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Search questions using keywords: Does a vaccine need to be fully approved by the FDA for an employer or business to mandate vaccination?
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If I’ve already had Covid-19, should I still get vaccinated? What if I got monoclonal antibody treatment?
“Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19,” the CDC said in August 2021.
“Evidence is emerging that people get better protection by being fully vaccinated compared with having had COVID-19. One study showed that unvaccinated people who already had COVID-19 are more than 2 times as likely than fully vaccinated people to get COVID-19 again,” the CDC’s website said.
“If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.”
Many doctors believe the immunity gained through vaccination is likely stronger and lasts longer than the immunity achieved from previous infection.
“Many of the vaccines that we’ve made in history are actually stronger than the virus is itself at creating immunity,” epidemiologist Dr. Larry Brilliant said.
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Now that a Covid-19 vaccine has been fully approved, what does that really mean? And what’s the difference between emergency use authorization and full approval?
On August 23, the US Food and Drug Administration granted full approval for Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for people ages 16 and up.
Previously, all three Covid-19 vaccines used in the US — from Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — were given emergency use authorization (EUA). The FDA had reviewed at least three months of safety and efficacy data and said the benefits of administering the vaccines outweighed the risks — especially given the public health emergency caused by Covid-19.
But an EUA status does not mean a vaccine is less safe or effective than a vaccine that has been fully approved.
“Frankly, the only real difference was in length of follow-up,” said Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.
There are two key differences between emergency authorization and full approval, Offit said. The first involves time, and the second involves a very detailed protocol for future production.
“Full approval, for all practical purposes, just means three more months of efficacy data,” Offit said.
When the FDA gave emergency use authorization for the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, “we could say they’re 95% effective for three months, because that’s how much data we had,” Offit said. “The FDA, for it to move to full approval — licensure — wants three more months,” or at least six months of data, he said.
In the history of vaccines, the most severe side effects have all been caught within two months of a person getting vaccinated, Offit and other health experts said.
After that, “your body has made the antibodies. It has done what it’s supposed to do,” said Dr. Julia Garcia-Diaz, director of clinical infectious diseases research at Ochsner Health in New Orleans. Any problems outside that window are most likely “not related to the vaccine.”
Another reason why it takes a while to get full approval — or licensure — is because of a detailed validation process to help ensure future production stays precise and consistent.
When the FDA fully approves a vaccine, “they don’t just license the product … they also license the process,” Offit said.
“Because they want to make sure that every lot is consistently produced, they validate every aspect of the production. And they validate the building. So everything – the computers, the cleaning out of the vats, everything that’s done has to be validated.”
As part of the review for full approval, FDA experts have been poring through a massive amount of documents, running their own analyses, getting any clarification needed from vaccine companies and thoroughly inspecting the manufacturing process.
With full approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for ages 16 and up, more workplaces will likely issue vaccine mandates to help prevent the Delta variant from setting the country back further, US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said.
More people might want to get vaccinated on their own, too. A recent study showed some vaccine-hesitant Americans would be more likely to get a Covid-19 vaccine if it were fully approved.
And with full approval, Pfizer/BioNTech are now allowed to market and advertise their vaccine, which has the brand name Comirnaty.
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Is it true kids can’t get very sick from Covid-19? Or that children can’t spread coronavirus to others? How many kids have actually been hospitalized with Covid-19?
More than 50,000 children have been hospitalized with Covid-19 since August 2020, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And it’s not just children with preexisting conditions getting hospitalized.
Almost half – 46.4% – of children hospitalized with Covid-19 between March 2020 and June 2021 had no known underlying condition, according to CDC data from almost 100 US counties.
During this Delta variant surge, an average of 309 children with Covid-19 were getting hospitalized every day during the week ending August 23, according to CDC data.
“Kids can transmit the virus. They are susceptible to it,” said Anne Rimoin, an epidemiology professor at UCLA.
More than 125 campers and adults who attended a Texas church’s summer camp for 6th through 12th graders tested positive for coronavirus.
“And hundreds of others were likely exposed when infected people returned home from camp,” the lead pastor of the church said.
At the University of Mississippi Medical Center, “We are seeing an increase in the number of hospitalizations of children,” Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs Dr. Alan Jones said.
“We’ve had infants as small as 6 to 8 months old up to the teenage years,” Jones said July 14.
