Coronavirus Update: CDC study finds side effects from COVID-19 vaccine booster are the same as after second shot, as experts urge unvaccinated to get their first shots


The side effects from a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and German partner BioNTech

are similar to those suffered after a second dose, according to a study published by the U.S.’ main public health agency, and are occurring at roughly the same rate.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said late Tuesday that data from about 12,600 people who have received a booster dose found the most common side effects remained injection site pain, fatigue and headache and most were reported the day after vaccination.

The data were gathered from Aug. 12 to Sept. 19 with 79.4% of those receiving the third dose reporting local reaction and 74.1% reporting systemic reactions. The data offers an overview of the safety of the booster, which is being offered to adults above the age of 65 years, to people with compromised immune systems and to healthcare and other front-line workers at risk of contracting the illness at work. CDC data shows that 3.4 million people have received a booster so far.

See also: Does your job make you eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot?

The U.S. is still averaging more than 2,000 COVID deaths a day, according to a New York Times tracker, although new cases and hospitalizations are declining especially in some of the states that were recent hot spots.

Florida, for example, is now averaging about 7,000 cases a day, down sharply from more than 20,000 cases a day in August. Florida is averaging 311 deaths a day, and has suffered a total of 54,063 fatalities since the start of the outbreak.

Most new cases, hospitalizations and deaths are in unvaccinated people and health experts continue to lament that so many people living in America are refusing to get their shots and putting themselves at risk of dying a preventable death.

The CDC’s vaccine tracker is showing that some 185 million Americans are fully vaccinated, equal to 55.8% of the population. That means they have had two doses of the Pfizer

or Moderna

vaccine or one of Johnson & Johnson’s

one-shot regimen.

About 214 million people have received one dose, equal to 64.4% of the overall population. The numbers have remained stubbornly static for weeks.

Vaccine mandates are helping in persuading some groups to get their shots, however. New York healthcare workers, for example, have mostly complied with the state’s vaccine mandate, a trend that has played out in other states too, according to the Times.

United Airlines is moving ahead with plans to terminate close to 600 employees who didn’t meet its COVID-19 vaccination deadline, according to the Wall Street Journal. The airline has 67,000 U.S. employees, so the 600 account for less than 1% of its workforce.

“We know for some, that decision was a reluctant one,” United Chief Executive Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart wrote in a letter to employees Tuesday. “But there’s no doubt in our minds that some of you will have avoided a future hospital stay—or even death—because you got vaccinated.”

Elsewhere, Russia suffered yet another record daily death toll of 857, beating a record set a day earlier, Radio Free Europe reported. Russia’s total deaths from COVID-19 total more than 206,000 — the highest total in Europe.

Russia is also embroiled in a dispute with YouTube after the Google unit blocked two German-language channels backed by the Russian government for spreading COVID misinformation, BBC News reported. Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor accused Google-owned YouTube of censorship and warned it could lead to YouTube being banned in Russia.

YouTube is removing several video channels associated with leading antivaccine activists, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the Washington Post reported.

Don’t miss:Beyond the science, some experts say there’s an economic case for giving out COVID-19 booster shots

There was bad news from Scotland, which has suffered the most weekly COVID deaths since February, The Scotsman newspaper reported. Some 165 people in Scotland died of the illness from Sept. 20 to 26.

Harvard Business School has moved most of its M.B.A. classes online following a spate of COVID-19 infections among its students, according to the Wall Street Journal. The move to remote instruction for all first-year courses and some second-year courses will run until at least Oct. 3, the school said, and comes about a month after the start of classes.

Read now: Scientists continue to say there isn’t enough evidence to make COVID-19 boosters available to all Americans

A U.K. study conducted by Oxford University has found that more than a third of COVID patients continue to suffer from at least one long-term symptom three to six months after infection, Reuters reported. The study involved 270,000 people recovering from COVID-19. and found the most common symptoms were breathing problems, fatigue, pain and anxiety.

Flu season is approaching and health experts expect it to be worse than last year. WSJ’s Felicia Schwartz explains why this could be an earlier and more severe season and what precautions people can take during the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Latest tallies

The global tally for the coronavirus-borne illness climbed above 232.9 million on Wednesday, while the death toll rose above 4.76 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. continues to lead the world with a total of 43.2 million cases and 693,076 deaths.

India is second by cases after the U.S. at 33.7 million and has suffered 447,751 deaths. Brazil has second highest death toll at 595,446 and 21.4 million cases.

In Europe, Russia has most fatalities at 202,698, followed by the U.K. at 136,746.

China, where the virus was first discovered late in 2019, has had 108,391 confirmed cases and 4,809 deaths, according to its official numbers, which are widely held to be massively underreported.

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