April 20, 2021

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FDA permits changes to Moderna’s vaccine allowing for more doses in each vial; Florida clinics raise ethical concerns: Live COVID-19 updates

3 min read

Moderna can put 50 percent more vaccine dosage in each vial, the Food and Drug Administration said Thursday.

The company has been manufacturing 10 dose vials, but the FDA’s decision allows the company to put up to 15 doses in each vial, a move that allows Moderna to speed up shipments and get more shots in arms. 

The FDA is also allowing 11 doses to be extracted out of current 10 dose vials.

“Both of these revisions positively impact the supply of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, which will help provide more vaccine doses to communities and allow shots to get into arms more quickly. Ultimately, more vaccines getting to the public in a timely manner should help bring an end to the pandemic more rapidly,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. 

Meanwhile, six months after getting a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as part of a 46,000-person clinical trial, volunteers remained more than 90% protected against symptomatic COVID-19 and even better protected against severe disease, a new company study found. That vaccine protects against the Brazil variant, the study also found. 

Also in the news:

►The coronavirus variant discovered in California triggered a less effective immune response from the vaccine, a study published Thursday said. 

►Michigan, where COVID-19 is surging more than in any state, on Thursday reported its first confirmed case of a coronavirus variant that was initially identified in Brazil.

►The Alabama prison system, which ranks sixth in the country for COVID-19 deaths, announced Thursday that it will begin vaccinating inmates.

►Nevada lawmakers are considering sending mail-in ballots to all active voters in future elections after passing a law last summer that directed election officials to do so to prevent the coronavirus from spreading at polling places.

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has over 30.53 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 553,210 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 129.47 million cases and 2.82 million deaths. More than 200.49 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S. and 153.63 million have been administered, according to the CDC. 

📘 What we’re reading: What can I do if I’m vaccinated against COVID-19, but my child isn’t? Here are activities health experts say are safe.

USA TODAY is tracking COVID-19 news. Keep refreshing this page for the latest updates. Want more? Sign up for our Coronavirus Watch newsletter for updates to your inbox and join our Facebook group.

Yacht clubs, golf courses, gated communities: Florida’s pop-up vaccine clinics raise ethical concerns

When Florida threw open the door for seniors to get COVID-19 vaccines, hundreds camped out overnight, some bundled up in lawn chairs in the January cold to score a shot. Thousands more waited in digital lines for their number to come up in county-run vaccine pools. But for some lucky Floridians, getting a vaccine was as easy as hopping in their golf carts and rolling down to the clubhouse. 

A USA TODAY Network analysis of state and local government records, news reports and information from private developers found at least 150 communities that landed vaccine pop-ups or priority access to doses. Data provided by the state is incomplete so there likely are many more. Read the full story. 

– Zac Anderson and Josh Salman, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Major League Baseball’s opening day marred by postponement

Major League Baseball’s opening day was waylaid by the postponement of the nationally televised Washington Nationals-New York Mets opener because of COVID-19 issues with the Nationals. The team was dealt a blow when it learned a player tested positive, resulting in four more players and a staff member isolated for the opener after contact tracing. 

“They did some additional testing and without getting into the details, it became clear that the safest course for both teams was to take advantage of the off day tomorrow,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in an ESPN interview.

– Gabe Lacques

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