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Top FDA official says fully vaccinated Americans may need more Covid shots this fall

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Nathan Jacobs, of Boston gets his Covid Booster shot from Sassy Yogurtian at City Hall on December 9, 2021 in, in Boston, MA.

Stuart Cahill | MediaNews Group | Getty Images

People in the U.S. might need another Covid booster shot this fall as public health experts expect immunity from the vaccines to wane and transmission of the virus to increase during colder months, the Food and Drug Administration’s top vaccine official said Tuesday.

Dr. Peter Marks, head of the FDA office responsible for vaccine safety, indicated the U.S. might need to offer fourth shots for people under 50-years-old in the fall. People who are now eligible for fourth shots would likely get a fifth shot if there’s evidence that would be beneficial, Marks told reporters on a conference call.

Marks also said the U.S. could switch to a different vaccine that targets a specific Covid variant or a mix of several. The current vaccines were developed against the original virus that emerged in Wuhan, China in late 2019, and their effectiveness has declined over time as the virus mutates. Pfizer and Moderna are conducting clinical trials on shots that target both omicron and other circulating variants.

The FDA will hold an advisory committee meeting on April 6 to discuss the future of booster shots in the U.S. and whether the vaccines need an update to offer better protection against variants.

“It would not be surprising if there is a potential need for people to get an additional booster in the fall along with a more general booster campaign if that takes place,” Marks said. “It may be that a decision is made that rather than the vaccines we currently have, which are called vaccines against the prototype virus, that we will move to a vaccine that is either against one of the variants or something else.”

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The FDA on Tuesday authorized a fourth dose of Pfizer and Moderna’s original vaccine for people ages 50 and older. The drug regulator also authorized a second booster dose for younger people with compromised immune systems. People ages 12 and older with certain underlying medical conditions are eligible for Pfizer, and people age 18 and older with the same health problems are eligible for Moderna.

Marks said evidence from Israel suggests a fourth dose can reduce the risk of hospitalization and death in older adults. The more contagious omicron subvariant, BA.2, has caused new waves of infection in major European nations as well as in China. The subvariant is now dominant in the U.S. White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said earlier this month that BA.2 could cause infections to rise in the U.S., though he’s not expecting another surge.

Marks said the FDA decided to offer a fourth dose to older adults and a fifth shot to certain individuals with compromised immune systems so they have the tools to protect their health if another wave occurs in the U.S.

Scientists and public health officials are divided over whether more boosters are needed right now. Israeli scientists found that a fourth dose significantly reduced mortality in people age 60 and over compared to people who received three shots. The study from Ben Gurion University and Clalit Health Services, Israel’s largest health-care provider, has not undergone peer review.

However, another Israeli study of health-care workers ages 18 and older indicated that fourth dose did not boost immunity in younger adults, many of whom still got asymptomatic and mild breakthrough infections.

“A fourth vaccination of healthy young health-care workers may have only marginal benefits,” Dr. Gili Regev-Yochay and a team of scientists from Sheba Medical Center and Israel’s Ministry of Health who conducted the study wrote in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine this month.



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Boeing to slash about 2,000 white-collar jobs in finance and HR, report says

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Boeing expects to slash about 2,000 white-collar jobs this year in finance and human resources through a combination of attrition and layoffs, the planemaker confirmed to Seattle Times newspaper on Monday.

Last month, the Virginia-based company announced it would hire 10,000 workers in 2023, but some support positions would be cut.

Back then Boeing acknowledged it will “lower staffing within some support functions” – a move meant to enable it to better align resources to support current products and technology development.

“Over time, some of our corporate functions have grown quite large. And with that growth tends to come bureaucracy or disparate systems that are inefficient,” the newspaper quoted Mike Friedman, a senior director of communications at Boeing as saying. “So we’re streamlining.”

Boeing did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment. 

Last year, Boeing said it plans to cut about 150 finance jobs in the United States to simplify its corporate structure and focus more resources into manufacturing and product development.

Watch CNBC's full interview with Boeing's Dave Calhoun



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Trump appeals sanctions for ‘frivolous’ suit against Hillary Clinton

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presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton attend campaign rallies in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, October 10, 2016 and Manchester, New Hampshire U.S., October 24, 2016 in a combination of file photos.

Mike Segar | Carlos Barria | Reuters

Former President Donald Trump and one of his lawyers said Monday they are appealing nearly $1 million in sanctions imposed on them for what a federal judge called their “frivolous” lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and more than two dozen other defendants.

