Is a COVID Vaccine Booster Right for You?

Health

Newsmax 23 August, 2021 - 01:19pm 28 views

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 178.04 points, the Nasdaq Composite was up 63.58 points and the S&P 500 was up 19.66 points. 

Jim Cramer and Action Alerts PLUS senior analyst Jeff Marks discussed Bitcoin, PayPal  (PYPL) - Get Report, Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Report, GM's  (GM) - Get Report Chevy Bolt, Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Report and previewed the now-virtual Jackson Hole economic symposium.

Watch the full interview with TheStreet Live at 10:00 a.m. ET in the video below:

As of the opening of U.S. equities trading, the cryptocurrency was trading at $50,224.30. 

Bitcoin hit a record high of $64,829 in April, per CoinDesk, before trading in the $30,000 to $40,000 range in the subsequent months as regulatory talk intensified. 

In other cryptocurrency news, PayPal marked its first international expansion of services, allowing customers in the U.K. to buy, sell and hold Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies beginning Monday following a similar U.S. service launch in March. 

PayPal is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS charitable portfolio. 

Pfizer stock moved 2.24% higher to $49.80 after the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to the Pfizer and BioNtech  (BNTX) - Get Report COVID vaccine. 

Many on Wall Street and beyond hope full approval of the vaccine will help reduce levels of vaccine hesitancy. 

Some also see full approval as a vehicle for businesses and governments to require vaccinations. 

Fed chair Jerome Powell will now speak remotely as fears of the rapidly spreading delta variant of the coronavirus forced the in-person event to be moved online. The event was widely considered a sign of a 'return to normal' among the financial community. 

“While we are disappointed that health conditions will prevent us from being able to gather in person at the Jackson Lake Lodge this year as we had planned, the safety of our guests and the Teton County community is our priority,” Kansas City Fed president Esther George said in a statement. 

And the Fed's Powell isn't the only one working from home. On Real Money, Cramer noted that the continued impact of the delta variant could alter Wall Street's view of inflation, turning Powell from villain to hero. 

"Going into Jackson Hole we have to be thinking not about how inflation is runaway but how deflation could be on the horizon much faster than we realize if the Fed pulls the rug out, which we know is just a matter of time. Right now the Chief seems like a pinata, theoretically beaten by the inflationistas.

I think it's just a matter of time for them to look like the fools and Jay Powell to look like a hero of our time." 

As investors continued to react to a Tesla AI event that left Wall Street thinking more iRobot than electric car, news from General Motors stole the show. 

GM recalled all Chevrolet Bolt vehicles Friday following a National Highway Transit Safety Administration report of a risk of high-voltage battery pack fires.

The Friday recall adds about 73,000 Bolts from the 2019-2022 model years, expanding on earlier recalls of the company's 2017-2019 Bolts. 

"In rare circumstances, the batteries supplied to GM for these vehicles may have two manufacturing defects - a torn anode tab and folded separator - present in the same battery cell, which increases the risk of fire." The company said it will "replace defective battery modules in Chevrolet Bolt EVs and EUVs with new modules, with an expected additional cost of approximately $1 billion," GM said in a statement.

As of the opening of trading Monday, GM stock was down 2.01% to $47.82. 

As markets and the broader economy continues to try to gauge the impact of the delta variant, Cramer said investors now must confront a market that can change on a dime. 

"Most markets do not change their stripes in 10 minutes. This market is not like most markets. It started out with a refreshing change of the semiconductors and tech leading and retail following, and then devolved into the fertilizers at the helm and a bedraggled group of disparate stocks not far behind,' Cramer wrote on Real Money Friday. 

Read full article at Newsmax

Destiny 2's Queen Savathun is Even Taller than RE8's Lady Dimitrescu

Fort Worth Star-Telegram 24 August, 2021 - 08:51am

First, let us remind ourselves of the sheer size of Lady Dimitrescu, the vampire woman who tries to eat Ethan in the early stages of RE8. According to officially released info from Capcom, Lady Dimitrescu is 9'6″ tall and has 17.3-inch feet. Our extrapolation of these figures also determined that Dimitrescu would crush your rib cage if she were to ever stand on your chest.

