US Tops 10 Million Vaccinations

More than 10 million Americans had received their first dose of a CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus vaccine as of Wednesday, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The United States reached 10.2 million inoculations one day after the CDC and Trump administration gave new guidance to U.S. states on who should receive the shots first. Strict rules putting healthcare workers first in line had slowed the rollout. Now states are urged to also vaccinate anyone over the age of 65.

Natural Immunity Similar to Vaccine Immunity: Study

The level of natural immunity people acquire from having caught the CCP virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, in the past is high and likely to be roughly the same as the protection they will get from vaccination against the disease, scientists have said a new official study shows.

Public Health England (PHE) said in a media release on Thursday that its SIREN study of 20,787 healthcare workers had concluded that having previously had the disease gave people at least 83 percent, but up to 99 percent, immunity to reinfection probably for a minimum of five months.

Though the study did not include research on people who had received vaccines, scientists welcoming its findings said it shows that previously infected people gain as much immunity from having caught the disease in the past as they will get from a vaccine.

Two Members of WHO Delegation to Wuhan Held Back

Two members of a World Health Organization-led team that arrived on Thursday in China’s Wuhan city to investigate the origins of the CCP virus remained behind in Singapore after testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies, the global body said.

The team of 15 had all tested negative for the disease prior to leaving their home countries and underwent further testing while in transit in Singapore. The results of nucleic acid tests were negative but showed two of the members had CCP virus antibodies, the Geneva-based agency said in a tweet.

Deaths Surge in New York Nursing Homes

Long-term care facilities in New York, including nursing homes and adult care facilities, saw a surge in COVID-19 deaths in the final weeks of 2020, federal data shows.

There were 508 deaths in long-term care facilities in New York in the two-week period ending on Jan. 4—an average of over 250 deaths per week—according to the Long Term Care Community Coalition, whose figures are based on New York State Department of Health data.

California Counties Ask for More Vaccine Doses

California counties are asking for more CCP virus vaccine doses as the state added a potential 4 million people to those eligible for them.

State public health officials followed federal guidance Wednesday by announcing that people 65 and older could get it. But Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous with 10 million residents and an epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, says it can’t do that before inoculating some 800,000 health care workers first.

California received more than 2.4 million vaccine doses, but only a third have been used. The state aims to administer 1.5 million doses by Friday.

Pope Francis Vaccinated

The Vatican has confirmed Pope Francis received the first shot of the CCP virus vaccine on Thursday.

No photos of the 84-yer-old pontiff receiving the shot have been released. The pope has advocated that everyone should get the vaccine, calling it an “ethical option.”

The Vatican launched its vaccination program this week, administering the Pfizer vaccine. Vatican City has had at least 27 confirmed cases of the CCP virus, including a cluster among the Swiss Guards last fall.

Lorenz Duchamps, Mark Clark, Zachary Stieber, Reuters, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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