Booster shots outnumber first and second doses of Covid-19 in the United States. Experts warn that millions left unvaccinated could set off ‘future waves’.
Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations alike are down more than 10% from last week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University and the US Department of Health and Human Services, respectively.
“This wave is waning, but unless we vaccinate the approximately 70 million Americans who are not immunized, we are at risk for future waves,” Dr. Tom Frieden, former head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told CNN. Wednesday.
In New Mexico, more people are being vaccinated, but that’s not happening fast enough to drop cases of Covid-19, according to Dr. David Scriese, acting director of health for the state health department.
“The delta curve went up very, very sharply, it didn’t go down,” Sorace said. “Actually, I settled down.”
Scriss made it clear that he worries health care workers are getting tired.
“In the northwest (the New Mexico area) … hospitals are really, really, really overwhelmed,” Soras said. “I’ve just spoken to a lot of people who say once that curve goes down, they fall back on their entire healthcare career. They can’t do that anymore.”
Senior health official says vaccine mandates are no different from smoking restrictions
One of the ways officials aim to increase vaccination numbers is through mandates, but some are fiercely opposed to governments and companies that require vaccinations.
On Wednesday, US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy likened vaccine mandates to speed limits or restrictions on public smoking, adding that the requirement is key to public health.
“In the 19th century, many public schools began requiring vaccinations for their students,” Murthy said. “During World War II, the US Army required that its troops be vaccinated against a number of diseases, including typhoid, tetanus, and yellow fever.” “Vaccine requirements are part of our historic effort to protect the health of the public.”
Murthy’s comments came the same day the Los Angeles City Council voted to require indoor patrons such as restaurants, gyms and movie theaters to show evidence of complete Covid-19 vaccination starting November 4. The law will also apply to personal care establishments such as spas and hair salons, as well as city buildings.
While the measure won’t take effect until next month, companies must submit advisory notice of the requirement by October 21. Individuals with medical or religious exceptions must submit a form declaring this. People who do not meet these requirements can use the outdoor spaces to work and in the covered spaces they will be allowed to use restrooms or take takeout orders.
On the business front, American Airlines is asking that its employees be fully vaccinated by November 24 or risk losing their jobs.
“To be clear, if you fail to comply with the requirements, the result will be termination from the company,” said an airline-wide update obtained by CNN.
Southwest Airlines said Monday it would stick to the federal vaccine mandate, making Delta the last of the “Big Four” airlines not to implement the mandate.
United Airlines issued its own employee vaccine authorization, which went into effect last week.
Studies show immunity to Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine wanes
The immune protection afforded by two doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine declines after two months or so, although protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death remains strong, according to two real-world studies published Wednesday.
Studies – from Israel and Qatar and published in the New England Journal of Medicine – support the arguments that even fully vaccinated people need to maintain precautions against infection.
The study also indicated that immunity for people who are vaccinated after infection with the natural Covid-19 virus lasts longer. The study found that it was especially powerful for people who recovered from the infection and then got vaccinated.
The research team wrote that the study found that the protection caused by the Pfizer vaccine “increases rapidly after the first dose, reaches its peak in the first month after the second dose, and then declines gradually in subsequent months.” “The decline appears to accelerate after the fourth month, reaching a low of nearly 20% in subsequent months,” they added.
However, the researchers said the protection against hospitalization and death remained above 90%.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, continued to stress the importance of vaccination on Wednesday, warning those who hope the promising antiviral pill will eliminate the need for vaccination.
The drug, called Molnupiravir, was developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics. The two companies said last week that the contraceptive pill could halve the risk of dying from Covid-19, but Fauci said it needed more scrutiny before considering permission.
“It is very important that this now go through the usual process of rigorous data scrutiny by the Food and Drug Administration for efficacy, but also for safety, because whenever new compounds are introduced, safety is very important,” she said.
He also noted that preventing disease is more important than treating it. “Vaccines – remain our best tools against Covid-19, because it is much better to prevent ourselves from getting infected than having to treat an infection.”
CNN’s Virginia Langmaid, Maggie Fox, Andy Rose and Pete Montaigne contributed to this report.