“We do know in Mississippi that the predominant strain that’s circulating — probably 88% to 90% of it — is the Delta variant,” Jones said.
“That, associated with the fact that we are seeing a lot less mask usage now, is another variable that plays into the equation of why we’re seeing more” children in the hospital, he said.
“Finally, it appears as though this particular variant, the Delta variant, while being more infectious is also causing more children to be symptomatic,” Jones said.
“Whether that just is that it causes a little more severe illness than other variants or that it is just more prevalent — and so we’re seeing more symptomatic cases — we’re not sure. But it’s probably multifactorial and related to all of those things.”
Some youngsters have suffered long-term effects from Covid-19 or multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) – a rare but potentially serious condition that can happen in children weeks after a coronavirus infection.
And while pediatric Covid-19 deaths are rare, at least 476 children in the US have died from Covid-19, according to CDC data.
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When will the Pfizer vaccine be fully approved by the FDA for children ages 12 to 15?
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When will the other Covid-19 vaccines get fully approved by the FDA?
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Do we need Covid-19 vaccine booster shots? If so, when should we get another dose?
Americans vaccinated with the two-dose Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines may be eligible for a third dose starting September 20, pending independent review of the safety and efficacy of a third dose, several US health officials said in a joint statement August 18.
“We are prepared to offer booster shots for all Americans beginning the week of September 20 and starting 8 months after an individual’s second dose,” said the health officials, who include CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
The FDA has already authorized third doses for some immunocompromised people.
For Americans who got the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, “We also anticipate booster shots will likely be needed for people who received the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine. Administration of the J&J vaccine did not begin in the U.S. until March 2021, and we expect more data on J&J in the next few weeks. With those data in hand, we will keep the public informed with a timely plan for J&J booster shots as well.”
The health officials said the Covid-19 vaccines used in the US “continue to be remarkably effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant.”
But immunity can wane over time, and additional vaccine doses could be needed to provide long lasting protection, the health officials said.
With “the dominance of the Delta variant, we are starting to see evidence of reduced protection against mild and moderate disease,” the statement read.
“Based on our latest assessment, the current protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death could diminish in the months ahead, especially among those who are at higher risk or were vaccinated during the earlier phases of the vaccination rollout. For that reason, we conclude that a booster shot will be needed to maximize vaccine-induced protection and prolong its durability.”
The CDC and others say vaccination is still the best weapon in the fight against Covid-19.
“Nearly all the cases of severe disease, hospitalization, and death continue to occur among those not yet vaccinated at all,” the joint statement said.
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Should pregnant women get vaccinated?
“COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
“Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy has been growing,” the CDC said in an August 11 update.
Scientists say Covid-19 — not the Covid-19 vaccine — can put a woman at higher risk of severe illness during pregnancy.
Covid-19 can lead to “adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth,” said Sascha Ellington, team lead for emergency preparedness and response in the CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health.
“This vaccine can prevent Covid-19, and so that’s the primary benefit.”
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Do vaccines still work against the Delta variant?
Full vaccination significantly reduces the chances of severe illness, hospitalization and death from the Delta variant, though breakthrough infections are possible.
“Vaccines continue to reduce a person’s risk of contracting the virus that cause COVID-19, including this variant,” the CDC said in a August 2021 update.
“Vaccines are highly effective against severe illness, but the Delta variant causes more infections and spreads faster than earlier forms of the virus that causes COVID-19.”
Vaccine effectiveness against coronavirus infection dropped from 91% to 66% once the Delta variant accounted for the majority of circulating virus, according to a study published August 24 by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The study is in line with others from the US and around the world showing Delta’s increased tendency to cause largely minor infections among fully vaccinated people.
Still, the effectiveness of vaccines against severe disease — including hospitalization and death — has remained high against all known variants.
Health experts say it’s important to take both doses of any two-dose vaccine.
Two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine offered 88% protection against symptomatic Covid-19 caused by the Delta variant, according to a study published in May by Public Health England.
But those who got only one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine had just 33% protection against the Delta variant three weeks later, according to the study.
“The key is: Get vaccinated. Get both doses,” US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said.
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With the Delta variant spreading, how much does vaccination reduce infection, hospitalization and death?
Compared to unvaccinated people, “If you’re (fully) vaccinated now, your chances of getting infected go down by 3 1/2-fold,” National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins said August 1.
