June 9 coronavirus news

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani, Mike Hayes and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 8:03 PM ET, Wed June 9, 2021
17 Posts
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7:09 p.m. ET, June 9, 2021

Los Angeles County worker charged for allegedly stealing blank Covid-19 vaccine cards

From CNN's Sarah Moon

A Covid-19 vaccine record card is seen at Florida Memorial University Vaccination Site in Miami Gardens, Florida on April 14.
A Covid-19 vaccine record card is seen at Florida Memorial University Vaccination Site in Miami Gardens, Florida on April 14. Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images

A Los Angeles County contract worker was charged Wednesday for allegedly stealing hundreds of blank Covid-19 vaccination cards from a vaccination center at the Pomona Fairplex in April, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said.

Muhammad Rauf Ahmed, of Las Vegas, was charged with one felony count of grand theft, according to a statement from the district attorney’s office. 

Ahmed, 45, allegedly stole more than 500 blank cards from the vaccination site in Pomona where he was contracted to work. Officials determined that blank vaccine cards had been stolen on April 27, according to the statement. 

Each card has a value of at least $15 if illegally sold, prosecutors said.

“Selling fraudulent and stolen vaccine cards is illegal, immoral and puts the public at risk of exposure to a deadly virus,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement. 

In response to the incident, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said it is cooperating with the La Verne Police Department in their investigation. 

“Upon learning that this individual was in unauthorized possession of vaccination cards, the contractor was questioned, and County staff immediately referred the matter to the La Verne Police Department,” the department said. “Public Health has extensive security measures in place which allowed for the quick identification of the theft and after this incident in April added additional protocols to prevent future thefts.”

Ahmed is expected to be arraigned on Aug. 25.

7:06 p.m. ET, June 9, 2021

Philadelphia to lift last two Covid-19 restrictions

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Patrons drink beer outside Fergie's Pub within plexiglass enclosures on St. Patrick's Day on March 17, in Philadelphia. 
Patrons drink beer outside Fergie's Pub within plexiglass enclosures on St. Patrick's Day on March 17, in Philadelphia.  Mark Makela/Getty Images

Philadelphia will end its last two Covid-19 restrictions — its indoor mask mandate and the 11 p.m. last call for restaurants, at 12:01 a.m., on Friday, according to a statement from the city. 

“For nearly fifteen months, the City of Philadelphia has had restrictions in place to protect each other, and I have no doubt that these restrictions saved countless lives,” Mayor Jim Kenney said. “But Friday will be a day that we’ve all been looking forward to: getting back to doing the things that we love. Thanks to the more than two-thirds of adults who’ve been vaccinated already, we can finally do the things that we’ve missed doing for the last year.” 

Philadelphia will still require masks in select indoor settings, including health care institutions, congregate facilities such as prisons, shelters, and adult day programs. People will also need to continue to wear face coverings on public transportation and indoor schools, camps and early childhood education.

A mask requirement will also remain in place for all Philadelphia court facilities and procedures until further notice, the statement said.

As of Monday, the city’s Health Department reported that at least 836,370 Philadelphians have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine and 645,568 Philadelphians were fully vaccinated, the city said.

6:30 p.m. ET, June 9, 2021

8 states have fully vaccinated more than half of their residents, CDC data shows 

From CNN’s Deidre McPhillips

People receive the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the UMass Memorial Health Care COVID-19 Vaccination Center in the Mercantile Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, on April 22.
People receive the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the UMass Memorial Health Care COVID-19 Vaccination Center in the Mercantile Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, on April 22. Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images

Eight states — all but one of them in the Northeast — have fully vaccinated more than half of their residents against Covid-19, according to data published Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

They are: Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont. 

Vermont leads the country with nearly 60% of residents fully vaccinated. 

Overall, nearly 141 million people – 42.5% of the US population – are fully vaccinated, and about 172 million people – nearly 52% of the population – have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine. 

Nearly 305 million total doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been reported administered, about 82% of the 372 million doses that have been delivered, CDC data shows. That’s about 829,000 more doses reported administered since Tuesday, for a seven-day average of about 1.1 million doses per day. 

Note: Data published by the CDC may be delayed, and doses may not have been administered on the day reported. 

