December 19 coronavirus news

By Emiko Jozuka, Adam Renton, Amy Woodyatt and Sarah Diab, CNN

Updated 11:20 PM ET, Mon December 21, 2020
42 Posts
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3:29 p.m. ET, December 19, 2020

CDC advisory committee votes to recommend Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use

From CNN's Ben Tinker, Jen Christensen and Jacqueline Howard

Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has voted to recommend Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use for people ages 18 and older in the United States.

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield is expected to accept the committee’s recommendation this weekend.

The US Food and Drug Administration granted an EUA for Moderna's coronavirus vaccine on Friday.

2:50 p.m. ET, December 19, 2020

Reports of allergic reactions to Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine are "not abnormal," US surgeon general says

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams speaks during a news conference on Saturday, December 19.
US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams speaks during a news conference on Saturday, December 19. Ohio Gov. Office

Reports of allergic reactions to Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine are “not abnormal or unexpected,” US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said on Saturday.

“The system is working,” Adams said during a news conference hosted by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. “We are recognizing and catching these very, very rare side effects.”

Adams advised people with a history of severe allergic reactions to vaccines to consult their health care provider before getting vaccinated against Covid-19.

2:27 p.m. ET, December 19, 2020

Extra doses of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine can be obtained from vials and used, FDA commissioner says

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Health care providers can use as many full doses as they can get from Covid-19 vaccine vials, according to US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn.

On Friday, Hahn said it was possible to squeeze out extra doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine from vials if there is solution remaining in them after the standard five doses are given – and those extra doses are safe to use. 

Then on Saturday, Hahn posted to Twitter that the same approach could be used for Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine. 

Every dose of Covid-19 vaccine "makes a difference to overcoming this pandemic," Hahn tweeted.

"That is why FDA is allowing providers to use as many full doses as can be obtained from multidose vaccine vials – about 6 for Pfizer and about 10 for Moderna," he said.

 

2:31 p.m. ET, December 19, 2020

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer gets coronavirus vaccine

From CNN's Ted Barrett

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer just received the coronavirus vaccine.

“It’s quick, easy and helpful,” Schumer said as he walked back to his office today from the office of the Capitol Physician.

Other lawmakers: Sen. Lindsey Graham announced in a tweet that he received the coronavirus vaccine as well.

“If enough of us take it, we will get back to normal lives. Help is on the way,” Graham wrote.

1:53 p.m. ET, December 19, 2020

Covid-19 is "waging an all-out war against us," California ICU doctor says

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

An intensive care unit doctor in California said the coronavirus pandemic is the worst he’s seen.

“It’s been horrible … This is by far the worst that it’s been in the last nine months,” said Dr. Thomas Yadegar, ICU director at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center in California. 

“No matter how hard we try to get patients better, to stabilize them, and hopefully we get patients home, it seems like there's another four patients who are sicker waiting for that same bed,” he told CNN.

Patients are sicker than he’s previously seen and some are getting intubated while in the emergency room, he said. 

Yadegar said he asked a patient this week why he did not come into the hospital sooner, and the patient told him that he didn’t want to take someone else’s bed. ICU bed capacity has plunged to nearly zero in portions of the state.

“Right now, this virus is waging an all-out war against us,” Yadegar said. "We need L.A. to turn into a ghost town again. That's what we need, so that we can try to save as many people and heal as many souls.”

Watch:

2:16 p.m. ET, December 19, 2020

Treasury secretary tells GOP senators 2 sides still at odds over Federal Reserve sticking point

From CNN’s Manu Raju and Clare Foran

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin answers a question during a House Financial Services Committee oversight hearing on December 2 in Washington, DC.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin answers a question during a House Financial Services Committee oversight hearing on December 2 in Washington, DC. Pool/Getty Images

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has told GOP senators on a conference call that negotiators still have not resolved the fight over whether to pare back the emergency lending programs of the Federal Reserve, according to a source on the call.

