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Updated Booster Shots, Not Original COVID Vaccines, Should Be Standard: FDA Panel

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's vaccine advisory panel on Thursday voted unanimously to recommend that the agency phase out original versions of COVID vaccines for use in the unvaccinated, in favor of updated bivalent booster shots.

Committee members also weighed a proposal to streamline the dosing schedule for COVID vaccines by turning them into annual shots that would likely be ...

Updated Boosters Cut Risk of XBB Variant Infection by Nearly Half

In a finding that suggests the updated bivalent COVID booster shots are worth getting, new government data shows they cut the chances of infection with the new XBB variant by nearly half.

While those ages 49 and under saw a 48% reduction in risk, the shots were slightly less effective in older individuals -- about 40% in adults ages 50 to 64 and 43% in those 65 and up. Effectiveness was s...

U.S. Proposes to Make COVID Shot Annual, Much Like Flu Shot

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday asked its vaccine advisory panel to weigh a proposal to turn COVID vaccines into an annual shot for most Americans.

The committee will weigh the proposal at its Jan. 26 meeting.

Such a move would simplify future vaccination efforts, a critical point given the fact that efforts to get people to get COVID booster shots have fallen far sh...

What to Know About XBB, the New COVID Variant

The new coronavirus continues to dodge, duck, dip and dive, mutating again and again to find its way past people’s immune defenses.

The latest COVID variant to gain a foothold in America is called XBB.1.5, which has rapidly started to crowd out other competing variants.

XBB.1.5 is the first recombinant COVID variant expected to become dominant in the United States, according to th...

Another Major HIV Vaccine Trial Fails

In yet another setback for the future of HIV prevention, the only HIV vaccine in a late-stage trial has failed, study leaders announced Wednesday.

Launched in 2019 as a partnership between the U.S. government and the pharmaceutical giant Janssen, the Mosaico trial was being conducted in eight European nations and the Americas, including the United States. Researchers had enrolled nearly 3...

Many Women Over 65 Are Dying of Cervical Cancer. What Needs to Change?

A new study shows that many women diagnosed with and dying from cervical cancer are older than 65 -- a group for whom routine screening is usually not recommended.

Cervical cancer screening has been credited with a sharp drop in deaths from the disease in the decades since it was introduced in the United States. But current guidelines state that once a woman reaches 65, if she has been re...

Too Few Kids Are Getting Recommended Vaccines, CDC Warns

Vaccinations among kindergarteners declined for the second year in a row, leaving hundreds of thousands of young children vulnerable to dangerous infectious diseases, U.S. health officials reported Thursday.

About 93% of kindergarteners had their required vaccinations during the 2021-2022 school year, including the measles/mumps/rubella (MMR), diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis, polio and chick...

Vaccinated Moms' Breast Milk Could Protect Baby From COVID

Infants too young to be vaccinated for COVID-19 get some protection from their mothers’ breast milk, researchers say.

The new study follows up on findings published in 2021 that showed the breast milk of vaccinated people contained antibodies against the COVID-19 virus.

For the stu...

Bivalent COVID Boosters Offer No Extra Protection, Studies Suggest

The updated COVID-19 vaccine boosters intended to defend people against emerging Omicron variants don’t appear to provide any better protection than the original shot does, two new studies find.

The new mRNA bivalent boosters produced by Moderna and Pfizer only attack the COVID-19 virus about as well as the companies’ first-wave vaccines, according to

  • Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter
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  • January 11, 2023
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  • Global Acceptance of COVID-19 Vaccines Is on the Rise

    While COVID-19 vaccine acceptance rose around the world between 2021 and 2022, wide gaps remain, according to new research.

    Teams from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health in Spain (ISGlobal) and City University of New York (CUNY) also noted the need to address vaccine hesitancy with tailored communication strategies.

    “The pandemic is not over, and authorities must urgently a...

    Adults May Be Losing Immunity to Mumps. Are Boosters Needed?

    Despite routine use of a childhood vaccine, the United States still sees outbreaks of mumps. Now, a new study reinforces the belief that it's due to waning immunity post-vaccination.

    Mumps is a viral infection best known for causing puffy cheeks, a swollen jaw, fever and general misery. While it's usually relatively mild, mumps occasionally causes serious complications like brain inflamma...

    3-Dose Malaria Vaccine Shows Promise in African Trial

    FRIDAY, Jan. 6, 2023 (HealthDay News) – New research has confirmed that a three-dose malaria vaccine is both safe and effective in West African adults, including those previously exposed to malaria.

