Friday, October 22, 2021

Scottish study: Vaccines '90% effective' at preventing Delta variant deaths

Vaccination is 90% effective at preventing deaths from the Delta variant of Covid-19, researchers say. The data, released by the University of Edinburgh, was gathered using a Scotland-wide Covid surveillance tool.

Figures suggest the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 90% effective and the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab 91% effective at preventing deaths.

It looked at people who have been double-vaccinated but who have tested positive for Covid in the community.

The study is the first to show across an entire country how effective vaccines are at preventing death from the Delta variant, which is the most dominant form of Covid in the UK.

Researchers defined death from Covid as anyone who died within 28 days of a positive PCR test, or with Covid recorded as a cause of death on their death certificate.

The study analysed data from 5.4 million people in Scotland between 1 April and 27 September this year.

During this period, 115,000 people tested positive for Covid using a PCR test in the community, rather than in hospital, and there were 201 Covid-related deaths recorded.

Tracked in real time

No deaths have been recorded in those who have been double-vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine in Scotland, according to the data.

Researchers said it is therefore not possible to estimate this particular vaccine's effectiveness in preventing Covid-related deaths.

The research team from the University of Edinburgh, University of Strathclyde and Public Health Scotland analysed the dataset as part of the EAVE II project - Early Pandemic Evaluation and Enhanced Surveillance of Covid-19.

It uses anonymised, linked-patient data to track the pandemic and the vaccine rollout in real time.

Age groups second dose

So far, 87.1% of adults in Scotland have taken a second dose of the Covid vaccine.

Third "booster" doses are being offered to everyone over 50, along with frontline medical staff and younger adults with some underlying health conditions.

Prof Aziz Sheikh, director of the University of Edinburgh's Usher Institute and EAVE II study lead, said: "With the Delta variant now the dominant strain in many places worldwide, and posing a higher risk of hospitalisation than previous variants seen in the UK, it is reassuring to see that vaccination offers such high protection from death very shortly after the second dose.

"If you still have not taken up your offer to be vaccinated, I would encourage you to do so based on the clear benefits it offers."

Follow-up studies

Prof Chris Robertson, of the University of Strathclyde and Public Health Scotland, said: "This study shows the value of carrying out analyses of routine healthcare data available in near real-time.

"Our findings are encouraging in showing that the vaccine remains an effective measure in protecting both ourselves and others from death from the most dominant variant of Covid-19."

He added that it was important to validate these early results with follow-up studies.

The team behind the study said due to the observational nature of the figures, data about vaccine effectiveness should be interpreted with caution and said it was not possible to make a direct comparison between both vaccines.


England data: How are COVID vaccines faring against Delta?

New research, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, has confirmed that both AstraZeneca and Pfizer COVID vaccines have a lower efficacy against Delta, with a single dose of either vaccine around 30% effective against the strain, compared to 48% for the Alpha variant.

However, after two doses, only modest differences were observed, with Pfizer 88% effective against Delta compared to 93% for Alpha, and AstraZeneca 67% effective against Delta and 74.5% for Alpha.

So how is this playing out in the UK?

With Delta now the dominant strain, case numbers have started to soar, with more than 330,000 people testing positive in the past seven days. Hospitalisation rates have also started to increase, with 4510 people admitted between 8–14 July, up 38.6% on the previous seven days, and 366 deaths recorded between 15–21 July, up 59.8% from the past week.

That is with 69.1% of the adult population fully vaccinated and 88.1% having received one dose.

But infectious diseases physician and microbiologist Associate Professor Paul Griffin told newsGP that the findings are not unexpected as Delta is more infectious, and that the reduced efficacy is ‘not all that significant’.

‘We know people that are fully vaccinated can still get infected,’ he said.

‘But what we also know is that they’re, at least modestly, reduced in terms of their ability to transmit, and have very significantly reduced chances of getting really sick, being hospitalised and dying.

‘And, again, that doesn’t mean that the numbers of deaths will go to zero. Even if we had 100% of people vaccinated, there’d still be one or two people per 100, and there’d still be 10 people that do get sick – but it’s significantly reduced.

‘We just have to look at the proportion that get really sick, and make sure that that doesn’t jump up indicating that our vaccines are no longer working. But we’re clearly not at that point yet.’

In Israel, where Delta is causing a fourth wave, health officials are less certain.

The country’s Ministry of Health earlier this month lowered its projection of Pfizer being 95.3% effective to just 64% against Delta, and warned that it could be even lower, as about 90% of new confirmed cases in those aged over 50 are fully vaccinated.

However, it is worth noting that while case numbers have risen from zero on 5 June to 668 on 19 July, deaths have remained low, with only two recorded on 19 July.

With 85% of adults vaccinated in Israel, Associate Professor Griffin says that in and of itself could be why the proportion of cases who are vaccinated appear to be overrepresented, but that more information is needed.

‘It’s hard to know what those case numbers would have been had they not had so many people vaccinated,’ he said.

‘So, it’s not really, at this stage, data that lends itself to concluding that the vaccine performs less well there.

‘I think part of it is a bit of a skewing of the numbers. The key thing there will be looking at, again, the serious cases, hospitalisations, and deaths. If they truly climb there would be concern about the actual efficacy being less than we think.’

Comparing Delta waves in countries with a high proportion of vaccinated adults to those with low vaccination rates, also suggests current vaccines are effective at reducing hospitalisations and deaths.

Likewise, the UK research, funded by Public Health England, has concluded the findings support efforts to maximise vaccine uptake with two doses among vulnerable populations.

As children appear to be more susceptible to the Delta variant, a number of countries have already approved COVID vaccination in children, including Israel, the US, France and Italy, with the UK set to offer vaccination to those aged 12–15 who are at higher risk of COVID due to disability or illness.


Pfizer says COVID-19 booster shot showed high efficacy in large study

Berlin: A booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and German partner BioNTech restored efficacy to 95.6 per cent against the virus, including the Delta variant, data released by the companies from a large study shows.

The companies said in a press release that the trial, which has not been peer-reviewed, tested 10,000 participants aged 16 and older, and found that the booster shot had a favourable safety profile.

Dr Walid Gellad, a professor at University of Pittsburgh’s medical school, said there seems to be a benefit of having the third dose in the Delta wave for symptomatic COVID-19.

