“I think we can safely say that the worst is behind us,” said the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. Ashish Jha Friday on “Good Morning America.” “We will not see the kinds of suffering and death that we have seen during the holidays. I think we are in a much better shape on the way forward.”
The only thing that could threaten the prospects, he said, was the spread of coronavirus variants, which made the pressure to increase vaccinations even more critical.
A lower mortality rate and higher vaccination rate would make it reasonable to target a full reopening by July 1, said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky Friday.
“We are focused on getting people vaccinated and lowering rates,” she said in a news briefing at the White House Covid-19. “If we can continue at this pace, rates fall, vaccinations rise, then I think July 1 would be a reasonable target.”
However, she warned, “the virus has fooled us before” and it will be crucial to keep an eye on cases in the coming months.
The CDC is pushing both routine and Covid-19 vaccinations for adolescents
As officials appear to be making vaccines – currently only given to 16 and older – available to younger adolescents, missing routine vaccinations could cause a problem.
Walensky said routine vaccinations among young people are down this year. The need for routine vaccinations for children returning to school, the roll-out of the annual influenza vaccine and the expected availability of Covid-19 vaccines for children 12 and over can pose a logistical challenge, she noted.
“It will require a truly coordinated effort among families, health care providers and public health officials at the local, state and federal levels to achieve both the rollout of Covid-19 vaccine in adolescents and the rapid acquisition of routine vaccinations,” Walensky said. at an event hosted by the Pediatric Academic Associations.
Walensky urged pediatricians to help with the effort.
“To achieve high vaccination coverage rates and reduce Covid-19 transmission, we need rapid and comprehensive vaccination of children under the age of 18,” she said.
Getting younger people vaccinated becomes more important as more older people get vaccinated and those who report infections become younger.
In West Virginia, the median age of new cases is currently 34 years, Government Jim Justice announced. It’s down 10 years from a few months ago.
“The average age of a person infected with Covid-19 has really dropped over the last few months,” said state coronavirus tsar Dr. Clay Marsh.
“We know that our 10- to 19-year-old age category is our largest for Covid-19’s positivity rate and spread,” Marsh said.
“I’m telling our young people out there, I’m telling you as bluntly as I can tell you that you should definitely have a valid concern,” said Justice, who urged young Western virgins to get vaccinated.
Justice said the two biggest concerns for young people who become infected are transmitting the virus to others “even if you don’t get sick” and the possibility of ending up with “significant side effects … [for] the rest of your life. “
Most J&J vaccine side effects are not serious
Rare reports of blood clots had raised concerns about the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, but a new review of the safety data showed that only 3% of the reported reactions after receiving the vaccine are classified as serious.
The report noted that the safety profile of the vaccine so far has been similar to that seen in clinical trials, but safety monitoring during the vaccine’s rollout quickly identified the blood clot events.
“A rare but serious side effect that occurs primarily in women, blood clots in large vessels accompanied by a low platelet count, was quickly detected by the U.S. Vaccine Safety Monitoring System,” CDC researchers wrote in the report. “Monitoring for common and rare side effects after receiving all COVID-19 vaccines, including the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, continues.”
The data included 88 deaths reported after vaccination. Among these deaths, three occurred in patients with cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, and CDC researchers wrote that after initial review, “no other deaths appear to be associated with vaccination.”
CNN’s Jen Christensen, Virginia Langmaid, Lauren Mascarenhas, Melissa Alonso and Jacqueline Howard contributed to this report.