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Updated Covid vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna rolled out nationwide: Latest

New Covid boosters from Pfizer and Moderna are now available at pharmacies nationwide.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are recommending one dose of the updated vaccine for everyone six months and older in the US; some children may be eligible for up to three doses depending on their age and previous vaccination status.

Hospitalisations and deaths from Covid-19 have been rising for weeks in the US, and global health authorities are monitoring two new variants, BA.2.86, known as Pirola, and EG.5, known as Eris.

First reported in February, Eris is now responsible for nearly 25 per cent of Covid cases in the US, per CDC data.

Doctors warned that Pirola may be cause for concern as it is a newly-designated, highly-mutated variant of Omicron which triggered a surge in cases in a number of countries including the US.

Some experts are urging Americans to wear a mask when necessary to slow the spread of the virus.

CDC Covid tracker

20,538 hospitalisations from 3 September to 9 September

Key Points

  • Everything we know about the latest round of Covid boosters, including how to book an appointment

  • Covid exposure guidelines 2023: What to know

  • Do Covid tests work after they expire? What to know as case counts rise across the US

  • When will the new Covid vaccines be available?

  • Should we wear masks again?

CDC releases new data on Covid hospitalisations

18:35 , Maggie O’Neill

Covid hospitalisations and deaths have steadily risen for the last several weeks, as the US sees the effect of a summer surge.

From 3 September to 9 September, hospitalisations from the virus rose 7.7 per cent compared to the previous week, the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show.

During that same time, deaths rose 4.5 per cent.

CDC: Not being up-to-date on your Covid vaccine could make you high-risk for severe disease from the virus

15:00 , Maggie O’Neill

Many people are high-risk for severe disease from Covid due to health issues. For example, some people with conditions such as cancer, asthma, and diabetes are more likely to become very sick if they’re infected with Covid, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

But otherwise healthy people who are unvaccinated—or who don’t stay up-to-date on their vaccines—are also more likely to get severely ill, the agency says.

To lower your chances of suffering a bad outcome from Covid-19, you should get the updated vaccine, now available in pharmacies across the country, experts say.

When pregnant women get vaccinated against Covid, their babies could see the benefits, NIH says

10:00 , Maggie O’Neill

Experts are strongly urging pregnant women to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as updated shots roll out across the country. Pregnant women are more likely to develop severe disease from the virus, according to health authorities.

But getting the shot may do more than protect mothers from severe disease, research from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) says.

In a small study, which was supported by the agency, researchers found “protective antibodies in nearly 75% of infants born to women who had been vaccinated during pregnancy”. Those antibodies were, on average, still present when the infant hit the five-month mark.

The research adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests pregnant women benefit greatly from staying up-to-date on their Covid-19 vaccines.

CDC program offers free Covid vaccines to people without health insurance

06:00 , Maggie O’Neill

The Bridge Access Program, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), offers updated Covid-19 vaccines to people who do not have health insurance (or those whose health insurance won’t cover the shot).

To find a pharmacy participating in the program and make an appointment, you can visit Vaccines.gov. After selecting which vaccine you’re looking for, you can filter for pharmacies that are participating in the program.

Former Florida surgeon general criticises DeSantis administration for not recommending updated Covid vaccines to all who are eligible

01:00 , Maggie O’Neill

Last week, the office of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis released a statement explaining his administration would not recommend the updated Covid vaccines for people under the age of 65, even though the shots have been recommended for everyone six months and older by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

DeSantis, quoted in the statement, said health authorities were using people who chose to get the vaccine as “guinea pigs”. Florida Surgeon General Dr Joseph Ladapo, who was appointed by DeSantis, warned against the “risks” of the updated vaccines in the statement.

Now, the former surgeon general of Florida has criticised Dr Ladapo’s guidance in a new interview with ABC News. Dr Scott Rivkees said, “If they say that Covid vaccines are not safe and that they are not effective, the onus is on them to show those data,” adding that the vaccines are “very, very safe and have a really proven efficacy, particularly against preventing severe disease”.

