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Massachusetts congressman tests positive for Covid-19 after getting 2 shots of Pfizer vaccine

COVID-19 Alert

Representative Stephen F. Lynch of Massachusetts has tested positive for Covid-19, his office said. The lawmaker received his second shot of the Pfizer vaccine before Joe Biden’s inauguration.

The 65-year-old tested positive on Friday, his office said. A staff member in his Boston office tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this week, spokesperson Molly Rose Tarpey added.

Lynch “had received the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine and subsequently received a negative Covid-19 test prior to attending President Biden’s Inauguration,” on January 20, the statement added, without specifying the date. Lynch has not developed any symptoms and feels fine, but will remain in self-quarantine, voting in Congress by proxy.

The vaccine requires two shots administered several weeks apart, and some time afterwards, to fully kick in, and none of them claim to offer full protection, so it’s possible to be infected even after both doses. A false positive test is also possible.

Another Massachusetts representative, Lori Trahan, reported testing positive for Covid-19 on Friday. She said she was asymptomatic and self-isolating, and plans to cast her votes by proxy, too. Last week, during a visit to Washington, she tested negative, she said.

Massachusetts currently has nine congressional districts, with all House seats held by Democrats. Lynch and Trahan represent the 8th and 3rd districts respectively.

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12,400+ Israelis test POSITIVE for Covid-19 despite receiving Pfizer/BioNTech jab

COVID-19 Alert

More than 12,400 people in Israel have tested positive for coronavirus after being vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, including 69 who had received their second dose, the country’s Health Ministry said.

Some 189,000 people were tested for Covid-19 after being vaccinated, with 6.6 percent getting a positive result, according to ministry data reported by Israeli outlets. The majority were apparently infected shortly after receiving the first jab of the two-part vaccine – a period when the inoculation isn’t expected to have kicked in yet.

However, 1,410 people tested positive two weeks after their first injection, by which time partial immunity should have already taken effect.

Moreover, 69 patients became infected with the novel coronavirus despite already having been administered both shots of the vaccine, the ministry said. Israel began administering the second doses almost two weeks ago, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu being the first to complete the course.

Pfizer has said that a spike in immunity occurs between Day 15 and Day 21 after the first jab, when the effectiveness of its vaccine increases from 52 to 89 percent. According to earlier trials, the protection offered by the vaccine reaches the 95 percent level a week after the second dose is administered, the pharma giant said.

When it comes to vaccines, the results of clinical trials may differ from how the immunization performs in the field, where it’s administered to a much greater number of people.

On Tuesday, Israel’s coronavirus tsar, Nachman Ash, reportedly complained to Israeli ministers about the insufficient protection provided by the first shot of the American vaccine. It turned out to be “less effective than we had thought” and “lower than Pfizer presented,” Ash said, as cited by Army Radio.

However, the head of the infection unit at Sheba Medical Center – where Netanyahu got his jabs – told Israeli media that the Pfizer vaccine “works wonderfully” after two shots. According to Professor Gili Regev-Yohai, 102 of the medics at the center were tested a week after completing the vaccination course, and all but two of them showed antibody levels between six to 20 times higher than seven days earlier.

Israel is leading the world in terms of pace of vaccination against the new coronavirus. Over the last months, some 2.15 million people received Pfizer/BioNTech jabs, with 300,000 already getting both shots.

Despite already vaccinating more than 20 percent of its own population, Israel doesn’t seem as eager to share immunization with Palestinians in the occupied territories. On Wednesday, the World Health Organization expressed its “concerns” over unequal access to vaccines between Israelis and Palestinian.

A WHO representative for Palestine said that the UN body has been in discussions with Israeli authorities on the possibility of allocating vaccines to the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Israeli Health Minister, Yuli Edelstein, has said her department may offer the Palestinian Authoritiy surplus doses after Israelis have received their jabs.

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13 Israelis suffer FACIAL PARALYSIS after taking Pfizer Covid jab, amid influx of reports detailing adverse effects


At least 13 Israelis have experienced facial paralysis after being administered the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, a month after the US Food and Drug Administration reported similar issues but said they weren’t linked to the jab.

Israel has been hailed for its speedy and efficient mass inoculation program, which has vaccinated a staggering 20 percent of the country’s population since the drive began at the end of December.

