May 12 coronavirus news

By Veronica Rocha, Elise Hammond and Melissa Mahtani , CNN

Updated 1:32 AM ET, Thu May 13, 2021
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4:29 p.m. ET, May 12, 2021

CDC reports 28 cases of rare blood clotting among 8.7 million people given Johnson & Johnson vaccine

From CNN's Maggie Fox

A nurse fills a syrings with a dose of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine during a walk-up clinic  in Washington, DC on May 6.
A nurse fills a syrings with a dose of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine during a walk-up clinic in Washington, DC on May 6. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reports of 28 people who have developed a rare blood clotting syndrome after being given the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine.

Three people have died, with no additional deaths since the last update in April, the CDC’s Dr. Tom Shimabukuro told a meeting of CDC vaccine advisers Wednesday. He said 8.7 million people have been given the Janssen vaccine.

The CDC has said the condition, thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), is plausibly linked to J&J’s Janssen vaccine, but has said the benefits of the vaccine nonetheless outweigh the risk. All cases have been seen in people ages 18 to 59. “Most of the these TTS cases are occurring in the 30-49 year-old age group,” Shimabukuro said.

While most cases were among women, six cases were reported among men, Shimabukuro told the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. He said 19 had a type of brain blood clot called thrombosis of the cerebral venous sinus, or CVST, while others had different types of blood clots.

The CDC has alerted doctors and the patients about the possibility of the complication so it can be recognized and treated promptly and properly.

“There were no cases with a known or documented coagulation disorder,” Shimabukuro said. That indicates it’s difficult to predict who might develop the condition.

“It is important to recognize TTS early and initiate appropriate treatment,” he added. “TTS is a rare, clinically serious and life-threatening condition.”

The CDC and FDA paused administration of the Janssen vaccine from April 13-23. Since then, any new cases of TTS have been evenly split between women and men, the CDC’s Dr. Sara Oliver told ACIP.

Fewer women are now being given the Janssen vaccine, she said – especially women ages 18 to 49. 

“We have updated the risk-benefit analysis with the updated incidence of TTS,” she said. “The benefits still outweigh the risk and … no updates to vaccine policy are needed.”

 

3:40 p.m. ET, May 12, 2021

CDC advisers vote to recommend giving Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine to 12- to 15-year-olds

From CNN’s Maggie Fox

Family members look on as Jack Frilingos, 12, is inoculated with Pfizer's vaccine against Covid-19 after Georgia authorized the vaccine for ages 12 and up, at Dekalb Pediatric Center in Decatur, Georgia on on May 11.
Family members look on as Jack Frilingos, 12, is inoculated with Pfizer's vaccine against Covid-19 after Georgia authorized the vaccine for ages 12 and up, at Dekalb Pediatric Center in Decatur, Georgia on on May 11. Chris Aluka Berry/Reuters

Vaccine advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted Wednesday to recommend use of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in youths age 12 to 15.

The US Food and Drug Administration extended its emergency use authorization of the vaccine to the younger age group Monday. It’s up to the CDC to recommend the use of the vaccine in the new age group.

“The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is recommended for persons 12-15 years of age in the US population under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization,” the committee decided.

They voted 14-0 to recommend use of the vaccine, with one recusal.

“This is one more step to gaining immunity and bringing the pandemic closer to an end,” said Dr. José Romero, who chairs ACIP and is also Arkansas' health secretary.

“We still need to vaccinate the rest of the world, but we have made significant steps and are on the road," he said.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky is expected to quickly sign off on the recommendation.

3:48 p.m. ET, May 12, 2021

Masks are no longer required indoors in Denver if people can show proof of vaccination 

From CNN’s Carma Hassan 

A hand sanitizer and reminders of coronavirus guidelines are placed on each table of Barolo Grill in Denver, Colorado on February 3.
A hand sanitizer and reminders of coronavirus guidelines are placed on each table of Barolo Grill in Denver, Colorado on February 3.

Masks are no longer required indoors in the City and County of Denver, Colorado, in some situations, according to the revised Public Health Order on mask-wearing. 

According to the order, if 80% of people in an office or 85% of a restaurant’s workers can show proof of vaccination, they do not need to wear masks. Gatherings with nine or fewer people also do not have to wear masks.

The order says managers of stores, restaurants and other businesses can ask to see vaccination cards of customers and employees, but no one is required to show proof of vaccination. 

