Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today?

Mixed vaccines FDA Seems Likely to Allow Americans to Switch Covid Vaccine When Choosing a Recall in a decision that is expected later...



FDA Seems Likely to Allow Americans to Switch Covid Vaccine When Choosing a Recall in a decision that is expected later this week. Scientists have been experimenting with the mix-and-match strategy for years, and they have long suspected that a combination of different licensed vaccines can sometimes work better than two identical doses.

My colleague Carl Zimmer answered some common questions on mixing and matching plans.

How does the mix-and-match work?

We have data from other vaccines – for example, experimental HIV vaccines – which suggests that mixing vaccines could create a larger and more potent response than multiple doses of a single vaccine. Different types boost the immune system in different ways, and switching between vaccines could give people the best of both worlds.

What do we know about the Covid vaccine mix?

The pandemic has given scientists new opportunities to test the idea of ​​mix-and-match. Young Europeans who had received a dose of AstraZeneca were offered a second dose of Pfizer due to a small but real risk of blood clots. The two vaccines are profoundly different, but when the researchers examined the immune response of this mixed approach, they found that it produced more antibodies than two injections of AstraZeneca alone.

Are they working well?

In June, the National Institutes of Health launched their own variant of the experiment in Europe, looking at what happens when fully vaccinated people switch to a new vaccine for a booster. The researchers recruited people who had received one of the three vaccines authorized in the United States, then gave them one of the three vaccines as a booster. Scientists found that switching boosters increased the level of anti-coronavirus antibodies, regardless of the combination obtained. And switching to a new booster produced no noticeable side effects.

The results for people who initially received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine were particularly striking. Those who receive a J. & J. booster saw antibodies increase only four times. Switching to a Pfizer-BioNTech booster increased antibody levels 35-fold. A Moderna boost increased them 76-fold.

Will there be other callback options?

It’s entirely possible. More than 100 Covid-19 vaccines are currently in clinical trials, and some of these newer vaccines could prove to be superior boosters. It is not yet clear how many Covid-19 boosters we will need to achieve lasting protection. It is conceivable that one hit could be enough. But it’s also possible that Covid-19 vaccines will need to be administered every year, much like a seasonal flu shot.

If Covid-19 boosters become an annual event, then a mix-and-match strategy should get more people vaccinated. It will be much easier for people to get vaccinated regularly if they don’t have to worry about getting another injection of their original vaccine.

The flu sets a precedent for this plan. Each year, vaccine manufacturers produce new batches of seasonal influenza vaccine. Some are inactivated influenza viruses. Some contain live viruses that are too weak to make people sick. Others are made up of flu protein alone. The CDC has no preference for the age-appropriate influenza vaccine that people receive. This kind of flexibility can also lower the price of boosters.


Italy set a new bar for major Western democracies when it put in place a sweeping new law last week that requires all of the country’s workforce – public and private – to present proof vaccination, a negative coronavirus test or a recent recovery from Covid-19.

The government issued green passes must be posted when entering offices, schools, hospitals or other workplaces. Those without passes must take unpaid leave and workers face fines of up to 1,500 euros ($ 1,760) if they don’t comply.

In the first days following the entry into force of the law, there were sporadic protests and some legislators “Occupied” their offices in protest, but the protests were smaller than previous vaccine protests. More than anything, they seemed to point out that the Green Pass was now part of Italian life. More than 80% of people over 12 in Italy are now fully vaccinated against Covid.

Government officials say the measure is already working and more than 500,000 previously reluctant people – many more than expected – have been vaccinated since the government announced its plan last month.


For many of us, the pandemic has given us the opportunity to rethink our lives: how we work, eat, sleep, communicate with others and spend our free time.

It was also a break with our usual ways and the old way of doing things. In many ways, the pandemic has given us permission to change who we are, leaving behind parts of our lives that never felt quite right.

For some, that might mean giving up after-hours emails or Slack messages, or letting go of a stoic attitude and being honest about self-care, or letting go of some social anxiety by saying “no.” To other events.

Whatever these things are for you, we would love to hear about it. We ask readers: what are the things you are letting go of as we slowly come out of the pandemic?

We can use your response in a future newsletter. If you want to participate, you can fill out this form here.



I am a nurse practitioner who will be leaving health care for the first time in 20 years and will be starting my new full time job as a “home manager”. Growing pressure from the administration to do more with less ultimately broke this caregiver’s back. I will now be able to raise my children without the increased risk of exposing them to my job. My mother once said, “Work is like having your hand in a bucket of water. Remove your hand and the work continues. My hand is out… now I’m holding my child’s hand instead.

– Jenn Murty, Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Let us know how you are dealing with the pandemic. Send us an answer here, and we can feature it in a future newsletter.

Sign up here to receive the briefing by email.


Email your thoughts to briefing@nytimes.com.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today?
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