“I’m just still very curious if this is primarily in people who are much, much older. Because what we don’t want to do is run out and give boosters to 25-year-olds who had COVID before and got two doses of the vaccine, just based on this press release,” Gellad said.

Pfizer had said its two-shot vaccine’s efficacy drops over time, citing a study that showed 84 per cent effectiveness from a peak of 96 per cent four months after a second dose. Some countries had already gone ahead with plans to give booster doses.

The trial results come a day after the US Food and Drug Administration authorised booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, and said Americans could choose a different shot from their original inoculation as a booster.

The agency previously authorised boosters of the Pfizer/BioNTech shot at least six months after the first round of shots to increase protection for people aged 65 and older, those at risk of severe disease and those who are exposed to the virus through their work.

The drugmakers said on Thursday, local time, the median time between the second dose and the booster shot or the placebo in the study was around 11 months, adding there were only five cases of COVID-19 in the booster group, compared with 109 cases in the group which received the placebo shot.

The median age of the participants was 53 years, with 55.5 per cent of participants between 16 and 55 years, and 23.3 per cent at 65 years or older.

Jefferies analyst Michael Yee said the trial results add to mounting data that boosters could help in providing long-lasting protection from symptomatic infection.

There were no reported cases of severe disease, suggesting robust protection from infection with only the primary vaccination series, Yee wrote in a note.

The companies said they would submit detailed results of the trial for peer-reviewed publication to the US FDA, the European Medicines Agency and other regulatory agencies, as soon as possible.




Thursday, October 21, 2021

FDA Authorizes Moderna and J&J Boosters, Backs ‘Mix-and-Match’

The Food and Drug Administration authorized booster shots for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccines on Wednesday.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel will issue recommendations on Thursday regarding which groups should receive boosters and on what timeframe. Once those recommendations are made, booster shots for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines could be available within days, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The FDA also authorized mixing and matching coronavirus vaccines, allowing Americans to receive a different vaccine for their booster shot than their original vaccine.

Some research has indicated that mixing coronavirus vaccines may produce stronger immune responses, and several European countries as well as Canada have already allowed residents to mix vaccines prior to booster shots. Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau received an AstraZeneca vaccine for his first shot and Moderna for his second.

The FDA authorization allows any recipient of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine to receive a second dose of either the Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, or Pfizer vaccines, at least two months after the first shot.

However, recipients of the two-dose Moderna and Pfizer vaccines must wait at least six months before receiving a booster. For now, seniors or people at higher risk of COVID-19 because of underlying medical or workplace conditions may receive a booster shot.

The Biden administration authorized boosters for the Pfizer vaccine last month for seniors and immunocompromised Americans. That decision came following some confusion over the authorization timeline, after the president claimed in August that boosters would soon be authorized for the general population.


Kyrsten Sinema Is Arizona’s New Maverick

Nothing reveals the double standard by which Beltway Washington deals with mavericks than the different treatment accorded two independent-minded senators in recent years.

The late John McCain of Arizona was celebrated for going against his party, never more so than when, in 2017, his one vote killed a GOP repeal of parts of Obama­care. But now, for standing up to the $3.5 trillion Biden budget extravaganza, Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema is fast becoming a pariah in her party, as McCain was in his.

Media scorn has been brutal. Maureen Dowd of the New York Times attacked her. Saturday Night Live portrayed her as obstructionist and came as close as one is still allowed in these PC times to saying that she was a dumb blonde. Liberal blogger Matthew Yglesias denounced her as a tool of corporate lobbyists and asked, “Is Kyrsten Sinema on the take?”

Her former colleagues in the House have singled her out. “This is not progressives versus moderates,” said Representative Ro Khanna (D., Calif.), a progressive and the assistant whip of the House Democratic caucus. “This is the entire Democratic Party and Joe Biden versus Kyrsten Sinema.”

Back home in Arizona, the state Democratic Party just passed a resolution criticizing her and hinted at a possible primary challenge in 2024. Angry, hectoring left-wing activists pursued her into a public restroom and proudly posted a video of their stunt.

Key Washington Democrats have effectively disowned her. When Dem­ocratic leaders issued a joint statement condemning the bathroom harassment, Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) withheld his endorsement because the statement didn’t include a rebuke of Sinema’s policy views.

President Biden was little better. Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan pointed out his passive-aggressive response: “I don’t think they’re appropriate tactics, but it happens to everybody. . . . It’s part of the process.” Noonan noted that “to announce it is part of the process is to make it part of the process. It was as if he were saying: Yeah, she’s got me mad. Hound her some more.”

The left-wing anger against Sinema may in part be explained by her having once been such a strong progressive. A bisexual triathlete who was raised in poverty and became a social worker, Sinema in 2013 became the first member of Congress to list “None” as her religion. In the early 2000s, she was the spokeswoman for the Green Party and dressed up in a black veil and a pink tutu to protest the war in Iraq. As a Democrat, she was elected to the state house in 2004 and retained her bomb-throwing zeal.

When I met her at an immigration conference in Phoenix in 2006, she introduced herself by extending her hand and saying, “Hi. I’m Kyrsten. I’m in the Arizona house and I’m a socialist.” The lefty Phoenix New Times named her “Best Local Lefty Icon” as late as 2011, praising her as “a valiant champion for the poor, the underprivileged, and the state’s immigrant population.”

But glimmers of a changed attitude and a suspicion of the limits of impersonal government programs could be seen early on. In her 2009 book Unite and Conquer: How to Build Coalitions That Win and Last, she wrote dismissively of “the dread disease” of “identity politics” and how liberals too quickly embraced the “mantle of victimhood.” When she ran for Congress in 2012, she said her social-work ethos prompted her to pledge to govern “the same way I try to live my life — which is to seek understanding of those around me rather than to move forward with a combative attitude.”

Once in Congress, Sinema did follow that new course. She sought out Re­publicans to co-sponsor her bills, she tempered her rhetoric, she became a member of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, and she voted three times against electing Nancy Pelosi as speaker. When she ran for the Senate in 2018, one of her ads deplored how people in Washington “are more interested in their talking points and their ideology than getting stuff done.”