Masks are still required for children indoors and at “grocery stores, large retail stores, childcare centers, schools, hospitals, indoor camps, nursing homes, jails, larger government facilities, and on airplanes, buses, and trains,” the order says.

3:07 p.m. ET, May 12, 2021

Increased transmissibility of B.1.617 variant may be impacting Covid-19 spread in India, epidemiologist says

From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid

Some evidence suggests the B.1.617 variant of Covid-19 may be more transmissible, which may be contributing to the surge in cases in India, a World Health Organization scientist said in a public Q&A on Wednesday.

“We have some evidence of increased transmissibility,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, Covid-19 technical lead with WHO. “There are studies that are looking at transmissibility. They're looking at severity and they're looking at the impact of diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.”

On Tuesday WHO published its weekly epidemiological report, which said the variant is increasingly prevalent in multiple countries. According to WHO data, the B.1.617 variant is most prevalent in India, which also has the most new Covid-19 vases and Covid-19 deaths.

Van Kerkhove said that multiple factors, like increased socializing and relaxing public health measures, are contributing to the spike. “The other factors are these variants that were pointed out,” she said.

“Some of these virus variants of concern have mutations, for example, that allow the virus to enter the cell more easily, so they can infect you more easily. It doesn't mean that the modes of transmission or the way that it spreads is different, it just, it's easier to actually infect someone else.”

Van Kerkhove said in a situation of rapid spread like what is seen in India, it is important for individuals to maintain prevention practice, even in the face of variant spread.

2:50 p.m. ET, May 12, 2021

15 US states have fully vaccinated at least half of adult residents, CDC data shows

From CNN's Deidre McPhillips

A medical worker administer the Jansen Covid-19 vaccine to the public at a FEMA run mobile Covid-19 Vaccination clinic at Biddeford High School in Bidderford, Maine, on April 26.
A medical worker administer the Jansen Covid-19 vaccine to the public at a FEMA run mobile Covid-19 Vaccination clinic at Biddeford High School in Bidderford, Maine, on April 26. Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images

About 45% of adults in the United States are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to data published Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But in 15 states, more than half of adult residents are fully vaccinated. Those states are: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Mexico, New Jersey, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Hawaii, Maryland, New York, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Iowa.

In Mississippi, however, less than a third of adults are fully vaccinated, CDC data shows. Another nine states – largely concentrated in the South – have fully vaccinated less than 40% of their adult residents: Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Wyoming, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia.

Nationally, nearly 59% of adults have received at least at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, CDC data shows. But six states have already reached the Biden administration’s goal to vaccinated at least 70% of adults with at least one shot by July 4: Vermont, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Maine.

Overall, 264,680,844 total doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered – about 79% of the 337,089,765 doses delivered, according to CDC data.

That’s about 1.5 million more doses reported administered since Tuesday, for a seven-day average of about 2.2 million doses per day.

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

2:48 p.m. ET, May 12, 2021

It's OK to give Covid-19 vaccine alongside other vaccines, CDC advises

From CNN's Maggie Fox

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

It’s now OK to give the coronavirus vaccine alongside other vaccinations – a consideration important for children and teenagers – a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expert said Wednesday.

Doctors and other clinicians had been advised to avoid giving coronavirus vaccine within two weeks of any other vaccine. But Dr. Kate Woodworth of the CDC’s birth defects division said that advice has now changed.

“Due to the novelty of the Covid-19 vaccines, the previous recommendation was to administer Covid-19 vaccines alone, with a minimum interval of 14 days before or after administration of any other vaccine, to better understand any adverse events,” Woodworth told a meeting of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. ACIP is meeting to discuss recommending the use of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine in 12-15-year-olds.

“However, substantial data have now been collected regarding the safety of Covid-19 vaccines currently authorized by FDA for use under EUA,” she added.

“Extensive experience with non-Covid-19 vaccines has demonstrated that immunogenicity and adverse event profiles are generally similar when vaccines are administered simultaneously as when they are administered alone,” she added.

“For these reasons, the clinical considerations regarding coadministration are being updated to state that Covid-19 and other vaccines may now be administered without regard to timing. This includes simultaneous administration of Covid-19 with other vaccines on the same day, as well as coadministration within 14 days.”