Pirola variant found in these 10 states, data show

Monday 18 September 2023 22:00 , Maggie O’Neill

The BA.2.86 variant, also known as Pirola, has been found in 10 states, according to data from GISAID, a global database.

So far, Pirola, first detected in July, has been found in Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement released 23 August that it was too soon to tell whether Pirola, a descendant of Omicron, differs significantly from past variants.

Covid symptoms may appear weeks after exposure, CDC says

Monday 18 September 2023 19:00 , Maggie O’Neill

A range of symptoms have been associated with Covid-19, and they won’t necessarily appear overnight, per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

After a person has been exposed to the virus, symptoms could begin anywhere from two to 14 days later, according to the CDC.

These may include chills, fever, fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, body or muscle aches, headache, sore throat, congestion, nausea, diarrhoea, or loss of taste and smell.

How long you need to isolate if you have Covid-19

Monday 18 September 2023 16:07 , Maggie O’Neill

As hospitalisations and deaths from Covid-19 continue to rise in the US, experts say it’s important to follow guidelines from health authorities if you’re exposed to or infected with the virus.

People who are otherwise healthy and have a mild Covid infection can stop isolating five days after their symptoms begin (with the day of symptom onset counting as day 0), per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

People with moderate Covid infections should be isolated for a full 10 days. Those with severe infections may need to extend their isolation period to 20 days, since they can still be infectious after 10 days.

Experts weigh in on when to get the updated Covid vaccines

Monday 18 September 2023 12:00 , Maggie O’Neill

Updated Covid vaccines are available for everyone six months and older in the US. Some children may need two or three doses, depending on their age and vaccination status.

Experts say it’s worth getting the shot sooner rather than later. “The earlier you get it, the more similar it’ll be to the current circulating strains and the more immediate protection you get,” Justin Lessler, an epidemiologist at University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, recently told CNN.

Childhood poverty skyrocketed after pandemic aid disappeared

Monday 18 September 2023 07:00 , Maggie O’Neill

The number of children living in poverty in the US more than doubled when pandemic policies were halted, after Congress refused to renew them. The childhood poverty rate jumped from 5.2 per cent to 12.4 percent.

Alex Woodward reports:

Child poverty in the US more than doubled after pandemic aid expired

Global health authorities continue to monitor Pirola variant

Monday 18 September 2023 02:00 , Maggie O’Neill

The new Covid variant BA.2.86, also known as Pirola, is being monitored around the world. A recent outbreak at a nursing home in the UK revealed that 22 residents had been infected with the variant, a descendant of Omicron.

Ian Jones reports:

Fears over how easily new Covid variant spreads after care home cases

Everything we know about the latest round of Covid boosters, including how to book an appointment

Sunday 17 September 2023 21:00 , Maggie O’Neill

Things are becoming clearer about the rollout of the latest Covid vaccine after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week released updated guidance regarding the new Covid-19 vaccines.

More here:

Everything we know about the Covid boosters, including how to book an appointment

President Biden urges American public to get Covid-19 vaccine

Sunday 17 September 2023 18:00 , Maggie O’Neill

Joe Biden is encouraging Americans to “stay-up-to-date on their vaccines” ahead of cold and flu season. Covid cases could rise in the coming months as cold weather sets in, experts say.

Maroosha Muzaffar reports:

‘Stay up-to-date on vaccines’: Joe Biden’s message to Americans on booster shots

Jeanine Pirro confronted during Fox News segment on vaccine misinformation

Sunday 17 September 2023 15:00 , Maggie O’Neill

Fox News host Jeanine Pirro appeared annoyed when her colleague, Jessica Tarlov, claimed Covid-19 vaccines are safe during a segment on vaccine misinformation. Tarlov responded by reminding Pirro that she got the vaccine and turned out “fine”.

Graig Graziosi reports:

Jeanine Piro shuts down after co-host reminds her she’s vaccinated

DeSantis slams Trump for the way he managed Covid

Sunday 17 September 2023 12:00 , Maggie O’Neill

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis criticised the way former president Donald Trump handled the Covid-19 pandemic when the virus first swept through the US in a new interview with Fox News Radio.

The governor called on the former administration to “own what they did”, per reporting from The Hill.

