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7 TAKEAWAYS FROM TUESDAY’S SHOCKING JANUARY 6 HEARING 7 Takeaways From Tuesday’s Shocking January 6 Hearing 7

Cassidy Hutchinson, who was an aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows during the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump, arrives to testify during a public hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee to investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 28, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

CNN’s Jake Tapper and panelists react to the “stunning” January 6 committee testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, the former aide for former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who shared behind-the-scenes conversations former President Trump had with his staff.

FDA Advisers Vote To Include An Omicron-Specific Component For A Coronavirus Booster In The US

By Jen Christensen, CNN

    (CNN) — The US Food and Drug Administration’s independent Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) voted Tuesday to support recommending inclusion of an Omicron specific component for a Covid-19 booster vaccine.

Twenty-one voting members of the FDA’s independent committee voted on the question:

“Does the committee recommend inclusion of a SARS-CoV-2 Omicron component for COVID-19 booster vaccines in the United States?”

Nineteen of the members voted yes, two voted no.

“I voted in favor of Omicron because I think it’s important to broaden immunity,” said Dr. Wayne Marasco, a professor of medicine with the department of cancer immunology & virology Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Harvard Medical School. “I will say that I was pretty impressed today that we can do better.”

“I think this is a step in the right direction, but we have to reevaluate this as we move forward,” he added.

The committee felt that a modified vaccine would offer broader protection to match the coronavirus strain that is in circulation now.

Two Omicron subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5, are now dominating transmission of Covid-19 in the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Future US Covid-19 vaccines will be different

This means that the Covid-19 vaccine people in the US will get in the future will be different. The committee does not determine how. The committee was not asked to vote on what sub lineage to include or whether the booster should be a bivalent or monovalent vaccine.

Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research said that there will be a conversation going forward to determine who needs another booster and what that booster will look like. Marks did note that a bivalent vaccine targeting the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants did seem to be the preference of the committee.

When the FDA’s independent vaccine advisers had met in April they agreed that they had to develop a framework for how the country can keep up with the evolving virus with an appropriate vaccine strategy. The FDA said in May that the “new normal” may include an annual Covid-19 and flu shot for people in the fall. Cases are expected to rise again in the fall and winter.

Challenging work ahead

Dr. Arnold Monto, the acting chair of the independent vaccine advisers, committee suggested determining what goes into the booster will not be easy.

“I think we have done the best we can in a difficult situation with imperfect data and inability to say what is going to follow what looks like Omicron 4 or 5 wave,” said Monto. “We’ve looked at the options that are available and come up with a set of recommendations and some advice that FDA can follow.”

Moving forward to create a vaccine to best fight a virus that changes quickly is “uncharted territory”

“Looking in the past doesn’t help us a great deal to look in the future for this virus which has baffled a lot of us and made predictions almost irrelevant,” Monto added.

What the companies are working on

Current Covid-19 vaccines are based on the coronavirus that emerged in late 2019, but Pfizer and Moderna have been working on updated versions of the vaccines. The current vaccines are not as effective against the variants in circulation.

Moderna presented details about its bivalent Covid-19 vaccine booster, mRNA-1273.214, which the company said elicits “potent” immune responses against the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.

Moderna’s bivalent booster vaccine candidate contains components of both Moderna’s original Covid-19 vaccine and a vaccine that targets the Omicron variant.

Pfizer/BioNTech also presented data to the committee that showed that their two Covid-19 vaccine boosters targeting Omicron showed a substantially higher immune response than its current Covid-19 vaccine. Preliminary lab studies suggest the vaccines could neutralize the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5.

Another vaccine maker, Novavax, has committee support for emergency use authorization in the United States, but the FDA has not yet authorized its vaccine. Novavax told the committee that it has been developing variant-specific updated versions of their Covid-19 vaccine as well as a Covid-19 and flu combination vaccine.

Broader is better

The World Health Organization told the independent committee of vaccine advisers Tuesday that the vaccination strategy going forward should probably be based around a vaccine that would offer as broad a kind of protection as possible, rather than just continuing with the vaccines that were made against the original strain that is no longer in circulation.

