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Ultimate Resource On Vaccine Boosters

Pfizer Says Booster Shots of Vaccine Restore Waning Immunity. Ultimate Resource On Vaccine Boosters

Pfizer Inc. said that data from the U.S. and Israel suggest that the efficacy of its Covid-19 vaccine wanes over time, and that a booster dose was safe and effective at warding off the virus and new variants.

The company detailed the data in a presentation it will deliver to a meeting of outside advisers to the Food and Drug Administration on Friday. The panel is expected to make recommendations for whether more Americans should receive booster shots.

“Real-world data from Israel and the United States suggest that rates of breakthrough infections are rising faster in individuals who were vaccinated earlier,” Pfizer said in its presentation, which was posted on the FDA website. The drug giant is partnering with Germany’s BioNTech SE to make the shots.

The decrease in effectiveness is “primarily due to waning of vaccine immune responses over time,” rather than the delta variant, Pfizer researchers said in the presentation.

Pfizer shares rose 0.4% as of 11:51 a.m. in New York. BioNTech’s American depositary receipts rose 3.2%. Shares of Moderna Inc., the other maker of a U.S.-cleared messenger RNA vaccine, rose 0.3%.

FDA Staff Report

According to a meeting agenda the FDA posted on its website, the Friday panel meeting will include presentations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, FDA staff, researchers from Israel and the U.K., along with Pfizer.

Marion Gruber, one of two top vaccine officials who FDA recently said will step down later this year, is also scheduled to speak. Gruber was co-author of an article in The Lancet earlier this week arguing that booster shots weren’t yet necessary for most people. The departure of the two longtime agency staffers is a potential sign of friction over the Biden booster plan.

Officials from Israel will present data from that country on booster protection against infections and severe disease, according to the agenda, and a professor of medical statistics from the University of Bristol will present data on real-world vaccine effectiveness.

FDA staff also posted its report for the panel’s consideration Wednesday, summarizing much of the same data that Pfizer presented earlier. Like Pfizer, the staff found that a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine was safe and raised antibody levels. Still, the staff said it hasn’t yet independently reviewed or verified the underlying data or conclusions of some relevant studies, such as the Israel study, which will be summarized in Friday’s meeting.

The staff’s 23-page briefing paper noted that the likely benefit of a booster shot would depend on how much the third shot reduces disease relative to the first two.

If the first two shots are still highly effective, then the efficacy of the booster shot “is likely to be more limited,” the staff said. Overall data in the U.S. indicate that the first two shots of the vaccine still protect against severe disease and death, the staff said.

The staff also noted that it is not currently clear whether there will be an increased risk of inflammation of the heart and heart lining after a booster shot, and that potential risks of a booster shot also must be considered. It didn’t offer a clear indication of which way the agency was leaning, which it often does before meetings.

Unpublished Data

While its vaccine continues to provide strong protection against hospitalizations and severe disease in the U.S., Pfizer said in its report, the data from Israel and elsewhere suggest that a reduction in efficacy against infection may be followed by reduced effectiveness against severe disease, especially among vulnerable elderly people.

Early unpublished data from an Israeli health maintenance organization suggest that a third booster dose is highly effective in areas where the delta variant is dominant, according to the Pfizer document. Giving a third dose to people more than 60 years old was associated with 86% effectiveness against testing positive for Covid starting at least a week after the booster, Pfizer said.

Pfizer also detailed immune response results from a final-stage trial of booster shots in over 300 people, showing that a third dose bolstered blood antibody levels. One month after the third dose, levels of the protective antibodies were more than triple what they had been a month after the second shot.

No new unexpected side effects were identified from safety data associated with boosters in the final-stage study, according to the Pfizer report. Consideration of a booster dose six months after a second dose of its shot is warranted, based on similarities between the outbreaks in Israel and the U.S., Pfizer said.

Updated: 8-11-2021

Understanding The Debate Over Covid Booster Shots

With the especially contagious delta variant threatening efforts to end the pandemic, a growing number of wealthy countries are planning to or considering administering booster shots of Covid-19 vaccines, at least to particularly vulnerable groups. U.S. regulators said Sept. 22 that people 65 and over and others at high risk of Covid complications can receive a third dose of the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE vaccine.

Officials at the World Health Organization have characterized the wide rollout of boosters in wealthier countries as unethical as long as poorer countries still lack supplies to cover significant portions of their populations with initial doses.

1. What’s A Booster Shot?

The term traditionally has referred to an additional dose of a vaccine given some time after the initial course of inoculation to bolster protection that may have started to wane. While many vaccines produce long-lasting immunity, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults receive boosters of the tetanus vaccine every decade, for example.

For Covid-19, a new disease, researchers are working out the optimal schedule and dosage for a wide variety of vaccines on the fly in the midst of an ongoing pandemic.

The term booster is being used loosely to refer to additional shots given for a variety of reasons to people who have already received the prescribed course of a Covid vaccine, meaning one dose of Johnson & Johnson’s formulation or two doses of any of the others.

With the messenger RNA vaccines, the first two shots were given relatively close together, either three or four weeks apart. If an additional dose is given six months or so after the first two, it may produce longer-lasting immunity, by training the immune system to realize that Covid is a long-term threat.

2. What Are The Reasons?

There’s a small group of people with weakened immune systems, such as transplant recipients, who are likely to need an additional shot sooner rather than later. The extra shot isn’t a traditional booster, as these people likely never get an adequate response to an initial course of Covid vaccine.

For the rest of the population, an additional shot (or shots) may prove to be helpful if immunity wanes over time or if new coronavirus variants emerge that evade vaccine protection. In the first scenario, giving another dose of the original vaccine may be sufficient. That’s mostly what is being considered for the immediate future. In the second scenario, shots customized against new variants may be needed.

3. What Other Countries Have Signed On To Extra Covid Shots?

Germany, France and the United Kingdom are among those that have started or decided to offer them to more vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, those over 50, or those who are immunocompromised. Offering them more broadly to people months after their last dose are Israel, Russia, Hungary and the United Arab Emirates. Some countries plan to give extra shots using a vaccine type that’s different from the one people got initially.

For example, Chile announced plans to offer booster shots from AstraZeneca Plc to people 55 and older who earlier received the vaccine from Sinovac Biotech Ltd. This mix-and-match strategy is called a heterologous boost, and there’s some evidence it can provide an advantage over an additional dose of the same formulation.

4. What’s Motivated The Move To Boosters?

The rise of the delta strain, combined with some preliminary data suggesting that Covid vaccine effectiveness may decline relatively quickly, has intensified the focus on booster shots. In Mesa County, Colorado, where delta took off earlier than in other parts of the state, a study by state health officials found that vaccines were 78% effective in a two-week period ending June 5, versus 89% in other counties.

And an observational study from Israel, one of the first countries to vaccinate most of its population, suggested that a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot dramatically boosted protection in people 60 and over, at least in the short term. According to the data published in the New England Journal of Medicine, confirmed infection rates were 11 times lower in the booster group compared to those who had only gotten the standard two doses starting 12 days after the third dose.

A separate analysis of data from the final-stage trial of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine showed that efficacy eased to about 84% at the end of a six-month period compared with 96% early on.

5. Is Everything Pointing Toward A Need For Boosters?

No. Moderna Inc. said on Aug. 5 that data from its final-stage trial showed its vaccine remained 93% effective through six months, just one percentage point less than the initial shorter term results. (Moderna does say it expects protection to wane over time, and it has applied for emergency clearance in the U.S. for a third shot.)

A U.K. study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in July found that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 88% protective against symptomatic cases of the delta variant, while AstraZeneca’s vaccine was 67% effective.

In September, a published analysis of data from 21 US hospitals in 18 states found that while the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine declined in protection against hospitalization after about four months, protection from Moderna’s shot remained stable.

6. How Are Decisions About Boosters Made?

It’s a judgment call by public health officials, since there’s no scientific consensus for when booster shots become necessary. In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration official in charge of vaccine regulation, Peter Marks, has said that the U.S. doesn’t have a “predetermined minimum” for how much efficacy must fade before it authorizes booster shots and will look at the totality of the evidence before making decisions.

7. What Are The Objections?

“It would be unconscionable to offer people already fully vaccinated another dose before protecting people who haven’t been vaccinated at all,” the global nonprofit Doctors Without Borders said in a July 22 statement.

Epidemiologists warn that allowing the coronavirus to continue to run rampant in some parts of the world increases the odds that more dangerous variants will arise.

Those new variants may make their way across the globe and prolong the pandemic. Drug companies with a financial interest in selling more doses have been some of the loudest voices talking up the need for boosters.

And Covid vaccines seem to be holding up well in achieving their key goals — preventing severe disease, hospitalization and death — even if they aren’t quite as effective at blocking milder cases of symptomatic infection with delta.

In the U.S., for example, as of Sept. 13, only about 15,800 patients with Covid vaccine breakthrough infections had been hospitalized or died, a tiny fraction of the total hospitalizations and deaths, according to the CDC.

8. Is It Possible To Expand The Vaccine Supply?

White House spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki has called the WHO’s position that rich countries should put boosters on hold until poor countries vaccinate more of their population a “false choice.” The U.S. can both donate vaccines abroad and provide boosters domestically if regulators recommend them, she said Aug. 4. But in reality, the Covid vaccine supply is limited, and wealthier countries have bought up a hugely disproportionate share of the available shots.

In September, Covax, the global program to immunize the world against Covid, cut its 2021 supply forecast by 25%, citing hurdles in production and other constraints. The 5.95 billion doses given as of Sept. 19 is only enough to fully vaccinate just under 38.7% of the world population, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.

Countries and regions with the highest incomes are getting vaccinated more than 20 times faster than those with the lowest. At the current rate of giving shots, it will take six months to cover 75% of the world population, according to the tracker.

Updated: 9-17-2021

How Many Boosters Will We Need? Israel Says Too Soon To Know

Researchers from Israel told a panel of U.S. vaccine experts weighing a potential Covid-19 booster dose from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE on Friday that it’s unclear how long the benefit of such a shot would last.

A big part of the case for booster shots is data from Israel showing that, in the short term, a third dose of the vaccine dramatically lowered infections and severe illness in the short term in people over age 60 and older.

However, it isn’t yet clear whether the enhanced protection boosters could provide would be short-lived, or if the benefit would be lasting.

When asked by members of a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel whether more shots would be needed to keep Covid-related illness away, the Israeli scientists said it was simply too soon to know.

“This is very early, we can’t really tell,” said Sharon Alroy-Preis from the Israel Ministry of Health. “It is not really clear where this is going.”

FDA Panel Recommends Pfizer’s COVID-19 Booster For 65 And Older, But Not For The General Public

Advisors also recommend booster for high-risk adults.

A group of advisors to the Food and Drug Administration on Friday reframed a proposed approval of BioNTech and Pfizer’s COVID-19 booster for the general population, and it instead recommended authorization of an additional dose of the vaccine to people at least 65 years old and those at high risk for severe disease.

The decision to recommend a booster for older adults and at-risk people came after the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted against a broader FDA approval of the BioNTech and Pfizer booster for people who are at least 16 years old and vaccinated six months ago.

The FDA isn’t required to follow the advice of the committee but often does.

“I don’t think a booster dose is going to significantly contribute to controlling the pandemic,” Dr. Cody Meissner, director of pediatric infectious disease at Tufts Medical Center and a committee member, said during Friday’s meeting.

Pfizer’s shares and BioNTech’s American depositary receipts closed 1.3% and 3.6% lower on Friday and extended their losses into the after-hours session.

“I suspect that many of us are heading toward the suggestion that we can confine vaccination at this point,” said Dr. Eric Rubin, adjunct professor of the department of immunology and infectious diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Several committee members debated different ages to begin rolling out boosters, including 50, 60, and 65 years old.

The next step is to wait and see whether the FDA decides to approve or authorize the booster, as the nation heads toward President Joe Biden’s target date of Sept. 20 to begin rolling out extra doses to people who were vaccinated with the two-dose mRNA shots. If an FDA approval happens, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will also weigh in.

Moderna Inc. has also submitted an application for authorization of a booster dose. Johnson & Johnson has not filed for a booster at this time. Of the three available COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S., BioNTech and Pfizer’s is the furthest ahead in the regulatory process.

Why Some Physicians Have Concerns About COVID-19 Booster Shots

Unlike the initial authorizations of those vaccines, which were widely supported, there has been a lot more debate among scientists, researchers, and public-health experts about whether boosters are needed at all or at this time, or if they should only be made available to more vulnerable populations, like the elderly.

There are also lingering questions about the clinical data used to inform Pfizer’s application.

One of the main sticking points for scientists is that most of the COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in the U.S. are occurring among the unvaccinated. And even though the number of breakthrough cases among the vaccinated is increasing, it still means the vaccines are working.

Separately, many of the real-world learnings that the U.S. is relying on come from Israel, which has widely rolled out a third dose of Pfizer’s vaccine in recent months to ward off the surging delta variant there. (Israel and Pfizer have a data-sharing agreement, and Pfizer’s shot is the primary vaccine administered in Israel.)

“If we had not started booster doses at the end of July, we would have come to the capacity of Israel’s hospitalization capabilities,” Dr. Sharon Alroy Preis, the Israeli Ministry of Health’s director of public health services, said during the meeting.

But even with compelling data coming out of Israel, there are some very specific differences between Israel and the U.S., including the fact that Israel’s definition of severe disease is different than the one used in the U.S.

In Israel, officials count elevated respiratory rate or an oxygen level below 94% as severe disease, according to Sara Oliver, a CDC official who leads the COVID-19 vaccines work group. The U.S. classifies severe disease as occurring in those who have been hospitalized, care for in an intensive care unit, or dying.

Why the COVID-19 Booster Debate Is So Complicated

Giving someone a booster will increase their neutralizing antibody titers, an important metric for immunity. The drug makers behind all three vaccines have said this.

“T-cell responses are really not important when we look at infection,” Kathrin Jansen, Pfizer’s head of vaccine research and development, said. “It is clear that neutralizing antibodies are responsible to prevent the infection.”

But there are also concerns that a third dose puts people at risk for rare but serious side effects, like myocarditis, though Israeli officials said only one case of the heart condition had been reported in booster recipients.

“I have a serious concern about myocarditis and young people, if it’s related to the immune response,” Dr. James Hildreth, CEO of Meharry Medical College and a temporary voting member of the committee. “And the booster shots induce a very strong response in those in those individuals.”

Fauci Says More Data Likely To Support Broader U.S. Booster Plan

President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser said booster shots for more of the U.S. population remain a possibility soon, as additional data on the still-widening outbreak come in.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke two days after an advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected a national rollout of boosters for all ages, approving them only for people 65 and older and those who are medically vulnerable.

“The story is not over because more and more data is coming in and will be coming in,” Fauci said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

Last month, Biden said a broad booster plan would begin on Monday. The panel’s narrower recommendation on Friday was seen as rebuke to a president whose policy was getting ahead of the science.

Fauci said he did not believe the panel “made a mistake.”

“The one thing people need to realize is data are coming in literally on a daily and weekly basis,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “They are going to continue to look at this literally in real-time.”

The FDA panel approved limited third shots for the vaccine by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE. Fauci said on ABC he expected booster data from Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson would likely be evaluated in “a couple of weeks.”

He said he expected vaccines for children younger than 12, who aren’t eligible yet, would be evaluated as early as October.

Requiring vaccines on airlines, a policy Fauci has said he personally supports, remains a possibility.

“Everything is on the table,” he said NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We consider these things literally on a daily basis.”

Updated: 9-20-2021

CVS Makes Hiring Push (25,000 New Jobs) Amid Worker Shortage, Increased Covid-19 (Booster) Vaccine Demand

Pharmacy chain plans to add 25,000 people this week as stores struggle with long lines, frustrated customers.

CVS Health Corp., one of the biggest U.S. providers of Covid-19 tests and vaccines, is racing to hire thousands of workers as staffing shortages prompt stores to close drive-through lanes and at times turn away customers seeking shots.

The largest U.S. pharmacy chain by stores said it plans to add 25,000 employees this week in a single-day hiring spree to prepare for a potential surge in demand from booster shots and as more people seek Covid-19 tests and flu vaccines.

CVS employees and customers at some locations have described chaotic stores, hourslong lines and phones that go unanswered as the chain addresses a national labor shortage. Companies in sectors from retail to manufacturing are having a hard time filling jobs, leading to deteriorating service, production slowdowns and burnout among staff.

The worker shortfall at CVS, also hitting rival Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., is being exacerbated by rising demand for Covid-19 tests as people begin to seek flu vaccines ahead of what health officials predict will be a severe influenza season.

“This is testing our role in the community,” said Neela Montgomery, who has been president of CVS’s pharmacy retail unit since November. “But provided we staff up the way we intend to, we’re going to make our way through this.”

Ms. Montgomery said CVS is administering more tests than it was at the height of the pandemic as Covid-19 cases rise and as more employers, schools and other entities require unvaccinated workers, students and customers to produce negative test results.

Demand for flu shots is already higher than usual, she said, and the company didn’t initially anticipate that the booster-shot rollout would converge with flu season. A U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday endorsed booster shots of the Covid-19 vaccine for adults older than 65 years and those at high risk of severe disease.

CVS employees, in interviews and posts on social media, have described short-staffed pharmacies, customers lashing out during long waits and workers quitting out of stress.

Kate-Madonna Sieger, of Lakeville, Minn., said that when her 9-year-old son exhibited potential Covid-19 symptoms a few weeks ago, she visited three CVS pharmacies and each said there was no pharmacist on duty to administer a test. Ms. Sieger, 39, who is receiving treatment for breast cancer, also said she received an expired, but ultimately harmless, prescription last month from the CVS she regularly frequents.

“I called the pharmacist to ask him how this could have happened and he said, ‘We’re really short-staffed, and we’re really sorry,’” she said. “I have nothing against CVS but that’s concerning.”

A CVS spokesman said staffing issues aren’t systemic.

“We’re always going to have in pockets some staffing issues that may unfortunately cause some service issues,” Ms. Montgomery said. “But we are very focused on deploying district and regional teams to support those stores when they are understaffed. That is one of the advantages of having 10,000 stores.”

Walgreens, which has shortened store operating hours in some cases because of staffing shortages, on Friday announced cash awards to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. A company spokeswoman said Walgreens overall had had, “minimal disruption.”

The company will pay $1,000 “certification awards” to be paid out over a six-month period to pharmacy technicians who are or become certified to administer flu and Covid-19 vaccines, along with bonuses of $1,250 for full-time pharmacists and $1,000 to part time pharmacists.

The U.S. has relied heavily on retail pharmacies for nationwide Covid-19 testing and vaccine distribution through a federal partnership with nearly two dozen retail pharmacy chains, including Walmart Inc., Kroger Co. and Rite Aid Corp., as well as CVS and Walgreens.

The participating companies have administered roughly one-third of the more than 300 million doses administered since vaccines became available at the end of 2020, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CVS and Walgreens, with some 19,000 U.S. locations between them, have delivered the bulk of those shots. CVS said it has given 34 million doses to date.

The CDC said in a statement that the agency is working closely with pharmacies to ensure they are prepared to administer booster and flu shots this fall. It said unlike at the height of the pandemic, supply isn’t a problem, and providers are well-versed in storing and administering shots.

CVS, more than other chains, has expanded the size and scope of its pharmacy business in recent years. The chain has begun offering medical services from diagnostics to mental-health counseling in stores. It also has taken on more business as regional and grocery chains go out of business.

CVS has taken steps to attract more workers. The chain in August said it would raise its minimum hourly wage to $15, with increases starting this summer and fully implemented by July.

The company also said it would eliminate the grade-point-average requirement for university recruitment this year. It has done away with the high-school diploma or General Education Development requirement for most entry-level roles.

Walgreens also has announced plans to raise starting pay to $15 an hour, beginning in October and fully implemented by November 2022.

Ms. Montgomery, CVS’s pharmacy chief, said the company encourages retail employees to enroll in its pharmacy technician training program in an effort to expand the pool of workers.

The hiring event, planned for Friday, aims to fill 19,000 open positions while adding another 6,000 jobs at roughly 10,000 locations nationwide.

Pharmacy technicians will comprise 14,000 of the new hires, with the remaining jobs going to pharmacists, nurses and retail workers. CVS’s pharmacy operations, which include distribution centers, operational roles and clinics as well as store and pharmacy workers, employ 200,000.

Job seekers can start the application process via text or on the company’s website, try out for the job virtually and potentially get hired immediately, the company said. CVS isn’t accepting in-person applications.

Pharmacy technician wages start at $16 an hour. Pharmacy techs make $17.50 an hour on average in the U.S., with higher pay going to those who work in hospitals, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A pharmacy tech working at a retail setting makes $16.55 an hour on average while the same job in a hospital averages $19.80 an hour.

Updated: 9-20-2021

Doctors Left To Decide Who Gets Extra Covid-19 Vaccines Amid Booster Debate

Physicians are making decisions about whose existing conditions qualify them to receive fresh doses.

Jennifer Boral badly wants a Covid-19 vaccine booster shot.

An asthmatic with a history of getting colds that develop into serious lung infections, the 41-year-old unemployed real-estate agent in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., is terrified that getting Covid-19 might land her in the hospital or worse.

Though her doctor believes she is at high risk and wrote a note to help her get vaccinated early in the rollout of shots in February, Ms. Boral isn’t technically eligible for a booster yet. Currently, only patients with seriously compromised immune systems are cleared for the extra shots, such as people who have recently received an organ transplant, blood-cancer patients and those taking immunosuppressant drugs.

“I would go out and get one immediately if I could,” Ms. Boral said. “I don’t understand why our country is dragging its feet.”

The Biden administration’s plan to make boosters available to more people in the U.S. is in flux. A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday endorsed booster shots of the vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE for adults 65 and older and those at high risk of severe disease.

Some officials and researchers support additional vaccines for most people to bolster immunity against the virus. Others say boosters might only be necessary for now among certain groups like older and immunocompromised people.

The uncertainty is frustrating patients as physicians and pharmacists draw different conclusions about whether people in their care qualify for Covid-19 booster shots.

Some doctors say current guidelines exclude high-risk patients who might benefit from a booster, such as cancer survivors who recently completed a chemotherapy treatment or patients with a history of respiratory problems, like Ms. Boral.

“There’s a lot of gray area around how to define someone as moderately or severely immunocompromised,” said David Cohn, an oncologist and chief medical officer at the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. “You kind of have to set a bar somewhere.”

Some hospitals, including James Cancer, have begun contacting cancer patients and other people with compromised immune systems to schedule booster shot appointments.

“Our goal is to make it as easy as possible” to get a booster, Dr. Cohn said.

Other doctors and some public-health officials have said patients shouldn’t seek booster shots until authorities can administer as many vaccines as possible to those who have declined to get vaccinated and to residents of developing nations where vaccine supplies remain limited.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said this month that the body lacks sufficient data to recommend booster shots for healthy patients. He asked wealthy nations on Wednesday to hold off on administering boosters until the end of the year.

“Starting with boosters, especially giving it to healthy populations, is really not right,” Dr. Tedros said.

Booster shots have been available to immunocompromised people in the U.S. since mid-August, when the FDA authorized a third shot for patients over age 18 who had received a second dose at least 28 days earlier.

