Millions of Americans are opting out of receiving their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The New York Times reports that nearly 8% of the people who’ve so far received their first dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines have missed their follow-up appointments to receive the second dose.
So far, more than 26% of the US population has been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to data published by Johns Hopkins University. That figure represents about 85 million people.
There are several reasons a growing number of Americans are choosing not to receive the second dose, the Times reported. Some has said they don’t want to experience any potential side effects while others feel like one dose should be enough protection against the virus.
Then, the CDC recommended vaccine providers prioritize people over the age of 75 and give them coronavirus vaccines. Some states like New York now allow all people 16 years or older to schedule and receive a vaccine.
Last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases specialist, said he predicts all kids will be able to receive a vaccine against the coronavirus by the beginning of 2022, marking another milestone in vaccine rollout.
In order to be fully vaccinated, individuals must receive two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Both have high efficacy rates, according to CDC data. CDC officials say getting both doses of either vaccine makes people up to 90% less likely to catch the virus.
Nearly 32 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic last year, JHU data show. Of that, more than 571,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating the death of an Oregon woman who developed a rare, but serious blood clot within two weeks of receiving Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced Thursday.
The pause followed six reports of central venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), a rare blood clot that forms in the brain, among women ages 18 and 48 who had received J&J’s shot. The women developed the clots within two weeks of being vaccinated. They also reported low levels of platelets – colorless blood cells that help clots form.
In the statement, the OHA said the Oregon woman had the same combination of CVST and low platelets.
Dr. Shimi Sharief, senior health advisor with the OHA, told reporters that the woman’s symptoms were consistent with that of the other rare blood clot cases. Symptoms for this type of clot include severe and unusual headache, shortness of breath, stroke-like symptoms, abdominal pain, and small microbleeds.
Sharief emphasized that the possible adverse effect is very rare.
The CDC is still investigating whether CVST cases are related to the J&J vaccine. On Friday, an independent advisory panel for the CDC will vote on whether to end the pause on the shot – 10 days after the recommendation was issued.
The death of the Oregon woman will be discussed at that meeting.
She is the second death associated with rare blood clots following the J&J vaccine: A 45-year-old woman in Virginia also died after receiving the shot in March.
More than 8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the US. Sharief said that, to her knowledge, Oregon health authorities are not investigating any other cases in the state.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
The US Transport Security Administration (TSA) said Sunday it has screened more than 1 million passengers at US airports every day since March 11. It screened around 13 million passengers over the 10-day period, it said.
Though travel is allowed, current CDC guidance says people should “delay travel and stay home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19, even if you are vaccinated.”
For the first time during the pandemic, air travel is higher than it was at the same time a year ago. On Saturday, the most recent day data is available for, the TSA screened nearly 1.37 million passengers – more than double the number it screened on the same day in 2020.
US air travel peaked on Friday, when the TSA screened close to 1.47 million passengers, the most in more than a year.
If people have to travel, the CDC urges them to get tested both before and after flying, and quarantine at their destination, even if they test negative. Passengers must wear face masks on all flights, following an executive order from Biden, with few exemptions, and the CDC says they should get a COVID-19 vaccine, if possible.
All international arrivals are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board a flight to the US.
“The move is undoubtedly costing the country’s second-largest airline millions in lost revenue over spring break but helps solidify Delta’s image as a safety-minded airline long after the pandemic ends, which may help it attract more travelers in the long run,” Insider’s Thomas Pallini reported.
But those planning a post-vaccination vacation might still want to hold off as the public health agency has not revised its stance on non-essential travel, even after receiving the full course of a vaccine.
“Travel increases your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19,” the agency advises. “CDC recommends that you do not travel at this time.”
If travel is unavoidable or individuals choose to travel against public health recommendations, the CDC does have some advice on how to do it safely.
“If you are traveling, get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip,” the CDC says. “Make sure you have the results of your negative test before you travel.”
Traveling while positive can put countless individuals at risk if they are exposed. Healthcare may also be difficult to find while traveling, especially if traveling internationally.
Those planning to travel after receiving the vaccine should also wait at least two weeks after receiving the final dose to ensure the body has had time to build protections against COVID-19, according to the CDC.
Even vaccinated travelers should still maintain social distancing, wear a face covering, and plan ahead to avoid potential exposure. The CDC recommends travelers be mindful about their travel plans to avoid exposure as even taking public transportation while traveling can increase the chances of contracting COVID-19.
Vaccinated individuals are also not exempt from the CDC’s new testing requirement for US-bound international flights.
All international arrivals, even US citizens, are required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within three calendar days of departure of the first flight of a US-bound itinerary. If a traveler is flying from Tel Aviv, Israel to New York via London, UK, for example, the test would need to be taken no more than three calendar days before the Tel Aviv to London flight.