“I still think there’s value in increasing the breath of immunity and I will reiterate that we’re not trying to match what may circulate,” said Dr. Kanta Subbarao with the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Reference and Research on Influenza who works as a professor at the University of Melbourne. “It is not so much to match what is likely to circulate because there’s so much uncertainty about the trajectory of this evolution.”

Including Omicron in a future vaccine would help because Omicron is the most distinct of the variants of concern that have emerged she said, but a standalone vaccine that would just match Omicron would not likely be broad enough to protect against other variants going forward.

“We’re trying to increase the breadth of the immune response without losing the benefit from the index vaccine that’s performed so well,” she added.

“We simply don’t have enough information on any of the other variants, but I could make a strong case based on our experience with influenza that using a virus to boost that is antigenitically as far as possible, is a better strategy than something that is partway there,” she added.

The longer that Omicron is the dominant variant circulating in the world, the odds are that whatever comes after it will come from Omicron.

“At least that’s a realistic possibility,” Jerry Weir, the director of the division of viral products for the office of vaccines research and review at the FDA told the committee.

Future Covid-19 vaccine strategy

Going forward, as the committee determines how it should create a process for the future if people will need regular Covid-19 boosters, committee members agreed that there needed to be better central coordination on studies and on what the plans should be going forward.

“Without such a plan, we’re going to be playing Whack a Mole as this virus evolves, because it’s going to continue to evolve,” said committee member Dr. Bruce Gellin, chief of global public health strategy with the Rockefeller Foundation.

“We’ll get better at this, but we still need to get ahead of it,” he said.

Weir, with the FDA, tried to help the committee keep what they have accomplished in perspective.

“I think we’ve made enormous progress in this whole endeavor over the last few months, but I’ll remind you that the sort of parallel track of influenza strain selection, which works very well, was a process that was honed over many, many years and so we probably have quite a bit of work. This is a different virus. We have a lot of work to do on the strain selection process for Covid vaccines.”

Several committee members also were concerned about the lack of data concerning what should go into future pediatric vaccines.

“In terms of extrapolating available data, I am very hesitant to extrapolate that from adults into children,” said committee member Dr. Archana Chatterjee, who is dean of Chicago Medical School. “I think the pediatric studies need to be done and they need to be done now.”

Following the VRBPAC vote, the FDA will rule on the updated vaccine. Next a panel of independent experts that advise the CDC will take a closer look at the available data and make a recommendation that the head of the CDC would decide if they should sign off on these recommendations.

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Serena Williams’ Return To Wimbledon Ends With Dramatic Defeat Against Harmony Tan

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 28: Serena Williams of United States reacts against Harmony Tan of France during their Women's Singles First Round Match on day two of The Championships Wimbledon 2022 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 28, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 28: Serena Williams of United States reacts against Harmony Tan of France during their Women’s Singles First Round Match on day two of The Championships Wimbledon 2022 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 28, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

By George Ramsay, CNN

(CNN) — Serena Williams’ return to singles tennis after a year-long absence ended with a dramatic 5-7 6-1 6-7 (7-10) first-round defeat against France’s Harmony Tan at Wimbledon.

Williams, watched on by her family in the stands, lost a tight first set before leveling the match in the second on Centre Court, the site of seven of her 23 grand slam singles titles.

She was a break up in the third, but Tan showed her resilience by fighting back to take a thrilling final set in a nail-biting tie break.

Asked if it was the final Wimbledon match of her decorated career, Williams said that was a question she “can’t answer.”

“Who knows where I’ll pop up?” she added.

Williams played her first competitive matches for close to a year at Eastbourne last week, partnering with Ons Jabeur in the doubles event. The pair reached the semifinals, but had to withdraw after Jabeur sustained a knee injury.

On Tuesday, she made her long-awaited return to singles, one year on from retiring in her last first-round match at Wimbledon.

Momentum shifted between the two players over the course of the three-hour, 10-minute encounter — first in Tan’s favor as she edged the first set, then towards Williams as she rallied in the second.

It looked as if the 40-year-old Williams would prevail in the deciding set as she served for the win, but the memorable return wasn’t to be.

Tan broke back at 5-5, and despite failing to convert a match point at 6-5, made no mistake when she had a second chance in the tie break.

Ranked No. 115 in the world, Tan was playing in her first match in the main draw of Wimbledon and ninth across all grand slams.

