The latest on the Covid-19 pandemic in the US

By Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 8:00 p.m. ET, August 13, 2021
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10:15 a.m. ET, August 13, 2021

The FDA authorized additional vaccine doses for certain immunocompromised people. Here's what to know.

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

The US Food and Drug Administration authorized an additional Covid-19 vaccine dose for certain immunocompromised people on Thursday.

A recent study by Johns Hopkins researchers found that vaccinated immunocompromised people are 485 times more likely to end up in the hospital or die from Covid-19 compared to the general population that is vaccinated.

Based on an estimate by the CDC, about 9 million Americans are immunocompromised, either because of diseases they have or medications they take.

"Emerging data show that certain people who are immune compromised, such as people who have had an organ transplant and some cancer patients, may not have had an adequate immune response to just two doses of the Covid vaccine," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a White House Covid-19 Response Team briefing on Thursday. "To be clear, this is a very small population. We estimate it to be less than 3% of adults."

Here are key things to know about the decision:

  • How the move was done: The FDA amended the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines to allow for an additional dose for certain people with compromised immune systems. That group includes "specifically, solid organ transplant recipients or those who are diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise," the agency wrote in a statement Thursday." After a thorough review of the available data, the FDA determined that this small, vulnerable group may benefit from a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna Vaccines," Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said in a statement.
  • Some more recommendations: The FDA also recommends immunocompromised individuals maintain other precautions, including physical distancing and masking. "In addition, close contacts of immunocompromised persons should get vaccinated, as appropriate for their health status, to provide increased protection to their loved ones," according to the FDA's statement on Thursday. Additionally, FDA recommends immunocompromised people who contract or are exposed to Covid-19, check with their doctor about monoclonal antibody treatments.
  • Where things stand on vaccinations: Currently three coronavirus vaccines are authorized for emergency use in the United States — the two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for people 12 and older and the two-dose Moderna vaccine and single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine for people 18 and older. All three are used under emergency use authorization by the FDA, but full approval is pending for Pfizer's vaccine.
  • What happens today: The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is scheduled to meet on Friday to discuss booster doses of Covid-19 vaccines and additional doses for some immunocompromised people, according to a meeting agenda posted online. The committee is also scheduled to vote on Friday on whether to recommend additional doses of the vaccine for immunocompromised people.

Read more about the FDA's decision here.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports:

8:43 a.m. ET, August 13, 2021

“It’s so difficult”: Father of baby hospitalized with Covid-19 makes impassioned plea to get vaccinated

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

An Arkansas father of a 1-year-old hospitalized due to Covid-19 pleaded with people to get vaccinated, so other babies don’t need to suffer like his son. 

Kyle Butrum said the hardest part of their situation is that he cannot be in the hospital with his son Carter. 

“We can't be there. I mean, it's just one thing to have a child with an illness and to be there and help, but just due to the hospital regulations with their visitor restrictions, I mean, I can't even go in. I don't blame the hospital for that. They're just trying to protect their employees as well, that their employees have families. So I don't blame them for that, but it's terrible. You can't even communicate with the people that are trying to help,” he said on CNN’s “New Day.”

Butrum said Carter is on oxygen and “it’s been really touch-and-go.”

“His doctors are still treating the buildup in his lungs, trying to get that out with breathing treatments. And that's moving along. The good thing for him now is that he's kept his fever down for the past 24 hours. So that's a good sign. Really what's hurting him the most at this point, I think, outside the oxygen, is the exhaustion. You know, it's so difficult for anyone really when you can't sleep but especially someone that doesn't understand the gravity of the situation, and a baby is used to sleeping,” he said. 

Butrum said he appreciates people reaching out to offer help, but said “the gravity of the situation is there's nothing you can do to help me.” 

“I can't go to the hospital. I can't even help him. There's nothing you can do to help the family members. … The only thing you can do to prevent someone else from doing this is to get your vaccine so that another child doesn't have to do this, and another family doesn't have to send their kid away, so another father doesn't have to stand at the back of an ambulance and wonder if that's the last time you're going to see your son, because you can't go with them,” said Butrum, choking up and holding back tears. 

“That's how you can help me. I hate to be so blunt about it, but there's nothing you can do to help me. The only thing you can do to help me is help the next person,” he continued.


8:44 a.m. ET, August 13, 2021

Share your story: Are you returning to an office, classroom or college campus for the first time?

People across the country will be returning this fall to a physical office, workplace, college or school for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic started.

What will be different? What are you excited about? What are you concerned about? 

We want to hear about your plans for a potential story.

8:44 a.m. ET, August 13, 2021

CDC vaccine advisers will vote today on need for additional Covid-19 vaccine doses

From CNN's John Bonifield

Advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are scheduled to vote on Friday on additional doses of mRNA Covid-19 vaccines for people who are immunocompromised, according to an updated agenda posted online Thursday.

The additional dose would be for immunocompromised people who did not have a strong initial response to vaccination.