Studies suggest that the vaccines’ effectiveness has held up well against the highly contagious Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which became the dominant strain in the U.S. over the summer, but that protection wanes over time.

Some physicians are administering boosters only to patients who qualify under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s criteria, while others are giving boosters to other patients they determine to be at high risk. Some refer patients to pharmacies and other vaccination sites that might be strictly adhering to federal guidance for confirming a patient’s booster eligibility.

Pharmacy chains like CVS Health Corp. and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. said they are offering booster shots to people who sign a form stating that they qualify for the shot because they are immunocompromised, based on the CDC’s criteria.

The agency’s list of qualifying patients includes those with advanced or untreated HIV infection, patients undergoing active cancer treatment and recent stem-cell-transplant recipients. Both chains said they aren’t requiring patients to show documentation of their immunocompromised status.

Some doctors have said boosters should be given only when they are most effective, after immunity has waned, and in the most efficient dosages possible—both points that current data hasn’t defined well yet.

Most people should hold off on getting boosters until the data is more conclusive, said Megan Ranney, a professor of emergency medicine at the Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University.

“Most likely we are going to all need boosters at some point, because that’s just how vaccines work. Immunity wanes. Viral mutations happen. But the question to me is at what point,” Dr. Ranney said.

Lucy McBride, an internist in Washington, D.C., said she is generally following CDC and FDA guidelines on booster shots but that some patients’ situations don’t easily fit the government’s recommendations.

She cited examples of people who live with severely immunocompromised family members, or older people who work in areas of high community transmission—two situations where she said she would advise administering boosters.

“Because the messaging has been so confusing and because the data is still evolving, we’re basically asking patients and pharmacies to make their own decisions,” said Dr. McBride. “At the end of the day, it comes down to the person in front of me, and because the CDC can’t possibly speak to every American, they have to draw these somewhat arbitrary lines in the sand.”

Some patients, especially older Americans, are getting impatient. Richard Graus, a 78-year-old retired geologist from Front Royal, Va., said he has been wearing a mask indoors and monitoring the news to find out when he can get a third shot. The FDA panel’s recommendation Friday means he is likely to get access to a booster soon.

“I’m of an age where the immunity that I have is probably not as good as it was when I was younger,” Mr. Graus said. “I’m not desperate for it at this point, and I can wait another month if that’s what it takes, but I don’t want to have to be overly cautious for the rest of my life.”


Updated: 9-21-2021

J&J Says Covid-19 Vaccine Booster Two Months After First Shot Increases Protection

Trial participants in the U.S. who received a second dose eight weeks after the first had 94% protection against the illness.

Johnson & Johnson said a booster dose of its Covid-19 vaccine administered two months after the first shot increased protection against symptomatic illness in trial participants, as federal regulators evaluate data for the country’s strategy for rolling out boosters.

Data released Tuesday from a late-stage clinical trial showed that study participants in 10 countries including the U.S. who received a second dose of the company’s vaccine two months after the first had 75% protection against symptomatic Covid-19. Participants in the U.S. had 94% protection against the illness. J&J didn’t explain the reason for the difference in efficacy rates.

A double dose of the vaccine provided participants with 100% protection against severe or critical Covid-19 at least two weeks after the second shot, J&J said.

The company earlier this year said a large clinical trial showed that a single dose of its vaccine was 66% effective at protecting people from moderate to severe Covid-19.

“We now have generated evidence that a booster shot further increases protection against Covid-19 and is expected to extend the duration of protection significantly,” said Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer at J&J. The company said it has shared available data with the Food and Drug Administration.

The late-stage study tested a two-dose regimen of the vaccine in about 32,000 people aged 18 and over in the U.S., Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, the Philippines, South Africa, Spain and the U.K., J&J said. The company said about half of participants received the placebo but didn’t say how many participants were in the U.S.

J&J said Tuesday that an extra shot given two months after the first boosted antibody levels four to six times higher than observed after the single shot. It said a booster administered six months after the first shot initially increased antibody levels ninefold and continued to climb to 12-fold higher four weeks after the second shot. J&J released some of the six-month boosting data in August.

Neither that data nor the results released Tuesday have been peer reviewed or published in a scientific journal.

“The data are supportive of giving a second shot of the J&J vaccine, anywhere from two months onwards,” said Dan Barouch, an immunologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston who helped develop J&J’s vaccine. “The longer you wait, the better the boost will likely be.”

He said some countries might choose to offer boosters, while others might stick with a single shot. “Different people or different countries might actually make different choices based on what their desires or needs are,” Dr. Barouch said.

J&J also highlighted data it said showed its single-shot vaccine offered durable protection even as the Delta variant spreads.

In a study of about 390,000 people in the U.S. who received the J&J vaccine compared with 1.52 million similar unvaccinated people from March to late July 2021, the single-dose vaccine was 79% effective against infections and 81% effective against hospitalizations related to Covid-19.

The Biden administration is hoping to begin at least part of its boosting strategy this week. It is waiting for the FDA to authorize additional doses of the vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE for people who are 65 years old and over or at high risk of developing severe Covid-19. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel is set to discuss the Pfizer boosting strategy on Wednesday and Thursday.

Plans to offer boosters more widely were scaled back as federal health officials and medical experts remain divided over the need for boosters and regulators have asked for more time to review data from J&J and Moderna Inc.

Mauritius To Become Second African Nation To Offer Booster Shots

“The campaign will start with people who had their second dose four months ago,” Health Minister Kailesh Jagutpal told reporters in Port Louis, the capital, on Tuesday.

Nations from Israel to the U.S. have either started administering booster shots or plan to as the contagious delta variant threatens efforts to end the pandemic. Mauritius will become the second country in Africa after the Seychelles to do so as new surges could threaten plans for the island nation to attract tourists.

Health officials, including the World Health Organization Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti, have called the rollout of Covid-19 booster shots by a growing number of nations a “mockery of vaccine equity,” with less than 4% of the continent fully vaccinated against the virus.

Mauritius is yet to decide on which booster to give those who were inoculated with AstraZeneca Plc’s Covishield and Covaxin vaccines at the beginning of the vaccination campaign in January, he said.

The tourism-dependent economy has begun to see a decline in cases after a surge in recent months. Asymptomatic cases have fallen to 64 from 272 on Sept. 1., according to Health Ministry data.

Mauritius is set to reopen its borders to fully vaccinated tourists with a negative PCR test on arrival from Oct. 1.

Of about 1.3 million people in Mauritius, 67% of the population have received a first dose and 62% have completed the course, according to Jagutpal.

J&J Says Its Booster Shot Works, But Its Vaccine Remains Effective Without A Second Dose

Johnson & Johnson said early Tuesday that a booster dose given two months after the first shot of its one-and-done Covid-19 vaccine offered 75% protection against moderate to severe Covid-19 globally, and 94% protection in the U.S.

The company also said, however, that its vaccine remains effective without a booster. It suggested that delivering more first doses remained more important than offering boosters.

Johnson & Johnson said Wednesday that a second dose of its Covid-19 vaccine was found in a study to generate a strong immune response, justifying a booster shot.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said it expects single-dose J&J vaccine recipients would need boosters but has held off on making recommendations as it awaits more data. Wednesday’s findings are expected to inform the U.S. booster strategy set to begin in September, when the U.S. plans to begin offering boosters to people who received messenger-RNA vaccines. Later it is likely to expand the program to include J&J’s viral-vector vaccine.

J&J said researchers found antibody levels increased ninefold among people who received a second dose of its vaccine, compared with one month after they received a first dose. The company didn’t specify exactly when or how many subjects received the second dose, though information posted about the clinical trial in an online government database indicates it was administered six months after the first shot.

J&J said that it will submit data from two studies to a preprint server, meaning that the data haven’t been peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal.

The company said researchers observed significant increases in antibody responses in participants between ages 18 and 55 and in those 65 and older who received a lower booster dose.

J&J also said a booster is needed after eight months based on interim data it reported in the New England Journal of Medicine in July, which showed strong antibody responses through eight months after immunization with the J&J one-dose shot.

“We look forward to discussing with public health officials a potential strategy for our Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine, boosting eight months or longer after the primary single-dose vaccination,” Dr. Mathai Mammen, global head of R&D at Janssen Pharmaceutical Cos. of Johnson & Johnson, said Wednesday.

Federal regulators are likely to approve Covid-19 booster shots for vaccinated adults starting at least six months after the previous dose, a person familiar with the plans said. The Biden administration has said it plans to distribute boosters more widely beginning Sept. 20.

Currently boosters are only authorized for immunocompromised people who received two-dose messenger-RNA vaccines. The Food and Drug Administration must authorize extra doses before they can be offered more broadly as recommended by the Biden administration to those 18 and older who received two-dose messenger-RNA vaccines, and it is expected to do so before Sept. 20, when health authorities said messenger-RNA boosters would become available.

The CDC’s expert advisory panel on vaccines will meet next week to discuss the Biden administration’s plans for booster shots.

The J&J vaccine is authorized for emergency use in people 18 and older. Only Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE’s vaccine is fully approved by the FDA for those 16 and older. Moderna’s two-shot messenger-RNA vaccine has emergency authorization for people 18 and over.

Nearly 14 million people in the U.S. have received a single-dose J&J vaccine, according to CDC data.

“The single-dose vaccine is still highly protective, and we know that—that is not diminished, but now we also know that a second dose given at six months boosts immune responses substantially,” said Dr. Dan Barouch, who contributed to the development of the J&J vaccine but wasn’t directly involved in the booster information shared Wednesday.

He was part of the New England Journal of Medicine study showing the vaccine’s protections held for eight months.

Use of the J&J shot dropped after U.S. health authorities in April temporarily paused rollout of the shots to investigate reports of a rare blood-clotting condition.

The company added a warning to its label in July saying its vaccine is linked to a very small incidence of cases of a rare neurological disorder seen with other vaccines or viral infections, called Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Early studies have mostly shown that J&J’s vaccine holds up well against the Delta variant. A recent study from South Africa including nearly 480,000 healthcare workers found that the J&J vaccine has an efficacy of up to 71% against hospitalization resulting from the Delta variant, 67% against hospitalization from the Beta strain and up to 96% against death overall, though another study suggested a single dose elicited a relatively weak antibody response against Delta.

J&J is also studying the efficacy of two doses of its vaccine, in an effort separate from the results released Wednesday. That data will analyze two shots given closer together, rather than the six-month interval of a booster dose.

Updated: 9-22-2021

FDA Clears Covid-19 Booster Shots From Pfizer For High-Risk People

Third dose of the vaccine was authorized for people who are 65 or older or at high risk of severe Covid-19, including from their jobs.

U.S. health authorities cleared Covid-19 vaccine booster shots for people 65 and older and certain other adults at high risk of severe illness, a bid to help curb the pandemic and the dangerous Delta variant.

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday said it permitted a third dose of the shot from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech for people who got two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech messenger RNA vaccine and are 65 years and older or are at risk of severe disease and death, including because of their jobs or where they live.

The people should receive a booster at least six months after they had taken a second dose, the FDA said.

The authorization is a major step toward making the extra doses available after some people who had been vaccinated but were eager for added protection tried to get the extra shot but were turned away. Among those eligible: healthcare workers, teachers and grocery-store employees as well as prison inmates and those in homeless shelters.

Yet the authorization doesn’t go as far as the Biden administration initially envisioned. The administration initially planned to make boosters available beginning this week to all adults, but the FDA dialed back its go-ahead after agency staff and advisers said that evidence so far didn’t support broad use.

The development caps weeks of public debate—over whether booster shots are necessary, when they should be given and who should receive them—that has split federal health officials and outside health experts.

Some federal health officials have said booster shots are important for helping the vaccinated sustain protection against the Delta variant that has swept across the U.S.

Boosters will help the U.S. stay ahead of the pandemic, federal health officials have said.

Yet other health experts and researchers, including some within the federal government, have said there isn’t conclusive data supporting wide use, pointing to research showing the vaccines continue to work at preventing severe disease and death.

FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock indicated that the agency was interested in expanding access to booster doses, if more data emerged supporting broader use.

“This pandemic is dynamic and evolving, with new data about vaccine safety and effectiveness becoming available every day. As we learn more about the safety and effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines, including the use of a booster dose, we will continue to evaluate the rapidly changing science and keep the public informed,” Dr. Woodcock said.

In clearing boosters, the U.S. joins Israel, Germany, the U.K. and other wealthier countries administering additional doses.

However, the World Health Organization has urged the nations to forgo boosters for now and instead share the shots with low-income countries who haven’t been able to access vaccines.

The additional doses should be available in the U.S. in the coming days, authorities said, but will also depend on a vote—by a panel of experts advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention meeting Wednesday and Thursday—on who should receive the shots.

The CDC usually follows the recommendation of the panel. Vaccination sites don’t have to follow the agency’s guidance, but many pharmacies and doctors do in practice.

“We have been preparing for weeks to administer booster shots to eligible Americans and are ready to do so following CDC’s final recommendation later this week,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

There are about 22 million people 65 and over who have received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, according to the CDC.

The vaccines are expected to be available at about 80,000 locations around the U.S., including retail pharmacies such as CVS Health Corp. and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., as well as mass vaccination sites and doctors’ offices.

The Biden administration and Pfizer have said that there should be enough supply for the boosters, which will be available to no cost to people in the U.S.

The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 shot was the first to be authorized by regulators and the only one so far to be fully approved. Moderna Inc. has filed with regulators for full approval of its shot, and J&J has said it plans to file this year.

Research has shown that Covid-19 vaccines such as Pfizer-BioNTech’s remain highly protective against severe disease and death even without boosters.

Citing the vaccines’ effectiveness, federal health officials in July dismissed talk of boosters, saying they weren’t needed.

The spread of Delta and infections in a small number of people who were fully vaccinated prompted some people with weak immune systems and others to seek extra doses.

The shifting pandemic also prompted federal health officials to reassess the need for boosters.

Studies from Pfizer and elsewhere showed diminishing levels of antibody protection against infections.

“We believe boosters have an important role to play in addressing the continued threat of this disease, alongside efforts to increase global access and uptake among the unvaccinated. Today’s FDA action is an important step in helping the most vulnerable among us remain protected from Covid-19,” Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla said.

Federal health officials have also cited data out of Israel that found that rates of infection and severe illness were substantially lower among study subjects aged 60 years and older who had been vaccinated at least five months earlier and then received a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

In August, the FDA authorized a third dose of Covid-19 shots from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna for certain people who are immunocompromised 12 years and older.

The latest green light came after FDA’s own staff concluded recently that the vaccines cleared for use in the U.S., including Pfizer’s, continue to afford protection against severe Covid-19 and death without additional doses.

The FDA authorization was in line with a recommendation last week by an outside advisory panel that recommended boosters for only those 65 and older and adults at high risk for severe disease.

The panel had also indicated it would support boosters for people at high risk of exposure at work, such as healthcare workers or teachers, but didn’t formally vote on it.

The panel, however, rejected a request by Pfizer to clear the doses for people over 16 years old after a daylong meeting that included dueling presentations about booster doses.

The authorization applies to boosters of the vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech only.

Plans to offer extra doses of vaccines by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are delayed because the FDA needs more time to collect and analyze data about them.

Moderna has asked the FDA to greenlight a smaller dose of its vaccine for administration as a booster, while J&J has shared data with regulators but hasn’t yet filed for authorization of its own shot.

Pfizer Clearance Sets Stage For Broader Booster Push In U.S.

People over age 65 and adults at high risk of severe Covid-19 who have previously taken the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE vaccine can receive a booster dose, the Food and Drug Administration said, opening a new and more controversial phase of the U.S. immunization campaign.

The emergency-use authorization also allows boosters for people 18 and older whose occupational exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus puts them at elevated risk of serious complications. Booster doses can be given any time at least six months after a person received their second Pfizer shot, the FDA said in a statement.

The decision applies only to the Pfizer-BioNTech shot, the agency said. Booster shots for recipients of the Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson vaccines haven’t yet been cleared.

Pfizer shares rose 1.6% at 9:40 a.m. on Thursday in New York, and BioNTech gained 2.1%.

Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said the authorization would allow people such as teachers and day-care staff, as well as health-care and grocery workers, to get the third shot.

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is expected to meet to make its own recommendations about who should receive the additional dose.

The panel is likely to discuss guidance for physicians on how to administer the third doses, and to further explore questions about the broader aims of the vaccination campaign in the U.S., including whether the ultimate goal is to prevent coronavirus infections or to curb severe disease.

The emergency clearance for the Pfizer shot is in line with a recommendation last week from FDA advisers but narrower than the full approval that the drug giant and its German partner had sought.

It also means the Biden administration will have to move more slowly on its planned wider rollout of boosters. Third doses were previously authorized for certain people with compromised immune systems.

“We believe boosters have an important role to play in addressing the continued threat of this disease, alongside efforts to increase global access and uptake among the unvaccinated,” Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said in a statement. “Today’s FDA action is an important step in helping the most vulnerable among us remain protected from Covid-19.”

The authorization leaves the door open for the FDA to consider broader use of boosters, including in younger adults, as more data on their safety and efficacy become available. And it assures that many of the older Americans who were first in line for the initial shots will be among the earliest to get additional protection.

Seasonal Concern

A surge in virus infections caused by the delta variant has coincided with fears that vaccine potency will fade as the weather turns colder.

Scientists have been divided on the need for boosters. Real-world studies suggested that the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine diminished somewhat this summer, especially in preventing mild breakthrough cases, though it is hard to distinguish waning immunity from the effects of the highly infectious delta variant.

But other data have suggested that the shot provides lasting protection against severe disease leading to hospitalization and death, and some researchers have said that boosters for most people could be put off for some time.

The FDA said it authorized the booster in part because of an analysis from Pfizer showing that people who got the vaccine earlier in a clinical trial showed “a modest decrease in the efficacy” in July and August, compared with those who had received the vaccines later.

In addition, the agency considered real-world data on the vaccine’s efficacy from the U.K., U.S. and Israel.

Safety of the booster doses was studied in over 300 people, most of them ages 18 to 55. The most common side effects were pain and swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headache and muscle pain. Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit were more common after the booster dose than the first two doses, the agency said.

More Questions

The ACIP panel, made up of outside vaccine experts, also met Wednesday for a general review of vaccine efficacy over time and booster-shot science.

Some members raised the question of whether people who had received a Moderna or J&J vaccine for their primary immunization should receive the Pfizer booster, or whether they should wait to match with a supplemental dose of the shot they first received. No consensus was reached at the meeting.

FDA vaccine official Doran Fink told the panel that the agency is “working as rapidly as possible” to review Moderna’s booster submission.

Since the FDA said Aug. 13 that people with weakened immune systems can receive a third shot, more than two million Americans have gotten one, according to CDC data. It isn’t clear how many of those people were immunocompromised or what shot they had initially received.

The clearance for now leaves booster shots off the table for younger recipients of the Pfizer shot, which was approved for ages 16 and up earlier this year and can be given to adolescents from 12 to 15 under an emergency authorization.

There has been concern among some scientists, including members of the FDA’s vaccine advisory panel, about the risk of heart-related side effects from the vaccine, particularly in younger males.

Dosing Debate

Use of a third shot to protect vulnerable people was backed by recent evidence from other countries. An Israeli study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine can dramatically cut rates of Covid-related illness in people 60 and older.

Additionally, a Pfizer study suggested that the efficacy of its first two shots waned in a matter of months, and that booster doses are an effective way to combat the spread of the virus and new variants.

Some critics have said that booster shots should wait until immunizations are more widespread globally. World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has argued that uneven vaccine distribution will be the world’s biggest obstacle to ending the pandemic and recovering.

Prior to last week’s meeting of the FDA vaccine advisory panel, top scientists and two FDA officials questioned the scientific support for a third shot, saying in a review published in The Lancet that available doses would be better used to immunize the unvaccinated.

Updated: 9-24-2021

CDC Chief Backs Pfizer Boosters For At-Risk Workers In Break With Panel

Director Rochelle Walensky signs off on a series of recommendations for third Covid-19 shots.

Pfizer Inc. booster doses will be available to millions of Americans after Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky backed the shots for seniors, many adults with underlying health conditions and workers at high risk of Covid-19 exposure.

President Biden said Friday the majority of Americans who are fully vaccinated with Pfizer and partner BioNTech SE’s vaccine will be eligible for boosters, a total of 60 million people and 20 million Americans currently. He said the administration is looking to expand the rules to include more people.

“If you’re fully vaccinated, you’re highly protected from severe illness…we’re doing everything we can to keep it that way, which is where the booster comes in,” he said.

The eligible—people who were fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech shot—would get an extra dose at least six months after their second dose.

Dr. Walensky overruled a CDC advisory panel to make frontline workers like nurses, teachers and grocery-store employees eligible for shots, an unusual move capping several weeks of sometimes confusing and contradicting messaging on the U.S. booster policy.

The CDC director normally follows the advisory panel’s lead.

Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, Calif., expressed concern the wavering could undermine public confidence in vaccines.

“None of this looks good. It looks like there’s confusion at the top, and it just flows through to the public,” he said.

Dr. Walensky also backed the panel’s decision to recommend boosters to people 65 years and older as well as adults 50 to 64 years with underlying medical conditions. She said the shots should be made available to 18- to 49-year-olds with underlying medical conditions.

Vaccination sites don’t have to follow the CDC’s guidance, but many pharmacies and doctors do in practice.

Many people will qualify for the booster because the CDC’s list of underlying medical conditions is wide-ranging. They include cancer, chronic lung and kidney disease and heart disease, as well as diabetes, obesity, pregnancy and smoking.

“As CDC Director, it is my job to recognize where our actions can have the greatest impact,” Dr. Walensky said in a statement late Thursday. “At CDC, we are tasked with analyzing complex, often imperfect data to make concrete recommendations that optimize health. In a pandemic, even with uncertainty, we must take actions that we anticipate will do the greatest good.”

She said the U.S. vaccination campaign remains focused on inoculating as many people as possible with primary doses and that the CDC would review information on the Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson vaccine boosters as soon as possible.

The decision to go against the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices marks the latest shift in federal planning for giving boosters.

Food and Drug Administration staff and advisers refused to endorse the Biden administration’s original plan for making boosters widely available beginning this week, saying data so far didn’t support broad use.

The FDA cleared boosters of the Pfizer vaccine for people 65 and older and certain other adults at high risk of severe illness, including because of their jobs or where they live.

Some health experts inside and outside the federal government have expressed concern that the back-and-forth over who should get the extra doses will confuse people and potentially deter some who would benefit from the additional dose.

The White House has said it wanted to make plans for boosters to make for a smooth rollout, but it always planned to leave the details of authorization to regulators acting on scientific evidence.

Those who qualify for boosters will have to attest to their eligibility but won’t have to provide additional documentation, CDC officials said.

The ACIP is a 15-member panel including pediatricians, infectious-disease doctors and other medical experts.

After the FDA greenlights vaccines, the ACIP advises the CDC on who should receive them, when and under what circumstances. Usually it meets three times a year, though the panel has met many more times during the pandemic.

The CDC advisory panel was worried about supporting a broad recommendation for people such as healthcare workers or others exposed because of their jobs. The panel feared it would essentially allow anyone who wanted a booster to get one without enough safety data to back that up.