Now we turn to Savathun, the Witch Queen of the Hive. In Destiny 2, Hive gods are typically massive creatures many times larger than the human Guardians that assail them, but Bungie has never actually released hard numbers for any of them. Xol could wrap himself around a Martian industrial complex, but how much did he weigh? Enough to crush a Guardian, but we’re forever guessing at what the number might be in kilograms (or tons).

That changed with Savathun. Bungie released her official height yesterday of 21 feet, more than twice as lage as Lady Dimitrescu. Is this the first salvo of a new competition between triple-A game developers to keep creating ever-larger female villains? Could be. If so, Bungie now holds the crown for the tallest female baddie in video games. Your move, Capcom.

Savathun will be making her big debut in The Witch Queen, appearing in the flesh after being only mentioned for years. We got to see Savathun's backside in yesterday's teaser trailer, but we got to see the rest of her terrifying form in today's leak on the Australian PlayStation Store. Don't go if you want to be surprised during the Destiny 2 Showcase, which starts up at noon EST.

Freelance writer and contributor at The Gamer, Sean hails from Toronto, Canada. If you ask Sean what he likes, he'll say, "Robots, Ninjas, donuts - in that order."

Pfizer more than a Covid play

CNBC Television 24 August, 2021 - 07:30am

The move was expected to kick off a round of new vaccination mandates from hospitals, schools and private companies.

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration on Monday granted full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for people 16 and older, a decision that is likely to set off a cascade of vaccine requirements by hospitals, colleges and universities, corporations and other organizations.

Within hours, the Pentagon, CVS, the State University of New York system and the New York City school system, among others, announced that they would enforce mandates they had prepared but made contingent on the F.D.A.’s action.

The approval came as the nation’s fight against the pandemic has intensified again, with the highly infectious Delta variant biting deeply into the progress that the country had made over the first half of the year. The Biden administration hopes the development will motivate at least some of the roughly 85 million Americans who are eligible for shots but have so far rejected them to change their minds.

The regulatory move goes a step beyond the emergency use authorization that the agency granted in December. More than 92 million people have already been fully vaccinated since then with Pfizer doses. Some who have rejected the vaccines, expressing fears that they are experimental, have said they wanted to wait until the agency spent more time studying their safety and fully approved them.

In a roughly 10-minute address on the approval, President Biden said it should sweep away any lingering doubts about vaccines and spur more mandates. Appealing to corporate, state and local leaders, he said: “Do what I did last month. Require your employees to get vaccinated or face strict requirements.” In late July, he announced that all federal employees and on-site contractors must be vaccinated against the coronavirus or be required to submit to regular testing and other measures.

Mr. Biden tried to cast the F.D.A. approval as an example of how his administration was making headway against the pandemic, despite overflowing intensive care units in some states and an average of more than 1,000 lives a day lost. He said the death toll, while rising, was still far lower than it was last winter, because more than nine in ten older Americans are now vaccinated.

With the F.D.A. yet to authorize a vaccine even on an emergency basis for children younger than 12, Mr. Biden also tried to reassure anxious parents about the growing number of children who are getting infected with the Delta variant, saying that severe Covid-19 cases in that age group are still “very, very rare.” He also promised to soon address “how we get our kids back to school safely.”

The F.D.A., which has been under pressure to speed up its evaluations of coronavirus vaccines, gave full approval to Pfizer’s just 97 days after the company submitted the last of what regulators said were hundreds of thousands of documents. Officials said they were able to decide the matter in less than half the usual time because regulators worked nights and weekends and added staff members, not because they cut corners.

“This is a pivotal moment for our country in the fight against the pandemic,” Dr. Janet Woodcock, the acting F.D.A. commissioner, told reporters. “The public can be confident that this vaccine meets the F.D.A.’s gold standard for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality that we require for an approved product.”

Some health experts are worried that the approval will unleash a wave of demands from vaccine recipients who want their doctors to prescribe booster doses. The federal government plans to begin rolling out third shots to people who had their second shot eight months earlier, but only after the F.D.A. clears extra doses and not until Sept. 20.

“I think we just have to keep people calm,” said Dr. Jesse L. Goodman, a former chief scientist at the F.D.A. and now a medical professor at Georgetown University. He noted that more than one million Americans had already managed to get extra shots on their own and that demand could be difficult to control.