“When I saw the draw, I was really scared,” she said after the match. “It’s Serena Williams — she’s a legend. I was like, ‘Oh my god, how can I play?’ And if I can win one game or two games, it’s really good for me.”

Under the lights of Centre Court, Tan comfortably did more than that — triumphing against one of the greatest athletes sport has ever seen.

“For my first Wimbledon — it’s wow. Just wow,” she added, struggling to find the words to capture her emotions.

It remains unclear whether this was Williams’ final outing at Wimbledon. Asked to sum up her legacy at the tournament, she was succinct, if understated.

“I think I’m pretty solid on the grass,” she said. “Maybe not today, but pretty solid out there.”

Nadal, Swiatek advance

In Tuesday’s earlier games on Centre Court, there were victories for this year’s French Open champions Rafael Nadal and Iga Swiatek.

Nadal, a two-time winner at Wimbledon, survived a scare to beat Francisco Cerundolo 6-4 6-3 3-6 6-4 as he begun his pursuit of a 23rd grand slam title, while Swiatek recorded her 36th consecutive win by beating Jana Fett 6-0 6-3.

Nadal, who missed last year’s tournament due to injury, received a warm reception on Centre Court, where he was sternly tested by Argentina’s Cerundolo.

The Spaniard looked on course for a routine win when he was 2-0 and a break up in the third set, but the free-swinging Cerundolo fought back with a double break to take the set.

The match looked to be heading for a decider when the world No. 41 broke in the fourth, only for Nadal to save his best until last and seal the win with a double break.

Swiatek, meanwhile, dominated the first set against Fett in her first match since the French Open, but had to overcome a tough period in the second when Fett came close to securing a double break.

The top seed recovered from the shaky start to the set and rattled off five games in a row, increasing her winning run to 36 matches.

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The Time for Reparations Is Now

This article is one of a series of articles produced by Word in Black through support provided by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Word In Black is  a collaborative of 10 Black-owned media outlets across the country.

Experts say reparations are necessary to atone for slavery — and we should get involved with efforts to make financial compensation happen.

by Nadira Jamerson

Reparations have been called the most important issue of our time. Why? Because receiving reparations would not only mean that African Americans are finally being financially compensated for the work our ancestors did to build this country, but also that the United States is finally publicly recognizing its atrocities and vowing to do better by us.

For a June 15 Twitter Space, Word In Black invited experts to discuss why reparations are crucial to the Black community and how folks can begin to get involved with organizations working toward reparations.

Our speakers included Kamilah Moore, an attorney and reparations justice scholar who serves as the chair of the California Reparations Task Force; Gregg Marcel Dixon, an educator who recently challenged Rep. James Clybourn for South Carolina’s Sixth Congressional District; political analyst and award winning, full-time senior lecturer in the African American Studies Department at the University of Maryland College Park, Dr. Jason Nichols; Dr. Ron Daniels, the president of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century and distinguished lecturer at York College City University of New York; the publisher of the Sacramento Observer, Larry Lee; and, associate editor for the Houston Defender, Aswad Walker.

Now is the time to strike. We have the political capital and the political will.

LARRY LEE, PUBLISHER OF THE SACRAMENTO OBSERVER

Aswad Walker said that if we are to see any progress in securing reparations for our community, then all of us — politicians, educators and the media — must be willing to lead. “We need bold leadership in the political realm, but we also need bold leadership in the media, and bold leadership in education.”

He added that learning the realities of American history should teach Black folk that reparations are not out of the realm of possibility in the United States. Walker explained, “If we learn just little things — like this country has almost been completely founded on affirmative action for white people — we wouldn’t be so easily brainwashed into thinking that reparations is outside the realm of possibility.”

Sacramento Observer publisher Larry Lee echoed Walker’s sentiments by specifically reflecting on the role of the Black press in the fight for reparations. “Now is the time to strike,” he said. “We have the political capital and the political will. As for the Black press — our role is to amplify this and, in some instances, to create the data that helps document and illustrate what the impact [of systemic racism] has been on the African American community.”

No longer are we going to ask for your support. We are now going to demand legislation.