For a handful of Israelis, however, the initiative has led to some unexpected health scares. At least 13 people have reported mild facial paralysis after receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, Israeli outlet Ynet reported, citing the Health Ministry, adding that officials believe the number of such cases could be higher.

“For at least 28 hours I walked around with it [facial paralysis],” one person who had the side effect told Ynet. “I can’t say it was completely gone afterwards, but other than that I had no other pains, except a minor pain where the injection was, but there was nothing beyond that.”

The unnamed individual noted, though, that the unpleasant reaction was “something rare” and stressed that it was “important” people get vaccinated. However, he conceded that he was undecided about receiving a second dose of the vaccine.

Israel’s Health Ministry has stated that it is safe to administer the second shot, provided the facial paralysis passes and there are no lingering, long-term effects from the first jab. But some Israeli medical experts have chosen to ignore this advisory.

Ynet quoted Prof. Galia Rahav, director of the Infectious Diseases Unit at Sheba Medical Center, who said she did not feel “comfortable” with administering the second dose to someone who had received the first jab and subsequently suffered from paralysis.

“No one knows if this is connected to the vaccine or not. That’s why I would refrain from giving a second dose to someone who suffered from paralysis after the first dose,” she told the outlet.

Last month the FDA disclosed that Bell’s palsy, a form of temporary facial paralysis, was reported by four participants during phase three trials of the Pfizer vaccine. All four cases involved individuals who had been given the actual jab. There were no reports of paralysis among the control group that received a placebo.

In its report, the FDA noted the “numerical imbalance” of Bell’s palsy cases among the vaccine and placebo groups, but it said there were no other “non-serious adverse events” that showed a similar pattern.

Ultimately, the US drug regulator concluded that the issue was “consistent with the expected background rate in the general population,” and added that there was no clear evidence linking the coronavirus vaccine to the unpleasant medical condition. Still, the agency recommended“surveillance for cases of Bell’s palsy with deployment of the vaccine into larger populations.”

Over the past several weeks, the Pfizer drug has received emergency approval from governments scrambling to vaccinate their citizens. In December, the UK became the first country in the world to begin administering the jab to the general population. Although health officials have described the vaccine as safe and effective at reducing Covid-19 symptoms, worrying reports continue to surface about serious adverse effects. Mexico launched a probe in early January after a young doctor was left paralyzed minutes after being administered the drug. There have also been numerous cases in which people who suffer from allergies have experienced severe reactions to the shot.

Several reports have also linked the jab to unexplained deaths, but authorities have insisted that there is no evidence to suggest the vaccine is to blame in such cases. For example, a Portugese doctor who was reportedly in “perfect health”died shortly after being given the jab, but officials later concluded that there was no relationship between the death and the vaccine, adding that they could not disclose the exact cause of her death for legal reasons.

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Scientists still don’t know if people can still spread Covid-19 after vaccine


The Health Secretary told a Downing Street Press Conference that the vaccine protects people from catching the disease and needing to be hospitalised – but scientists still don’t know if it will stop people transmitting it.

Scientists still don’t know if people can spread Covid-19 after being vaccinated, Matt Hancock has said.

The Health Secretary told a Downing Street Press Conference that the vaccine protects people from catching the disease and needing to be hospitalised – but scientists still don’t know if it will stop people transmitting it.

He said: “What we don’t yet know… is how much you might transmit Covid, even if you don’t suffer from the disease, after you’ve had the vaccine.”

If it does not prevent transmission, it could mean that even as vaccines are rolled out across the country, people would still have to practice social distancing, wear masks and avoid gatherings – until sufficient immunity is present in the community.

Virus manufacturers are still performing research to determine the answer.

Hancock said he wanted Britons to “have that great British summer” and for life to return to normal “as fast possible” as he outlined details of the vaccine rollout.

The Health Secretary said two fifths of over 80s and “almost a quarter of older care home residents” have received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

And he pleaded with the public to follow coronavirus rules and reduce all social contact that is not “absolutely” necessary.

He told a Downing Street press conference that the new variant of coronavirus is “highly contagious and it is putting the NHS under very significant pressure”.

Mr Hancock echoed England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty in saying “we’re at the worst point in this pandemic”.

And he said: “The NHS, more than ever before, needs everybody to be doing something right now – and that something is to follow the rules.

“I know there has been speculation about more restrictions, and we don’t rule out taking further action if it is needed, but it is your actions now that can make a difference.

