PHENIX CITY, Ala. — Sometimes when she’s feeding her infant daughter, Amanda Harrison is overcome with emotion and has to wipe away tears of gratitude. She is lucky to be here, holding her baby. Harrison was 29 weeks pregnant and unvaccinated when she got sick with COVID-19 in August. Her symptoms were mild at first, but she suddenly felt like she couldn’t breathe. Living in Phenix City, Alabama, she was intubated and flown to a hospital in Birmingham, where doctors delivered baby Lake two months early and put Harrison on life support. Kyndal Nipper, who hails from outside Columbus, Georgia, had only a brief bout with COVID-19 but a more tragic outcome. She was weeks away from giving birth in July when she lost her baby, a boy she and her husband planned to name Jack. Now Harrison and Nipper are sharing their stories in an attempt to persuade pregnant women to get COVID-19 vaccinations to protect themselves and their babies. Their warnings come amid a sharp increase in the number of severely ill pregnant women that led to 22 pregnant women dying from COVID in August, a one-month record.
Federal regulators are expected to authorize the mixing and matching of COVID-19 booster shots this week in an effort to provide flexibility for those seeking to maintain protection against the coronavirus. The upcoming announcement by the Food and Drug Administration is likely to come along with authorization for boosters of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots and follows the authorization of a third dose for the Pfizer vaccine for many Americans last month. The move was previewed Tuesday by a U.S. health official familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly ahead of the announcement.
The U.S. stock market certainly shook when hundreds of thousands of regular people suddenly piled into GameStop early this year, driving its price to heights that shocked professional investors. But it didn't break. That's one of the takeaways from a report by the Securities and Exchange Commission's staff released Monday about January's “meme-stock” mania. As GameStop's stock shot from $39 to $347 in just a week, some of the stock market's plumbing began creaking, but the report indicated the market's basic systems and operations remained sound. The surge for GameStop and other downtrodden stocks also laid bare how much power is being wielded by a new generation of smaller-pocketed and novice investors, armed with apps on their phones that make trading fun.