GREGG MARCEL DIXON, 2022 CANDIDATE FOR SOUTH CAROLINA’S SIXTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

Dixon based his 2022 campaign for South Carolina’s Sixth Congressional District on getting reparations for African Americans. After his campaign, he continues to be a voice for those who believe that Black folk deserve financial support for the value we bring to this country and everything we have suffered due to racial inequities and abhorrent racism.

Dixon urged Black people to be smart with their votes, and to be wary of politicians who claim to be for reparations without any real plans for passing legislation in favor of reparations.

“No more can candidates just come and give the same tired line that they support reparations for descendants of America slaves,” he said. “That’s low balling. No longer are we going to ask for your support. We are now going to demand legislation. If you say you are going to do legislation, then we need to see a plan.”

Still, there is a lot of debate about who exactly amongst Black folks deserves reparations. In “5 Reasons Why We Need Lineage-Based Reparations,” Dixon wrote that only Black Americans who are descendants of American slaves deserve specific restitution for the centuries of horrors we faced, and from which we still suffer from today. 

Similarly, Kamilah Moore said that the California Reparations Task Force defines the community of eligibility

“Based on lineage rather than race, so those who are descendants of enslaved Black people or freed Black people living in the U.S. prior to the 1900s would be eligible,” Moore said.

We recommended that California State Legislature enact a California, American freedman or African American affairs agency.

KAMILAH MOORE, CHAIR OF THE CALIFORNIA REPARATIONS TASK FORCE

Moore added that the California Reparations Task Force is already making moves toward securing reparations for these people. In their preliminary recommendation, Moore said that “We recommended that California State Legislature enact a California American Freedman or African American Affairs agency that would be tasked dispensing reparations.”

The task force also wants to establish an office specifically for genealogy work so that they can continue talking with certified genealogists about the best way to determine eligibility.

BIPOC ED Coalition Launches Sabbatical Program, Prioritizing Well-Being Of Black, Indigenous And People Of Color Nonprofit Leaders 

The BIPOC ED Coalition, a multicultural collaborative of 240+ nonprofit executive directors across Washington state, today announced a new Sabbatical for BIPOC Leaders program to support healing, renewal and capacity building for individuals and their organizations. The program provides up to $60,000 grants to each organization to cover salary and benefits, sabbatical expenses and organizational development assistance for leaders to take three-month sabbaticals.

“BIPOC leaders are at the forefront of taking care of our communities, while grappling with inadequate resources and the compounding effects of multigenerational racism,” said Victoria Santos, co-founder and co-executive director of the BIPOC ED Coalition. “Social indicators of health, education, housing and wealth are clear evidence that our societal systems are harming BIPOC folks.”

Healing and wellness are core to the mission of the BIPOC ED Coalition, which aims to nourish well-being and generate shared abundance. The new Sabbaticals for BIPOC Leaders program provides nonprofit executive directors and senior leaders the opportunity to step back from the challenges, exhaustion and stresses of work to deeply rest, cultivate healing and re-connect to their own vitality and balance. 

“In a culture rooted in white supremacy, prioritizing rest and renewal for BIPOC nonprofit leaders dismantles normalized oppression,” Santos said. 

The coalition recently published a paper, Sabbaticals for BIPOC Leaders: Capacity Building, Healing, Renewal, that makes the case for supporting sabbaticals, highlighting that overwork and lack of rest impedes productivity and negatively impacts people’s physical and mental health.

“Having to earn rest is a common narrative in our western culture,” said Jodi Nishioka, co-founder of the BIPOC ED Coalition, who recently took a three-month sabbatical from her executive director role at Communities Rise. “I believed that I needed to earn self-care through my competence at work. But the space, time and awakening away from my job allowed me to work on releasing this harmful belief.”

​​According to Creative Disruption: Sabbaticals for Capacity Building & Leadership Development in the Nonprofit Sector, commissioned by the Barr Foundation and the Durfee Foundation, sabbaticals are one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to prevent burnout from the stresses and demands of nonprofit leadership. And for BIPOC nonprofit leaders navigating racism and racist structures, they are especially critical.

