Moderna Vaccine Creates Twice as Many Antibodies as Pfizer, Study Shows

Coronavirus: Modern vaccine generated more than double antibodies than Pfizer shot. Moderna Inc.’s Covid vaccine generated more than double the antibodies from a similar shot made by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE in research that directly compared immune responses with inoculations.

A study of nearly 2,500 workers at a major hospital in Belgium found antibody levels among people who had not been infected with coronavirus before receiving two doses of the Moderna vaccine averaged 2,888 units per day. Milliliters, compared to 1,108 units / ml in a similar group that received two shots of the Pfizer shot.

The results, published Monday in a letter to the Journal of the American Medical Association, suggested that the differences could be explained by:

– larger amount of active ingredient in the Moderna vaccine – 100 micrograms versus 30 micrograms in Pfizer-BioNTech. Longer interval between doses of the Moderna vaccine – four weeks versus three weeks for Pfizer-BioNTech

Moderna’s vaccine was associated with a double risk reduction against breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infections compared to Pfizers in a review of humans in the Mayo Clinic Health System in the United States from January to July. The results were reported in a separate study released prior to publication and peer review on 9 August.

The Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine (pINN: elasomeran), codenamed mRNA-1273 and sold under the brand name Spikevax, is a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna, the United States National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

It is authorized for use in people aged twelve years and older in some jurisdictions and for people eighteen years and older in other jurisdictions to provide protection against COVID-19 which is caused by infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It is designed to be administered as two or three 0.5 mL doses given by intramuscular injection at an interval of at least 28 days apart.

It is an RNA vaccine composed of nucleoside-modified mRNA (modRNA) encoding a spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, which is encapsulated in lipid nanoparticles

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Source: Covid: Moderna Vaccine Creates Twice as Many Antibodies as Pfizer, Study Shows – Bloomberg

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Krispy Kreme Just Sweetened Its Free Doughnut Promo For Vaccinated People

Krispy Kreme is ramping up its efforts to encourage customers to get the COVID-19 vaccine. This week, the company unveiled its second free doughnut promotion for vaccinated people, and it’s even sweeter than the first one.

Two days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to the Pfizer vaccine, Krispy Kreme announced that customers who show proof of vaccination will be able to get two free doughnuts every day at their local store between Aug. 30 and Sept. 5, and and one free doughnut daily for rest of year.

Customers who have received at least one vaccination shot are eligible for the weeklong “Show Your Heart” offer and can choose from the chain’s Original Glazed Doughnut or a limited-edition Original Glazed Heart Doughnut. The special heart-shaped treat will also be available for sale throughout the week.

In March, Krispy Kreme launched its first free doughnut promo and announced that customers who had received at least one jab and show a valid vaccine card could score a free glazed doughnut every day at participating locations through the end of 2021.

The campaign has been quite popular (Krispy Kreme has given away 2.5 million+ Original Glazed doughnuts so far), and it’ll continue through the end of the year. But the company was inspired to step things up a bit once the FDA officially approved the Pfizer vaccine.

“We all hoped we’d be near the end of this pandemic by now. We’re not,” Krispy Kreme’s chief marketing officer Dave Skena said in a press release. “So, please consider getting vaccinated if you’ve not done so already. And then enjoy and share two amazing doughnuts with our heart-felt thanks.”

Krispy Kreme started the trend of incentivizing customers to get the vaccine by offering edible freebies. In April, many other companies followed suit, including Shake Shack, Budweiser and Nathan’s Famous.

But not everyone was eager to cash in on the sugary doughnut deal. Shortly after Krispy Kreme launched the promo, the company faced backlash from some critics who argued that the offer discriminated against those who don’t want the vaccine.

At the time, Krispy Kreme addressed vaccine hesitancy, calling it “a highly personal decision.” The chain also offered a free coffee and doughnut to all customers on Mondays through May 24, whether or not they were vaccinated.

Other critics expressed concern about the health effects of a free daily doughnut. In response to this sentiment, writer Kate Bernyk penned an NBC News op-ed arguing that it was a form of fat-shaming and food-shaming.

“I think for me, it wasn’t about the doughnut,” she wrote. I think that it’s just another opportunity to pass judgment on someone’s choices or the way someone looks.”

TODAY Food asked Krispy Kreme CMO Dave Skena what inspired the company to release this second doughnut promo, despite the backlash it had received in previous months, and he explained that the chain is passionate about “Acts of Joy.” He also referenced the other free doughnut promotions the company has rolled out for health care workers, students, teachers and other groups throughout the pandemic.

“We are a warm and generous brand. Providing free Original Glazed doughnuts to those who get vaccinated is another gesture that we hope sweetens people’s lives as the country tries to put this virus behind us,” said Skena.

“Like many sweet treats, our doughnuts are an occasional indulgence best enjoyed in moderation and we know that’s how most of our guests enjoy them,” he added. “We’re certainly not asking people to get a free Original Glazed doughnut every day; we’re just making it available through the end of the year to show support to those doing their part to make the country safe by getting vaccinated.”

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Source: Krispy Kreme just sweetened its free doughnut promo for vaccinated people

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Covid’s Forgotten Hero: The Untold Story Of The Scientist Whose Breakthrough Made The Vaccines Possible

In the summer of 2020, as the pandemic raged, infecting more than 200,000 people a day across the globe, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla and BioNTech CEO Uğur Şahin boarded an executive jet en route to the hilly countryside of Klosterneuburg, Austria. Their destination: a small manufacturing facility located on the west bank of the Danube River called Polymun Scientific Immunbiologische Forschung.
Bourla and Şahin were on a mission to get the company to manufacture as many lipid nanoparticles as possible for their new Covid-19 vaccine, which was on a fast track to receive emergency authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine had been engineered with messenger RNA technology that instructs the body’s immune system to combat the coronavirus. But to get it safely into human cells, the mRNA needed to be wrapped in microscopic fragments of fat known as lipids. The Austrian manufacturing plant was one of the few places on earth that made the required lipid nanoparticles, and Bourla insisted Şahin go with him personally to press their case.

“The whole mRNA platform is not how to build an mRNA molecule; that’s the easy thing,” Bourla says. “It is how to make sure the mRNA molecule will go into your cells and give the instructions.”

Yet the story of how Moderna, BioNTech and Pfizer managed to create that vital delivery system has never been told. It’s a complicated saga involving 15 years of legal battles and accusations of betrayal and deceit. What is clear is that when humanity needed a way to deliver mRNA to human cells to arrest the pandemic, there was only one reliable method available—and it wasn’t one originated in-house by Pfizer, Moderna, BioNTech or any of the other major vaccine companies.

A months-long investigation by Forbes reveals that the scientist most responsible for this critical delivery method is a little-known 57-year-old Canadian biochemist named Ian MacLachlan. As chief scientific officer of two small companies, Protiva Biotherapeutics and Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, MacLachlan led the team that developed this crucial technology. Today, though, few people—and none of the big pharmaceutical companies—openly acknowledge his groundbreaking work, and MacLachlan earns nothing from the technology he pioneered.


“I look at the news, and 50% of it is vaccines—it’s everywhere—and I have no doubt the vaccines are using the technology we developed.”


“I just wasn’t going to spend the rest of my life dealing with it, but I can’t escape it,” MacLachlan says. “I open my browser in the morning and look at the news, and 50% of it is vaccines—it’s everywhere—and I have no doubt the vaccines are using the technology we developed.”