The court filing about the appeal came days after a lawyer for Trump and his attorney Alina Habba told the judge in the case they were willing to put up a bond of $1,031,788 to cover the costs of the sanctions while the federal Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit considered the matter.

In imposing those sanctions Jan. 19, Judge John Middlebrooks said in an order, “We are confronted with a lawsuit that should never have been filed, which was completely frivolous, both factually and legally, and which was brought in bad faith for an improper purpose.”

Trump’s suit, which sought $70 million in damages, accused Clinton, former FBI officials, the Democratic National Committee and others of conspiring to create a “false narrative” that Trump and his 2016 presidential campaign against Clinton were colluding with Russia to try to win the election that year.

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Middlebrooks in September dismissed the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and barred Trump from refiling the complaint.

He later ordered Trump and Habba to pay more than $937,000 in sanctions.

Middlebrooks in his sanctions order called Trump “a mastermind of strategic abuse of the judicial process,” and a “prolific and sophisticated litigant who is repeatedly using the courts to seek revenge on political adversaries.”

A day after Middlebrooks issued that order, Trump voluntarily dropped another lawsuit he had pending before the same judge against New York Attorney General Letitia James. That suit was related to James’ pending $250 million fraud lawsuit against Trump and his company in Manhattan state court.

Jared Roberts, the lawyer for Trump and Habba, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC about the appeal.



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Nissan to buy up to 15% stake in Renault EV unit under reshaped alliance

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Pavlo Gonchar | LightRocket | Getty Images

Nissan and Renault on Monday unveiled details of their redesigned alliance, with the Japanese car maker committing to buy a stake of up to 15% in Renault’s electric vehicles unit Ampere.

The alliance junior partner Mitsubishi Motors will also consider investing in Ampere, which Renault aims to list, the companies said in a statement.

“Nissan’s intention is to invest up to 15% in Ampere, Renault Group’s EV & Software entity in Europe, with the aim to become a strategic investor,” the statement said ahead of a presentation in London.

The companies had already announced that under the deal to revive their long-standing alliance the French carmaker would reduce its stake in its Japanese partner to 15% from around 43% now.

Renault will transfer 28.4% of Nissan shares into a French trust, making the two more equal partners in the alliance.

Sources close to the matter said the agreement aimed to make the alliance freer and more balanced for the next 15 years.

The partnership will produce synergies from joint projects in Europe, India and Latin America, and the companies will work together in Renault’s flagship EV business, electronics and solid-state batteries. 

Renault will have flexibility to sell the Nissan shares held in the trust but “it has no obligation to sell the shares within a specific pre-determined period of time,” the statement on Monday said.

When it does sell, “Nissan would benefit from a right of first offer, to its or the benefit of a designated third party.”

The two companies last month announced a sweeping remake of their 24-year-old automaking alliance, which was thrown into disarray by the ouster of its architect and former chairman, Carlos Ghosn, amid financial scandal.

That announcement came after nearly four months of intense talks complicated by concerns about the sharing of intellectual property as Renault sought tie-ups with companies outside their alliance.

Renault’s board approved the deal on Sunday night, according to a source. Nissan’s board also approved it early on Monday, the source said.

Investors and analysts will be looking for more clarity on how the trust in which Renault will place the bulk of its Nissan stake will operate.

“There is absolutely no word about what’s going to happen to those shares in the trust,” said CLSA analyst Christopher Richter. “It seems they’re all avoiding the issue of Nissan buying them back which I think would be the best thing for all parties involved.”

Richter said Renault’s brand is not seen as being a strong brand, so it may be tough for the French carmaker to raise money for Ampere.

“I wonder once this thing goes into the market how much money you would really raise, he said. “That’s why I think they’re going to push Nissan to pay too much.”

The unequal relationship between the two carmakers had long been a source of friction among Nissan executives.

While Renault bailed out Nissan two decades ago, it is the smaller automaker by sales.

CLSA’s Richter said that the revamped alliance could enable Nissan and Renault to work together on R&D, shared costs and a few shared products “with a little bit less rancor and acrimony between them,” but added that Honda and General Motors <GM.N> have built a partnership that includes jointly developing lower-cost EVs together without any need for a capital relationship.

“One almost wonders what’s the point of them having any stake in either one, any stake at all,” Richter said.



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