Some health experts worried this month's pause of the use of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine would make people wary of getting it. No existing government data measures whether that happened, but anecdotal reports from across the country suggest that people are still eager to get the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Vaccine seekers have said that immunization’s convenience outweighs their worry about the rare blood clots that prompted the pause.
The Biden administration plans to deliver to India more than $100 million worth of coronavirus aid amid an outbreak there. India's surge has bested the country's health-care infrastructure and crippled its vaccination campaign. The U.S. government is simultaneously warning against travel to India and urging citizens to leave as soon as possible because of the dwindling access to medical care. Even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk of contracting and spreading coronavirus variants in India, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
India also ranks behind 101 other nations in how frequently it performs genetic sequencing on the virus. The nation is sequencing only 0.06 percent of its infections, making it hard for health experts to tell how much of its dramatic surge is due to highly transmissible variants.
U.S. unemployment claims fell to their lowest level of the pandemic for the third straight week as the economy grew 1.6 percent in the first three months of the year. While the news signaled the expectation of an economic boom, personal finances remain bleak for many. Poverty rose to 11.7 percent in March, the highest level of the pandemic, and more than 17 million people were collecting unemployment benefits this month. The Federal Reserve attributes the overall economic recovery to vaccinations and “strong policy support," even as inflation rises.
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Infectious-disease experts are pushing back after Joe Rogan, host of Spotify's most popular podcast, used his platform to suggest that the coronavirus vaccines are unnecessary for many people.
These women are finding ways to shepherd aid to India as the country experiences limited oxygen and vaccine supply amid its coronavirus surge.
See a timeline of how the vaccine rollout progressed during President Biden’s first 100 days in office.
Your questions, answered
"What's known about breakthrough infections? Are there any studies yet that can classify affected groups by demographics, gender, age, underlying health condition, etc.?" — Lee in Virginia
“Breakthrough infections,” for those who might be unfamiliar with the phrase, happen when people become infected by a virus even after they were fully vaccinated against it. These events appear to be extremely rare among people who received coronavirus vaccines authorized in the U.S.
“There’s nothing there yet that’s a red flag,” said Anthony S. Fauci, the nation's top infectious-disease doctor, when asked about breakthrough cases this month. In fact, experts say they’re to be expected.
Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been monitoring for breakthrough infections for months. But, as Post reporters Lena Sun and Joel Achenbach reported, such data may be difficult to collect and ultimately incomplete. People may be more likely to dismiss mild symptoms like sniffles after vaccination, for instance, and therefore less likely get tested for covid-19.
With that in mind, here's what the CDC documented as of April 20, collecting data from 45 states and territories. Out of, at the time, 87 million fully vaccinated Americans, there were just over 7,100 reported breakthrough infections. That's about 0.008 percent, odds on the order of being struck by lightning in your lifetime. The bottom line: These vaccines aren't perfect, but they are very good.
The demographics of those cases do not show any “unexpected patterns,” the CDC said. Women represented 64 percent of those breakthrough infections. Slightly under half — 46 percent — were people age 60 or up. About 1 in 3 were asymptomatic. Seven percent of the breakthrough cases were found in hospitalized patients, and 1 percent died, but not all of those hospitalizations or deaths were related to covid-19, according to the agency.
Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, likened the vaccines to seat belts and breakthrough infections to catastrophic car crashes: “Would you stop wearing your seat belt because you heard somebody who was wearing a seat belt got run over by an 18-wheeler and didn’t survive?” he said to The Post. “These are still vaccines that are fantastically safe and effective," he said. "But 95 percent is not 100 percent.”