Moderna Therapeutics vigorously disputes the idea that its mRNA vaccine uses MacLachlan’s delivery system, and BioNTech, the vaccine maker partnered with Pfizer, talks about it carefully. Legal proceedings are pending, and big money is at stake.

Moderna, BioNTech and Pfizer are on their way to selling $45 billion worth of vaccines in 2021. They don’t pay a dime to MacLachlan. Other coronavirus vaccine makers, such as Gritstone Oncology, have recently licensed MacLachlan’s Protiva-Tekmira delivery technology for between 5% and 15% of product sales. MacLachlan no longer has a financial stake in the technology, but a similar royalty on the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines could yield as much as $6.75 billion in 2021 alone. In an ironic twist of fate, though, President Biden’s proposal to waive Covid-19 vaccine patents would make it unlikely that the intellectual property related to MacLachlan’s advances could be a source of riches.

Despite their denials, scientific papers and regulatory documents filed with the FDA show that both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccines use a delivery system strikingly similar to what MacLachlan and his team created—a carefully formulated four-lipid component that encapsulates mRNA in a dense particle through a mixing process involving ethanol and a T-connector apparatus.

For years, Moderna claimed it was using its own proprietary delivery system, but when it came time for the company to test its Covid-19 vaccine in mice, it used the same four kinds of lipids as MacLachlan’s technology, in identical ratios.

Moderna insists the preclinical formulation of the vaccine was not the same as the vaccine itself. Subsequent regulatory filings by Moderna show its vaccine uses the same four types of lipids as MacLachlan’s delivery system but with a proprietary version of one of the lipids and the ratios “slightly modified” in a still undisclosed manner.

It’s a similar story for Pfizer and BioNTech. FDA documents show their vaccine uses the same four kinds of lipids in nearly the exact ratios that MacLachlan and his team patented years ago, albeit with one of those lipids being a new proprietary variation.

Not everyone ignores MacLachlan. “A lot of credit goes to Ian MacLachlan for the LNP [lipid nanoparticle],” says Katalin Karikó, the scientist who laid the groundwork for mRNA therapies before joining BioNTech in 2013. But Karikó, now a frontrunner for a Nobel Prize, is angry that MacLachlan didn’t do more to help her use his delivery system to build her own mRNA company years ago. “[MacLachlan] might be a great scientist, but he lacked vision,” she says.

Seven years ago, MacLachlan quit his position at Tekmira, walking away from his brilliant discovery and any potential financial rewards. Messy legal battles and political infighting within the biopharma industry over the delivery system had taken a toll on him. His emotions are complex. He may be overlooked, but he knows that he helped save the world.

“There’s a team of people who gave a great deal of their lives to the development of this technology. They gave their heart and soul,” MacLachlan says. “These people worked like dogs and gave the best part of themselves to develop it.”

Perched on a hilltop, Hohentübingen Castle towers above the town of Tübingen, Germany. In October 2013, MacLachlan, then the chief scientific officer of Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, trudged up the hill to the castle to attend a cocktail party at the first International mRNA Health Conference. During the evening, MacLachlan struck up a conversation with Stéphane Bancel, the CEO of an upstart mRNA company called Moderna Therapeutics. MacLachlan suggested Tekmira and Moderna collaborate using his innovative drug delivery system. “You are too expensive,” Bancel told him.

The exchange gave MacLachlan a bad feeling. So did the presence of a former colleague, Thomas Madden, who had been fired by Tekmira five years earlier. By this point MacLachlan had spent more than a decade working on his delivery system, yet people like Bancel seemed more interested in working with the London-born Madden.

The rivalry between these two scientists is the root of the controversy over the delivery technology that today’s Covid-19 vaccines rely on. MacLachlan and Madden met 25 years ago, when they worked together at a small Vancouver-based biotech called Inex Pharmaceuticals. With a Ph.D. in biochemistry, MacLachlan joined Inex in 1996, his first job after completing a postdoctoral fellowship in a gene lab at the University of Michigan.

Inex was cofounded by its chief scientific officer, Pieter Cullis, now 75, a long-haired physicist who taught at the University of British Columbia. From his perch there Cullis started several biotechs, cultivating an elite community of scientists that made Vancouver a hotbed of lipid chemistry.

Inex had a small-molecule chemotherapy drug candidate, but Cullis was also interested in gene therapy. His goal was to deliver large-molecule genetic material, like DNA or RNA, inside a lipid bubble so it could be safely ferried as medicine to the inside of a cell—something biochemists had dreamed about for decades but had been unable to accomplish.

Using a new method that mixed detergent with liquid, Cullis and his team at Inex successfully encapsulated small pieces of DNA in microscopic bubbles called liposomes. Unfortunately, the system could not consistently deliver bigger molecules, the type needed for gene therapy, in medically useful ways. They tried other approaches, including using ethanol, but didn’t succeed.

“We assembled all the LNP [lipid nanoparticle] pieces at Inex, but we didn’t get it to work” for genetic material, Cullis says.

Inex was a business, not a research lab, so it shifted its emphasis to the more promising chemotherapy drug. The gene therapy group was largely disbanded. MacLachlan ran what was left of it until, in 2000, he too decided to quit. Rather than let him completely walk away, Cullis persuaded MacLachlan to take the firm’s delivery assets and spin them out in a new company. Thus was born Protiva Biotherapeutics (MacLachlan became chief scientific officer), in which Inex retained a minority stake. MacLachlan recruited Mark Murray, now 73, a longtime American biotech executive with a Ph.D. in biochemistry, to be CEO.

It wasn’t long before two Protiva chemists, Lorne Palmer and Lloyd Jeffs, made a crucial discovery that led to a new mixing method. They put lipids dissolved in ethanol on one side of a physical T-connector apparatus, and, on the opposite side, genetic material dissolved in saltwater, then shot streams of the two solutions at each other. It was the moment they had been hoping for. The collision resulted in lipids forming a dense nanoparticle that instantly encapsulated the genetic material. The method was elegantly simple, and it worked.


In the midst of all this furious legal fighting, Hungarian biochemist Katalin Karikó showed up at MacLachlan’s door. Karikó was early to grasp that MacLachlan’s delivery system was key to mRNA therapies.


“The various methods that had been used previously were all highly variable and ineffective,” MacLachlan says. “Completely unsuitable for manufacturing.

The team he led quickly went on to develop a new lipid nanoparticle made of four specific kinds of lipids. Though these were among the lipids Inex had also been using in its experiments, MacLachlan’s LNP had a dense core that differed significantly from the sac-like liposome bubbles developed by Inex. MacLachlan’s team had figured out the specific ratios of the four kinds of lipids that worked best relative to one another. Everything was dutifully patented.

Moderna and Pfizer’s Covid vaccines use a type of gene therapy based on the messenger RNA molecule. Protiva’s scientists, though, initially gravitated toward a different type of gene therapy using RNA interference, or RNAi. While mRNA instructs the body to create therapeutic proteins, RNAi aims to silence bad genes before they cause disease. With MacLachlan’s delivery system in hand, Protiva started collaborating with Alnylam, a Cambridge, Massachusetts–based biotech, to make RNAi therapy viable.

Meanwhile, MacLachlan’s old company, Inex, was imploding after the FDA denied accelerated approval to its chemotherapy drug. Inex fired most of its staff and then—despite having spun off Protiva only a few years earlier—looped back to drug delivery. It, too, started working in partnership with Alnylam. In 2005 Cullis quit, leaving none other than MacLachlan’s archrival Thomas Madden to run Inex’s delivery efforts.

