Today’s TIP News in Review: Moderna COVID vaccine gets full approval; 60s antiwar singers now anti-vaccine misinformation protesters; and TIP Scientific Advisory Council members Peter Hotez and Maria Elena Bottazzi nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for their COVID vaccine.
Hello, and welcome to TIP News in Review for the week of Jan. 31, 2022. TIP News in Review is a production of The Immunization Partnership. My name is John David Powell.
In today’s TIP News in Review: Moderna COVID vaccine gets full approval; 60s antiwar singers now anti-vaccine misinformation protesters; and TIP Scientific Advisory Council members Peter Hotez and Maria Elena Bottazzi nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for their COVID vaccine.
Well, let’s start with
Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine got full approval from the Food and Drug Administration on Monday. It’s called Spikevax and it comes in two doses, one month apart. If you’re confused, Moderna’s vaccine had emergency use authorization only since December 2020 for folks 18 and older. In August 2021, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine got the full FDA OK for folks 16 and older to go with its emergency use authorization for kids 5 to 15.
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Yeah, folks of a certain age remember Joni Mitchell’s song Woodstock. Well, the anti-war sentiments of the 60s may have evolved into the anti-anti-vaxx movement of 2022. Joni Mitchell joined fellow Laurel Canyon alumni Neil Young and her former boyfriend Graham Nash, along with Nils Lofgren, Peter Frampton, and others who have taken their music off Spotify, the streaming and podcast giant. Ol’ Neil started it all to protest Spotify’s failure to censure podcaster Joe Rogan for spreading vaccine misinformation on his show, The Joe Rogan Experience. Spotify reportedly paid more than $100 million for exclusive rights to Rogan’s podcast, but the rocker walk-out over the past week has cost Spotify more than $2 billion in market value. So, Spotify will continue to allow Rogan and other promoters of misinformation to podcast, but listeners will get a message upfront that the information is wrong, fake, or lies. Probably not in those words though. Full disclosure: Spotify is one of the platforms that carry The Immunization Partnership podcasts Vaxx Voice and Vaxx to the Future and this program, TIP News Week in Review. We appreciate Spotify’s new warning policy, but we know it’s not something you and the rest of our listeners have to worry about with our podcasts.
High school students around Texas are holding their own COVID protests, but not against misinformation. The Texas Tribune reported this week that they are conducting petition drives and holding walkouts over their frustrations that their local school administrators are not providing enough protocols to prevent the spread of COVID in their schools. The Texas Tribune reports that more than 200 students in the Fort Bend Independent School District signed a petition asking for the schools to shut down during this Omicron surge. Students in Round Rock ISD walked out of classes. Students in Garland are doing their own protests. But it’s not just students closing classes. Pflugerville ISD shut down schools for a day because it didn’t have enough teachers and staff, thanks to COVID.
Here’s some information from
The New York Times reported that folks familiar with the situation say the Food and Drug Administration pressed Pfizer-BioNTech to ask for emergency use authorization for its COVID vaccine for kids under the age of five, which the company did on Tuesday. The controversy appears to be over research that shows two doses failed to produce the immune response hoped for in kids aged two to four. Only kids six months to two years showed an immune response comparable to that of teens and young adults. The kid doses were one-tenth the strength of the adult doses. So, there appears to be aways to go before parents can get their younger kids jabbed.
Next up . . .
So, why are hesitant folks hesitant when it comes to the COVID vaccine? A study funded by Public Health Wales and published in the journal BMJ Open suggests a link between COVID vaccine hesitancy and childhood trauma. Researchers used nine childhood traumas in their study. Those being physical, verbal and sexual abuse, parental separation, exposure to domestic violence, living with a household member with mental illness, alcohol and/or drug misuse, or a family member in prison. Folks with four or more were three times more likely to be hesitant than those with none of the listed childhood traumas. This was an observational study, not to establish cause. But the researchers say their findings suggest such survivors of childhood trauma may have more difficulty with compliance with public health control measures and consequently require additional support.
Sounds like we have another message on the old teletype. This one says that the COVID-19 pandemic added to the challenges members of our community face every day. It also added to the difficulties for many of us in keeping up-to-date with our recommended disease-preventing vaccinations. The Immunization Partnership is the only statewide non-profit organization in Texas dedicated solely to providing immunization education and advocacy. If your Human Services Organization provides vital wellness services, we would like to help you increase immunization awareness and vaccination rates among our families, neighbors, and friends. We never charge to help you help those you serve. Please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you.
And that brings us to . . .
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If you think life during the pandemic has gone into the toilet, well, Bunkie, you may not be wrong. Researchers dipping into New York City’s wastewater over the past year pulled out viral fragments with a unique constellation of mutations not found in humans. They say it’s a potential sign of a new COVID variant. They call them cryptic lineages, and they have published their findings in Nature Communications. And, they have no clue about the origins. Some think it’s from people fecal from infections that haven’t been sequenced. Others think it could come from New York’s ginormous rat population. No one knows for sure, but they’ll keep on plunging through the toilet and wastewater from 14 Big Apple treatment plants. Meantime, they’re wading in in other states to see if they can find similar lineages. And you think your job is bad? How about spending your days sifting through, well, you know. It’s like livin’ in the Twilight Zone.
And we end the week with . . .
The really big news for The Immunization Partnership came with the announcement from Texas Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher of her nomination of TIP Scientific Advisory Council Members Drs Peter Hotez and Maria Elena Bottazzi for the Nobel Peace Prize for their development of the low-cost COVID vaccine CORBEVAX. They are Deans of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and Co-Directors of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children’s Hospital. Rep. Fletcher wrote in her nomination letter that “Dr. Hotez and Dr. Bottazzi’s effort to develop the CORBEVAX vaccine is truly one of international cooperation and partnership to bring health, security, and peace around the world by creating a COVID-19 vaccine and making it available and accessible to all. It is a contribution that is of the greatest benefit to humankind.” All of us at The Immunization Partnership send our most sincere congratulations to these two outstanding researchers and colleagues.
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We hope you'll join us for our 13th Annual Community Immunity Luncheon on April 6, 2022.
Dr. Jason V. Terk with Cook Children’s Physician Network in Keller, Texas, will receive the Ralph D. Feigin, MD Award for Excellence, and H-E-B will receive the John R. Boettiger, Jr. Award for Community Partnership. We also will honor Venus Ginés with our first Community Immunization Champion Award. She is the CEO and Founder of Dia de la Mujer Latina.
Dr. Brendan Borrell is our keynote speaker. He’s a Los Angeles-based journalist and author who grew up in Texas. He’s the author of The First Shots: The Epic Rivalries and Heroic Science Behind the Race to the Coronavirus Vaccines, a behind-the-scenes look into how we got today’s COVID vaccines.
You can make your reservation and get more information at immunizeusa.org/getinvolved. That’s one word: getinvolved.
That’s our TIP News in Review for today, Feb. 4, 2022, for the week of Jan. 31.
TIP News in Review is a production of The Immunization Partnership. We invite you to subscribe to our podcasts, Vaxx Voice, which deals with vaccines in general, and Vaxx to the Future, where we feature information specifically related to COVID-19 and its vaccines. You can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube. You can also find more information on our webpage, immunizeusa.org. For all of us at The Immunization Partnership, I’m John David Powell. Thanks for listening.