In 2020, then president Trump publicly suggested injecting disinfectants like bleach into humans to combat the virus. In December of that year, he also said it was “terrific” that 15 per cent of Americans had already had Covid. At that time, the daily death toll from Covid-19 in the US had exceeded 2,000 people, as The Independent previously reported.

DeSantis has argued that the US should not have enacted the restrictions that were put in place at the start of the pandemic to try to slow the spread of the virus.

Health authorities urge Americans to protect themselves during cold and flu season

Sunday 17 September 2023 07:00 , Maggie O’Neill

The majority of Americans ignored the bivalent boosters released in September 2022 that were meant to protect them from Covid during the 2022-2023 cold and flu season.

Only a quarter of US adults got the shot, according to data from KFF, a health policy research group. As Dr William Schaffner, a professor in the division of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, recently told The Independent, last year’s vaccine was “underutilised and under-accepted”.

But experts are hoping for a better response this year: The CDC is recommending the new vaccines for everyone six months and up. CDC Director Dr Mandy Cohen has said the new vaccines are the best way to protect yourself from severe disease from Covid this fall and winter.

Free vaccines to be made available to uninsured New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, city says

Sunday 17 September 2023 02:00 , Maggie O’Neill

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene tweeted an update on vaccine availability Thursday.

The updated Covid vaccines should be more accessible, experts say

Saturday 16 September 2023 21:00 , Maggie O’Neill

The cost of the new Covid vaccines may prohibit some people from getting them, experts are warning. Pfizer and BioNTech set their price at $120, and Moderna doses will be $129. Novavax shots will be $130 per dose, according to reporting from Reuters

Some have argued that the US government should have asked Moderna and Pfizer for price caps on the vaccine, given that the government funded research that led to the development of the shots. Peter Maybarduk, an advocate that works with an organisation called Public Citizen, based in Washington, recently suggested this to KFF Health News. He added that prices for this round of vaccine increased steeply: The last shots were $20 and $30 a dose. “If these vaccines had been kept the same price, what decisions would be made to expand the response?” Maybarduk said.

Eris grows more dominant in the US, CDC data show

Saturday 16 September 2023 18:00 , Maggie O’Neill

According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the EG.5 variant, sometimes called “Eris”, is becoming more prominent in the US.

By 16 September, the variant, a descendant of Omicron, will be responsible for 24.5 per cent of Covid cases in the US, per the data. That’s up from 22.3 per cent of cases at the start of the month, on 2 September.

CIA investigating claims agents were bribed to hide origins of Covid

Saturday 16 September 2023 15:00 , Maggie O’Neill

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) says it is “looking into” allegations that some agents were paid hush money to draw certain conclusions about where Covid-19 originated, per reporting from ABC News.

Many in the Republican party have pushed for an investigation into the origins of the virus, claiming they were hidden in a conspiratorial cover-up. A whistleblower recently claimed multiple CIA agents were given “significant monetary incentive” to draw certain conclusions about the origins.

CIA spokesperson Tammy Kupperman Thorp said in a statement to ABC News: “At [the] CIA we are committed to the highest standards of analytic rigor, integrity and objectivity. We do not pay analysts to reach specific conclusions. We take these allegations extremely seriously and are looking into them.”

Experts warn of the effects of Covid-19 on pregnancy

Saturday 16 September 2023 10:00 , Maggie O’Neill

With the season of respiratory illnesses approaching, experts are cautioning the public about the dangers of Covid for pregnant people, who are eligible for vaccines.

Doctors slam DeSantis administration for not recommending Covid vaccine to all who are eligible

Saturday 16 September 2023 06:00 , Maggie O’Neill

The administration of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is not recommending Covid boosters for people under the age of 65.

The recommendation goes against guidance from federal health authorities. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are recommending updated shots for everyone six months and older.

Infectious disease experts are now criticising the move online. Dr Amesh Adalja, a biosecurity and emerging infectious diseases expert at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, tweeted about the news on 15 September.