“It seems uncharacteristically openly ended for the lack of data of need in any of these groups,” said Sarah Long, a professor of pediatrics at Drexel University College of Medicine.

The Biden administration also said Friday that federal contractors and subcontractors must be vaccinated against Covid-19 by Dec. 8.

The deadline was included in new guidelines issued by The Safer Federal Worker Task Force, a coalition of federal entities that includes the White House’s Covid-19 response team and the Office of Management and Budget.

The guidelines offer exemptions to the vaccination requirement “in limited circumstances where an employee is legally entitled to an accommodation.”

The rules follow an executive order issued this month by Mr. Biden mandating federal workers and contractors be vaccinated against Covid-19. The directive stepped up the requirements for these workers after Mr. Biden earlier said federal workers and contractors who work on-site must be vaccinated or face regular testing and other measures.

The task force had already said federal workers must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 22.

Mr. Biden has said updated vaccine rules covering federal workers and contractors and healthcare settings, along with a forthcoming emergency temporary standard from the Labor Department that will apply vaccine and testing requirements at private employers with 100 or more employees, will affect about 100 million Americans, equivalent to two-thirds of all workers.

Behind Covid-19 Booster Authorization Were Disagreements on Evidence, Broad Access

Extra Pfizer doses are rolling out to certain adults after disputes inside the U.S. government and with its scientific advisers.

The Biden administration publicly touted its plan to roll out Covid-19 boosters to almost all the fully vaccinated during the week of Sept. 20, saying data from Israel supported the approach.

Yet behind the scenes, federal regulators tasked with clearing boosters and recommending who should get them were locked in a pitched battle over whether the data supported the plan, according to people familiar with the matter.

Some regulators argued that only certain vulnerable groups such as seniors needed an additional shot and that the decision-making timeline was too rushed, the people said.

The dissenters also bristled at the Biden administration’s declaration, in August, that boosters would be widely available if authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, arguing it put pressure on the agencies to follow the announced course, the people said.

Most recently, late Thursday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky took the unusual step of overruling agency advisers and recommended nurses, teachers and other workers at high risk of exposure should get an additional shot, as well as a swath of Americans who are seniors or have underlying medical conditions that the advisers backed.

The disagreements have complicated the rollout of the boosters, a linchpin of the Biden administration’s response to surging Covid-19 cases due to the contagious Delta variant.

As pharmacies gear up to deliver the extra shots, however, some administration officials said they are concerned the public disputes will confuse people who expected from the administration’s announcement there would be broad access to the shots, according to two people familiar with the planning.

The disputes may also deter some people from getting boosters that promise to rein in Delta’s spread, the people said.

“This has not been done according to the rules. It started in Washington with the president’s announcement,” while such matters usually work their way up from the FDA to CDC, said Dr. William Schaffner, a nonvoting member of the CDC’s vaccine advisory panel and chairman of the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “This has been confusing all along.”

The backlash surprised some in the Biden administration who say that data for a wider rollout was convincing and that the plan’s announcement was necessary for keeping the public informed and properly preparing for a potential launch of booster shots, a considerable undertaking.

“A lot of people were saying, ‘We’re making a decision,’ ” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who was involved in the administration’s deliberations. “We weren’t. We were making a plan.” He said that at the end of the day nothing would happen if regulators didn’t sign off.

The Biden administration booster plan played a role in the decisions by two top career scientists at the FDA to announce they were leaving the agency, according to people familiar with the resignations.

Some experts advising the FDA and CDC also pushed back against broad use of boosters. In overruling the CDC’s advisers, Dr. Walensky believed the clinical data supporting use by the front-line workers was compelling and the benefits outweighed the risks, according to a person familiar with the decision.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki has said the administration decided to pursue boosters, without political interference, to be prepared to give out the shots if the scientific evidence supported their use.

“I’ve made clear all along, the decision of which booster shot to give, when to start the shot and who will get them is left to the scientists and the doctors. That’s what happened here,” President Biden said on Friday.

Boosters are used to bolster the immune defenses of people who have been vaccinated against certain infectious diseases such as Tetanus, measles and hepatitis A and B. The vaccine-induced molecular defenses can wane over time, prompting need for an additional shot to increase a person’s virus-fighting readiness.

Federal health officials have long said boosters could be necessary and an additional shot may offer long-term protection. The introduction of Covid-19 vaccines was so fast that researchers didn’t have time to gather evidence on how long they would last or the ideal number of doses.

From early on, it was unclear when or how a move to boosters might be advisable.

When Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE said in July they planned to seek authorization from the FDA for an additional dose, the agency and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a statement saying, “Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time.”

Then Delta swept across the U.S. The strain increased infections and overwhelmed hospitals just as governments were easing restrictions and people were dropping precautions. The U.S. averaged more than 100,000 new cases a day in mid-August, up from more than 10,000 cases a day in the first week of June.

New data also was coming from Israel, including results that showed infection was lower in the elderly who were given a booster. Data on rhesus macaques who had gotten a booster showed they had far higher levels of neutralizing antibodies titers.

Especially alarming to federal health officials, they said, were reports of so-called breakthrough infections among those who had been fully vaccinated. Vaccines were protecting most recipients from severe disease, but a small percentage of the cases landed people in the hospital or could spread the virus, the officials said.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and Dr. Fauci said they became convinced about the urgent need for boosters.

“We were seeing diminution with CDC data, and we knew Israeli was confirming,” Dr. Fauci said. “What would the general public have said if we hadn’t said anything? There would be a major backlash.”

In mid-August, they assembled the top medical members of the White House Covid-19 team for a virtual call reassessing the need for boosters. The call started about 7 p.m., with a discussion of the surge in cases driven by the contagious Delta strain and data from Israel and other sources. Among those dialing in were CDC’s Dr. Walensky, FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock and Dr. David Kessler, the chief science officer of the White House Covid-19 response team.

“The protection against moderate infection, we were worried it would break down,” Dr. Murthy said. “You can’t flip a switch, you need to do planning with states, it’s a whole operation. This was always contingent on FDA review.”

The group agreed on the need to act fast, people familiar with the discussion said, because some elderly and healthcare workers had received vaccinations in December and January. Some studies indicated vaccine efficacy fell somewhat after six months. More breakthrough infections were already cropping up.

The eight participants agreed to sign a statement saying boosters would likely be needed. The call for boosters was among several announcements issued by the Biden administration, on Aug. 18, aimed at curbing Delta’s spread.

While there was consensus among the officials that boosters were necessary, FDA staff clashed inside the agency over how quickly the agency could authorize the shots and who should get them, according to people familiar with the agency’s deliberations.

“Current evidence does not, therefore, appear to show a need for boosting in the general population, in which efficacy against severe disease remains high,” Marion Gruber and Phillip Krause, the career FDA scientists who announced in late August they will leave the agency, wrote in the Lancet medical journal. The scientists didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Early this month, Dr. Woodcock and Dr. Walensky asked the White House to push back the timetable for a booster campaign. The leaders also said they would tackle Pfizer’s booster first, then take more time to review extra doses of Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

The FDA’s outside advisers, in a meeting last week, said they didn’t find evidence supporting broad use.

“The studies that have been published in the United States so far have shown that the vaccines that we use do exactly” what they were supposed to: protect against severe disease, said Dr. Paul Offit, an infectious-disease specialist who is on the FDA’s vaccine advisory committee.

The FDA on Wednesday authorized additional doses but to select groups, including seniors and people at high risk of severe Covid-19. It also cleared them for people in occupations with high risk of exposure like healthcare workers, teachers and grocery-store staff.

The CDC’s advisers, who make up the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, on Thursday endorsed shots for seniors and many adults with underlying medical conditions like asthma and diabetes, but recommended against giving the shots to the front-line workers.

Late that night, Dr. Walensky overruled the committee’s stance on front-line workers and endorsed boosters for that group. The closeness of the panel’s vote on giving the shots to the workers was a factor, along with her view that the data supported offering boosters to the workers, the person familiar with the decision said.

“It was a decision about providing rather than withholding access,” Dr. Walensky told reporters Friday.

Under the decision, some 60 million people in the U.S. are or will be eligible for a Pfizer-BioNTech booster depending on when they pass the six-month mark after their second dose, according to the White House.

The numbers approach the Biden administration’s original goal for the booster plan, a White House official said, though the figures aren’t close to the more than 182 million people in the U.S. who are fully vaccinated.

The administration could have avoided public disagreements and resulting confusion if it had waited for stronger evidence on booster use before making the August announcement, said Walid Gellad, a drug-policy researcher at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

“Everyone is seeing the debate play out in public partly because the administration was too quick to say, ’This is what’s going to happen,’ ” he said.

The debate is still playing out inside the FDA, according to people familiar with its deliberations. Some agency staff support expanding the Pfizer-BioNTech booster authorization further. Additional safety data could come in the next few weeks, a person familiar with the matter said.

Pharmacies Prepare For Broader Covid-19 Booster Distribution

CVS, Walgreens say people will self-identify as meeting qualifications for third shots.

Pharmacies and other Covid-19 vaccine providers prepared for a new surge in demand after federal officials widened booster eligibility to most people who say their health or job puts them at heightened risk of infection.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed offering booster shots to people ages 18 and older who have underlying medical conditions or work jobs that might put them at heightened risk of exposure to the virus.

President Biden on Friday mentioned obesity and diabetes as well as work in healthcare, teaching and supermarkets as examples of situations in which people would qualify for a booster.

“We’re also looking to the time when we’re going to be able to expand the booster shots, basically across the board,” Mr. Biden said.

A CDC presentation released on Thursday said higher-risk workers included people who interacted within 6 feet of other people. CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said people would self-identify as qualifying for a booster under the new guidelines.

CVS Health Corp. and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., the largest U.S. pharmacy chains by stores, said they would rely on vaccine-seekers to accurately report their eligibility. People will also need to provide their cards verifying previous vaccination, the companies said.

Ashley Cohagen, a 30-year-old ICU nurse from Detroit who is working on a temporary contract at a hospital in Oakland, Calif., said she plans to seek a third Pfizer Inc. shot from her hospital as soon as possible.

“With the Delta variant and waning vaccine protection, you start to feel that anxiety again,” Ms. Cohagen said. “Nurses have been putting ourselves and our families at risk every day for a long time now.”

Retail pharmacies are the biggest administrators of Covid-19 shots in the U.S. through a federal partnership and in conjunction with local health agencies and employers.

The CDC said it expects the rollout of boosters to proceed more smoothly than the first months vaccines were made available, when demand outstripped supply and people experienced long waits to book appointments. CVS and Walgreens are both asking customers to make appointments before showing up.

But some public-health experts expect demand to test pharmacies’ capacity to quickly administer booster shots, especially in the approaching winter months when respiratory illnesses tend to spread.

“They’re going to have to get up to capacity again, which may not happen overnight,” said Jason Gallagher, a professor of pharmacy and infectious diseases at Temple University. “The public is much more eager for boosters than public-health professionals are. People have gotten the message that this is coming.”

While vaccines are plentiful in the U.S., retail pharmacies are struggling with labor shortages that have led both CVS and Walgreens in some cases to close stores early, shut down drive-throughs or turn away people seeking vaccines. CVS on Friday embarked on a single-day hiring spree, intending to add 25,000 workers in anticipation of additional demand from booster shots.

CVS and Walgreens have said they plan to increase their minimum hourly wage and Walgreens is offering bonuses to pharmacists and to workers who become certified as pharmacy technicians capable of giving shots.

CVS and Walgreens have said testing and vaccination programs are a profitable part of their pandemic-era business models. Both companies have said their ability to meet revenue and profit targets this year hinges in part on strong demand for vaccines and boosters.

Walgreens is offering $5 in loyalty-card rewards to people who get boosters in its stores and encouraging recipients to get a flu shot along with the Covid-19 booster.

Diverging from the advice of its advisory panel, which recommended against opening booster eligibility to high-risk workers, allowed the CDC to get boosters to more people more quickly, said Jody Lanard, a physician and former pandemic-communications adviser to the World Health Organization.

“The CDC is moving as close to what the Biden administration has said it wants, that boosters should be available to everybody, as they can without parroting his exact words,” Ms. Lanard said.

Liars May Get Covid Boosters Before Those In Need

U.S. experts had a difficult series of decisions to make about boosters based on limited data. But it’s hard to say their final advice is clear, evidence-based or in the best interests of public health.

Now that the top U.S. health regulators have delivered their verdict on Covid-19 booster shots, who exactly is in line to get one in the coming weeks? Sadly, too many of the wrong people and too few of the right ones, adding more messiness to a rollout process that’s been far from smooth.

The Biden Administration already jumped the gun on boosters last month, calling for third shots for all adults ahead of evaluation from the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and before agencies could review data on any shot except the one made by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE.

Both agencies weighed in this week, with external advisers raising doubts about the need for universal boosters when protection against severe disease is largely holding up.

The result, however, was an authorization so broad — it effectively could encompass everyone older than 18 at higher risk because of their job or a health issue — that any adult that got Pfizer’s vaccine can likely get a third shot six months after their second if they’re willing to lie. At the same time, millions of Americans 65 and older can’t get another shot if they received a different vaccine.

Officials and experts had a difficult series of decisions to make based on limited data. But it’s hard to say that the end result is clear, evidence-based, or the best result for public health.

Pfizer initially requested booster approval for those 16 and older. But the FDA instead followed the advice of its panel of external experts and authorized Pfizer boosters only for adults 65 and older and those at high risk from their jobs or other health problems. However, it left eligibility requirements vague.

This week, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which sets national vaccine policy, met to provide further guidelines. The group fully recommended boosters for the 65-and-older set and those between 50 and 64 who are at higher risk of severe Covid.

At-risk adults aged 18 to 49 got a more limited recommendation calling for individual risk-benefit assessment for third doses because there’s less evidence of need in the group. But in practice, that may not make a difference because people can self-report a condition to get a shot.

The panel did vote against third shots for those in high-risk workplaces amid concern it would open the door to boosting too broadly, but CDC Director Rochelle Walensky overruled them. That’s arguably the right move for health workers, where preventing infection can keep them on the job in overwhelmed hospitals. But eligibility extends well beyond that group.

Another troublesome aspect: The agencies were willing to accept weak evidence and potential negative consequences, including still unknown safety risks and the possibility of diverting supply from first vaccinations elsewhere in the world, in order to allow broad boosters of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

But they were unwilling to do the same for people at genuinely higher risk who received a vaccine from Moderna Inc. or Johnson & Johnson, which means a 25-year-old with asthma who received a Pfizer-BioNTech shot may be eligible for a booster ahead of an elderly person with extensive comorbidities who received Moderna’s vaccine, which uses the same mRNA technology.

It’s true that there’s limited evidence about mixing vaccines, which is why the FDA is holding back. But it’s not as if there’s nothing to go on. The U.K. has produced enough data that it’s comfortable with extensive mixing in its booster program, and there’s no clear evidence of elevated risk.

The FDA even set a precedent for flexibility in August by allowing immunocompromised people to mix mRNA vaccines. To their credit, the CDC’s external panelists pushed back on this dichotomy and argued for shots in high-risk people regardless of the initial regimen, but weren’t given the option to recommend it.

It makes sense that the U.S. authorization process should have some malleability to it in a pandemic. It’s just being applied inconsistently and without the right priorities. And that’s leaving some vulnerable people at real risk.

Updated: 9-25-2021

Covid-19 Booster Shots Are Here, and So Is The Angst Over Who Gets One

The CDC’s backing extra shots for some people, but not all, has left many with more questions than answers.

For doctors, the queries are coming fast and furious: Am I eligible for a booster? After six months or eight months? What if I got Moderna or Johnson & Johnson ?

Americans have reached the booster angst stage of the pandemic—and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s announcement on Friday backing extra shots for some people, but not all, has left many with more questions than answers.

In August, with the Delta variant surging and breakthrough infections rising, the Biden administration indicated boosters would be widely available in the U.S. starting this month. After heavy debate among scientists, the CDC ultimately endorsed boosters for a narrower group. Yet its guidance left plenty of room for interpretation about who qualifies, doctors say.

“The patient portal is being overrun with emails from patients,” says Mark Fierstein, a primary care physician at NYU Langone Ambulatory Care Lake Success in New York. “There’s a lot of questions. The confusion is because every day someone comes out and says something a little different.”

“The booster conversation has people’s heads spinning,” says Laura Morris, a family physician in Fulton, Mo. She says some patients have been asking about boosters all summer, including whether they’re really necessary. Several asked about them Friday; she gave two patients, both in their 70s, the extra shots.

The CDC said Pfizer vaccine recipients who are 65 and over, as well as people ages 50 to 64 with certain underlying medical conditions, should get boosters.

It also laid out other groups of people who may get boosters, based on their risk levels and potential benefits, prompting a host of new questions and decision-making. For recipients of the Moderna and J&J vaccines, the FDA and CDC have said that they need more time to review data.

Lucy Ballentine, a 33-year-old in Washington, D.C., is pregnant. Pregnancy and her age likely put her in the category of people who the CDC said “may” receive a booster, but the agency didn’t explicitly say they “should” receive a booster. Ms. Ballentine says she’s interested in getting a booster shot but has questions for her midwife. She wants to know whether she should get one before she gives birth, or wait until after.

If her midwife says she should get it while pregnant, Ms. Ballentine says, “I want to pass on as many antibodies as possible.”

The biggest gray area now is for people ages 18 to 49, doctors say. “That is definitely the group that probably needs to have the most counseling and probably we need to take a closer look at what their individual risk is,” says Dr. Morris.

In that group, doctors say it’s important to look at occupation, where people live and work, who they are commonly exposed to, and their health. Dr. Morris says she has a healthy patient in that age bracket who cares for her mother who is severely immunocompromised. She wanted a booster earlier this week but Dr. Morris told her to hold off; now, she says she’d recommend that the patient get one.

Cameron Wolfe, associate professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases at Duke University health system, says the guidelines give doctors a lot of flexibility for 18- to 49-year-olds. “We’re going to use this in a fairly permissive fashion. If someone is interested and tolerated the first two doses and it’s been six months, I think this is open,” he says.

Some of the questions to consider, he says: “What sort of work do you do? Who’s at home with you who might be at higher risk? Can you afford a couple of weeks off if you get sick? How did you tolerate the first two doses? Have you had Covid before?”

Many people who don’t obviously qualify now are anxious to know when they will. Lauren Lipowicz, a 41-year-old real-estate agent in Lower Merion, Pa., is eager for a booster and will ask her doctor when she might be eligible.

“I want it now,” she says, adding that she won’t get one until she qualifies. “I don’t have an underlying condition and I don’t believe I qualify for having a high-risk job, but if they tell me I can, then I will be the first in line,” she says. She got Covid in August 2020, and got vaccinated this year. “I don’t want to ever have to go through that again,” she says of the virus.

Erica Aikey, a 20-year-old Boston University student who received her second Pfizer shot in June, wants to know when, or if, boosters will be available for people her age. She is eager for an extra dose of protection, she says. “I’m in in-person classes, in a big city,” she says. “I’d like to put myself in a healthier position.”

Some people are seeking out boosters regardless of their status. Pharmacies and vaccine clinics don’t always scrutinize booster-seekers and some doctors have more permissive views on boosters.

Lucy McBride, a Washington, D.C., primary-care physician, says despite her counseling that the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are working very well in preventing severe Covid-19 in most people, some of her patients have decided to get a booster anyway.

“People are sensing the ambiguity and the abundance of vaccine and just deciding on their own to go get it,” says Dr. McBride.

Updated: 9-26-2021

Covid Q&A: Picking The Best Booster Shot

My husband and I received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine last winter. Should we get a Pfizer or a Moderna booster? News reports earlier this year described stronger protection from mixed vaccines.

First up, let’s get the fine print out of the way: There’s still ample debate over who exactly should get booster shots, and when. Washington is in the midst of an inter-agency war over this question as we speak.

On Friday the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention overruled a recommendation by an agency advisory panel that didn’t support booster shots for front-line workers.

Many scientists still think that we haven’t yet seen sufficient evidence to call for booster shots at all, outside of those with weakened immune systems. This is a great question, and one likely to be on the minds of many as more people become eligible for booster shots. At present, U.S. health officials only recommend booster shots for older adults and those with immune deficiencies.

That said, it seems likely that eventually boosters will be in the cards for most Americans and this question is likely to be top of mind for many people. So back to Karen’s question.

”There are no downsides to vaccine mixing and maybe even a benefit,” said David Topham, an immunologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

We’ve talked about mixing shots before in this newsletter, and indeed some research suggests it may be extra effective. The gist is that different types of vaccines boost the immune system in different ways, so multiple vaccines provide broader coverage. It’s not an uncommon practice in the world of immunology.

Research suggests it may be an effective strategy with different types of Covid vaccines. A study of nearly 700 people in Spain, for example, showed that people who got a second dose of Pfizer’s vaccine after a first dose of AstraZeneca saw their neutralizing antibodies climb sevenfold—a much more robust immune response than in those who just had two Astra doses.

But the key is mixing different types of vaccines. Pfizer and Moderna use a new technology called messenger RNA that triggers healthy cells to produce viral proteins that stimulate an immune response.

The AstraZenca vaccine uses a chimpanzee adenovirus to help the immune system identify and battle Covid. Two different mRNA vaccines are unlikely to produce the same dramatic effect that was observed in the AstraZenca-Pfizer trial.

That said, a boost is a boost, no matter which shot you’re getting.

“I suggest they get whichever vaccine is available to them,” Topham said. “The response to a third dose, distanced in time, is very strong and highly cross reactive, even against the delta variant.”

Updated: 9-28-2021

FDA Leans Toward Authorizing Moderna Booster At A Half Dose

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is leaning toward authorizing half-dose booster shots of the Moderna Inc. coronavirus vaccine, satisfied that it’s effective in shoring up protection, people familiar with the matter said.

The authorization would set the stage to further widen the U.S. booster campaign after earlier authorization of the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE shot. About 170 million fully vaccinated people in the U.S. received the Moderna or Pfizer shots, or 92% of the total inoculated so far.

The people spoke on the condition of anonymity, before a potential announcement. It’s not clear when an announcement will come.

Shares of Moderna rose as much as 3.6% in morning trading in New York Wednesday. The stock had fallen in the past three sessions.

Any authorization would also introduce different dosage levels for boosters. Moderna’s initial inoculations contained 100-microgram doses, and the company’s submission to regulators amounted to a push to authorize a half-dose booster.

Pfizer’s shot, for comparison, has 30-microgram initial doses and a 30-microgram booster. Boosters are so far being given with, or planned for, the same vaccine that a person received initially, though studies are ongoing about whether to mix vaccines.

Proceeding with a 50-microgram dose could reduce the risk of side effects from a booster, and would also allow Moderna to produce more doses globally in the near-term. That would ease supply constraints and potentially blunt criticisms of rich countries beginning sprawling booster campaigns before many nations have given widespread first shots.

Moderna declined to comment on Tuesday night. The White House and the FDA declined to comment.

The U.S. is rolling out boosters to head off what President Joe Biden’s health advisers warn are a pair of concerning trends: Hints that vaccine efficacy wanes over months, and that the two-dose regimens are weaker generally against the delta variant than against other iterations of the virus.

