The real-life race between vaccinating people and virus variants continues as President Biden moved up vaccine eligibility for all adults.
Biden promised every adult in America will be eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine by April 19. This vaccine eligibility date is two weeks earlier than his earlier target date.
The U.S. vaccine rollout has picked up speed in recent weeks. The U.S. is now administering about 3 million doses every day.
According to the CDC, 168 million doses have now been administered as vaccine eligibility has broadened. That is more than any other country.
Roughly 40% of U.S. adults have received at least one shot. And about a quarter have both vaccine doses, including 55% of people aged over 65.
At the same time, concern is building over a possible fourth wave of infections. Cases are rising in many northern states, including Michigan, Illinois and Vermont.
About 64,000 new cases are now reported each day in the U.S., up from about 53,000 last month. Deaths do continue to fall to lows not seen since October. That is likely due to the high level of vaccinations among older adults.
There is only one way to end this race. That is to have more Americans vaccinated. We need to reach herd immunity.
The Big News
AstraZeneca Vaccine and Strokes
A top vaccine official – Marco Cavaleri – at the European Medicines Agency said that AstraZeneca’s vaccine was linked to blood clots in a small number of recipients. It was the first indication from a leading regulatory body that the clots might be a real, if extremely rare, side effect of the shot.
Older Adults Are at Higher Risk of Getting Covid Twice
Natural infection with SARS-CoV-2 protects against reinfection in most people. However, this protection is much weaker in those aged 65 years or older. Researchers analyzed millions of coronavirus test results in Denmark and found that, at about 6 months after initial infection, protection against repeat infection was approximately 80%, with little difference in reinfection rates between men and women. But this protection was reduced to 47% for those aged 65 years or older.
Vaccine Eligibility: Vaccinating Adults Protects Kids Too
Vaccinating adults against SARS-CoV-2 could stall infection rates, even among unvaccinated children in the same community. Researchers looked at 223 Israeli communities in which older people had been widely vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The infection risk among children under 16 dropped proportionally to the percentage of adults who had been vaccinated.
U.S. Production of Moderna Vaccine to Double
A Catalent plant in Indiana will nearly double U.S. production of the Covid-19 vaccine from Moderna. The output this month is expected to reach about 400 vials a minute. New doses will be ready to ship starting next month. The upgraded plant will be able to fill an extra 80 million vials a year. The expansion will help Moderna reach its goal of supplying an additional 100 million doses to the U.S. by the end of May and another 100 million doses by the end of July. U.S. adults will have universal vaccine eligibility by April 19, President Biden said.
Walgreens Mistimes Vaccine Doses
Walgreens has inoculated hundreds of thousands of Americans against Covid-19 this year with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. But the pharmacy chain did not follow guidance from federal health officials about the timing of second doses. People are supposed to get two doses, three weeks apart. Walgreens separated them by four weeks because that made it faster and simpler for the company to schedule appointments.
The Coronavirus Numbers
Here are the numbers from Wednesday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 132,534,877 Infected Worldwide
- 678,618,075 Vaccines Given Globally
- 2,875,876 Deaths
- 30,847,737 Infected in the U.S.
- 168,592,075 U.S. Vaccine Doses Administered
- 556,529 Deaths in the U.S.
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The stock market did little yesterday after hitting a record high on Monday. Futures this morning are also little changed.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury dropped to 1.64% as investors awaited minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve policy meeting. That will be released later today.
Sectors including automakers, travel and leisure companies, and banks have staged a strong rebound in 2021.
This should continue for a while. The cyclical value stocks closely linked with economic growth — overlooked for a decade and further beaten down by the pandemic — should continue to benefit as economies restart.
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