Variants are spreading in the tri-state. What's being done to stop the surge of COVID-19 cases?
This morning, News 12's Elizabeth Hashagen was joined by Dr. Sharon Nachman this morning to talk about the COVID-19 vaccines.
This morning, the Data and Safety Monitoring Board said in a statement this morning that it was concerned that AstraZeneca may have provided an incomplete view of its efficacy data.
AstraZeneca also said the study's independent safety monitors found no serious side effects, including no increased risk of rare blood clots like those identified in Europe, a scare that led numerous countries to briefly suspend vaccinations last week.
It seems that we are now in a race between vaccines and variants. In New Jersey there have been roughly 400 reports of variants of concern. Most of those are of the U.K. strain, three are the Brazilian strain, one is the South African strain, and roughly 65 are the New York strain.
New York is among more than a dozen states reporting the new variant. The P.1 variant is considered to be a "variant of concern" because evidence suggests that it is highly transmissible and has the potential to re-infect people who have already been sick.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday that she's worried the U.S. could see "another avoidable surge" of COVID-19 if mitigation measures, such as mask-wearing, physical distancing and avoiding crowds or travel, are not followed.
The Pfizer vaccine is cleared for use starting at age 16 and is being studied in ages 12-16. Moderna has been studying its vaccine in children aged 12 and older, and last week announced a new study testing its use in children younger than 12. Sinovac says its COVID-19 vaccine is safe in children ages 3-17, based on preliminary data, and it has submitted the data to Chinese drug regulators.