In her first year in the Senate, the nonpartisan GovTrack survey found her to be the most conservative Democrat. One notch less conservative than she was eclectic libertarian senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.).

In May, the Arizona Republic asked her what her long-term goals in the Senate were. She replied:

Most folks in Arizona aren’t thinking to themselves, “What is the government doing for me today?” They’re often thinking about what the government is doing to me today, right? . . . I want Arizonans to, one, not have to think about their government very much. But, two, when they do, to think to themselves: “Well, that it is at least a little less bad than it used to be, it’s less painful than it used to be and Kyrsten has done some work to help make my life a little bit easier and a little bit better.”

It’s no wonder that such a minimalist governing agenda prompted a senior Senate Democratic aide to describe her as “an enigma shrouded in mystery.”

But perhaps she isn’t. She has long held out McCain as a political role model, and in her first speech as a senator she called him “a personal hero.”

“I think she definitely would like for her legacy to be ‘the maverick’ like him,” Grant Woods, a former state attorney general of Arizona and a former chief of staff to McCain, told Time magazine. “He was instinctively drawn to doing the opposite of what he was told and what people expected. She’s definitely attracted to that image.”

On substance, she has emulated McCain in putting herself in the room where deals are cut, as she did when she helped broker the COVID-19 relief package in March and, in August, the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package that won 19 Republican votes in the Senate.

But the media clearly reject any comparisons to their hero McCain. “Sinema is missing perhaps the most important facet of McCain’s persona — the glue that, more than any stubbornness or mavericky vote, . . . was responsible for his exalted status,” explained Mother Jones reporter Tim Murphy. “He absolutely craved the spotlight. He practically had an endowed chair on Meet the Press. He appeared in Wedding Crashers. When McCain died, several thousand reporters all filed stories at once about his famous press scrums in the Capitol or on the campaign trail.” In other words, McCain treated the media as the important players they like to see themselves being. Left unsaid was the fact that McCain was the most prodigious leaker of Senate insider stories that body had ever seen. The media reward loose lips.

Sinema doesn’t leak, distrusts the media, and avoids giving interviews in nonnational outlets. In 2018, National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar laughed that “trying to report on Sinema’s Senate campaign was like having to deal with an incompetent cable company. Calls and e-mails to her campaign went unreturned for days.”

The liberal sources the media rely on have long made clear their view of her as a non–team player. In 2016, she was nowhere to be seen at a massive Hillary Clinton pre-election rally at Arizona State University, which is in her home district and where Sinema teaches. A Democratic operative spotted her at a local coffee shop instead, holding a campaign event for herself at the same time.

To pressure Sinema to pledge her vote for Biden’s $3.5 trillion bill, progressives have tried everything, from accosting her on airplanes to putting her face on a milk carton at local football games. They are actively recruiting Representative Ruben Gallego, who took Sinema’s House seat, to primary her in 2024.

But defeating her won’t be easy. She has $3.6 million in her campaign ac­count, and an OH Predictive Insights poll found her overall favorability rating roughly equal to that of fellow Arizona Democratic senator Mark Kelly. Sinema is less popular among Democrats but has a 40 percent favorability rating among Republicans.

In addition, it’s entirely possible that Sinema could win her primary even if most Democrats vote against her. Arizona law allows unaffiliated voters — one in three of all those registered — to vote in any primary. In both 2010 and 2016, John McCain lost the votes of registered Republicans in his party primary but prevailed by cleaning up with independents.

Some Sinema sympathizers also believe she can build back some goodwill within the party if both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a pared-back version of Biden’s social-welfare extravaganza eventually become law.

But don’t bet on it. The Hill reported that other issues will continue to stick in the craw of progressive groups, chief among them her stubborn support of the Senate filibuster.

So if progressives continue to find reasons to lust for a primary challenge, they should realize they are putting her Senate seat at risk. Many Democrats aren’t convinced that a liberal such as Gallego could win the general elecyion after a bloody internecine primary. “There’s a near zero chance he would win statewide,” a Democratic operative told The Hill. “That’s something Democrats will really have to ask themselves in seeking to defeat Sinema, is do they want someone to primary her who will almost certainly hand the seat to Republicans?”




Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Another Leftist Myth Debunked: Stats Show More COVID Deaths on Biden's Watch Than Trump's

Biden’s bid for the presidency was focused largely on his promise to effectively fight the spread of the virus. Despite the fact that he had vaccines, therapeutics and mandates at his disposal, he has failed to deliver.

The fact is that 372,000 Americans have died from COVID during Biden’s presidency while 352,000 died during Trump’s. The numbers come from John’s Hopkins University, as reported by host Sean Hannity on Fox News.

Some say they doubt the validity of the numbers. Who can blame them? Everything can be doubted in a world where all is relative and facts are what you make of them. Confusion is the new plague.

It’s also a fact that the virus was just amping up when Trump was in office. It should be noted that Trump’s total was from a 10-month period and Biden surpassed that total in just 8 months.

Trump took on the virus with a fighting spirit and masks. Biden had a toolbox full of options and didn’t manage to make a dent.

Biden has to come to terms with the facts. Instead, Democrats are using the emergence of the delta variant to explain away their numbers. There is truth to this assertion, but only if you add the fact that the Biden administration catalyzed vaccine hesitancy with horrendous messaging.

Officials with the Coronavirus Research Center recently observed that “vaccine hesitancy continues and testing has lagged.”

“So I would say the simple strategies are, first, to listen to what the concerns are and try as best as possible to understand them,” Dr. Bill Moss, the center’s vaccinology lead, said, according to the Washington Times.

“If it’s due to misinformation or disinformation, having the right messenger convey that information to the target audience is really critical, and that’s a person who the community or individual trusts, whether that’s a religious leader or a celebrity or sports figure.”

Biden and company are clearly not the “right messenger.” Too many people simply do not trust the administration.

COVID vaccines, instead of being a reasonable option for American citizens, are now divisive. The unvaccinated beware: Biden’s “patience is wearing thin.” The unvaccinated are being treated as enemies of the state.

Reasonable people have legitimate concerns about taking the vaccine, largely due to Biden’s misinformation about everything from Facebook “killing people” to red-state election laws being the new Jim Crow.

The administration has downplayed the effectiveness of natural immunity. They have also encouraged Big Tech to silence discourse around the vaccine.

