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Staff reports |  Federal health officials debunked a claim that Americans aged 65 and older may face a greater risk of an ischemic stroke after receiving a Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent Covid booster, according to The New York Times.

Federal investigators concluded that the risk is “very unlikely,” The Times reported. The claim originated from Vaccine Safety Datalink, a federal safety surveillance system, which last year had data that suggested a possibility of increased risk.

That risk was specifically linked to the bivalent vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech, designed to provide broad protection against Covid-19 and its pervasive omicron subvariant. 

Federal health officials analyzed data from other vaccine safety databases and did not find any signs of greater risk of ischemic strokes, federal officials said in a statement.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stressed that it’s important for the public to understand Pfizer’s bivalent booster is not directly linked to increased risk of stroke in elderly patients. Only 39% of adults older than 65 and and 16% of kids have received a bivalent booster shot, according to the CDC.

State health officials encourage residents to refer to the CDC’s community levels map to track the severity of Covid-19. As of Jan. 12, Charleston County’s community level is medium. For the week ending Jan. 14, Covid-related hospitalizations were down 21.8% in comparison to the week ending Jan. 7. For the week ending Jan. 14, state officials reported 68 people died from Covid-19 — 20 more deaths than the previous week. In this period, 7,845 new cases were reported — 3,185 less than the previous reporting period.

Latest COVID-19 data

As of Dec. 20, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) will no longer include data on ventilations and weekly trends due to a new system of tracking adopted from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

SCDHEC transitioned to weekly reporting of new Covid data in December 2022. The most recent numbers were reported Tuesday and covered Dec. 11-17. In other data:

  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ with at least one vaccine: 69.5%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ who have completed vaccination: 60.6%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 with at least one vaccine: 23.4%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 who have completed vaccination: 19.4%

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

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