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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5:49 p.m. ET, May 12, 2021

Evidence shows Covid-19 vaccine effectiveness is "remarkably consistent," CDC says

From CNN's Maggie Fox

A doctor prepares vaccines for a Covid-19 vaccine clinic at a Hindu temple Sanatan Dharma Temple on Saturday, May 8 in Norwalk, CA.
A doctor prepares vaccines for a Covid-19 vaccine clinic at a Hindu temple Sanatan Dharma Temple on Saturday, May 8 in Norwalk, CA. Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

Coronavirus vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer continue to be more than 90% effective, based on various studies, a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official said Wednesday. 

A review of the efficacy of mRNA vaccines – those that use messenger RNA to deliver immunity – shows two doses provide strong immunity in a variety of groups, Dr. Katherine Fleming-Dutra of CDC’s respiratory diseases branch told a meeting of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

A single dose is less effective, the studies have shown.

“Initial COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness estimates from recently published reports are demonstrating remarkably consistent results across studies with a variety of methods and populations,” Fleming-Dutra said.

Studies are ongoing, she added.

“An important vaccine effectiveness priority is to understand the duration of protection provided by Covid-19 vaccines,” she added. “This will inform the question about the need for a booster.”

Another factor – new variants. So far, none seem to greatly affect the effectiveness of vaccines.

“It is important to take into account changes in the circulating variants over time,” Fleming-Dutra said.

5:33 p.m. ET, May 12, 2021

CDC director recommends use of Pfizer Covid vaccine in 12-15-year-olds

From CNN's Maggie Fox

The director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said Wednesday the agency now recommends the use of Pfizer/BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine in 12-15-year-olds.

“Today, I adopted CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation that endorsed the safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and its use in 12- through 15-year-old adolescents,” Walensky said in a statement.

“CDC now recommends that this vaccine be used among this population, and providers may begin vaccinating them right away,” she added.

ACIP voted 14-0 with one person recusing to recommend CDC endorse the vaccine for use in youths.

“Though most children with COVID-19 have mild or no symptoms, some children can get severely ill and require hospitalization. There have also been rare, tragic cases of children dying from COVID-19 and its effects, including multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C,” Walensky added.

“This official CDC recommendation follows Monday’s FDA decision to authorize emergency use of this vaccine in 12- through 15-year-old adolescents and is another important step to getting out of the COVID-19 pandemic, and closer to normalcy.”

5:27 p.m. ET, May 12, 2021

Maryland lifts all remaining restrictions on businesses

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Gym goers workout at LA Fitness in Hyattsville, Maryland, on March 13.
Gym goers workout at LA Fitness in Hyattsville, Maryland, on March 13. Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced that effective this Saturday, the state will be lifting all restrictions on all outdoor entertainment, sports venues, as well as all indoor entertainment venues, conventions and other businesses.

He said this is a direct result of the state's pace of vaccinations and “because of the subsequent declines in hospitalizations, positivity rate, transmission rates and case rates.” 

Restrictions will also be lifted on both indoor and outdoor dining.

“So effectively, as of Saturday, every business in Maryland will be able to open at 100 percent with no restrictions,” Hogan said.

Additionally, Hogan announced that Baltimore’s cruise terminal will also be allowed to reopen, as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working directly with ports and the cruise industry representatives preparing for their safe return to businesses.

The governor said the only remaining restriction will be the indoor mask requirement, which will be lifted as soon as Maryland reaches the federal goal of 70% of adults receiving at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

"President Biden set the goal of trying to get things back to normal by the Fourth of July. Here in Maryland, our plan is to get everything back to normal by Memorial Day," Hogan said. “Once again, the fastest way to get rid of our damn masks, and to put this pandemic behind us once and for all, is for every single eligible Marylander to get vaccinated as quickly as possible.”

According to the governor, more than 5.3 million vaccines have been administered in Maryland, with 65.4% of all Marylanders over 18 now vaccinated, and a current positivity rate of 2.74% – the lowest the state has seen since Sept. 29 of last year.

5:06 p.m. ET, May 12, 2021

Coronavirus variants remain susceptible to Pfizer vaccine, lab experiments show

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

The Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine appears to work against the B.1.526 variant first detected in New York, B.1.429 variant first seen in California and B.1.1.7 variant with a E484K mutation (B.1.1.7+ E484K) first identified in the United Kingdom, researchers have reported.

Based on lab experiments, those variants appeared susceptible to an important immune response that the vaccine elicited, researchers write in a letter that published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. But researchers need to study just how effective the vaccine is against those variants in the real world.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was found to have an estimated effectiveness of 89.5% against any infection with the B.1.1.7 variant, a separate team of researchers wrote earlier this month in the New England Journal of Medicine.

That variant has acquired a mutation called E484K. Now, researchers from Pfizer, BioNTech and the University of Texas, write in the new letter that, "as compared with the previously reported neutralization of B.1.1.7-spike, the additional E484K mutation, which is also found in the B.1.351 and B.1.526 lineages, caused little compromise to neutralization."

The researchers came to that finding after conducting experiments involving 20 serum samples collected from 15 fully vaccinated people. They analyzed how the serum samples neutralized the original coronavirus strain, the B.1.429, B.1.526 and B.1.1.7+E484K variants.

The researchers found that all the serum samples neutralized the original strain, B.1.1.7+E484K and B.1.429 similarly. Neutralization of B.1.429 was "slightly lower."

The researchers noted that "because these data show that the newly emerged B.1.526, B.1.429, and B.1.1.7+E484K variants remain susceptible to an important vaccine-elicited immune effector (neutralizing antibody), they confirm the importance of mass immunization with current, highly effective, authorized vaccines as a central strategy to end the Covid-19 pandemic."

Also, new coronavirus variants continuously emerge, the researchers noted, and therefore more research is needed to monitor the constant shift of concerning variants.

4:43 p.m. ET, May 12, 2021

CVS will begin administering Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine in 12-15-year-olds on Thursday

From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid

CVS pharmacies will begin to administer Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine to children ages 12-15 on Thursday, the company said Wednesday.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended the vaccine in this age group on Wednesday.

The vaccine will be available for children 12-15 starting on Thursday in more than 5,600 locations nationwide, CVS said. Appointment scheduling is available now, and walk-In vaccinations will be possible at locations that have the Pfizer vaccine.

Consent from a parent or guardian will be required to get the vaccine in a CVS pharmacy, and an adult must be present with the child to get the vaccine.

The company said its Return Ready program, which hosts testing and vaccine clinics, will participate in the vaccine’s expanded eligibility. Schools can sign up with the program to sponsor their own vaccination clinics.

5:06 p.m. ET, May 12, 2021

Uber and Lyft to provide free rides to vaccination sites, Biden says

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

President Biden announced new ways to make the Covid-19 vaccine more accessible. The President said rideshare companies Uber and Lyft will provide free rides to vaccination sites from May 24 to July 4.

This is to help meet the administration’s goal of 70% of adults getting at least one coronavirus shot by July 4.

The White House said on Tuesday that it shared information on the location of about 80,000 vaccination sites with the rideshare companies and the two companies plan to promote the free rides in their apps.

Biden said Uber and Lyft will take people to clinics, wait for them, and then take them back at no cost.

"We are now on track to hit 60% of adults with at least one shot by next week, and we still have a lot of work to do to get the adult vaccination rate to 70%, but I believe we will get there," Biden said on Wednesday.
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.