Concerns over COVID-19 variants intensify
Moderna is working on a booster shot against a strain of the coronavirus that surfaced in South Africa, the company announced on Monday. CEO Stéphane Bancel said preliminary tests suggested the existing vaccine might produce a weaker immune response to the new variant of the virus than to previous ones, though it still offers some immunity. Moderna makes one of the two COVID-19 vaccines being offered in the United States.
How are reopening efforts going? It depends on the state. California on Monday lifted stay-at-home orders that had applied to the majority of the state’s counties since December, as well as a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. Many restaurants can resume outdoor dining, though local governments can impose tighter restrictions. President Joe Biden is reimposing travel restrictions for most non-U.S. citizens coming into the country from Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and 26 other European nations that allow travel across open borders. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration is adding South Africa to the list due to its virus variant.
Dig deeper: Leah Hickman’s report detailing which vaccines use aborted fetal cell lines and to what extent.