4:43 p.m. ET, June 9, 2021

J&J vaccine protects against coronavirus variants, study indicates

From CNN’s Maggie Fox

A Premise Health healthcare worker loads a syringe with the Covid-19 Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine on March 26 in Buffalo, West Virginia.
A Premise Health healthcare worker loads a syringe with the Covid-19 Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine on March 26 in Buffalo, West Virginia. Stephen Zenner/Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine generates an immune response against some of the more common and worrying variants of the virus, researchers reported Wednesday.

As with Pfizer/BioNTech’s and Moderna’s vaccines, the effects seem to be a little reduced against the B.1.351 variant first seen in South Africa and the P.1 variant that spread rapidly across Brazil. But the immune response appeared fully effective against the B.1.1.7 variant first seen in Britain and a variant identified in California.

Dr. Dan Barouch of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and colleagues tested the blood of people who’d been taking part in early clinical trials of the J&J vaccine. They looked at how different types of antibodies responded to the variants, as well as immune system cells called T-cells.

Neutralizing antibodies – a class of immune system protein that directly tackles and neutralizes invaders – were a little less effective against the B.1.351 and P.1 variants. But other types of antibodies and cellular responses did not seem to be affected, the team reported in a study accepted for publication in Nature that has not yet been peer-reviewed or formally published.

It’s not yet known how precise measurements of these antibodies correlate to real-world immunity, they noted. Studies of Moderna’s and Pfizer’s vaccines have found they protect people well against variants, even with some reduced antibody efficacy.

4:28 p.m. ET, June 9, 2021

Biden administration now administering Covid-19 vaccine to unaccompanied children

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez

The Biden administration is vaccinating unaccompanied minors who are eligible for Covid-19, according to a senior Health and Human Services official. 

“We are working site by site to ensure that the Covid vaccine is also made available as part of that suite of medical care to every eligible child,” JooYeun Chang, the acting assistant secretary for the HHS Administration for Children and Families, told lawmakers during a House panel hearing Wednesday. 

CNN reached out to HHS for additional details on the rollout and for the number of children who have been vaccinated.

In internal guidance obtained by CNN, the HHS office charged with the care of unaccompanied migrant children cited Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation that all people 12 years and older receive the Covid-19 vaccine. That includes children in the department’s care. 

“All age-eligible children at licensed ORR care provider programs, influx care facilities (ICF), and emergency intake sites (EIS) should receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” the guidance, dated June 4, reads.

Migrant children in HHS care often participate in a vaccination program that includes vaccines, such as for chickenpox. According to the department’s guidance, the Covid-19 vaccine should be part of the medical exam or health assessment provided to children when they initially come into custody. 

It also lays out consent procedures. For children who have a parent or legal guardian in the US, for example, informed consent is required. The Office of Refugee Resettlement care provider can also provide consent on behalf of children. Kids can refuse the vaccine. 

As of June 7, there were 16,264 children in HHS care, varying in age.

2:28 p.m. ET, June 9, 2021

Most states have administered fewer than half of the J&J doses they've received, CDC data shows

From CNN's Deidre McPhillips

Nearly 11 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — about half of the 21.4 million doses that have been delivered to states and other jurisdictions — have not been administered, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of those doses may be set to expire soon.

Most states have administered fewer than half of the J&J doses that they’ve received, CDC data shows.

Three states — California, Texas and Florida — account for more than a quarter of the unused doses. These states also received the most J&J doses overall, as the federal government allocated vaccine shipments based on state population.

While their total counts of unused doses are smaller, West Virginia and Mississippi – as well as the Veterans Health Administration and Indian Health Service – have each administered fewer than a third of the J&J doses that they’ve received, according to CDC data. 

The J&J vaccine can be stored for up to three months if refrigerated and even longer if kept frozen, so not all of the unused doses are set to expire.

Ohio has about 256,000 unused doses of J&J vaccine, according to CDC data reported through Tuesday. In a news release from this week, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said that 200,000 of those doses are set to expire before the end of the month.

CDC data shows Oklahoma has about 135,000 unused doses, and the state department of health deputy commissioner, Keith Reed, told CNN that last week they had about 80,000 doses that would expire if not used by the end of the month.  