The U.S. has dealt with a summer and fall wave of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths, driven by spread among unvaccinated people but increasing the exposure risk for the vaccinated.

The booster campaign was widely expanded late last week when Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky overruled an advisory panel to broaden eligibility for Pfizer’s booster shots. The World Health Organization has called for a moratorium on boosters this year, a request the U.S. has disregarded.

As of now, only people who received Pfizer shots are eligible for a booster in the U.S. “We will continue to evaluate data as it becomes available in real time and with urgency, and update our recommendations to make sure that all of those at risk have the protection they need,” Walensky said Tuesday.

The U.S. has donated about 160 million shots abroad, and the vast majority were surplus domestic supply from Moderna. Biden has also announced deals for a total of 1 billion Pfizer shots bought specifically for donation. Those began shipping in August and will be delivered by September of 2022.

The FDA had been seeking information about the effectiveness of a full third dose of the Moderna vaccine, but is now ready to move forward and consider the half-dose booster Moderna has proposed, the people said.

Biden, who got his Pfizer booster on Monday, has said this remains a pandemic of the unvaccinated.

Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said he believes Pfizer and Moderna will eventually be considered three-dose vaccines.

As the vaccination campaign widens, sites that administer them will have to juggle different versions. In addition to Moderna potentially adding a half-dose booster, Pfizer is seeking authorization of a vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, with a 10-microgram dose — one-third the strength given to those 12 and up.

Fauci has indicated that there’ll be progress soon on booster shots for Moderna as well as Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine. “I believe it will be weeks and not months,” he told NBC’s “Meet the Press” earlier this month.

World Can Have Covid Boosters and Its First Doses, Too

There is a way to bolster existing immunity and speed up the next phase of vaccination at the same time.

As the U.S. and other developed countries start rolling out Covid-19 vaccine booster shots, many are expressing concern that this will slow down the global vaccination campaign — prolonging the pandemic and causing significant harm along the way.

But there is a way to deliver boosters and speed up the next phase of vaccination at the same time. It’s the difference between pushing and pulling.

At present, vaccines are mostly purchased through what are called “pull” contracts. Manufacturers determine total production capacity, and countries simply buy — or “pull” — out of the resulting supply. That means if wealthier countries who tend to get their contracts fulfilled more promptly start rolling out boosters, then other, mostly poorer, countries have to wait longer for their first doses.

In most markets, that sort of zero-sumness is only a short-term problem. If enough buyers want to “pull” at once, then there is a strong incentive to expand capacity in order to create new supply. But a key part of the economic equation is missing for vaccines: increasing demand isn’t driving up prices enough to make investing in new capacity worthwhile for producers.

Covid-19 vaccine contract prices are usually far below market rates for good reason. Price increases would exacerbate already widespread inequality in access to vaccines, mostly along income lines. Besides, the sooner we get vaccines to everyone, the sooner we arrest the development of new variants and hopefully bring a sustained end to the pandemic. That’s the very definition of a public good.

But this means we need to think about vaccine production and purchasing differently from other goods. Instead of buying vaccines through “pull” contracts, we should be using what are called “push” contracts: orders that represent explicit commitments to purchase additional vaccine doses and to install additional production capacity to make some or all of those doses. 1

This strategy wouldn’t fix the problem overnight, with early booster orders cutting into existing supply. But if capacity is expanded enough through the contractual shift I’m suggesting, then total production should be able to increase sufficiently for other countries to catch up — and eventually even overtake their current vaccination pace.

For a stylized example of how this works, let’s imagine that U.S. booster demand takes up three months’ supply of a given vaccine that would otherwise go to three smaller countries. Under the status quo, those countries just get pushed back in line by three months, and all the countries scheduled to receive vaccines after them do, as well — as illustrated in the figure below.

Now let’s imagine that the U.S. instead bought vaccines through a “push” contract with enough capacity investment to cover the full supply it had requisitioned for boosters, but the new capacity will take three months to come online. In that case, the first three countries still get pushed back in line, but they catch up right after the new capacity becomes available. And by one month after that, total production is higher than it would’ve been before, so other countries effectively move up in line.

Of course, it’s unlikely that countries would write “push” contracts that offset booster production 1-for-1 like in the example I just described. But still the same principle applies: because “push” contracts increase production throughput, they’ll eventually result in countries getting vaccines sooner than they would have otherwise.

To be sure, expanding production capacity will take more than a contractual overhaul. And the U.S. and other countries still have to do everything possible to counteract the impact of boosters on global vaccine supply in the interim. Expert medical ethicists Govind Persad, William Fiske Parker, and Ezekiel J. Emanuel recently proposed a series of strategies for this, including giving boosters at smaller dosages, and “mixing and matching” across vaccines to maximize antibody production.

All the layers of the supply chain will need to be shored up, as well. Vaccines require a range of scarce ingredients and components — everything from bioreactor bags to horseshoe crab blood — and producing vaccines at our current unforeseen scale has put strain on those inputs. 2

So far, more than 6 billion vaccine doses have been administered, an amazing feat in less than a year. But it’s still not enough to stop a pandemic that threatens to ravage the countries at the end of the vaccine line and spur more harmful variants. To fully address the pandemic, we have to change the way we think about buying the vaccines that are helping us beat it.

Behind Israel’s Swift Rollout of Covid-19 Vaccine Boosters

By getting early access to Pfizer’s vaccine, Israeli scientists had more and earlier data than their counterparts elsewhere—and were willing to act on it.

In late July, dozens of Israeli scientists and government health officials were locked in a marathon video call where they examined new data indicating that the effectiveness of the Covid vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE was waning.

Infections from the new Delta variant were increasing, and growing numbers of people were falling seriously ill, even those who had had both shots of the vaccine. Lives were potentially on the line.

Within days of the midnight vote that decided to distribute a third shot, the first of millions of booster shots were administered, months before the U.S. or any other country would take the same step.

“It was a really tough discussion,” said epidemiologist Gili Regev-Yochay, who presented key research on the effectiveness of booster shots. “[But] it was a decision that was reached essentially with one voice.”

Throughout the global effort against Covid-19, Israel’s public health experts have been consistently ahead of their counterparts elsewhere in the world. By securing an early supply deal with Pfizer for its vaccine, sweetened in part by a promise to share data from Israel’s extensive network of health maintenance organizations, they have had an edge in understanding how the vaccine behaves in the real world.

They were also willing to act quickly when they saw that data, among other things suggesting to extend the vaccine to younger teenagers and to adopt a Covid passport system to persuade holdouts to get their shots if they wish to visit cinemas, restaurants or other entertainment sites.

At times the country has moved faster than some other nations might prefer. The World Health Organization, among others, has been critical of vaccinating younger teenagers or providing third booster doses at a time when billions of people in poorer countries haven’t yet had their first shots.

But where Israel goes, others often follow. President Biden received a booster shot at the White House on Monday, days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared it for people aged 65 and older and adults in high-risk groups, a recommendation backed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The U.K, which was also quick to roll out vaccines, started this month to offer booster shots to over-50s and vulnerable people, while the European Union regulator will decide whether to endorse a third shot early next month.

Those involved in the decision-making process in Israel credit a culture of debate and a willingness to improvise, instilled in part by long careers in the military common among senior health professionals, and tested during national security crises.

Arnon Afek, a doctor and member of the advisory group, served as a senior officer in the medical corps and later as Health Ministry director-general before becoming director of the Sheba Hospital in Tel Aviv. When the pandemic first struck, he said he turned part of his hospital’s parking garage into a coronavirus ward.

“We are always living on the verge of an emergency,” Dr. Afek said. “It might be from the Gaza strip or Covid or cyberwars against our enemies. We know how to rely on ourselves and know how to deal with emergency situations.”

Since members of the advisory panel all work pro bono, neither politicians nor government officials can stop them speaking their minds when they meet with Israel’s cabinet.

“Nobody has any leverage on me when I sit in that room,” said Ran Balicer, head of the primary experts advisory committee on Covid-19, who said he does most of his advisory work at night after his busy day job as a senior official at Israel’s largest health care organization Clalit.

Israel’s leaders have largely listened to the scientists, the advisers say, despite a protracted period of political turmoil that saw Prime Minister Naftali Bennett dislodge long time leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

One of the few times when the government has diverged from the advice it was given was when Mr. Netanyahu wavered last year on creating a tiered system of lockdowns like a traffic light: red, green and amber. Israel later had to impose another nationwide lockdown.

The medical professionals who voted to approve boosters shots—perhaps the most contentious issue they have faced—were swayed by two studies.

One was a Health Ministry analysis of Israeli data that showed those vaccinated in January through March were far more likely to get sick than those inoculated later.

The second study to swing the late-night debate behind a shot for over 60s was presented by Dr. Regev-Yochay and her team at Sheba Hospital. It pointed to the sharp rise in infections coming not only from the virulence of the Delta variant, but also from the waning prevalence of antibodies in people who had been vaccinated.

Her research showed that resistance to the virus had been falling in test subjects for months. They also knew from booster shots given to immunocompromised patients at Sheba that a third dose could successfully increase antibodies. The rest of the panel agreed to proceed.

Pfizer said at the same time that its own research also showed that antibody levels were waning over time.

The decision quickly paid off. When the booster shot campaign began, the majority of Delta infections were detected among patients who had already been vaccinated and had assumed they were safe from the virus. Infection levels per capita were among the highest in the world and it appeared the country was headed toward another economically debilitating lockdown.

Since then, more than three million of Israel’s nine million inhabitants have gotten a booster shot, including a majority of those in at-risk groups. Most infections are now among those who are unvaccinated, and talk of a fourth lockdown has been replaced with discussions about learning to live with the virus.

There is a small minority of Israelis who think the country is moving too quickly and resent being at the forefront of how to deal with Covid. Eldad Yaniv, a prominent political activist and critic of Mr. Netanyahu, has now taken Mr. Bennett’s government to task for moving more quickly than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in approving boosters.

“An experiment is taking place in Israel,” he wrote in a Facebook post on Sept. 12, arguing Israel’s deal with Pfizer for vaccines is propelling it to push ahead of other countries in approving third shots for the new mRNA vaccines.

Israeli officials say their deal with Pfizer is not exclusive, nor obliges them to expand their vaccination campaign quicker than other countries.

Most of Israel’s doctors and epidemiologists remain undeterred, turning their firsthand view of the vaccines’ effects into research that much of the world has turned to. Dr. Balicer was the lead writer on a landmark paper published in the peer-reviewed New England Journal of Medicine in February, showing that Pfizer was effective in real-world conditions.

He later led another paper in the same journal that demonstrated that the risks of getting ill from Covid-19 outweigh potential risks from receiving the vaccine.

While the FDA was deliberating whether to approve boosters last week, an Israeli Health Ministry-backed and peer-reviewed paper in the NEJM said the adjusted rate ratio of confirmed cases for Israelis over 60 at least 12 days after receiving a booster shot was lower by a factor of 11 compared with those who had had only two shots.

The authors said they found the rate of severe illness among those over 60 who got the booster shot was lower by a factor of around 20 times, compared with those who hadn’t received the boosters.

Already, the country’s scientific community is again moving out in front of counterparts elsewhere by discussing the possibility of recommending further booster shots in the months and years to come.

“There will be a fourth, fifth, sixth or even seventh shot as long as Covid-19 continues to strike the world…we’ll continue to see variants rising up,” said Dr. Afek.

Updated: 9-29-2021

Americans Are Getting Covid-19 Boosters—No Questions Asked

People say they are securing third vaccines by attesting that they meet the latest requirements.

Doctors and pharmacies are rapidly signing up patients for Covid-19 booster shots, many without requiring proof of eligibility under standards that federal officials set last week.

The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have authorized a third shot of the vaccine made by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE for a wide swath of the U.S. population. Anyone over age 65 is eligible for a booster shot, as is anyone over 18 with a pre-existing condition predisposing the person toward a severe case of Covid-19.

Also eligible are those with a job or living situation that poses a higher risk of contracting Covid-19. Boosters for all patients must be given at least six months after an initial Pfizer vaccine course.

Patients who received initial doses of the vaccines made by Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson aren’t eligible yet. Approval of a booster regimen for those patients is expected in the coming months. The FDA did amend its emergency-use authorization in August, however, to allow a third Moderna dose for immunocompromised people.

Debbie Hirsch, a 67-year-old retired special-education teacher who received the Moderna vaccine initially, wasn’t going to wait; she made an appointment on Monday at her local CVS Health Corp. pharmacy in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. A nurse there gave her a third Moderna shot, no questions asked, she said.

Ms. Hirsch, whose husband is recovering from heart surgery, said she checked a box on the CVS website attesting that she was immunocompromised, even though she doesn’t qualify. FDA guidelines for patients receiving a third Moderna jab include patients who take medication to suppress their immune systems and cancer patients currently undergoing treatment.

“I felt I fell under that category where you’re above 65, and your immunity starts to wane, even though I’m not undergoing chemotherapy or anything like that,” Ms. Hirsch said.

CVS spokesman Michael DeAngelis said the chain is administering third Moderna doses only to eligible immunocompromised people but said it is following CDC guidance to allow patients to self-attest to their eligibility without requiring documents of proof.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said Monday that all adult residents of the state who have been vaccinated for at least six months should seek a booster. “If you’re 18 or above, you will qualify in some way,” Gov. Justice said. “I would really highly encourage you to run to the fire again and get that booster shot.”

A spokesman for the governor said he was encouraging all eligible West Virginians to seek a booster, adding that the CDC’s guidance, “interpreted broadly, allows all healthcare workers, retail workers and anyone who works indoors around other people to qualify.”

White House Covid-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said at a media briefing Tuesday that more than 400,000 people received a Covid-19 vaccine booster at U.S. pharmacies last weekend. Nearly 1 million people have scheduled appointments to get their booster shots, Mr. Zients said.

Valencia Jennings is 27 years old and works in the human-resources department of a hospital in Memphis, Tenn. She says she has no underlying medical conditions but got her first doses of the Pfizer vaccine earlier than most people, in December 2020, because she is technically a healthcare worker.

“I interact with a lot of people on a daily basis, and I don’t know anyone’s vaccination status,” she said. She received her Pfizer booster on Monday from a clinic in the hospital.

Other patients said that pharmacies weren’t asking for confirmation of eligibility beyond their online scheduling tools. Lauch Hines, a retirement adviser from Campobello, S.C., got his Pfizer booster on Monday after calling around to local pharmacies.

“They just said, ‘Come on down and bring your vaccine card,’” said Mr. Hines, who is 75.

Michele Cozadd, a former supply-chain information technologist from Columbus, Ohio, who lives on disability because of a brain aneurysm three years ago, said she got her booster this week without any questions from her pharmacist.

“Even on the scheduling app it didn’t ask me if I had a pre-existing condition or a high risk factor,” said Ms. Cozadd, 46.

People who feel that they are at high risk of serious Covid-19 will do whatever they can to get a booster shot, including skirting eligibility requirements, said Neil Sehgal, a professor of health policy at the University of Maryland.

“Some of the demand we’re seeing for boosters is the shadow of policies we’ve had before that failed to mitigate the spread of Covid,” Mr. Sehgal said. “Thousands of people are still dying each day. We’re not out of the woods yet.”

Updated: 9-30-2021

Here’s Why COVID-19 Booster Shots Are Good For Business

The Biden administration’s decision to make COVID-19 booster shots available to millions of vaccinated adults may speak more to the economics of the pandemic than the science.

For the last two months, scientists and federal officials have debated whether COVID-19 boosters are needed — right now, or at all — and, if so, who should get them.

The outcome came last week when the U.S. authorized an extra dose of BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine for people who are at least 65 years old, adults who have underlying medical conditions, and people who are at increased risk of exposure because of their jobs.

Much of the debate centered on one key issue. If preventing severe disease is the nation’s “top priority,” and clinical data demonstrate that all three of the COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. continue to largely protect people against hospitalization and death, why give out extra shots?

‘The real problem is the unvaccinated. That is where all the infections are coming from. What is much easier is telling a bunch of people who already believe in a vaccine to get [a] booster.’
— Christina Marsh Dalton, Wake Forest University

“If the scientists are concerned that this is being rushed, and the science is not behind it, I could see that policy makers could be scrambling for anything that would guarantee a normal path forward,” said Christina Marsh Dalton, an associate professor of economics at Wake Forest University. “The real problem is the unvaccinated. That is where all the infections are coming from. What is much easier is telling a bunch of people who already believe in a vaccine to get [a] booster.”

If the administration’s priorities take into account the economy, it stands to reason that shoring up immunity among the vaccinated would make sense as we head further into the school year, more employees return to the office, and families prepare to gather for the winter holidays.

“There’s a big economic case to be made for boosters,” Andy Slavitt, a former adviser to the White House’s COVID-19 response team, said in an interview. “President Biden stated this. If you bring the pandemic to an end more quickly, you open up the economy more quickly.”

Slavitt recently said that giving out boosters to people 65 and older makes sense if the sole goal is to keep people from becoming critically ill. But if the aim is something more along the lines of returning to normal, that’s a differently positioned goal post.

“Are we trying to reduce spread?” he tweeted on Sept. 18. “Symptoms? Keep schools open? Get the economy & jobs back? What about the impact on global equity?”

The Economics Of Boosting

We know that the vaccines developed by BioNTech and Pfizer, Moderna Inc., and Johnson & Johnson do a great job at keeping most people out of the hospital and from dying.

But vaccinated people can still infected and get sick, and they can still spread the virus, even though those so-called breakthrough cases are rarely severe and those individuals usually have smaller viral loads.

“It is an assumption that it’s okay to get infected and to get mild-to-moderate disease as long as you don’t wind up in the hospital and die,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical officer, said Tuesday at The Atlantic Festival. “I have to be open and honest: I reject that. I think we should be preventing people from getting sick from COVID even if they don’t wind up in the hospital.”

If boosting can prevent breakthrough infections, however, that could reduce sick days and quarantine time, and it could help make up for lost productivity at work and school.

‘President Biden stated this. If you bring the pandemic to an end more quickly, you open up the economy more quickly.’
— Andy Slavitt

Many well-educated, white-collar workers have been able to do their jobs from home over the last year and a half and therefore aren’t at risk of exposed to the virus at a workplace on a daily basis. But workers in the service industry, for example, where working remotely typically isn’t an option, have had a much more difficult time. “The rest of the economy is not doing fine,” Dalton said.

Businesses “want the pandemic to end and they want to take steps to do it,” Slavitt said. “Otherwise, you’d have it dragging on and on and on under this slow burn and risking further disruption with further waves. And that’s not good for our health. It’s not good for our economy.”

Slavitt estimates that the U.S. could be losing 15 million working hours each week because people are sick or quarantining at home, he said. The European Central Bank’s Christine Lagarde said earlier this month that boosters would be an “add-on” to resolving the pandemic.

And Federal Reserve Gov. Lael Brainard, citing government survey data, said Monday that the number of people who are “not working due to either being sick with COVID or caring for someone sick with COVID more than doubled between late July and early September.”

“A lot of policy makers understand that a healthy population is really important for economic growth,” Neeraj Sood, vice dean for research for the USC Price School of Public Policy, told MarketWatch. “If you’re not healthy, you’re unable to work. And so that would make a big difference in terms of how productive people are.”

Sood, whose work focuses on economic epidemiology, said that surges of coronavirus cases often lead to restricted economic activity.

“Consumer confidence goes down. Businesses don’t like uncertainty,” he said. “So if boosters could prevent surges, then there would be an argument for it. But I don’t know if the evidence is strong enough to suggest that boosters prevent surges.”

The Limitation To COVID-19 Boosters

Infectious-disease and vaccine experts have been saying for months that there isn’t enough clinical data to make the case for widely boosting the population. (To be clear, boosters are available to a much smaller group of people than had been included in President Joe Biden’s initial recommendation back in August that all adults who had received the mRNA vaccines get an extra dose.)

These experts also say that the focus should remain on the more challenging task of persuading the unvaccinated to get a shot.

Federal health officials have acknowledged that distinction.

“Boosters are important, but the most important thing we need to do is get more people vaccinated,” Biden, who is 78, said Monday as he got his booster shot.

But economists still say there are potential downsides to rolling out a booster program at this time. This could include giving another reason for concern to the unvaccinated, some of whom are worried about the speed of the authorization process, corporate pharmaceutical interests, or whether the advent of boosters signals that the vaccines don’t work.

The mRNA vaccines carry a small risk of rare adverse events, such as myocarditis among men who are younger than 30. And the vaccinated could take up appointment slots, making it harder for the unvaccinated to schedule or show up for a shot.

‘We will not boost our way out of this pandemic.’
— Rochelle Walensky, CDC

“This means that it’s open season for boosters, and we expect vaccination centers, clinics, and pharmacies to be swamped with vaccination appointments for ‘the worried well’ in addition to the truly eligible subjects at increased risk,” SVB Leerink analyst Geoffrey Porges told investors.

The biggest concern for economists is whether the booster program slows down the campaign to get people vaccinated at a time when 25% of people who are eligible for a vaccine have not gotten a single shot and so many people in other countries lack vaccine access.

“Economists talk a lot about the idea of opportunity costs,” Marsh Dalton said. “Once we throw money at boosters, it’s not going toward the unvaccinated.”

This is another point that federal health officials have acknowledged, even as they encourage people who are eligible to get a booster shot.

“We will not boost our way out of this pandemic,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Friday. “Infections among the unvaccinated continue to fuel this pandemic rise.”

Updated: 10-5-2021

‘It’s Like There’s No Covid’: Booster Shots Bring Tel Aviv Back to Life

Mayor Ron Huldai says his city has returned to normal faster, helped by Covid booster shots. He’s now focused on tourists, traffic and housing.

Tel Aviv’s mayor has a message for cities struggling to reopen: Covid booster shots are allowing his city to roar back to life.

The mass distribution of third shots in Israel has driven down new cases and hospital admissions, allowing restaurants and shops to fill up with customers. New variants of the disease could change the pandemic’s trajectory again, but for now, the boosters are working, Mayor Ron Huldai said in an interview with Bloomberg News.

“On the streets of Tel Aviv now, it’s like there’s no Covid,” said Huldai, 77, who has run Tel Aviv for more than two decades since he was elected in 1998. He said 99% of city workers are vaccinated.

Israel emerged as a front-runner in the global vaccination race, but cases and hospitalizations spiked with the spread of the delta variant over the summer. The country began administering booster shots in August and inoculated 2.8 million people with third doses. Israel has administered enough vaccine doses to cover 85% of its population, compared with 62% in the U.S., according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.

Studies show that the efficacy of two-shot regimens of Covid shots wane over time and that third doses can help bolster immunity. Still, the World Health Organization has called for a moratorium on boosters until vaccination rates rise in less wealthy countries. Even with boosters authorized for millions of Americans, there’s disagreement among U.S. health officials about whether they’re necessary.

Lagging Tourism

While business in Israel’s second-largest city is rebounding, Huldai said the tourism sector is still struggling. He said tourism will be a key topic when he travels to the United Arab Emirates next month to meet with officials.