Individuals that had recently recovered COVID-19, however, can show proof of a positive test from the prior three months and a letter from a “healthcare provider or a public health official” approving travel.
The CDC also recommends getting tested between three to five days after travel and quarantining regardless of the result. Travelers should quarantine for seven days following travel if they get tested and for 10 days if they do not get tested.
Individual states across the country are beginning to relax travel restrictions and giving travelers more options to avoid quarantine as vaccinations increase.
Non-vaccinated arrivals or those that hadn’t recently contracted COVID-19 can test-out of quarantine only if they have a negative result from a test taken within three days of departure and receive a second negative test at least four days into their isolation.
Connecticut is also scaling back its travel guidelines, changing its requirements to mere recommendations for inbound visitors and residents. The state formerly required a 10-day quarantine for travelers arriving from most US states and all foreign countries but did allow test-out options.
Vaccination does not fully protect from contracting COVID-19 and those that experience symptoms after travel should still take precautions including self-quarantine and regular testing, the CDC says.
Air travel is on the rise compared to 2020 with more than one million passengers departing from US airports regularly since late-February, according to Transportation Security Administration data. Airlines are accelerated vaccine rollout hoping the will help salvage the summer season, a normally busy season for travel.
But with President Joe Biden announcing that access to vaccines will be greatly expanded in the upcoming months, some are viewing that as a sign to travel again.
Recent travel data from Hopper reveals that domestic flight searches increased by 58% from January 1 to March 1. Searches for summer flights also increased by almost 50% in the last two weeks of February, indicating the public’s desire to travel.
Despite the CDC’s warnings, summer 2021 may be the summer of travel.
The United States will begin tracking people who arrive from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea, two countries facing Ebola outbreaks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday that the US government will “institute public health measures” for travelers coming in from those two countries “out of an abundance of caution,” as the threat of the outbreaks to the US remained low.
“Beginning next week, the US government will funnel travelers from DRC and Guinea to six US airports,” the agency said in a statement. “Airlines will collect and transmit passenger information to CDC for public health follow-up and intervention for all passengers boarding a flight to the US who were in DRC or Guinea within the previous 21 days.”
The information will be shared with local health departments for tracking and monitoring.
As Insider’s Morgan McFall-Johnson previously reported, Ebola can lead to fever, aches, and fatigue. It has a fatality rate of about 50%. At least three people have died in Guinea from Ebola since the outbreak was detected in February.
The Democratic Republic of Congo reported another outbreak earlier this month as well, according to the World Health Organization.
The risk of Ebola becoming an outbreak in the United States is “extremely low,” the CDC said.
But the agency still recommends that the US take precautions, especially as the country battles new variants of the coronavirus.
In 2016, more than 11,000 people died from a two-year Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
The Guinean government is taking steps to put an end to the resurgence before it spreads more widely. A new Ebola treatment center is being constructed and an Ebola vaccine is being rushed out, Insider’s McFall-Johnson reported.
COVID-19 case counts have been falling at a rapid rate for weeks, but top health officials warn that progress seems to be “stalling” just as some states have begun to lift restrictions.
During a White House briefing on Friday, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said there had been a rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases in recent days.
“Over the last few weeks, cases and hospital admissions in the United States had been coming down since early January and deaths had been declining in the past week,” Walensky said. “But the latest data suggests that these declines may be stalling, potentially leveling off at, still, a very high number.”
She said the most recent 7-day average of deaths due to COVID-19 is about 2,000 per day, which indicates a slight increase.
Although the US had been experiencing dramatic declines in cases and hospitalizations, she said those declines followed “the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic.”
Walensky said the reason for the shift could be increasingly prominent variants of the novel coronavirus, including some that are more transmissible. Experts say one variant that was first found in the UK, B.1.1.7, is expected to account for most COVID-19 cases in the US by March.
“Things are tenuous. Now is not the time to relax restrictions,” she said.
“We may be done with the virus, but clearly, the virus is not done with us. We cannot get comfortable or give in to a false sense of security that the worst of the pandemic is behind us – not now; not when mass vaccination is so very close.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and President Biden’s chief medical adviser for COVID-19, also emphasized the importance of vaccinations during the briefing.
“It is important to get as many people vaccinated as quickly and as expeditiously as possible,” Fauci said.
He said if the case counts plateau now around 70,000 per day, as the data seems to suggest, the US would be in a “very precarious position that we were right before the fall surge.”
Fauci said states should watch what happens over the next week or so before making decisions about lifting restrictions.
President Donald Trump on Sunday railed against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, saying the agency exaggerates the number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths.
The CDC is run by people he appointed himself. The agency has been updating new cases and death counts daily for months.
