Every state open for COVID-19 vaccines; J&J vaccine pause might be lifted this week, Fauci says: Live COVID-19 updates

Starting Monday, every U.S. adult will be eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

New Jersey, Massachusetts and Oregon were among a handful of states throwing open coronavirus vaccine availability to every adult on Monday, the deadline set by President Joe Biden to provide vaccine access to every American 16 or older.

Now comes a question of accessibility. Public health experts worry that the pause on administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will hinder efforts to reach marginalized, vulnerable populations including communities of color.

But the pause on using the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine will probably be lifted by Friday, although some restrictions may be required, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday.

And the U.S. has reported 32% of adults are fully vaccinated and nearly 50% of the U.S. adult population has received at least one vaccine dose, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Meanwhile, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says her state could be seeing a drop in infections after leading the nation’s COVID-19 daily case rate for weeks. State health officials said Friday that the seven-day average positivity rate had dropped in recent days to 17.1%, but remained above a December peak of 14.4%. Michigan’s daily case rate has led the U.S. for weeks.

Also in the news:

►Chicago public schools, the nation’s third-largest district, are set to reopen Monday for the first time since instruction went fully remote amid the pandemic over a year ago. 

►Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy says COVID-19 vaccines would be made available at key airports in the state starting June 1. The plan is aimed at bolstering Alaska’s pandemic-battered tourist industry.

► Israel has lifted a public mask mandate and fully reopened its education system in the latest easing of coronavirus restrictions following its mass vaccination drive.

► Prosecutors have charged a Minnesota man with felony assault and allege that he attacked a home improvement store employee and a police officer after the store worker told him to wear a mask.

►The first cases of the so-called Brazil COVID-19 variant have been identified in two samples from residents of Virginia, state health officials said Friday.

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 31.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 567,200 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.  The global totals: more than 141.1 million cases and 3 million deaths. Nearly 264.5 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S. and 209.4 million have been administered, according to the CDC. 

📘 What we’re reading: She contracted COVID-19. Monoclonal antibodies may have saved her life. Read the full story.

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Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine pause might be lifted this week, Fauci says

The pause on using the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine will probably be lifted by Friday, although some restrictions may be required, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that “you don’t want to jump ahead of yourself and decide you know the total spectrum of this, which is one of the reasons why they paused and why hopefully by Friday we’ll know.”

Fauci, who also took his message to NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said he doubts the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will “just cancel” the J&J vaccine and continue allowing only the two-dose vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna.

“Everything is on the table,” Fauci said. “My estimate is that we will continue to use it in some form. I doubt very seriously if they just cancel it. I don’t think that’s going to happen. I do think that there will likely be some sort of warning or restriction or risk assessment.”

States began halting the use of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine last week after federal health officials recommended a pause “out of an abundance of caution” because of rare but dangerous blood clots.

France to begin international travel next month

France will begin to lift travel restrictions on international travel with the United States and other non-European Union nations starting next month, French President Emmanuel Macron told CBS News. 

Macron told “Face the Nation” that officials in Paris are working to develop a way for “French, European citizens but also American citizens” who are vaccinated to travel more freely by this summer. Macron said he had spoken with the White House about potential plans for lifting some travel restrictions between France and the US, though talks were still in their early stages.

Macron said, ideally, travel would be open “for US citizens who are vaccinated, with a special pass,” suggesting a so-called vaccine certificate or passport would be necessary for travel in France. 

– Matthew Brown

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