Countries Consider Reducing COVID-19 Vaccine to 1 Dose & South Africa Tests Vaccine On New Variant

Countries Consider Reducing COVID-19 Vaccine to 1 Dose & South Africa Tests Vaccine On New Variant

This week in Clipboard Health’s Nursing News round-up … 

U.S. Debates Halving Moderna Vaccine Doses

nursing news icon - a vaccine

Moncef Slaoui, the head of the U.S. vaccine program Operation Warp Speed, said that the program is talking with Moderna and the FDA about potentially cutting Moderna vaccine doses in half in order to vaccinate more people. 

Currently, the Moderna vaccine is approved for use in the United States as a two-dose immunization course, with recipients getting the second dose three weeks later.

Other countries are considering similar policies for both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. 

Pfizer and BioNTech released a statement on their own vaccine on Monday, citing that they had no evidence to support that one dose can provide sustained protection after the recommended 21 days between doses.

UK officials said that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine can still be 80% effective in recipients, even if there’s a three-month break in between the two doses. However, there isn’t enough evidence yet to recommend reducing the course from two doses to one.

South Africa Tests COVID-19 Vaccines Against New Coronavirus Variant

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South African scientists test vaccines to see if they are effective against the new COVID-19 variant that’s been found in the country, which is not the same as the variant recently found in Britain. Both variants are more easily transmissible compared to previous variants and have quickly spread to other countries.

The tests come after UK scientists said they were concerned that the COVID-19 vaccines won’t work against the South Africa variant. The South Africa variant has more mutations on its spike protein, which is the target of the vaccines. 

U.S. Detected First COVID-19 Variant Case within Its Borders

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Early last week, the United States confirmed its first case of the COVID-19 variant first identified in Britain. The case was detected in Colorado after scientists noticed an unusual diagnostic test sample. 

Researchers believe there are already hundreds of potential cases of the new variant within the United States.

U.S. Hits 20 Million COVID-19 Cases

The United States surpassed 20 million cases of COVID-19 on Friday, nearly double the number of cases in India, which is the second hardest-hit country with 10.28 million cases. 

Additionally, last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that December 31 saw the highest increase in the overall death count yet. On Thursday, reported deaths hit 341,199 total deaths, which is a rise of 3,764 from previous reports.

Drugmakers Plan to Increase U.S. Prices for 2021

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As the pandemic takes a heavy hit on many company revenues, drugmakers announced their plans to raise prices on more than 300 medications within the United States for 2021. Most price increases were 10% or below with the largest companies so far keeping price increases at 5% or less.

The price increase also affected the shingles vaccine Shingrix and the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine Pedirarix.

Price hikes are ongoing and will continue to be announced by drugmakers throughout the month of January. 

Medical Studies Round-Up

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Here’s a brief round-up of recent medical studies and their findings for you to stay up-to-date with the ever-evolving field of medical research.

  • Researchers have identified six subtypes of prediabetes. These subtypes determine how a patient develops the disease, what their risks are, and whether or not they develop secondary diseases. 
  • A new study that looked at the effects of the 2014 Medicaid expansion in Oregon showed that there was an increase in prenatal care for low-income mothers. Additionally, health outcomes for newborn babies were also significantly improved during the same period.

Race for the Vaccine: Coronavirus Vaccine Updates

Vaccinations have begun, but the process still is far from over. To learn more about the top vaccines, vaccination timelines, potential requirements for health care professionals and facilities, and more, check out our COVID-19 Vaccine Information hub.

Here’s the most recent news from the past week on COVID-19 vaccine development. 

Covid-19 vaccine status tracker stages
Covid-19 vaccine tracker - quality control

On Saturday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that it had administered 4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and distributed more than 13 million doses.


Covid-19 vaccine tracker - quality control

Britain becomes the first country to begin vaccinations with the vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.


Covid-19 vaccine tracker - quality control

China approves the Sinopharm vaccine, the first vaccine that the country has approved for public use. The Sinopharm vaccine was developed by the Beijing Biological Products Institute, which is a unit of Sinopharm. 


Covid-19 vaccine tracker - manufacturing stage

Moderna revised vaccine manufacturing expectations for 2021, increasing the expected number of doses that it plans to have manufactured by 100 million to a total of 600 million. 


Covid-19 vaccine tracker - phase 4

Pennsylvania-based Inovio reached a deal with Advaccine to give the Chinese company exclusive rights to Inovio’s vaccine candidate for distribution in China. Inovio is currently testing its vaccine in a mid-state trial in China and a mid-to-late stage trial in the United States.


Covid-19 vaccine tracker - phase 1

Pfizer and BioNTech reveal their plans to let volunteers in their trials know whether or not they got the placebo during the trials and give them the option to get the first dose of the real vaccine by March 1, 2021. 


Covid-19 vaccine tracker - regulatory review

The World Health Organization listed the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as approved for emergency use. The WHO emergency use listing (EUL) was developed to help countries without regulatory resources to approve new medications and prevent delays.


Michelle Paul

Michelle Paul is an RN Content Specialist at Clipboard Health. She has worked with a variety of patient demographics, ranging from young adults in foreign countries, to elderly residents in skilled nursing facilities, to healthy blood donors in her community. Her experience in content creation gives her a unique perspective on communication within the healthcare field.