Israel struck a historic diplomatic deal to normalize relations with the UAE in August 2020, installing ambassadors and ushering in what leaders hope will bring billions of dollars in bilateral trade.

Huldai’s message to Emirate leaders is that beyond investment, “the most important thing is to send tourists to Tel Aviv.” He said travel not only brings economic benefits, but seeing Arab tourists on the streets of Tel Aviv sends a symbolic message to Israelis about regional cooperation beyond conflict.

The longtime Tel Aviv mayor said he is also trying to tackle two of the city’s biggest issues — transportation and housing. He isn’t getting help from Israel’s new national government, led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, he said.

“The private market cannot do it, because 23% of the land of Israel is in the hands of the government,” he said of the effort to bring down Tel Aviv’s soaring apartment prices. “The government has to step in.”

As for the Tel Aviv traffic, he noted next year the city will finally inaugurate its first metro line, more than two decades after he first authorized the construction of a rail system.

“I’m ashamed to say it,” he said. “I thought it was going to take 10 years, but it took 22 years instead.”

Updated: 10-10-2021

Covid-19 Booster Shots Are Available for All in Israel. Younger People Aren’t Convinced

Take-up rates for boosters are especially low among younger Arab and ultraorthodox Israelis.

Israel is among the most aggressive countries in the world in pushing boosters for the Covid-19 vaccine. Many younger people here are asking why.

Later this month the government will begin enforcing new rules requiring people to get a booster shot of the Covid-19 vaccine or present a negative test if they want to go to restaurants, bars or other indoor entertainment spots. The boosters are needed to keep “Green Pass” Covid passports valid, which authorities view as an effective way of nudging as many people as possible to get a third shot of the vaccine to boost immunity and reduce the virus’s spread through the population.

Yet while many younger Israelis were happy to get their initial doses of the Pfizer Inc. – BioNTech SE vaccine, this time they aren’t so willing. Some say they feel they are being pushed toward a third shot before enforcement of the program begins on Oct. 17, and would prefer to wait, saying they believe they are still protected from severe cases of Covid despite health officials’ efforts to convince them they can prevent long Covid cases.

Just over a quarter of 16-to-19-year-olds have received a booster along with 40% of 20-to-29-year-olds and 47% of 30-to-39-year-olds, according to Israel’s health ministry. This is compared with older groups, such as 65% for 50-to-59-year-olds and 75% for 60-to-69-year-olds. The numbers are weighed down in part by wider hesitancy among younger Arab and ultraorthodox Israelis.

Experts say doubts by younger people over boosters could be a harbinger for what other countries might expect as they begin to roll out third shots, and raises the prospect that transmission of the virus could continue.

“Younger people are less afraid of the coronavirus,” said Tamar Hermann, who has been conducting opinion polls on vaccine policy at the Jerusalem-based Israel Democracy Institute. “Some are confused and bewildered whether they are really at such a risk or it’s part of the government propaganda.”

On Monday, Europe’s top health regulator recommended boosters for anyone 18 and over who had received their second shot of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. The U.K. has begun providing boosters to anyone over 50, while the U.S. is offering them to over 65s and people in high-risk groups.

But in Israel, which began vaccinating widely before many other countries, some younger people this time say they feel they are being coerced into having the third shot.

“Everyone is saying they are just getting the third vaccine just to keep their rights,” said Dan Rushansky, 33, who owns a bar and separate cafe in the young and hip neighborhood of Florentine in Tel Aviv.

Mr. Rushansky said that he and 10 of his 20 employees haven’t yet gotten a third shot, and the same is true of much of his clientele. He said he closed his cafe on Tuesday believing it would no longer be profitable under the new Covid-19 pass regime.

Aliza Petrack, 32, a philosophy student at Tel Aviv University, said she felt frustrated by the rigidity of the new regulations. Rather than rushing to get a third shot and risk the side effects, even if they are mild, she said she got an antibody test and learned she was still well protected from her previous shots.

Now Ms. Petrack said she feels she’s being forced into getting a third shot earlier than she would have because otherwise she won’t be able to attend classes on campus.

“It’s frustrating that there’s no kind of common-sense policy,” she said. When she got her first two shots, she said she felt Israel was “in line with the global medical community. Now Israel is kind of doing it’s own thing.”

Israel’s Covid-19 passes were initially to be linked to the third shot beginning on Oct. 7, but that was pushed back because of technical problems. Meanwhile, pickup rates for the booster shots are accelerating as the enforcement date nears, but it isn’t necessarily because young people want to get them or believe they will improve their protection against Covid-19. It’s to keep their passes.

“Everyone wants to have a normal life, so people are getting their third shot,” said Shon Weizman, 27, who works at a wine bar in Tel Aviv.

Israel’s Covid-19 strategy is closely watched in the rest of the world.

Last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with Israel’s Army Radio that U.S. regulators are waiting for data from Israel’s military to understand the risk-benefit analysis of giving boosters for younger adults.

Dr. Fauci said the regulators were particularly interested in understanding the risk for young people developing a rare side effect of heart muscle inflammation called myocarditis after receiving a third shot of the Pfizer vaccine, and that he believed the U.S. would ultimately follow Israel’s lead on boosters.

Israel’s health ministry has published data indicating that the booster shots cause fewer side effects than the initial vaccinations and provide a significant increase in resistance to the virus compared with people who received their second five months or more previously.

Officials and medical professionals credit the booster campaign for tamping down a wave of infections and severe illness from the contagious Delta variant.

But some suggested the government should be more flexible in enforcing the new Covid-19 pass rules, and focus more on communicating the benefits of the third shot instead.

Nadav Davidovitch, head of the Israeli Association of Public Health Physicians and director of the School of Public Health at Ben Gurion University in Be’er Sheva, thinks this is particularly true among Arab and ultraorthodox youngsters who have been slower to take up boosters, because infection rates have been higher in the latter group and many are still recovering from the virus.

“I think maybe we need to give some more time and invest more in health promotion to be targeted to specific groups,” Dr. Davidovitch said.


Fully Vaccinated And Had Covid-19? No Rush For A Booster Shot, Experts Say

Immunity from a real-world Covid infection plus vaccination provides strong protection without a third dose—for now, scientists say.

People who both had Covid-19 and are vaccinated don’t need to rush to get the boosters now rolling out across the U.S., health experts say.

Millions of Americans who have received Pfizer Inc. PFE 10.86% and partner BioNTech SE’s Covid-19 vaccine now qualify for an additional dose, under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation of shots for seniors and certain at-risk adults. Some of those who qualify are people who have been infected with the disease, either before they were vaccinated or after.

Several studies suggest that people who have had Covid-19 and were fully vaccinated have strong protection, including against variants, and probably don’t need the boost, though the research is preliminary and data is incomplete, according to scientists who specialize in vaccines and immunology.

More is known about people who had Covid-19 and then were vaccinated, scientists said, than those who were vaccinated and had breakthrough infections.

The studies suggest a Covid-19 exposure effectively serves as a dose of the vaccine, scientists said. Like a vaccine dose, the real-world infection prompts the immune system to generate the antibodies, B cells and T cells that could fight off the virus in the future.

People who were infected and vaccinated “just won the game,” said Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the Food and Drug Administration’s advisory panel on vaccines, who supports boosters for older adults but not a widespread campaign this time. “I wouldn’t ask them to get a booster dose. I think they just got it” by exposure to the coronavirus.

Last week, researchers affiliated with the ZOE Covid Study app, which is for people in the U.K. to self-report symptoms and test results, said real-world infection followed by two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot provided 94% protection up to six months after vaccination, compared with 80% protection from vaccination alone or 65% from only infection.

The researchers, who reported the results via press release, based the findings on more than 650,000 Covid-19 test results reported by app users. The findings weren’t peer reviewed or published in a scientific journal.

The strong protection provided by the combination of real-world infection and vaccination doesn’t mean people may not eventually need a booster, scientists said.

Meanwhile, some people with weakened immune systems or underlying medical conditions might want to get a booster soon, the scientists said.

Another factor that people who were infected and vaccinated should weigh before getting a booster is whether the extra dose could raise their potential risk of myocarditis, inflammation of the heart that is rare but most common in younger men after their second dose of a messenger RNA vaccine, said Peter Hotez, dean of Baylor University’s National School of Tropical Medicine.

Several studies show the vaccines remain effective at protecting against severe disease and hospitalization but may lose strength guarding against infection or milder symptomatic illness.

The Biden administration has pushed for booster shots to shore up people’s molecular Covid-19 defenses, after some studies indicated the protection wanes over time and the initial vaccine series was less effective at protecting against the Delta variant than the original strain.

In the U.S., more than 186 million people are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. The agency stopped tracking breakthrough cases that don’t result in hospitalization or death, but a Wall Street Journal analysis in August found 0.1% of fully vaccinated people at the time had developed cases.

The combination of immunity from a real-world infection and the protection generated by vaccination is known as hybrid immunity.

So far, data indicates hybrid immunity offers stronger protection than having just been either vaccinated or infected, immunologists and epidemiologists said.

The findings suggest that people with hybrid immunity have enough protection without needing a booster, the experts said.

People who have been vaccinated and infected “are likely to be the last group that really needs the booster because they really had three exposures,” said Dr. Akiko Iwasaki, an immunologist at Yale University.

The real-world infection may be especially additive because it exposes the body to more than the spike protein targeted by vaccines, she said.

A study published last month by CDC researchers found that unvaccinated people with previous Covid-19 infections are more than twice as likely to be reinfected compared with fully vaccinated people who had previous Covid-19 infections.

Researchers from Rockefeller University in New York said that people who were infected with Covid-19 and later vaccinated with a messenger RNA vaccine saw 20 to 40 times greater immune response than those who weren’t vaccinated, in a study published in the journal Nature in June.

Oregon Health and Science University researchers said that neutralizing-antibody levels in people with hybrid immunity against the Alpha variant were 5.2 times as great as levels in people who had only been vaccinated, in a study posted on the medRxiv preprint server in April. The team tested other variants and saw similar effects.

The researchers found that hybrid immunity from infection and vaccination generally confers more immunity than vaccine-induced immunity alone, including against variants. The study hasn’t yet been peer reviewed or published in a scientific journal.

Only people who are six months past their second dose, received the Pfizer vaccine and fall into several high-risk categories because of age, underlying health conditions or occupation are currently eligible for boosters. Decisions are pending on Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson boosters.

Updated: 10-12-2021

Moderna, J&J Make Case For Covid Boosters Ahead of FDA Panel

Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson said that data they’ve gathered supports the need for booster shots for their Covid-19 vaccines, ahead of a key regulatory meeting later this week.

A panel of scientific experts who advise the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on vaccines is scheduled to meet Thursday and Friday to weigh the evidence for booster doses for each of the two vaccines. The regulator has already authorized a booster for the Covid shot made by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE for those 65 and older and other at-risk adults.

The Biden administration has been pushing to make booster shots available to as many people as possible after a wave of infections over the summer tied to the delta variant.

In addition, some studies have indicated that protection afforded by the U.S.-authorized shots wanes over time. In documents prepared for the meeting, both companies said the supplemental doses would be advisable after six months.

FDA Report

In a report, FDA officials didn’t make a specific recommendation for what the advisers should do regarding the Moderna booster. Findings from real-world studies are mixed on whether the vaccine’s efficacy has waned over time against the delta variant, the report said.

And if the vaccine is still effective in preventing harm from Covid, the benefit from getting a boost is likely to be more limited than if efficacy has waned substantially, the staff noted.

Moderna’s vaccine uses a higher dose than the Pfizer vaccine; even the reduced booster dose Moderna is proposing contains more active ingredient than Pfizer’s shot. While data are still emerging, some real-world studies have suggested that Moderna’s shot produces more antibodies or may hold up slightly better over time compared to the Pfizer vaccine.

Pfizer’s booster shot was cleared last month, and regulators have allowed some immunocompromised people to receive an additional dose of the Moderna shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some 7.8 million people have received a Covid vaccine booster so far.
Half-Dose Booster

While Pfizer’s booster is the same dose as the first two shots, Moderna is asking the FDA to authorize a 50-microgram booster, half the amount in each of the initial two. The company noted that breakthrough cases increased among participants in its final-stage trial during July and August, as the highly infectious delta variant took over.

Such cases were higher among people who got the vaccine early in the trial compared with those who got it later, another possible indication of waning immunity.

In a trial of the booster, the half-dose raised levels of protective antibodies at least 15-fold within one month, compared to levels before the boost, Moderna said in the documents. Antibody levels were also significantly higher after the booster than after the second shot, the company said.

In its staff report, the FDA pointed out that the isn’t known whether the risk of types of heart inflammation linked to the two messenger RNA vaccines, called myocarditis and pericarditis, will rise after boosters of Moderna’s shot. The vaccine maker pointed to the safety of other booster shots in the documents it submitted.

“Lower doses for boosters have been shown to be safe and immunogenic for other vaccines, such as diphtheria,” the company said. In addition, lowering the booster dose would help Moderna increase its vaccine supply for the rest of the world.
Individual Needs

Use of J&J’s vaccine has lagged those from Pfizer and Moderna, and as of Oct. 12, only about 15 million people in the U.S. have received the single shot, according the the CDC. J&J said that data support a favorable benefit-risk profile for a booster in adults 18 and older. The booster will likely result in increased protection against symptomatic Covid, as well as the current variants, the company said.

The New Brunswick, New Jersey-based drug giant recommended a booster at six months or more after the initial shot, but said it may also be administered as early as two months, based on the strength of the immune response. The need for a booster dose — and the timing in which it should be given — must be determined by local Covid conditions and the needs of individuals or specific populations, J&J said.

“In the early stages of a pandemic, a single dose vaccine is an efficient tool to rapidly increase vaccine uptake and reduce the burden on health care systems by preventing severe disease outcomes, especially where supply limitations were present,” J&J said. “In the current stage of the pandemic, and given emergence of different variants under certain circumstances, focus may shift to protecting individuals by maximizing and prolonging vaccine-induced protection.”

In parts of the U.S. where vaccination rates remain low, J&J said, the focus isn’t just on preventing severe disease. A booster can also help slow transmission as the delta variant continues to spread in areas with high vaccine-hesistancy rates, the company said.

The most intriguing part of the two-day meeting could come at the close, where the FDA advisers are scheduled to hear a presentation from University of Maryland scientists leading a U.S. government-sponsored study of whether it’s possible to mix and match Covid boosters with different vaccines than were used for the primary inoculation. The FDA has not released details of what the Maryland scientists will say.

Updated: 10-14-2021

Moderna Booster Shot Backed by FDA Advisory Panel

FDA advisers voted unanimously in favor of the agency’s clearance of the shot to seniors and others at high risk of severe Covid-19.

Vaccine experts advising the Food and Drug Administration voted 19 to 0 Thursday to recommend authorization of an extra dose of Moderna Inc.’s MRNA -16.56% Covid-19 shot, a key step in making booster doses available to millions more people.

A vaccine-advisory panel voted in favor of giving a Moderna booster shot at least six months after the second dose, to adults 65 years and older, as well as adults under 65 who are at high risk of severe Covid-19 or serious complications because of their jobs, living conditions or underlying medical conditions.

The panel voted in favor of a booster shot that is half the dosage of the first two doses. The FDA is expected to decide on whether to authorize the booster dose within days.

Moderna said the booster doses can be drawn from the same vials that contain the original two-dose vaccine series, meaning the boosters will be available soon after authorization.

Members of the FDA’s vaccine-advisory panel supported Moderna’s booster dose even though the evidence for it was from a small study and had mixed results.

“It’s more a gut feeling rather than based on really truly serious data,” said Patrick Moore, a member of the committee and a professor of molecular genetics and biochemistry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “The data itself is not strong, but it is certainly going in the direction that is supportive of this vote.”

The meeting is a regular part of the federal government’s evaluation of the vaccines and the latest move toward authorizing Covid-19 boosters. The FDA often asks its expert advisers to share their views before the agency decides whether to clear a medicine, and the agency usually follows the advisers’ recommendations.

After clearing Covid-19 vaccines for adults starting late last year, the FDA has been in recent months evaluating applications to expand use of the shots to younger ages and to add an extra dose to bolster vaccinated people’s immune defenses, especially against the Delta variant.

The FDA has authorized the vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE for adolescents. The agency also has already greenlighted booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for seniors and adults at high risk of Covid-19 who received the shots already and are at least six months past their first vaccination.

It also has authorized boosters of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for certain people with weakened immune systems.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel is scheduled to meet Oct. 20 to weigh endorsing an additional Moderna dose, before it becomes available to the general public. The CDC doesn’t have to accept the panel’s recommendation but usually does.

The meeting of the FDA panel, called the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, comes as Covid-19 cases caused by the contagious Delta variant drop from highs in many parts of the country, though they are increasing in some states.

Federal health officials have pushed for boosters to sustain the immune protection in people who have been previously vaccinated, especially against Delta.

Up to 60 million people will become eligible for Pfizer’s booster shot in the coming weeks, the Biden administration has said.

Adding Moderna’s additional shot would significantly expand the U.S. booster campaign. More than 69 million people in the U.S. are fully vaccinated with Moderna’s shot, according to the CDC.

Moderna has asked the FDA to authorize a booster that is half the dosage of the first two vaccine doses, and is taken at least six months after the second dose.

The booster shot increased immune responses in about 170 people in a Moderna study. The booster’s effect on immune responses met one goal in the study but fell slightly short on another goal, FDA staff said.

Some members of the advisory panel expressed concern about the small size of the study, saying it limited their ability to assess the safety of the booster shots. The FDA said the safety profile of the booster was largely consistent with the first two doses.

The panel also began to debate whether to make booster doses more widely available beyond the categories currently authorized, which include seniors and adults at high risk because of medical conditions or where they work.

Some members said they were skeptical about the need to give an extra dose to everyone who was vaccinated because the shots appear to be working well and offer lasting protection for younger people.

“I don’t necessarily see the need for a sort of let it rip campaign for boosters for everyone who has ever been vaccinated,” said Michael Kurilla, director of clinical innovation at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at the National Institutes of Health.

Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s center for biologics evaluation and research, said the U.S. sees booster doses as a potentially important part of its strategy to mitigate cases heading into the winter.

“The problem here is we don’t know what we don’t know,” he said. “There are models that predict that we could potentially have another wave of Covid-19 as people go inside this winter.”

The advisory panel will meet again on Friday to consider Johnson & Johnson’s application for a second dose and to review data on mixing and matching vaccines and boosters.

Covid-19 vaccines from Moderna and J&J are authorized for use in people 18 years and older, while the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is cleared for people 12 years and over.

Outside the U.S., Israel, the U.K. and the European Medicines Agency have cleared use of boosters, and many countries have been rolling out the shots. The World Health Organization, however, has encouraged rich nations to delay booster campaigns and send doses to countries with limited supplies.

Updated: 10-15-2021

Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Booster Shot Endorsed by FDA Advisers

The experts, whose recommendations are often followed by the FDA, said the agency should clear the extra dose for adults

Advisers to the Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously Friday to recommend the agency authorize an extra dose of Johnson & Johnson’s JNJ -0.71% Covid-19 vaccine, to shore up protection against the coronavirus.

The panel of outside doctors and experts voted 19-0 to recommend that all adults who received a first dose of the J&J vaccine should get the second dose at least two months later.

The FDA could decide on whether to clear a J&J booster within days.

The committee members, meeting virtually online, opted not to take a vote on whether it would be better for people to wait at least six months after the first dose to get the J&J booster shot. Panel members said the evidence was too limited for whether to wait six months for the booster.

J&J had requested that the FDA authorization recommend people wait six months, though they could get the booster as early as two months after the first dose. The company presented evidence showing varying effects when the booster is given between two and six months after the first dose.

The meeting is the latest by experts whose counsel the FDA has sought before making authorization decisions.

Their recommendation for J&J recipients includes everyone who has received the single-dose vaccine, making it more permissive than the authorization for the booster vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE, which is cleared for seniors and other high-risk adults.

The advisers voted unanimously on Thursday to recommend the FDA authorize a Moderna Inc. booster to a similar group of people as the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. An FDA decision is pending.

The single-dose J&J shot had lower efficacy against Covid-19 disease than the two-dose mRNA vaccines in studies. Committee members said it was important to give people who received the single shot similar protection to those who received the mRNA vaccines, which are made by Pfizer-BioNTech and by Moderna.

“The single dose does not seem to afford as much protection as the mRNA vaccines did, so this is really with the second dose bringing it on par with those other vaccines in terms of effectiveness,” said Archana Chatterjee, dean of the Chicago Medical School and a member of the committee.

The FDA also is weighing whether people who first get one vaccine should get booster shots of a different vaccine. The vaccine advisory committee discussed a study of that approach at the meeting Friday.

Preliminary data from a federal study released Wednesday suggests that people who originally got the J&J vaccine would get a stronger immune response from a booster dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, rather than another J&J dose.

Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said the agency may authorize mixing and matching primary vaccinations and booster doses but offered no time frame for the decision.

The Biden administration has been pushing boosters largely to counter any waning strength of vaccines and the contagious Delta variant. But many health experts have said there isn’t sufficient evidence to offer boosters to most people, beyond those who have weakened immune systems due to their age or medical condition.

J&J’s vaccine has been given as a single shot since it was authorized for use in the U.S. in late February, in contrast to the two-dose vaccine regimens from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

A large international clinical trial found that a single shot of J&J’s vaccine was about 66% effective at preventing moderate to severe cases of Covid-19. J&J said the vaccine has been 75% effective globally against severe and critical cases.

The company said there was no waning of protection against severe cases in the U.S. up to at least six months after vaccination with a single dose. Yet it said it has observed a decrease in protection against moderate to severe Covid-19 cases globally due to the emergence of coronavirus variants outside the U.S.

J&J studied giving a second dose at varying time points. In one large study of more than 31,000 people, J&J found that giving a second shot about two months after the first was about 75% effective at preventing moderate to severe Covid-19 cases, and was 100% effective against severe cases only.

In another, much smaller analysis involving only 17 study subjects, J&J found that providing a booster dose six months after the first dose boosted levels of neutralizing antibodies against the virus to well above pre-booster levels.

“I think the data is insufficient to say anything about a six-month interval,” said advisory committee member Mark Sawyer, a professor of clinical pediatrics at University of California San Diego School of Medicine. “I think, overall, the benefit outweighs the risk even though we have a paucity of data on some aspects of it.”

The FDA said the booster didn’t raise new safety concerns about the J&J vaccine, though the data was limited. A small number of recipients of the J&J vaccine have experienced a rare blood-clot condition, and the product sheets for the vaccine now inform recipients of that risk.

Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Booster Shot Endorsed by FDA Advisers

The experts, whose recommendations are often followed by the FDA, said the agency should clear the extra dose for adults.

Advisers to the Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously Friday to recommend the agency authorize an extra dose of Johnson & Johnson’s JNJ -0.71% Covid-19 vaccine, to shore up protection against the coronavirus.

The panel of outside doctors and experts voted 19-0 to recommend that all adults who received a first dose of the J&J vaccine should get the second dose at least two months later.

The FDA could decide on whether to clear a J&J booster within days.

The committee members, meeting virtually online, opted not to take a vote on whether it would be better for people to wait at least six months after the first dose to get the J&J booster shot. Panel members said the evidence was too limited for whether to wait six months for the booster.