Instead of treating reasonable people like deplorable idiots, it might help to treat them as citizens and address their concerns with understanding instead of malice.

Faith alone won’t work when it comes to COVID vaccines. People will need to be convinced through reason before they decide whether or not to take that leap.

The Biden administration chose to run the country’s COVID response much differently than Trump. They now have to own the 372,000 deaths. Mr. President, please stop blaming your mistakes on the citizens of the United States.


Former CDC Director Gives Disturbing Statistic on Fully Vaccinated COVID Deaths

Deaths were rare but 40 percent of people who did die in Maryland were fully vaccinated

Speaking during an interview with Fox News Monday afternoon, former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said that more than 40 percent of people who have recently died from the coronavirus in Maryland were fully vaccinated.

"A lot of times people may feel it's a rare event that fully vaccinated people die. I happen to be the senior advisor to Governor Hogan in the state of Maryland. In the last 6-8 weeks, more than 40 percent of people who died in Maryland were fully vaccinated," Redfield said, responding to the death of former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

At the time of his death from virus complications, Powell was also fighting a blood cancer that lowers the ability to stave off infection. According to the Maryland Department of Health, 65.7 percent of adults in the state are fully vaccinated.

Redfield served as CDC director under President Donald Trump and currently works as an advisor for Maryland's Republican Governor Larry Hogan.


The likelihood of catching Covid-19 if you’re fully vaccinated

The Australian data

Covid-19 has a mortality rate of 1.06 per cent in Australia. Around 1,400 Aussies are currently in hospital with the virus, including 288 people in Intensive Care Units across the country.

The Health Minister said getting the jab would diminish most people’s risk of being hospitalised with Covid-19 to almost nothing. “We do know that what vaccination does is it reduces significantly your risk of getting the disease, but it doesn't prevent it,” Mr Hunt said.

“In the best case study, 47,000 people in NSW and the ACT between the ages of 16, and I believe 65, have been diagnosed. Of those, only four per cent have been fully vaccinated.”

And even if you catch Covid-19 despite being fully vaccinated, Mr Hunt says the chance of becoming seriously ill is still very low for Australians who are double-dosed.

“It reduces very significantly your risk of serious illness or hospitalisation,” the Health Minister said.

Of the 47,000-person case study in NSW and the ACT, Mr Hunt said only one per cent of positive cases who died from the virus were fully vaccinated.

Australia’s Intensive care units reflect a similar trend. According to NSW Health, less than 2 per cent of people admitted to intensive care in NSW in the first 11 weeks of the state’s most recent outbreak were fully vaccinated.

Of the 4654 people hospitalised with Covid-19 over that period, just three per cent were double-dosed.

Eighteen per cent of hospitalisations were partially vaccinated, and the remaining 79 per cent were either unvaccinated or their vaccination status was unknown.


GOP Reps Introduce Bill Requiring Federal Agencies to Recognize Natural Immunity Against COVID-19

On Monday, Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-TN) introduced a bill requiring federal agencies to take into account naturally acquired immunity from a previous Wuhan coronavirus infection when issuing any measures aimed at stopping the spread of the virus.

The bill, titled the “Natural Immunity is Real Act” states that agencies are to “truthfully present, and incorporate, the consideration of natural immunity as it pertains to COVID-19” and that nothing in the Act “shall be construed to allow for, or authorize, a Federal vaccination mandate.”

As we’ve previously covered, last month, President Biden announced new COVID-19 vaccine mandates that would require all federal workers to be vaccinated and require employers with over 100 workers to require the vaccine or be subject to regular testing. Shortly after, the Biden administration began pushing a booster shot campaign.

“[T]he Biden Administration must ‘follow the science’ and be open, honest and transparent about the millions of Americans who have natural immunity against the COVID-19 virus,” Harshbarger said in a press release. “[M]y bill is a necessary and timely legislative action resulting from President Biden’s continued politicization of COVID-19 which continues to create deep divisions among Americans, such as when he chillingly said his national vaccine mandate requirements are ‘not about freedom or personal choice.’

Now more than ever, we need to pursue every scientific measure — such as natural immunity — that can help mitigate the pandemic without threatening people’s jobs, our economy, or denying Americans access to everyday life activities based on COVID-19 vaccination status.”

“We are over a year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has failed to recognize the effectiveness of natural immunity,” Van Drew said in the press release. “We know vaccines work, but natural immunity could be equally or similarly as effective in certain individuals. If the CDC would devote time into its research, we would have robust, evidence-based research that could help America finally move on from this virus.”



State Department IG to probe Biden administration’s chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal (Fox News)

“I will share my thoughts in the coming days and weeks”: Top U.S. envoy to Afghanistan steps down (Washington Examiner)

Midnight runs: Biden secretly flying underage migrants into New York in the dead of night (New York Post)

Haiti kidnappers demand $17 million ransom for missionaries (BBC News)

The writing is on the wall: House Democrat retirement rush continues with two new departures (Politico)

Supreme Court protects cops from lawsuits in two qualified immunity cases (Fox News)

China’s GDP slows to disappointing 4.9% in third quarter (The Hill)

U.S. careening into another recession as worried consumers flash warning signs (New York Post)

LA ports a ghost town much of the weekend despite President Biden’s goal to move cargo (Washington Examiner)

Climate backfire: Coal-fired power jumps as natural gas prices soar (Washington Times)

City leaders, police departments push back over impending COVID vaccine mandates (USA Today)

Nick Rolovich fired as Washington State football coach after refusing COVID vaccine (The Oregonian)

Jury selection moving slowly in Ahmaud Arbery slaying trial (AP)

Ten absurdly wasteful items tucked into the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion tax-and-spend monstrosity (Daily Signal)

DOJ ignores Washington Post-prompted death threats against Waukesha, Wisconsin, school board member (The Federalist)

Silent disgrace: Where is the national media on abandoned Americans in Afghanistan? (Hot Air)




Tuesday, October 19, 2021

FDA Panel Unanimously Recommends Authorization of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Booster

Moderna officials presented data from clinical trials, including a small trial that studied the safety and effectiveness of a booster shot, as did officials from Israel, one of the first countries in the world to start giving booster shots, and the FDA, which performed an analysis of Moderna’s data but didn’t support or oppose the company’s application for an emergency use authorization expansion.

