Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center registered nurse Patricia Stamper looks at a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine before administering it to a health care worker at the hospital on December 16, 2020 in Aurora, Colorado. The Eastern Colorado VA Health Care System was chosen as one of 37 VA centers around the country to receive a shipment of the vaccine because of their ability to store the vaccine at extremely cold temperatures and vaccinate a large number of people.Share on Pinterest
Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images
  • COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
  • Researchers across the globe are working to develop a vaccine.
  • Currently, there are 150 candidate vaccines.
  • Today, there are 50 candidate vaccines in stage 3 clinical trials.
  • So far, 22 vaccines have been authorized across several countries.
  • For general COVID-19 updates visit our live blog.

09/24/2021 10:36 GMT — CDC backs FDA’s booster authorization

On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized COVID-19 vaccine boosters for at-risk individuals. Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorsed this decision. Millions of adults in the United States will now be eligible for booster shots.

Read more on this story here.

09/23/2021 14:23 GMT — COVID-19 vaccine: Are boys at an increased risk of heart inflammation?

A non-peer-reviewed study concluded that healthy boys aged 12–17 years had a higher hospitalization rate due to heart inflammation after their second mRNA COVID-19 vaccination than the expected hospitalization rate for COVID-19 in that age group. However, there are several issues with the data that the researchers used.

Read more here.

09/23/2021 11:29 GMT — FDA backs boosters for some

Yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized booster Pfizer shots. The ruling applies to people aged 65 years and older, those with certain health conditions, and anyone whose job puts them at high risk of COVID-19, such as healthcare workers and teachers.

Find more on this story here.

09/23/2021 10:45 GMT — COVID-19 vaccines work in MS patients despite immunotherapy treatment

People living with multiple sclerosis often take anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies, which limit the activity of B cells. A recent small-scale study found that despite this immunosuppression, there was still a robust T-cell response to vaccination for COVID-19.

Read more about the study here.

09/22/2021 11:51 GMT — J&J’s COVID-19 booster dose offers 94% protection, data suggest

Johnson & Johnson released new data on Tuesday showing that a two-dose version of its COVID-19 vaccine provides 94% protection against symptomatic infection.

“Our large real-world evidence and phase 3 studies confirm that the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine provides strong and long lasting protection against COVID-19-related hospitalizations. Additionally, our phase 3 trial data further confirm protection against COVID-19-related death,” says Dr. Mathai Mammen, the global head of research and development for Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen division.

Citing three studies, the drugmaker says that administering the booster dose a few months after the single shot further increases protection against COVID-19 and could significantly extend the duration of protection.

Giving the doses 56 days apart provided 100% protection against severe disease and 94% protection against moderate-to-severe cases in the United States, phase 2 trials showed. Globally, the two doses provided 75% protection against moderate-to-severe COVID-19, the company states.

Read more about the vaccine here.

09/21/2021 15:10 GMT — COVID-19 vaccinations work with or without side effects

Johns Hopkins researchers carried out a study involving 954 healthcare workers who had either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. The participants recorded the side effects they experienced after both doses, and the scientists examined the participants’ immune response to the vaccine.

Only 5% of the participants had side effects after the first dose, and 43% reported side effects after the second one.

However, 99.9% of the study participants successfully developed antibodies for fighting SARS-CoV-2 infection, regardless of whether they developed side effects or not.

Read MNT’s full coverage here

09/20/2021 10:52 GMT — FDA advisory panel recommends vaccine booster for over 65s

On Friday, September 17, an advisory panel for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted against approving a booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for those aged 16 and over.

The vote was 16-2 against approving the booster dose for younger populations. However, the same advisory panel voted 18 to 0 in support of authorizing the booster dose for those aged over 65 years and those at high risk of developing severe COVID-19 following infection with the virus.

09/20/2021 10:30 GMT — Do COVID-19 vaccines affect menstrual cycles? Expert calls for investigation

Dr. Victoria Male, a reproductive health specialist at Imperial College London, United Kingdom, has called for more research into the potential link between COVID-19 vaccines and changes to the menstrual cycle.

Her editorial in the BMJ points out that, in the U.K., more than 30,000 people have reported experiencing changes to their menstrual cycles after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

“Vaccine hesitancy among young women is largely driven by false claims that COVID-19 vaccines could harm their chances of future pregnancy. Failing to thoroughly investigate reports of menstrual changes after vaccination is likely to fuel these fears,” Dr. Male writes.

