Coronavirus Vaccine Updates: More than 100M Americans vaccinated with at least 1 dose

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information
NEW YORK (WABC) -- The CDC says Americans are making progress in the battle against the coronavirus, as more than 70% of people over the age of 65 have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The agency says more than 100 million Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine. By contrast, European nations' immunization campaigns are "unacceptably slow" and risk prolonging the pandemic, a senior World Health Organization official said Thursday.

Dr. Hans Kluge, WHO's regional director for Europe, said vaccines "present our best way out of this pandemic," but noted that to date, only 10% of Europe's population has received one dose and that only 4% have been fully protected with two doses.

Meantime, in the US, the infection rate is up 15% nationwide. Hospitalizations climbed more than 6% in the last week, and 17 states are showing an increase in deaths.

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Here are more of today's headlines:



MLB to distribute $1.5M in tickets to essential workers
Major League Baseball and its teams said Thursday they will distribute $1.5 million in free tickets this regular season to essential workers of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The tickets will go to doctors, nurses and other hospital staff; police, firefighters, public safety personnel and corrections workers; teachers, daycare personnel and support staff; public transit workers; grocery store and delivery workers; food and agriculture workers; and construction and manufacturing workers.

Mets Opening Day game postponed
The New York Mets season opener at Washington has been postponed because of coronavirus concerns. The Nationals issued a statement saying "ongoing contact tracing involving members of the Nationals organization" was the reason for scrapping Thursday night's game at Nationals Park. The game has not yet been rescheduled.

NYC opens NYCHA pop-up vaccine centers, urges against holiday gatherings
New York City is opening new pop-up COVID-19 vaccinations sites Thursday, as health officials warn against large holiday weekend gatherings. The vaccine sites, aimed and increasing vaccine equity, are open through Sunday at NYCHA locations.

"In the Bronx, the Castle Hill Houses and Forest Community Center; in Brooklyn, the Van Dyke Community Center; Manhattan, St. Nicholas Houses, Johnson Houses, Gompers Community Center; Queens, Jacob Riis Community Center," de Blasio said. "We're going to continue to deepen this grassroots effort."

More than 4.1 million vaccinations have been given in New York City so far, but with the Passover and Easter holidays, the city is still warning against big gatherings.

Connecticut vaccine eligibility expands to age 16 and up
Connecticut expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 and older Thursday, though the state is still giving priority access to medically high-risk patients. Officials are opening additional vaccine sites at pharmacies as well as providing time for high school seniors to get their shots.

Domestic travel restrictions loosen in New York
New York's once-mandatory two-week quarantine for anyone traveling into the region from other states was lifted Thursday. While no longer required, the New York State Department of Health still recommends quarantine after domestic travel as an added precaution. The number of air travelers has been increasing by the week.

Pfizer says COVID vaccine protection lasts at least 6 months
The ongoing Phase 3 clinical trial of Pfizer/BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine confirms its protection lasts at least six months after the second dose, the companies said Thursday. The companies can now seek full FDA approval for their vaccine. It's the first look at how long protection for a coronavirus vaccine lasts, and while six months is a modest target, it's longer than the 90 days of protection been the best estimate offered to date. The vaccine remains more than 91% effective against disease with any symptoms for six months, the companies said. And it appeared to be fully effective against the worrying B.1.351 variant of the virus, which is the dominant strain circulating in South Africa and which researchers feared had evolved to evade the protection of vaccines, the companies said.

Can I still transmit coronavirus after getting COVID vaccine?
It is possible to still spread the coronavirus after getting vaccinated. Experts say the risk is low, but are still studying how well the shots blunt the spread of the virus. The current vaccines are highly effective at preventing people from getting seriously sick with COVID-19, but even if vaccinated people don't get sick, they might still get infected without showing any symptoms. Experts think the vaccine would also curb the chances of those people spreading the virus.

"A vaccinated person controls the virus better, so the chances of transmitting will be greatly reduced," said Dr. Robert Gallo a virus expert at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Biden launches community coalitions to boost COVID vaccinations
Seeking to overcome vaccine hesitancy, the Biden administration is unveiling a coalition of community, religious and celebrity partners to promote COVID-19 shots. The Department of Health and Human Services' "We Can Do This" campaign features television and social media ads, but it also relies on a community corps of public health, athletic, faith and other groups to spread the word about the safety and efficacy of the three approved vaccines. The campaign comes amid worries that reluctance to get vaccinated will delay the nation's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

US unemployment claims rise to 719,000 as virus still forces layoffs
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose by 61,000 last week to 719,000, signaling that many employers are still cutting jobs even as more businesses reopen, vaccines are increasingly administered and federal aid spreads through the economy. The Labor Department said Thursday that the number of claims increased from 684,000 the week before. Though the pace of applications has dropped sharply since early this year, they remain high by historical standards: Before the pandemic flattened the economy a year ago, jobless claims typically ran below 220,000 a week.

Company at heart of Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine woes has series of citations
The company at the center of quality problems that led Johnson & Johnson to discard an unknown amount of its coronavirus vaccine has a string of citations from U.S. health officials for quality control problems. Emergent BioSolutions, a little-known company at the center of the vaccine supply chain, was a key to Johnson & Johnson's plan to deliver 100 million doses of its vaccine to the U.S. by the end of May. But the company has been cited repeatedly by the Food and Drug Administration for problems such as poorly trained employees, cracked vials and mold around one of its facilities, according to records obtained by The Associated Press through the Freedom of Information Act. The records cover inspections at Emergent facilities since 2017.

Governor's Island to reopen May 1
Governors Island will reopen for visitors May 1. Last year's opening was delayed because of COVID, but this year, the city is opening the island on time, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio. Also for the first time, the Governor's Island ferries will have two stops in Brooklyn for service.
- Pier 6 (Brooklyn Bridge Park)
- Atlantic Basin (Red Hook)
Ferry rides will be free for NYCHA residents, seniors, children, IDNYC holders, current and former military personnel, and select community organizations.

Pace University full return in fall
Pace University is planning a full return to campus for the Fall 2021 semester, with fully in-person classes, activities, and events at all three of its campuses: Lower Manhattan, White Plains, and Pleasantville.

Rockland County vaccine center opens
Rockland County's first state-run mass COVID-19 vaccination site opened Thursday. It's located at the Rockland Community College student union. Officials say Rockland County has one of the highest infection rates in the state.

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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