In 2006, Protiva and Alnylam published a landmark study in Nature demonstrating the first effective gene silencing in monkeys. The study used the delivery system MacLachlan’s team had developed.

Alnylam went on to develop Onpattro, an RNAi drug used to treat nerve damage in adults with a certain hereditary condition. The drug would become the first RNAi medicine ever approved by the FDA. Regulatory filings show Alnylam used MacLachlan’s delivery system for Onpattro—with one exception. For one of the four kinds of lipids, Alnylam used a modified version it developed with Thomas Madden.

In October 2008, Mark Murray, the CEO MacLachlan had recruited to run Protiva, stood in a room at Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, a small publicly traded shell company he had just taken over. Like Protiva, Tekmira had been created by Inex, which had finally burned out a year earlier, but not before transferring all its remaining assets to Tekmira. Assembled before Murray were some 15 former Inex scientists who had come along in the deal, including Thomas Madden.

“Unfortunately, we are not going to be able to keep you guys any longer,” Murray told them.

Madden’s firing was one result of a massive legal brawl sparked by the fact that both Inex and Protiva had been working separately with Alnylam on drug delivery. The dispute would continue for years. In each iteration, Murray and MacLachlan would accuse Madden and Cullis of having improperly taken their ideas. Cullis and Madden, offended by the accusations, denied them. Sometimes they sued back, claiming Murray and MacLachlan had acted wrongly.

The first round of litigation resulted in a 2008 settlement that saw Protiva take over Tekmira, with Murray as CEO, MacLachlan as chief scientific officer and Madden soon fired. Despite the bruising, Madden and Cullis founded a new company in 2009 to continue working with Alnylam.

Tekmira responded by suing Alnylam, claiming the Massachusetts biotech conspired with Madden and Cullis to cheaply gain ownership of the delivery system developed by MacLachlan. Alnylam denied wrongdoing and—of course—filed counterclaims, saying it simply wanted to work with Madden and Cullis, who had created an improved variation of one of the four kinds of delivery-system lipids.

That round of the legal brawl was settled in 2012, with Alnylam paying Tekmira $65 million and agreeing to assign dozens of its patents back to Tekmira. Those patents included ones for the improved lipid that Madden had developed for Onpattro. Under the deal, Cullis and Madden’s new company was granted a narrow license to use the MacLachlan delivery system to create new mRNA products from scratch.


Feeling defeated, MacLachlan quit Tekmira. He sold his stock, purchased a used Winnebago Adventurer for $60,000 and set off with his wife, two kids and their dog for a 5,200-mile road trip. “I was exhausted and demoralized.”


It was in the midst of all this furious legal fighting that Hungarian biochemist Katalin Karikó first showed up at MacLachlan’s door. Karikó was early to grasp that MacLachlan’s delivery system held the key to unlocking the potential of mRNA therapies. As early as 2006, she began sending letters to MacLachlan urging him to encase her groundbreaking chemically altered mRNA in his four-lipid delivery system. Embroiled in litigation, MacLachlan passed on her offer.

Karikó didn’t give up easily. In 2013, she flew to meet with Tekmira’s executives, offering to relocate to Vancouver and work directly under MacLachlan. Tekmira passed. “Moderna, BioNTech and CureVac all wanted me to work for them, but my number one choice, Tekmira, didn’t,” says Karikó, who took a job at BioNTech in 2013.

By this time, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel was also trying to solve the delivery puzzle. Bancel held discussions with Tekmira about collaborating, but talks stalled. At one point, Tekmira indicated it wanted at least $100 million up front, plus royalties, to strike a deal. Instead, Moderna partnered with Madden, who was still working with Cullis at their drug delivery company, Acuitas Therapeutics.

In February 2014, MacLachlan turned 50. His life partner, Karley Seabrook, lured him to Vancouver’s Imperial theater, which was packed with friends and family. She surprised him in a wedding dress, and their two children greeted MacLachlan with cards that read WILL YOU MARRY MOMMY? Seabrook had never thought it important that they get married, but a brush with cancer had altered her perspective—and the wedding would alter his.

For the workaholic scientist, dealing with lawyers and endless corporate maneuvering had taken its toll. Feeling defeated, MacLachlan quit Tekmira in 2014. He sold his stock in the company, purchased a used Winnebago Adventurer for $60,000 and set off with his new wife, two kids and their dog for a 5,200-mile road trip across Canada.

“I was exhausted and demoralized,” he says. With MacLachlan gone, CEO Murray renamed Tekmira, calling it Arbutus BioPharma, and decided the company should focus on creating hepatitis B treatments with New York drug development company Roivant Sciences. Yet he held on to the patents for the four-lipid drug delivery system.

Then Madden’s company, Acuitas, sublicensed the delivery technology to Moderna for the development of an mRNA flu vaccine. Murray was confident Madden had no right to do so, and in 2016 he gave notice that he intended to terminate Acuitas’ licensing agreement. Per custom, two months later, Acuitas sued in Vancouver, denying that it had violated any deal. On cue, Murray countersued, initiating a fresh round of legal combat. Importantly, though, this batch of lawsuits directly involved mRNA.

After battling for two more years, the parties settled. Murray terminated Thomas Madden’s license to MacLachlan’s delivery technology for any future medicines other than four products Moderna had already begun to develop (Murray also lost the rights to some of Madden’s technology). Murray and Roivant then created another company, Genevant Sciences, specifically to house the intellectual property related to the four-lipid delivery system and commercialize it.

Some companies were quick to come on board. Within a few months BioNTech CEO Şahin struck a deal with Genevant to use the delivery system for five of BioNTech’s existing mRNA cancer programs. The companies also agreed to work together on five other mRNA programs targeting rare diseases. There was no provision in the agreement about using the delivery technology for something completely unforeseen—something like Covid-19.

Moderna pursued a different strategy. It filed lawsuits with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office seeking to nullify a series of patents related to MacLachlan’s delivery system, now controlled by Genevant. But in July 2020, as Moderna was pushing its vaccine through clinical trials, an adjudicative body largely upheld the most important patent claims. (Moderna is appealing.)

After the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines were authorized, Drew Weissman, a prominent mRNA researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, concluded in a peer-reviewed journal that both use delivery systems that are “similar to the Alnylam Onpattro product” but with a proprietary version of one of the lipids. Weissman noted both companies were using T-junction mixing.

Thomas Madden worked on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine delivery system and says he used enhanced versions of two of the four kinds of lipids. Madden says neither Onpattro nor the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine would have been green-lighted by the FDA without his team’s improvements to the lipids.

MacLachlan dismisses the new variations as “iterative innovation.”

In a written statement to Forbes, Ray Jordan, Moderna’s corporate affairs chief, stated, “I can confirm that we did take a license to Tekmira’s IP for certain of our older products. But our newer products (including the Covid vaccine) have moved on with new technology.”

BioNTech declined to comment. Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer’s chief scientific officer, says the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is fully covered by patents and that in creating the first authorized mRNA product, Pfizer modified the delivery system to produce 3 billion doses annually.

“It’s different to have a process that may work for a very small scale than a large scale, and some of the assumptions that may look similar are based on how the scientific field evolved and [on] contributions from many different sources,” Dolsten says. “One needs to be careful in assuming that [if] things have similar names and similar molar ratios, it means it’s the same thing.”

Genevant declined to comment, but it could be fighting an uphill battle. In May, the Biden Administration backed waiving intellectual property protection on Covid-19 vaccines. Ironically, such a move might benefit, not hurt, Moderna, BioNTech and Pfizer by preventing Genevant from making any claims on their gigantic vaccine cash pile.