    Researchers at the University of Maryland Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health (CVD) led work on the Plasmodium falciparum sporozoite (PfSPZ) vaccine.

    The clinical...

    COVID Vaccine Is Safe for Kids Who Got Rare Complication of COVID Illness

    It's safe for kids to take the COVID-19 vaccine after they’ve suffered a rare complication from a prior COVID infection, a U.S. National Institutes of Health-supported study has concluded.

    Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) affects about 1 in every 3,000 to 4,000 kids who contract COVID-19, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    The co...

    Measles Outbreak in Ohio Infects 82 Kids, Most of Them Unvaccinated

    A measles outbreak in central Ohio has now infected at least 82 children.

    Most of those impacted by the outbreak have been under the age of 5, state officials reported. Since details of the first measles cases were announced last month by Columbus Public H...

    New COVID Pill May Be Improvement Over Paxlovid, Chinese Trial Suggests

    COVID-19 patients could soon have a new antiviral pill they can take to guard against severe disease.

    The treatment, called VV116, worked as well as Paxlovid in people who were at high risk of severe disease in a phase 3 trial in China.

    The trial was a “great success,” study co-author Ren Zhao, a professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, said in a

    Some Young Cancer Survivors Won't Get Cancer-Preventing HPV Vaccine

    Young cancer survivors face a heightened risk from human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus known to raise the risk of cervical cancer. So why are they getting the HPV vaccine in low numbers?

    To find out, researchers analyzed data from a clinical trial of the HPV vaccine among cancer survivors who were ages 9 to 26 and were one to five years from the completion of their cancer treatment.

    <...

    China Eases Travel Rules as COVID Restrictions Lift

    China plans to roll back some of its strict COVID-19 controls, including allowing more of its people to travel abroad.

    During the pandemic, the country has limited passports, allowing them only for family emergencies or some work travel, but the government announced Tuesday that it will begin taking applications for tourism passports on Jan. 8, the Associated Press reported.

    ...

    Getting COVID Booster Helps Your Antibodies Last Longer

    While getting a COVID-19 vaccine provides antibodies against the coronavirus, getting a booster shot creates a longer-lasting antibody response, according to new research.

    “These results fit with other recent reports and indicate that booster shots enhance the durability of vaccine-elicited antibodies,” said senior researcher

  • Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter
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  • December 28, 2022
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  • COVID Vaccine More Effective Than Infection at Preventing Death, Hospitalization

    COVID-19 vaccination is more effective than natural immunity when it comes to keeping you out of the hospital, a major, real-world study has found.

    People of all age groups benefited significantly more when they got the jab than if they acquired immunity through a COVID infection, researchers report.

    Rates of hospitalization and death for any reason -- not just COVID -- were 37% low...

    More Than a Third of U.S. Parents Now Oppose Routine School Vaccinations

    The pandemic's focus on vaccines may have had a big downside: While kids have long been required to get certain shots to attend public school, a growing number of their parents now oppose these requirements, a new poll finds.

    About 35% of parents now say childhood vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella should not be mandatory, up from 23% in 2019. Overall, 28% of adults nationwide say pa...

    Moderna, Merck Report on Promising Melanoma Vaccine

    Two pharmaceutical companies said Tuesday that they have made notable progress with a vaccine that could prevent melanoma.

    Moderna, well known for its work on the COVID vaccine, and Merck, which makes the cancer immunotherapy drug Keytruda,

  • Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter
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  • December 13, 2022
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  • Rapid Heartbeat Condition 5 Times More Likely With COVID Than With COVID Vaccine

    New research has revealed a link between a lesser known heart syndrome and COVID infection, with a much smaller link seen between the condition and COVID vaccination.

    Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a nervous system-related condition that causes a rapid increase in the heartbeat of more than 30 beats per minute, or a heart rate that exceeds 120 beats per minute, withi...

    FDA OKs Bivalent COVID Boosters for Kids 6 Months and Older

    The updated bivalent COVID-19 boosters are now approved for use in children as young as 6 months of age, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today.

    Children can receive either a Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent booster shot, although the rules differ depending on their age and what type of vaccine they got as their primary series, the FDA said.

    Kids 6 months to 5 year...

    Seniors Urged to Get Flu Shots as U.S. Cases Rise

    Experts are asking seniors to get their flu shots ASAP as an exceptionally nasty flu season unfolds across the United States.

    Already, 8.7 million flu cases have been reported, with 78,000 hospitalizations and 4,500 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the last week alone, the nu...

