Kevin Sinfield: Rugby league star to run ultra marathons for MND

Rugby League star Kevin Sinfield has launched his most difficult challenge yet to raise money for motor neurone disease research.

He’s already raised more than £5m, inspired by his friend and former teammate Rob Burrow who is living with the disease.

For his latest challenge, he’ll run seven ultra marathons in seven days, starting on 13 November.

BBC Breakfast interviewed Sinfield and Burrow, together with former Scottish rugby union player Doddie Weir, who has also been diagnosed with the disease.

Read more:

Intense exercise increases MND risk, say scientists

Rugby league star’s 300-mile challenge for MND

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If You Just Had COVID, Here’s When To Get The New Booster Shot

There’s a new COVID-19 booster shot available that provides better protection against the variants that are currently circulating. It’s a bivalent shot, meaning it targets both the original strain of the virus and the highly contagious omicron subvariants ― including BA.5, the current dominant strain in the United States.

Dr. Onyema Ogbuagu, an infectious diseases specialist and associate professor of medicine at the Yale School of Medicine, noted that the new booster shot is here in anticipation of a fall surge in COVID cases. (Keep in mind that the Moderna booster is only available for those 18 and up, while Pfizer’s booster is available for those 12 and up.)

So, when should you get your booster? As soon as possible, in order to help fend off a fall wave and keep yourself healthy. But while those who have not had a recent COVID infection can get their shot now, the timeline guidance differs for those who recently had a COVID infection.

Here’s what to know if you just had the virus:

You should wait at least two months to get your shot.

The official guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that vaccinated people can wait two months after a COVID shot to get their booster. And the Food and Drug Administration authorized the bivalent booster in people who are at least two months out from their most recent COVID vaccination.

For those who were recently sick with COVID, though, both Ogbuagu and Dr. Andy Pekosz, co-director of the Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Response at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said you need to wait two months for the bivalent shot, but can choose to wait up to three months.

So, if you’re looking for a hard and fast rule, it’s safe to say you should wait two months after infection (or vaccination) to get your new shot.

Some experts, however, think you can actually wait longer. “There are some immunologists that think spacing that booster out longer might help generate longtime immunity,” Pekosz said. An infection should give you pretty good protection for four to six months, which means you probably don’t need to take the booster shot before then, he said.

But although immunity can last for four to six months in many people, that is not always the case, Ogbuagu said.

Ogbuagu agreed with the CDC’s guidance and noted that data has shown that immunity wanes in some people, particularly if they had a mild illness, before the two-month mark. While this is a rare occurrence, a Danish study from earlier this year did find that a small number of people were reinfected 20 to 60 days after their initial COVID infection. And there’s some evidence suggesting that newer subvariants can circumvent natural immunity more quickly.

“Anyone who recovered from COVID certainly can consider delaying vaccination, but I don’t think they need to wait as far out as three months,” Ogbuagu said.

Since the shot is so new, guidance varies and it may differ from person to person. If you were recently infected, you should wait at least two months after your infection to schedule your shot — and you can consider waiting up to six months. If you want specific guidance based on your personal health records, get in touch with your doctor.

In the end, Pekosz said, it’s better to get the booster than not get the booster, “even if it’s not an optimal time.”

You should not get the new COVID booster immediately after having had COVID-19.
You should not get the new COVID booster immediately after having had COVID-19.

But if you are high-risk, you should not delay too long.

Ogbuagu stressed that certain groups of people who are at high risk for COVID should not wait too long to get their booster shot. This goes for elderly people or people who are immunocompromised.

He noted that people who fall into these groups should not get the shot before the two-month mark, but they probably also shouldn’t wait much longer than two months to ensure they’re protected against the dominant strain.

Booster shots tend to work best when they’re spaced out from a previous shot or infection.

According to Pekosz, the reason behind the differing opinions about the timeline of the new shot is that booster shots traditionally work best when some time has elapsed since the previous infection or vaccination.

If an infection and the booster are too close to each other, “your immune system is [still] ramping up and you don’t get the real benefits of the booster,” he said. When you give your body ample time to drum up its immune response to an infection and then slow down, the booster can jump-start that immune response again, he noted.

While the exact timeline is still being debated, there are no safety concerns whether you decide to get your booster after two months or six months, Pekosz said.

And whether or not you recently had COVID, getting your booster is important.

“Vaccines are the best and safest way to strengthen your immunity,” Pekosz said. He noted that earlier variants of the virus provided better protection against reinfection, but this is not the case for omicron.