That’s just as well for Ian MacLachlan, whose role in what may be the most important medical advance in a century has been all but erased by the biotech industry.

“I definitely feel I made a contribution,” he says. “I have mixed feelings because of the way it’s being characterized, and I know the genesis of the technology.”

Send me a secure tip.

U.S. Set To Recommend Booster Covid-19 Vaccine Dose For Most People, Reports Say

U.S health officials are expected to recommend Covid-19 vaccine booster doses for Americans across all eligible age groups eight months after they received their second vaccine dose, to ensure lasting protection against the coronavirus as the more infectious delta variant spreads across the country partially blunting the efficacy of existing vaccine regimens.

According to the Associated Press, health officials could announce the booster recommendation as soon as this week, just a few days after an additional vaccine dose was recommended for people with weakened immune systems.

The Biden administration could then begin rolling out the third shots as early as mid-to-late September, the New York Times reported, citing unnamed officials.

The first booster shots will likely be administered to nursing home residents, health care workers and elderly Americans who were among the first people in the country to be inoculated.

The Associated Press notes that the formal deployment of the booster doses can only take place after the vaccines have been fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration—an action that is expected for the Pfizer jab in the next few weeks.

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to fully approve the Pfizer vaccine in the coming weeks which will formally open the door for it to be offered as a booster to millions of Americans who have already received two vaccine doses.

Big Number

59.4%. That’s the percentage of the eligible U.S. popuplation (12 years of age and older) that has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, with 70% receiving at least one dose, according to the CDC’s tracker.

Surprising Fact

An estimated 1.1 million people have already received an unauthorized booster dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, ABC News reported last week, citing an internal CDC document reviewed by the broadcaster. The number is likely an undercount as it only accounts for people who received a third dose of an mRNA vaccine but does not count those who may have received a dose of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine and then received a second dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.

Key Background

Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna for people with compromised immune systems. The targeted move was aimed at providing better protection for people who have undergone solid organ transplants or those diagnosed with conditions that are considered to be immunocompromised.

Unlike the eight-month gap being proposed for booster doses for the general population, immunocompromised patients can receive their third dose as early as 28 days after their second shot. The FDA’s decision followed similar moves undertaken by Israel, France and Germany who began administering an additional dose to vulnerable populations amid the threat of the more infectious delta variant of the virus.

Contra

As the more infectious delta variant of the coronavirus takes hold across the U.S. questions about the effectiveness or even the necessity of a booster dose remain unanswered. While some vaccines are slightly less effective against the variant, it is still unclear if protection against more severe disease and hospitalizations have been impacted significantly as well.

This makes any decision to authorize booster doses remains a controversial one in the global context as critics decry the fact that developed nations are administering an additional dose at a time when several poorer nations have limited access to vaccines. Earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) called for a moratorium on Covid-19 vaccine booster shots until at least the end of September.

Further Reading

U.S. to Advise Boosters for Most Americans 8 Months After Vaccination (New York Times)

US to recommend COVID vaccine boosters at 8 months (Associated Press)

More Than 1 Million Have Received Unauthorized Third Dose (WebMD)

FDA Authorizes Extra Covid-19 Vaccine Dose For Those With Weakened Immune Systems (Forbes)

How Good Are Covid-19 Vaccines At Protecting Against The Delta Variant? (Forbes)

I am a Breaking News Reporter at Forbes, with a focus on covering important tech policy and business news. Graduated from Columbia University with an MA in Business and Economics Journalism in 2019. Worked as a journalist in New Delhi, India from 2014 to 2018. Have a news tip? DMs are open on Twitter @SiladityaRay or drop me an email at siladitya@protonmail.com.

Source: U.S. Set To Recommend Booster Covid-19 Vaccine Dose For Most People, Reports Say

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How to Turn Your Company’s Purpose Into Action

The best advice is easy to understand, but difficult to execute, according to Marshall Goldsmith, executive coach and author of Triggers, Mojo, and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.

In a virtual keynote address to Inc. 5000 honorees this week, Goldsmith explained that while coaching leaders at companies such as Ford, Pfizer, and the Mayo Clinic, he learned that it’s easy to dismiss the simplest of leadership strategies because they sound too easy. But it’s often the simple strategies that make the biggest difference for founders because they’re easier to commit to long-term.

“You’re a CEO, you’re a very busy person, you don’t have a lot of time. If I gave you stuff that sucks up too much of your time, you’re not gonna do it anyway,” Goldsmith says, adding that this tried-and-true method is still one worth teaching today because of its proven success.

Here, Goldsmith shares a simple method to becoming a more effective leader.

1. Get in the habit of asking for input.

Goldsmith argues that leaders don’t ask one simple question enough: How can I be better? Leaders should get in the habit of asking how they can be a better manager, team player, and salesperson. Many times, your employees and peers will point things out to you that aren’t even on your radar.

Something he learned from management consultant Peter Drucker stood out to Goldsmith when it comes to asking for feedback. “He said, ‘The leader of the past will have to [explain] to leaders of the future when they ask why we manage knowledge workers when they know more than we do,” Goldsmith says. In other words, never stop learning from your employees and peers.

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2. Listen to the input–don’t debate it.

Once you ask for input, Goldsmith says to fight every urge to give your opinion and to instead listen intently. Whatever feedback you get, take notes, say thank you, don’t judge, and don’t make too many promises. Instead, Goldsmith suggests you say, “I’m going to involve you and the others involved and follow up with you.”

One important thing for leaders to keep in mind is that leadership is not a popularity contest, and therefore you shouldn’t feel obligated to satisfy everyone. “You never promised as a leader to do everything people suggest,” Goldsmith says. “You promised to ask and listen.

3. Follow up.

This is where you act on what you promised. The key to making change, according to Goldsmith, is that you have to follow up and stick with it.

“You don’t get better when you listen to a speech. You don’t get better because you read a book,” he says. “You have to work at it, follow up and stick with it.”

By: Teresa Xie, Editorial intern, Inc.@resate_z

Source: How to Turn Your Company’s Purpose Into Action | Inc.com

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Covid Clusters Among The Vaccinated Point To Rise of Delta

They were gold miners in French Guiana, revelers in Cape Cod, and Indian health-care workers. Even though they inhabit worlds apart, they ended up having two things in common. All were vaccinated against covid-19. And they all became part of infection clusters.

In recent weeks, cases like these are proving that covid-19 transmission chains and superspreading events can occur even in groups where nearly everyone is vaccinated, setting off alarms among health officials and torpedoing hopes of a quick return to business as usual in the US.

In May 2021, the CDC had told vaccinated Americans they could safety go unmasked, but on Tuesday the agency reversed course, saying vaccinated people should wear masks in indoor public settings.

The reason was what investigators learned from an outbreak in Provincetown, Massachusetts, a seaside town on Cape Cod, which in early July hosted a rowdy parade and crowded weeks of pool parties. Since then, Massachusetts health investigators say, there have been more than 500 cases of covid-19 linked to those events in state residents, 73% of which are in people who were vaccinated. Including people from other states, the infection cluster involves over 900 people.

The Provincetown outbreak was caused by the so-called delta variant, which now accounts for most cases in the US.  In a statement released today, Rochelle Walensky, head of the CDC, said the “pivotal discovery” was that vaccinated people infected with delta in Provincetown appear to have just as much virus in their systems as those who are unvaccinated.

