Alaska Becomes First State To Give COVID Jab To Teenagers As More States Prepare To Reopen

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Mar 10, 2021 - 02:55 PM

Alaska has become the first US state to allow teenagers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine after removing eligibility requirements for receiving a jab. The state's Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced the move in a news release published late Tuesday, deeming the decision a "historic step", and "another nationwide first for Alaska."

According to the Washington Post, the decision marks a "turning point in the nation’s immunization campaign, and also a reminder that access to the shots has been highly uneven throughout the country." In New York, by comparison, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has only just lowered the minimum age eligibility for the general public to 60. Most states are still reserving shots for patients 65 years old and older.

About a quarter of Alaska’s residents have received at least one dose of vaccine, making the state a leader in quickly carrying out inoculations. It shares that distinction with several rural states including West Virginia - an early leader in the vaccine race - and the Dakotas, as the map below shows.

Source: USA Facts

Children and teenagers are believed to be the most resistant to COVID and its most dangerous symptoms. Minors are considered especially low risk, and it's still unclear whether they contribute to community spread. 

Alaska's decision comes as the seven-day average for daily COVID jab doses distributed in the US - between the three approved vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and J&J - has reached a new high shy of 2.2MM. New daily cases, meanwhile, have fallen below 58K on average over the past week, the lowest level since mid-October. This follows weeks during which the decline in newly diagnosed cases appeared to plateau, stoking fears that mutant COVID strains might catalyze a "fourth wave" of the pandemic.

While cases have declined substantially alongside hospitalizations, daily death rates have been more stubborn. Although the US reported fewer than 1K deaths over the last 24 hours, the 7-day average is 1,645.

Source: mSightly

In other news, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday evening that the state would ease restrictions on restaurants, retailers and other businesses beginning Friday at 1700ET. Capacity limits also will be lifted for retail businesses, religious facilities, nail salons, indoor recreation establishments like casinos and bowling alleys etc.

While restaurant patrons will still need to wear masks and social distance as the state's mask mandate will remain in effect. The governor said "[w]ith the pace of vaccinations rapidly rising and our health metrics steadily improving, the lifting of these restrictions is a prudent positive step in the right direction and an important part of our economic recovery."

President Joe Biden is reportedly planning to order another 100MM doses of the Johnson & Johnson jab after he tried to take credit for brokering a deal between JNJ and rival Merck to collaborate and ramp up production of the former's single-dose COVID jab.

Finally, in other COVID news, Eli Lilly revealed Wednesday morning that its combination antibody therapy cocktail, created from antibodies gleaned from multiple patients, has been found to be successful in reducing the risk of COVID hospitalization and death by 87% in a study that involved more than 750 high-risk COVID-19 patients. The news is a departure from results published last year, which suggested that single-antibody therapeutics developed by Eli Lilly and Regeneron - which President Trump infamously credited with helping him recover so quickly from the virus - weren't as effective as their creators had hoped.