Ordinarily, final approval could give doctors a certain measure of freedom to prescribe a drug differently than the label advises. Pfizer is also ostensibly now free to market the vaccine, under the brand name Comirnaty.

In this case, though, as both Pfizer and the F.D.A. noted, the federal government controls the distribution of the vaccine in the United States. Dr. Woodcock strongly discouraged people from seeking a third shot until the F.D.A. has ruled on whether extra shots are safe and effective for the general adult population.

She specifically warned against giving the vaccine to children under 12, saying that doing so would be “of great concern” because regulators have not collected enough data yet from clinical trials on safety or the proper dose. Trials are still in progress for that age group, and a regulatory decision about emergency use could be several months away.

“We certainly want to make sure that we get it right in the children ages 5 through 11,” said Dr. Peter Marks, the F.D.A.’s top vaccine regulator, “and then even in younger children after that.”

The vaccine is still authorized for emergency use, instead of fully approved, for children 12 to 15.

Pfizer said it presented the F.D.A. with data from 44,000 clinical trial participants — half of whom got the vaccine, the other half a placebo — in the United States, the European Union, Turkey, South Africa and South America. The F.D.A. said the data showed the vaccine was 91 percent effective in preventing disease. That was a slight drop from the 95 percent efficacy rate in December, when the vaccine was cleared for emergency use. Pfizer said the decrease reflected the fact that researchers had more time to catch people who became sick.

Some public health experts were hopeful that the decision could push some of those hesitant about getting vaccinated off the fence.

Even if only 5 percent more Americans were persuaded to get shots, as some experts have predicted, “that’s still a huge slice of people,” said Dr. Thomas Dobbs, the chief health officer for Mississippi. Like a number of other Southern states, his has been ravaged by the Delta variant. He said licensure would help “shake loose this false assertion that the vaccines are an ‘experimental’ thing.”

A recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which has been tracking public attitudes during the pandemic, found that three of every 10 unvaccinated people said they would be more likely to get vaccinated with a shot that had been fully approved. But the pollsters and other experts warned that far fewer Americans might actually be swayed by the approval.

“I think that is a vanishingly small number of people in real life” who would change their minds because of the vaccine’s regulatory status, said Alison Buttenheim, an associate professor of nursing at the University of Pennsylvania and an expert on vaccine hesitancy. But if full approval spurs more requirements from employers and other organizations, she said, the results could be more significant.

“We still have a lot of people who just haven’t gotten around to it or don’t have huge objections, but no one’s told them they have to” get vaccinated, she said. “Mandates simplify things for people.”

Already on Monday, the Pentagon announced that the country’s 1.4 million active-duty troops would have to be vaccinated, and Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey said that all teachers in that state would have to get shots or submit to weekly testing. Chevron and CVS both said they would require some of their employees to receive coronavirus vaccines, and the State University of New York and the University of Minnesota systems announced similar requirements for students.

Wall Street rose, with investors buoyed by the vaccine news. The S&P 500 stock index was up almost 1 percent, and shares of Pfizer climbed 2.5 percent.

So far, 54 percent of Americans who have been fully inoculated have gotten Pfizer shots. Most of the rest received Moderna’s vaccine, which also requires two doses.

Dr. Marks said that federal health agencies would continue to monitor the Pfizer vaccine’s safety. The F.D.A. will also require Pfizer to continue to study the risk of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, and pericarditis, an inflammation of the membrane surrounding the heart, in people who get its shot, including long-term outcomes for those who fall ill after vaccination. The F.D.A. in June attached warnings to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines noting possible increased risk of both conditions after the second dose.

Less than two months after it appeared to have curbed the spread of the virus, the United States is averaging around 150,000 new cases a day and more than 90,000 hospitalized Covid-19 patients. Exactly two months ago, before the Delta variant fully took hold, federal health experts said the nation would be highly unlikely to again face a death toll of 1,000 or more people a day. The seven-day average as of Sunday was 1,008 daily deaths, according to a New York Times database.

“Full approval could not come at a more important time,” said Dr. Richard Besser, the president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and a former acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He called on schools and businesses to require vaccination before allowing people to congregate indoors.

Vaccination rates have been rising steadily in recent weeks as fear of the Delta variant has grown. Providers were administering about 837,000 shots a day late last week, and Mr. Biden said the most recent seven-day total was the highest since early July. He said more people in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi — some of the states with the highest caseloads — got their first shots in the past month than in the previous two months combined.