He quoted Florida’s surgeon general, appointed by DeSantis, and questioned his decision. Dr Adalja wrote: “‘What I have directed our department to do is to provide guidance that really recommends and advises against the use of these mRNA Covid-19 vaccines for anyone under 65’— so that would include a  55 year old lung transplant recipient, for example ?”

Experts respond to CDC predictions

Saturday 16 September 2023 01:00 , Maggie O’Neill

On 14 September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the first outlook of the coming respiratory disease season.

Experts expressed concern over the projections. “When a disease is endemic, it means that the levels are mostly predictable. So it’s nice to see the CDC putting out their predictions this fall,” Dr Ellie Murray, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health, tweeted in response to the outlook. “[On the other hand], it’s not so nice that their best case scenario is almost twice as many respiratory hospitalizations as pre-COVID.”

CVS offers appointments for the updated Covid-19 vaccine

Friday 15 September 2023 21:00 , Maggie O’Neill

Earlier this week, Walgreens released a statement saying appointments for the updated Covid vaccine are now available nationwide.

Appointments can now be made at CVS pharmacies, as well, for patients 18 months and older, according to a statement from the company.

For patients aged five or older, appointments can be made at CVS.com or through the CVS app. Some walk in appointments will also be available. For patients 18 months to four years, appointments can be made at MinuteClinic.com.

CDC releases new data on Covid deaths

Friday 15 September 2023 18:00 , Maggie O’Neill

From 3 September to 9 September, deaths from Covid rose 4.5 per cent compared to the previous week, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The rise is significantly lower than that of the week before: From 27 August to 2 September, deaths from the virus rose 10.5 percent.

Health authorities are urging all Americans six months and older to get the latest Covid-19 vaccine, which protects against recent variants.

Ron DeSantis says CDC and FDA are using people who choose vaccination as ‘guinea pigs’

Friday 15 September 2023 15:00 , Maggie O’Neill

The administration of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is not recommending Covid boosters for people under the age of 65.

The recommendation goes against guidance from federal health authorities. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are recommending updated shots for everyone six months and older.

In a statement from DeSantis’s office released 13 September, the governor said, “I will not stand by and let the FDA and CDC use healthy Floridians as guinea pigs for new booster shots that have not been proven to be safe and effective…Florida is the first state in the nation to stand up and provide guidance based on truth, not Washington edicts.”

State Surgeon General Dr Joseph Ladapo, appointed by the governor, echoed DaSantis’s opinions in the statement.

The move comes at a time when health officials are monitoring two new worrisome variants, EG.5 (Eris) and BA.2.86 (Pirola), and both deaths from Covid-19 and hospital admissions are rising. From 27 August to 2 September, hospital admissions rose 8.7 per cent from the previous week, according to the most recent data from the CDC; during that same time period, deaths from the virus rose 10.5 percent.

Kentucky senator discourages Covid-19 vaccine as health authorities urge the public to protect themselves

Friday 15 September 2023 12:00 , Maggie O’Neill

Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky tweeted about the Covid-19 vaccine this week, quoting a person who said the shots are unnecessary for “most healthy young Americans”.

Though Covid-19 can be more serious for people over the age of 65, more than 17,000 children and adolescents under 20 have died from the virus, per the World Health Organisation.

As hospitalisations and death counts rise, experts like CDC Director Dr Mandy Cohen are encouraging all people six months and older to get vaccinated.

Trump says he never received the ‘credit’ he deserved for managing the pandemic

Friday 15 September 2023 09:00 , Maggie O’Neill

Former president Donald Trump said his efforts in managing the pandemic weren’t acknowledged the way they should have been in a new interview on The Megyn Kelly Show.

“I got a lot of good marks on economy. I got a lot of good marks on a lot of things…I never got, I think, the credit that I deserved on COVID,” he said, per The Hill.

In 2020, the then president publicly suggested injecting disinfectants like bleach into humans to combat the virus. In December of that year, he also said it was “terrific” that 15 per cent of Americans had already had Covid. At that time, the daily death toll from Covid-19 in the US had exceeded 2,000 people, as The Independent previously reported.

