The Booster Bulletin: Your Weekly Dose of Immunization News
We’re committed to sharing news and information from local and national media about COVID-19, available vaccines, and immunization-related topics. Each week we’ll continue to review clips from across the U.S., from various news outlets and platforms, and bring you ten timely and relevant links.
April 10-16 brings us STD Awareness Week and a reminder to Talk, Test, Treat. The CDC estimates that 20% of the US had a STI in 2018. About 26 million were new infections which incurred USD $16 billion in direct medical costs, of which half were among youth aged 15-24 years. HPV, hepatitis A and hepatitis B are three STDs which can be prevented by vaccines, with the HPV vaccine also proving to be cancer prevention as well. For more information on STDs, including guidance on testing and protection, please visit Planned Parenthood. For information on how to prevent STDs, including vaccination, please visit the CDC.
“Meningococcal B Vaccine Could Improve Protection against Gonorrhea” Technology Networks (April 14, 2022) – “Led by 2022 South Australian of the Year, University of Adelaide Professor of Vaccinology, and Women’s and Children’s Hospital Senior Medical Practitioner Helen Marshall AM, the observational study found that two doses of the meningococcal B vaccine were 33 per cent effective against gonorrhoea in adolescents and young adults. Professor Marshall said the research aims to reduce not only gonorrhoea infection, but also the long-term effects of gonorrhoea, including infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease and blindness in babies born to infected mothers.”
“Cervical cancer: Single-dose HPV vaccine ‘highly effective’” Medical News Today (April 14, 2022) – “A single-dose human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine can be as effective as the three-dose regimen which is the current standard, a new study in Africa found. The research, published in NEJM Evidence, could help speed up the rate at that women are vaccinated against the virus, reducing its effectiveness at the level of the population.
“Pfizer and BioNTech ask FDA to authorize COVID-19 booster for kids as young as 5” CBS News (April 14, 2022) – “Pfizer and BioNTech plan to ask the Food and Drug Administration to clear a third dose of their COVID-19 vaccine for children as young as 5, the companies announced Wednesday, citing trial results showing a "robust response" of antibodies in this age group after the booster shot.”
“What to Know About Getting a Second COVID-19 Booster” TIME (April 14, 2022) – “At this point, COVID-19 vaccines have been available for well over a year in the U.S. But the shots weren’t designed to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2, and the immunity generated by the vaccines wanes, so the virus continues to mutate and become even more transmissible—and infect even the vaccinated. Boosting with another dose of the vaccine can increase that immunity again, so public health officials authorized an initial booster shot for most people last year. But as new variants of the virus continue to emerge, it’s time to consider another booster dose for the wider population. Already, that second booster is recommended for certain people at high risk of COVID-19 disease who could benefit from the enhanced protection provided by the additional shot.
“Pfizer Eyes COVID Vaccine for All Variants before 2023” Medical Express (April 13, 2022) – “A COVID-19 vaccine effective against multiple variants is possible before the end of 2022, the head of US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said Wednesday. Chairman Albert Bourla said the firm was also working on producing a vaccine that could provide good protection for a whole year, meaning people would come back annually for boosters, as with influenza shots. ‘I hope, clearly by autumn...that we could have a vaccine’ that worked against not only the dominant Omicron but all known variants, he said.”
“How Close Are We to a Cancer Vaccine? Duke University Scientists Are Closing In” FOX WGHP (April 12, 2022) – “Cancers aren’t like coronavirus infections but, it turns out, fighting them may have a lot of similarities. For the last several years, researchers have been working with technology based around mRNA—messenger RNA, which is something that compliments the work of your DNA—to see if they can utilize it to get your body’s own immune system to fight cancers. At Duke University, they’re working with mRNA technology to create vaccines for cancer. ‘It is a product which is RNA nucleic acid which encodes a specific protein and then that can be encapsulated in something we like to call a lipid nanoparticle, which is really a little fat bubble, and that can be injected into your body and sort of teaches your body what to go after immunologically,’ said Zachary Hartman who works in the Lyerly Lab at Duke.”
“The Next Leap in Coronavirus Vaccine Development Could Be a Nasal Spray” Washington Post (April 10, 2022) – “As the omicron variant of the coronavirus moved lightning-fast around the world, it revealed an unsettling truth. The virus had gained a stunning ability to infect people, jumping from one person’s nose to the next. Cases soared this winter, even among vaccinated people. That is leading scientists to rethink their strategy about the best way to fight future variants, by aiming for a higher level of protection: blocking infections altogether. If they succeed, the next vaccine could be a nasal spray.”
“Meningococcal Disease Outbreak, Florida, 2022” CDC (April 9, 2022) – “There is a large, ongoing outbreak of meningococcal disease in Florida, primarily among gay, bisexual, and men who have sex with men, including those living with HIV. There have also been cases reported in the state over the last few months, including multiple cases in college students. At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that the cases among college students are related to the larger outbreak. Florida’s increase in meningococcal disease cases is mostly affecting people who live in Florida but has also affected some people who have traveled to Florida.”
“Vaccine resistance has its roots in negative childhood experiences, a major study finds” The Conversation (April 7, 2022) – “Most people welcomed the opportunity to get vaccinated against COVID-19, yet a non-trivial minority did not. Vaccine-resistant people tend to hold strong views and assertively reject conventional medical or public health recommendations. This is puzzling to many, and the issue has become a flashpoint in several countries."
“New generation of cancer-prevention vaccines could wipe out tumors before they form” Science (April 7, 2022) – “When Dave Dubin learned at age 29 that he had colon cancer, it wasn't a big surprise. His grandfather and father had both survived the disease. “It was almost the Dubin way, and we just went on,” Dubin says. He had surgery and chemotherapy, but his cancer came back 10 years later. Genetic testing finally found an explanation for his family’s trials: a mutation in a DNA repair gene that lets genetic errors pile up in dividing cells. The disease, Lynch syndrome, comes with up to a 70% lifetime risk of cancer.
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