Dr. Marks said that myths about the vaccines remain a major impediment to fighting the pandemic, including false claims that shots would cause infertility, would foster rather than prevent Covid-19, and had even led to thousands of deaths.

“Let me be clear: These claims are simply not true,” he said.

The F.D.A. is in the midst of a blizzard of decisions about coronavirus vaccines. The next major one looming is whether to authorize booster shots.

The Biden administration said last week it planned to offer third shots to adults who got the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, eight months after their second injection, starting Sept. 20. Third shots are already authorized for some people with immune deficiencies, but the risk-benefit calculus is different for the general population.

Federal health officials said that both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines, which rely on similar technology, wane in potency over time. That trend, they said, is converging with the rise of the particularly dangerous Delta variant, making those who completed their vaccinations at the start of the year increasingly vulnerable to infection.

Some public health experts have challenged the plan for booster shots as premature. They say the available data shows that the vaccines are holding up well against severe disease and hospitalization, including against the Delta variant. Extra shots would be warranted only if the vaccines failed to meet that standard, some have said.

Regulators are still reviewing Moderna’s application for full approval of its vaccine, which it filed in June, a month after Pfizer. That decision could take several weeks. Johnson & Johnson is expected to apply for full approval soon.

Why Wall Street Thinks BioNTech Stock Could Sink 25% | The Motley Fool

Motley Fool 24 August, 2021 - 04:55am

Founded in 1993 by brothers Tom and David Gardner, The Motley Fool helps millions of people attain financial freedom through our website, podcasts, books, newspaper column, radio show, and premium investing services.

BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) might not be the best-known of the leading COVID-19 vaccine makers. The company has been largely overshadowed by its big partner Pfizer and by Moderna, at least in the U.S. However, BioNTech has been the biggest winner in the group so far this year with its shares skyrocketing more than 350%.

But that impressive gain could be a precarious one, based on analysts' projections. Here's why Wall Street thinks BioNTech stock could sink 25% within the next 12 months.

The average 12-month price target for BioNTech stock right now is $261.95, roughly 25% lower than the current share price. That average is based on Refinitiv's survey of 12 analysts.

It's not just that analysts haven't been able to keep up with BioNTech's big gains and are behind the curve with increasing their price targets. Many on Wall Street don't appear to believe that the biotech's gains are sustainable.

BioNTech isn't the only vaccine stock that analysts are at least somewhat pessimistic about. The average 12-month price target for Pfizer is 11% below the current share price. Analysts are also bearish on Moderna, with an average price target 25% lower than the current price of the stock. 

What's behind Wall Street's pessimism? More than anything, the lower price target for BioNTech reflects the uncertainties with COVID-19.

No one knows yet how strong demand will be for COVID-19 vaccines on an ongoing basis. A lot depends on the coronavirus itself. New variants could cause governments around the world to buy large quantities of vaccines on an annual basis for a long time to come. However, it's also possible that COVID-19 could become a less serious concern, with vaccine demand declining relatively soon.

Analysts seem to believe the latter scenario is more likely. The average revenue estimate for BioNTech is a little lower in 2022 than it is for 2021. After 2022, analysts project a significant sales decline for COVID-19 vaccines.

There are also some concerns that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine might not be as competitive going forward as it has been so far. Several studies have found that the vaccine's effectiveness against the delta variant wanes more quickly than rival vaccines. 

BioNTech doesn't have any other product on the market other than its COVID-19 vaccine. That status won't change anytime soon. The company's pipeline doesn't have any other late-stage programs right now. BioNTech's reliance on its COVID-19 vaccine magnifies analysts' concerns about the potential for vaccine sales to slide in the not-too-distant future.

Don't think that Wall Street has completely soured on BioNTech, though. Five analysts surveyed by Refinitiv still rate the stock as a buy or strong buy. Only one of the analysts in Refinitiv's survey has a distinctly negative view of BioNTech. 

Bryan, Garnier & Co. even upgraded BioNTech from neutral to buy earlier this month. The investment firm set a price target that reflects a premium of nearly 19% above the biotech's current share price.  