“Your chances of having symptoms go down by 8-fold. Your chance of ending up with illness significant enough to be in the hospital goes down 25-fold.”
Such decreases in infections, illnesses and hospitalizations are “fantastically good for any vaccine,” Collins said. “We didn’t really have a right to dare they would be this good in the real world, and they are — even against Delta.”
The Delta variant is more than twice as contagious than the original strain of novel coronavirus and appears to cause more severe disease, according to an internal presentation from the CDC.
Still, more than 99.99% of people who were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 have not had a breakthrough case resulting in hospitalization or death, a CNN analysis of August 2 CDC data suggests.
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Why do some people get breakthrough infections after being fully vaccinated? Are they getting Covid-19 from the vaccine?
It’s impossible to get Covid-19 from a vaccine because there is no coronavirus in any of the vaccines used in the US.
The vaccines can’t prevent people from breathing in the virus. What they can do is ensure that the body mounts a fast response to clear the virus if someone does get exposed. During that time, some people might actually become infected.
But more than 99.99% of people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 have not had a breakthrough case resulting in hospitalization or death, a CNN analysis of CDC data suggests.
As of August 2, more than 164 million people in the US were fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.
Among them, 7,101 people – or less than 0.005% – were hospitalized with Covid-19, and 1,507 people — or less than 0.001% — died, according to the CDC data.
Those who get breakthrough infections generally have milder symptoms than unvaccinated people or no symptoms at all, CDC research shows.
Because few people get tested after they’ve been fully vaccinated, there’s limited data on how many vaccinated people get mild or asymptomatic infections.
But about half of states have reported data on Covid-19 breakthrough cases – and in each of those states, less than 1% of fully vaccinated people had a breakthrough infection, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis published July 30.
More than 90% of people who end up in the hospital or who die from Covid-19 have not been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
It’s important to remember you’re not fully vaccinated until 2 weeks after your final dose of Covid-19 vaccine, so you’re still vulnerable in the first few weeks of vaccination.
“Keep taking all precautions until you are fully vaccinated,” the CDC says.
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What is the Delta variant? Is it worse than other strains of coronavirus?
The Delta variant is the highly contagious B.1.617.2 strain of coronavirus first identified in India. It’s fueling rapid increases in infections, hospitalizations and deaths in the US, according to the CDC.
“COVID-19 cases have increased over 300% nationally from June 19 to July 23, 2021, along with parallel increases in hospitalizations and deaths driven by the highly transmissible B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant,” the CDC said.
In two months, Delta jumped from 3% to more than 93% of sequenced coronavirus samples in the US, according to CDC data.
The Delta variant has a cluster of mutations, including one known as L452R, that helps it infect human cells more easily.
“This variant is even more transmissible than the UK (Alpha) variant, which was more transmissible than the version of the virus we were dealing with last year,” US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said.
In addition to increased transmissibility, “it may be associated with an increased disease severity, such as hospitalization risk,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
An analysis of 38,805 sequenced cases in England showed the Delta variant carried 2.61 times the risk of hospitalization within 14 days compared with the Alpha variant when variables such as age, sex, ethnicity and vaccination status were taken into consideration.
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Do fully vaccinated people also need to wear masks because of the more contagious Delta strain?
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance on July 27:
If you are fully vaccinated, you can participate in many of the activities that you did before the pandemic. To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission. Wearing a mask is most important if you have a weakened immune system or if, because of your age or an underlying medical condition, you are at increased risk for severe disease, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated. If this applies to you or your household, you might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission in your area. The guidance is stronger than in May, when the CDC said fully vaccinated people could unmask in most situations. But back then, the highly contagious Delta variant represented only about 1% of reported infections. By late July, at least 83% of sequenced samples were from the Delta variant.
“The Delta variant behaves uniquely differently from past strains of the virus that cause Covid-19,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said July 27.
“This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendations,” she said. “This is not a decision that we or CDC has made lightly.”
Fully vaccinated people are less likely to get infected and also less likely to get severely sick if they do get a breakthrough infection. But new research suggests those with breakthrough cases might have as much viral load as unvaccinated people who are infected — meaning they might also be able to transmit the virus, Walensky said.
States with below-average vaccination rates had, on average, almost triple the rate of new Covid-19 cases compared to states with above-average vaccination rates, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
For those not fully vaccinated, the CDC says it’s crucial to mask up:
“Unvaccinated people should get vaccinated and continue masking until they are fully vaccinated. With the Delta variant, this is more urgent than ever,” the CDC says.
