The latest on the Covid-19 pandemic in the US

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

Updated 4:41 p.m. ET, September 13, 2021
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9:14 a.m. ET, September 13, 2021

England to abandon plans for "vaccine passport," health secretary says

From CNN's Jake Kwon

Authorities in England have dropped a controversial plan to introduce "vaccine passports" for Covid-19, UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the BBC in a televised interview on Sunday.  

"We've looked at it properly and, whilst we should keep it in reserve as a potential option, I'm pleased to say that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports,” Javid told the presenter Nick Robinson.

The earlier proposed plan would have required guests at nightlife venues or crowded events to present a proof of vaccination, or a negative Covid test, or finishing self-isolation after a positive test.  

Javid said he "never liked the idea of saying to people you must show your papers" to "do what is just an everyday activity."

Javid said the passport was not needed because of the country’s high vaccine uptake, testing, surveillance, and new treatments.

“We’ve been very successful with our vaccination rate so far,” he added.

9:10 a.m. ET, September 13, 2021

Two departing FDA leaders among scientists who say Covid vaccines don't need a booster right now

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

The current evidence on Covid-19 vaccines does not appear to support a need for booster shots in the general public right now, according to an international group of vaccine scientists, including some from the US Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization.

"Current evidence does not, therefore, appear to show a need for boosting in the general population, in which efficacy against severe disease remains high," the scientists write in a new paper, published Monday in the medical journal The Lancet.

The authors of the paper include two senior FDA vaccine leaders, Dr. Philip Krause and Marion Gruber, who will be stepping down in October and November, the FDA announced late last month. No further details were released about their retirements, although they sparked questions about whether the departures would affect the agency's work.

The FDA and other public health agencies around the world continue to examine evidence on Covid-19 vaccine efficacy and the role booster doses of vaccine might play in improving immunity against the disease.

For the new paper in The Lancet, the scientists note that they reviewed randomized trials and observational studies on Covid-19 vaccines and consistently find that "vaccine efficacy is substantially greater against severe disease than against any infection; in addition, vaccination appears to be substantially protective against severe disease from all the main viral variants."

The scientists note that there is an opportunity right now to study variant-based boosters before there could be a widespread need for them. But they also argue in their paper that the current Covid-19 vaccine supply could "save more lives" if used in people who are not yet vaccinated than if used as boosters. In early August, the World Health Organization called for a moratorium on booster shots until at least the end of September.

"The limited supply of these vaccines will save the most lives if made available to people who are at appreciable risk of serious disease and have not yet received any vaccine. Even if some gain can ultimately be obtained from boosting, it will not outweigh the benefits of providing initial protection to the unvaccinated," the scientists write. "If vaccines are deployed where they would do the most good, they could hasten the end of the pandemic by inhibiting further evolution of variants."

CNN has reached out to the FDA for comment.

9:05 a.m. ET, September 13, 2021

Americans are growing more supportive of vaccine mandates

From CNN's Ariel Edwards-Levy and Jennifer Agiesta

Americans have grown more supportive of coronavirus vaccine mandates for workers, students, and in everyday public life, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS. The shift comes amid renewed worries about the pandemic and a continued partisan divide over the efforts to combat it.

The public is split about evenly, 51% to 49%, on whether requiring proof of vaccination for everyday activities is an acceptable way to increase the vaccination rate, or an unacceptable infringement on personal rights.

But there's greater backing for requiring vaccines in many specific instances. More than half of Americans now say they support requiring vaccinations for office workers returning to the workplace (54%), students attending in-person classes (55%) and patrons attending sporting events or concerts (55%), although fewer (41%) support requiring vaccinations for a shopper to enter a grocery store.

Support for these mandates has risen across the board since April, growing six percentage points with regard to students, eight points regarding office workers and event attendees, and 15 points regarding grocery shoppers.

The survey, which used a different methodology than prior CNN polling, was conducted over a month-long period in August and September, prior to President Biden's announcement of new vaccine rules. Those requirements, announced last week, could apply to nearly two-thirds of the American workforce.