Plus, the latest bivalent COVID booster is a better booster, one that can keep you from developing severe outcomes like hospitalization and death. The new booster “improves your responses to the original vaccine and gives you protection from BA.5 that is currently the dominant variant in the United States and most of the world,” Pekosz said.

So, even if you had COVID recently, you should still get this new shot. That being said, if you were infected and are unvaccinated, you have to start the vaccination series from the beginning, Pekosz said. You can’t just jump ahead to this bivalent vaccine.

Whatever you do, getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself.

Experts are still learning about COVID-19. The information in this story is what was known or available as of publication, but guidance can change as scientists discover more about the virus. Please check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the most updated recommendations.


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ArriveCAN, mask mandates among changes as Canada drops COVID-19 border rules – National

After more than two years of being in place, Canada’s COVID-19 border rules are coming to an end, the federal government announced Monday.

The Liberal government officially announced the changes after Global News and other media reported last week that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed off on them.

As of Oct. 1 all travellers, regardless of citizenship, will no longer have to submit public health information through ArriveCAN, provide proof of vaccination, undergo testing, quarantine or isolate, and monitor and report if they develop signs or symptoms of COVID-19 upon arriving in Canada.


Click to play video: 'Federal government lifts COVID-19 travel restrictions in Canada'







Federal government lifts COVID-19 travel restrictions in Canada


Federal government lifts COVID-19 travel restrictions in Canada

Read more:

Canada to drop COVID-19 vaccine mandate at border, make ArriveCAN optional: source

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Furthermore, travellers will no longer be required to undergo health checks for travel on air and rail, or wear masks on planes and trains.

“The results of border tests carried about at the Public Health Agency (of Canada) over the past months have indicated that importations of COVID cases and its variant no longer influence in a significant way the evolution of the pandemic in Canada,” Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos told reporters in French at a news conference in Ottawa.

“The higher level of cases of hospitalizations in Canada are largely explained by the domestic transmission of the virus and the rate of vaccination today.”


Click to play video: 'Storm Fiona: Poilievre calls on government to remove ArriveCan app ‘today’ after U.S. crews stopped at border'







Storm Fiona: Poilievre calls on government to remove ArriveCan app ‘today’ after U.S. crews stopped at border


Storm Fiona: Poilievre calls on government to remove ArriveCan app ‘today’ after U.S. crews stopped at border

The decision to let the current measures expire on Sept. 30 as planned was made last Thursday, a senior government source told Global News last week.

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At that time, the federal government was still deciding whether to maintain the requirement for passengers to wear face masks on trains and airplanes, the source said.

The removal of border measures has been facilitated by several factors, including modelling that shows Canada has largely passed the peak of the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5-fuelled wave, Canada’s vaccination rates, lower hospitalization and death rates, as well as the availability and use of boosters, rapid tests, and treatments for COVID-19, Ottawa said in a news release.

Read more:

ArriveCAN-related ‘issue’ impacted U.S. crews at border during storm Fiona: Nova Scotia Power

Throughout the year, the federal government has loosened COVID-19 rules at the border as the pandemic eased in Canada. The measures were changed as provinces and territories lifted protective measures given the situations in their communities. However, Ottawa was under pressure throughout the summer to further ease requirements, and drop ArriveCAN, as major delays clogged airports due to a sudden rush in travel demand.

Although the masking requirement is being lifted, all travellers are strongly recommended to wear masks during their journeys.

“The Government of Canada will maintain the ability to reestablish certain border measures, should they be required in the future to protect Canadians from the importation of new variants of concern or other emerging public health threats,” Duclos said.

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Rules for cruise ships are also being lifted, and travellers will no longer be required to have pre-board tests, be vaccinated, or use ArriveCAN. A set of guidelines will remain to protect passengers and crew, which will align with the approach used in the United States.


Click to play video: 'Border officials can screen, advise people on COVID-19 if needed: Duclos'







Border officials can screen, advise people on COVID-19 if needed: Duclos


Border officials can screen, advise people on COVID-19 if needed: Duclos

“Individuals are reminded that they should not travel if they have symptoms of COVID-19. If travellers become sick while travelling, and are still sick when they arrive in Canada, they should inform a flight attendant, cruise staff or a border services officer upon arrival,” officials said in a news release.

“They may then be referred to a quarantine officer who will decide whether the traveller needs further medical assessment as COVID-19 remains one of many communicable diseases listed in the Quarantine Act.”

With the end of COVID-19 border rules now only a few days away, officials on Monday signalled their focus on tackling COVID-19 spread within Canada.

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As of Sept. 17, Canada has reported more than four million cases of COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, federal data shows. At 82 per cent of the entire population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

“If anyone has doubts as to whether COVID-19 still exists, I would invite that person to visit the hospital anywhere in Canada. We have between 4,000 and 5,000 people hospitalized every day with COVID-19. That puts a very heavy burden on the hospital system,” Duclos said.