“High viral loads suggest an increased risk of transmission and raised concern that, unlike with other variants, vaccinated people infected with delta can transmit the virus,” she said.

The recommendation suggests a rapid return to a layered approach of countermeasures, including masks and social distancing, which could also complicate school reopenings starting next month in the US.

Infection at a gold mine

Investigations around the world have been building evidence of outbreaks among the vaccinated for weeks. For instance, a scientific team in Paris and French Guiana recently described how covid-19 tore through a South American gold mine in May, even though nearly all the miners had received Pfizer’s vaccine.

Despite being inoculated, 60% became infected by a variant called gamma. That surprised the scientists so much that they checked to see if the vaccines had been damaged in shipping, but they weren’t.

The initial studies of Pfizer’s vaccine, the mostly widely used in the US, showed it was more than 90% effective in preventing symptomatic disease. But that’s not what was seen in the gold miners; half ended up with symptoms like a fever. The vaccines may still have helped, though. None of the miners became seriously ill, even though most were older than 50 and some had risk factors like high blood pressure and diabetes.

More evidence comes from India, where health-care workers were eligible for the AstraZeneca vaccine starting in early 2021. But when a team from the UK and India looked at covid-19 cases in these workers, they found “significant numbers of vaccine breakthrough infections” at three Delhi hospitals, including a superspreading event that infected 30 people.

The breakthrough infections were much more likely to be caused by the delta variant, they say, than any of the older strains. The older variants were never able to cause a cluster of more than two linked cases among the health-care workers. But the researchers found 10 delta outbreaks that did so.

The reason the delta variant is different is that it transmits more easily; one reason is that the strain may be “evading” prior immunity, say researchers. That could help explain outbreaks among vaccinated people, and it also means that if you’ve already had covid-19, you could more easily get it again. The UK-India team estimated that natural protection against infection dropped by as much as half when people were exposed to delta.

Covid on Cape Cod

In the US, the Provincetown outbreak may have taken hold during the July 4 “Independence Week,” when the town hosts thousands of visitors. As July wore on, investigators learned of hundreds of covid-19 cases, and sequencing labs in Boston determined they were caused by delta.

The Provincetown outbreak set off alarm bells at the CDC because vaccines didn’t seem to prevent the virus from spreading person to person, even though most were vaccinated, according to the Washington Post, which obtained an internal CDC presentation that described delta as being as contagious as chicken pox.

Another key clue came from PCR tests run on about 200 people in the Provincetown cluster. Researchers found that the amount of virus in someone’s airway—and hence what the person might launch into the word with every cough and sneeze—was roughly the same, no matter whether people were vaccinated or not.

That doesn’t prove that vaccinated people transmit just as much, says Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease researcher at the University of California, San Francisco. She says that PCR tests detect virus fragments as well as live germs, so vaccinated people might be shedding less live virus or be infectious for less time. Gandhi adds that even with variants circulating, vaccines are still effective so far at preventing most major illness.

Nevertheless, “we are seeing more mild, symptomatic cases,” she says, as well as transmission among the vaccinated.

For the CDC, the new information posed a difficult communication problem: how to tell everyone the vaccine party might be over. In May, it had said that fully vaccinated Americans could dispense with masks and social distancing in most circumstances.

But by July 25, local officials in Provincetown had reintroduced an indoor mask mandate for the town, covering indoor restaurants, offices, bars, and dance floors, and said they would begin testing wastewater. Two days later, the CDC followed suit, recommending that in high-transmission areas everyone wear a mask in indoor public settings.

Because of the delta variant, much of the US may soon qualify as being a high-risk area. Since a low in June, covid-19 cases have risen more than sixfold.

Source: Covid clusters among the vaccinated point to rise of delta | MIT Technology Review

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What’s Worse Than a Pandemic? A Twindemic

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On the record of issues to fret about within the age of SARS-CoV-2, boring, outdated winter flu most likely doesn’t rank extremely. Particularly not in the course of a summer season warmth wave. And but it ought to.

Humanity has grown so accustomed to annual waves of influenza that it was the baseline comparability when Covid first arrived. (It’ll be simply one other flu, we stated.) The implication was that ranges of influenza illness, hospitalization and loss of life have been acceptable, even inevitable.

I used to be definitely responsible of that considering. Though my employer provides an annual flu shot, I typically didn’t hassle to get it. However the pandemic has uncovered the weak spot of our attitudes and insurance policies towards influenza. We now have a possibility to do issues otherwise. This isn’t an argument for flu-driven lockdowns or a nationwide paranoia about any bug. However we are able to construct higher defenses towards influenza at comparatively little value, and for a acquire in lives and health-care capability.

One purpose to get extra severe about flu is its value, each economically and in human phrases. Annual prices of treating influenza (routinely in extra of $10 billion within the U.S.) are vital, even whenever you simply have a look at hospital outlays for these most severely affected.

Influenza epidemics within the northern hemisphere have an effect on anyplace from 5% to fifteen% of the inhabitants yearly. On common, about 8% of the U.S. inhabitants get sick from flu every season. For many, it’s normally a light, if disagreeable expertise. However for some, it may be lethal.

The U.S. Facilities for Illness Management estimates that, on common, 36,000 folks have died of flu every year during the last decade, with 61,000 deaths within the 2017-2018 flu season. Within the U.Okay., the common is about 17,000 annual deaths. Clearly, Covid is a unique order of magnitude, however the prices to the health-care system from flu should not trivial.

The aged are most susceptible to flu, however so are pregnant ladies, very younger youngsters and people with different medical circumstances and weakened immune methods. Some who contract and recuperate from flu find yourself with post-viral signs that drag on. Lengthy Covid has confirmed us simply how debilitating these could be.

What occurs whenever you layer flu on high of Covid-19? We don’t actually know, since final winter noticed an extremely delicate flu season, principally as a consequence of measures equivalent to lockdowns, social distancing and masking. Infections charges for flu have been two-thirds decrease than in the course of the 2011-2012 season, which had file low charges.

We are able to’t depend on a repeat. The low prevalence of flu final 12 months makes it tougher to foretell which strains to incorporate on this winter’s vaccine. We might get fortunate once more, or issues might worsen: Lowered ranges of pure immunity after a couple of low-flu seasons might make it simpler for brand new variants to take maintain.

Britain, with its overstretched nationwide health-care system and gargantuan backlog of surgical procedures and different procedures, can scarcely afford a foul flu season. Consultations for influenza-like diseases take up substantial GP time and hospital capability in a standard 12 months. Excessive charges of flu on high of Covid can be a pressure too far, requiring substantial new authorities sources and leaving many individuals with out remedy.

However it’s not simply the compounded well being burden that ought to make us rethink influenza. The very fact is, we’ve got been far too complacent about flu for too lengthy. Many flu deaths are preventable with jabs and the sorts of behavioral modifications we’ve grown accustomed to from Covid.

Not solely did the social-distancing measures imposed in the course of the pandemic lower the unfold of flu, they’re additionally estimated to have led to a 20% drop within the widespread respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) within the U.S. RSV accounts for five% of the deaths in youngsters below 5 globally. The issue now, nonetheless, is that the current lifting of Covid restrictions has coincided with unseasonably excessive RSV circumstances within the U.S.

Larger ranges of flu vaccination can be a game-changer. Final winter, flu vaccine uptake in Britain reached file ranges, with the Nationwide Well being Service vaccinating greater than 80% of these over 65 — 10% increased than the earlier 12 months and forward of the World Well being Group purpose of 75% for the primary time.