“Stay at home, and please reduce all social contact that is not absolutely strictly necessary. That’s what is needed: act like you have the virus.”

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NHS nurse ‘angry and heartbroken’ at catching coronavirus three weeks after Pfizer-BionNtech vaccine in Wales


A nurse is worried she was lured into a false sense of security regarding the vaccine after she caught coronavirus only a matter of weeks after receiving the Pfizer vaccine.

The NHS employee, who wishes to remain anonymous, works within the Hywel Dda University Health Board area in south-west Wales, which covers Pembrokeshire Local, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire.

She’s said of her new positive test result that she is “angry and heartbroken” that she’s caught the deadly virus at this stage.

Wales is also in a tight lockdown, with First Minister Mark Drakeford set to review the measures next week as the UK continues to report staggering death figures.

The new mutant strain of Covid has been ripping across Britain, and the nurse in question explained she was initially relieved to be offered the chance of the vaccine back in December when the new, highly contagious strain emerged.

At first, she had trouble getting an appointment, however, she managed to receive her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine just over three weeks ago.

The hospital nurse, who works in the Hywel Dda University Health Board area in west Wales, said she felt “angry and heartbroken” about catching Covid at this stage.

She added: “It gave me peace of mind. It made me feel safer and that I was doing the right thing for my family, but it gives a false sense of security.”

The nurse also explained that she was told it would take 10 days for the jab to offer her some protection against the virus and reduce risk of transmission, however, she started feeling unwell three weeks later.

Her partner and one of her children has also tested positive, experiencing “quite severe symptoms” of a high temperature, breathlessness and a bad cough.

She added she was “shocked” when she found out she had contracted the virus.

The Pfizer vaccine was the first to be rolled out and began on December 8 2020.

Two doses are needed for the vaccine to work fully, and currently, around a million people have had their first dose.

Advice regarding the vaccine for the whole of the UK was that the second dose of the vaccine was needed three weeks after the initial one, however, this has since changed.

Now, it’s recommended that there is a 12-week gap between doses, following the UK’s chief medical officers’ advice.

The World Health Organisation has stated that it does not recommend following the UK’s decision but has “made a provision for countries in exceptional circumstances of vaccine supply constraints and epidemiological settings” to delay the second dose for a few weeks, as this will maximise the number of people getting their first dose.

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CDC launches probe after ‘very healthy’ Miami doctor dies 2 weeks after taking Pfizer’s Covid-19 jab

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A middle-aged doctor from Florida has passed away two weeks after receiving his first dose of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, succumbing to a rare blood disorder. The CDC and local officials have opened a probe into his death.

Dr. Gregory Michael – a 56-year-old obstetrician-gynecologist who ran his own practice at Miami Beach’s Mount Sinai Medical Center for more than a decade – died late last week, 16 days after taking the vaccine developed jointly by Pfizer and BioNTech.

Local health officials said on Friday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Florida Health Department and the Miami-Dade medical examiner’s office were investigating the exact cause of Michael’s death, which was linked to a rare condition that affects the body’s ability to clot blood.

“The cause of death is pending the completion of studies being done by the medical examiner and the Centers for Disease Control,” said the office’s director, Darren Caprara, in an email to media outlets. He added that while an autopsy was conducted on Tuesday, “the case is still under investigation, so nothing has been finalized” and that a connection to the vaccine had not been ruled out.

A CDC representative separately told a local media outlet that the agency would “evaluate the situation as more information becomes available and provide timely updates on what is known and any necessary actions.”

The doctor was said to be in good health prior to his death on Sunday, with his wife describing him as “very healthy” in a Facebook post, while his own website noted that he was an avid big game fisherman and a certified scuba diver.

Pfizer, meanwhile, said it was “actively investigating the case,” acknowledging that Michael died of a “highly unusual clinical case of severe thrombocytopenia,” the blood-clotting condition, but noted it does not believe “there is any direct connection to the vaccine.”

Though the Pfizer/BioNTech jab has cleared safety and efficacy hurdles in a number of countries and secured official authorization, at times under emergency-use provisions, the immunization has been linked to alarming reports of adverse reactions in recent weeks, such as two nursing home residents in Norway who passed away days after taking their first dose. Like Michael’s case, officials are still investigating whether the deaths were linked to the vaccine. Meanwhile in Portugal, authorities dismissed reports that a similar sudden death of an otherwise ‘perfectly healthy’ doctor was somehow linked to her taking it.

