December 7, 2021 by John Fernandez
COVID-19 Roundup: Half of U.S. Adults Fully Vaccinated; Infant is Youngest to Get Pfizer; and COVID-Sniffing Dogs
CDC Update: 50% of U.S. Adults Fully Vaccinated; 62% have Received at Least One Dose
Declining trends nationwide in deaths, positive cases, and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 continue to fuel “encouragement that we are making progress toward returning to a sense of normalcy,” states the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its weekly update.
As of May 28, 51 percent of the U.S. population, age 18 years and older, is fully vaccinated, and 62 percent of adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are going down, and the number of people vaccinated continues to go up, providing a sense of optimism as summer approaches,” said the CDC.
Rhode Island has become the eighth state to have administered at least one COVID-19 shot to 70 percent of its adult population, according to data updated weekly by the CDC. Rhode Island joins Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Vermont.
The Biden Administration had announced a goal to fully vaccinate 70 percent of the U.S. adult population by July 4th.
According to the CDC’s update The current seven-day moving average of daily new cases (21,627) decreased 22.3 percent compared with the previous seven-day moving average (27,818). Compared with the highest peak on January 8, 2021 (252,932), the current seven-day average decreased 91.4 percent.
Vaccination trends by age group, according to the CDC: As of May 19, 85 percent people ages 65 or older have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 73 percent are fully vaccinated. More than half (60.5 percent) of people ages 18 or older have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 48 percent are fully vaccinated.
States the CDC: “As you make plans this summer, consider adding ‘visit my doctor’ back to your list of things to do. Getting regular health care, routine screenings, and vaccinations – including one of the COVID-19 vaccines – can help prevent serious health problems, save money, and lead to better health.”
Clinical Trial Includes 8-Month-Old, the Youngest Person Given Pfizer Vaccine
An 8-month-old baby boy from Baldwinsville, a village about 15 miles northwest of Syracuse, New York, is the youngest person in the world known to have received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
Vincenzo “Enzo” Mincolla got his second dose this month Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, where he is a participant in a U.S. clinical trial, the only such trial testing the Pfizer vaccine in kids under age 5. Upstate is one of four U.S. sites taking part. Enzo is one of 16 infants at the four sites participating in Phase 1 of the trial.
Both of his parents are physicians. Mike Mincolla is a family medicine doctor at CNY Family Care in East Syracuse. Marissa Mincolla is a radiologist at Upstate. After little Enzo received his two shots, he slept and ate well, and did not have any side effects, his parents told Syracuse.com.
“We are helping science and evidence-based medicine,” Mike Mincolla said of his son’s historic participation in the trial.
Earlier this month, a review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were safe and effective in adolescents and that side effects were consistent with those in older age groups. The trial found that 97.9 percent of adolescents developed sufficient antibodies in the month after their second dose.
This week, Moderna said its COVID-19 vaccine was 100 percent effective in a study of adolescents ages 12 to 17. Moderna said it plans to ask the FDA to expand it’s emergency use authorization for teens in June.
New Study: COVID-Sniffing Dogs Perform as Well or Better Than Traditional Screening Tests
The ability of dogs to detect the COVID-19 virus in human sweat is quite remarkable, according to a French study which is the latest to confirm a canine’s coronavirus-screening skills.
Conducted in March and April by France’s national veterinary school and the clinical research team at Paris’s Necker-Cochin hospital, the study found that dogs were able to detect the presence of the COVID-19 with 97 percent accuracy. That rate is comparable or better than most widely-used, so-called PCR testing performed with nasopharyngeal swabs, researchers said. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is performed to detect genetic material from a specific organism, such as the coronavirus.
“These results are scientific confirmation of dogs’ capacity to detect the olfactory signature of COVID-19,” the Paris hospital board stated. Researchers added that this was the first study of its kind.
The French study marks the latest data that adds to a growing body of evidence that dogs can use their powerful sense of smell to sniff out COVID-19 infections, including in people who are infected but are not showing any symptoms.
The World Health Organization is coordinating an international task force of researchers to determine how to more broadly use sniffer dogs to screen large numbers of people. COVID-sniffing dogs could be more widely deployed in airports, train stations or wherever crowds gather. Dogs are already being used at some events in South Florida and across the U.S. to screen attendees for COVID-19.