COVID-19 live updates: Pfizer study shows booster shot brings efficacy past 95%

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Thursday, October 21, 2021
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SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A surge in coronavirus cases has been reported in the Bay Area and across California as well as the country due in part to the emergence of the highly-contagious delta variant.

The latest number of confirmed cases in the U.S. can be found at the CDC's 2019 Novel Coronavirus in the U.S. page. (The CDC updates the webpage on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.)

Join anchor Kristen Sze for ABC7's daily, interactive newscast about the coronavirus outbreak in the Bay Area and around the world. You can check here to stream the show Monday-Friday at 3 p.m.

Here are the latest developments on the respiratory illness in the Bay Area:

Oct. 21, 2021

7 a.m.

Pfizer study shows booster shot brings efficacy past 95%

A new Pfizer study released this morning shows a third booster shot can bring vaccine efficacy past 95%. And this study was conducted when the highly infectious Delta variant was raging. Pfizer says of the 10,000 people who were enrolled in the trial, there were only five COVID cases in the group selected to get the third shot. That's compared to 109 cases in the placebo group. The company says it will send the data to federal regulators to make the case that boosters are safe and beneficial.

Oct. 20, 2021

6:15 a.m.

FDA could authorize Moderna, J&J booster shots

The FDA could authorize Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster shots for some populations as soon as today. Meanwhile, the CDC independent advisory committee is meeting Wednesday to discuss vaccines in general. The committee is expected to debate Moderna and Johnson & Johnson on Thursday, discussing who boosters should be recommended for and if mixing and matching vaccines should be permitted. A non-binding vote is expected at the end of Thursday.

Oct. 19, 2021

5:20 a.m.

11 Berkeley school bus drivers exposed to COVID

School bus service for Berkeley elementary school students is suspended after 11 drivers were exposed to COVID. Most of them at the city's transportation department. Some 1,400 children rely on the bus service. It's now unavailable through Thursday while exposed staff members quarantine. The district says it didn't see any significant change in attendance yesterday.

Oct. 18, 2021

6:30 a.m.

SF mayor to give update on vaccination incentives

Mayor London Breed will be talking about vaccination incentives at San Francisco State University. Representatives from the Department of Public Health, SF State, and San Francisco Unified will also be there. The city and university have no revealed any other details about their announcement. The news conference starts at noon.

Oct. 15, 2021

11 a.m.

FDA panel endorses booster shot for J&J COVID-19 vaccine

A panel of U.S. health advisers has endorsed booster doses of Johnson & Johnson's single-shot COVID-19 vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration panel said Friday that the booster should be offered at least two months after immunization but didn't suggest a firm time.

7:15 a.m.

CDC advising states to preorder Pfizer's vaccine for young children

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising states to order Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine doses for children ages 5 to 11 ahead of a vote on its authorization. An independent Food and Drug Administration advisory panel is scheduled to discuss the vaccine on Oct. 26, and a vote is expected soon after. In planning documents posted by the CDC, the agency is advising states to order their doses in advance of the meeting, with preorders starting Oct. 20.

Oct. 14, 2021


BART to require all employees get vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 13

(Bay City News) BART announced it will require all employees and contractors to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or prove their full vaccination status by Dec. 13 under an adopted policy on Thursday.

Board Directors Rebecca Saltzman, Lateefah Simon, Bevan Dufty and Janice Li drafted the policy. It will require the full vaccination of BART's employees and board members by mid-December, save for those who have a valid medical or religious exemption.

The board also voted as part of the vaccination policy to direct BART General Manager Bob Powers to implement a vaccination requirement for the agency's contractors and bargain with the agency's labor unions to determine how employees who decline to get vaccinated will be handled.

"By adopting this policy today, nobody is getting fired tomorrow," Li said. "No one is being forced to get the vaccine, but this policy states that being vaccinated is a condition of employment."

Several board members framed the policy as a necessity to keep both the transit agency's employees and its riders, particularly children under 12 who are not yet eligible for vaccination, protected against the virus.

BART officials estimated that around 20 to 25 percent of BART's nearly 4,000 employees remain unvaccinated, which Board Director Mark Foley argued could lead to further outbreaks and potential service disruptions.

11 a.m.

Contra Costa Co. to lift masking requirements in some indoor settings on Nov. 1

Contra Costa County will lift masking requirements on Nov. 1 in certain indoor settings where everyone is fully vaccinated. Eligible settings are in controlled spaces not open to the general public, including offices, gyms and fitness centers, employee commuter vehicles, indoor college classes and organized gatherings in any other indoor setting, such as a religious gathering.Underthe order, participating businesses, organizations and hosts must verify that all patrons, employees and attendees are fully vaccinated before allowing people inside their facilities not to wear face coverings. There can be no more than 100 persons present at these facilities, and the group of those present must gather on a regular basis. Those present should also not have COVID-19 symptoms.

7:30 a.m.

Kids vaccine distribution to be based on population

Initial distribution of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 years old will be based on a state's population of eligible children, according to a new planning document distributed to state immunization managers by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Oct. 13, 2021

6:55 a.m.

Biden vaccine order moves closer to enforcement

The Biden administration's mandate that employers with 100 or more workers require coronavirus vaccinations or institute weekly virus testing has moved one step closer to enforcement. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, has submitted the text of a new rule to the OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. The agency has 90 days to review the rule or send it back to OSHA for revision. Text of the proposed order won't be published until OMB completes its review.

Oct. 12, 2021

6:55 a.m.

Contra Costa Co. could declare COVID misinformation a public health crisis

COVID-19 misinformation could soon be declared a public health crisis in one Bay Area county. The Contra Costa County board of supervisors will meet later this morning to talk about this resolution. The board says health misinformation has created "a culture of mistrust" and prolonged the pandemic. More than 900 people in the county have died and nearly 100,000 COVID cases have been reported there.

Oct. 11, 2021

7:15 a.m.

The first cruise ship has arrived in San Francisco since the pandemic began. The Majestic Princess marks an important milestone in the city's economic recovery. The City welcomed 280,000 cruise visitors in 2019. The last time a high-profile ship was here was back in March 2020. The cruise line says passengers had to be vaccinated and show a negative COVID test taken within two days. In all, there will be 21 cruise calls in San Francisco through the end of the year, and a record 127 in 2022.