“Getting vaccinated prevents severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.”
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Why should anyone care whether I’m vaccinated if they’re already vaccinated?
Avoiding vaccination can harm loved ones and the country as a whole, doctors say.
Full vaccination reduces the chances of getting and spreading the highly contagious Delta variant. Children too young to be vaccinated and those who are immunocompromised also rely on the vaccination of others to help protect them, said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
But vaccination is also important to help prevent more contagious or more dangerous variants from forming — such as one that might evade vaccines and harm those who are fully vaccinated.
“If we are going to continue to allow this virus to spread, we’re going to continue to allow … variants to be created,” said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia.
Viruses frequently mutate as they replicate among infected people. If the mutations are significant, they can lead to a more contagious variant like the Delta variant, which is now the dominant strain in the US.
“Think of a virus as a necklace full of different-colored beads,” board-certified internist Dr. Jorge Rodriguez said.
“In position No. 1, you need a red bead. Position No. 2 is a green bead. That’s the genetic code – that sequence of bead colors,” he said.
“When a virus replicates, it is supposed to make an exact replica of those bead colors. But every once in a while, maybe a green bead gets into where a red bead is supposed to be.”
When mutations give the virus an advantage — such as the ability to replicate faster or to hide from the immune system – that version will outcompete others.
The only way to get rid of variants is to lower the number of infections, said Penny Moore, an expert in viruses at South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases.
That’s a big reason why doctors say people should get vaccinated as soon as they can. Those who don’t get vaccinated aren’t just risking their own health — they’re also jeopardizing the health of others.
“Unvaccinated people are potential variant factories,” Schaffner said. “The more unvaccinated people there are, the more opportunities for the virus to multiply.”
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Is it true the Covid-19 vaccines don’t work as well in immunocompromised people? Can they get a third dose or a booster shot?
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What should I do if I’m wearing a mask but have to sneeze?
If there are tissues nearby, you can take your mask off and sneeze into the tissue before putting your mask back on, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said.
For kids in school — or anyone else who might have to wear a mask all day — keep a backup mask in a baggie in case the first mask gets dirty. You can put the dirty mask in the baggie.
It’s also a good idea to keep backup masks in your car in case of any mask accidents.
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I’m not feeling well, but I’ve already been vaccinated. Should I get tested for coronavirus?
If you think you might have Covid-19 symptoms, “please get tested regardless of your vaccination status,” US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said.
“We know the symptoms of Covid-19 mimic the symptoms of the flu or cold initially. It can be a runny nose or fatigue or other such symptoms. In those cases, it is important for people to get tested.”
It’s impossible to get Covid-19 from a vaccine because there is no coronavirus in any of the vaccines used in the US.
But Covid-19 vaccines don’t take full effect until 2 weeks after your final dose — “so a person could get sick if the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
Those who are fully vaccinated are much less likely to get infected than unvaccinated people, the CDC says. In addition, “COVID-19 vaccines reduce the risk of people spreading COVID-19.”
But while Covid-19 vaccines are highly effective, they’re not perfect. The vaccines require an immune system response to work, so millions of Americans who are immunocompromised or take drugs that suppress the immune system might not get as much protection from a vaccine as others do.
The good news: When rare breakthrough infections do happen in vaccinated people, they’re usually less severe, CDC research shows.
But it’s especially important for unvaccinated people who have Covid-19 symptoms to get tested. Unvaccinated people can spread coronavirus more easily than vaccinated people, the CDC says.
“We have seen that many people are not getting tested around the country even though they have symptoms,” Murthy said July 13.
“Many people are thinking, ‘Covid is over — why do I need to get tested?’ And this is particularly happening in areas, unfortunately, where the vaccination rates are low — which is where we want to be testing more.”
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Is it safe to go on vacation?
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I’m vaccinated but just tested positive for coronavirus. What should I do?
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When can younger kids get a Covid-19 vaccine?
One vaccine is already available for children ages 12 and up, and clinical trials are underway for younger children.
Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine is the only one currently authorized for people ages 12 and up. The vaccine is now being tested in children between 6 months and 11 years old. If all goes well, Pfizer said, it plans to ask the US Food and Drug Administration in September to authorize the vaccine for children ages 2 to 11 years.