Sabbaticals create opportunities to grow the capacity of organizations and develop additional leaders within them, fostering long-term organizational health and sustainability. They can prompt succession planning that strengthens organizations’ abilities to navigate transitions or unforeseen challenges. Sabbaticals also help shift workplace cultures to create better work-life balance, leading to improved employee satisfaction and performance.

“Sabbaticals are something we all can benefit from—individually, organizationally and on a societal level,” said Nishioka. “And, sabbaticals are especially vital for BIPOC nonprofit leaders. In light of historical and present-day inequities, it is a radically reparative act to support BIPOC changemakers to take sabbaticals and cultivate deep renewal.” 

More information, eligibility checklist and steps for how to apply are online.

ABOUT THE BIPOC ED COALITION

The BIPOC ED Coalition is a multicultural, cross-sector collaborative of 240+ nonprofit executive directors working in solidarity to promote wellness and restore resources to Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander and other People of Color communities. Through healing and advocacy initiatives, the coalition is recreating the fabric of society to nourish collective well-being and generate shared abundance for all.

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FDA Advisers To Consider Whether Omicron-Specific Coronavirus Vaccines Are Needed

Registered Nurse Mariam Salaam administers the Pfizer booster shot at a Covid vaccination and testing site decorated for Cinco de Mayo at Ted Watkins Park in Los Angeles on May 5. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

By Jacqueline Howard, CNN

(CNN) — The United States is preparing for the possible need to update its Covid-19 vaccines.

The US Food and Drug Administration’s independent Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee is set to meet Tuesday to discuss whether the composition of Covid-19 vaccines should be modified to target a specific coronavirus strain, and if so, which strain should be selected.

That means the Covid-19 vaccinations that people receive in the future could be somewhat or completely different formulations than what are administered now. The current vaccines are based on the coronavirus that emerged in late 2019, but the experts will discuss Tuesday if vaccines should also target the Omicron variant.

In their meeting, VRBPAC members will vote on the question: “Does the committee recommend inclusion of a SARS-CoV-2 Omicron component for COVID-19 booster vaccines in the United States?”

This is a moment of transition for the approach to the coronavirus vaccines. Anticipation is mounting that vaccinations could be needed annually — similar to how seasonal flu shots are administered each year.

“There’s anticipation that we would need a fall booster and what that framework would look like and if a vaccine is needed due to a different variant,” Lori Tremmel Freeman, chief executive officer of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, told CNN.

“This becomes challenging, because is it really a booster if it’s not the same formulation? And should we be talking about it in that way or is it simply a new vaccination?” Freeman added. “We don’t discuss that we have received boosters of flu shots over the years. It’s just part of getting your flu shot every year. So this transition is an important one.”

In May, a trio of top FDA officials wrote in the medical journal JAMA that the United States might need to update its Covid-19 vaccines each year and “a new normal” may include an annual Covid-19 vaccine alongside a seasonal flu shot.

“By summer, decisions will need to be made for the 2022-2023 season about who should be eligible for vaccination with additional boosters and regarding vaccine composition,” wrote Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research; Principal Deputy Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock; and FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf.

“Administering additional COVID-19 vaccine doses to appropriate individuals this fall around the time of the usual influenza vaccine campaign has the potential to protect susceptible individuals against hospitalization and death, and therefore will be a topic for FDA consideration,” they wrote.

‘This is going to be … a transitional year’

The FDA’s vaccine advisers previously met in April to discuss how the composition of Covid-19 vaccines could change to target any new and emerging coronavirus variants. The committee agreed that there needs to be a framework for how and when such changes take place.

FDA’s Marks has called this year a “transitional” one in how we view the evolving Covid-19 vaccine schedule.

“The hypothesis now is that this is going to look somewhat like influenza. In this 2022-23 season, instead of just getting vaccinated against influenza, you’ll also get your booster for Covid-19. And we’ll see how that goes,” Marks told Bloomberg in an opinion article earlier this month.

“If people who get that boost do well and we seem to have avoided another big wave from October to March-April of next year, we will have gotten people used to that,” he said.

People age 5 and older are already eligible for booster doses, and certain immunocompromised people and adults 50 and older are eligible for additional doses of Covid-19 vaccine.