“The number of cases and deaths of the China Virus is far exaggerated in the United States because of @CDCgov’s ridiculous method of determination compared to other countries, many of whom report, purposely, very inaccurately and low,” Trump tweeted. “‘When in doubt, call it Covid.’ Fake News!”
Importantly, the CDC and other COVID-19 trackers are only able to identify the number of known coronavirus cases and deaths. Experts for months have suggested that the case and death toll rates are actually muchhigher than known, since some cases might not be reported.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious diseases specialist and a core member of the White House coronavirus task force, disputed Trump’s remarks on Sunday.
Speaking on ABC News’ “This Week,” Fauci said the deaths “are real” and objected to Trump’s tweet.
“All you need to do is go out into the trenches,” he said. “Go to the hospitals and see what the healthcare workers are dealing with. They are under very stressful situations in many areas of the country. The hospital beds are stretched, people are running out of beds, running out of trained personnel who are exhausted.”
“That’s real,” Fauci continued. “That’s not fake. That’s real.”
US Surgeon General Jerome Adams also disputed Trump’s tweet. “From a public health perspective, I have no reason to doubt those numbers,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday.
Trump’s remarks came as the number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States crossed over 350,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 20,000,000 confirmed cases in the country, JHU data show.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
TikTok said it has removed the account for Vybe Together, a “secret party app,” which used social media to promote large New Year’s Eve gatherings in New York City that appear to break COVID-19 safety protocols.
A Vybe Together video promoting “secret gatherings” in New York City every weekend with videos of crowds of people indoors without wearing masks was viewed nearly 11,000 times before TikTok removed the account for violating its community guidelines. New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz first spotted the app’s TikTok account.
“We are like Eventbrite, but way cooler,” a Vybe Together spokesperson said in an email to Business Insider. “Vybe’s can be anything from playing board games to bachata with your neighbors. A lot of people have been isolated and lonely and we wanted to enable them to meet. We are aware that large gatherings are not okay and we do not promote them. If we see events are popular we take them off!”
Vybe Together allows users to find and create private parties. Only members approved by Vybe Together can use the app.
After facing criticism, Vybe Together removed its FAQ page, contact page, and careers page from its website. The only post remaining on the app’s Instagram reads “blown out of proportion by the media. We DO NOT CONDONE LARGE GATHERINGS!!!” The Vybe Together website still asks users, “Miss playing beer bong, flirting with strangers, and generally having a blast with the crew?” and invites them to, “Get your rebel on.”
According to LinkedIn, Alexander Dimcevski, a Baruch college alum, cofounded an app called Trendies in January 2020, which appears to have rebranded as Vybe Together. The vybetogether.com domain was registered on September 14, 2020. Vybe Together did not respond to inquiries regarding the company’s founding date, headquarters, or investors.
According to its website, Vybe Together is owned by Chaparone Corporation, which Dimcevski registered as a New York City business to a Manhattan address on January 24, 2019.
A post shared by Vybe Together (@vybetogether)
The Vybe Together app, first posted to the App Store four months ago, but was quickly removed after Business Insider inquired about it with Apple. An Apple representative did not respond to a request for comment.
Immunologists and other experts worry New Year’s Eve parties could cause COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths to spike. More than 63,000 people have died of COVID-19 in December, marking the month the deadliest of the pandemic. Gov. Gavin Newsom placed a stay-at-home order in California as ICU capacity reached critical lows this month, causing overflowing hospitals to place patients in gift shops.
Researchers and infectious diseases experts have found evidence that COVID-19 spreads faster indoors among maskless people, which can make small gatherings risky.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended staying home for New Years Eve. If Americans choose to gather, the CDC said to wear masks, stay six-feet apart, avoid crowds, and avoid alcohol and shouting.
Eventbrite laid off 45% of its staff in April, Billboard reported, due to the pandemic’s impact on the live events industry. Eventbrite reported 73% less net revenue in the third quarter of 2020 than in the same period last year.
“The COVID-19 global pandemic is a very dynamic situation for everyone, including event creators, who are the hosts, facilitators and owners of the experiences on Eventbrite’s platform,” an Eventbrite spokesperson said in an email to Business Insider. “Our Community Guidelines have always prohibited events that promote or contain illegal behavior and our community plays an essential role in reporting any concerning event listings or content.”
Healthcare workers recently told Business Insider they expect COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations to climb after Christmas and New Year’s Eve, which could exacerbate burnout among doctors and nurses.
“I’m pretty worried about the surge after the Christmas and New Year’s holidays,” San Francisco-based emergency room nurse Jason Harrison told Business Insider. “I’ve seen no indication that the population is going to modify or reduce its travel.”