Learn more about why parents volunteered their babies and young children for vaccine trials and why doctors say it’s important to vaccinate kids against Covid-19
Moderna’s vaccine is currently authorized for adults 18 and older. In May, the company said early trial data showed the vaccine is safe and appears to be effective in 12- to 17-year-olds. In June, Moderna said it has asked the FDA to authorize its vaccine for the 12-to-17 age group.
Moderna is also testing various doses of its vaccine in younger children between ages 6 months through 11 years. If all goes well, Moderna said, children under age 12 could be eligible for the vaccine this winter or in early 2022.
Johnson & Johnson said it plans to start testing its Covid-19 vaccine in adolescents starting this fall. Its single-dose vaccine is currently authorized for adults ages 18 and up.
J&J said it’s planning four late-stage vaccine trials for children. This first trial will focus on 12- to 17-year-olds, and the others will expand to include younger children. In total, J&J plans to enroll a minimum of 4,500 pediatric participants up to age 17.
“To keep children safe, and ultimately to achieve herd immunity, it is imperative that COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials continue to move forward in this population,” J&J said in a July 1 email to CNN.
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My kids don’t want to wear a mask. What should I do?
Children can be more reluctant because they’re more sensitive to new things than adults are, said Christopher Willard, a psychiatry lecturer at Harvard Medical School.
“There’s also the weird psychological aspect of not being able to see their own face or other people’s faces and facial expressions,” which can hinder their feelings of comfort or safety, he said.
To ease your child’s mask hesitancy, try buying or making masks with fun designs on them. Or have your child customize his or her own masks by drawing on them with markers.
You can also order children’s face masks with superheroes on them or show your kids photos of their favorite celebrities wearing masks.
It’s also a good idea to set an example by wearing a mask yourself.
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What’s the difference between the Delta and Delta Plus variants?
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What should I tell friends, family or coworkers who are hesitant to get vaccinated?
“It is a normal human reaction to be afraid,” pediatrician Dr. Edith Bracho-Sanchez said. “They’re having a normal reaction, and perhaps they haven’t been able to sit down with their physician.”
She suggests finding a time to have a calm, rational conversation — when neither person is angry or likely to start a fight.
“The first thing I would say is ‘I get it. I totally get where you’re coming from and I understand that you’re concerned about this,’” Bracho-Sanchez said.
It’s also important to cite scientific data — like the truth about side effects, the safety of Covid-19 vaccines and why it’s important for young, healthy people to get vaccinated.
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How long does immunity last if you recover from Covid-19?
Research is still evolving, but a recent study examining antibodies suggests you could be immune for months after infection.
“Although this cannot provide conclusive evidence that these antibody responses protect from reinfection, we believe it is very likely that they will decrease the odds ratio of reinfection,” researchers from Mount Sinai wrote.
“It is still unclear if infection with SARS-CoV-2 [the scientific name for the novel coronavirus] in humans protects from reinfection and for how long.”
There have been some reports of people getting infected twice within several months. Doctors said a 25-year-old Nevada man appeared to be the first documented case of Covid-19 reinfection in the US. He was first diagnosed in April 2020, then recovered and tested negative twice. About a month later, he tested positive again.
A separate team of researchers said a 33-year-old man living in Hong Kong had Covid-19 twice, in March and August of 2020.
Last year, an 89-year-old Dutch woman – who also had a rare white blood cell cancer – died after catching Covid-19 twice, experts said. She became the first known person to die after getting reinfected.
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Could I get coronavirus from the Covid-19 vaccine?
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Will Americans be required to get a Covid-19 vaccine? What happens if I don’t get vaccinated?
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How much does a Covid-19 vaccine cost?
“It’s all free. The government is paying for this,” said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia.
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What are the side effects of the vaccines?
Some people have reported feeling temporary, flu-like symptoms. Don’t freak out if this happens to you, health experts say.
“These are immune responses, so if you feel something after vaccination, you should expect to feel that,” said Patricia Stinchfield of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.
“And when you do, it’s normal that you have some arm soreness or some fatigue or some body aches or even some fever,” Stinchfield said.
Read more about what to do if you do get side effects and why side effects are often a good sign.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has shown no serious safety concerns, Pfizer said. Pfizer has said side effects “such as fever, fatigue and chills” have been “generally mild to moderate” and lasted one to two days.