“We have to start thinking about vaccines that we can adjust strains of once a year and make it more of a flu model rather than saying, OK, every five months or four months, you’ll get another booster,” Marks told Bloomberg. “The idea here is that next year we have one campaign, and we don’t have to follow it up with another booster campaign. Ultimately, next-generation vaccines would ideally help hold us for that full year.”

Currently, the original versions of the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccines are used in the United States — but vaccine makers have been working on updated versions of their vaccines.

Moderna has developed a bivalent Covid-19 vaccine booster, named mRNA-1273.214, which the company announced this month has been shown to elicit “potent” immune responses against the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5. This bivalent booster vaccine candidate contains components of both Moderna’s original Covid-19 vaccine and a vaccine that targets the Omicron variant.

On Saturday, Pfizer and BioNTech said their two Covid-19 vaccine boosters targeting Omicron showed a substantially higher immune response than its current Covid-19 vaccine, and preliminary lab studies suggest the vaccines could neutralize the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5.

Another vaccine maker, Novavax, has received VRBPAC’s support for emergency use authorization in the United States, but has not not yet been authorized by the FDA. Novavax scientists also have been developing variant-specific updated versions of their Covid-19 vaccine as well as a Covid-19 and flu combination vaccine.

‘Booster uptake so far isn’t that great’

Public health experts worry that there might be a sluggish uptake of any modified Covid-19 vaccines in the future.

“Our booster uptake so far isn’t that great, and so another booster is not going to necessarily cause people to run out and get the boosters they’ve already missed,” Freeman said.

About two-thirds of the US population — 67% — is fully vaccinated against Covid-19 with at least their initial series of vaccine, but less than a third — 32% — have received their booster, according to data from the CDC, as of Friday.

Vaccination rates for children still lag far behind other age groups — just 30% of children ages 5 to 11 and 60% of those ages 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated, compared with nearly 77% of adults. National data on vaccination rates for children under 5, who became eligible this month, will likely not be available for a few weeks.

The CDC still considers receiving two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as being fully vaccinated. Any additional doses are called “boosters,” and completing all recommended boosters of vaccine is considered being “up to date.”

But that language and messaging around completing booster doses — and considering them as being up to date instead of as part of being fully vaccinated — “is not working,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, vaccine scientist and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN. That is evident in the slow uptake of additional doses.

“Since the beginning of January 2021, I’ve said this was always a three-dose vaccine,” he said.

Now, people who have not yet completed their booster doses are becoming more vulnerable to Covid-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

“There’s heavy consequences because we’re starting to see not only breakthrough hospitalizations, but even breakthrough deaths in people getting only two doses of the vaccine and not getting the booster — especially those over the age of 65 — so this is more than a theoretical discussion. Lives are being lost because of the messaging,” Hotez said.

At the moment, vaccine-induced protection against Covid-19 seems to not stay durable for as long as vaccine experts would hope, but it is not so clear why. Waning protection could be due to the vaccines themselves or due to the emergence of coronavirus variants evading the vaccines.

Hotez said that he thinks the White House should convene a panel of vaccine experts — outside of FDA’s VRBPAC — in a special meeting to determine whether the Covid-19 vaccine technology has a weakness when it comes to durability and what that means for future vaccine strategies.

“There’s two things happening at once. There could be waning immunity,” Hotez said, but at the same time, there have been variants like Delta and Omicron arriving on the scene.

“If all we had to worry about was Delta, would we be having a problem? Or would things have held up? And so I don’t know the answer to that,” Hotez said. “That’s why you want to convene the experts.”

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Biden Announcing Nearly $3B To Address Food Shortages

The United States will foot the majority of a plan to address global food insecurity.

CVS And Rite Aid Limiting Purchases Of Emergency Contraception

By Virginia Langmaid and Naomi Thomas, CNN

(CNN) — Some large drug store chains are limiting purchases of emergency contraception to three pills per customer, company representatives confirmed to CNN.

“Due to increased demand, at this time we are limiting purchases of Plan B contraceptive pills to three per customer,” Alicja Wojczyk, senior manager of external communications for Rite Aid told CNN in an email.

Though CVS has “ample supply” of Plan B and Aftera — two types of emergency contraception — the company is limiting purchases to three per customer “to ensure equitable access and consistent supply on store shelves,” Matt Blanchette, senior manager of retail communications at CVS Pharmacy told CNN in an email.