The FDA can overrule the panel’s recommendations but rarely does so. If the recommendation is approved, anyone aged 65 and older will be able to get a Moderna booster shot if they’ve received the primary two doses of the Moderna series. People between the ages of 18 and 64 who are deemed “at high risk of severe COVID-19” or whose “frequent institutional or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 puts them at high risk of serious complications of COVID-19” will also have access to the booster shot.

The boosters would be a 50 microgram dose for people at least six months after they’ve received their second dose, which is itself typically administered one month after the initial dose. The primary two-dose series is 100 micrograms each.

Moderna said its small trial, consisting of just 171 people who got the regular primary series and a half-dose booster, showed a smaller amount could still bolster protection against CCP virus infection.

Officials discussed how data from other trials signal that the vaccine is still holding up well against severe disease, but that there’s been plummeting effectiveness against infection, particularly after the Delta variant became dominant in the United States.

Some panel members struck a skeptical tone on widespread boosters, pointing to the small number of people who got another shot and were studied and highlighting how some populations, including young, healthy people, don’t seem to need another shot.

“I’m not wild about a bunch of 20-year-olds going out and getting a booster dose, unless they’re at increased risk of either exposure or severe outcome,” Dr. Mark Sawyer, professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of California–San Diego School of Medicine and a temporary panel voting member, said before the vote.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel will ultimately make the decision on who should get a Moderna booster, Sawyer said, though it’s in danger of being overruled by the agency’s head, as happened with Pfizer’s additional shot.

There was discussion about amending the third piece of the recommendation, but a number of members brushed aside the talk, in part because of a desire to match the recommendation the same panel gave for a booster for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in September. No one dissented.

“We already approved it for Pfizer. I don’t see how we can possibly not approve it for Moderna and not have most U.S. folks be completely confused. I know that’s not part of what we’re supposed to think about, but I think it’s a pragmatic issue,” said Dr. Stanley Perlman, a temporary voting member and a professor in the University of Iowa’s Departments of Microbiology and Immunology.

Dr. Cody Meissner, a professor of pediatrics at the Tufts University School of Medicine and a panel member, twice asked for evidence that people can be at high risk for serious complications based on their work. Dr. Doran Fink, an FDA official, said there was no “specific data,” but that there’s concern about so-called long COVID, or alleged problems that stem from COVID-19 and are seen even after somebody stops testing positive for the disease.

Meissner endorsed the recommendations, but warned the panel against voting for evidence-free language. “If we can’t defend these recommendations based on evidence, it’s going to further complicate getting this vaccine into every single adult American, and that’s really what we want to do,” Meissner said.

Dr. James Hildreth, president and CEO of Meharry Medical College and a temporary voting member (pdf), challenged Meissner, saying that the only evidence he needed for the occupational risk advice was that minorities are more likely to have underlying conditions, putting them at higher risk of severe cases of COVID-19.

Perlman said the piece was important because the United States can’t afford to have health care workers test positive for COVID-19, because that means they’ll have to miss work, even if they’re not showing symptoms.

Many spoke in favor of advising the FDA to widen the emergency use authorization again, after previously allowing people with weak immune systems to get a third dose of the vaccine. They said the fact that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are similar means that data regarding Pfizer booster shots, including virtually all the information from Israel, informed their decision, as did the millions of Americans who have already gotten the third shot. “We need boosters in some populations,” Sawyer said.

Dr. Patrick Moore, a temporary voting member and a professor at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, said his vote was based on “more of a gut feeling” than serious data.

“The data itself is not strong but it is certainly going in a direction that is supportable of this vote,” Moore said.


Is America Repeating Cultural Split Between Rome and Byzantium?

In A.D. 286, the Roman emperor Diocletian split in half the huge Roman Empire administratively—and peacefully—under the control of two emperors.

A Western empire included much of modern-day Western Europe and northwest Africa. The Eastern half controlled Eastern Europe and parts of Asia and northeastern Africa.

By 330, the Emperor Constantine institutionalized that split by moving the empire’s capital from Rome to his new imperial city of Constantinople, founded on the site of the old Greek polis of Byzantium.

The two administrative halves of the once huge empire continued to drift apart. Soon there arose two increasingly different, though still kindred versions, of a once unified Romanity.

The Western empire eventually collapsed into chaos by the latter fifth century A.D.

Yet the Roman eastern half survived for nearly 1,000 years. It was soon known as the Byzantine Empire, until overwhelmed by the Ottoman Turks in 1453 A.D.

Historians still disagree over why the East endured while the West crumbled. And they cite the various roles of differing geography, border challenges, tribal enemies, and internal challenges.

We moderns certainly have developed unfair stereotypes of a supposedly decadent late imperial Rome of Hollywood sensationalism that deserved its end. And we likewise mistakenly typecast a rigid, ultra-orthodox bureaucratic “Byzantine” alternative that supposedly grew more reactionary to survive in a rough neighborhood.

Yet in both cases, separate geography multiplied the growing differences between a Greek-speaking, Orthodox Christian and older civilization in the East, versus a more or less polyglot and often fractious Christianity in the Latin West.

Byzantium held firm against ancient neighboring Persian, Middle Eastern, and Egyptian rivals. But the West disintegrated into a tribal amalgam of its own former peoples.

Unlike in the West, the glue that held the East together against centuries of foreign enemies was the revered idea of an ancient and uncompromising Hellenism—the preservation of a common, holistic Greek language, religion, culture, and history.

By A.D. 600, at a time when the West had long ago fragmented into tribes and proto-European kingdoms, the jewel at Constantinople was the nerve center of the most impressive civilization in the world, stretching from the Eastern Asia Minor to southern Italy.

There is now much talk of a new American red state/blue state split—and even wild threats of another civil war. Certainly, millions of Americans yearly self-select, disengage from their political opposites, and make moves based on diverging ideology, culture, politics, religiosity or lack of it, and differing views of the American past.

More conservative traditionalists head for the interior between the coasts, where there is usually smaller government, fewer taxes, more religiosity, and unapologetic traditionalists.

These modern Byzantines are more apt to define their patriotism by honoring ancient customs and rituals—standing for the national anthem, attending church services on Sundays, demonstrating reverence for American history and its heroes, and emphasizing the nuclear family.