Moderna said its vaccine did not have any serious side effects. It said a small percentage of trial participants had symptoms such as body aches and headaches.
With the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the most common side effects were pain at the injection site, headache, fatigue and muscle pain. While the CDC recommends the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, “women younger than 50 years old especially should be aware of the rare but increased risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS),” the agency says. “TTS is a serious condition that involves blood clots with low platelets. There are other COVID-19 vaccine options available for which this risk has not been seen.”
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What are the long-term effects of coronavirus?
Some Covid-19 survivors have reported problems weeks or months after testing positive.
Even young adults have suffered long-lasting symptoms such as shortness of breath, chronic fatigue, brain fog, long-term fever, coughing, memory loss, and the inability to taste or smell.
One CDC study found 35% of survivors surveyed still had symptoms two to three weeks after their coronavirus tests:
In the 18-to-34 age group, 26% said they still had symptoms weeks later. In the 35-to-49 age range, 32% were still grappling with the effects weeks later. For those 50 and older, 47% said they still had symptoms weeks later. And the risk of death from coronavirus-related heart damage seems to be far greater than previously thought, the American Heart Association said.
Inflammation of the vascular system and injury to the heart occur in 20% to 30% of hospitalized Covid-19 patients and contribute to 40% of deaths, the AHA said. AHA President Dr. Mitchell Elkind said cardiac complications of Covid-19 could linger after recovering from coronavirus.
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What is aerosolized spread? What’s the difference between aerosols and droplets?
Aerosolized spread is the potential for coronavirus to spread not just by respiratory droplets, but by even smaller particles called aerosols that can float in the air longer than droplets and can spread farther than 6 feet.
Respiratory aerosols and droplets are released when someone talks, breaths, sings, sneezes or coughs. But the main difference is size.
Respiratory droplets are bigger – between 5 and 10 microns in diameter. (For perspective, a human hair is typically 60 to 120 microns wide.)
“If you have droplets that come out of a person, they generally go down within 6 feet,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
But aerosols (aka droplet nuclei) are smaller – less than 5 microns in diameter, according to the World Health Organization.
“Aerosol means the droplets don’t drop immediately,” Fauci said. “They hang around for a period of time.”
This becomes “very relevant” when you are indoors and there is poor ventilation, he said.
Multiple case studies suggest coronavirus can spread well beyond 6 feet through airborne transmission, such as during choir practices, said Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips, chief clinical officer of Providence Health System.
In Washington state, for example, 53 members of a choir fell sick and two people died after one member attended rehearsals and later tested positive for Covid-19.
Last July, 239 scientists backed a letter urging public health agencies to recognize the potential for aerosolized spread.
“There is significant potential for inhalation exposure to viruses in microscopic respiratory droplets (microdroplets) at short to medium distances (up to several meters, or room scale), and we are advocating for the use of preventive measures to mitigate this route of airborne transmission,” the letter said.
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This pandemic is taking a toll on my mental health. How can I get help if I’m feeling isolated and depressed?
The Crisis Text Line is available texting to 741741. Trained volunteers and crisis counselors are staffed 24/7, and the service is free.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to disasters. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
For health care professionals and essential workers, For the Frontlines offers free 24/7 crisis counseling and support for workers dealing with stress, anxiety, fear or isolation related to coronavirus.
For more resources, check out CNN’s guide to giving and getting help during the pandemic.
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What “underlying conditions” put people at higher risk of bad outcomes with Covid-19?
More than 40% of US adults have at least one underlying condition that can put them at higher risk of severe complications, according to the CDC.
Those conditions include obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease, according to the CDC.
People who have cancer, an organ transplant, sickle cell anemia, poorly controlled HIV or any autoimmune disorder are also at higher risk.
Covid-19 patients with pre-existing conditions — regardless of their age — are 6 times more likely to hospitalized and 12 times more likely to die from the disease than those who had no pre-existing conditions, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said.
While young, healthy people are less likely to die from Covid-19, many are suffering long-term effects from the disease.
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What are the guidelines for riding in a car with someone from another household?
Unvaccinated people from different households in a car should wear face masks, said Dr. Aaron Hamilton of the Cleveland Clinic.
“You should also wear one if you’re rolling down your window to interact with someone at a drive-thru or curbside pickup location,” Hamilton said.