“We also know that health care workers are very tired. They are exhausted, they have left in large numbers, and worryingly, many of them think of leaving an even larger numbers over the next month in Canada.”

Read more:

‘I know that it saved my life’: Can virtual health care ease Canada’s ER crisis?

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Duclos also urged Canadians to stay up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccination, as immunity from both vaccination and infection wanes over time. Since Aug. 1, just two per cent of the entire population received a booster shot, federal data shows. That data excludes British Columbia, Quebec and Prince Edward Island as information was not available.

“I invite everyone, every Canadian listening to us to do as well as we’ve done with two doses,” he said.

“If we succeed in doing this, we’ll reduce very significantly the burden on hospitals and, importantly, on health-care workers leading to the end of the fall and early winter.”

— with files from The Canadian Press


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Federal government drops COVID-19 border measures


Federal government drops COVID-19 border measures


© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Protests in Colombia against President Petro’s tax reform

Issued on:

Thousands of protesters marched on Monday against economic and social reforms proposed by Colombian leftist President Gustavo Petro – which he says will fight inequality – just 50 days after he took office.

Petro, 62, has promised to seek “total peace” through deals with rebel groups and crime gangs and asked lawmakers to approve a tax reform which would raise an initial $5.6 billion for social programs next year.

The reform would raise taxes on those earning more than $2,259 per month, about 10 times the minimum wage, and eliminate exemptions.

Petro has constructed a majority in congress through alliances with a range of parties. Right-wing party the Democratic Center, headed by former President Alvaro Uribe, has led much of the opposition to his proposals.

Some 5,000 people, many waving signs with slogans like “no to the tax reform”, marched in Bogota, according to the mayor’s office.

Some marchers compared Petro’s governance so far to authoritarianism and said objections to his administration would mount.

“Mr. Petro you are wrong in your way of governing,” said information technology worker James Duque.

Petro has also proposed changes to healthcare, a land reform which would sell properties to poor farmers at below-market rates and reforms to voting.

“It’s hurting my pension, it’s hurting my healthcare, it’s hurting private property, we need to respect families,” said protester Francisco Arias in Bogota’s central Plaza Bolivar.

Peaceful marches also took place in Medellin, Cali, Armenia and Villavicencio.

Petro said in a tweet he respected protesters’ right to express themselves but that his government also had a right to combat misinformation.

(REUTERS)

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5% of Britons resort to DIY dentistry like pulling their own teeth out with pliers amid NHS crisis

One in twenty Britons are resorting to ‘DIY dentistry’ due to a drought of NHS dental appointments, a shocking poll suggests. 

Some of the methods desperate people have resorted to include pulling blackened teeth out with pliers, to making homemade false teeth with resin and superglue.

It is the latest sign of the ongoing NHS dental crisis in the UK, which has left people no choice but to pay huge private fees or go without. 

The Liberal Democrat-commissioned poll found about quarter of Britons had failed to get an appointment with their local NHS dentist in the past year.

Of these, 21 per cent resorted to DIY dentistry. Almost one in three gave up seeking NHS dental care altogether. 

The Lib Dems called the result a ‘national scandal’ and are calling on Government to introduce an NHS winter rescue package, including plans to recruit more dentists.  

Responding to the poll, the British Dental Association (BDA) said ministers must offer more support to stop the ‘horror show’ of ‘Victorian era’ DIY dentistry.

The findings follow official NHS data last month, which showed two-thirds of English adults have not seen an NHS dentist since the early days of Covid.

NHS dentistry has been in crisis for many years, but the situation has worsened since Britain emerged from the pandemic. 

There are increasing reports of Britons resorting to DIY dentistry as they struggle to see an NHS dentists and can't afford to pay private fees

There are increasing reports of Britons resorting to DIY dentistry as they struggle to see an NHS dentists and can’t afford to pay private fees

Thousands of NHS dentists quit during Covid and industry polls suggest even more are considering going fully private in the near future. 

Dentists argue it is no longer financially viable to offer NHS procedures because of a lack of Government investment. 

As a result dental deserts are now emerging in parts of the UK, with a recent analysis finding 9 out of 10 NHS dentists are refusing to take on new patients.

The Lib Dem poll of 2,234 people, conducted last month, found those in London and the South West were the most likely to report failing to get an NHS appointment in 12 months at 28 per cent.

How much does NHS dentistry cost, compared to private? 