However the vaccination price drops off with the younger. Lower than 45% of these below 65 with a number of underlying danger components will get vaccinated. Though greater than 2.5 million youngsters have been vaccinated by means of college packages, that’s nonetheless properly below half (47.5%) of all children. Uptake additionally varies throughout ethnic teams, with some minorities lagging in getting vaccines. Within the U.S., Black communities (the place vaccine charges are round 41%) had the best flu-related hospitalization price of any ethnicity.

A examine on the College of Bristol is presently searching for to find out what negative effects folks get when given the really useful flu vaccine together with both the Oxford/AstraZeneca or the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines. Getting a joint Covid-19 booster shot and flu shot might guarantee that there’s extra flu vaccine protection.

In fact, the effectiveness of flu vaccines can range from one season to the following and from individual to individual. They’re usually between 40% and 60% efficient once they match up properly with the variants circulating.

So we’d be properly served to additionally apply our Covid habits to diseases like flu. Which may imply extra hybrid working throughout peak flu months or if there’s an outbreak. Masking at sure occasions, even when not obligatory, makes loads of sense too.

If Covid-19, like flu, goes to be a recurrent seasonal affliction — as appears possible — we might want to higher handle the stress on the well being methods in the course of the winter. Meaning being ready to finance increased ranges of care throughout these crunch intervals or doing extra to cut back the pressure on the system. We’ll most probably by no means remove influenza and different viruses, however we are able to make winters more cost effective and fewer depressing by elevating the bar on an sickness that many people handled too casually.

Source: What’s worse than a pandemic? A twindemic | Asia Post

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Critics:

As public health officials look to fall and winter, the specter of a new surge of Covid-19 gives them chills. But there is a scenario they dread even more: a severe flu season, resulting in a “twindemic.”

Even a mild flu season could stagger hospitals already coping with Covid-19 cases. And though officials don’t know yet what degree of severity to anticipate this year, they are worried large numbers of people could forgo flu shots, increasing the risk of widespread outbreaks.

The concern about a twindemic is so great that officials around the world are pushing the flu shot even before it becomes available in clinics and doctors’ offices. Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been talking it up, urging corporate leaders to figure out ways to inoculate employees. The C.D.C. usually purchases 500,000 doses for uninsured adults but this year ordered an additional 9.3 million doses.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been imploring people to get the flu shot, “so that you could at least blunt the effect of one of those two potential respiratory infections.”

The flu vaccine is rarely mandated in the U.S. except by some health care facilities and nursery schools, but this month the statewide University of California system announced that because of the pandemic, it is requiring all 230,000 employees and 280,000 students to get the flu vaccine by November 1.

According to the C.D.C., flu season occurs in the fall and winter, peaking from December to February, and so was nearing its end as the pandemic began to flare in the United States in March.

Vaccine mandates are controversial. They’re also effective.

Guam tries to revive tourism with vaccine vacations.

Chicago will require masks in school this fall, regardless of vaccination status.

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Retail Sales For June Provide An Early Boost, But Bond Yields Mostly Calling The Shots

Getty Images

The first week of earnings season wraps up with major indices closely tracking the bond market in Wall Street’s version of “follow the leader.” Earnings absolutely matter, but right now the Fed’s policies are maybe a bigger influence. In the short-term the Fed is still the girl everyone wants to dance with.

Lately, you can almost guess where stocks are going just by checking the 10-year Treasury yield, which often moves on perceptions of what the Fed might have up its sleeve. The yield bounced back from lows this morning to around 1.32%, and stock indices climbed a bit in pre-market trading. That was a switch from yesterday when yields fell and stocks followed suit. Still, yields are down about six basis points since Monday, and stocks are also facing a losing week.

It’s unclear how long this close tracking of yields might last, but maybe a big flood of earnings due next week could give stocks a chance to act more on fundamental corporate news instead of the back and forth in fixed income. Meanwhile, retail sales for June this morning basically blew Wall Street’s conservative estimates out of the water, and stock indices edged up in pre-market trading after the data.

Headline retail sales rose 0.6% compared with the consensus expectation for a 0.6% decline, and with automobiles stripped out, the report looked even stronger, up 1.3% vs. expectations for 0.3%. Those numbers are incredibly strong and show the difficulty analysts are having in this market. The estimates missed consumer strength by a long shot. However, it’s also possible this is a blip in the data that might get smoothed out with July’s numbers. We’ll have to wait and see.

Caution Flag Keeps Waving

Yesterday continued what feels like a “risk-off” pattern that began taking hold earlier in the week, but this time Tech got caught up in the selling, too. In fact, Tech was the second-worst performing sector of the day behind Energy, which continues to tank on ideas more crude could flow soon thanks to OPEC’s agreement.

We already saw investors embracing fixed income and “defensive” sectors starting Tuesday, and Thursday continued the trend. When your leading sectors are Utilities, Staples, Real Estate, the way they were yesterday, that really suggests the surging bond market’s message to stocks is getting read loudly and clearly.

This week’s decline in rates also isn’t necessarily happy news for Financial companies. That being said, the Financials fared pretty well yesterday, with some of them coming back after an early drop. It was an impressive performance and we’ll see if it can spill over into Friday.

Energy helped fuel the rally earlier this year, but it’s struggling under the weight of falling crude prices. Softness in crude isn’t guaranteed to last—and prices of $70 a barrel aren’t historically cheap—but crude’s inability to consistently hold $75 speaks a lot. Technically, the strength just seems to fade up there. Crude is up slightly this morning but still below $72 a barrel.

Losing Steam?

All of the FAANGs lost ground yesterday after a nice rally earlier in the week. Another key Tech name, chipmaker Nvidia (NVDA), got taken to the cleaners with a 4.4% decline despite a major analyst price target increase to $900. NVDA has been on an incredible roll most of the year.

This week’s unexpectedly strong June inflation readings might be sending some investors into “flight for safety” mode, though no investment is ever truly “safe.” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell sounded dovish in his congressional testimony Wednesday and Thursday, but even Powell admitted he hadn’t expected to see inflation move this much above the Fed’s 2% target.

Keeping things in perspective, consider that the S&P 500 Index (SPX) did power back late Thursday to close well off its lows. That’s often a sign of people “buying the dip,” as the saying goes. Dip-buying has been a feature all year, and with bond yields so low and the money supply so huge, it’s hard to argue that cash on the sidelines won’t keep being injected if stocks decline.

Two popular stocks that data show have been popular with TD Ameritrade clients are Apple (AAPL) and Microsoft (MSFT), and both of them have regularly benefited from this “dip buying” trend. Neither lost much ground yesterday, so if they start to rise today, consider whether it reflects a broader move where investors come back in after weakness. However, one day is never a trend.

Reopening stocks (the ones tied closely to the economy’s reopening like airlines and restaurants) are doing a bit better in pre-market trading today after getting hit hard yesterday.

In other corporate news today, vaccine stocks climbed after Moderna (MRNA) was added to the S&P 500. BioNTech (BNTX), which is Pfizer’s (PFE) vaccine partner, is also higher. MRNA rose 7% in pre-market trading.

Strap In: Big Earnings Week Ahead

Earnings action dies down a bit here before getting back to full speed next week. Netflix (NFLX), American Express (AXP), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), United Airlines (UAL), AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ), American Airlines (AAL) and Coca-Cola (KO) are high-profile companies expected to open their books in the week ahead.

It could be interesting to hear from the airlines about how the global reopening is going. Delta (DAL) surprised with an earnings beat this week, but also expressed concerns about high fuel prices. While vaccine rollouts in the U.S. have helped open travel back up, other parts of the globe aren’t faring as well. And worries about the Delta variant of Covid don’t seem to be helping things.