It’s also smart to keep the windows open to help ventilate the car and add another layer of safety, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
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Are coronavirus and Covid-19 the same thing? How did they get their names?
Coronavirus and Covid-19 are not the same thing, but sometimes the terms can be used interchangeably.
This “novel coronavirus” is novel because it just emerged in humans in late 2019. There have been six other coronaviruses known to infect humans, such as SARS (circa 2003) and MERS (circa 2012).
“Coronaviruses are named for the crown-like spikes on their surface,” or coronas, the CDC says. The scientific name for this novel coronavirus is SARS-CoV-2, which stands for “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.”
Covid-19, however, is the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The letters and numbers in “Covid-19” come from “Coronavirus disease 2019.”
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If a pregnant woman gets Covid-19, will her baby be infected? Can babies get coronavirus through breastfeeding?
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Can someone who died from coronavirus still have their organs donated?
That’s not recommended right now, according to the US Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.
“This guidance may change as more becomes known about the course and treatment of COVID-19,” the network said.
“Donation and transplant clinicians should apply their medical judgment in instances where test results are pending at the time of organ offers.”
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Should we clean our cell phones daily?
Yes, that’s a good idea because cell phones are basically “petri dishes in our pockets” when you think about how many surfaces you touch before touching your phone.
You should regularly disinfect your mobile phone anyway, with or without a coronavirus pandemic.
“There’s probably quite a lot of microorganisms on there, because you’re holding them against your skin, you are handling them all the time, and also you’re speaking into them,” said Mark Fielder, a professor of medical microbiology at Kingston University.
“And speaking does release droplets of water just in normal speech. So it’s likely that a range of microbes – including Covid-19, should you happen to be infected with that virus – might end up on your phone.”
Watch the best ways to disinfect your cell phone here.
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Is it safe to go back to the gym?
There are certainly risks if you’re not vaccinated.
Coronavirus often spreads more easily indoors rather than outdoors — especially if you’re indoors for an extended period of time.
Researchers have also found that heavy breathing and singing can propel aerosolized viral particles farther and increase the risk of transmission.
During one fitness instructor workshop, about 30 participants with no symptoms trained intensely for four hours, according to research published by the CDC. Eight participants later tested positive, and more than 100 new cases of coronavirus were traced back to that fitness workshop.
To help mitigate the risk, many gyms are limiting capacity or requiring masks.
And while health experts have recommended staying 6 feet away from others, it’s smart to keep even more distance than that at the gym.
“With all the heavy breathing, you may even want to double the usual 6 feet to 12 feet, just to be safe,” CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said.
Transmission work/life treatment & prevention
I tested positive for coronavirus weeks ago. How long are people contagious with Covid-19? Do I need to keep isolating or getting retested?
For symptomatic carriers: If it’s been at least 10 days since your symptoms started and at least 24 hours since you’ve had a fever (without the help of fever-reducing medication) and your other symptoms have improved, you can go ahead and stop isolating, the CDC says.
Patients with severe illness may have to keep isolating for up to 20 days after symptoms started.
(But it’s important to note symptoms typically don’t show up until several days after infection — and you can be more contagious during this pre-symptomatic time. Also, symptoms can last for weeks or months — including in young people.)
For asymptomatic carriers: People who tested positive but don’t have any symptoms can stop isolating 10 days after the first positive test – as long as they have not subsequently developed symptoms, the CDC says.
But 10 days is just a general guideline: “Because symptoms cannot be used to gauge where these individuals are in the course of their illness, it is possible that the duration of viral shedding could be longer or shorter than 10 days after their first positive test,” the CDC warned. With viral shedding, a person can infect others with the virus, even if they have no symptoms.
Asymptomatic carriers who have tested positive can also stop isolating if they get two negative test results from tests taken more than 24 hours apart. At that point, it’s very unlikely they are still contagious.
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I heard you can get Covid-19 through your eyes. Should we wear goggles, too?
Doctors say wearing eye protection (in addition to face masks) could help some people, but it’s not necessary for everyone.
Teachers who have younger students in the classroom are “likely to be in environments where children might pull down their masks, or not be very compliant with them,” epidemiologist Saskia Popescu said. “There is concern that you could get respiratory droplets in the eyes.”
If you’re a health care worker or taking care of someone at home who has coronavirus, it’s smart to wear eye protection, said Dr. Thomas Steinemann, clinical spokesperson for the Am
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