Coronavirus Vaccine Updates: UK rolls out Moderna vaccine, AstraZeneca has 'casual' link to blood clots, official says

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information
NEW YORK (WABC) -- The United Kingdom began rolling out the Moderna vaccine.

It's the third vaccine to be made available in the country after Pfizer and AstraZeneca.

The health and social care secretary says three out of five people in the UK have had at least one dose of a vaccine so far.

Meantime, a top European health official, Marco Cavaleri, Head of Health Threats and Vaccine Strategy at the European Medicines Agency, says there is a "casual" link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots.

That's after more than a dozen countries suspended the use of the vaccine last month.

Some have since resumed with age restrictions. But, Cavaleri says the benefit of getting the shot still outweighs the risks.

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Here are more of today's headlines:



New York Yankees vaccinated
The New York Yankees announced Wednesday that all players, coaches and staff have been vaccinated.

"The New York Yankees would like to offer their sincere thanks to Dr. Philip Ozuah, President of Montefiore Medical Center, and the hard-working and dedicated group of medical staff from this Bronx-based hospital, who have been on-site at Yankee Stadium this evening to administer COVID vaccinations to New York Yankees players, coaches, field staff and support staff. This process has been seamless and efficient, and we are grateful that by receiving the vaccine, we can contribute to stopping the spread of COVID-19."

These 5 states accounted for 43% of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. in the past week
Just five states have accounted for about 43% of new coronavirus cases over the last week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

New York, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey had for more than 196,400 of the country's 453,360 cases reported in the last week, according to data available Wednesday morning. Those states are home to just 22% of the US population, according to estimates from the US Census Bureau.

Possible game-changer in reopening: Hospital launches COVID-19 saliva testing
Mount Sinai Hospital in New York is launching a COVID-19 saliva-testing program that could prove to be a game-changer for reopening large-scale events.

The program was unveiled Monday and will offer "easy, effective and accurate COVID-19 test for the public" at four testing locations in Manhattan, according to Dr. David Reich, the hospital's president. He told ABC News that the saliva testing is "equal in accuracy to nasal swabs."

Why is the COVID-19 pandemic causing a ketchup shortage?
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a shortage of one of America's favorite condiments: ketchup.

Restaurants have relied heavily on takeout orders to survive during the pandemic, which has caused a need for more ketchup packets. But once those started running low, some eateries began pouring out bulk ketchup into individual cups.

The Wall Street Journal reports that low inventory of ketchup is hitting mom-and-pop restaurants as well as chains like Texas Roadhouse.

Rare clots possibly linked to AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, EU agency says

The European Union drug regulator said Wednesday that it found a "possible link" between the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine and a rare clotting disorder but declined to impose any new age restrictions, saying the benefits of the shot still outweigh risks. Its U.K. counterpart, however, said it would offer people under 30 the choice of another product.

The European Medicines Agency described the clots as "very rare" side effects. It said most of the cases reported have occurred in women under 60 within two weeks of vaccination - but based on the currently available evidence, it was not able to identify specific risk factors. Experts reviewed several dozen cases that came mainly from Europe and the United Kingdom, where around 25 million people have received the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine protects for at least 6 months: Study
New research suggests the protection the Moderna vaccine gives against COVID-19 lasts for at least six months.

The report Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine echoes what Pfizer said last week about its vaccine, which works in a similar way. Both reports were based on follow-up tests in dozens of people who received the shots during studies that led to the vaccines' use. Those studies were done before troubling new variants, or versions of the coronavirus, had emerged and started to spread.

1 in 3 COVID-19 survivors suffers 'brain disease,' study finds
As many as one in three people infected with Covid-19 have longer term mental health or neurological symptoms, researchers reported Tuesday.

They found 34% of Covid-19 survivors received a diagnosis for a neurological or psychological condition within six months of their infection, according to the study published Tuesday in the journal Lancet Psychiatry.

The most common diagnosis was anxiety, found in 17% of those treated for Covid-19, followed by mood disorders, found in 14% of patients.

Cuomo signs bill stripping some protections granted to NY nursing homes during pandemic
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a new bill which takes away some immunity for nursing homes across New York state.

The bill which was signed by the governor Tuesday night, repeals the immunity and protection granted last year to health care facilities and health care professionals while they were treating COVID patients.

White House weighs in on requiring COVID-19 'vaccine passports'
The White House is weighing in the contentious topic of whether people will be required to carry so-called "vaccine passports" to show proof they have been immunized against COVID-19.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that the administration would not play a role in this or support a federal system that would require Americans to carry a vaccine credential.

Car rental shortage affecting summer travel plans and budgets
As more Americans make plans to travel this summer, the usually cheaper option of driving may actually turn out to be more expensive because of a car rental shortage.

"So, the current situation is pretty unprecedented," said Jonathan Weinberg, founder and CEO of the website autoslash.com, which is dedicated to helping consumers get the best deals on car rentals.

He explains that many of the major car rental companies quickly sold off a large portion of their fleet due to the drop in business during the pandemic. For some, the move was made to keep their companies afloat during the hard financial times of last year.

NYC beaches and public pools to open on time
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that NYC beaches would open on time starting on May 29. He added that NYC public pools would also reopen on time, beginning with the first day of summer vacation for NYC Public Schools students, June 26.

NYC announces COVID Aftercare
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new initiative to help care for people suffering from "Long COVID." Those are people who are dealing with the after-effects of the virus long after they test negative. The NYC Aftercare initiative is being run by Test and Trace Corps.

Manhattanville College to require vaccinations
Manhattanville College announced that they would be requiring COVID vaccines for students this fall. "With the COVID-19 vaccine now available to New York residents ages sixteen and up, we will require all students to be vaccinated against the virus and provide proof of vaccination before returning to campus for the fall semester. (Exceptions will include those with a medical exemption)."

Creator of vaccine appointment site TurboVax honored
The founder of the vaccine appointment website TurboVax was praised Tuesday for making the COVID-19 vaccine rollout easier for New Yorkers.

NYC mayoral candidate Andrew Yang and Congressman Ritchie Torres honored TurboVax founder Huge Ma.

Ma, an engineer, created a simple, free and easy-to-use website that identifies and allows people to sign up for vaccine appointments in real time. His site has made the vaccine rollout easier for thousands of New Yorkers.

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

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

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