Week in Review: September 24

The Week in Review provides an overview of the past week’s top health care content, including industry news and trends, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic Laboratories news, and upcoming events.

Industry News

Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine works in kids ages 5 to 11

Pfizer said Monday its COVID-19 vaccine works for children ages 5 to 11 and that it will seek U.S. authorization for this age group soon — a key step toward beginning vaccinations for youngsters. The vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech already is available for anyone 12 and older. But with kids now back in school and the extra-contagious delta variant causing a huge jump in pediatric infections, many parents are anxiously awaiting vaccinations for their younger children. Via Associated Press

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J&J says Covid booster shot is 94% effective in the U.S. when given two months after first dose

Johnson & Johnson said Tuesday its Covid-19 booster shot is 94% effective when administered two months after the first dose in the United States. It also said the booster increases antibody levels by four to six times compared with one shot alone. A J&J booster dose given six months out from the first shot appears to be potentially even more protective against Covid, the company said, generating antibodies twelvefold higher four weeks after the boost, regardless of age. Via MSN

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Between Covid-19 and the flu, health care professionals are bracing themselves for the winter ahead, expert says

The US is battling rising death tolls and strained hospital resources under the Covid-19 pandemic, and all that could be made more difficult by the upcoming flu season, health experts said. "We are bracing ourselves for an awfully busy winter ahead," Associate Dean of Public Health at Brown University Dr. Megan Ranney told CNN Tuesday. The United States is once again at a point where an average of more than 2,000 people are dying of Covid-19 every day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Via CNN

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Mayo Clinic News

BLOOD DONORS NEEDED: Mayo Clinic asks community to step up during national blood shortage

Mayo Clinic says it's in urgent need for O+ and O- blood donations, and the hospital is asking for the community to step up, and roll up their sleeves to help. Typically, about 70 percent of the hospital's need comes from its own donor pool, and outside vendors are able to supply the rest. But, due to a national blood shortage, vendors don't have any extra blood to share. "It makes it extremely difficult to get it anywhere else. So, we are counting on the community to help us out," Mayo Clinic Recruiting and Marketing Coordinator Kim Schmidt said. Via KTTC (article no longer available.)

Moderna vs. Pfizer: Both Knockouts, but One Seems to Have the Edge

By now, the observational studies have delivered results from a number of locations — Qatar, the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, several other states in the United States — and in health care workers, hospitalized veterans or the general population. Moderna’s efficacy against severe illness in those studies ranged from 92 to 100 percent. Pfizer-BioNTech’s numbers trailed by 10 to 15 percentage points. Via New York Times

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A Mayo doctor's top tips on how to protect young kids from the delta variant

I had filled my online shopping cart with boxes of dinosaur-patterned masks, waiting to hit "buy" until I could talk to Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse. She's a Mayo Clinic physician who specializes in pediatric infectious diseases, including COVID-19. Being a parent during the pandemic has been an exhausting and seemingly endless exercise in risk assessment — one I seem to be failing regularly. The kids are back in school, but with the rise of delta, we're not yet back to normal. It's worth remembering "the unvaccinated" in America includes 48 million children under 12 who are not yet eligible for the vaccine. That's why I was eager to sit down with Rajapakse and ask her advice on everything from whether I should let my kids have a sleepover to which masks to buy. Via Star Tribune

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Chantell Canfield

Chantell Canfield is a web content coordinator for Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She began working for Mayo Clinic in 2021.