Read the story in full here.

09/20/2021 10:17 GMT — Getting the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine boosts mental health

New research, which appears in PLOS ONE, has identified a link between receiving the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and improved mental health in the short term.

“Looking at the impact of getting vaccinated allows us to study the extent to which reducing your health risks relieves mental distress,” study author, Dr. Francisco Perez-Arce, told Medical News Today.

Read the story in full here.

09/17/2021 10:30 GMT — COVID-19 booster shot offers 10-fold protection against infection: Israeli study

A third dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine significantly reduces the risk of infection and severe illness for older adults, a new Israeli study has found. 

According to the preliminary results of a serological study conducted at an Israeli hospital, the third dose produced 10 times higher antibody levels than the second dose a week after each jab. More than 1.1 million people who were aged 60 years and older were involved in the study.

With the so-called booster dose, individuals were 11 times less likely to contract SARS-CoV-2 and almost 20 times less likely to get severely ill than those who had received two doses of the vaccine.

The findings appear in The New England Journal of Medicine.

However, experts say that the study has its limitations and that the data should be reviewed with caution.

Israel was the first country to officially offer a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Read more about booster doses here.

09/17/2021 10:07 GMT — COVID-19 vaccines: Effective in preventing hospitalization and ER visits

A new study shows that the Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are highly effective in preventing hospitalizations and emergency room visits. For instance, the authors found that the mRNA vaccines — Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech — were 89% effective in preventing hospitalization in confirmed cases of a SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Read more about the research here.

09/15/2021 15:55 GMT — Experimental COVID-19 vaccine lasts 1 month at room temperature

A recent study tested a single dose of a new adeno-associated virus vector-based vaccine in mice and macaques. The team found that the vaccine not only produced an effective immune response against SARS-CoV-2 variants, but it also remained stable at room temperature for 1 month.

Although the currently available COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective, they have limited manufacturing capacity, and some — such as the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines — need to be stored according to cold-chain procedures, which hinder their global distribution.

The study appears in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.

Read more about MNT‘s coverage of the study here.

09/15/2021 13:20 GMT — UK to offer vaccine boosters to 30 million people as part of fall and winter COVID-19 plan

The United Kingdom announced on Tuesday that it will offer COVID-19 vaccine boosters to all those aged 50 years and older, those living in care homes, frontline health and social care workers, and any people over the age of 16 with health conditions, to prevent new surges in COVID-19 cases from overwhelming the National Health Service (NHS).

The rollout of the additional vaccine doses will start beginning next week. An estimated 30 million people will be offered the injection.

The government also said it will move onto “Plan B” if the NHS faces “unsustainable pressure.” The plan will include compulsory face masks, working from home, and vaccine passports. Lockdowns may also be imposed as a “last resort.”

The decision comes a day after the government announced that children aged 12–15 years will be offered the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines.

Stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccine rollouts across the globe here.

09/13/2021 15:13 GMT — CDC reports that the US has administered over 380 million vaccine doses

As of September 12, United States health workers have administered 380,241,903 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, Reuters reports.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 209,437,152 people have received at least one vaccine dose, and 178,692,875 people are now fully vaccinated.

The vaccines counted by the CDC include the two-dose Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, as well as the single-dose COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson.

09/13/2021 14:45 GMT — UK authorities decide against vaccine passports in England

On September 12, United Kingdom officials announced that COVID-19 vaccine passports will not become a requirement in England.

The initial scheme would have required adults in England to show proof of vaccination in order to enter nightclubs or attend large events.

However, vaccine passports will be required in Scotland from October 1, and proof of vaccination remains a requirement for those returning to England from amber-listed countries who wish to avoid self-isolation.

09/10/2021 09:43 GMT — US introduces vaccine mandates for millions of adults

Yesterday, President Joe Biden introduced federal vaccine requirements that will affect up to 100 million people in the United States. During a White House address referencing eligible unvaccinated individuals, Biden said: “We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us.”

Read more in our live updates article.

09/09/2021 09:34 GMT — WHO call for halt to booster shots until 2022

At a news conference, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for a hold on booster jabs for healthy people in wealthy countries. He explained that excess doses should be provided to less wealthy countries where vaccines are in short supply.

