July 9 coronavirus news

By Veronica Rocha, Fernando Alfonso III and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 8:02 PM ET, Fri July 9, 2021
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8:42 a.m. ET, July 9, 2021

Partisan Covid-19 vaccination gap widens, study shows

From CNN's Virginia Langmaid

The difference in Covid-19 vaccination rates between Republicans and Democrats has grown over the last two months, a report released Thursday from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows.

Vaccination rates are increasing more quickly in counties that voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election than in counties that voted for Donald Trump, the new study finds.

The team used data comparing countywide vaccinations numbers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with 2020 presidential election results.

They said in April 2021, counties where most people voted for Trump had an average vaccination rate of 20.6%, compared to 22.8% in counties that went for Biden. By July 2021, the average vaccination rate in Trump-leaning counties was 35%, and 46.7% in Biden-leaning counties. The gap increased by 9.5 percentage points in under three months.

The researchers said these numbers get at the importance of targeted vaccination efforts that account for partisan opposition.

“A key component of any effort to boost vaccination rates among Republicans will be identifying the right messengers,” the researchers wrote.

“Republicans are most likely to trust their doctors and employers to provide reliable information on COVID-19 vaccines, while government sources are less trusted.”

This group of unvaccinated people may not be swayed by vaccine efforts that increase access and outreach through government agencies.

“There is a hardcore group of vaccine resisters who are disproportionately Republican and will be difficult to move,” the researchers said.

9:51 a.m. ET, July 9, 2021

Pfizer says it is seeing waning immunity from its Covid-19 vaccine

From CNN's Maggie Fox

A nurse prepares the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine a public housing project pop-up site targeting vulnerable communities in Los Angeles, California on March 10. 
A nurse prepares the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine a public housing project pop-up site targeting vulnerable communities in Los Angeles, California on March 10.  Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Pfizer said Thursday it is seeing waning immunity from its coronavirus vaccine and says it is picking up its efforts to develop a booster dose that will protect people from variants.

“As seen in real world data released from the Israel Ministry of Health, vaccine efficacy in preventing both infection and symptomatic disease has declined six months post-vaccination, although efficacy in preventing serious illnesses remains high,” the company said in a statement emailed to CNN.

“Additionally, during this period the Delta variant is becoming the dominate variant in Israel as well as many other countries. These findings are consistent with an ongoing analysis from the Companies’ Phase 3 study,” it added.

“While protection against severe disease remained high across the full six months, a decline in efficacy against symptomatic disease over time and the continued emergence of variants are expected. Based on the totality of the data they have to date, Pfizer and BioNTech believe that a third dose may be beneficial within 6 to 12 months following the second dose to maintain highest levels of protection.”

A Pfizer spokesperson later told CNN the company planned to file for emergency use authorization for a booster dose with the US Food and Drug Administration in August.

Israel’s health ministry said in a statement earlier this week that it had seen efficacy of Pfizer’s vaccine drop from more than 90% to about 64% as the B.1.617.2 or Delta variant spread.

The company said booster doses of its vaccine, developed with BioNTech, produces levels of neutralizing antibodies that are five to 10 times higher than what’s produced after two doses.

“The companies expect to publish more definitive data soon as well as in a peer-reviewed journal and plan to submit the data to the FDA, EMA and other regulatory authorities in the coming weeks,” Pfizer said in a statement.

And it says it’s also developing a new formulation for a booster dose that may more thoroughly protect people from new variants.

“While Pfizer and BioNTech believe a third dose of BNT162b2 has the potential to preserve the highest levels of protective efficacy against all currently known variants including Delta, the companies are remaining vigilant and are developing an updated version of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine that targets the full spike protein of the Delta variant,” the company said. Current vaccines target just a piece of the spike protein – the part of the virus it uses to attach to cells.

“The first batch of the mRNA for the trial has already been manufactured at BioNTech’s facility in Mainz, Germany. The Companies anticipate the clinical studies to begin in August, subject to regulatory approvals.”