Emergency contraception reduces the chance of pregnancy after unprotected sex, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Common situations when it is used include after forgetting to take several birth control pills or when a condom breaks or falls off.

The purchasing limits for emergency contraception come after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday. Several states immediately moved to effectively prohibit abortions.

“Using (emergency contraception) does not cause an abortion. An abortion ends an existing pregnancy. EC prevents pregnancy from occurring. EC must be used soon after unprotected sexual intercourse to be effective. It does not work if pregnancy has already occurred,” ACOG said.

Pills, such as Plan B and Aftera, are one type of emergency contraception. Some can be bought over the counter and others require a prescription.

Copper intrauterine devices, or IUDs, can also be used as emergency contraception if inserted within about five days of intercourse.

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Abortion Clinics In The Deep South Are Dealing With The Realities Of A Post-Roe V. Wade World

Pictured: Dr. Yashica Robinson at the Alabama Women’s Center. Abortion clinics in the Deep South are dealing with the realities of a post-Roe v. Wade world. (CNN)

By Amir Vera and Randi Kaye, CNN

(CNN) — Jenny and Lisa had two very different experiences when they each decided to visit the Alabama Women’s Center in Huntsville, nearly two weeks apart.

Lisa, 18, was able to undergo an abortion procedure on June 10, she told CNN Monday.

Jenny, 18, came in Monday unaware that the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade — thus allowing states to limit abortion access — had taken immediate effect.

“I didn’t know it was already causing places to stop doing them,” Jenny said. “I just started crying.”

Timing had been the determining factor for both women, who agreed to speak with CNN on the condition of anonymity to protect their privacy. CNN is not using their real names. Their situations illustrate the crushing blow the Supreme Court’s decision has had on women and clinics across the country, with many losing what was once a federally protected right to get an abortion and clinics having to either shut down or change their services.

On top of that, physicians now need to be cautious in communicating with patients because they could face criminal charges if they perform abortions. In Alabama, specifically, most abortions are banned with exceptions only “to avoid a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother,” for ectopic pregnancy and if the “unborn child has a lethal anomaly” — not for instances of rape or incest.

Dr. Yashica Robinson, who runs the Alabama Women’s Center in Huntsville, said it is hard to prove a mother’s life is at risk.

“I don’t know how I prove that until she’s at that critical moment,” she said. “The one thing you don’t do as a physician (is) you don’t wait until people get into trouble and then act, you try to be proactive. I think the only way we can prove it is if we start doing the exact opposite of the way we’ve been trained, we let patients get critical so that it is very clear cut and then you’ll be able to proceed, and hopefully it won’t be too late.”

Alabama’s law allows for punishing doctors who perform abortions with life in prison.

“My greatest concern is being able to care for patients without harming them and also without getting myself into trouble,” Robinson said.

‘I felt powerless as a physician’

Jenny and Lisa had deeply personal reasons for wanting an abortion, they both told CNN.

Lisa said she was in an abusive relationship and her partner would not have provided for her or her child. She was 11 weeks pregnant when she had her abortion.

“I had no way of doing anything to be able to support said child, and he was not going to, so I had to do what I had to do to be able to keep me and a child from suffering,” she said. “I’m proud of the decision I made no matter what choices are being made now. It was the best decision for me and I’m OK with that.”

Jenny arrived to the Huntsville clinic with a friend, having found out she was pregnant about a month ago, she said.

“I shouldn’t have the baby. I’m not in a good place right now to have it,” she said.

Once she was told the clinic did not perform abortions anymore, she felt lost not knowing what her options were or where she would go next.

“I just don’t think it’s fair. No matter the situation, I feel like you should be able to have an abortion,” she said. She said she will likely go to Georgia or Florida, the two closest states that still — for now — allow abortions.

Robinson, who has been working at the Women’s Center since 2006, told CNN many of her patients broke down in tears Friday when the news dropped about the Supreme Court decision.

“I felt powerless as a physician. You know, I know how to care for these patients. It’s like you have the tools to help somebody and you choose not to help them. And that was hard for me,” she said.

Robinson said she has two general OBGYN clinics and the one clinic that focuses abortion care, which will now offer other gynecological services.

