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COVID-19 Bulletin (10/18/21)

A law banning vaccine mandates for private companies moves one step closer in the Texas Legislature.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins reported 771 new COVID-19 cases and 19 deaths on Friday.

Texas GOP lawmakers vote 5-1 advancing bill banning vaccine mandates, KERA reports.  The Senate State Affairs Committee’s vote advances Senate Bill 51, which would make any Texas entity, including hospitals, vulnerable to lawsuits if employee vaccinations mandates are instated. Senate Bill 51 heads to the full Texas Senate with less than a week left in the special session.

FDA panel endorses booster doses of Johnson & Johnson’s single COVID-19 vaccine, The Dallas Morning News reports. The FDA’s panel unanimously voted that a J&J booster should be offered at least two months after the single-shot vaccine. The FDA panel cited the concern that J&J’s vaccine recipients seem less protected than people who got two-dose options of Pfizer and Moderna. Approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is required before J&J booster shots are made available.

FDA recommends a half-dose of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine as a booster for at-risk populations, The Dallas Morning News reports. The Moderna booster recommendation applies to individuals 65 and older, adults with health problems, and jobs or living situations that put them at increased risk for COVID. CDC approval is needed before Moderna boosters are made available to at-risk individuals.

New study by the National Institutes of Health finds ‘mixing and matching’ COVID-19 boosters safe and effective, WFAA reports. “This study would open the door to the Moderna and J&J folks to also get that booster,” said Dr. Shaun Grannis with the Regenstrief Institute.