It's also possible that BioNTech could shake up Wall Street's views with business development deals. BioNTech CEO Uğur Şahin stated in the company's Q2 conference call that BioNTech will "certainly" make some deals within the next 12 to 18 months.

Analysts tend to focus a lot more heavily on the short term than the long term. Even if BioNTech stock does fall as much as Wall Street expects over the next 12 months, it could still be a big winner over the long run.

Also, the uncertainties surrounding BioNTech work both ways. Although many analysts are skeptical that the demand for COVID-19 vaccines will remain near current levels, they could be wrong. 

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor will renew at the then current list price. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Stock Advisor launched in February of 2002. Returns as of 08/24/2021.

Making the world smarter, happier, and richer.

Market data powered by Xignite.

Why Wall Street Thinks BioNTech Stock Could Sink 25% | The Motley Fool

Daily Mail 24 August, 2021 - 04:55am

Founded in 1993 by brothers Tom and David Gardner, The Motley Fool helps millions of people attain financial freedom through our website, podcasts, books, newspaper column, radio show, and premium investing services.

BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) might not be the best-known of the leading COVID-19 vaccine makers. The company has been largely overshadowed by its big partner Pfizer and by Moderna, at least in the U.S. However, BioNTech has been the biggest winner in the group so far this year with its shares skyrocketing more than 350%.

But that impressive gain could be a precarious one, based on analysts' projections. Here's why Wall Street thinks BioNTech stock could sink 25% within the next 12 months.

The average 12-month price target for BioNTech stock right now is $261.95, roughly 25% lower than the current share price. That average is based on Refinitiv's survey of 12 analysts.

It's not just that analysts haven't been able to keep up with BioNTech's big gains and are behind the curve with increasing their price targets. Many on Wall Street don't appear to believe that the biotech's gains are sustainable.

BioNTech isn't the only vaccine stock that analysts are at least somewhat pessimistic about. The average 12-month price target for Pfizer is 11% below the current share price. Analysts are also bearish on Moderna, with an average price target 25% lower than the current price of the stock. 

What's behind Wall Street's pessimism? More than anything, the lower price target for BioNTech reflects the uncertainties with COVID-19.

No one knows yet how strong demand will be for COVID-19 vaccines on an ongoing basis. A lot depends on the coronavirus itself. New variants could cause governments around the world to buy large quantities of vaccines on an annual basis for a long time to come. However, it's also possible that COVID-19 could become a less serious concern, with vaccine demand declining relatively soon.

Analysts seem to believe the latter scenario is more likely. The average revenue estimate for BioNTech is a little lower in 2022 than it is for 2021. After 2022, analysts project a significant sales decline for COVID-19 vaccines.

There are also some concerns that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine might not be as competitive going forward as it has been so far. Several studies have found that the vaccine's effectiveness against the delta variant wanes more quickly than rival vaccines. 

BioNTech doesn't have any other product on the market other than its COVID-19 vaccine. That status won't change anytime soon. The company's pipeline doesn't have any other late-stage programs right now. BioNTech's reliance on its COVID-19 vaccine magnifies analysts' concerns about the potential for vaccine sales to slide in the not-too-distant future.

Don't think that Wall Street has completely soured on BioNTech, though. Five analysts surveyed by Refinitiv still rate the stock as a buy or strong buy. Only one of the analysts in Refinitiv's survey has a distinctly negative view of BioNTech. 

Bryan, Garnier & Co. even upgraded BioNTech from neutral to buy earlier this month. The investment firm set a price target that reflects a premium of nearly 19% above the biotech's current share price.  

It's also possible that BioNTech could shake up Wall Street's views with business development deals. BioNTech CEO Uğur Şahin stated in the company's Q2 conference call that BioNTech will "certainly" make some deals within the next 12 to 18 months.

Analysts tend to focus a lot more heavily on the short term than the long term. Even if BioNTech stock does fall as much as Wall Street expects over the next 12 months, it could still be a big winner over the long run.

Also, the uncertainties surrounding BioNTech work both ways. Although many analysts are skeptical that the demand for COVID-19 vaccines will remain near current levels, they could be wrong. 

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor will renew at the then current list price. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Stock Advisor launched in February of 2002. Returns as of 08/24/2021.

Making the world smarter, happier, and richer.

Market data powered by Xignite.

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