At least 3 passengers on grounded cruise ship in Greenland have Covid-19

Friday 15 September 2023 04:00 , Maggie O’Neill

On Monday, a cruise ship carrying 206 passengers and crew ran aground in Greenland. The ship is operated by an Australia-based company called Aurora Expeditions, according to reporting from The Guardian.

The company said in a statement that three people on board have Covid-19. They are in stable condition and are being cared for by a doctor onboard, per The Guardian.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cruise ships should maintain protocols that mitigate onboard transmission of Covid-19.

Flu and Covid vaccines can be given at the same time, CDC says

Thursday 14 September 2023 23:45 , Maggie O’Neill

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released guidance saying everyone six months and older is eligible for at least one dose of the updated Covid-19 vaccines; the shots are currently being made available nationwide.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also recommended that everyone who’s eligible get the flu shot sometime in September or October to best prepare for the 2023-2024 flu season.

If you’re due for both shots, you can get them at the same time, per guidance from the CDC.

CDC director says data back up the recommendation to get vaccinated ahead of cold and flu season

Thursday 14 September 2023 20:45 , Maggie O’Neill

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a video showing director Dr Mandy Cohen speaking about the new Covid-19 vaccines. In the video, Dr Cohen says research supports the agency’s recommendation that all people six months or older get vaccinated to prevent severe disease from Covid-19.

“While we would all love to leave Covid-19 behind, the virus is still here, and making some people very sick, especially older adults,” Dr Cohen said. “This recommendation was based on extensive data in clinical trials. As a doctor, a mom, a wife, a daughter, and head of the CDC, I would not recommend anything to others that I wouldn’t recommend for my own family. That’s why my nine- and 11-year-old daughters, my husband, my parents, and I will all be rolling up our sleeves to get our updated Covid-19 vaccine.”

Researchers urge the public to get vaccinated for the sake of the healthcare system

Thursday 14 September 2023 17:45 , Maggie O’Neill

With Covid-19 vaccinations rolling out across the country, infectious disease experts are reminding Americans that vaccines do more than protect an individual’s health.

Abraar Karan, an infectious disease researcher at Stanford University, recently tweeted, “One of the issues is that many people think of diseases mainly in terms of their own risk of bad outcomes being low. That works for noncommunicable diseases.” For viruses like Covid, however, there’s more at stake, he said. “But for contagious respiratory viruses with high incidence, you multiply that low risk across hundreds of millions and end up with a big absolute number of bad outcomes.”

Karan previously tweeted research estimating that universal Covid-19 vaccination could prevent at least 200,000 hospitalisations and 15,000 deaths during the next two years.

This is how long you need to wait in between Covid vaccinations, per the FDA

Thursday 14 September 2023 14:45 , Maggie O’Neill

In a 11 September statement, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced who will be eligible for the new Covid vaccines. Everyone six months and older can get a new vaccine; two or three doses are recommended for some children aged six months to four years old.

The statement said that everyone five and up is eligible for a single dose; however, they need to schedule an appointment for the vaccine that is at least two months after their last Covid-19 vaccine.

Survey shows how likely Floridians are to believe vaccine misinformation

Thursday 14 September 2023 10:45 , Maggie O’Neill

A new survey from the University of South Florida looked at how likely people in the state are to believe false statements about Covid-19.

The statement found 42% of respondents thought the statement “Vaccines can cause you to get sick with COVID-19” was either “probably true” or “definitely true”.

The same percentage of respondents said “COVID-19 vaccines are causing new variants of the virus to emerge” was “probably true” or “definitely true”.

The survey found that Democratic respondents were “significantly more willing” to continue getting updated Covid boosters than their Republican counterparts.

Covid vaccine appointments can now be made at Walgreens

Thursday 14 September 2023 05:45 , Maggie O’Neill

People in the US can now make appointments for updated Covid-19 vaccines at Walgreens, the company said in a statement released 12 September.

Nationwide appointments will be available starting 18 September, and you can reserve a spot by visiting Walgreens.com/ScheduleVaccine, using the app, or calling 1-800-WALGREENS.

The statement said Walgreens is among a group of select pharmacies the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working with to help uninsured and underinsured Americans get the vaccine for free.