Beyond the numbers that UAL and AAL report next week, the market may be looking for guidance from their executives about the state of global travel as a proxy for economic health. DAL said travel seems to be coming back faster than expected. Will other airlines see it the same way? Earnings are one way to possibly find out.Even with the Delta variant of Covid gaining steam, there’s no doubt that at least in the U.S, the crowds are back for sporting events.

For example, the baseball All-Star Game this week was packed. Big events like that could be good news for KO when it reports earnings. PepsiCo (PEP) already reported a nice quarter. We’ll see if KO can follow up, and whether its executives will say anything about rising producer prices nipping at the heels of consumer products companies.

Confidence Game: The 10-year Treasury yield sank below 1.3% for a while Thursday but popped back to that level by the end of the day. It’s now down sharply from highs earlier this week. Strength in fixed income—yields fall as Treasury prices climb—often suggests lack of confidence in economic growth.

Why are people apparently hesitant at this juncture? It could be as simple as a lack of catalysts with the market now at record highs. Yes, bank earnings were mostly strong, but Financial stocks were already one of the best sectors year-to-date, so good earnings might have become an excuse for some investors to take profit. Also, with earnings expectations so high in general, it takes a really big beat for a company to impress.

Covid Conundrum: Anyone watching the news lately probably sees numerous reports about how the Delta variant of Covid has taken off in the U.S. and case counts are up across almost every state. While the human toll of this virus surge is certainly nothing to dismiss, for the market it seems like a bit of an afterthought, at least so far. It could be because so many of the new cases are in less populated parts of the country, which can make it seem like a faraway issue for those of us in big cities. Or it could be because so many of us are vaccinated and feel like we have some protection.

But the other factor is numbers-related. When you hear reports on the news about Covid cases rising 50%, consider what that means. To use a baseball analogy, if a hitter raises his batting average from .050 to .100, he’s still not going to get into the lineup regularly because his average is just too low. Covid cases sank to incredibly light levels in June down near 11,000 a day, which means a 50% rise isn’t really too huge in terms of raw numbers and is less than 10% of the peaks from last winter. We’ll be keeping an eye on Covid, especially as overseas economies continue to be on lockdowns and variants could cause more problems even here. But at least for now, the market doesn’t seem too concerned.

Dull Roar: Most jobs that put you regularly on live television in front of millions of viewers require you to be entertaining. One exception to that rule is the position held by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. It’s actually his job to be uninteresting, and he’s arguably very good at it. His testimony in front of the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday was another example, with the Fed chair staying collected even as senators from both sides of the aisle gave him their opinions on what the Fed should or shouldn’t do. The closely monitored 10-year Treasury yield stayed anchored near 1.33% as he spoke.

Even if Powell keeps up the dovishness, you can’t rule out Treasury yields perhaps starting to rise in coming months if inflation readings continue hot and investors start to lose faith in the Fed making the right call at the right time. Eventually people might start to demand higher premiums for taking on the risk of buying bonds. The Fed itself, however, could have something to say about that.

It’s been sopping up so much of the paper lately that market demand doesn’t give you the same kind of impact it might have once had. That’s an argument for bond prices continuing to show firmness and yields to stay under pressure, as we’ve seen the last few months. Powell, for his part, showed no signs of being in a hurry yesterday to lift any of the stimulus.

TD Ameritrade® commentary for educational purposes only. Member SIPC.

Follow me on Twitter.

I am Chief Market Strategist for TD Ameritrade and began my career as a Chicago Board Options Exchange market maker, trading primarily in the S&P 100 and S&P 500 pits. I’ve also worked for ING Bank, Blue Capital and was Managing Director of Option Trading for Van Der Moolen, USA. In 2006, I joined the thinkorswim Group, which was eventually acquired by TD Ameritrade. I am a 30-year trading veteran and a regular CNBC guest, as well as a member of the Board of Directors at NYSE ARCA and a member of the Arbitration Committee at the CBOE. My licenses include the 3, 4, 7, 24 and 66.

Source: Retail Sales For June Provide An Early Boost, But Bond Yields Mostly Calling The Shots

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Critics:

Retail is the process of selling consumer goods or services to customers through multiple channels of distribution to earn a profit. Retailers satisfy demand identified through a supply chain. The term “retailer” is typically applied where a service provider fills the small orders of many individuals, who are end-users, rather than large orders of a small number of wholesale, corporate or government clientele. Shopping generally refers to the act of buying products.

Sometimes this is done to obtain final goods, including necessities such as food and clothing; sometimes it takes place as a recreational activity. Recreational shopping often involves window shopping and browsing: it does not always result in a purchase.

Most modern retailers typically make a variety of strategic level decisions including the type of store, the market to be served, the optimal product assortment, customer service, supporting services and the store’s overall market positioning. Once the strategic retail plan is in place, retailers devise the retail mix which includes product, price, place, promotion, personnel, and presentation.

In the digital age, an increasing number of retailers are seeking to reach broader markets by selling through multiple channels, including both bricks and mortar and online retailing. Digital technologies are also changing the way that consumers pay for goods and services. Retailing support services may also include the provision of credit, delivery services, advisory services, stylist services and a range of other supporting services.

Retail shops occur in a diverse range of types of and in many different contexts – from strip shopping centres in residential streets through to large, indoor shopping malls. Shopping streets may restrict traffic to pedestrians only. Sometimes a shopping street has a partial or full roof to create a more comfortable shopping environment – protecting customers from various types of weather conditions such as extreme temperatures, winds or precipitation. Forms of non-shop retailing include online retailing (a type of electronic-commerce used for business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions) and mail order

Does Getting The COVID-19 Vaccine Affect Your Life Insurance Policy

You can’t always believe what you read on social media, especially when it comes to medical information amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A May 2021 Instagram post went viral claiming that a user’s family was denied a life insurance benefit because the deceased had gotten the “experimental” COVID-19 vaccine. But the vaccines made by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have all received emergency use authorizations. The post has been flagged as a false claim, and it shows no supporting evidence.

In fact, life insurers cannot deny a death benefit because the deceased is vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI). “The fact is that life insurers do not consider whether or not a policyholder has received a COVID vaccine when deciding whether to pay a claim. Life insurance policy contracts are very clear on how policies work, and what cause, if any, might lead to the denial of a benefit. A vaccine for COVID-19 is not one of them,” Paul Graham, ACLI senior vice president said.

People who are hesitant to get vaccinated because they don’t want to lose insurance benefits can rest assured that the COVID-19 vaccine won’t have an effect on death benefit payouts.

In fact, now is a good time to take a look at your life insurance coverage to make sure your loved ones will be taken care of in the event of your death. You can compare life insurance policies on Credible to make sure you’re getting a fair quote for a comprehensive plan.

“The fact is that life insurers do not consider whether or not a policyholder has received a COVID vaccine when deciding whether to pay a claim. Life insurance policy contracts are very clear on how policies work, and what cause, if any, might lead to the denial of a benefit. A vaccine for COVID-19 is not one of them.”

– Paul Graham, ACLI senior vice president

WANT CHEAP LIFE INSURANCE? CONSIDER THESE STRATEGIES

3 legitimate reasons why insurers can deny a death benefit claim

While life insurers can’t deny a death benefit because of your vaccination status, there are reasons why a death claim can be rightfully denied.

