“I hope that when the FDA and CDC review the data on Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, they will allow for a mix-and-match approach,” CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen said Friday.
Vaccine advisers from the US Food and Drug Administration will meet on October 14-15 to discuss requests for booster doses from Moderna and J & J’s vaccine arm, Janssen. And on October 20 and 21, vaccine experts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are scheduled to discuss the same course of action.
Wen, also a former Baltimore City health commissioner, said allowing the mix-and-match option is more convenient for those who initially received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines in case the booster vaccine is not available on-site at the time. they go for their Shot.
“The mRNA vaccines really should be interchangeable,” he said.
But Wen cautioned that people who received the J&J vaccine may need to consider the risks associated with taking their booster dose.
“We know that there is an association between the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and a very rare, but extremely serious blood clotting disorder in women under the age of 50,” Wen told CNN. She added that although she was fully vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, she would prefer to receive a different booster shot.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said late last month that “mix-and-match” studies are underway.
“The mix-and-match study in which Moderna is seen as a boost over the other three, that data is already available,” Fauci had said at a Covid-19 briefing at the White House.
The data has not yet been released or submitted to the FDA.
Also, some immunosuppressed people may receive a third dose, although this is not technically considered a booster because they likely did not respond fully to the first two doses.
Infections are generally down, but experts warn against complacency
Still, experts warn that the primary public health focus must remain the initial application of vaccines to the arms of the millions of Americans who are not vaccinated at all.
“As a country, we are definitely going in the right direction, finally,” Wen said. “The problem, however, is that people really need to look at where they are. Because while there are some places that are really doing very well with high vaccination rates and low infection rates, there are also other places that remain. trend in the wrong direction. “
Covid-19 infections were down nearly 35% from last month, and the number of people fighting the virus in hospitals was down by more than 31% from the previous month, according to University data. Johns Hopkins and the US Department of Health and Human Services, respectively.
But experts, including Wen and Dr. Vivek Murthy, the US Surgeon General, caution against complacency, as there are still areas showing upward trends in deaths and hospitalizations.
“Fortunately, we are seeing cases and hospitalizations decrease, but it is not a reason for us to take our foot off the gas or relax our guard,” Murthy said earlier this week.
In Alabama, infections have decreased in recent weeks, but people continue to die from the disease at high rates, a senior state health official said Friday.
“Fortunately, we have had a decrease in our number of hospitalizations … We have dropped to just over 1,000 inpatients in the state,” said Dr. Scott Harris, state health officer. He acknowledged that the number is still high, “but it is about two-thirds less than what we saw a month or so ago.”
He added: “Unfortunately, we have not seen a change in the number of deaths.”
And Pennsylvania reported the highest number of Covid-19 hospitalizations since February, a spokesman for the state health department said. Of the 3,001 people hospitalized with the virus, 680 were in intensive care units on Thursday, authorities said.
Covid-19 racial and ethnic disparity gap shrinks but remains wide
A new analysis released Friday by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) shows that the difference in Covid-19 cases and deaths between black, Hispanic and white people is narrowing.
KFF researchers found that while disparities still exist between different racial groups, the gap is improving for black and Hispanic people, according to an analysis of CDC case and death data last month. But Covid-19 infections remain high in American Indians and Alaska Natives.
The most recent data included in the report, from Sept. 25, shows a case rate of 96.1 Covid-19 infections per 100,000 whites. In Hispanics, this number was 90.8; in blacks, it was 92.7.
The American Indian and Alaska Native communities had the highest case rate per 100,000 people, at 181. Asians had the lowest case rate: 42.9 per 100,000 people.
Data from the National Center for Health Statistics through June showed that racial and ethnic minority children accounted for 65% of those who lost a primary caregiver, while white children accounted for 35%. That’s even though minorities make up only 39% of the US population.
CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas, Virginia Langmaid, Maggie Fox, Melissa Alonso, and Laura Studley contributed to this report.