There are 3 NHS charge bands:

Band 1: £23.80

Covers an examination, diagnosis and advice. If necessary, it also includes X-rays, a scale and polish, and planning for further treatment.

Band 2: £65.20

Covers all treatment included in Band 1, plus additional treatment, such as fillings, root canal treatment and removing teeth (extractions).

Band 3: £282.80

Covers all treatment included in Bands 1 and 2, plus more complex procedures, such as crowns, dentures and bridges.

For comparison, check-ups can cost between £20 and £120 at private dentists, according to Which?.

Dentures and bridges can also cost up to £2,520, the consumer watchdog says.

Results for Scotland and Wales revealed 25 and 22 per cent of people, respectively, failed to see an NHS dentist over the past year. 

Of the 533 Britons that didn’t, 21 per cent resorted to DIY dentistry — either taking matters into their own hands or asking a friend or family member to do it for them.

Another 27 per cent paid for private dental treatment, and 26 per cent claimed they delayed seeing a dentists whist suffering with pain.

Lib Dem Health spokesperson Daisy Cooper said Britons being forced to pull out their own teeth was a ‘national scandal’ created by Government mismanagement.   

‘This heartbreaking rise in DIY dentistry is further evidence that this Government simply doesn’t care about our vital local health services,’ she said.

‘It is a national scandal that people are forced to pull their own teeth out because our public health services have been starved of funding. 

‘NHS services are crumbling after years of failure and mismanagement by Conservative Ministers.’

The Lib Dems are calling for the Government to announce an NHS winter rescue package this week now that Parliament is returning following The Queen’s funeral.  

This should include plans to recruit more NHS staff, including dentists, they said.

Responding to the poll, the BDA said DIY dentistry had gone from being a local issue in spots were access to NHS dentists was dire pre-Covid to a national problem.

BDA chair Eddie Crouch said millions of Britons were being forced to take their oral health into their own hands by Government inaction.   

‘DIY dentistry has no place in a wealthy, 21st century nation, but today millions have no options, and some are taking matters into their own hands,’ he said. 

‘These access problems are not inevitable. This horror show is the direct result of choices made in Westminster.’

In January, the Government pledged an extra £50million to fund 350,000 more dental appointments, yet this has so far had little effect on boosting access. 

Mr Crouch said ministers needed to deliver more reform and funding, estimating it would cost £880million a year alone to restore services to 2010 levels. 

Official health service data, which records the number of adults seen by NHS dentists in 24 month periods shows the drastic decline in the number of people seeing a dentist since the pandemic. While people struggled to access NHS dentistry services before Covid due to a lack of appointments, the situation has deteriorated further with 6million fewer people seen compared to pre-pandemic levels

Official health service data, which records the number of adults seen by NHS dentists in 24 month periods shows the drastic decline in the number of people seeing a dentist since the pandemic. While people struggled to access NHS dentistry services before Covid due to a lack of appointments, the situation has deteriorated further with 6million fewer people seen compared to pre-pandemic levels

Millions of people have been left without access to dental care after the number of NHS dentists fell to their lowest level ever last year

Millions of people have been left without access to dental care after the number of NHS dentists fell to their lowest level ever last year 

‘We’ve heard promises of change, but any progress requires action on a decade of underfunding and failed contracts,’ he said.

‘Truss, Coffey and Kwarteng will determine whether we consign these scenes back to the Victorian era.’

Newly appointed Health Secretary Therese Coffey famously listed dentists as one of her four priorities when she stepped into the role earlier this month

‘We have got priorities A, B, C and D — ambulances, backlogs, care, doctors and dentists,’ she said.

Data shows NHS now has the smallest dentist workforce in a decade, with 3,000 dentists having moved away from NHS work entirely since March 2020.

And more could jump ship with a BDA a poll of 2,200 high street dentists in England earlier this year finding a third plan to go fully private within the next year.

It’s not uncommon for Britons to have to call up to 40 practices to find an NHS dentist in their area taking on new patients.

The situation has led to patient organisations like Healthwatch England say reports of DIY dentistry are becoming increasingly common with incidents where people have pulled out their own teeth out and made replacements out of resin and superglue. 

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said the Government was committed to improving access to NHS dentists.  

‘The number of dentists practicing in the NHS increased by over 500 last year, and we are continuing work to improve access to dental care for all NHS patients – backed by more than £3 billion annually,’ they said. 