J&J had requested that the FDA authorization recommend people wait six months, though they could get the booster as early as two months after the first dose. The company presented evidence showing varying effects when the booster is given between two and six months after the first dose.

The meeting is the latest by experts whose counsel the FDA has sought before making authorization decisions.

Their recommendation for J&J recipients includes everyone who has received the single-dose vaccine, making it more permissive than the authorization for the booster vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE, which is cleared for seniors and other high-risk adults.

The advisers voted unanimously on Thursday to recommend the FDA authorize a Moderna Inc. booster to a similar group of people as the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. An FDA decision is pending.

The single-dose J&J shot had lower efficacy against Covid-19 disease than the two-dose mRNA vaccines in studies. Committee members said it was important to give people who received the single shot similar protection to those who received the mRNA vaccines, which are made by Pfizer-BioNTech and by Moderna.

“The single dose does not seem to afford as much protection as the mRNA vaccines did, so this is really with the second dose bringing it on par with those other vaccines in terms of effectiveness,” said Archana Chatterjee, dean of the Chicago Medical School and a member of the committee.

The FDA also is weighing whether people who first get one vaccine should get booster shots of a different vaccine. The vaccine advisory committee discussed a study of that approach at the meeting Friday.

Preliminary data from a federal study released Wednesday suggests that people who originally got the J&J vaccine would get a stronger immune response from a booster dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, rather than another J&J dose.

Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said the agency may authorize mixing and matching primary vaccinations and booster doses but offered no time frame for the decision.

The Biden administration has been pushing boosters largely to counter any waning strength of vaccines and the contagious Delta variant. But many health experts have said there isn’t sufficient evidence to offer boosters to most people, beyond those who have weakened immune systems due to their age or medical condition.

J&J’s vaccine has been given as a single shot since it was authorized for use in the U.S. in late February, in contrast to the two-dose vaccine regimens from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

A large international clinical trial found that a single shot of J&J’s vaccine was about 66% effective at preventing moderate to severe cases of Covid-19. J&J said the vaccine has been 75% effective globally against severe and critical cases.

The company said there was no waning of protection against severe cases in the U.S. up to at least six months after vaccination with a single dose. Yet it said it has observed a decrease in protection against moderate to severe Covid-19 cases globally due to the emergence of coronavirus variants outside the U.S.

J&J studied giving a second dose at varying time points. In one large study of more than 31,000 people, J&J found that giving a second shot about two months after the first was about 75% effective at preventing moderate to severe Covid-19 cases, and was 100% effective against severe cases only.

In another, much smaller analysis involving only 17 study subjects, J&J found that providing a booster dose six months after the first dose boosted levels of neutralizing antibodies against the virus to well above pre-booster levels.

“I think the data is insufficient to say anything about a six-month interval,” said advisory committee member Mark Sawyer, a professor of clinical pediatrics at University of California San Diego School of Medicine. “I think, overall, the benefit outweighs the risk even though we have a paucity of data on some aspects of it.”

The FDA said the booster didn’t raise new safety concerns about the J&J vaccine, though the data was limited. A small number of recipients of the J&J vaccine have experienced a rare blood-clot condition, and the product sheets for the vaccine now inform recipients of that risk.

Updated: 10-21-2021

Pfizer-BioNTech Booster Shot Restores Full Covid Protection

Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE said a booster shot of their Covid-19 vaccine restored full protection in a large study, results that are likely to bolster the argument for giving a third dose more widely.

A booster was 95.6% effective against symptomatic Covid in the study, which followed 10,000 people aged 16 and older, the companies said in a statement Thursday. The fast-spreading delta variant was the predominate strain during the trial.

Pfizer shares fell 0.7% as of 10:09 a.m. in New York. BioNTech’s American depositary receipts gained 3.3%.

“We believe boosters have a critical role to play in addressing the ongoing public health threat of this pandemic,” Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said in a statement. The companies said they’ll share the data with health authorities in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere.

Regulators have wrestled with how widely to use boosters as the delta variant drives infection rates up. Some countries, such as Israel, are using boosters extensively.

Many others — including the U.S. and much of Europe — have thus far come down on the side of a third dose for the elderly and other high-risk individuals. Exactly where to draw the line on who is high-risk has also been a matter of debate.

Half the trial participants got a booster, with five cases in that group over an average follow-up period of two and a half months. There were 109 cases in the group randomly assigned a placebo shot. The booster was just as safe as the original two-dose vaccine.

The trial results show that “booster vaccinations could play an important role in sustaining pandemic containment and a return to normalcy,” BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said.

Trial participants received a booster an average of 11 months after their second dose of the vaccine. They were an average of 53 years old, with slightly under one-quarter of the group older than age 65. Efficacy of the third shot was consistent across age groups and among people with pre-existing conditions, the companies said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said this week that older or high-risk people who got Moderna Inc.’s treatment can also get an extra shot, as can all adults who took the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The agency backed mix-and-match boosters, saying that each of the available Covid shots can be used, no matter which vaccine the recipient got the first time.

Updated: 10-25-2021

How To Cut Through The Confusion On Vaccine Boosters

Don’t blame the experts for muddled messaging. They don’t always have the information they need, and people can figure out their own risk factors.

The messaging on vaccine boosters is muddled and confusing, yet the science is pretty straightforward and reassuring. Your vaccine is still cutting your risk of getting a severe case or dying from Covid-19, even if it has been a number of months since you got it.

Whenever they received the first shots, an extra jab is recommended for people over 65 and those with any number of immunity-compromising health conditions, or conditions that vastly raise Covid-19 risk, which are listed by the Centers for Disease Control. But what about if you are young and healthy and vaccinated?

“All three vaccines currently used in the United States will continue to protect against severe illness at a high level, and there’s no evidence of erosion,” Paul Offit, a vaccine expert at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told me.

Eric Toner, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, largely agrees. One reason there’s been debate, he said, is that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines already offer pretty good protection, even after seven to nine months.

The biggest change is the recommendation from the CDC last week that everyone who had the single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine get a second one — not because the single dose doesn’t work but because some measures suggest it isn’t as protective as the other vaccines available in the U.S.

The J&J vaccine’s efficacy against severe disease has most recently been measured at 74%, which goes up to 94% with boosters, according to clinical trials. The second shot brings it in line with Pfizer’s and Moderna’s, which are still showing over 90% protection against severe disease even as protection against milder infections now looks lower than it did last spring.

The other big change, which should be reassuring, is that your second or third shot can be any of the three vaccines offered in this country. There doesn’t seem to be any risk to mixing and matching.

Toner emphasized that since there’s consensus now about who should get a booster shot, there’s little need for an antibody test to try to determine whether your protection is wearing off.

For one thing, it’s not clear how well antibody tests correlate with an individual’s protection, he said. And immunity is complicated — you also get long-lasting virus-fighting cells, those B and T cells, which hide in your bone marrow and lymph nodes.

Risk is more important than antibody levels, and scientists have been consistent in recognizing that it is vastly higher for older people.

And they’ve consistently said that breakthrough infections are usually mild, or at least not life threatening enough to require hospitalization, but can be deadly in those with certain conditions which damage the immune system — people such as Colin Powell, who died at 84 from Covid-19 after a long battle with cancer.

Scientists have also been consistent in the message that the risks posed by the vaccines and boosters are low. So for people facing higher odds of contracting the disease, the benefits of an extra shot clearly outweigh the risks.

Still, people are confused by the mixed messages they are getting about whether the vaccines are wearing off or don’t work as well as we were told.

When I looked into this for a column last summer, Eric Topol of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, California, complained while the news was full of alarming reports of surging hospitalizations, nobody couldn’t find basic, crucial information about those hospitalized people — their ages, health status, whether they were vaccinated, which vaccines they got and when they were administered.

It was also a mistake for some doctors to try to push a message that vaccines didn’t prevent people from transmitting the virus, said Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease doctor at the University of California, San Francisco.

That message comes across as baffling or disingenuous when people are then urged to get vaccinated to protect other people. The bottom line, she said, is that the shots do vastly reduce the odds you will infect other people.

The vaccines not only make it much less likely you’ll get a severe case. They also reduce the number of mild or asymptomatic cases, and vaccinated people clear the virus faster if they are infected, so the shots reduce the odds you’ll give anyone the disease.

They’re not perfect. That’s why the experts agreed that a booster is also a good idea for health-care and nursing-home workers or others whose job puts them at risk or in contact with vulnerable people.

Don’t blame the experts for the confusion. Many have gone far out of their way to help people understand what’s going on, including the three interviewed for this column. But they don’t always have access to the information they’d like.

A recent press release from Pfizer, for example, touted a study in which 10,000 people were followed after getting either two or three shots. The results sounded impressive: 109 became infected in the two-shot group and only 5 in the three-shot group.

But the press release didn’t say what level of infection they tracked — was it severe or mild or just a positive test? Nor were the ages specified.

As I wrote last summer, part of the problem is numbers can be spun different ways, depending on whether the object is to persuade people to get the vaccine or to persuade the vaccinated to wear masks in public.

The messages that have rung true and held up over time are those that aim not to scare people or change their behavior but to inform us how to understand and mitigate our own risks and recognize our responsibilities to others.

Updated: 10-28-2021

U.S. Bets On Covid-19 Boosters’ Efficacy Against A Changing Virus, As Doses Roll Out

Federal health officials decide currently formulated vaccines work on original virus and variants.

Biden administration health officials are betting the current mix of vaccines and boosters will keep Covid-19 cases trending downward and fend off the contagious Delta variant, though the shots were developed to target the original virus.

After exploring whether Covid-19 vaccines need to be reformulated to fight variants like Delta, U.S. health officials said they decided already available doses should work.

The decision underlies the latest phase of the Biden administration’s vaccination campaign, which recently began rolling out newly authorized boosters while continuing to urge holdouts to get vaccinated.

Administration officials hope the campaign will help further drive down Covid-19 case counts, which have been dropping in recent weeks after Delta-fueled surges, and position the country to eventually move past the pandemic.

A strain able to evade the virus-fighting powers of the shots would undermine the efforts. Yet so far, there is no evidence that such a variant has emerged, the officials said.

“The current boosters appear to cover our current strains, including the Delta variant,” said Dr. Bob Seder, chief of cellular immunology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “Eight weeks after a booster, neutralizing levels were five times higher than eight weeks after initial immunization.”

Some public-health leaders say a variant-specific shot could be necessary at some point, and the administration is closely watching how vaccines hold up against a new Delta sub-variant that was recently identified in the United Kingdom.

“It’s too early to tell, you have to take it variant by variant,” Anthony Fauci, director of the NIAD said. The U.S. is, however, ready to pivot toward rolling out different vaccines if a new strain does emerge, he said. “It could happen, we just haven’t seen that.”

While companies chart their own course, their researchers sometimes work with government scientists, and they will listen to the guidance of the federal officials, especially since companies depend on regulatory clearances and government purchases of pandemic products.

Many vaccine experts outside the government agree there isn’t a need to reformulate doses, though some encourage a national effort to develop a universal coronavirus vaccine.

“What if we had updated the vaccines, for example, for the Alpha variant? That variant is no longer present in many places,” said Ramon Lorenzo-Redondo, a professor of infectious diseases at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

Vaccine makers Moderna Inc. as well as Pfizer Inc. and its partner BioNTech SE are testing variant-specific shots, but say the existing vaccines currently offer good protection against Delta and other variants.

The effectiveness of currently formulated doses has been a boon for the U.S. vaccination campaign because it meant the government was able to launch boosters without discarding doses it had on hand and straining manufacturing capacity.

Yet it was unclear in December whether vaccines would need to be updated after the more infectious Delta variant emerged in India.

By spring, data began emerging indicating vaccines already in use worked well against new versions of the virus.

Vaccinated monkeys that got boosters of shots from Pfizer and partner BioNTech and from Moderna generated higher levels of antibodies than after their initial doses.

After reviewing the results, federal health officials urged drugmakers to continue producing current vaccines rather than work on Delta-specific boosters.

In late spring, the Biden administration bought enough doses to provide boosters to fully vaccinated people in the U.S., administration health officials said.

Subsequent data supported the decision. In May, for instance, Moderna said that its research found a booster shot increased neutralizing antibodies against variants of concern.

The next month, the Biden administration bought another 200 million doses of the company’s shot in case boosters were needed.

Many researchers now say the current vaccines work against the Delta variant, though not as strongly as against the original virus and the shots have been found to lose strength over time.

Pfizer and BioNTech said last week that a study found a third dose of their vaccine resulted in a 95.6% efficacy rate.

In Israel, which began giving Pfizer-BioNTech boosters on July 30, the rate of confirmed infections in people who got boosters was more than 10 times lower on average than in the group that didn’t get boosters, according to a study published in October in the New England Journal of Medicine.


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President of El Salvador Says He’s Submitting Bill To Make Bitcoin Legal Tender

Bitcoin Falls As Weibo Appears To Suspend Some Crypto Accounts

Israel-Gaza Conflict Spurs Bitcoin Donations To Hamas

Bitcoin Bond Launch Brings Digital Currency Step Closer To ‘World Of High Finance’

Worst Month For BTC Price In 10 Years: 5 Things To Watch In Bitcoin

Networks vs. Governments: Could Crypto-Powered Digital Communities Challenge the Power of Cities and States?

Bitcoin Card Game Bitopoly Launches

Carbon-Neutral Bitcoin Funds Gain Traction As Investors Seek Greener Crypto

Ultimate Resource On The Bitcoin Mining Council

Libertarian Activists Launch Bitcoin Embassy In New Hampshire

Why The Bitcoin Crash Was A Big Win For Cryptocurrencies

Treasury Calls For Crypto Transfers Over $10,000 To Be Reported To IRS

Crypto Traders Can Automate Legal Requests With New DoNotPay Services

Bitcoin Marches Away From Crypto Pack In Show of Resiliency

NBA Top Shot Lawsuit Says Dapper’s NFTs Need SEC Clampdown

Maximalists At The Movies: Bitcoiners Crowdfunding Anti-FUD Documentary Film

Caitlin Long Reveals The ‘Real Reason’ People Are Selling Crypto

Microsoft Quietly Closing Down Azure Blockchain In September

How Much Energy Does Bitcoin Actually Consume?

Bitcoin Should Be Priced In Sats And How Do We Deliver This Message

Bitcoin Loses 6% In An Hour After Tesla Drops Payments Over Carbon Concerns

Crypto Twitter Decodes Why Zuck Really Named His Goats ‘Max’ And ‘Bitcoin’

Bitcoin Pullback Risk Rises As Whales Resume Selling

Thiel-Backed Injects Billions In Crypto Exchange

Sequoia, Tiger Global Boost Crypto Bet With Start-up Lender Babel

Here’s How To Tell The Difference Between Bitcoin And Ethereum

In Crypto, Sometimes The Best Thing You Can Do Is Nothing

Crypto Community Remembers Hal Finney’s Contributions To Blockchain On His 65Th Birthday

DJ Khaled ft. Nas, JAY-Z & James Fauntleroy And Harmonies Rap Bitcoin Wealth

The Two Big Themes In The Crypto Market Right Now

Crypto Could Still Be In Its Infancy, Says T. Rowe Price’s CEO

Governing Body Of Louisiana Gives Bitcoin Its Nod Of Approval

Sports Athletes Getting Rich From Bitcoin

Behind Bitcoin’s Recent Slide: Imploding Bets And Forced Liquidations

Bad Omen? US Dollar And Bitcoin Are Both Slumping In A Rare Trend

Wall Street Starts To See Weakness Emerge In Bitcoin Charts

Crypto For The Long Term: What’s The Outlook?

Mix of Old, Wrong And Dubious ‘News/FUD’ Scares Rookie Investors, Fuels Crypto Selloff

Wall Street Pays Attention As Bitcoin Market Cap Nears The Valuation Of Google

Bitcoin Price Drops To $52K, Liquidating Almost $10B In Over-Leveraged Longs

Bitcoin Funding Rates Crash To Lowest Levels In 7 Months, Peak Fear?

Investors’ On-Chain Activity Hints At Bitcoin Price Cycle Top Above $166,000

This Vegan Billionaire Disrupted The Crypto Markets. Now He Wants To Tokenize Stocks

Texas Crypto Law Proposal Has One Major Flaw In Regards To Bitcoin Loans/Liens Says Caitlin Long, CEO

Black Americans Are Embracing Bitcoin To Make Up For Stolen Time

Rap Icon Nas Could Net $100M When Coinbase Lists on Nasdaq

The First Truly Native Cross-Chain DEX Is About To Go Live

Reminiscing On Past ‘Bitcoin Faucet’ Website That Gave Away 19,700 BTC For Free

Bitcoin Nears Record Before Largest U.S. Crypto Exchange Coinbase Nears $100 Billion Valuation Listing

3X As Many Crypto Figures Make It Onto Forbes 2021 Billionaires List As Last Year

Bubble Or A Drop In The Ocean? Putting Bitcoin’s $1 Trillion Milestone Into Perspective

Pension Funds And Insurance Firms Alive To Bitcoin Investment Proposal

Here’s Why April May Be The Best Month Yet For Bitcoin Price

Blockchain-Based Renewable Energy Marketplaces Gain Traction In 2021

Crypto Firms Got More Funding Last Quarter Than In All of 2020

Government-Backed Bitcoin Hash Wars Will Be The New Space Race

Lars Wood On Enhanced SAT Solvers Based Hashing Method For Bitcoin Mining

Morgan Stanley Adds Bitcoin Exposure To 12 Investment Funds

One BTC Will Be Worth A Lambo By 2022, And A Bugatti By 2023: Kraken CEO

Rocketing Bitcoin Price Provides Refuge For The Brave

Bitcoin Is 3rd Largest World Currency

Does BlockFi’s Risk Justify The Reward?

Crypto Media Runs With The Bulls As New Entrants Compete Against Established Brands

Bitcoin’s Never-Ending Bubble And Other Mysteries

The Last Dip Is The Deepest As Wife Leaves Husband For Buying More Bitcoin Raises $300 Million As Investors Find Other Ways Into Bitcoin

Crypto Kids Camp

What Is BitClout? The Social Media Experiment Sparking Controversy On Twitter

Bitcoin Searches In Turkey Spike 566% After Turkish Lira Drops 14%

Crypto Is Banned In Morocco, But Bitcoin Purchases Are Soaring

Bitcoin Can Be Sent With A Tweet As Bottlepay Twitter App Goes Live

Rise of Crypto Market’s Quiet Giants Has Big Market Implications

Canadian Property Firm Buys Bitcoin In Hopes Of Eventually Scrapping Condo Fees

Bitcoin Price Gets Fed Boost But Bond Yields Could Play Spoilsport: Analysts

Bank of America Claims It Costs Just $93 Million To Move Bitcoin’s Price By 1%

Would A US Wealth Tax Push Millionaires To Bitcoin Adoption?

NYDIG Head Says Major Firms Will Announce Bitcoin ‘Milestones’ Next Week

Signal Encrypted Messenger Now Accepts Donations In Bitcoin

Bitcoin Is Now Worth More Than Visa And Mastercard Combined

Retail Bitcoin Customers Rival Wall Street Buyers As Mania Builds

Crypto’s Rising. So Are The Stakes For Governments Everywhere

Bitcoin Falls After Weekend Rally Pushes Token To Fresh Record

Oakland A’s Major League Baseball Team Now Accepts Bitcoin For Suites

Students In Georgia Set To Be Taught About Crypto At High School

What You Need To Know About Bitcoin Now

Bitcoin Winning Streak Now At 7 Days As Fresh Stimulus Keeps Inflation Bet Alive

Bitcoin Intraday Trading Pattern Emerges As Institutions Pile In

If 60/40 Recipe Sours, Maybe Stir In Some Bitcoin

Explaining Bitcoin’s Speculative Attack On The Dollar

VIX-Like Gauge For Bitcoin Sees Its First-Ever Options Trade

A Utopian Vision Gets A Blockchain Twist In Nevada

Crypto Influencers Scramble To Recover Twitter Accounts After Suspensions

Bitcoin Breaks Through $57,000 As Risk Appetite Revives

Analyzing Bitcoin’s Network Effect

US Government To Sell 0.7501 Bitcoin Worth $38,000 At Current Prices

Pro Traders Avoid Bitcoin Longs While Cautiously Watching DXY Strengthen

Bitcoin Hits Highest Level In Two Weeks As Big-Money Bets Flow

OG Status In Crypto Is A Liability

Bridging The Bitcoin Gender Gap: Crypto Lets Everyone Access Wealth

HODLing Early Leads To Relationship Troubles? Redditors Share Their Stories

Want To Be Rich? Bitcoin’s Limited Supply Cap Means You Only Need 0.01 BTC

You Can Earn 6%, 8%, Even 12% On A Bitcoin ‘Savings Account’—Yeah, Right

Egyptians Are Buying Bitcoin Despite Prohibitive New Banking Laws

Is March Historically A Bad Month For Bitcoin?

Suze Orman: ‘I love Bitcoin’

Bitcoin Falls 4% As Fed’s Powell Sees ‘Concern’ Over Rising Bond Yields

US Retailers See Millions In Lost Sales Due To Port Congestion, Shortage Of Containers

Pandemic-Relief Aid Boosts Household Income Which Causes Artificial Economic Stimulus

YouTube Suspends CoinDesk’s Channel Over Unspecified Violations

It’s Gates Versus Musk As World’s Richest Spar Over Bitcoin

Charlie Munger Is Sure Bitcoin Will Fail To Become A Global Medium Of Exchange

Bitcoin Is Minting Thousands Of Crypto ‘Diamond Hands’ Millionaires Complete W/Laser Eyes

Federal Reserve’s Wire & ACH Systems Go Down, Visa & Mastercard Raise Fees, Meanwhile, Bitcoin Works Just Fine

Dubai’s IBC Group Pledges 100,000 Bitcoin ($4.8 Billion) 20% Of All Bitcoin, Largest So Far

Bitcoin’s Value Is All In The Eye Of The ‘Bithodler’

Bitcoin Is Hitting Record Highs. Why It’s Not Too Late To Dig For Digital Gold

$56.3K Bitcoin Price And $1Trillion Market Cap Signal BTC Is Here To Stay

Christie’s Auction House Will Now Accept Cryptocurrency

Why A Chinese New Year Bitcoin Sell-Off Did Not Happen This Year

The US Federal Reserve Will Adopt Bitcoin As A Reserve Asset

Motley Fool Adding $5M In Bitcoin To Its ‘10X Portfolio’ — Has A $500K Price Target

German Cannabis Company Hedges With Bitcoin In Case Euro Crashes

Bitcoin: What To Know Before Investing

China’s Cryptocurrency Stocks Left Behind In Bitcoin Frenzy

Bitcoin’s Epic Run Is Winning More Attention On Wall Street

Bitcoin Jumps To $50,000 As Record-Breaking Rally Accelerates

Bitcoin’s Volatility Should Burn Investors. It Hasn’t

Bitcoin’s Latest Record Run Is Less Volatile Than The 2017 Boom

Blockchain As A Replacement To The MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration System)

The Ultimate Resource On “PriFi” Or Private Finance

Deutsche Bank To Offer Bitcoin Custody Services

BeanCoin Currency Casts Lifeline To Closed New Orleans Bars

Bitcoin Could Enter ‘Supercycle’ As Fed Balance Sheet Hits New Record High

Crypto Mogul Bets On ‘Meme Investing’ With Millions In GameStop

Iran’s Central Banks Acquires Bitcoin Even Though Lagarde Says Central Banks Will Not Hold Bitcoin

Bitcoin To Come To America’s Oldest Bank, BNY Mellon

Tesla’s Bitcoin-Equals-Cash View Isn’t Shared By All Crypto Owners

How A Lawsuit Against The IRS Is Trying To Expand Privacy For Crypto Users

Apple Should Launch Own Crypto Exchange, RBC Analyst Says

Bitcoin Hits $43K All-Time High As Tesla Invests $1.5 Billion In BTC

Bitcoin Bounces Off Top of Recent Price Range

Top Fiat Currencies By Market Capitalization VS Bitcoin

Bitcoin Eyes $50K Less Than A Month After BTC Price Broke Its 2017 All-Time High

Investors Piling Into Overvalued Crypto Funds Risk A Painful Exit

Parents Should Be Aware Of Their Children’s Crypto Tax Liabilities

Miami Mayor Says City Employees Should Be Able To Take Their Salaries In Bitcoin

Bitcoiners Get Last Laugh As IBM’s “Blockchain Not Bitcoin” Effort Goes Belly-up

Bitcoin Accounts Offer 3-12% Rates In A Low-Interest World

Analyst Says Bitcoin Price Sell-Off May Occur As Chinese New Year Approaches

Why The Crypto World Needs To Build An Amazon Of Its Own

Tor Project’s Crypto Donations Increased 23% In 2020

Social Trading Platform eToro Ended 2020 With $600M In Revenue

Bitcoin Billionaire Set To Run For California Governor

GameStop Investing Craze ‘Proof of Concept’ For Bitcoin Success

Bitcoin Entrepreneurs Install Mining Rigs In Cars. Will Trucks And Tractor Trailers Be Next?

