Vaccinating traces of children controversy, the Delta variant sparks a worldwide wave, and drug manufacturers and countries are considering boosters. Here’s what you need to know:
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Vaccinating children is about to become the next politicized pandemic problem in the US
This week, Tennessee fired its top vaccine official to inform health care providers about a long-standing legal mechanism allowing minors over 14 to be vaccinated without parental consent. The state has also halted all online teen vaccination campaigns. This news, coupled with the recent easing of CDC guidelines for wearing masks in school buildings, could bode well for the next big Covid controversy: vaccinate children. Clinical trials testing mRNA vaccines for children are underway and the first emergency approval applications are expected in September or October. But if approved, kid shoots are likely to turn into a political battleground full of misinformation.
On Thursday, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called… misinformation about Covid-19 and vaccines more generally an urgent national concern, especially as vaccination coverage has declined and the number of cases is rising again. In particular, he called on tech companies to make changes to their platforms to stop the spread of unfounded or inaccurate claims about the pandemic.
The Delta variant continues to fuel a wave of business around the world and in the US
Global outbreaks are worsening as the Delta variant continues to spread rapidly. The WHO reported that deaths in Africa increased by 43 percent last week, South Korea has tightened restrictions as it battles its worst outbreak yet, and Covid departments overflow in Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country. The increase is especially bad in countries with lower vaccination rates, but fortunately some efforts to share vaccines seem to increase speed. For example, at the end of this week, Indonesia received 1.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine after 3 million other US doses arrived over the weekend.
Delta is now also the dominant species in the US, and the number of cases is goes up in every state. In response to this wave, Los Angeles has its mandate for inner mask for everyone, vaccinated or not.
Some countries are weighing down booster shots despite calls to prioritize first doses
Israel has started offering a third booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to immunocompromised adults after the Delta variant increased the number of cases again, even among people who have already been vaccinated. The country’s health minister said the decision on whether or not to make boosters more widely available is pending. Pfizer has also pitched boosters in the US, but senior US officials told drugmaker they would need more data on the efficacy of a third dose before approving it for use. Still, a federal advisory panel is expected to meet next week to consider the possibility of giving additional doses to patients with suppressed immunity.
On the other hand, WHO officials have: appealed to medicine makers prioritizing the delivery of vaccines to countries where many have not yet received their first dose, rather than urging rich countries to offer boosters. They added that there is not enough scientific evidence at this time that booster shots are necessary.
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How is the airline industry adapting as travel revives?
Before the pandemic, everything from the price of airline tickets to flight schedules was determined using complex mathematical models based on a wealth of historical data. Now more people are getting on the plane, but travelers are following new, unpredictable patterns that the industry’s pre-existing models cannot accommodate so easily. In response, many airlines rely less on algorithms and more on human planning and pricing teams. They also test other data sources, such as customer searches on the Internet, to find out what’s in demand and target specific rates to specific people based on their history and the market. Still, there’s a lot of trial and error, and it may take a while for these companies to understand the new numbers.
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