These side effects can occur after getting a Covid vaccine, per the CDC

Thursday 14 September 2023 00:45 , Maggie O’Neill

Updated Covid vaccines that target new variants are being rolled out nationwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said people may experience certain side effects after getting the shot.

These include pain, redness, and swelling at the site of the shot; tiredness; muscle pain; headache; chills; fever; and nausea.

Children may experience different side effects. For those aged six months to three years, side effects include pain at the site of the shot, swollen lymph nodes, crying or irritability, sleepiness, and loss of appetite.

For those four to 17 years old, side effects include pain, redness, or swelling at the site of the shot; tiredness; headache; chills; joint or muscle pain; and swollen lymph nodes.

New York Governor Kathy Hocul urges residents to take Covid seriously

Wednesday 13 September 2023 21:45 , Maggie O’Neill

Governor Kathy Hochul of New York expressed concerns about rising Covid cases on Wednesday.

“I know everyone wants to be done with Covid, but Covid is not done with us,” Governor Hochul said, per reporting from CBS News.

“Hospitalisations are rising. People have questions about new strains, new variants…And as we are approaching the fall season, you see a pattern, when all respiratory illnesses start to creep up.”

Updated Covid vaccines that target new variants are starting to become available nationwide.

Covid shots will cost more than $100 a dose, pharmaceutical companies say

Wednesday 13 September 2023 18:45 , Maggie O’Neill

Companies manufacturing Covid vaccines for the US have set their price lists, and each dose will be between $120 and $130, according to reporting from Reuters.

Pfizer and BioNTech set their price at $120, and Moderna doses will be $129. Novavax shots will be $130 per dose.

The vaccine is recommended for everyone six months and older. Unvaccinated children six months to four years can get three doses of the updated shots, while vaccinated children in the same age group can get two doses. Everyone in the five and up category is eligible for a single dose.

Do Covid tests work after they expire? What to know as case counts rise across the US

Wednesday 13 September 2023 18:03 , Maggie O’Neill

The CDC recommends that the public continue testing for Covid-19 to slow the spread of the virus, and the agency has released specific guidance on when and how to monitor yourself.

If you have symptoms, the CDC recommends testing immediately. If you are only going to take a single test, opt for a PCR test, rather than an at-home test, since they are more reliable. If you use an at-home test instead and the result is negative, you’ll want to take another test in 48 hours or take a PCR test immediately to confirm the result.

If you have been exposed to Covid but you don’t have symptoms, the CDC recommends waiting at least five full days before testing yourself. If you’re only going to test once, you should take a PCR test, since they’re more reliable. If you use an at-home test instead and the result is negative, you should re-test yourself in 48 hours. If that second test is negative, you should wait another 48 hours and test a third time. Following these instructions is the best way to assure your tests are accurate, experts say.

If your at-home test is expired, you shouldn’t use it unless the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given it an extended expiration date. The FDA has provided a list of products that have been given this designation on its website. The list includes product names, lot numbers, original expiration dates, and extended expiration dates.

When will the new Covid vaccines be available?

Wednesday 13 September 2023 15:45 , Maggie O’Neill

Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in a statement that updated Covid boosters will soon be available for all people six months and up.

On 5 September, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said “updated vaccines…will be available mid-September”.

As case counts rise, US health authorities are urging the public to stay up-to-date on their vaccines. Some experts are also discussing the possibility that masks may help slow the spread of Covid-19 in the coming days as people start doing more activities indoors.

Do Covid-19 tests work after they expire?

Wednesday 13 September 2023 12:45 , Maggie O’Neill

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you should not use a Covid test after it expires. However, some tests have received extended expiration dates from the agency.

A list of products with this designation can be found on the agency’s website. If you find a test in your home that has been given an extended expiration date, it’s safe to use it until that date.

If you find a test that has already expired, you should not assume it will be accurate, per the FDA.

FDA releases guidance on who can get the updated Covid-19 vaccine

Wednesday 13 September 2023 07:45 , Maggie O’Neill

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement on 11 September explaining who is eligible for the forthcoming Covid vaccines.