Immigration in fly-over country is still defined as melting pot assimilation and integration of new arrivals into the body politic of a hallowed and enduring America.

While red states welcome change, they believe America never had to be perfect to be good. It will always survive, but only if it sticks to its 234-year-old Constitution, stays united by the English language, and assimilates newcomers into an enduring and exceptional American culture.

In contrast, the more liberal blue state antithesis is richer from globalist wealth. The West Coast, from Seattle to San Diego, profits from trade with a thriving Asia. It is bookended by the East Coast window on the European Union from Boston to Miami.

The great research universities of the Ivy League—the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Caltech, Stanford, and the University of California System—are bicoastal. Just as Rome was once the iconic center of the entire Roman project, so blue Washington, D.C., is the nerve center for big-government America.

The salad bowl is the bicoastal model for immigration. Newcomers can retain and reboot their former cultural identities.

Religion is less orthodox; atheism and agnosticism are almost the norm. And most of the recent social movements of American feminism, transgenderism, and critical race theory grew out of coastal urbanity and academia.

Foreigners see blue coastal Americans as the more vibrant, sophisticated, cosmopolitan—and reckless—culture, its vast wealth predicated on technology, information, communications, finance, media, education, and entertainment.

In turn, they concede that the vast red interior—with about the same population as blue America but with vastly greater area—is the more pragmatic, predictable, and home to the food, fuels, ores, and material production of America.

Our Byzantine interior and Roman coasts are quite differently interpreting their shared American heritage as they increasingly plot radically divergent courses to survive in scary times.

But as in the past, it is far more likely that one state model will prove unsustainable and collapse than it is that either region would ever start a civil war.




Monday, October 18, 2021

Should you mix and match COVID-19 vaccines?

Can someone get their initial COVID-19 vaccine from one manufacturer and then get a booster from another? The question has intrigued medical professionals since before the first shot went into an arm—and it’s far more than an academic issue. Allowing people to mix and match COVID-19 shots could significantly improve vaccine distribution and may even offer some medical benefits.

This afternoon an advisory committee to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will review data from a recent National Institutes of Health study that seeks to answer the question. The preliminary results of this very small study hint that the answer may be yes.

If the FDA eventually endorses mixing brands, the decision could help nationwide vaccination efforts, says Pedro Piedra, professor of molecular virology, microbiology, and pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “At any time, a pharmaceutical company can have a manufacturing issue, whether that’s a contamination problem or a shortage of a reagent, so it’s helpful to have options,” he says.

Doctors and pharmacists would also benefit, says Robert M. Jacobson, medical director of the primary care immunization program at the Mayo Clinic. “Practitioners could just pick one brand to carry and know they could give that to anyone in the middle of their vaccine series, rather than have to turn some patients away,” he says. This would reduce waste, because more people could be inoculated from each open vial, he notes.

Globally, scientific support for mixing vaccines would be an especially big benefit for low-income countries, many of which don’t have national stockpiles. They’d be able to use whatever shots they receive from aid groups or donations at a given time. That’s particularly important when just 2.5 percent of people in these countries have received even one jab.

Extensive mixing data from England

Researchers at the University of Oxford in the U.K. conducted some of the earliest research on mixing COVID-19 vaccines in studies conceived in late 2020, before any vaccines were authorized in that country. Known as the Com-COV study, for Comparing COVID-19 vaccine schedule combinations, the team initially looked at mixing and matching the vaccines made by AstraZeneca-Oxford and Pfizer-BioNTech. (Find out how the different COVID-19 vaccines work in our vaccine tracker.)

“The initial thinking was really about the roll-out: What if there was a problem with the supply of one vaccine, or if there was a safety signal with it, or if a person turned up and you didn’t know which vaccine they’d had before,” says Matthew Snape, an Oxford vaccinologist and the chief investigator on the Com-COV trials.

But interest quickly shifted to whether such mixing, known in medicine as a heterologous vaccination schedule, could offer immunological advantages. When the researchers gave 830 people either a double dose of the AstraZeneca or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines four weeks apart, or a mix of each, all achieved an immune response above the threshold indicating good protection.

The strongest response occurred in people who first got the AstraZeneca shot followed by Pfizer. The levels of antibodies (indicating the body’s ability to fight the coronavirus) and T-cells (responsible for limiting internal spread of the disease) rose highest under this combination. Which of these two immune reactions is most important isn’t yet known, Snape says. Researchers are also still investigating whether the advantage holds months after the shots; new blood samples taken six months after the initial doses are currently being studied, he says.

Mixing vaccines did lead to slightly more adverse reactions in this research, but all the reported side effects were no worse than bothersome headaches, fevers, and chills that dissipated within days. No combinations raised safety concerns.

“These results created a lot of chatter,” says Waleed Javaid, an epidemiologist and director of infection prevention and control at Mount Sinai Downtown in New York City. But without longer-term data, they don’t confirm that the combination is worth doing, he says.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is not authorized in the U.S., but many experts compare the shot with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because both use the same type of delivery system, known as a viral vector. In both vaccines, an adenovirus like the ones that cause the common cold delivers a small piece of the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s genetic code into the body, triggering an immune response.

However, the AstraZeneca is made from a chimpanzee adenovirus, while the J&J shot uses a human version. That means the two vaccines are distinct enough that you can’t apply study results from one to the other, says Dan Barouch, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

“Heterologous vaccinations schedules might offer advantages, because each vaccine brings different features to the table. But every combination must be specifically studied for safety and immunogenicity,” Barouch says.

In recent months, Oxford has added Moderna and Novavax, another type of vaccine not authorized in the U.S., into its research mix. It expects to present results from the combinations of these four vaccines later this month, Snape says.

What the NIH found out about mixing

The NIH embarked on its own mix-and-match research in June, and the interim preliminary results were released online Wednesday. They are now under review by the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.

The scientists recruited some 450 people who had received a full series of any of the three vaccines authorized in the U.S. At least three months later these people received a booster shot, either of the same brand or a different one. When the NIH team checked the participants’ blood for antibody levels 15 days after the booster, mixing was shown to enhance the shots’ effects, especially for those whose first inoculation was with the J&J jab.