  • The headline from an earlier version of this article stated that a poll suggested 20% of Britons had resorted to ‘DIY dentistry’ due to being unable to get an appointment with their dentist. The headline has been amended to clarify that this figure in fact reflects the percentage of respondents who resorted to DIY dentistry after having failed to get an NHS dentist appointment. The overall percentage of respondents who had resorted to this was around 5%, which the headline and first paragraph now reflect. 
Some regions in England are far worse than others for access to NHS dentistry. It is poorest in the North West, South West and Yorkshire and the Humber where 98 per cent of practices won' accept new patients.  This was followed by the East Midlands with 97 per cent, the South East with 95 per cent, the East of England with 93 per cent, and the West Midlands with 84 per cent. London was the best performer for NHS dental care, but even in the nation's capital over three quarters (76 per cent) of practices were not accepting new patients

Some regions in England are far worse than others for access to NHS dentistry. It is poorest in the North West, South West and Yorkshire and the Humber where 98 per cent of practices won’ accept new patients.  This was followed by the East Midlands with 97 per cent, the South East with 95 per cent, the East of England with 93 per cent, and the West Midlands with 84 per cent. London was the best performer for NHS dental care, but even in the nation’s capital over three quarters (76 per cent) of practices were not accepting new patients

Meet the victims of Britain’s NHS dental crisis: From a mother, 42, who pulled out 13 of her own TEETH after waiting six YEARS for check-up to a 28-year-old who fished out shards of shattered molar with pliers 

Danielle Watts, 42, from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, became so desperate waiting six years to be registered with a dentist that she pulled almost half of her teeth out with her fingers.

The mother-of-two had been suffering severe gum disease for many of those years.

She said she squeezed her teeth out after they ‘started dying off one by one’ last year because none of the dental practices in her four neighbouring towns were taking on new patients.

Ms Watts had tried to find another dentist who was willing to take on her and her two children Oscar, 12, and Eliza, eight, after her NHS practice suddenly closed down in 2015. 

Despite her desperate calls to dentists over the years, she said none were willing to take on new NHS patients and she was forced to undertake dental treatment herself. 

Speaking in October last year, Ms Watts, who works in packing for a printing company, said: ‘I am in constant pain and feel so disheartened because there is just no help out there.

‘I have had really bad gum disease over the last couple of years and my teeth have started dying off one by one.

‘It has got to the point where I squeeze them and they just pop out. I have lost 11 so far [now 13] and I think I am going to lose them all at this rate.

‘I have been trying so hard to find an NHS dentist, but there is just nobody out there. It is awful really, but there is nothing I can do.’ 

Ms Watts said she was now forced take painkillers every day, and that her situation had shattered her self-confidence.   

‘I live with this every day. I take painkillers, I go to work, I look after my kids and I deal with shutting my smiles down. I hate talking to people, even people I know,’ she said. 

Danielle Watts, 42, (Pictured) was forced to remove 11 of her teeth following excruciating gum disease after her dental practice closed in 2015  - but she struggled to find another to take her on

Danielle Watts, 42, (Pictured) was forced to remove 11 of her teeth following excruciating gum disease after her dental practice closed in 2015  – but she struggled to find another to take her on

Ms Watts was taking painkillers daily due to the 'constant pain' and despite looking for a new NHS dental practice for six years, she was forced to pull out her own teeth (Pictured)

Ms Watts was taking painkillers daily due to the ‘constant pain’ and despite looking for a new NHS dental practice for six years, she was forced to pull out her own teeth (Pictured) 

Meanwhile, Carlton Hill, 28, from Swansea, Wales, had to rip out parts of his back molar with pliers in 2020 after a crown shattered, leaving just an exposed root behind. 

He couldn’t get an appointment because of pandemic delays.  

Mr Hill, was left unable to have a chipped molar fixed by a dentist because of the Covid pandemic in 2020.

He had the molar temporarily fixed and was told to get full surgery at a later date, but could not find one anywhere in Swansea county.

Mr Hill told Metro at the time: ‘Within a couple of months, the crown of that molar shattered completely, leaving just the root behind.

‘I had to rip bits of tooth off my gums using pliers, but the nerves died off after that so the pain wasn’t too bad. 

‘When I called NHS direct again seeking urgent help, I was told that the pain wasn’t severe enough for a referral to an emergency dentist, because all they could do for me was ease the pain rather than extract the roots.’

He has since had to drain pus out of abscesses in his gums and even used a wireless tool to shave down another molar that cracked, leaving a sharp jagged edge that was cutting his tongue. 

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Why it’s easier to find Pfizer’s updated COVID boosters than Moderna’s

Vaccinators around the country are reporting weeks-long delays in shipments of Moderna’s updated COVID-19 vaccine boosters. The delays come after the Food and Drug Administration flagged concerns at a facility contracted to fill the Moderna’s new shots into vials. 