Harvard, Yale, Brown Endowments Have Been Buying Bitcoin For At Least A Year

Bitcoin Return To $40,000 In Doubt As Flows To Key Fund Slow

Ultimate Resource For Leading Non-Profits Focused On Policy Issues Facing Cryptocurrencies

Regulate Cryptocurrencies? Not Yet

Check Out These Cryptocurrency Clubs And Bitcoin Groups!

Blockchain Brings Unicorns To Millennials

Crypto-Industry Prepares For Onslaught Of Public Listings

Bitcoin Core Lead Maintainer Steps Back, Encourages Decentralization

Here Are Very Bitcoiny Ways To Get Bitcoin Exposure

To Understand Bitcoin, Just Think of It As A Faith-Based Asset

Cryptos Won’t Work As Actual Currencies, UBS Economist Says

Older Investors Are Getting Into Crypto, New Survey Finds

Access Denied: Banks Seem Prone To Cryptophobia Despite Growing Adoption

Pro Traders Buy The Dip As Bulls Address A Trifecta Of FUD News Announcements

Andreas Antonopoulos And Others Debunk Bitcoin Double-Spend FUD

New Bitcoin Investors Explain Why They’re Buying At Record Prices

When Crypto And Traditional Investors Forget Fundamentals, The Market Is Broken

First Hyperledger-based Cryptocurrency Explodes 486% Overnight On Bittrex BTC Listing

Bitcoin Steady As Analysts Say Getting Back To $40,000 Is Key

Coinbase, MEVP Invest In Crypto-Asset Startup Rain

Synthetic Dreams: Wrapped Crypto Assets Gain Traction Amid Surging Market

Secure Bitcoin Self-Custody: Balancing Safety And Ease Of Use

Voyager Crypto App Review

UBS (A Totally Corrupt And Criminal Bank) Warns Clients Crypto Prices Can Actually Go To Zero

Bitcoin Swings Undermine CFO Case For Converting Cash To Crypto

CoinLab Cuts Deal With Mt. Gox Trustee Over Bitcoin Claims

Bitcoin Slides Under $35K Despite Biden Unveiling $1.9 Trillion Stimulus

Bitcoin Refuses To ‘Die’ As BTC Price Hits $40K Just Three Days After Crash

Ex-Ripple CTO Can’t Remember Password To Access $240M In Bitcoin

Financial Advisers Are Betting On Bitcoin As A Hedge

ECB President Christine Lagarde (French Convict) Says, Bitcoin Enables “Funny Business.”

German Police Shut Down Darknet Marketplace That Traded Bitcoin

Bitcoin Miner That’s Risen 1,400% Says More Regulation Is Needed

Bitcoin Rebounds While Leaving Everyone In Dark On True Worth

UK Treasury Calls For Feedback On Approach To Cryptocurrency And Stablecoin Regulation

What Crypto Users Need Know About Changes At The SEC

Where Does This 28% Bitcoin Price Drop Rank In History? Not Even In The Top 5

Seven Times That US Regulators Stepped Into Crypto In 2020

Retail Has Arrived As Paypal Clears $242M In Crypto Sales Nearly Double The Previous Record

Bitcoin’s Slide Dents Price Momentum That Dwarfed Everything

Does Bitcoin Boom Mean ‘Better Gold’ Or Bigger Bubble?

Bitcoin Whales Are Profiting As ‘Weak Hands’ Sell BTC After Price Correction

Crypto User Recovers Long-Lost Private Keys To Access $4M In Bitcoin

The Case For And Against Investing In Bitcoin

Bitcoin’s Wild Weekends Turn Efficient Market Theory Inside Out

Mega-Bullish News For Bitcoin As Elon Musk Says, “Pay Me In Bitcoin” And Biden Says, “Ignore Budget Deficits”!

Bitcoin Price Briefly Surpasses Market Cap Of Tencent

Broker Touts Exotic Bitcoin Bet To Squeeze Income From Crypto

Broker Touts Exotic Bitcoin Bet To Squeeze Income From Crypto

Tesla’s Crypto-Friendly CEO Is Now The Richest Man In The World

Crypto Market Cap Breaks $1 Trillion Following Jaw-Dropping Rally

Gamblers Could Use Bitcoin At Slot Machines With New Patent

Crypto Users Donate $400K To Julian Assange Defense As Mexico Proposes Asylum

Grayscale Ethereum Trust Fell 22% Despite Rally In Holdings

Bitcoin’s Bulls Should Fear Its Other Scarcity Problem

Ether Follows Bitcoin To Record High Amid Dizzying Crypto Rally

Retail Investors Are Largely Uninvolved As Bitcoin Price Chases $40K

Bitcoin Breaches $34,000 As Rally Extends Into New Year

Social Media Interest In Bitcoin Hits All-Time High

Bitcoin Price Quickly Climbs To $31K, Liquidating $100M Of Shorts

How Massive Bitcoin Buyer Activity On Coinbase Propelled BTC Price Past $32K

FinCEN Wants US Citizens To Disclose Offshore Crypto Holdings of $10K+

Governments Will Start To Hodl Bitcoin In 2021

Crypto-Linked Stocks Extend Rally That Produced 400% Gains

‘Bitcoin Liquidity Crisis’ — BTC Is Becoming Harder To Buy On Exchanges, Data Shows

Bitcoin Looks To Gain Traction In Payments

BTC Market Cap Now Over Half A Trillion Dollars. Major Weekly Candle Closed!!

Elon Musk And Satoshi Nakamoto Making Millionaires At Record Pace

Binance Enables SegWit Support For Bitcoin Deposits As Adoption Grows

Santoshi Nakamoto Delivers $24.5K Christmas Gift With Another New All-Time High

Bitcoin’s Rally Has Already Outlasted 2017’s Epic Run

Gifting Crypto To Loved Ones This Holiday? Educate Them First

Scaramucci’s SkyBridge Files With SEC To Launch Bitcoin Fund

Samsung Integrates Bitcoin Wallets And Exchange Into Galaxy Phones

HTC Smartphone Will Run A Full Bitcoin Node (#GotBitcoin?)

HTC’s New 5G Router Can Host A Full Bitcoin Node

Bitcoin Miners Are Heating Homes Free of Charge

Bitcoin Miners Will Someday Be Incorporated Into Household Appliances

Musk Inquires About Moving ‘Large Transactions’ To Bitcoin

How To Invest In Bitcoin: It Can Be Easy, But Watch Out For Fees

Megan Thee Stallion Gives Away $1 Million In Bitcoin

CoinFLEX Sets Up Short-Term Lending Facility For Crypto Traders

Wall Street Quants Pounce On Crytpo Industry And Some Are Not Sure What To Make Of It

Bitcoin Shortage As Wall Street FOMO Turns BTC Whales Into ‘Plankton’

Bitcoin Tops $22,000 And Strategists Say Rally Has Further To Go

Why Bitcoin Is Overpriced by More Than 50%

Kraken Exchange Will Integrate Bitcoin’s Lightning Network In 2021

New To Bitcoin? Stay Safe And Avoid These Common Scams

Andreas M. Antonopoulos And Simon Dixon Say Don’t Buy Bitcoin!

Famous Former Bitcoin Critics Who Conceded In 2020

Jim Cramer Bought Bitcoin While ‘Off Nicely From The Top’ In $17,000S

The Wealthy Are Jumping Into Bitcoin As Stigma Around Crypto Fades

WordPress Adds Official Ethereum Ad Plugin

France Moves To Ban Anonymous Crypto Accounts To Prevent Money Laundering

10 Predictions For 2021: China, Bitcoin, Taxes, Stablecoins And More

Movie Based On Darknet Market Silk Road Premiering In February

Crypto Funds Have Seen Record Investment Inflow In Recent Weeks

US Gov Is Bitcoin’s Last Remaining Adversary, Says Messari Founder

$1,200 US Stimulus Check Is Now Worth Almost $4,000 If Invested In Bitcoin

German Bank Launches Crypto Fund Covering Portfolio Of Digital Assets

World Governments Agree On Importance Of Crypto Regulation At G-7 Meeting

Why Some Investors Get Bitcoin So Wrong, And What That Says About Its Strengths

It’s Not About Data Ownership, It’s About Data Control, EFF Director Says

‘It Will Send BTC’ — On-Chain Analyst Says Bitcoin Hodlers Are Only Getting Stronger

Bitcoin Arrives On Wall Street: S&P Dow Jones Launching Crypto Indexes In 2021

Audio Streaming Giant Spotify Is Looking Into Crypto Payments

BlackRock (Assets Under Management $7.4 Trillion) CEO: Bitcoin Has Caught Our Attention

Bitcoin Moves $500K Around The Globe Every Second, Says Samson Mow

Pomp Talks Shark Tank’s Kevin O’leary Into Buying ‘A Little More’ Bitcoin

Bitcoin Is The Tulipmania That Refuses To Die

Ultimate Resource On Ethereum 2.0

Biden Should Integrate Bitcoin Into Us Financial System, Says Niall Ferguson

Bitcoin Is Winning The Monetary Revolution

Cash Is Trash, Dump Gold, Buy Bitcoin!

Bitcoin Price Sets New Record High Above $19,783

You Call That A Record? Bitcoin’s November Gains Are 3x Stock Market’s

Bitcoin Fights Back With Power, Speed and Millions of Users

Guggenheim Fund ($295 Billion Assets Under Management) Reserves Right To Put Up To 10% In Bitcoin Trust!

Exchanges Outdo Auctions For Governments Cashing In Criminal Crypto, Says Exec

Coinbase CEO: Trump Administration May ‘Rush Out’ Burdensome Crypto Wallet Rules

Bitcoin Plunges Along With Other Coins Providing For A Major Black Friday Sale Opportunity

The Most Bullish Bitcoin Arguments For Your Thanksgiving Table

‘Bitcoin Tuesday’ To Become One Of The Largest-Ever Crypto Donation Events

World’s First 24/7 Crypto Call-In Station!!!

Bitcoin Trades Again Near Record, Driven By New Group Of Buyers

Friendliest Of Them All? These Could Be The Best Countries For Crypto

Bitcoin Price Doubles Since The Halving, With Just 3.4M Bitcoin Left For Buyers

First Company-Sponsored Bitcoin Retirement Plans Launched In US

Poker Players Are Enhancing Winnings By Cashing Out In Bitcoin

Crypto-Friendly Brooks Gets Nod To Serve 5-Year Term Leading Bank Regulator

The Bitcoin Comeback: Is Crypto Finally Going Mainstream?

The Dark Future Where Payments Are Politicized And Bitcoin Wins

Mexico’s 3rd Richest Man Reveals BTC Holdings As Bitcoin Breaches $18,000

Ultimate Resource On Mike Novogratz And Galaxy Digital’s Bitcoin News

Bitcoin’s Gunning For A Record And No One’s Talking About It

Simple Steps To Keep Your Crypto Safe

US Company Now Lets Travelers Pay For Passports With Bitcoin

Billionaire Hedge Fund Investor Stanley Druckenmiller Says He Owns Bitcoin In CNBC Interview

China’s UnionPay And Korea’s Danal To Launch Crypto-Supporting Digital Card #GotBitcoin

Bitcoin Is Back Trading Near Three-Year Highs

Bitcoin Transaction Fees Rise To 28-Month High As Hashrate Drops Amid Price Rally

Market Is Proving Bitcoin Is ‘Ultimate Safe Haven’ — Anthony Pompliano

3 Reasons Why Bitcoin Price Suddenly Dropping Below $13,000 Isn’t Bearish

Bitcoin Resurgence Leaves Institutional Acceptance Unanswered

Bitcoin’s Rivalry With Gold Plus Millennial Interest Gives It ‘Considerable’ Upside Potential: JPMorgan

WordPress Content Can Now Be Timestamped On Ethereum

PayPal To Offer Crypto Payments Starting In 2021 (A-Z) (#GotBitcoin?)

As Bitcoin Approaches $13,000 It Breaks Correlation With Equities

Crypto M&A Surges Past 2019 Total As Rest of World Eclipses U.S. (#GotBitcoin?)

How HBCUs Are Prepping Black Students For Blockchain Careers

Why Every US Congressman Just Got Sent Some ‘American’ Bitcoin

CME Sounding Out Crypto Traders To Gauge Market Demand For Ether Futures, Options

Caitlin Long On Bitcoin, Blockchain And Rehypothecation (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Drops To $10,446.83 As CFTC Charges BitMex With Illegally Operating Derivatives Exchange

BitcoinACKs Lets You Track Bitcoin Development And Pay Coders For Their Work

One Of Hal Finney’s Lost Contributions To Bitcoin Core To Be ‘Resurrected’ (#GotBitcoin?)

Cross-chain Money Markets, Latest Attempt To Bring Liquidity To DeFi

Memes Mean Mad Money. Those Silly Defi Memes, They’re Really Important (#GotBitcoin?)

Bennie Overton’s Story About Our Corrupt U.S. Judicial, Global Financial Monetary System And Bitcoin

Stop Fucking Around With Public Token Airdrops In The United States (#GotBitcoin?)

Mad Money’s Jim Cramer Will Invest 1% Of Net Worth In Bitcoin Says, “Gold Is Dangerous”

State-by-state Licensing For Crypto And Payments Firms In The Us Just Got Much Easier (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin (BTC) Ranks As World 6Th Largest Currency

Pomp Claims He Convinced Jim Cramer To Buy Bitcoin

Traditional Investors View Bitcoin As If It Were A Technology Stock

Mastercard Releases Platform Enabling Central Banks To Test Digital Currencies (#GotBitcoin?)

Being Black On Wall Street. Top Black Executives Speak Out About Racism (#GotBitcoin?)

Tesla And Bitcoin Are The Most Popular Assets On TradingView (#GotBitcoin?)

From COVID Generation To Crypto Generation (#GotBitcoin?)

Right-Winger Tucker Carlson Causes Grayscale Investments To Pull Bitcoin Ads

Bitcoin Has Lost Its Way: Here’s How To Return To Crypto’s Subversive Roots

Cross Chain Is Here: NEO, ONT, Cosmos And NEAR Launch Interoperability Protocols (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Trading Products Enter The Mainstream With A Number Of Inherent Advantages (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Goes Mainstream With TV, Newspaper Ads (#GotBitcoin?)

A Guarded Generation: How Millennials View Money And Investing (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockchain-Backed Social Media Brings More Choice For Users

California Moves Forward With Digital Asset Bill (#GotBitcoin?)

Walmart Adds Crypto Cashback Through Shopping Loyalty Platform StormX (#GotBitcoin?)

Congressman Tom Emmer To Lead First-Ever Crypto Town Hall (#GotBitcoin?)

Why It’s Time To Pay Attention To Mexico’s Booming Crypto Market (#GotBitcoin?)

The Assets That Matter Most In Crypto (#GotBitcoin?)

Ultimate Resource On Non-Fungible Tokens

Bitcoin Community Highlights Double-Standard Applied Deutsche Bank Epstein Scandal

Blockchain Makes Strides In Diversity. However, Traditional Tech Industry Not-S0-Much (#GotBitcoin?)

An Israeli Blockchain Startup Claims It’s Invented An ‘Undo’ Button For BTC Transactions

After Years of Resistance, BitPay Adopts SegWit For Cheaper Bitcoin Transactions

US Appeals Court Allows Warrantless Search of Blockchain, Exchange Data

Central Bank Rate Cuts Mean ‘World Has Gone Zimbabwe’

This Researcher Says Bitcoin’s Elliptic Curve Could Have A Secret Backdoor

China Discovers 4% Of Its Reserves Or 83 Tons Of It’s Gold Bars Are Fake (#GotBitcoin?)

Former Legg Mason Star Bill Miller And Bloomberg Are Optimistic About Bitcoin’s Future

Yield Chasers Are Yield Farming In Crypto-Currencies (#GotBitcoin?)

Australia Post Office Now Lets Customers Buy Bitcoin At Over 3,500 Outlets

Anomaly On Bitcoin Sidechain Results In Brief Security Lapse

SEC And DOJ Charges Lobbying Kingpin Jack Abramoff And Associate For Money Laundering

Veteran Commodities Trader Chris Hehmeyer Goes All In On Crypto (#GotBitcoin?)

Activists Document Police Misconduct Using Decentralized Protocol (#GotBitcoin?)

Supposedly, PayPal, Venmo To Roll Out Crypto Buying And Selling (#GotBitcoin?)

Industry Leaders Launch PayID, The Universal ID For Payments (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Quant Fund Debuts With $23M In Assets, $2.3B In Trades (#GotBitcoin?)

The Queens Politician Who Wants To Give New Yorkers Their Own Crypto

Why Does The SEC Want To Run Bitcoin And Ethereum Nodes?

Trump Orders Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin To Destroy Bitcoin Just Like They Destroyed The Traditional Economy

US Drug Agency Failed To Properly Supervise Agent Who Stole $700,000 In Bitcoin In 2015

Layer 2 Will Make Bitcoin As Easy To Use As The Dollar, Says Kraken CEO

Bootstrapping Mobile Mesh Networks With Bitcoin Lightning

Nevermind Coinbase — Big Brother Is Already Watching Your Coins (#GotBitcoin?)

BitPay’s Prepaid Mastercard Launches In US to Make Crypto Accessible (#GotBitcoin?)

Germany’s Deutsche Borse Exchange To List New Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Product

‘Bitcoin Billionaires’ Movie To Tell Winklevoss Bros’ Crypto Story

US Pentagon Created A War Game To Fight The Establishment With BTC (#GotBitcoin?)

JPMorgan Provides Banking Services To Crypto Exchanges Coinbase And Gemini (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Advocates Cry Foul As US Fed Buying ETFs For The First Time

Final Block Mined Before Halving Contained Reminder of BTC’s Origins (#GotBitcoin?)

Meet Brian Klein, Crypto’s Own ‘High-Stakes’ Trial Attorney (#GotBitcoin?)

3 Reasons For The Bitcoin Price ‘Halving Dump’ From $10K To $8.1K

Bitcoin Outlives And Outlasts Naysayers And First Website That Declared It Dead Back In 2010

Hedge Fund Pioneer Turns Bullish On Bitcoin Amid ‘Unprecedented’ Monetary Inflation

Antonopoulos: Chainalysis Is Helping World’s Worst Dictators & Regimes (#GotBitcoin?)

Survey Shows Many BTC Holders Use Hardware Wallet, Have Backup Keys (#GotBitcoin?)

Iran Ditches The Rial Amid Hyperinflation As Localbitcoins Seem To Trade Near $35K

Buffett ‘Killed His Reputation’ by Being Stupid About BTC, Says Max Keiser (#GotBitcoin?)

Meltem Demirors: “Bitcoin Is Not A F*Cking Systemic Hedge If You Hold Your Bitcoin At A Financial Institution”

Blockfolio Quietly Patches Years-Old Security Hole That Exposed Source Code (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Won As Store of Value In Coronavirus Crisis — Hedge Fund CEO

Decentralized VPN Gaining Steam At 100,000 Users Worldwide (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Exchange Offers Credit Lines so Institutions Can Trade Now, Pay Later (#GotBitcoin?)

Zoom Develops A Cryptocurrency Paywall To Reward Creators Video Conferencing Sessions (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Startup And Major Bitcoin Cash Partner To Shut Down After 6-Year Run

Open Interest In CME Bitcoin Futures Rises 70% As Institutions Return To Market

Square’s Users Can Route Stimulus Payments To BTC-Friendly Cash App

$1.1 Billion BTC Transaction For Only $0.68 Demonstrates Bitcoin’s Advantage Over Banks

Bitcoin Could Become Like ‘Prison Cigarettes’ Amid Deepening Financial Crisis

Bitcoin Holds Value As US Debt Reaches An Unfathomable $24 Trillion

How To Get Money (Crypto-currency) To People In An Emergency, Fast

US Intelligence To Study What Would Happen If U.S. Dollar Lost Its Status As World’s Reserve Currency (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Miner Manufacturers Mark Down Prices Ahead of Halving

Privacy-Oriented Browsers Gain Traction (#GotBitcoin?)

‘Breakthrough’ As Lightning Uses Web’s Forgotten Payment Code (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Starts Quarter With Price Down Just 10% YTD vs U.S. Stock’s Worst Quarter Since 2008

Bitcoin Enthusiasts, Liberal Lawmakers Cheer A Fed-Backed Digital Dollar

Crypto-Friendly Bank Revolut Launches In The US (#GotBitcoin?)

The CFTC Just Defined What ‘Actual Delivery’ of Crypto Should Look Like (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto CEO Compares US Dollar To Onecoin Scam As Fed Keeps Printing (#GotBitcoin?)

Stuck In Quarantine? Become A Blockchain Expert With These Online Courses (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin, Not Governments Will Save the World After Crisis, Tim Draper Says

Crypto Analyst Accused of Photoshopping Trade Screenshots (#GotBitcoin?)

QE4 Begins: Fed Cuts Rates, Buys $700B In Bonds; Bitcoin Rallies 7.7%

Mike Novogratz And Andreas Antonopoulos On The Bitcoin Crash

Amid Market Downturn, Number of People Owning 1 BTC Hits New Record (#GotBitcoin?)

Fatburger And Others Feed $30 Million Into Ethereum For New Bond Offering (#GotBitcoin?)

