Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

Staff reports | Most vaccinated people will probably need another COVID-19 booster shot this fall, according to officials with the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The agency is convening a special meeting of independent outside advisers Wednesday for a daylong meeting to begin planning the next round of boosters. 

The announcement comes nearly a week after the FDA authorized a fourth shot — the second booster — for those age 50 and up. The authorization was in hope of bolstering immunity ahead of a potential surge stemming from the omicron subvariant BA.2, which has fueled surges in other countries and is now dominant in the U.S.

At the same time, the United Kingdom Health Security Agency (HSA) has updated its guidance to list new official symptoms of COVID infection. The symptoms added are: shortness of breath, feelings of exhaustion, body aches, headaches, sore throat, blocked or runny nose, loss of appetite, diarrhea and nausea. The HSA advised many of the newly added symptoms are “very similar” to those for the cold and flu.

The update follows the identification of a new COVID variant of concern in the U.K., known as XE. The variant is a combination of the original BA.1 omicron variant and its subvariant BA.2. This type of combination is known as a “recombinant variant.” Recombinant variants are common and often crop up and disappear on their own, public health experts said, making the new identification little for most to fear. 

“Right now, there’s really no public health concern,” Dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist and chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital told ABC News. “Recombinant variants happen over and over. In fact, the reason that this is the XE variant recombinant is that we’ve had XA, XB, XC, XD already, and none of those have turned out to be any real concern.”

Latest COVID-19 data

Meanwhile, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) transitioned to weekly reporting of new COVID data last month, with today’s update being the most recent of reports including data taken from March 27-April 2.

South Carolina health officials on Tuesday reported 951 total new cases of COVID-19, with 632 confirmed, and two total new deaths, both of which were confirmed. As of April 2, 132 COVID-19-positive individuals are hospitalized, and 10 COVID-19-positive individuals are ventilated.

No positivity rate was reported by DHEC.

  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ with at least one vaccine: 66.8%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ who have completed vaccination: 57.7%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 with at least one vaccine: 19.8%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 who have completed vaccination: 16%

For more information, visit the S.C. SCDHEC COVID-19 dashboard.

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