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Hundreds of Israelis get infected with Covid-19 after receiving Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine

With the vaccine not providing immediate immunity to the coronavirus, over two hundred Israeli citizens have been diagnosed with the disease days after getting the Pfizer/BioNTech jabs, local media reported.

The number of those who got Covid-19 despite being vaccinated was at around 240 people, according to data from Channel 13 News.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which the Israeli health authorities rely on, doesn’t contain the coronavirus and can’t infect the recipient. But time is needed for the genetic code in the drug to train the immune system to recognize and attack the disease.

The course of the US-made vaccine requires two shots. According to the studies, immunity to Covid-19 increases only eight to ten days after the first injection and eventually reaches 50 percent.

The second jab is administered 21 days from the first one, while the declared immunity of 95 percent is achieved only a week after that. And, of course, there’s still a five percent chance of getting infected even if the vaccine is at its full potential.

Israeli news outlets which reported the figures urged the public to remain vigilant and thoroughly follow all Covid-19 precautions during the month after the first shot of the vaccine is administered.

The Jewish state is currently undertaking a massive vaccination campaign, which already saw over one million people or almost 12 percent of the population getting the Pfizer/BioNTech jab. That’s the largest span per capita in the world, according to Oxford University. The first phase of the program aims to immunize medics and elderly people before expanding on to other categories.

Around one in a thousand people have reported mild side effects after the injection, including weakness, dizziness and fever as well as pain, swelling and redness in the spot where the shot was given. Only a few dozen of them required medical attention, the Health Ministry said.

Since vaccinations kicked off on December 20, at least four people in Israel died shortly after getting the jab, Kan public broadcaster reported. However, the Health Ministry said that three fatalities were unrelated to the vaccine, with the fourth case of an 88-year-old man with preexisting conditions currently being investigated.

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Coronavirus vaccine patient ‘dies five days after receiving Pfizer jab’ in a Swiss care home


An elderly resident in a Swiss care home has died after receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.

The man was vaccinated on Christmas Eve along with other members of the nursing home in Lucerne.

Two days later he began complaining of urethral and abdominal pain and his blood pressure dropped while his heart rate increased.

He had previously reacted negatively to a flu vaccination but this had not been communicated to the vaccination team, Zeitpunkt reports.

The care home doctor examined the patient on the evening of December 27 and reported that the man was calm but his abdomen was hard and painful when touched.

On Tuesday morning the doctor was informed the patient’s condition had worsened.

By the time he was recalled to the home the man had died.

The patient had dementia but was reportedly otherwise healthy.

There is not yet enough evidence to suggest whether he died as a result of receiving the vaccine, and an autopsy will be performed to find out.

A spokesman for Pfizer told the Daily Star: “Pfizer and BioNTech are aware of a death as reported by Swissmedic on December 30 following administration of the COVID-19 BNT162b2 vaccine.

“Swissmedic has stated there is no evidence to suggest a direct causal connection between the Covid-19 vaccination and the reported death. Our immediate thoughts are with the bereaved family.

“It is important to note that serious adverse events, including deaths that are unrelated to the vaccine are unfortunately likely to occur at a similar rate as they would in the general population of elderly and at-risk individuals who are currently being prioritized for vaccination.”

It’s the first known case in the world of someone dying soon after receiving the groundbreaking vaccine.

There have been multiple cases of patients suffering mild to moderate allergic reactions from the jab, and it remains to be seen if the elderly man had suffered such an immune response.

The British Heart Foundation offers advice on the Covid jab, and explains like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects.

Most are mild and short-lived, including pain at the injection site, a headache or tiredness, while many people will not experience any side effects.

The symptoms can be experienced with many vaccines, not just one developed for coronavirus, and people might feel unwell as their immune system responds to the protein.

More than 600,000 Brits have already received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine after it was rolled out at the beginning of December.

Today it was announced the Oxford/AstraZeneca has also been approved for use in the UK.

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Eight German care home employees jabbed with 5 TIMES Pfizer vaccine dose, 4 hospitalized with Covid-like symptoms


Eight nursing home workers in Stralsund received five times the normal dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, sending half of them to the hospital with Covid-19 symptoms – but the company insists the megadose is safe.