    Pfizer Asks FDA to Approve Tweaked COVID Booster as Third Shot for Kids Under 5

    Infants and young children could soon receive an updated COVID-19 vaccine as part of their three-dose series.

    Pfizer Inc. on Monday asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to have the vaccine that targets the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 replace the third dose in the series for children aged 6 months through 4 years old. Children in that age group would still receive two doses o...

    Scientists May Be Closer to Effective HIV Vaccine

    It's thought that for an HIV vaccine to be widely effective, it will have to spur the body to make special antibodies that can neutralize a broad range of HIV strains. Now scientists say they have taken an essential step in that direction.

    In an early study, researchers found that an experimental HIV va...

    New COVID Variant XBB Is Gaining Ground Among Americans

    U.S. health officials are tracking a new COVID variant that's a combination of two earlier Omicron subvariants.

    Known as XBB, this latest subvariant now represents 3.1% of new COVID cases throughout the U.S. and 5% of cases in the Northeast.

    Based on preliminary estimates from the U.S. Cente...

    COVID in Pregnancy Can Vary — Get Vaccinated to Stay Safe

    When pregnant women contract COVID-19, one in 10 will have moderate, severe or even critical symptoms, a new study finds.

    So it's important they get their COVID vaccines, experts say.

    “Given that patients in all trimesters of pregnancy are susceptible to infection and severe respiratory illness from COVID-19, these findings add urgency to the need for vaccination of all pregnant i...

    White House Urges COVID Booster Shots Again, Citing Effectiveness

    It's not too late to get the latest COVID-19 booster shot.

    Whether it's the bivalent vaccine from drug maker Pfizer or from Moderna, the shots offer more protection against symptomatic infection, public health officials reiterated at a White House briefing on Tuesday.

    However, since the vaccines debuted in September, only 13% of American adults have gotten the updated boosters, wh...

    COVID Vaccine Boosts Protection, Even After Prior Infection: Study

    Even if you've already had COVID-19, you can still benefit from a vaccine that can help prevent another infection, a new study shows.

    Danish patients gained between 60% and 94% protection against reinfection, depending on the COVID variant wave, the researchers found.

    The findings were published Nov. 22 in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine.

    "In our study, we find...

    Many U.S. Parents Avoid Vaccine Talks With Child's Doctor

    Vaccines have become a hot topic in the past few years, but a new survey finds many parents aren't discussing immunization with their child's doctor.

    Though a child's pediatrician has often been the go-to resource on vaccines, the University of Michigan Medicine poll found that 1 in 7 parents have not discussed vaccines with their child's doctor during the pandemic.

    While 80% of p...

    Pfizer's New Booster Shot Shows Protection Against Emerging Omicron Variants

    Pfizer's updated COVID booster shots are proving their mettle against emerging omicron variants, the company announced Friday.

    The latest version of the vaccine generated virus-fighting antibodies against four more omicron lineages, includ...

    Despite Pleas From Pediatric Groups, Biden Balks at Declaring RSV a Health Emergency

    The Biden administration on Thursday offered assistance to communities and hospitals dealing with a surge in cases of pediatric respiratory illnesses, but it did not declare a national public health emergency.

    The Children's Hospital Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics had asked President Joe Biden and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra for that designation...

    A Vaccine Against Deadly Fentanyl Might Be Near

    Researchers report they have created a vaccine to fight fentanyl addiction, in a potential breakthrough in the opioid epidemic.

    The shot would block the ability of fentanyl to enter the brain and cause the “high” that users crave. It could be used to prevent relapses in people trying to quit opioids, once it gets through clinical trials, the scientists said.

    “We believe these ...

    Flu Shot Could Be Lifesaver for Folks With Heart Failure

    People battling heart failure should make the time to get their flu shots now, a new study suggests.

    Not only will the shots help prevent influenza in this high-risk group, but it could also reduce pneumonia infections and cardiac complications, researchers report.

    "If you have heart failure, you should get your flu shot because it can save your life -- that is what we found in thi...

    Kids Born by C-Section May Have Weaker Response to Vaccines

    Babies born via cesarean section may not mount as strong an immune response after some childhood vaccines compared to babies delivered vaginally, researchers suggest.

    Antibody levels can be checked in blood or saliva, and babies born vaginally had higher levels of antibodies in their saliva to pneumonia shots at one year and meningococcal shots at 18 months, a new study showed.

    But ...

    Moderna's Booster Shot Prompts Strong Immune Response Against Omicron Subvariants

    Moderna, Inc., announced Monday that its updated booster shot triggers strong antibody responses against three Omicron subvariants.

