With vaccination rates climbing, this week marked an encouraging turn on the path to a more “normal” summer and avoiding a fall resurgence.
FDA Opposes Antibody Testing To Evaluate Immunity Response
On Wednesday, May 19, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement advising against the use of antibody testing to evaluate an individual’s level of protection from the COVID-19 virus, particularly after they have received a vaccine. The agency notes that further research is needed to ensure that these test results are accurately interpreted — especially for those who are partially or fully vaccinated. If the results are incorrectly interpreted, individuals may exercise fewer safety precautions and pose a potential risk to others.
60% of Americans Have Received At Least One Vaccine Dose
This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 60% of American adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In addition, since last week when CDC endorsed and FDA approved the vaccine to be administered to 12- to 15-year-olds, 3.5 million in this age group have received their first dose. These promising numbers may meet National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci’s hope that a fall resurgence can be avoided if 70% of Americans get at least one dose by July 4.
U.S. States Establishing Lotteries To Promote Vaccination
As demand for vaccines has declined, some states are starting to incentivize getting the jab. Governors Larry Hogan (R-MD), Mike DeWine (R-OH) and Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) have all launched lotteries in the hopes of getting more people to get vaccinated. Announcement of Ohio’s $1 million lottery prizes and full-ride college scholarships last week has already been credited with an increase in vaccinations in that state. Even if you are not lucky enough to win any of these lotteries, many businesses continue to offer incentives such as free food and other attractions, schools are hosting contests and offering prizes, and West Virginia is providing $100 savings bonds for people who get the vaccine.
Informational Resources on SARS-CoV-2
Detailed genomic information about all current SARS-CoV-2 variants is posted and regularly updated at SARS-CoV-2 variants ~ ViralZone (expasy.org). The American Society for Virology (ASV) continues to hold free townhall meetings answering audience’s questions about SARS-CoV-2, which you can register for here. And a recent article in Wired provided a layman’s explanation of how the “aerosols” versus “droplets” debate helped fuel the virus spread.
Know Before You Go
If and when you plan to travel this summer, it might be helpful to know the percent of fully vaccinated individuals at your destination. Within the U.S., as of May 16, 2021, the percentage of fully vaccinated individuals varied by state from 25% to 48%, with a national average of 36%; you can follow each state’s progress at the Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 vaccine tracker. Our World in Data tracks vaccination rates worldwide; as of May 16, Israel is the only country with more than 40% of its population fully vaccinated. Before venturing out into the world, people should also note studies suggesting that previous infection with COVID-19 may not lead to immunity, and that vaccinations are therefore recommended even for those who have recovered from a confirmed COVID-19 case.