HEADLINE HEALTH – In rapid fire succession on Friday morning, mainstream media outlet CBS News posted four new stories in less than 90 minutes on the reported resurgence of COVID:
- “Here’s what experts say to know about new COVID variant BA.2.86” – BY ALEXANDER TIN, CBS News, AUGUST 25, 2023 / 9:48 AM
- “As COVID flares, some schools and businesses reinstate mask mandates” – BY MEGAN CERULLO, CBS News, AUGUST 25, 2023 / 9:48 AM
- “As schools resume, CDC reports rise in COVID ER visits from adolescents” – BY ALEXANDER TINm CBS News, AUGUST 25, 2023 / 11:11 AM
- “Should you be masking with new COVID variants? Experts weigh in.” – BY SARA MONIUSZKO, CBS News, AUGUST 25, 2023 / 11:12 AM
Meanwhile the CDC announced a new round of COVID vaccines Americans will soon be “asked” to roll up their sleeves for — coverage below from CNBC.
CDC expects new Covid vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax to be available in mid-September
PUBLISHED FRI, AUG 25 2023 | Annika Kim Constantino
CNBC – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expects updated Covid vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and Novavax to be available to the public in mid-September, an agency official told reporters Thursday.
That amounts to the most specific timeline to date. Federal officials have said the new shots could arrive around September. CDC Director Mandy Cohen had previously provided a later timeline, telling NPR that the vaccines could be available by the “early October time frame.”
Those shots still need approvals from the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC, which will set eligibility guidelines for the jabs. An independent panel of advisors to the CDC is meeting on Sept. 12 to vote on a recommendation for those guidelines.
Officials from the CDC and FDA said the agencies will encourage Americans to receive an updated Covid shot and other key vaccines ahead of the fall, when respiratory viruses typically begin to spread more widely. That includes the annual flu shot and recently approved jabs that protect older adults and infants from respiratory syncytial virus.
“Our goal, our imperative, our task is to make sure we’re using those tools,” the CDC official said. “Vaccination is going to continue to be key this year because immunity wanes and because the Covid-19 virus continues to change.”
The arrival of updated vaccines offers some reassurance to Americans as the U.S. sees a slight uptick in Covid cases and hospitalizations. But those metrics remain below the summer peak that strained hospitals last year, the CDC official noted.
The current surge appears to be fueled by newer strains of the virus like EG.5, or Eris, an omicron subvariant that accounted for 17.3% of all cases as of last week, according to the CDC.
Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax designed their updated vaccines to target the omicron subvariant XBB.1.5, which is slowly declining in prevalence nationwide. But initial trial data from all three drugmakers suggest the new shots will still protect against EG.5.
“One of the manufacturers have already made it clear that when testing their vaccine against the EG.5 that it looks like the neutralization is robust,” an FDA official told reporters Thursday.