The roughly 50 people who boosted their J&J shot with Moderna saw their antibody levels rise 76-fold, compared to just 4-fold in those getting another J&J vaccine. A Pfizer booster gave this group a 35-fold increase in antibodies.

Switching from one mRNA shot to another was less dramatic. Pfizer-Moderna recipients saw a 32-fold boost, while Pfizer-Pfizer’s was 20-fold. The Moderna-Pfizer combination turned out to be largely similar to Moderna-Moderna’s. And no mRNA recipient got a larger increase with a J&J booster compared to one from their original shot type.

If the final results of this study, along with others in process worldwide, continue to find advantages, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) might ultimately green-light a mix-and-match protocol. But it has not done so at this time.

The only combination protocol authorized in the U.S. is for immunocompromised people getting a third mRNA shot to enhance their generally weak response to the first two. The CDC recommends using the same brand throughout, but if that is unavailable, it says a different mRNA vaccine can be used.

Why only some vaccines are interchangeable

Historically, combining vaccine doses from different manufacturers has rarely been authorized for other diseases, Jacobson points out. This is due to the way vaccine research is financed in this country, he says. Before any product is authorized, its manufacturer must pay hefty sums to conduct sufficiently large studies proving their vaccine is safe and effective. They must also convince the FDA that they are able to manufacture every dose going forward to the exact same specifications as were used in its clinical trials.

“A manufacturer is not going to also put money into seeing whether its product mixes with other brands. There is no financial benefit for them to do that,” Jacobson says.

Independent scientists sometimes perform this research on their own and present the data to ACIP. Based on this independent data, for instance, the committee has agreed that children under age nine getting their first-ever flu shot, which requires two doses, can safely receive any two of the nearly one dozen products available, Jacobson says. People can similarly swap brands for subsequent doses of Hepatitis A or Hepatitis B vaccines.

“Decades of research has shown that, in general, if antigens are generated by a vaccine in similar fashion, you can mix and match. But there are some huge exceptions,” Jacobson says. For instance, mixing among meningococcal B manufacturers is not allowed. “If the provider can’t get the boost in the same brand as the original shot, you have to start the whole series over,” he says.

Some countries have already decided that certain recipients can receive a different second COVID-19 shot. When a rare blood clotting disorder appeared in a small number of younger recipients of the AstraZeneca vaccine, some governments were hesitant to insist that everyone who’d gotten the first shot continue with the second.

“This is exactly what we anticipated in wanting to generate data,” Snape says of the Com-COV studies. Canada’s policy allows people who received a first AstraZeneca dose to finish the series with an mRNA vaccine if they prefer.

Should you try to mix and match?

With the fragmented healthcare system in the U.S., it’s possible that some people here have gotten a second or third dose of a different vaccine through less than legitimate means. You probably know someone who has done this, perhaps swayed by data showing stronger protection for some vaccines or annoyed that boosters for the Moderna and J&J vaccines are not yet approved.

Even though the preliminary NIH results show some advantage, the number of people tested was small. And while no serious adverse events occurred, uncommon reactions wouldn’t be discovered until tens of thousands or more recipients get the combination, Piedra says. It also remains to be seen whether the changes in the immune system seen 15 days after the vaccine ultimately translate into disease protection.

Plus, if you choose your own unauthorized booster shot, what happens if later research proves a different combination is better? That’s why experts say it’s a bad idea to become your own vaccine advisory committee and get a shot out of turn. “Deciding whether to mix,” Javaid says, “should be done in a safe and scientific matter rather than randomly.”



Associate reportedly shuffled money between Joe and Hunter Biden accounts; president potential target of FBI investigation (Daily Wire)

Andrew McCabe, disgraced FBI official fired by Trump administration, gets pension restored (Fox News)

Chuck Schumer plans vote on phone election bill compromise next week (NBC News)

Democrats flip-flop on contempt, seeking it for Steven Bannon after opposing it for Eric Holder (Just the News)

Nearly half of the Taliban government’s leaders are designated terrorists (Free Beacon)

Cold hard malaise: Winter heating bills set to sharply jump as inflation hits home (AP)

U.S. wholesale prices rose record 8.6% over 12 months (AP)

Biden pushing vaccines for small kids (Daily Wire)

Judge sides with New York healthcare workers seeking religious exemption to vax mandate (Spectrum News)

Judge blocks United Airlines from suspending employees over vax mandate (Washington Examiner)

“Hold the line”: Chicago police union president tells officers to resist city vax requirement (Daily Wire)

Nursing schools see applications rise despite COVID burnout (AP)

Family of alleged rape victim in Loudoun County to sue school district (Daily Wire)

Systemic injustice: Loudoun Schools did not record multiple alleged sexual assaults over a period of years (Daily Wire)

Appeals court keeps Texas pro-life law in place (AP)

Democrat LA City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas indicted on federal corruption charges (Los Angeles Daily News)

Southlake, Texas, school leader tells teachers to balance Holocaust books with “opposing” views (NBC News)

Walmart CRT training encourages employees to accept that “white is not right” (National Review)

Walgreens closes five more San Francisco stores over rampant theft (Washington Examiner)

D'oh! Biden Supreme Court commission opposes adding justices (Fox News)




Sunday, October 17, 2021

Johns Hopkins Doc Says Natural Immunity 27 Times More Effective Than Vaccine

“Nurses, who are heroes, are now getting laid off. Soldiers are getting dishonorably discharged. They’ve got immunity. It’s just not the type that our public health officials have sanctioned.”

The Biden administration’s refusal to acknowledge the relevance of natural immunity in the fight against COVID-19 has become glaring.

The administration that constantly insists they are following the science is actually engaging in willful blindness.

Hell-bent on enforcing their COVID vaccine mandate, they deliberately ignore every scientific study that finds natural immunity to be superior to vaccine immunity.

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine professor Dr. Marty Makary appeared as a guest on Thursday’s edition of “Morning Wire,” a podcast hosted by The Daily Wire.

“The data on natural immunity are now overwhelming,” Makary told the Morning Wire. “It turns out the hypothesis that our public health leaders had that vaccinated immunity is better and stronger than natural immunity was wrong. They got it backwards. And now we’ve got data from Israel showing that natural immunity is 27 times more effective than vaccinated immunity. And that supports 15 other studies.”