Woodworth noted that the number of childhood vaccinations has fallen off and many US kids need to catch up on their routine vaccines, including vaccinations against influenza, tetanus, meningitis and human papillomavirus (HPV).

The American Academy of Pediatrics also said Wednesday it supports giving routine childhood vaccines together with coronavirus vaccines.

2:44 p.m. ET, May 12, 2021

Slovakia to offer Russia's Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine in June

From CNN’s Arnaud Siad

Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine arrives at Kosice Airport, Slovakia, on March 1.
Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine arrives at Kosice Airport, Slovakia, on March 1. Frantisek Ivan/TASR/AP/File

Slovakia will be the second EU country, after Hungary, to offer Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, the country’s health minister Vladimir Lengvarsky said on Wednesday. 

"I expect we will also include it (Sputnik V) in the vaccination programme at the beginning of June,” he said. "At the moment, we're sorting out the logistics of the [vaccination] scheme as it [Sputnik] is a different method than the vaccines we've been using so far and also sorting out the network of vaccination centres. This will be clear in one, two weeks,” he added.

In March, the European Medicines Agency started its rolling review of the Sputnik V vaccine but has yet to recommend its emergency use across the European Union. 

Hungary introduced it in January when the EU was struggling with vaccine supply. The EU has authorized four vaccines for Covid-19: Comirnaty, Moderna, Vaxzevria (previously Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca), and J&J’s Janssen.

1:29 p.m. ET, May 12, 2021

The Americas reported more than 1.2 million new Covid cases last week

From CNN’s Claudia Rebaza

The Americas reported more than 1.2 million new Covid-19 cases and almost 34,000 related deaths last week.

With nearly 40% of all global deaths attributed to the region, it’s a clear sign that “transmission is far from being controlled," the Pan American Health Organization’s director, Dr. Carissa Etienne, said Wednesday.

Assessing the pandemic evolution across the region, Etienne warned that even as countries like the US and Brazil have reported a reduction in cases, Canada is seeing higher rates of infections than the US and Cuba continues to drive most new infections in the Caribbean.

In South America, Covid-19 cases are increasing in areas of Guyana and Bolivia that border with Brazil while Colombia is expected to see steep rises following days of protests in the country, Etienne said. 

The region’s health systems continue to struggle across the region, Etienne told reporters. “Nearly 80% of our intensive care units are filled with Covid patients and numbers are even more dire in some places,” she said.

In Chile and Peru, 95% of intensive care unit beds are occupied, the majority, by Covid patients, Etienne said. In Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, where 96% of ICU beds are being used, authorities have tightened restrictions to avoid the collapse of hospitals, the PAHO director added.

Brazil has reported waiting lists for ICU beds, according to Etienne.

India’s B.1.617 Covid variant has been detected in six countries in the region with specific cases mainly among travelers, Sylvain Aldighieri, PAHO’s incident manager, told journalists during PAHO’s weekly briefing.

More than 114 million people have been fully vaccinated in the Americas, PAHO officials said.

1:24 p.m. ET, May 12, 2021

Pharmacies and pediatricians can help vaccinate teens and children against Covid-19, CDC says

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Pharmacies, pediatricians and health clinics can help vaccinate children and teens against coronavirus, a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official told the agency’s vaccine advisers Wednesday.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is considering whether to recommend that teens and children age 12-15 be given the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. The US Food and Drug Administration extended its emergency use authorization for the vaccine to the younger age group on Monday.

One consideration is whether it’s feasible to give the vaccine to that age group. The CDC’s Dr. Sara Oliver said a subcommittee of ACIP, called the working group, found a wide range of sites would be available.

“Increasing access to primary care providers serving adolescents has the benefits of utilizing trusted providers for providing information and education about Covid vaccines, as well as vaccinating against Covid,” Oliver told ACIP. 

Sites provided by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency that provides health services to uninsured and otherwise vulnerable groups and that is helping vaccination efforts, are another resource for kids, Oliver said. 

“Pharmacies and HRSA sites have a wide footprint across the nation, and can rapidly expand to provide Covid vaccines for adolescent school-based vaccinations, have the benefit of reaching adolescents in their own communities, as well as being trusted sources of information for communities,” Oliver said.

Federally qualified health centers are another potential place to vaccinate children and teens, she said.

While there is no federal law requiring parental or caregiver consent for vaccinating minors, states and territories do have laws that must be followed, Oliver said.