A group of care home employees in the northeastern town of Stralsund was accidentally dosed with five times the prescribed amount of Pfizer-BioNTech’s newly approved Covid-19 vaccine on Sunday – the first day Germany began vaccinating healthcare workers and nursing home residents against the virus.

Eight employees received five times the 30-microgram (mcg) dose of the jab, which was recently christened Comirnaty. Four of those were hospitalized as a “precautionary measure” after experiencing flu-like (and Covid-19-like) symptoms, Vorpommern-Rügen district administrator Stefan Kerth revealed on Monday.

“I deeply regret this incident,” Kerth told reporters, expressing “hope” that “those affected suffer no serious side effects.”

While the prescribed dose for Comirnaty is just 30mcg, a spokeswoman for BioNTech insisted researchers had experimented with “increased dosages” during clinical trials and found doses of as much as 100mcg were tolerated without “serious consequences.” However, five times the normal dose would be 150mcg, half again as much as a 100mcg overdose, and it’s not clear if any of the clinical trials had tested such high doses.

The overdosed group consisted of seven women and one man, all aged between 38 and 54. The vaccine is being administered to elderly nursing home residents and employees at such facilities first, with a rollout for the general population to begin next year.

The arrival of pharmaceutical salvation has already encountered obstacles, however, with some districts rejecting their vaccine shipments on the suspicion they had not been kept at the ultra-cold temperature of -70 degrees Celsius required to retain safety and effectiveness.

Seven districts in Bavaria opted to return 1,000 shots after the ‘cold’ boxes in which they arrived registered internal temperatures up to 15 degrees Celsius, dismissing BioNTech’s claim that the comparatively lukewarm vaccine shipment was “probably okay.”

Medical authorities also discovered on Monday that, while vaccine containers were supposed to carry five doses, Comirnaty’s vials actually included closer to six – an anomaly dismissed as intentional “slight overfill” by the manufacturer. However, EU health officials warned that “under no circumstances” were vaccine leftovers from multiple containers meant to be mixed.

While the European Union was initially hesitant to rush the Pfizer jab to market, and even criticized the UK for bragging about being the first country to embrace the experimental shot, continental health authorities stepped up their delivery timetable earlier this month when member nations, including Germany, complained about the delay. European countries began vaccinating people over the weekend, with the authorities recommending anyone over 16 years of age receive the dual-dose shot.

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4 volunteers develop FACIAL PARALYSIS after taking Pfizer Covid-19 jab, prompting FDA to recommend ‘surveillance for cases’

Four trial participants who received the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine experienced facial paralysis, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA said the issue should be monitored as the jab becomes more widely available.

The potentially concerning cases were revealed after the US drug regulator published an analysis of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine ahead of a meeting to consider emergency use authorization for the jab in the United States.

According to the documents, Bell’s palsy, a form of temporary facial paralysis, was reported by four participants during phase 3 trials. The individuals had been administered the jab, and no members of the placebo group experienced similar adverse effects.

The condition resembles a stroke, with most sufferers watching helplessly as one side of their face droops and their muscles go limp. In some rare situations, both sides of the face may become paralyzed. It is unclear what causes Bell’s palsy, although the temporary paralysis usually goes away on its own.

However, the FDA claimed that the frequency of the health issue is “consistent with the expected background rate in the general population,” and added that there was no clear evidence linking the coronavirus vaccine to the unpleasant medical condition. Still, the federal regulator recommended “surveillance for cases of Bell’s palsy with deployment of the vaccine into larger populations.”

The FDA noted the “numerical imbalance” of Bell’s palsy cases among the vaccine and placebo groups, but said there were no other “non-serious adverse events” that showed a similar pattern.

According to the documents, side effects are common but appear to be minor. Out of the trial participants, 84 percent experienced some kind of reaction. After receiving the jab, 63 percent of trial subjects reported fatigue and 55 percent said they suffered from headaches. Chills were reported by 32 percent of participants, 24 percent complained of joint pain and 14 percent developed a fever.

Overall, the jab appears to have received good marks from the FDA. In its report, the regulator said that the two-dose vaccine is about 50 percent effective even after just the first injection. The vaccine is believed to be 95 percent effective after the second dose, administered three weeks later. The FDA also found that the jab reduced the risk of severe Covid-19 symptoms after the first dose.

On Tuesday, the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to begin administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to the general population.

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