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COVID-19 booster shots to roll out starting next month

Top U.S. health officials announced a plan Wednesday to begin offering COVID-19 booster shots to Americans starting Sept. 20, with the scheduling of the additional shot to be based on when a person was fully vaccinated.

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The new round of jabs will be extended to those who received the two-dose vaccine from either Pfizer or Moderna, and can be taken eight months after an individual’s second dose.

Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. surgeon general, told reporters Wednesday that recent data makes clear that while the current COVID-19 vaccines have been highly effective against severe disease, hospitalization and death, the protection against mild and moderate disease has appeared to decrease over time.

“This is likely due to both waning immunity and the strength of the widespread delta variant,” Murthy said, adding that health officials are concerned that the decline in immunity could reduce protection against severe disease and death in the months ahead.

The more than 13 million Americans who received the one-dose shot from Johnson & Johnson may also need boosters, but will not yet be eligible.

“In Virginia, we are monitoring the situation and planning through all of the logistical considerations,” Virginia Vaccine Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula said in a statement Tuesday. “If booster vaccine doses are recommended for the general population, the rollout of those boosters will likely take place over several months, as the expected recommendation is that a booster dose should be given within a defined time frame after your second dose. VDH and local health departments now have experience in planning and carrying out the logistics of a large-scale vaccination effort, and rebooting that for booster doses will not be an issue. The infrastructure for administering the booster doses is already in place.”

Federal health officials said they are awaiting data from J&J in the next few weeks before urging additional doses. The J&J shot wasn’t approved until March, so those who received it will not hit eight months past inoculation until November.

The new booster rollout plan is subject to formal authorization from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine panel.

Those agencies will hold public meetings before the booster rollout can begin. But officials said they were detailing the booster plan ahead of those meetings in part to give state and local health officials time to prepare for another wave of vaccination logistics.

State and local health officials again under pressure

The plan for offering a third shot puts yet another layer of pressure on state and local health departments that have carried out the massive vaccination campaign.

Those officials are still seeking to boost vaccination rates that have lagged in certain regions amid skepticism and misinformation. Meanwhile, vaccine manufacturers are expected this fall to seek approval for administering shots to children under 12, who so far have not been eligible.

During Wednesday’s news briefing, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, cited several new studies that tracked vaccine effectiveness, including among New Yorkers across age groups and another following case counts from nursing homes.

Those studies have shown that protection against severe infection has held up but not against milder infections, she said, adding that other countries, such as Israel, also are starting to see “worsening outcomes.”

“In the context of all of these studies, different cohorts, different settings across the country, and our international colleagues, we’ve made the decision to plan for these booster doses,” Walensky said.

The booster shots will be available at roughly 80,000 sites nationally, including 40,000 local pharmacies. As with the other COVID-19 shots, the boosters will be free of charge.

The CDC had already approved a third COVID-19 shot for some immunocompromised individuals, who may not have received strong protection from the initial doses of the vaccine.

While the booster plan does not specifically mention other categories of individuals to receive a priority for boosters, the initial vaccine rollout did put certain groups first in line. So the first individuals to hit eight months after their second shot should be those in the earliest priority categories, such as health care workers and nursing home residents.

Virginia Mercury is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Virginia Mercury maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Robert Zullo for questions: [email protected] Follow Virginia Mercury on Facebook and Twitter.

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Community

2nd Street Festival Cancelled Grand Master Flash Performing at Hippodrome

Although the festival is cancelled there is a least one show that will go on. Curse you Hurrican Ian, curse you.

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Sad news from Venture Richmond

Venture Richmond Events has made the incredibly difficult decision to cancel the 2nd Street Festival, scheduled for this weekend, Oct. 1-2.

Like many, the Venture Richmond Events team has watched Ian for days, hoping that it would not be the massive and potentially deadly weather event that it clearly is. While we are extremely lucky to be a few states away from the serious issues Florida is facing, we also know that this weekend promises uncertain amounts of rainfall and potential wind gusts for our area. After consulting meteorologists, vendors, contractors, security, and other event planners, and after considering the Governor’s State of Emergency, we concluded to the best of our ability, that the event, if held, would not be safe. We must put the safety of our patrons, artists, vendors, contractors, and staff foremost.

There is good news though – a portion of the party will go on indoors! Our festival headliner, Grandmaster Flash will perform indoors at The Hippodrome theater on 2nd Street in Jackson Ward on Saturday evening. This performance will be FREE and open to the public, but capacity is limited and based upon availability.

2nd Street Festival at The Hipp

A special performance by Grandmaster Flash with an opening band

Saturday, October 1, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. Hippodrome Theater, 528 N. 2nd Street

Doors 4:30 p.m.

Free and open to the public with limited capacity and based upon availability.

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We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Community

Virginia Pridefest Festing on Brown’s Island

The Truist Main Stage headlining acts include The Queen of Bounce, Big Freedia, Leikeli 47 and Rosé from RuPaul’s Drag Race.

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Pridefest weekend features three amazing events, beginning with Pride After Dark: Animal -the official pre-Pride Party. Get your tickets for Pride After Dark at vapride.org Pridefest is Saturday on Browns Island featuring Leikeli47, Big Freedia, and numerous local performers and is free and open to all. The weekend of festivities will end at Bingo Beer Co. With Snatch’d: a Rainbow Celebration – no ticket required.

Virginia Pride is a program of Diversity Richmond, the LGBTQ Community Center for Central Virginia. A committee of volunteers oversees VA Pride’s efforts to make the Richmond Region a better place for LGBTQ people to live, work and visit.

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Community

Persons of interest in Jewelry Theft

Friday, September 16, at approximately 1:30 p.m. two individuals entered an open business and stole several pieces of jewelry before leaving the store in an unknown direction.

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From RPD

Richmond Police detectives are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the individuals in these photos who are persons of interest in a theft that occurred last Friday in the 1300 block of East Cary Street.

Friday, September 16, at approximately 1:30 p.m. two individuals entered an open business and stole several pieces of jewelry before leaving the store in an unknown direction.

The female suspect is approximately 5 foot 7 inches tall, weighing approximately 180 pounds, last seen wearing a black shirt, white pants, black sandals, carrying a black shoulder bag.

The male suspect is approximately 5 foot 7 inches tall, weighing approximately 160 pounds, last seen wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans, brown shoes, black baseball style hat.

Anyone with information about the identity of these individuals are asked to call First Precinct Detective T. Wilson at (804) 646-0672 or Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones also may be used. All Crime Stoppers reporting methods are anonymous.

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We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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