The wait stems from an Indiana plant operated by Catalent, which is one of two firms that has been bottling Moderna’s vaccine in the U.S. 

Following an inspection, the FDA this month faulted the Moderna contractor for falling short in its quality control procedures, and failing to “thoroughly investigate” batches discovered to be contaminated. Since September 2020, the company had received 179 complaints over impurities in its vials.

The FDA’s inspection had tied up emergency use authorization of all the updated doses filled and finished by Catalent for Moderna.

However, citing “potential supply limitations,” Moderna submitted additional data to the regulator asking to clear 10 batches of its vaccine from Catalent’s plant. 

The FDA granted that request on Tuesday. Moderna told the regulator it plans to “submit similar requests for additional batches on a rolling basis” to free up millions more doses.

“This authorization was based on FDA’s determination that the batches met all applicable specifications, following a careful review of information provided by Moderna about the manufacture of these batches. The agency has no concerns with the safety, effectiveness, or quality of these batches,” FDA spokesperson Michael Felberbaum said in a statement.

News of the FDA’s move was reported first by The Washington Post

“We anticipate that these availability constraints will be resolved in the coming days. We continue to be on track to meet our committed delivery of 70 million doses of our updated, bivalent vaccine by the end of this year,” Moderna spokesperson Christopher Ridley said in a statement.

Chris Halling, a spokesperson for Catalent, said the FDA had “found no issues related to the safety or efficacy of the Moderna product” during its routine inspection, adding that production of the vaccines “has continued without interruption.”

“Catalent takes all observations very seriously, and we have already begun employing all necessary steps to address each observation as quickly as possible,” Halling said.

The delays have resulted in a lopsided rollout of the updated boosters since they were formally cleared for use on September 1

Some states have moved to suspend ordering for the Moderna doses, citing the delays. Others have urged residents not to wait for the Moderna shots.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services says 26 million doses of the updated shots have been distributed. Americans are eligible to receive either shot, “regardless of which primary vaccine they received.” 

“We anticipate that Moderna supply will continue to increase in the coming days and weeks. Pfizer’s updated COVID-19 vaccine is already widely available across the country,” said the HHS spokesperson.

A spokesperson for Pfizer said the company has supplied “more than 21 million doses,” which works out to some 80% of the U.S. supply so far. The company plans to ship “up to 100 million” doses by the end of November.

“Pfizer’s Kalamazoo, MI site alone is currently manufacturing 10-15 million doses per week with capacity to increase this considerably,” said Julia Michelle Cohen, the Pfizer spokesperson.

Nationwide data on how many the shipped doses of vaccine have gone into arms is expected to be released this Thursday, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official said at a recent webinar hosted by the COVID-19 Vaccine and Equity Project.

Early figures from the agency posted last week suggested vaccinations climbed to the highest levels since early May, as the updated boosters began to roll out.

The FDA’s move also comes as the regulator has said it is working to vet data submitted by Moderna as well as Pfizer and its partner BioNTech on updating booster shots for younger children. 

In planning documents shared with health departments this week, the CDC said it expects the bivalent shots could soon be cleared for use “in early to mid-October” for younger age groups.

Moderna’s shots could be a simpler option for family doctors and pharmacies, given the company plans to use the same vaccine vials as adults for children down to six years old.

“One question that I’ll answer right now, that may come up is, when are we going to have these vaccines for younger children? And I think we can say that, for the age range of five and up, that’s a couple of weeks away,” the FDA’s Dr. Peter Marks told a virtual event with the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases on Monday.

“And for the youngest children, it’s probably later this fall to early winter as the data come in and we can review it,” said Marks.


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Hundreds recalled over shoulder op concerns at Walsall hospital

Some patients have lost the full use of their arm after surgery at Walsall Manor Hospital.
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Older Adults Who Had COVID May Be More At Risk For Alzheimer’s Disease

Though SARS-CoV-2 was originally thought to be a respiratory virus, it’s become increasingly clear that the virus can have serious consequences on brain health. Many people have experienced neurological symptoms — like loss of taste and smell, headache and memory and attention issues— while infected, and most people who develop long COVID experience brain fog and cognitive problems like reduced concentration.

Now, new research suggests that COVID may increase our risk of developing brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, too. The study, which was published this month in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, found that older adults who were infected with COVID had a 50 to 80% higher chance of developing Alzheimer’s compared to people who’d never had COVID.

Doctors don’t think that COVID directly causes Alzheimer’s as much as it unmasks underlying illness or speeds up disease that’s already simmering. Scientists are still learning about the ways in which COVID can impact our ability to learn, remember, focus and perceive, but research suggests that infections, in general, can have a serious impact on our cognitive function, not only in the short term but in the long term as well.

