A federal committee is expected to vote Thursday on whether to allow booster shots for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines, following the Food and Drug Administration’s authorization of both for certain populations on Wednesday.

Boosters for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were OK’d in September for people 65 and older and for high-risk workers.

The Advisory Committee on Vaccine Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention meets to discuss whether to recommend a third shot after the two-dose series of Moderna and a second shot after the “one and done” J&J vaccine. If it recommends them, the CDC’s director typically signs off within a day, potentially making them available as soon as Friday.

The bigger question here is whether or not the committee will suggest that booster doses be mixed and matched. The FDA also gave its approval for people to receive additional doses from manufacturers other than their initial shots.

This is especially relevant for people who got the J&J vaccine after a National Institutes of Health study found that a shot of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine after J&J provide higher levels of protection from COVID-19 than two shots of J&J. The FDA also recommended people who got a J&J shot to receive a second one after two months.

— Elizabeth Weise and Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY

You can also find the latest news here:

►Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered most Russians to stay home from work for a week beginning Oct. 30 to curb rising COVID infections and deaths.

►Eighty animals at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine created for veterinary use. The animals include big cats, great apes, giraffes, red pandas, skunks, goats, river otters, bearcats and domestic dogs and cats.

►New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio announced that all 160,000 city employees would have to be vaccinated by Oct. 29 or risk being placed on unpaid leave, but said those who comply will get a $500 bonus.

►California-based fast-food chain In-N-Out has caused a political stir across social media for saying it wouldn’t follow a San Francisco order mandating restaurants check customers’ COVID-19 vaccination status.

📈These are the numbers of today The U.S. has recorded more than 45.2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 731,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 241.9 million cases and 4.9 million deaths. More than 189.7 million Americans – 57.1% of the population – are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

📘We’re looking at: The FDA granted authorization for booster shots of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesday, and a CDC panel will consider whether to approve them. These are the people who could get a booster shot right now.

This page is updated regularly so you don’t miss any new information. Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY’s Coronavirus Watch newsletter to receive updates directly to your inbox and join our Facebook group.

The United States has given 200 million doses of vaccines to countries around the world

According to the White House, 200 million COVID-19 vaccinations had been donated by the United States as of Thursday morning. 

Samantha Power from USAID stated that in 2017, the United States Agency for International Development and COVAX will deliver over 1 billion vaccines worldwide to countries with low incomes.

Power stated that Americans today have 200 million reasons for pride in the White House. USAID feels honored to have been at the forefront in this unprecedented global vaccine effort to combat the worst pandemic of modern history.

— Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY

Hinge and the US surgeon general team up to provide pandemic dating advice

Make out or hide? The pandemic is a difficult time for couples to date. However, a U.S.. Video explains how you can make it work. According to Hinge and Dr. Vivek Muthy (Surgeon General), it is possible to find connections while avoiding COVID-19. 

Murthy explains, “Dating in the COVID-19 epidemic: It’s difficult but possible,” Hinge released Tuesday’s video. “Recognize that getting vaccinated is the single most important thing we can do to reduce our risk,” he said.

Follow a risk assessment checklist to decide whether to go in for a kiss: Consider whether they are fully vaccinated, if they have interacted with anyone who isn’t and if they take precautions such as wearing a mask.

— Keira Wingate, USA TODAY

Unions urge pilots not to focus on vaccines but flying.

Pilots at American and Southwest airlines are being warned to keep vaccine mandate issues out of the cockpit due to potential flight safety concerns.

The Allied Pilots Association, which represents American’s 14,000 pilots, sent a memo to members Tuesday about an increase in distractions due to looming deadlines to get vaccinated and sharply divided views on the topic.

Its subject is: “Distractions must not impact safety.”

According to the safety committee memo, “We see distractions on board the flight deck that could create dangerous situations.” 

The number of pilots self-reporting vaccine mandate talk or concerns to the Federal Aviation Administration as a distraction on the job has spiked, union spokesman Dennis Tajer said.

— Dawn Gilbertson, USA TODAY

NBA legend Charles Barkley sounds off on vaccine and Nets star Kyrie Irving

Charles Barkley is a natural speaker and has never been stopped from speaking his mind.

In talking to the nation about Kyrie Irving’s current situation, and his personal views on the COVID-19 vaccination, the Hall of Famer turned Suns legend reminded them of this again.

Barkley declared, “First off, you don’t get it yourself. “I was vaccinated. The booster is my next goal. The booster is not just for you. As (NBA commissioner Adam Silver said), you are vaccinated first for your family. Second, you get vaccinated to protect your teammates.

Silver was a guest on the show after saying at a news conference Monday “roughly 96%” of the NBA players are vaccinated.

-Duane Rankin, Arizona Republic

Contributing to The Associated Press 

Source: USAToday.com

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