Johnson & Johnson released new data Tuesday showing a booster dose of its vaccine given two months after the one-shot vaccine provides 94% protection against moderate-to-severe COVID-19 symptoms.
J&J, citing three studies of the vaccine, said the booster shot offers 100% protection against severe or critical symptoms, the company said in a statement. A booster dose given six months after the single shot provides even more protection, the company said. The results are in line with data from studies of Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.
The one-dose J&J vaccine alone has been found to be 66% protective against moderate-to-severe disease overall worldwide, and 72% protective in the U.S.
“A single-shot COVID-19 vaccine that is easy to use, distribute and administer, and that provides strong and long-lasting protection is crucial to vaccinating the global population,” said Dr. Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson. “A booster shot further increases protection against COVID-19 and is expected to extend the duration of protection significantly.”
The data comes on the heels of Pfizer-BioNTech releasing the results from a study showing their vaccines are safe and effective for children 5 to 11 at one-third the dose used in adolescents and adults.
Also in the news:
►Fans of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder will be required to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test to attend games in person, the team announced Tuesday.
►Jackson, Mississippi, Mayor Antar Lumumba signed an executive order setting a deadline of Oct. 15 for city workers to show proof that they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19. Those who don’t must undergo weekly testing at their own expense.
►Ohio Reps. Bob Latta and Tim Ryan tested positive for COVID-19 this week despite being vaccinated against the virus. They were quarantined at home.
►A Florida man died from COVID-19 this month just 20 minutes before his first grandchild was born. His daughter told USA TODAY he was “super excited” about the birth of his first grandchild.
►George Holliday, the Los Angeles plumber who shot grainy video of four white police officers beating Black motorist Rodney King in 1991, has died of complications of COVID-19, a friend said.
►The family of an unvaccinated Kentucky woman who died from COVID-19 just days after she was supposed to get married is sharing her story in the hopes of encouraging others to get vaccinated.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 42.3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 677,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 229.4 million cases and nearly 4.7 million deaths. More than 181 million Americans – 55% of the population – have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
📘 What we’re reading: News that the U.S. will be opening borders to vaccinated international travelers in early November brought a wave of relief for many. Read more here.
Dr. Joseph Ladapo — a UCLA medical professor who has published controversial articles about “COVID mania” and is an outspoken critic of lockdowns, mask and vaccine mandates and other mitigation measures — has been named as Florida’s new surgeon general, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday.
Ladapo, who was hired Monday at the University of Florida College of Medicine, said he wants to usher in a new era of battling the COVID-19 pandemic in Florida, one that sets a model for other states to follow.
“Florida will completely reject fear. Fear is done,” Ladapo said during a press briefing after the regularly scheduled Florida Cabinet meeting in the Capitol. Read more here.
– Jeffrey Schweers, USA TODAY NETWORK FLORIDA
Outside a former Kmart on an Appalachian hillside, a line of cars wound toward white parking-lot tents for COVID-19 tests, which have seen skyrocketing demand in the last few weeks.
Inside the busy shopping mall-turned-medical clinic, residents waited for appointments and picked up medications. In one room, patients received antibody infusions to blunt the impact of a virus that has surged sharply in the region.
In recent weeks, Perry and several other Eastern Kentucky counties have posted some of the nation’s top-10 highest rates of COVID-19, according to a New York Times database.
With a needle in her arm, Kathy Barnett, 67, said she contracted COVID after deciding against getting a vaccination. She’d just battled a heart attack when the virus hit. As she sat in one of a line of recliners, a nurse tended to her infusion fluid drip.
“It never stops. We’re open 13 hours most days, and it never ends,” said nurse Katie Cornett, adding that patients tend to show up sicker with the delta variant. “We have to send a lot to the hospital, unfortunately.” Read more here.
– Chris Kenning, The Courier-Journal
A couple whose a 4-year-old son has cystic fibrosis was kicked out of a Texas restaurant for refusing to take off their masks. Natalie Wester and her husband, Jose Lopez, who are both fully vaccinated, said they wear masks in public to protect their child.
“Cystic fibrosis is a very life-threatening genetic disorder, and if my son were to contract COVID he would need to be hospitalized,” Wester said on Facebook. The owner of Hang Time Sports Grill & Bar, Tom Blackmer, confirmed to local station CBS 11 that no masks are allowed in his establishment.
“When they put their masks on the other night, they were reminded that at the front to take it off. They didn’t want to, and so we asked them to leave,” he told the station. “I feel the overall reaction with masks is ridiculous in the United States right now.”
– Scott Gleeson
A counselor at Lee County Elementary School died Monday from COVID-19, the third employee at the Eastern Kentucky school to die from the virus since the 2021-22 academic year began last month. Rhonda Estes, 56, had worked for district for 35 years, Superintendent Sarah Wasson said. Wasson said she “can’t speak to her vaccination status” or release any other medical information.
“Rhonda was a calming force with a positive outlook regardless of the circumstance,” Wasson wrote in an email. “She encouraged and inspired all those she came in contact with.” Read more here.
– Billy Kobin, Louisville Courier Journal
While many businesses are agonizing over when to bring employees back to their offices amid the spike in COVID cases, some have sidestepped the dilemma by simply closing some or all of their buildings. The trend foreshadows an office market that will likely be at least somewhat diminished for the longer term, bruising the restaurants, bars and shops that rely on white-collar workers’ spending to survive.
The shift also could affect the broader economy by increasing defaults on commercial loans and reducing city tax revenue.
“The lockdowns have only accelerated what already has been happening for years,” said Dennis Consorte, a small business consultant for Digital.com. “We have been moving toward remote working for decades.” Read more here.
– Paul Davidson
The global community has faced a long year and a half in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, made insufferable for some separated from loved ones because of travel restrictions. News that the U.S. is lifting its ban on vaccinated international travelers in early November brought a wave of relief, even though a specific lift date has not yet been announced.
On Twitter, under the hashtag #LoveIsNotTourism, members of the community shared their reactions. Some shared photos of themselves and loved ones to the social media platform. “After 2 years apart we finally have a chance to reunite!! it’s been tough but finally there is a light at the end of the tunnel #LoveIsNotTourism,” @purahss wrote. Read more here.
– Morgan Hines
The Tennessee state government now recommends nearly all vaccinated residents be denied access to monoclonal antibody treatment to preserve the limited supply for non-vaccinated patients.
The recommendation is based on guidance from the National Institutes of Health, which notes that unvaccinated residents are more likely to suffer severe complications from a coronavirus infection. However, Tennesseans who took a common sense step to help stop the pandemic could lose access to one of the most effective treatments.
“With this limited resource, identifying those at most risk makes sense,” said Dr. Karen Bloch, medical director of the antibody infusion clinic at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “Taking out the politics, the unvaccinated fit into that category.” Read more here.
– Brett Kelman, Nashville Tennessean
Contributing: Associated Press