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More than 30 states expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility
With national vaccinations ramping up to more than 2.5 million people per day, at least 34 states have made all adults eligible to receive one of three approved COVID-19 vaccines—or plan to by mid-April— as the United States continues to race to vaccinate as many people as possible while variant cases continue to rise.
“It’s clear, there is a case for optimism; but there is not a case for relaxation,” said Jeff Zients, coordinator of the White House’s COVID-19 response, today during a White House press briefing.
California is the largest state to announce a change in eligibility: On Apr 1 all residents 50 and older will be eligible, and all residents 16 and older will be able to get a vaccine on Apr 15. On Mar 29, Texas will open up its vaccination to all residents.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID Data Tracker shows 173,525,335 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered in the United States, and 133,305,295 doses have been administered, with 47,419,832 Americans fully vaccinated.
J&J vaccine supply to increase
Zients also said states should expect 11 million more doses of the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine next week, and supply of that vaccine should jump substantially in April.
States are still most commonly administering either Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna, two-dose mRNA vaccines. Pfizer and Moderna are currently supplying roughly 24 million doses a week to the country.
Despite the progress on vaccination, the country saw its sharpest increase in cases this week since Jan 12. The 7-day average of new cases jumped to 57,695 on Wednesday, 9.5% higher than the previous week, according to a Bloomberg analysis of Johns Hopkins data.
Seven states reported increasing hospital admissions this week.
In total, the United States reported 67,443 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, and 1,558 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker. The country has confirmed 30,129,858 cases of the novel virus, including 547,756 deaths.
Yesterday during his first press conference as president, Joe Biden said his administration will administer 200 million vaccines during the first 100 days of office, and Biden has previously challenged states to make all adults eligible for vaccine by May 1.
Biden has ordered enough Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to inoculate every adult American (roughly 260 million people) by the end of May, promising a somewhat normal Fourth of July.
Pfizer starting vaccine in infants, older kids
Pfizer and BioNTech, the makers of the first mRNA vaccine approved for emergency use against COVID-19 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said yesterday that they’re beginning a study to determine whether their COVID-19 vaccine can be used in children as young as 6 months, according to Stat News.
Currently, Pfizer’s vaccine is the only vaccine approved for use in teens ages 16 and up. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines require recipients to be at least 18.
Results of the trial are not expected before the second half of the year. Currently Pfizer has enrolled 12- to 15-year-olds in a trial, and Moderna is also testing its vaccine in pediatric populations.
In other news, the US government announced it has stopped distributing the Eli Lilly monoclonal antibody therapy bamlanivimab for use on its own in COVID-19 patients because of the sustained increase in coronavirus variants, according to CNN. The drug can still be used in combination with etesevimab, another monoclonal antibody developed by Lilly.
According to CNN, FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock had said that the federal government had stopped shipping bamlanivimab to Arizona, California and Nevada, where the antibody therapy has proved resistant to circulating variants.
Anxiety, depression in young adults
A study today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report shows a significant increase in anxiety and depression among young American adults ages 18 to 29 during the second half of 2020 and the first months of 2021.
From August 2020 to February 2021, the percentage of adults with recent symptoms of an anxiety or depressive disorder increased from 36.4% to 41.5%, according to an analysis of Household Pulse Survey (HPS) data by CDC scientists.
“The percentage of adults who had symptoms of an anxiety or a depressive disorder during the past 7 days and those with unmet mental health needs during the past 4 weeks increased significantly from August 2020 to February 2021, with the largest increases among those aged 18–29 years and those with less than a high school education,” the authors said.
Meanwhile, Rutgers University in New Jersey announced it will require students enrolling for the fall semester to show proof they’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine, NPR reports. Rutgers is the first large university in the country to initiate a COVID-19 vaccine requirement.