Health News Roundup: U.S. CDC advisers mull COVID-19 boosters for immune-compromised people; Italy widens Green Pass restrictions to curb COVID-19 surge and more
Cases have plummeted in recent weeks, with 62% of the country's population of 19 million fully vaccinated. U.S. CDC advisers back J&J COVID-19 vaccine benefits amid neurological illness reports Despite reports of a rare neurological disorder appearing in some people who have received Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, the benefits of its use outweigh the risks, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel said on Thursday.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
The White House said on Thursday it is "deeply disappointed" in China's decision to reject a World Health Organization (WHO) plan for a second phase of an investigation into the origin of the coronavirus. In May, U.S. President Joe Biden ordered aides to find answers to questions over the origin. At the time he disclosed that U.S. intelligence agencies were pursuing rival theories potentially including the possibility of a laboratory accident in China.
FDA classifies Philips ventilator recall as most serious
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday classified the recall of Philips' breathing devices and ventilators as Class 1, or the most serious type of recall, saying the use of these devices may cause serious injuries or death. The agency said there have been 83 complaints regarding the products used to provide breathing assistance, but no injuries or deaths were reported for these issues.
U.S. senators aim to stop vaccine misinformation by going after tech's legal immunity
Two Democratic U.S. senators on Thursday will add to the stack of bills going after Section 230 - a law that protects tech companies from being sued over content posted by users - making such platforms responsible for health-related misinformation. The legislation introduced by Amy Klobuchar and Ben Ray Lujan requires internet platforms such as Facebook and Alphabet's Google to take down health and vaccine-related misinformation during public health emergencies or be held liable for that failure.
Drugmaker Endo settles opioid claims by Tennessee counties, cities for $35 million
Endo International Plc has agreed to pay $35 million to settle a lawsuit by Tennessee local governments and on behalf of a child allegedly born addicted to painkillers accusing the drugmaker of fueling the opioid epidemic, the company announced Thursday. The settlement came just days before the case was set to go to trial to decide damages, in which plaintiffs were expected to seek $2.4 billion. A judge had previously ruled Endo liable as a penalty for failing to hand over evidence.
U.S. administers 339.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines - CDC
The United States has administered 339,763,765 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Thursday morning and distributed 391,998,625 doses, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday. Those figures are up from the 339,102,867 vaccine doses the CDC said had gone into arms by July 21 out of 391,248,955 doses delivered.
Italy widens Green Pass restrictions to curb COVID-19 surge
The Italian government, looking to contain a fresh surge in coronavirus cases, announced on Thursday that from next month people must present proof of immunity to access an array of services and leisure activities. The so-called Green Pass is a digital or paper certificate that shows if someone has received at least one jab, has tested negative or has recently recovered from COVID-19.
U.S. CDC advisers mull COVID-19 boosters for immune-compromised people
Advisers to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday will consider evidence suggesting that a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccines could increase protection among people with compromised immune systems. Data presented ahead of the meeting noted that such people have a reduced antibody response following the recommended primary vaccination series compared with healthy individuals.
Mississippi asks U.S. Supreme Court to overturn abortion rights landmark
The state of Mississippi on Thursday urged the U.S. Supreme Court in a major case set to be argued in its next term to overturn the landmark 1973 ruling that recognized that women have a constitutional right to obtain an abortion. Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, a Republican, said in papers to be filed with the court that the Roe v. Wade ruling and a subsequent 1992 decision that affirmed it were both "egregiously wrong" and that state legislatures should have more leeway to restrict abortion. The court has a 6-3 conservative majority.
Chileans allowed to travel abroad again as vaccination drive pays dividends
Chile announced on Thursday that its citizens and foreign residents would be allowed to travel outside the country if they are fully inoculated against coronavirus, a fresh perk for Chileans participating in one of the world's fastest vaccination campaigns. In early July, health officials began to relax some restrictions, including those on movement inside the country, as the vaccination program has begun to pay dividends. Cases have plummeted in recent weeks, with 62% of the country's population of 19 million fully vaccinated.
U.S. CDC advisers back J&J COVID-19 vaccine benefits amid neurological illness reports
Despite reports of a rare neurological disorder appearing in some people who have received Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, the benefits of its use outweigh the risks, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel said on Thursday. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week added a warning to its fact sheet for J&J's single-shot vaccine saying that data suggests there is an increased risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) in the six weeks after vaccination.
(With inputs from agencies.)
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