“These findings are not surprising to me since there is increasing understanding that medical stressors, from surgery to urinary tract infections, can lead to abrupt declines in cognitive abilities called ‘delirium’ or ‘encephalopathy,’ which is increasingly recognized as a risk factor for subsequent dementia diagnosis,” Dr. Joshua Cahan, an assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told HuffPost.

People Who Get COVID Have A Greater Risk Of Cognitive Impairment

The researchers evaluated the health records of 6.2 million adults age 65 and older who had received medical treatment between February 2020 and May 2020. At the start of the study, no one had previously been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

The individuals were split into two groups: people who had COVID (over 400,000) and people who had not (about 5.8 million). The research team found that that the risk of getting Alzheimer’s doubled, from 0.35% to 0.68%, among those who had COVID. The risk was greatest in women who were 85 and older.

According to the researchers, it’s unclear if COVID directly contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s disease or if it speeds up degenerative changes in the brain that are already in progress.

“This study shows the patients with dementia may be detected earlier due to COVID but does not suggest that the infection itself causes dementia,” said Dr. Santosh Kesari, a neurologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California and the regional medical director for the Research Clinical Institute of Providence Southern California.

The researchers hope that future studies are able to uncover the specific pathways in which COVID impacts brain function so that more targeted treatments and prevention methods can be developed. Historically, it’s been difficult for scientists to develop treatments targeting cognition, according to Cahan.

While researchers are looking into various medications — like antivirals, stimulants and corticosteroids — the research is still in the early stages and it’s unclear how well these approaches help enhance cognition. “We have not firmly established the mechanisms of long COVID or Alzheimer’s so our approach to treatment is limited,” Cahan said.

Researchers are still trying to figure out an effective treatment to reduce the impact COVID may have on the brain and other areas of the body.

Andriy Onufriyenko via Getty Images

Researchers are still trying to figure out an effective treatment to reduce the impact COVID may have on the brain and other areas of the body.

How Illnesses Like COVID Lead To Cognitive Decline

This isn’t the first study to find that infectious diseases are associated with cognitive decline. Past research shows that pneumonia, urinary tract infections, herpes virus infections, osteomyelitis and cellulitis have all been linked to a higher risk of dementia. According to Cahan, we also know that COVID can lead to major issues with attention and processing speed in certain patients.

Some experts believe that cognitive decline is caused by the widespread inflammation that certain infections, including COVID, trigger throughout the body. Higher levels of inflammation often go hand-in-hand with cognitive problems. According to Kesari, all that systemic inflammation caused by COVID can lead to brain inflammation — and research shows that brain inflammation is at the root of Alzheimer’s disease.

There’s also a possibility that there may be a buildup of the proteins related to Alzheimer’s disease in patients who are severely ill or hospitalized, according to some research.

“More long-term follow-up is needed to see if these proteins persist and progress, as would be expected in Alzheimer’s disease,” Cahan said. It’s unknown what, exactly, causes Alzheimer’s disease, which is one of the major reasons why it’s so hard for scientists to figure out how COVID may lead to the disease, Cahan added.

Ultimately, while it’s clear that COVID and brain health are connected in some way, it’ll take more research — and time — to get a clearer understanding of how different diseases and infections impact brain health. “We are currently in the phase where information is accumulating that COVID-19 leads to cognitive impairment, but the mechanisms are unclear,” Cahan said.

How To Mitigate Cognitive Decline After COVID

Cahan said when he sees patients seriously struggling with cognitive decline after recovering from COVID, he often refers them to occupational and speech therapy to help strengthen the parts of their brain that were weakened by the infection. Cognitive therapy, which is currently being investigated as a treatment for post COVID cognitive impairment, can also help people develop new strategies to improve their cognition.

Cahan also generally recommends that people gradually build their cognitive endurance after COVID, rather than going from zero to 100 right after recovering. A healthy diet, physical activity, social connections and stress management are crucial aspects of maintaining cognitive function as well, Kesari said.

If the cognitive problems persist, it’s worth checking in with a doctor to see if there’s anything else going on.

“All patients should undergo a thorough workup to look for other potential contributors like sleep disturbance, psychological distress, metabolic disorders, vitamin deficiencies all of which have specific treatments,” Cahan said.

Experts are still learning about COVID-19. The information in this story is what was known or available as of publication, but guidance can change as scientists discover more about the virus. Please check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the most updated recommendations.


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Gunman opens fire on Russian school, children among victims

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At least nine people were dead, including five children, after a gunman opened fire in a school in the central Russian city of Izhevsk, investigators said Monday. 