On Monday, a staff member on the phone could be heard telling a potential patient: “Unfortunately due to overturning of Roe v Wade, you need to go to a neighboring state.”

Now concerned with the legal ramifications of this ruling, Robinson said her greatest concern is a delay in care for patients.

“If you delay care for patients, I may dodge a bullet when it comes to legal or being prosecuted for performing an abortion that someone disagrees with — they don’t feel that the patient was critical enough at that time — but I still have families to deal with so when patients are harmed, you have to deal with their families,” she said.

Mississippi clinic vows to provide services as long as possible

Across the state line in Mississippi, Jackson Women’s Health Organization is operating on borrowed time after the Supreme Court decision, according to the clinic’s owner Diane Derzis.

The clinic is due to close once the state’s trigger law banning most abortions takes effect. State Attorney General Lynn Fitch certified the Supreme Court decision Monday, her office said, and the law is set to take effect 10 days after certification.

“I feel bad for the Mississippi women because these are the women that are needing these services and can’t get these services,” said Shannon Brewer, the executive director of the Jackson clinic. “The very ones who are going to be needing it the most are the ones who don’t have access to get it.”

Jackson Women’s Health Organization — the state’s only abortion clinic — was at the center of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case involved in the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Derzis said Friday the clinic will continue to help women find the services they need after it is forced to stop providing abortions.

“It’s funding all over the country. So we know how to put her in touch with those individuals and figure out which is the closest clinic you know, there’ll be women who are able to afford a plane ticket and if they can hop on a plane and get into Las Cruces, or Baltimore, Maryland or wherever, Chicago, Illinois, then that wherever is the easiest to get her in because her needs have to come first,” said Derzis.

Brewer spoke through tears Friday as she thanked the medical staff for their work.

“Even up until today, while we’re doing this, they’re still talking to patients and seeing patients, so those are the things I try to focus on. I’m not trying to focus that everything is completely gone, because we’re still here, we’re still fighting, we’re just fighting in a different place,” she said.

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MLB Announces 12 Suspensions For Mass Brawl Between Seattle Mariners And Los Angeles Angels

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 26: The Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels clear the benches after Jesse Winker #27 of the Seattle Mariners charged the Angels dugout after being hit by a pitch in the second inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 26, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 26: The Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels clear the benches after Jesse Winker #27 of the Seattle Mariners charged the Angels dugout after being hit by a pitch in the second inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 26, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

By CNN Sport staff

(CNN) — Major League Baseball has suspended 12 players and coaches following the mass brawl that marred the Los Angeles Angels’ win over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.

Three Mariners players received suspensions. Jesse Winker, who charged the Angels bench after being hit by a pitch from Andrew Wantz, received a seven-game ban, J.P. Crawford five and Julio Rodriguez two.

Nine players and members of the Angels coaching staff also received suspensions, including manager Phil Nevin for 10 games.

Anthony Rendon is suspended for five games when he returns from injury, Wantz for three games, Ray Tepera for three games and Raisel Iglesias for two games.

There were also suspensions handed to the Angels’ assistant pitching coach, bench coach, interpreter and catching coach.

All three of the Mariners’ players will appeal, MLB said on its website, and the team is able to stagger the suspensions so all three are not missing at once.

“If they throw [Wantz] out, it stops,” Winker said on Monday, per MLB. “If he hits me and they eject him, I go to first base. If the guy in the cast and their manager don’t talk, nothing happens. But they were talking, and I didn’t want to talk.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s done,” Winker added. “We’re just going to worry about next time we face them beating them. That’s all that matters.

“No one is here to ‘tough guy’ talk to the media and no one’s here to do this and do that or talk about fines, suspensions, whatever. That’s going to happen regardless, so we’re going to beat them.”

With the Mariners already feeling aggrieved that an earlier pitch thrown by Wantz during Sunday’s game was close to Julio Rodriguez’s head, Wantz then hit Winker on the hip.

That sparked angry scenes as a furious Winker made his way towards the Angels bench, leading both benches to empty and eventually resulting in eight ejections.

Wantz received his three-game ban for intentionally throwing at Winker, MLB said, and won’t be appealing. However, both Tepera and Iglesias are appealing and were able to play against the Chicago White Sox on Monday.

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