The agency said unvaccinated children six months to four years old can get three doses of the updated shots, while vaccinated children in the same age group can get two doses. Everyone in the five and up category is eligible for a single dose, per the statement.

Several states with the highest vaccination rates are in the Northeast, new report finds

Wednesday 13 September 2023 02:45 , Maggie O’Neill

Four of the five states with the highest vaccination rates are in the Northeast, according to a new analysis from WalletHub.

Massachusetts had the highest ranking, followed by Rhode Island, Iowa, Vermont, and Connecticut, according to the report.

The state with the lowest vaccination rate was Mississippi; others in the bottom five included Wyoming, Georgia, Arizona, and Alaska.

Social media app Threads blocks access to Covid-19 information on the platform

Tuesday 12 September 2023 22:45 , Maggie O’Neill

Threads, a text-based social media platform structured similarly to X, formerly known as Twitter, recently rolled out a search engine function, but it will not let users search for info on Covid or long Covid, according to reporting from The Washington Post.

Meta, which owns Threads, said in a statement to the outlet that the “search functionality temporarily doesn’t provide results for keywords that may show potentially sensitive content”.

When users type “Covid” or “long Covid” in the search function, they are met with no results and directed to the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

New variant FL.1.5.1 gains traction in the US

Tuesday 12 September 2023 19:45 , Maggie O’Neill

A new variant known as FL.1.5.1, a descendant of omicron, has become more dominant in the US in recent weeks and is now accounting for 14.5 per cent of all Covid cases nationwide, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show.

The most recent reports put FL.1.5.1 in second place behind EG.5, also known as eris, which is currently responsible for 21.5 per cent of all cases.

Experts are urging the public to stay up-to-date with their Covid vaccines to prepare for cold and flu season this year.

Covid exposure guidelines 2023: What to know

Tuesday 12 September 2023 16:45 , Maggie O’Neill

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should test immediately if you have Covid-19 symptoms.

If you do not have symptoms of the virus but you’ve been exposed, you should test at least five full days after the exposure.

If you’re only going to take one test, you should opt for a PCR test, as they are more reliable than antigen tests, per the CDC.

CDC data show which counties have the highest hospitalisation rates due to Covid

Tuesday 12 September 2023 13:41 , Maggie O’Neill

Updated data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that the top five counties with the highest rates of hospitalisations from Covid-19 are in Texas and Oklahoma.

The top three counties—all in Texas—are Wilbarger County, Hardeman County, and Foard County. All are seeing 22.4 new hospital admissions a week per every 100,000 residents.

Below those three are Seminole County and Pontotoc County, both in Oklahoma. Both are seeing 20.9 new hospital admissions a week per every 100,000 residents.

Covid hospitalisations and deaths have risen in recent weeks, with experts warning that Americans may need to wear masks and take actions to slow the spread of the virus in the coming days as cold and flu season approaches.

New Covid boosters approved as CDC set to decide who should receive them amid rising cases

Monday 11 September 2023 19:38 , Graeme Massie

Health officials say that the Pfizer and Moderna shots likely to be available later this week.

New Covid boosters approved as CDC set to decide who should receive them

As Covid cases rise, experts chime in on the question of whether we need to start masking again

Saturday 9 September 2023 14:00 , Maggie O’Neill

Covid hospital admissions and deaths have been on the rise in the US for weeks. As cases climb, experts weigh in on the question of whether or not people should start masking again in public spaces.Olivia Hebert reports:

Should we wear masks again? Covid guidelines experts recommend

Instagram influencer gets five years in prison for using Covid loans to pay for luxury apartment

Saturday 9 September 2023 09:00 , Maggie O’Neill

On Thursday, social media personality Danielle Miller was sentenced in federal court for “fraudulently obtaining over $1 million in pandemic-related loans…then using those funds for personal expenses, including chartering a private jet and renting a luxury apartment,” according to a statement from the United States Attorney’s Office, District of Massachusetts.

In the statement, Acting US Attorney Joshua S. Levy said: “Ms. Miller isn’t an influencer, she is a convicted felon.”

She was sentenced to five years in prison and three years of supervised release.