The source said it’s unclear how close they are to resolving this major sticking point.

Despite that, there is optimism in the Capitol that a deal is within striking distance.

Democratic Senator Chris Coons told reporters that he expects outstanding issues could soon be resolved shortly saying, “look this is all getting resolved well about my pay grade within the coming hour I believe.” 

2:14 p.m. ET, December 19, 2020

The Covid-19 vaccine is "the way we end this pandemic," US surgeon general says

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

Syringes and vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine are prepared to be administered to front-line health care workers in Reno, Nevada, on December 17.
Syringes and vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine are prepared to be administered to front-line health care workers in Reno, Nevada, on December 17. Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams on Saturday encouraged the public to get educated about Covid-19 vaccines.

“We all have more information on these vaccines, at the point of administering them to the public, than we've had for any vaccine in history,” Adams said during a news conference hosted by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.

Adams said he got vaccinated publicly to help instill trust in Covid-19 vaccines.

“My arm feels fine. It's a little bit sore, but no more sore than when I had the flu shot. I didn't have any side effects at all,” Adams said, noting that it is normal for people to experience a low fever, headache or fatigue after receiving the vaccine.

Adams encouraged the public to seek out information about the vaccines.

“It's okay to have questions. It's okay to ask questions,” he said. “What is not okay is to let misinformation or mistrust cause you to make a decision which is going to be bad for your health, or your family's health, or your community's health.”

“This vaccine is almost 100% certain to prevent you or your loved one from getting severe disease,” Adams added. “It is the way we end this pandemic.”

A large effort: The US is leveraging every bit of authority and power it has to produce Covid-19 vaccines, Adams said. 

“I can tell you, with every degree of certainty from being on the Coronavirus Task Force, that we are doing everything we can to produce these vaccines as quickly as possible,” Adams said during a news conference hosted by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.

Adams said the US is on track to have 20 million vaccine doses by the end of December; 50 million by the end of January and 100 million by the end of February.

“That is half of the adult US population,” Adams noted.

He added that he’s more concerned about vaccine confidence than he is about vaccine supply.

“We've got to go from vaccines to vaccinations,” Adams said.

 

2:07 p.m. ET, December 19, 2020

Israeli prime minister receives Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine

From CNN’s Mitchell McCluskey and Amir Ta

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu receives a coronavirus vaccine at Sheba Medical Center on Saturday, December 19 in Ramat Gan, Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu receives a coronavirus vaccine at Sheba Medical Center on Saturday, December 19 in Ramat Gan, Israel. Amir Cohen/Pool/AP

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a Covid-19 vaccination at Sheba Hospital in Tel Aviv on Saturday.

The vaccination was shown live on Israel television.

Netanyahu is the first Israeli to be vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech shot.

He is also the first sitting prime minister publicly known to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

"It’s a small injection for man, a giant leap for our health," he said. 

1:08 p.m. ET, December 19, 2020

Moderna has studies underway to try and make its Covid-19 vaccine available to children

From CNN's Jen Christensen

Moderna said it has an ongoing study of its Covid-19 vaccine in adolescents ages 12 to 18 that it launched on Dec. 9.

The company discussed the details of the trial at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices meeting on Saturday.

The Moderna vaccine can be used in people who are 18 years and older under the US Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization. Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine is authorized for use in people who are 16 years and older.

Moderna said it expects the results from its trial in 12- to 18-year-olds sometime in 2021.

“We need to have discussions about how much data would be sufficient to potentially evaluate the potential to lower the age indication for the vaccine, understanding that vaccinating our children will be very important to getting them back to school and protecting our educators,” said Moderna’s Dr. Jacqueline Miller. “We have not yet had the opportunity to speak to the agency about this.”

Moderna said it is also in discussions with the National Institutes of Health about designing an additional pediatric clinical trial in younger subjects, ranging from 6 months of age to 12 years old.