The Latest: Fauci: Booster shot for weakened immune systems

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Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci responds to accusations by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., as he testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Cases of COVID-19 have tripled over the past three weeks, and hospitalizations and deaths are rising among unvaccinated people. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)

WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci says an additional COVID-19 booster shot will be recommended for previously vaccinated people with weakened immune systems.

He told NBC’s ”Today” show on Thursday that he expects the booster recommendation to come “imminently.”

People have compromised immune systems for a variety of reasons, including organ transplants, cancer or other conditions. Any authorization for an additional booster shot would come from the Federal Drug Administration.

Fauci says for other vaccinated groups, such as the elderly, data is being collected to determine if or when their protection goes “below a critical level” and “that’s when you’re going to be hearing about the implementation of boosters” for others.

The nation’s top infectious disease expert says “at this moment, other than the immune compromised, we’re not going to be giving boosters.”

Fauci says “inevitably there will be a time when we’ll have to get boosts” because ”no vaccine, at least not within this category, is going to have an indefinite amount of protection.”

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MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

— Russia reports record daily COVID-19 death toll at 808

— U.S. Republicans take to mask wars as virus surges in red states

— California 1st state torequire COVID-19 vaccine or test for teachers, staff

— New Zealand plans to start reopening borders early next year

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— Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

LONDON — Officials say the British economy grew by 4.8% in the second quarter of 2021 as lockdown restrictions were lifted.

The Office for National Statistics says the British economy grew by 1% in June alone, the fifth straight month of growth. The lifting of pandemic restrictions following the rapid rollout of vaccines in the U.K. has buoyed growth in recent months.

All legal limits on contact, such as social distancing rules and caps on the number of people allowed to gather, were lifted in July. Economists expect further growth in the months to come, although confirmed virus cases have risen from greater social contact.

One uncertainty is how the economy will adjust with the ending of the furlough program. It was introduced at the start of the pandemic last March to ensure unemployment didn’t rise substantially when lockdown restrictions were imposed. The government paid 80% of the salaries of those workers unable to work because of lockdown measures.

The program, which stops at the end of September, helped support more than 11 million people. Now the number is down below the 2 million mark as many sectors have reopened, notably hospitality. It kept a lid on unemployment, which remains relatively low at below 5%.

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MOSCOW — Daily COVID-19 deaths in Russia have hit a record of 808, following a sharp surge of coronavirus infections last month.

Russian authorities reported the previous record of 799 four times over the past four weeks, including on Tuesday.

Russia faced a surge of infections last month that officials have blamed on the spread of the delta variant. New confirmed cases soared from around 9,000 a day in early June to 25,000 a day in mid-July.

The daily case numbers have since decreased slightly to about 21,000 a day this week, but the daily death toll has remained high.

Officials are working to boost vaccine uptake, which has remained lower in Russia than in many Western countries. Last Friday, some 39 million Russians — or 26.7% of the 146-million population — had received at least one dose. More than 30 million, or 20%, are fully vaccinated.

Russia’s state coronavirus task force has reported over 6.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the pandemic and 168,049 deaths. However, reports by Russia’s state statistical service Rosstat that look at coronavirus-linked deaths retroactively have revealed a much higher number.

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CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s capital will go into lockdown for a week from Thursday after a single case of COVID-19 was detected and the virus was found in wastewater.

Canberra joins Sydney, Melbourne and several cities in New South Wales state that are locked down due to the delta variant.

Canberra residents can only leave home for essential reasons from 5 p.m. on Thursday, general retail stores will be closed and hospitality venues will only to able to sell takeout, an Australian Capital Territory government statement said. Schools will be open to students who cannot stay at home.

The infection is the first local acquired case in the city of 460,000 since July 10 last year. A Canberra resident, a man in his 20s, had been infectious in Canberra since Sunday and tested positive on Thursday, Australian Capital Territory Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman said.

The lockdown starts on the final day of a two-week sitting of the Federal Parliament.

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NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee State University officials say enrolled students can receive $100 if they can show they’re fully vaccinated.

University officials announced this week that students who get vaccinated through one of the campus vaccination sites will receive a $100 gift card. Vaccinated students living in on-campus housing will be eligible for an additional $50 gift card. The gift cards are available until Aug. 27.

Tennessee is among the handful of states that has banned public colleges from requiring COVID-19 vaccinations.

“We are currently evaluating possible incentives for employees, and will provide follow-up information soon,” President Glenda Glover said in a letter detailing the new incentives for students.

The university will be fully operational for the fall semester and expects its largest freshman class in five years. Students are moving in this week.

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ISLAMABAD— Pakistan on Thursday reported 102 deaths from coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the highest single-day toll from COVID-19 since April.

The National Command and Operations Center says 4,934 new infections were reported across the country in the past 24 hours amid continued violations of social distancing rules.

Most infections and fatalities are being reported in southern Sindh and eastern Punjab provinces.

The spike has added pressure on the country’s fragile healthcare system and authorities.

The government is requesting people to get vaccinated against coronavirus as soon as possible to return to a normal life.

Pakistan has reduced the maximum duration for the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccines from 48 to 28 days after importing millions of doses of vaccines from China. Pakistan is also expected to get more vaccine under the COVAX scheme this month.

Pakistan has reported 1,085,294 confirmed cases and 24,187 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

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ATLANTA — Four tiny Georgia public school districts have temporarily shut down in-person instruction within days of starting school, saying high COVID-19 case counts among students and staff makes it unsafe to continue.

Other districts have closed individual schools or sent hundreds of students into quarantine after exposure to people with COVID-19.

The 1,100-student Macon County district on Wednesday became the fourth district to suspend in-person classes, following the smaller Taliaferro, Glascock and Talbot counties in recent days. The four districts combined serve a fraction of 1% of Georgia’s 1.7 million students.

“The difference now in this outbreak that we see than the outbreak that happened last school year is that this seems to be more centered on kids…rather than adults so that scares me to death,” Talbot County Superintendent Jack Catrett told WTVM-TV.

The moves show the difficulty of keeping schools open as COVID-19 surges in Georgia’s broader society, despite the determination of local school leaders to focus on in-person classes this year.

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OTTAWA — Canada’s immigration minister says fully vaccinated Canadians will soon be able to get a government document that will certify their COVID-19 vaccine history for the purpose of international travel.

The document, expected to be ready by the fall, will be digital, with an option for those who cannot or do not want a digital certificate. Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino says it will include data on the type of vaccines received, the dates and the location.

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc says the program has to be done in cooperation with provinces and territories because they have the data that is needed. He says if provinces want to use the same passport within their province that could be an option.

Quebec is introducing a provincial passport next month that will be required for people who want to attend public events, go to the gym or frequent a restaurant or bar.

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