“I will not stay silent when companies and countries that control the global supply of vaccines think the world’s poor should be satisfied with leftovers. Because manufacturers have prioritized or been legally obliged to fulfill bilateral deals with rich countries willing to pay top dollar, low income countries have been deprived of the tools to protect their people.”

Dr. Tedros supports booster shots for the most vulnerable, but does “not want to see widespread use of boosters for healthy people who are fully vaccinated.”

09/08/2021 11:55 GMT — Spain approves third COVID-19 vaccine dose for people with weakened immune systems

People in Spain with severely compromised immune systems, who are likely to have weaker protection against COVID-19 from the current two-dose vaccination regimen, will soon start receiving a third shot, the country’s Public Health Commission said on Tuesday.

About 100,000 people—including organ and bone marrow transplant recipients, people with multiple sclerosis, and those receiving monoclonal antibody treatment—are expected to get the shot.

The dose will be administered at least 28 days after the previous shot and preferably be the same type of vaccine.

With the approval, Spain joins a growing list of countries that have announced they will offer a three-dose regimen of COVID-19 vaccines to high-risk populations.

Israel and Luxembourg have already begun their rollout for people with weakened immune systems, while Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Ireland are expected to offer it to older adults, care home residents, and those with chronic illnesses this fall.

Read more about vaccine boosters here.

09/07/2021 12:20 GMT — World first: Cuba vaccinates toddlers against COVID-19

On Monday, Cuba began vaccinating 2-year-olds using its own COVID-19 vaccines. The World Health Organization (WHO) has not yet recognized these.

The vaccines are called Abdala and Soberana, and clinical trials have reportedly proven their safety and efficacy in children. The data from these clinical trials have not been made public, however. 

Read more about Cuba’s decision here.

09/06/2021 13:32 GMT — US on track to administer Pfizer vaccine booster, says Dr. Fauci

In speaking to the press on Sunday, September 5, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot is on track to receive regulatory approval on September 20.

The Moderna booster shot, however, may not receive the go-ahead until later, as the developers of this vaccine have not yet submitted all the relevant data to regulatory authorities.

09/06/2021 10:40 GMT — UK decision-makers divided on offering COVID-19 vaccines to 12- to 15-year-olds

On Friday, September 3, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) in the United Kingdom stated that most of its members are not persuaded that 12- to 15-year-olds should receive COVID-19 vaccines for the time being.

In a press release, the JCVI notes that, based on its data, “the margin of benefit is considered too small to support universal vaccination of healthy 12- to 15-year-olds at this time.”

However, according to The Guardian, government officials have not yet dismissed the possibility of extending the vaccination scheme to include children in this age group.

Read about how to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in children here.

09/03/2021 14:26 GMT — EU reaches deal with AstraZeneca

Over recent months, the European Union (EU) and AstraZeneca have been embroiled in a legal battle over vaccine delivery. Today, the EU announced that the two parties had reached an agreement. AstraZeneca will deliver 135 million doses by the end of 2021 and a total of 300 million doses by March 2022. 

Find more vaccine updates here.

08/27/2021 14:10 GMT Blood clot risk much higher from COVID-19 than from the vaccine

Scientists have said the risk of blood clots or stroke with COVID-19 vaccines is many times lower than if an individual caught the disease itself, either before or after vaccination.

Previously, scientists had found an increased risk of thrombocytopenia, or a low count of platelets, in individuals vaccinated with the AstraZeneca jab. If an individual’s blood platelet count is low, their blood will not clot well, which may cause excessive bleeding or wounds not healing properly.

The new findings, which appear in The BMJ, suggest those vaccinated with the Astrazeneca or the Pfizer jabs have an increased risk of experiencing some blood or blood-vessel-related events after the first doses, but only within the following 28 days. Comparatively, this risk is substantially higher and lasts longer if a person has contracted the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The study analyzed over 29 million people with partial vaccination against COVID-19 and almost 2 million individuals who had the disease.

For every 10 million people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, the scientists found that those with COVID-19 are almost nine times more likely to experience thrombocytopenia than those who received one dose of the jab. The risk of blood clots in the veins was also 200 times lower than the risk following SARS-CoV-2 infection in the same group.

The researchers also saw an increased likelihood of stroke after the initial Pfizer jab, but it was still 12 times lower than the risk posed by acquiring the virus itself.

The University of Oxford-led team said that the study, the biggest of its kind, reiterated the “substantial” benefit of vaccination.

Head here for more on the side effects of COVID-19 vaccines.