  1. The deceased died within 2 years of taking out the policy. In most states, the insurance company can investigate the policyholder’s medical records to see if there were any misrepresentations on their policy.
  2. The deceased had an Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) policy. This type of life insurance policy doesn’t cover medical-related deaths or deaths by suicide.
  3. The deceased was not paying premiums. The insurance company may not be obligated to pay out the death benefit if the policyholder was not paying their premiums and the policy was terminated.

It’s important to understand the specifics of your life insurance policy so that your beneficiaries aren’t caught off-guard in the event of your death. Check your policy agreement to learn more. If you’re not satisfied with your level of coverage, you can shop for a new life insurance policy on Credible.

If you die from COVID-19 complications, will your beneficiaries get a death benefit?

Yes, insurance companies will pay out for deaths from coronavirus-related circumstances. However, the insurer may not pay the death benefit if the policy premiums were in nonpayment, as mentioned above.

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is an effective way to protect yourself from the adverse health effects stemming from COVID-19, including death.

DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH LIFE INSURANCE COVERAGE?

Will getting a COVID-19 vaccine make you ineligible for life insurance?

We already know that being vaccinated against COVID-19 isn’t a reason for a life insurance company to deny a death benefit. Insurers also cannot prevent you from taking out a policy because you’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine.

In a statement released March 15, 2021, the Life Insurance Council of New York confirmed that “receiving a COVID-19 vaccination has absolutely no bearing on a life insurer’s decision to pay a claim or issue new coverage.”

Regardless of your vaccination status, you can shop for life insurance on Credible’s online marketplace.

CONSIDERING BUYING TERM LIFE INSURANCE? 4 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

Source: Does getting the COVID-19 vaccine affect your life insurance policy? | Fox Business

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Critics:

Life insurance (or life assurance, especially in the Commonwealth of Nations) is a contract between an insurance policy holder and an insurer or assurer, where the insurer promises to pay a designated beneficiary a sum of money upon the death of an insured person (often the policy holder). Depending on the contract, other events such as terminal illness or critical illness can also trigger payment. The policy holder typically pays a premium, either regularly or as one lump sum. The benefits may include other expenses, such as funeral expenses.

Life policies are legal contracts and the terms of each contract describe the limitations of the insured events. Often, specific exclusions written into the contract limit the liability of the insurer; common examples include claims relating to suicide, fraud, war, riot, and civil commotion. Difficulties may arise where an event is not clearly defined, for example: the insured knowingly incurred a risk by consenting to an experimental medical procedure or by taking medication resulting in injury or death.

Life-based contracts tend to fall into two major categories:

  • Protection policies: designed to provide a benefit, typically a lump-sum payment, in the event of a specified occurrence. A common form—more common in years past[when?]—of a protection-policy design is term insurance.
  • Investment policies: the main objective of these policies is to facilitate the growth of capital by regular or single premiums. Common forms (in the United States) are whole life, universal life, and variable life policies.

References

COVID-19 Vaccines Don’t Contain Magnetic Ingredients; Dose Volume is Too Small To Contain Any Device Able To Hold a Magnet Through The Skin

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Around mid-May 2021, multiple videos (examples here, here, and here) claimed that COVID-19 vaccines caused magnetic reactions in vaccinated people. The videos purportedly showed that magnets attached to the arm where people received a COVID-19 vaccine, but not to the unvaccinated arm. The so-called “magnet challenge” went viral across social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, receiving hundreds of thousands of interactions.
While some posts didn’t try to explain the phenomenon, others claimed that COVID-19 vaccines contained metals or microchips that attracted the magnets. None of the videos provided verification that the people appearing in them were actually vaccinated against COVID-19. Regardless of whether they received the COVID-19 vaccine or not, the claim that COVID-19 vaccines “magnetize” people is inaccurate and unsupported by scientific evidence, as we explain below.

None of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines contain magnetic ingredients

All materials react to magnetic fields in some way. However, these magnetic forces are, in general, so weak that most of these materials are effectively non-magnetic. Only a few metals, including iron, cobalt, nickel, and some steels, are considered truly magnetic and are attracted to magnets.

Lists of the ingredients in all the COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are publicly available. The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and BioNTech and Moderna contain mRNA, lipids, salts, sugar, and substances that keep the pH stable. The COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson contains an adenovirus expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, amino acids, antioxidants, ethanol, an emulsifier, sugar, and salts. None of these ingredients are metals, and therefore, none of them are magnetic.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine contains similar ingredients to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but includes magnesium chloride as a preservative. Although magnesium is a metal, it is also non-magnetic, both in its elemental form and as magnesium chloride salt. In fact, higher amounts of magnesium are naturally present in the body, in many foods, and in dietary supplements, and they don’t cause magnetic reactions in people.

Finally, the volume of a COVID-19 vaccine dose is very small, ranging from 0.3 ml in the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to 0.5 ml in the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines. According to experts, even if the vaccines contained a magnetic ingredient, the total amount would be insufficient to hold a magnet through a person’s skin. Michael Coey, a physics professor at Trinity College Dublin, explained to Reuters:

“You would need about one gram of iron metal to attract and support a permanent magnet at the injection site, something you would ‘easily feel’ if it was there […] By the way, my wife was injected with her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine today, and I had mine over two weeks ago. I have checked that magnets are not attracted to our arms!”

This Instagram video illustrates how a magnet (or any other small object) can stick to people’s skin without the need for any magnetic force.

Claims that COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips are unfounded

The claim that COVID-19 vaccines are magnetic because they contain microchips or tracking devices traces its roots to a conspiracy theory that has persisted throughout the pandemic. Despite being debunked many times, the baseless theory that COVID-19 vaccines include secret devices for tracking the population emerges from time to time in different forms.

Such claims led the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to explain on its website that COVID-19 vaccines don’t contain microchips or tracking devices:

“No, the government is not using the vaccine to track you. There may be trackers on the vaccine shipment boxes to protect them from theft, but there are no trackers in the vaccines themselves. State governments track where you got the vaccine and which kind you received using a computerized database to make sure you get all recommended doses at the right time. You will also get a card showing that you have received a COVID-19 vaccine.”

The claims that the COVID-19 vaccines contain magnetic microchips are incorrect for multiple reasons. First, any microchip contained in a COVID-19 vaccine would need to be small enough to fit through the syringe needle. Vaccination generally uses 22 to 25-gauge needles. “Gauge” indicates the size of the hole that runs down the middle of the needle.

The higher the gauge, the smaller the hole. These needles have a maximum inner diameter of 0.5 mm. Current microchips aren’t small enough to fit through the syringe needle. Second, even if a microchip of that size exists, it would be too small to hold a magnet through the skin, for the same reasons explained by Coey above.

Finally, all COVID-19 vaccines are supplied in multidose vials containing five to 15 doses, depending on the manufacturer (see dosing information from Pfizer and BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson). This would make it impossible to guarantee that all individuals receive a chip. Some people could receive several chips, while others receive none. Furthermore, many of the devices would likely remain in the vial or get stuck in the syringe.

Conclusion

Claims that COVID-19 vaccines cause magnetic reactions are unsubstantiated and implausible. COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use by the FDA don’t contain metals or other magnetic ingredients that could cause a magnetic reaction in vaccinated individuals. Furthermore, no component or microchip that fits in the volume of a COVID-19 vaccine dose would be strong enough to hold a magnet through the skin.

By:

Source: COVID-19 vaccines don’t contain magnetic ingredients; dose volume is too small to contain any device able to hold a magnet through the skin – Health Feedback

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