“Nine people were killed because of this crime, including two security guards of the educational institution and two teachers, as well as five minors,” Russia‘s Investigative Committee said in a statement on Telegram. 

It added that the attacker “committed suicide”. 

According to investigators, “he was wearing a black top with Nazi symbols and a balaclava” and was not carrying any ID. 

“His identity is currently being established,” investigators said.

Russia’s interior ministry also said there were about 20 people injured in the attack.

The region’s governor Alexander Brechalov confirmed there were “casualties and wounded among children”, speaking in a video statement outside school No88 in Izhevsk. 

Rescue and medical workers could be seen working at the scene in the background, some running inside the school with stretchers.

A city of around 630,000 people, Izhevsk is the regional capital of Russia’s Udmurt Republic, located around 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) east of Moscow.  

(AFP)

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How ‘nuclear Tipp-Ex’ kills skin cancer as NHS patients could be saved from surgery in new trial

How drop of ‘nuclear Tipp-Ex’ kills skin tumours as thousands of NHS cancer patients could be saved from painful surgery in new trial

  • ‘Radioactive Tipp-Ex’ could save thousands from painful surgery in new trial
  • It is rubbed on cancerous skin melanomas and forms a hard crust in seconds
  • A UK trial is underway to see if it could could help NHS skin cancer patients 

A radioactive paste that sets like Tipp-Ex could save thousands of skin cancer patients from painful surgery.

The liquid remedy is rubbed on cancerous lesions and forms a hard crust in seconds – just like the typewriter correction fluid. Radioactive particles inside the paste then destroy cancerous cells in the skin.

After the treatment, the paste is removed and further therapy is rare.

Now a UK trial is under way to see if the groundbreaking technique can slash the number of NHS patients needing surgery for non-melanoma skin cancers.

A radioactive paste that sets like Tipp-Ex could save thousands of skin cancer patients from painful surgery. File photo of visual examination of the mole for the presence of malignant skin tumours

A radioactive paste that sets like Tipp-Ex could save thousands of skin cancer patients from painful surgery. File photo of visual examination of the mole for the presence of malignant skin tumours

The liquid remedy is rubbed on cancerous lesions and forms a hard crust in seconds ¿ just like the typewriter correction fluid Tipp-ex (pictured)

The liquid remedy is rubbed on cancerous lesions and forms a hard crust in seconds – just like the typewriter correction fluid Tipp-ex (pictured)

These are mostly triggered by over-exposure to ultra-violet light from the sun or tanning beds, and affect nearly 150,000 people a year in the UK.

Non-melanoma skin cancer cases are rarely life-threatening – unlike the more dangerous malignant melanoma – but still kill some 700 people a year.

In about one case in 20, they spread elsewhere, requiring chemotherapy.

Doctors usually remove the lesions under a local anaesthetic, along with some surrounding skin to gather up any tumour cells that might have spread.

Although this can be done by a GP, it can leave a scar, requiring a skin graft to mask the damage. But the new treatment, a kind of liquid radiotherapy, could mean patients avoid surgery.

‘This could benefit an awful lot of people,’ said Dr Nicola Mulholland, a consultant in nuclear medicine who is leading the UK arm of the international trial at King’s College Hospital, London,

‘Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK and rates are increasing sharply with the ageing population.’

Non-melanoma skin cancer cases are rarely life-threatening ¿ unlike the more dangerous malignant melanoma ¿ but still kill some 700 people a year

Non-melanoma skin cancer cases are rarely life-threatening – unlike the more dangerous malignant melanoma – but still kill some 700 people a year

In about one case in 20, they spread elsewhere, requiring chemotherapy

In about one case in 20, they spread elsewhere, requiring chemotherapy

But non-melanoma forms have a lower profile. The slow-growing lesions start out as a lump or discoloured patch. Many patients have them removed by their GP, but the NHS still spends about £150 million a year for severe cases.

Experts hope many of those could be avoided thanks to the new treatment – called rhenium radionuclide therapy.

‘It’s a bit like Tipp-Ex – once you paint it on, it crusts over in a few minutes,’ says Dr Mulholland. ‘We leave it on for one to two hours and then remove it… and the patient is free to go home.’

However, it can cause bleeding, swelling and a reddening of the skin.

Doctors stress it is unlikely to be suitable for malignant melanomas.

Finola Cronin, 77, from Chislehurst in South-East London, was one of the first people in the UK to be treated with the radioactive paste after doctors offered her the chance to have that rather than surgery.

She says: ‘There was no pain or discomfort and all I could feel was the doctor brushing it on. All I had to do was lie still for an hour. It was much better than having to undergo surgery.’

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