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Coronavirus weekly need-to-know: Mix-and-match boosters, breakthrough infections & more

·4 min read

Each week, we offer you a roundup of our noteworthy coronavirus coverage.

More than 45.3 million people in the United States have tested positive for the coronavirus as of Friday morning, Oct. 22, according to Johns Hopkins University. That includes more than 733,000 people who have died nationwide.

Globally, there have been more than 242.5 million confirmed cases of the highly infectious virus, with more than 4.9 million reported deaths.

More than 189.9 million people in the U.S. are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Oct. 21 — about 57% of the total population, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracker shows. More than 11.6 million people have received a booster dose.

Here’s what happened between Oct. 15 to Oct. 21.

Confused about mix-and-match COVID-19 vaccine boosters? What you need to know

In the coming days, eligible people in the U.S. will be able to mix-and-match COVID-19 vaccines for their booster shots, which are optional. This means the vaccine you get for your booster can differ from the one you received for your initial doses.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized mixing-and-matching booster doses on Oct. 20, as well as booster shots of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines for certain people.

Scientists and doctors with the FDA determined the “known and potential benefits” of mixing vaccines for booster shots “outweigh the known and potential risks.”

Here’s what to know about mixing-and-matching COVID-19 vaccines for your booster shot.

Confused about mix-and-match COVID vaccine boosters? Here’s what you need to know

How well do Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines protect kids from hospitalization?

Early controlled clinical trials showed the two-dose Pfizer coronavirus vaccine offered strong protection against COVID-19 hospitalization in children, but little has been known about how well the shots work in the real world.

A new study published Oct. 19 by the CDC offers more good news.

Research on more than 460 hospitalized people between 12 and 18 years old found that two doses of the Pfizer vaccine were 93% effective against COVID-19 hospitalization during June to September, when the highly infectious delta variant was spreading.

Continue reading to learn what else the study found.

How well do Pfizer COVID vaccines protect kids from hospitalization? CDC has good news

Colin Powell was vaccinated but died from COVID-19. Here’s why the rare event is possible

Coronavirus vaccines were designed to prevent severe COVID-19, including the need for hospitalization, and death — and can do so even in the presence of the highly infectious delta variant.

But to many’s surprise, the shot was not a guarantee for lifelong immunity against the disease.

There remains the misconception that COVID-19 vaccines are intended to prevent infections altogether, leading people to believe the shots aren’t working as they should when they see the vaccinated, too, contract the coronavirus, and in some cases become severely ill or die.

Colin Powell was vaccinated but died from COVID. Here’s why the rare event is possible

Ted Cruz blasted Australia’s COVID-19 rules. A top Australian official didn’t hold back

The chief minister of the Northern Territory of Australia responded to comments made by U.S Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas about the country’s strict rules to protect against COVID-19.

The territory announced last week that workers who interact with the public must receive their first vaccination shot by Nov. 12 or face a $5,000 fine. About 68% of its residents were already fully vaccinated as of Sunday.

The mandate got a harsh response from Cruz, a senator who has often lashed out against COVID-19 polices in the United States. He tweeted that he has “always said Australia is the Texas of the Pacific” because of its “rugged independence,” so he was disheartened by the new rules in the territory.

Ted Cruz blasted Australia’s COVID rules. A top Australian official didn’t hold back

Country singer Travis Tritt cancels shows at venues requiring COVID-19 vaccines or masks

Travis Tritt has canceled four concerts at venues that require attendees to wear masks or show proof they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The famous country music singer said he was “putting my money where my mouth is” when he announced his decision Monday.

“Any show I have booked that discriminates against concert-goers by requiring proof of vaccination, a COVID test, or a mask is being canceled immediately,” Tritt said. “Many people are taking a firm stand against these mandates around the country, and I wholeheartedly support that cause.”

Country singer Travis Tritt cancels shows at venues requiring COVID vaccines or masks

Vaccinated college senior dies of COVID-19 in Georgia

Friends and family are mourning the death of a 21-year-old vaccinated University of Georgia senior who died of COVID-19.

Shawn Kuhn died after battling COVID-19-based pneumonia for nearly six weeks.

His older sister Sharla Brook Kuhn said that Shawn had been fully vaccinated, according to the university’s newspaper The Red & Black.

Vaccinated college senior dies of COVID in Georgia. ‘Doesn’t make sense’

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