In the US overall, there are about three times as many unused doses of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccine – about 33.5 million doses of unused Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and about 27.5 million doses of unused Moderna vaccine. But those doses account for a much smaller share — about 17% — of the total doses delivered from these manufacturers, CDC data shows.

And as demand for any Covid-19 vaccine wanes across the country, the J&J vaccine has fallen particularly out of favor.

Every state has administered a smaller share of its J&J supply than its Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccine supply, with Maine as the one exception.

In fact, just about 4 million people in the US have been vaccinated with the J&J vaccine in the 46 days since the Food and Drug Administration lifted the pause to investigate reports of a rare blood clot after vaccination. About twice as many people received the J&J vaccine in the first 45 days after it was originally authorized for emergency use.

Overall, about 11 million people have been vaccinated with the J&J shot, about 8% of the more than 140 million people in the US who are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.

 

2:14 p.m. ET, June 9, 2021

US will donate 500 million doses of Pfizer's vaccine worldwide

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine are prepared to be administered in Reno, Nevada, on December 17, 2020.
Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine are prepared to be administered in Reno, Nevada, on December 17, 2020. Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

The US has purchased and will donate 500 million doses of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine worldwide as it seeks to be a key player in getting other nations vaccinated.

President Biden will announce the news at the G7 summit in Cornwall on Thursday, a person familiar tells CNN. 

Around 200 million doses will go out in 2021 and 300 million will be distributed in the first half of 2022. Biden's top Covid-19 adviser Jeff Zients has been working on the deal for the last month, a person familiar said. 

All doses will go through COVAX, the international vaccine initiative, and will go to 92 low and lower-income countries, in addition to the African Union.

12:25 p.m. ET, June 9, 2021

FDA looking at extending J&J vaccine expiration dates, Fauci says 

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

A healthcare worker prepares a syringe with a vial of the J&J/Janssen Covid-19 vaccine at a temporary vaccination site at Grand Central Terminal train station on May 12 in New York City.
A healthcare worker prepares a syringe with a vial of the J&J/Janssen Covid-19 vaccine at a temporary vaccination site at Grand Central Terminal train station on May 12 in New York City. Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN on Wednesday that the US Food and Drug Administration is looking into whether the expiration date on Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines can be extended and if so, how to get the doses utilized. 

“The FDA is looking into that right now, trying to determine if, in fact, the date can be extended or not and if so, can we get them properly utilized, whether it’s utilized in the United States or elsewhere,” Fauci said. “This is something that the FDA is very much on and looking at it very, very carefully.”

Johnson & Johnson told CNN this week it’s conducting stability testing “with the goal of extending the amount of time our COVID-19 vaccine can be stored before expiry.”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said in a news release this week that 200,000 doses of the state’s J&J vaccine are set to expire before the end of the month, and the state is unable to share the doses with other states or countries.

Of the 21.4 million J&J doses delivered in the US, about 11 million have been administered, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The J&J vaccine can be stored for up to three months at refrigerator temperatures.

1:01 p.m. ET, June 9, 2021

Fauci: US "cannot declare victory prematurely" against Covid-19 as variants are still a threat

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical adviser to President Biden, speaks during an interview on June 9.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical adviser to President Biden, speaks during an interview on June 9. CNN

While the US has “done very well” with vaccinating its population, Dr. Anthony Fauci said, “we cannot declare victory prematurely because there are still a substantial proportion of people who have not been vaccinated.”

Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical adviser to President Biden, encouraged unvaccinated Americans to get their shot to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 Delta variant first identified in India.

“We don't want to let happen in the United States what is happening currently in the UK, where you have a troublesome variant essentially taking over as the dominant variant, which has made it a very difficult situation in the UK. We don't want to be there,” he said. 

“About 6% of the isolates in the United States are this troublesome variant. You don't want to give it the opportunity to take over as the dominant variant, and we have within our power to do that by getting people vaccinated, because we have very, very good vaccines,” Fauci said. 

Fauci also said that the US Food & Drug Administration is “very, very carefully” looking into extending shelf life or re-allocating Johnson & Johnson vaccines that are set to expire. 

Of the 21.4 million Johnson & Johnson doses delivered in the US, about 11 million have been administered, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The vaccine can be stored for up to three months at refrigerator temperatures.