COVID-19 Updates: Officials Investigate Potential Side Effects of Vaccine Booster Shots

  • More than 4 million people have died from COVID-19 globally.
  • More than half of U.S. adults are now fully vaccinated.
  • COVID-19 cases remain high in some parts of the world, like India, where few people have been vaccinated.

Update on COVID-19 numbers

  • Globally, there have been more than 187.6 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 4 million associated deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
  • The United States has reported more than 33.9 million confirmed cases and more than 607,000 associated deaths.
  • Currently, more than 184.5 million people in the United States have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose. More than 159.6 million people are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

Healthline updates this page on weekdays. For up-to-date information about the virus, go here.

7/13/21 3:10 p.m. PDT — Health officials want to investigate COVID-19 booster shots for side effects

The United States is reviewing the need for a third COVID-19 booster shot among people who have already been vaccinated, but more data is needed to know whether additional shots could increase the risk of serious side effects, a U.S. health official said today, reported Reuters.

The official added that the second dose for two-shot COVID-19 vaccine regimens was associated with higher rates of side effects, and suggested a third dose might come with more serious side effects.

“We’re keenly interested in knowing whether or not a third dose may be associated with any higher risk of adverse reactions, particularly some of those more severe — although very rare — side effects,” said Jay Butler, deputy director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), during a media briefing, reported Reuters.

According to Reuters, Butler also said he hasn’t seen evidence of waning immunity to the coronavirus among U.S. residents who received vaccinations in December or January.

He said existing vaccines provide significant protection against the coronavirus delta variant, which has become the dominant variant in the United States.

COVID-19 outbreak tied to Ohio church retreat

A COVID-19 outbreak was reported among attendees of a church retreat, officials announced, reported ABC News.

Health officials confirmed at least 30 positive cases have been identified in people who took part in the event.

According to ABC, Dayton and Montgomery County Public Health said more than 800 people attended the Baptist Church retreat in Miamisburg, Ohio, from June 27 to July 3.

Dr. Michael Dohn, medical director for Dayton & Montgomery County Public Health, spoke about his concern, reported ABC.

“Unvaccinated people, including children under 12 years of age, are up to 100 times more likely to get sick after exposure to COVID-19 compared to fully vaccinated individuals,” he said.

“The outbreak demonstrates that the COVID-19 virus is still circulating and continues to make people sick,” Dohn added.

7/12/21 3:58 p.m. PDT — FDA to add warning about rare neurological disorder to Johnson & Johnson vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to add a warning to the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine saying that it may lead to a slightly increased risk of a rare nerve disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome, according to The New York Times.

Officials have detected about 100 suspected cases of the nerve disorder in the 12.8 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines administered in the United States.

Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare neurological disorder in which the immune system attacks part of the nervous system.

Symptoms can include mild, temporary weakness and tingling to more serious issues, including some cases of paralysis. Most people recover from even serious cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome.

An estimated 3,000 to 6,000 peopleTrusted Source develop Guillain-Barré syndrome every year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

COVID-19 cases increase nearly 50% in U.S.

As the coronavirus delta variant rapidly spreads, U.S. “hot spots” have seen rising cases.

The United States is averaging about 19,455 new COVID-19 cases over the last 7 days, a 47 percent increase from the week prior, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, reported CNN.

“In places like Missouri where ICUs are packed, you’re going to see a surprising amount of death,” CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner told CNN.

At Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Missouri, more than 90 percent of ICU patients are on ventilators. Many patients are in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, Erik Frederick, chief administrative officer, told CNN July 11.

This is especially concerning, he explained, because during last year’s peak, there were only 40 to 50 percent of ICU patients on ventilators.

According to Reiner, rising COVID-19 death rates typically follow 3 to 4 weeks behind spikes in cases. It takes a week for people to get sick enough to need hospitalization, and then often another couple of weeks for the infection to become fatal, reported CNN.

“We will start to see an increase in mortality in this country,” Reiner said.

Rare case shows it’s possible to contract 2 coronavirus variants at same time, says expert

Scientists have found evidence that it’s possible to contract two different coronavirus variants at the same time.

Researchers from Belgium have presented a case study of an unvaccinated older woman who was found to have infections with both the alpha and beta coronavirus variants.

Experts presented the case study at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases this weekend, announcing it’s believed to be the first known case of double infection, which underscores the need to be alert to this possibility.

The research has not yet been peer-reviewed.

The 90-year-old patient died in a hospital in Belgium in March.

“This is one of the first documented cases of co-infection with two SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern,” said lead study author and molecular biologist Dr. Anne Vankeerberghen from the OLV Hospital in Aalst, Belgium, in a statement.

“Both these variants were circulating in Belgium at the time, so it is likely that the lady was co-infected with different viruses from two different people. Unfortunately, we don’t know how she became infected,” she said.

Israel will start giving COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to high-risk adults

Israel has become the first country to start giving COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, according to The Washington Post.

The Israel’s Ministry of Health is giving booster shots only to severely immunocompromised adults.

In the United States, the CDC has said there’s not enough evidence that booster shots are needed.

However, Pfizer and BioNTech have said they will ask for emergency use authorization for their COVID-19 booster shots.


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