Despised by the left for his criticism of the vaccine mandate, Makary finds it bizarre that natural immunity is not seen as legitimate in the eyes of the U.S. government.

“It’s ruining the lives of people who are getting fired,” he said. “Nurses, who are heroes, are now getting laid off. Soldiers are getting dishonorably discharged. They’ve got immunity. It’s just not the type that our public health officials have sanctioned.”

“This is a failure of government, not a failure of science,” he declared. “But how about some flexibility? How about recognizing natural immunity and allowing those who have circulating antibodies to get credit? That’s how they do it in parts of Europe, and that’s how they do it in Israel.”

Makary said the recent drop-off in COVID cases can be attributed to both the tens of millions of Americans who have already had the virus and those who have been vaccinated.

The government refuses to acknowledge that the natural immunity acquired from having had COVID has played any role at all in moving us closer and faster to the desired goal of herd immunity. Makary is essentially saying natural immunity has played an enormous role.

This point is compelling and has been underreported.

“That decline [in new cases of COVID] is really natural immunity kicking in,” Makary explained. “What we’re seeing is that when a very few people in a population are susceptible, that is almost everybody has either had COVID or the vaccine. You do see this rapid decline. It’s basically a part of herd immunity kicking in.”

He believes “we’re done with the surges. What we may see is bumping cases, seasonally, depending on pockets of the country where there’s low immunity rates. And remember: breakthrough infections are real. They will happen, but they have downgraded COVID from a major public health threat to a mild, common, cold-like illness.”

Makary feels that the vaccines are safe and that complications are “exceedingly rare.” I know a few people who might disagree with that assessment.

At any rate, Makary told the Morning Wire, “When I talked to doctors nationwide, it’s pretty clear that the vaccine-related complications are exceedingly rare and the vaccines we have are safer than any other vaccine we’ve ever had in the past. And I think if you if you’re on the fence about getting vaccinated, you want to do it right now, like today, because we are getting to a point where it’s so contagious, it’s ripping through the population pretty quickly.”

The consequences of the government’s rejection of natural immunity as a valid reason to skip the vaccine have become apparent throughout the country, particularly in the health care industry and at all levels of law enforcement.

Democrats pushing Biden’s misguided blanket vaccine mandate all parrot the same old tired line: “We follow the science.” That’s nonsense. It has nothing to do with science and everything to do with politics — the politics of power and control.

In a September Op-Ed published in The Washington Post, Makary wrote, “It’s okay to have an incorrect scientific hypothesis. But when new data proves it wrong, you have to adapt. Unfortunately, many elected leaders and public health officials have held on far too long to the hypothesis that natural immunity offers unreliable protection against COVID-19 — a contention that is being rapidly debunked by science.”

Makary argued that over 15 studies have confirmed the power of natural immunity. He cited the recent 700,000-person Israeli study which found that those who had recovered from COVID “were 27 times less likely to get a second symptomatic COVID infection than those who were vaccinated.”

The results of the Israeli study, Makary wrote, confirmed the findings of a Cleveland Clinic study released in June. None of the health care workers who had previously contracted the virus were reinfected. The research team concluded that “individuals who have had SARS-CoV-2 infection are unlikely to benefit from COVID-19 vaccination.”

And the Cleveland Clinic’s results, he noted, affirmed the conclusions of a Washington University study conducted in May, which “found that even a mild COVID infection resulted in long-lasting immunity.”

Maybe it’s time for the Biden administration to take politics out of it and actually look at the science.


Immune response from Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines spikes and then drops while antibody levels after J&J's shot remain low but stable, study finds

The immune response from the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines spikes and then drops drastically while the response from the Johnson & Johnson shot remains low but stable, a new study finds.

Researchers compared blood samples from a few dozen people fully vaccinated with one of three shots available in the U.S.

Findings - published in The New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the advisory committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on J&J boosters on Friday - showed antibody levels among people who got the Pfizer and Moderna were initially 12 times to 40 times higher than the J&J shot.

However, eight months later, the levels of the two-dose vaccines waned while those of the J&J vaccine 'remained relatively stable.'

The findings may throw a wrench in the advisory committee's discussions with some experts saying the results appear to suggest that a booster shot isn't needed after all.

For the study, researchers looked at 61 people at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston who were fully vaccinated.

Of the participants, 31 patients received the Pfizer vaccine, 22 received the Moderna vaccine and eight received the J&J vaccine.

Blood samples were taken between two to four weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines or after the one J&J dose, six months later and then eight months later.

Neutralizing antibody levels were measured in ID50, or the number of antibodies produced to prevent infection in 50 percent of normal adult humans exposed

Results showed that the median level for Pfizer was 1,789 ID50 and for Moderna was 5,848 ID50.

However, by eight months, the levels substantially declined to 53 ID50 in Pfizer, or a 34-fold drop, and to 133 ID50 in Moderna, or a 44-fold drop.

Comparatively, two to four weeks after the one-dose vaccine, median antibody levels for J&J were 146 ID50, lower than the other two vaccines.

This number then jumped to 629 ID50 eight months later.

'I think the data should be reassuring for people who received the J&J vaccine, that immune responses are stable over time,' study co-author Dr Dan Barouch, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, told The Boston Globe.

'After about eight months, the antibody responses are relatively similar among the three vaccines.'

This difference may be attributed to the fact that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use new messenger RNA (mRNA) technology.

The technology works by using part of Covid's genetic code to trick the body into producing a harmless piece of the virus.

This gets the body to recognize the invader and mount an immune response by making customized proteins that are ready to attack if a person becomes infected.

But J&J's immunization is what is known as a viral vector vaccine, which combined genetic material from the new virus with the genes of the adenovirus -which causes the common cold - to induce an immune response.

The study also looked at levels of T-cells, which are a type of white blood cell that binds to and kills viruses, and found they were stable over eight months for all three vaccines.

Despite the findings that antibody levels for J&J's vaccine are steady, Barouch told The Globe that the firm still wants the FDA to authorize a booster dose.

'Although protection is maintained over time with a one-dose vaccine, it is not in the 90 percent range. It is in the 70 to 80 percent range,' he said during the meeting.

'A booster could bump efficacy to a level that is substantially higher.'