Coronavirus Vaccine Updates: Moderna begins testing booster shots against variants

NEW YORK (WABC) — Moderna is now testing out its potential COVID-19 vaccine boosters for protection against emerging variants.

The pharmaceutical company says 60 people who have already been given the Moderna vaccine will get the booster shot.

The Moderna vaccine was shown to provide protection against virus variants.

However, it did show a decrease in the antibody response from the variant that originated in South Africa.

Twenty people will receive a booster dose designed to address the variant.

Another 20 people will receive a larger dose of that same booster.

The remaining 20 will receive a booster that combines the original vaccine with the new booster to provide a broad immune response.

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Here are more of today’s headlines:

Citi Field vaccinations moved out of public area
Vaccinations at Citi Field, still operating 24 hours a day, are being moved today out of a public area as the facility gets ready for the upcoming baseball season. Less than a month from now the Mets will be hosting their home opener at the ballpark, in front of a live crowd at 10% capacity, about 1,000 people. The vaccination center will move from the Jackie Robinson Rotunda to McFadden’s sports bar and restaurant, which no access to the facility’s concourses.

Biden announces plans to purchase 100M more Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine doses
President Joe Biden on Wednesday directed his administration to order another 100 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, growing a likely U.S. surplus of doses later this year when much of the rest of the world struggles with deep shortages.

Even before Wednesday’s order, the U.S. was to have enough approved vaccine delivered by mid-May to cover every adult and enough for 400 million people total by the end of July. Enough doses to cover 200 million more people is on order should vaccines from AstraZeneca and Novavax receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration. The new J&J doses, which would cover another 100 million people, are expected to be delivered in the latter half of the year.

Vaccinated nursing home residents can get hugs again in new CMS visit guidelines
Nursing home residents vaccinated against COVID-19 can get hugs again from their loved ones, and all residents may enjoy more indoor visits, the government said Wednesday in a step toward pre-pandemic normalcy.

The policy guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, comes as coronavirus cases and deaths among nursing home residents have plummeted in recent weeks at the same time that vaccination accelerated. People living in long-term care facilities have borne a cruel toll from the pandemic. They represent about 1% of the U.S. population, but account for 1 in 3 deaths, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

Texas Rangers in line to be 1st team back to full capacity
The Texas Rangers are on track to become the first team in Major League Baseball or any major U.S.-based sports league to have a full-capacity crowd since the coronavirus pandemic started altering the sports landscape a year ago.

On the same day that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s order took effect allowing businesses in the state to operate at 100% capacity, Rangers president of business operations and CEO Neil Leibman said the team hopes to be at that for the April 5 opener against the Toronto Blue Jays.

‘Angels’ use free time to book vaccine appointments for teachers
A group dubbed the ‘Emerson Angels’ are using their free time to book COVID-19 vaccine appointments for teachers in their local New Jersey school district.

Booking appointments has been difficult for many people who are eligible for myriad reasons from low supply to a lack of access to a computer. The ‘Emerson Angels’ started after Jennifer Volsin helped her grandmother, Ruth, land a slot and she figured others were struggling.

The Shed at Hudson Yards schedules indoor performances
In the city’s most significant indoor performance scheduled so far, The Shed performing arts venue at Hudson Yards will host four events next month. They will seat 150 people each, in an event space that holds 1,280. Proof of a negative test or confirmation of full vaccination will be required.

NYC indoor dining increasing to 50%
Indoor dining in New York City will soon be allowed to increase to 50% capacity. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement Wednesday. Starting March 19, restaurants in New Jersey and NYC can expand their indoor dining. The capacity for indoor dining in both areas is currently 35%.

Intrepid museum reopening
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum will reopen to the public on Thursday, March 25, initially with a four-day per week schedule (Thursday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.), and continuing to employ enhanced health and safety measures. These measures, which are based on guidance from public health experts, include a mandatory face-covering policy, enforced social distancing, 25% capacity limits, timed ticketing, and increased cleaning and disinfecting procedures.

New Jersey expanding restaurant capacity
Restaurants and other businesses in New Jersey will increase to 50% indoor capacity on March 19, coinciding with the easing of restrictions of other states in the region.

Travel guidance won’t come until more people are vaccinated against COVID-19, CDC says
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has so far declined to issue new guidance on travel for vaccinated Americans due to concerns about travel-related surges but is “looking forward” to updating guidance once more people get protected.

“What we have seen is that we have surges after people start traveling, we saw it after July 4, we saw it after Labor Day, we saw it after the Christmas holidays,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday in response to a question from CNN’s Kaitlan Collins during a COVID-19 briefing.

Walensky said because 90% of people remain unvaccinated they will wait to update guidance until “we have more protection across the communities and across the population.” She declined to provide information for the 10% of Americans who are vaccinated and looking for guidance on whether it is safe for them to travel.

How to join waitlist for leftover COVID vaccines before eligibility opens
Young, healthy and ineligible for getting the COVID vaccine in your state? A new website is giving Americans the chance to receive shots months before their eligibility opens and without an appointment. Dr. B, a website launched by a team of experts that includes ZocDoc CEO Cyrus Massoumi, connects eligible adults with leftover COVID-19 vaccines at risk of expiring. This can happen if a person misses their vaccination appointment or extra doses come in a vial, for example.

“Ultimately, patients need this vaccine, and there’s providers who need help getting it to the people of priority,” Massoumi told the New York Times. “That’s my motivation.”

When did you realize the COVID pandemic changed everything?
Many of us had a moment, most often occurring in March 2020, when we realized that COVID-19 had completely changed our lives forever. Even though we’ve managed to move forward and adapt to a new normal, that memory still sticks with us. Tell us: What was that moment to you?

Top 7 COVID vaccine questions answered
You had questions about COVID-19 vaccines and 7 On Your Side is getting you answers from doctors on the front line of the pandemic.


Positive COVID-19 cases by zip code – New York City

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