured by Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson – are 86% effective in preventing hospitalizations due to Covid-19 and 82% effective in preventing emergency room visits or healthcare. emergency due to the virus, according to the study’s findings. The researchers also found that Moderna is the most effective at preventing hospitalizations, at 95%, with the Johnson & Johnson injection providing about 60% protection against hospitalizations.
Despite the remarkable effectiveness of Covid vaccines, however, the virus continues to plague the United States as the country grapples with vaccine resistance.
Americans still lag behind other wealthy countries in immunization, and only 52.76% of eligible Americans are fully immunized, according to the New York Times. In the United States, only about 700,000 doses of the vaccine are given each day, about 300,000 fewer than the Japanese immunization program currently reports, despite Japan’s smaller population.
Currently, the United States averages nearly 146,000 new cases of Covid-19 per day, compared to less than 12,000 new cases per day at certain times in June of this year. At the height of the pandemic this winter, the country was reporting on average more than 250,000 cases per day.
But a new move towards stricter vaccine requirements coincides with a seven percent decrease in daily reported Covid-19 cases over the past two weeks, according to the New York Times. Tests are also up 21% over the same period, with an average of over 1.6 million tests administered per day.
Deaths, however – which tend to lag behind in new cases – are currently on the rise in the United States. As of Friday, the country recorded an average of more than 1,600 deaths per day from the virus.
While this latest statistic is grim, however, there are signs that the delta-fueled outbreak of cases over the summer is leveling off at least as more people get vaccinated.
Cases in Mississippi, where the virus has pushed hospital capacity beyond its limits, have declined by a third in the past two weeks. In Tennessee, which currently has the highest number of cases per capita of any state, the vaccination rate increased 47% from July 12 to August 2, and the rate of increase in infections in the state began to rise. to slow down.
“Our patience is running out”
As the United States continues to fight Covid-19, President Joe Biden announced Thursday that all businesses with more than 100 employees must require either vaccination or weekly testing for Covid-19.
“Many of us are frustrated with the nearly 80 million Americans who still go unvaccinated, even though the vaccine is safe, effective and free,” Biden said at a press conference Thursday, denouncing this which he called “pandemic politics”. From Republican leaders who downplayed the importance of Covid-19, spread disinformation and fought against measures like vaccination and mask-wearing.
“We cannot allow these actions to stand in the way of protecting the vast majority of Americans who have done their part and want to get back to normal lives,” Biden said.
U.S. companies are also warming to vaccine mandates, with big companies like United Airlines and Tyson Foods implementing vaccine requirements for their workers. United has set a Sept. 27 deadline for vaccinations for all its U.S.-based employees, and it says more than half of its previously unvaccinated employees have now been vaccinated, according to NPR.
Pediatric cases of Covid-19 are on the rise
However, despite the important protection offered by vaccines, not everyone is yet eligible. The Food and Drug Administration has yet to clear a Covid-19 vaccine for children under 12, and pediatric cases of Covid-19 are increasing as children return to school in person – especially in schools. States that have pushed back mask warrants.
Public schools in New York City, the largest school system in the country, will test their own Covid-19 policies on Monday at the start of the school year. All employees of the New York City Department of Education must be fully immunized by September 27.
This is also the case in Los Angeles, which on Thursday became the first major public school district in the United States to mandate Covid-19 vaccines for all eligible students as well as teachers after a unanimous school board vote.
In Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis is currently fighting to prevent districts from demanding masks, pediatric deaths from Covid-19 have more than doubled since July. While the death toll is still extremely low compared to other age groups – only 17 children have died from Covid-19 in the state since the start of the pandemic – seven of those deaths have occurred between March 2020, when the epidemic began in the United States, and July 2021, a period of 15 months. The remaining 10 took place after July 30 of this year, Politico reported Thursday.
Additionally, according to Politico, the Department of Education’s Civil Rights Office is investigating the anti-mask mandate policy of the Florida public education system. In a letter to Robert Corcoran, commissioner of the Florida Department of Education, Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Suzanne Goldberg warned that the policy could violate the civil rights of children with disabilities by preventing them from “safely returning to their homes. in-person education ”.
With the increase in pediatric cases – and the scrutiny of Covid-19 prevention policies at school – pressure is being placed on vaccine manufacturers to determine whether their inoculations are safe for children.
According to German newspaper Der Spiegel, BioNTech will share the results of its clinical trials in children aged 5 to 11 this month, seeking global approval for the vaccine for use in this age group.
This could mean that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine could be authorized for children in this age group as early as the end of October, Reuters reported on Friday.
BioNTech, which has partnered with Pfizer to manufacture its vaccine, also intends to seek approval for use in children aged 6 months to 2 years by the end of the year, and Moderna has said it has completed its list of clinical trials of its vaccine in children aged 6 to 11 and is working to determine an appropriate dosage for children as young as 6 months old.
In the meantime, however, Biden officials have stressed that widespread adoption of the vaccine among those eligible for the vaccine is the best way to reduce pediatric cases of Covid-19.
“That’s why this collective responsibility we have as a society to make sure that we don’t just take care of our own health, but reduce the chances of us passing a virus on to someone who is more vulnerable – that’s is why this is so important, ”Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said Friday. “And that’s what the efforts announced yesterday by the president will help us do: reduce transmission, protect lives and protect our children too.” “