Pornhub Will Integrate PumaPay Recurring Subscription Crypto Payments (#GotBitcoin?)

Intel SGX Vulnerability Discovered, Cryptocurrency Keys Threatened

Bitcoin’s Plunge Due To Manipulation, Traditional Markets Falling or PlusToken Dumping?

Countries That First Outlawed Crypto But Then Embraced It (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Maintains Gains As Global Equities Slide, US Yield Hits Record Lows

HTC’s New 5G Router Can Host A Full Bitcoin Node

India Supreme Court Lifts RBI Ban On Banks Servicing Crypto Firms (#GotBitcoin?)

Analyst Claims 98% of Mining Rigs Fail to Verify Transactions (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockchain Storage Offers Security, Data Transparency And immutability. Get Over it!

Black Americans & Crypto (#GotBitcoin?)

Coinbase Wallet Now Allows To Send Crypto Through Usernames (#GotBitcoin)

New ‘Simpsons’ Episode Features Jim Parsons Giving A Crypto Explainer For The Masses (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto-currency Founder Met With Warren Buffett For Charity Lunch (#GotBitcoin?)

Witches Love Bitcoin

Bitcoin’s Potential To Benefit The African And African-American Community

Coinbase Becomes Direct Visa Card Issuer With Principal Membership

Bitcoin Achieves Major Milestone With Half A Billion Transactions Confirmed

Jill Carlson, Meltem Demirors Back $3.3M Round For Non-Custodial Settlement Protocol Arwen

Crypto Companies Adopt Features Similar To Banks (Only Better) To Drive Growth (#GotBitcoin?)

Top Graphics Cards That Will Turn A Crypto Mining Profit (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Usage Among Merchants Is Up, According To Data From Coinbase And BitPay

Top 10 Books Recommended by Crypto (#Bitcoin) Thought Leaders

Twitter Adds Bitcoin Emoji, Jack Dorsey Suggests Unicode Does The Same

Bitcoiners Are Now Into Fasting. Read This Article To Find Out Why

You Can Now Donate Bitcoin Or Fiat To Show Your Support For All Of Our Valuable Content

2019’s Top 10 Institutional Actors In Crypto (#GotBitcoin?)

What Does Twitter’s New Decentralized Initiative Mean? (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto-Friendly Silvergate Bank Goes Public On New York Stock Exchange (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Best Q1 Since 2013 To ‘Escalate’ If $9.5K Is Broken

Billionaire Investor Tim Draper: If You’re a Millennial, Buy Bitcoin

What Are Lightning Wallets Doing To Help Onboard New Users? (#GotBitcoin?)

If You Missed Out On Investing In Amazon, Bitcoin Might Be A Second Chance For You (#GotBitcoin?)

2020 And Beyond: Bitcoin’s Potential Protocol (Privacy And Scalability) Upgrades (#GotBitcoin?)

US Deficit Will Be At Least 6 Times Bitcoin Market Cap — Every Year (#GotBitcoin?)

Central Banks Warm To Issuing Digital Currencies (#GotBitcoin?)

Meet The Crypto Angel Investor Running For Congress In Nevada (#GotBitcoin?)

Introducing BTCPay Vault – Use Any Hardware Wallet With BTCPay And Its Full Node (#GotBitcoin?)

How Not To Lose Your Coins In 2020: Alternative Recovery Methods (#GotBitcoin?)

H.R.5635 – Virtual Currency Tax Fairness Act of 2020 ($200.00 Limit) 116th Congress (2019-2020)

Adam Back On Satoshi Emails, Privacy Concerns And Bitcoin’s Early Days

The Prospect of Using Bitcoin To Build A New International Monetary System Is Getting Real

How To Raise Funds For Australia Wildfire Relief Efforts (Using Bitcoin And/Or Fiat )

Former Regulator Known As ‘Crypto Dad’ To Launch Digital-Dollar Think Tank (#GotBitcoin?)

Currency ‘Cold War’ Takes Center Stage At Pre-Davos Crypto Confab (#GotBitcoin?)

A Blockchain-Secured Home Security Camera Won Innovation Awards At CES 2020 Las Vegas

Bitcoin’s Had A Sensational 11 Years (#GotBitcoin?)

Sergey Nazarov And The Creation Of A Decentralized Network Of Oracles

Google Suspends MetaMask From Its Play App Store, Citing “Deceptive Services”

Christmas Shopping: Where To Buy With Crypto This Festive Season

At 8,990,000% Gains, Bitcoin Dwarfs All Other Investments This Decade

Coinbase CEO Armstrong Wins Patent For Tech Allowing Users To Email Bitcoin

Bitcoin Has Got Society To Think About The Nature Of Money

How DeFi Goes Mainstream In 2020: Focus On Usability (#GotBitcoin?)

Dissidents And Activists Have A Lot To Gain From Bitcoin, If Only They Knew It (#GotBitcoin?)

At A Refugee Camp In Iraq, A 16-Year-Old Syrian Is Teaching Crypto Basics

Bitclub Scheme Busted In The US, Promising High Returns From Mining

Bitcoin Advertised On French National TV

Germany: New Proposed Law Would Legalize Banks Holding Bitcoin

How To Earn And Spend Bitcoin On Black Friday 2019

The Ultimate List of Bitcoin Developments And Accomplishments

Charities Put A Bitcoin Twist On Giving Tuesday

Family Offices Finally Accept The Benefits of Investing In Bitcoin

An Army Of Bitcoin Devs Is Battle-Testing Upgrades To Privacy And Scaling

Bitcoin ‘Carry Trade’ Can Net Annual Gains With Little Risk, Says PlanB

Max Keiser: Bitcoin’s ‘Self-Settlement’ Is A Revolution Against Dollar

Blockchain Can And Will Replace The IRS

China Seizes The Blockchain Opportunity. How Should The US Respond? (#GotBitcoin?)

Jack Dorsey: You Can Buy A Fraction Of Berkshire Stock Or ‘Stack Sats’

Bitcoin Price Skyrockets $500 In Minutes As Bakkt BTC Contracts Hit Highs

Bitcoin’s Irreversibility Challenges International Private Law: Legal Scholar

Bitcoin Has Already Reached 40% Of Average Fiat Currency Lifespan

Yes, Even Bitcoin HODLers Can Lose Money In The Long-Term: Here’s How (#GotBitcoin?)

Unicef To Accept Donations In Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Former Prosecutor Asked To “Shut Down Bitcoin” And Is Now Face Of Crypto VC Investing (#GotBitcoin?)

Switzerland’s ‘Crypto Valley’ Is Bringing Blockchain To Zurich

Next Bitcoin Halving May Not Lead To Bull Market, Says Bitmain CEO

Tim Draper Bets On Unstoppable Domain’s .Crypto Domain Registry To Replace Wallet Addresses (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Developer Amir Taaki, “We Can Crash National Economies” (#GotBitcoin?)

Veteran Crypto And Stocks Trader Shares 6 Ways To Invest And Get Rich

Have I Missed The Boat? – Best Ways To Purchase Cryptocurrency

Is Chainlink Blazing A Trail Independent Of Bitcoin?

Nearly $10 Billion In BTC Is Held In Wallets Of 8 Crypto Exchanges (#GotBitcoin?)

SEC Enters Settlement Talks With Alleged Fraudulent Firm Veritaseum (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockstream’s Samson Mow: Bitcoin’s Block Size Already ‘Too Big’

Attorneys Seek Bank Of Ireland Execs’ Testimony Against OneCoin Scammer (#GotBitcoin?)

OpenLibra Plans To Launch Permissionless Fork Of Facebook’s Stablecoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Tiny $217 Options Trade On Bitcoin Blockchain Could Be Wall Street’s Death Knell (#GotBitcoin?)

Class Action Accuses Tether And Bitfinex Of Market Manipulation (#GotBitcoin?)

Sharia Goldbugs: How ISIS Created A Currency For World Domination (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Eyes Demand As Hong Kong Protestors Announce Bank Run (#GotBitcoin?)

How To Securely Transfer Crypto To Your Heirs

‘Gold-Backed’ Crypto Token Promoter Karatbars Investigated By Florida Regulators (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto News From The Spanish-Speaking World (#GotBitcoin?)

Financial Services Giant Morningstar To Offer Ratings For Crypto Assets (#GotBitcoin?)

‘Gold-Backed’ Crypto Token Promoter Karatbars Investigated By Florida Regulators (#GotBitcoin?)

The Original Sins Of Cryptocurrencies (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Is The Fraud? JPMorgan Metals Desk Fixed Gold Prices For Years (#GotBitcoin?)

Israeli Startup That Allows Offline Crypto Transactions Secures $4M (#GotBitcoin?)

[PSA] Non-genuine Trezor One Devices Spotted (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Stronger Than Ever But No One Seems To Care: Google Trends (#GotBitcoin?)

First-Ever SEC-Qualified Token Offering In US Raises $23 Million (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Prove A Whole Blockchain With One Math Problem – Really

Crypto Mining Supply Fails To Meet Market Demand In Q2: TokenInsight

$2 Billion Lost In Mt. Gox Bitcoin Hack Can Be Recovered, Lawyer Claims (#GotBitcoin?)

Fed Chair Says Agency Monitoring Crypto But Not Developing Its Own (#GotBitcoin?)

Wesley Snipes Is Launching A Tokenized $25 Million Movie Fund (#GotBitcoin?)

Mystery 94K BTC Transaction Becomes Richest Non-Exchange Address (#GotBitcoin?)

A Crypto Fix For A Broken International Monetary System (#GotBitcoin?)

Four Out Of Five Top Bitcoin QR Code Generators Are Scams: Report (#GotBitcoin?)

Waves Platform And The Abyss To Jointly Launch Blockchain-Based Games Marketplace (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitmain Ramps Up Power And Efficiency With New Bitcoin Mining Machine (#GotBitcoin?)

Ledger Live Now Supports Over 1,250 Ethereum-Based ERC-20 Tokens (#GotBitcoin?)

Miss Finland: Bitcoin’s Risk Keeps Most Women Away From Cryptocurrency (#GotBitcoin?)

Artist Akon Loves BTC And Says, “It’s Controlled By The People” (#GotBitcoin?)

Ledger Live Now Supports Over 1,250 Ethereum-Based ERC-20 Tokens (#GotBitcoin?)

Co-Founder Of LinkedIn Presents Crypto Rap Video: Hamilton Vs. Satoshi (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Insurance Market To Grow, Lloyd’s Of London And Aon To Lead (#GotBitcoin?)

No ‘AltSeason’ Until Bitcoin Breaks $20K, Says Hedge Fund Manager (#GotBitcoin?)

NSA Working To Develop Quantum-Resistant Cryptocurrency: Report (#GotBitcoin?)

Custody Provider Legacy Trust Launches Crypto Pension Plan (#GotBitcoin?)

Vaneck, SolidX To Offer Limited Bitcoin ETF For Institutions Via Exemption (#GotBitcoin?)

Russell Okung: From NFL Superstar To Bitcoin Educator In 2 Years (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Miners Made $14 Billion To Date Securing The Network (#GotBitcoin?)

Why Does Amazon Want To Hire Blockchain Experts For Its Ads Division?

Argentina’s Economy Is In A Technical Default (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockchain-Based Fractional Ownership Used To Sell High-End Art (#GotBitcoin?)

Portugal Tax Authority: Bitcoin Trading And Payments Are Tax-Free (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin ‘Failed Safe Haven Test’ After 7% Drop, Peter Schiff Gloats (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Dev Reveals Multisig UI Teaser For Hardware Wallets, Full Nodes (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Price: $10K Holds For Now As 50% Of CME Futures Set To Expire (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Realized Market Cap Hits $100 Billion For The First Time (#GotBitcoin?)

Stablecoins Begin To Look Beyond The Dollar (#GotBitcoin?)

Bank Of England Governor: Libra-Like Currency Could Replace US Dollar (#GotBitcoin?)

Binance Reveals ‘Venus’ — Its Own Project To Rival Facebook’s Libra (#GotBitcoin?)

The Real Benefits Of Blockchain Are Here. They’re Being Ignored (#GotBitcoin?)

CommBank Develops Blockchain Market To Boost Biodiversity (#GotBitcoin?)

SEC Approves Blockchain Tech Startup Securitize To Record Stock Transfers (#GotBitcoin?)

SegWit Creator Introduces New Language For Bitcoin Smart Contracts (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Earn Bitcoin Rewards For Postmates Purchases (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Price ‘Will Struggle’ In Big Financial Crisis, Says Investor (#GotBitcoin?)

Fidelity Charitable Received Over $100M In Crypto Donations Since 2015 (#GotBitcoin?)

Would Blockchain Better Protect User Data Than FaceApp? Experts Answer (#GotBitcoin?)

Just The Existence Of Bitcoin Impacts Monetary Policy (#GotBitcoin?)

What Are The Biggest Alleged Crypto Heists And How Much Was Stolen? (#GotBitcoin?)

IRS To Cryptocurrency Owners: Come Clean, Or Else!

Coinbase Accidentally Saves Unencrypted Passwords Of 3,420 Customers (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Is A ‘Chaos Hedge, Or Schmuck Insurance‘ (#GotBitcoin?)

Bakkt Announces September 23 Launch Of Futures And Custody

Coinbase CEO: Institutions Depositing $200-400M Into Crypto Per Week (#GotBitcoin?)

Researchers Find Monero Mining Malware That Hides From Task Manager (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Dusting Attack Affects Nearly 300,000 Addresses (#GotBitcoin?)

A Case For Bitcoin As Recession Hedge In A Diversified Investment Portfolio (#GotBitcoin?)

SEC Guidance Gives Ammo To Lawsuit Claiming XRP Is Unregistered Security (#GotBitcoin?)

15 Countries To Develop Crypto Transaction Tracking System: Report (#GotBitcoin?)

US Department Of Commerce Offering 6-Figure Salary To Crypto Expert (#GotBitcoin?)

Mastercard Is Building A Team To Develop Crypto, Wallet Projects (#GotBitcoin?)

Canadian Bitcoin Educator Scams The Scammer And Donates Proceeds (#GotBitcoin?)

Amazon Wants To Build A Blockchain For Ads, New Job Listing Shows (#GotBitcoin?)

Shield Bitcoin Wallets From Theft Via Time Delay (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockstream Launches Bitcoin Mining Farm With Fidelity As Early Customer (#GotBitcoin?)

Commerzbank Tests Blockchain Machine To Machine Payments With Daimler (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Historical Returns Look Very Attractive As Online Banks Lower Payouts On Savings Accounts (#GotBitcoin?)

Man Takes Bitcoin Miner Seller To Tribunal Over Electricity Bill And Wins (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Computing Power Sets Record As Over 100K New Miners Go Online (#GotBitcoin?)

Walmart Coin And Libra Perform Major Public Relations For Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Judge Says Buying Bitcoin Via Credit Card Not Necessarily A Cash Advance (#GotBitcoin?)

Poll: If You’re A Stockowner Or Crypto-Currency Holder. What Will You Do When The Recession Comes?

1 In 5 Crypto Holders Are Women, New Report Reveals (#GotBitcoin?)

Beating Bakkt, Ledgerx Is First To Launch ‘Physical’ Bitcoin Futures In Us (#GotBitcoin?)

Facebook Warns Investors That Libra Stablecoin May Never Launch (#GotBitcoin?)

Government Money Printing Is ‘Rocket Fuel’ For Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin-Friendly Square Cash App Stock Price Up 56% In 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)

Safeway Shoppers Can Now Get Bitcoin Back As Change At 894 US Stores (#GotBitcoin?)

TD Ameritrade CEO: There’s ‘Heightened Interest Again’ With Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Venezuela Sets New Bitcoin Volume Record Thanks To 10,000,000% Inflation (#GotBitcoin?)

Newegg Adds Bitcoin Payment Option To 73 More Countries (#GotBitcoin?)

China’s Schizophrenic Relationship With Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

More Companies Build Products Around Crypto Hardware Wallets (#GotBitcoin?)

Bakkt Is Scheduled To Start Testing Its Bitcoin Futures Contracts Today (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Network Now 8 Times More Powerful Than It Was At $20K Price (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Exchange BitMEX Under Investigation By CFTC: Bloomberg (#GotBitcoin?)

“Bitcoin An ‘Unstoppable Force,” Says US Congressman At Crypto Hearing (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Network Is Moving $3 Billion Daily, Up 210% Since April (#GotBitcoin?)

Cryptocurrency Startups Get Partial Green Light From Washington

Fundstrat’s Tom Lee: Bitcoin Pullback Is Healthy, Fewer Searches Аre Good (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Lightning Nodes Are Snatching Funds From Bad Actors (#GotBitcoin?)

The Provident Bank Now Offers Deposit Services For Crypto-Related Entities (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Could Help Stop News Censorship From Space (#GotBitcoin?)

US Sanctions On Iran Crypto Mining — Inevitable Or Impossible? (#GotBitcoin?)

US Lawmaker Reintroduces ‘Safe Harbor’ Crypto Tax Bill In Congress (#GotBitcoin?)

EU Central Bank Won’t Add Bitcoin To Reserves — Says It’s Not A Currency (#GotBitcoin?)

The Miami Dolphins Now Accept Bitcoin And Litecoin Crypt-Currency Payments (#GotBitcoin?)

Trump Bashes Bitcoin And Alt-Right Is Mad As Hell (#GotBitcoin?)

Goldman Sachs Ramps Up Development Of New Secret Crypto Project (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockchain And AI Bond, Explained (#GotBitcoin?)

Grayscale Bitcoin Trust Outperformed Indexes In First Half Of 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)

XRP Is The Worst Performing Major Crypto Of 2019 (GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Back Near $12K As BTC Shorters Lose $44 Million In One Morning (#GotBitcoin?)

As Deutsche Bank Axes 18K Jobs, Bitcoin Offers A ‘Plan ฿”: VanEck Exec (#GotBitcoin?)

Argentina Drives Global LocalBitcoins Volume To Highest Since November (#GotBitcoin?)

‘I Would Buy’ Bitcoin If Growth Continues — Investment Legend Mobius (#GotBitcoin?)

Lawmakers Push For New Bitcoin Rules (#GotBitcoin?)

Facebook’s Libra Is Bad For African Americans (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Firm Charity Announces Alliance To Support Feminine Health (#GotBitcoin?)

Canadian Startup Wants To Upgrade Millions Of ATMs To Sell Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Trump Says US ‘Should Match’ China’s Money Printing Game (#GotBitcoin?)

Casa Launches Lightning Node Mobile App For Bitcoin Newbies (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Rally Fuels Market In Crypto Derivatives (#GotBitcoin?)

World’s First Zero-Fiat ‘Bitcoin Bond’ Now Available On Bloomberg Terminal (#GotBitcoin?)

Buying Bitcoin Has Been Profitable 98.2% Of The Days Since Creation (#GotBitcoin?)

Another Crypto Exchange Receives License For Crypto Futures

From ‘Ponzi’ To ‘We’re Working On It’ — BIS Chief Reverses Stance On Crypto (#GotBitcoin?)

These Are The Cities Googling ‘Bitcoin’ As Interest Hits 17-Month High (#GotBitcoin?)

Venezuelan Explains How Bitcoin Saves His Family (#GotBitcoin?)

Quantum Computing Vs. Blockchain: Impact On Cryptography

This Fund Is Riding Bitcoin To Top (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Surge Leaves Smaller Digital Currencies In The Dust (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Exchange Hits $1 Trillion In Trading Volume (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Breaks $200 Billion Market Cap For The First Time In 17 Months (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Make State Tax Payments In Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Religious Organizations Make Ideal Places To Mine Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Goldman Sacs And JP Morgan Chase Finally Concede To Crypto-Currencies (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Heading For Fifth Month Of Gains Despite Price Correction (#GotBitcoin?)

Breez Reveals Lightning-Powered Bitcoin Payments App For IPhone (#GotBitcoin?)

Big Four Auditing Firm PwC Releases Cryptocurrency Auditing Software (#GotBitcoin?)

Amazon-Owned Twitch Quietly Brings Back Bitcoin Payments (#GotBitcoin?)

JPMorgan Will Pilot ‘JPM Coin’ Stablecoin By End Of 2019: Report (#GotBitcoin?)

Is There A Big Short In Bitcoin? (#GotBitcoin?)

Coinbase Hit With Outage As Bitcoin Price Drops $1.8K In 15 Minutes

Samourai Wallet Releases Privacy-Enhancing CoinJoin Feature (#GotBitcoin?)

There Are Now More Than 5,000 Bitcoin ATMs Around The World (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Get Bitcoin Rewards When Booking At Hotels.Com (#GotBitcoin?)

North America’s Largest Solar Bitcoin Mining Farm Coming To California (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin On Track For Best Second Quarter Price Gain On Record (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Hash Rate Climbs To New Record High Boosting Network Security (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Exceeds 1Million Active Addresses While Coinbase Custodies $1.3B In Assets

Why Bitcoin’s Price Suddenly Surged Back $5K (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Lightning Comes To Apple Smartwatches With New App (#GotBitcoin?)

E-Trade To Offer Crypto Trading (#GotBitcoin)

US Rapper Lil Pump Starts Accepting Bitcoin Via Lightning Network On Merchandise Store (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitfinex Used Tether Reserves To Mask Missing $850 Million, Probe Finds (#GotBitcoin?)

21-Year-Old Jailed For 10 Years After Stealing $7.5M In Crypto By Hacking Cell Phones (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Shop With Bitcoin On Amazon Using Lightning (#GotBitcoin?)

Afghanistan, Tunisia To Issue Sovereign Bonds In Bitcoin, Bright Future Ahead (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Faithful Say Blockchain Can Remake Securities Market Machinery (#GotBitcoin?)

Disney In Talks To Acquire The Owner Of Crypto Exchanges Bitstamp And Korbit (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Exchange Gemini Rolls Out Native Wallet Support For SegWit Bitcoin Addresses (#GotBitcoin?)

Binance Delists Bitcoin SV, CEO Calls Craig Wright A ‘Fraud’ (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Outperforms Nasdaq 100, S&P 500, Grows Whopping 37% In 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Passes A Milestone 400 Million Transactions (#GotBitcoin?)

Future Returns: Why Investors May Want To Consider Bitcoin Now (#GotBitcoin?)

Next Bitcoin Core Release To Finally Connect Hardware Wallets To Full Nodes (#GotBitcoin?)

Major Crypto-Currency Exchanges Use Lloyd’s Of London, A Registered Insurance Broker (#GotBitcoin?)

How Bitcoin Can Prevent Fraud And Chargebacks (#GotBitcoin?)

Why Bitcoin’s Price Suddenly Surged Back $5K (#GotBitcoin?)

Zebpay Becomes First Exchange To Add Lightning Payments For All Users (#GotBitcoin?)

Coinbase’s New Customer Incentive: Interest Payments, With A Crypto Twist (#GotBitcoin?)

The Best Bitcoin Debit (Cashback) Cards Of 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)

Real Estate Brokerages Now Accepting Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Ernst & Young Introduces Tax Tool For Reporting Cryptocurrencies (#GotBitcoin?)

How Will Bitcoin Behave During A Recession? (#GotBitcoin?)

Investors Run Out of Options As Bitcoin, Stocks, Bonds, Oil Cave To Recession Fears (#GotBitcoin?)

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