    "We are pleased to see that both of our bivalent booster vaccine candidates offer superior protection against Omicron BA.4/BA.5 variants compared to our original booster, which is encouraging given COVID-19 remains a leading cause of hospitalization and death...

    Three-Fifths of World's People May Have Been Exposed to COVID

    COVID-19 swept across the world far more effectively than previously thought, with a stunning number of cases left unreported as recently as the summer of 2021, a new World Health Organization (WHO) study says.

    About 3 out of every 5 human beings carried antibodies against COVID-19 in their bloodstream as of September 2021, according to

  • Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter
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  • November 11, 2022
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  • Full Page
  • For Pregnant Women and Their Newborns, COVID Vaccine Offers Better Protection Than Prior Infection

    Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 while pregnant provides higher levels of antibodies for both mom and baby than catching the virus does, a new study finds.

    When pregnant women received one of the two available mRNA vaccines, researchers found that the women had 10-fold higher antibody concentrations than those who were infected naturally.

    The research team from Children's Hospital o...

    Amid a Surge in RSV Cases, Hopes for a New Vaccine

    Infants and children sick with RSV are flooding pediatricians' offices and children's hospitals across the United States, due to an early surge of the common childhood virus this year.

    But within one or two “sick seasons,” doctors expect to have on hand long-sought tools to help blunt the impact of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

    As many as four new RSV vaccine candidates cou...

    Pfizer Study Finds Big Rise in Immunity From COVID Booster

    Getting an updated booster for COVID-19 is likely to boost protection substantially, according to a new study released by drug company Pfizer on Friday.

    The news affirms a decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to OK the bivalent booster without first requiring human testing, the Associated Press reported.

    The booster was tweaked to target the now dominant omicr...

    COVID Vaccine Inhaled Through the Mouth Launched in China

    China announced Wednesday that it has started giving its citizens a COVID booster that can be inhaled through the mouth.

    The oral vaccine was distributed in Shanghai. A video appeared on Chinese state media, showing people holding a translucent white cup with a short nozzle to their mouths. Text accompanying the vide...

    Stay Fit & Your COVID Shot May Work Even Better

    The more often you work out, the more effective your COVID-19 vaccination will be, a new study suggests.

    Fully vaccinated folks who clocked high weekly levels of physical activity were nearly three times less likely to land in the hospital with COVID, compared to those who got the jab but didn't ex...

    Pfizer Plans to Charge Over $100 Per COVID Shot in 2023

    Some Americans could pay up to $130 to get a COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer starting in 2023, but most will still get it for free.

    A Pfizer executive noted that people who would get its vaccine for free would likely include those on pub...

    Chickenpox Vaccine Has Nearly Erased Deaths, Hospitalizations From Virus in U.S.

    New government data shows that the chickenpox vaccine has virtually eliminated deaths and severe cases of the virus in U.S. children and teens.

    In the analysis, released Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 97% fewer chickenpox cases among people under 20, alon...

    Add COVID Shot to Routine Vaccine Schedule: CDC Panel

    In an unanimous vote on Thursday, a panel of U.S. vaccine experts recommended that COVID shots be added to the list of recommended vaccinations for children and adults.

    Now it's up to the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention to decide whether to follow the advice of its Advisory Committee on Immuniza...

    • Cara Murez and Robin Foster HealthDay Reporters
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    • October 21, 2022
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    FDA OKs Novavax COVID Vaccine as First Booster Shot

    Americans will now have another choice if they want a COVID booster shot.

    On Wednesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Novavax Inc.'s protein-based vaccine as a first booster dose. Until now, it had onl...

    As Tough Flu Season Looms, CDC Hopes for More Flu Shots Among Minorities

    It's a troubling equation: Many Americans with the highest rates of hospitalization for influenza have the lowest uptake of the annual flu vaccine.

    That's why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is stepping up outreach to minority communities, including Black, Hispanic and American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) groups, and working to reduce barriers to vaccination.

    ...

    What's Keeping Some Hispanic Americans From Getting the COVID Shot?

    While a large number of Hispanic Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at this point, a new study suggests barriers may still stand in the way for those who might want to get shots.

    Researchers identified four key barriers to vaccination: a...

    New Omicron Variants Gaining Foothold in U.S.

    New, more contagious Omicron variants are starting to spread across the United States, new government data show.

    Luckily, they're related to the Omicron variant BA.5, so recently updated booster shots should provide some protection against the new variants, known as BQ.1. and a descen...

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