Oct 6, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – Many more toddlers received influenza shots in the first flu season after federal health officials began recommending that step 2 years ago, but they remained a minority, according to a report issued yesterday.In 2004 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) formally recommended flu shots for 6- to 23-month-old children; previously the agency had only “encouraged” vaccination in this age-group. New survey results indicate that 33.4% of those children received at least one dose of flu vaccine for the 2004-05 season, compared with 17.5% the previous season, the CDC said.Also yesterday, the CDC reported that the self-reported flu immunization rate among people aged 65 and older dropped from 67.6% in 2004 to 63.3% in 2005, probably reflecting the vaccine shortage in the 2004-05 flu season. Both immunization reports were published in today’s issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.The findings about toddler immunizations come from the 2005 National Immunization Survey (NIS), an ongoing telephone survey of households, coupled with a mail survey of vaccination providers.The survey used two measures of vaccination coverage for the 2004-05 season: (1) at least one dose between September and December 2004, and (2) full vaccination, defined as two doses between September and December for children never vaccinated before, or at least one dose in that period for children vaccinated previously.Based on household responses and the availability of provider vaccination data, 12,056 children were included in the survey. Of these, 33.4% had received at least one dose of flu vaccine, but only 17.8% were considered fully vaccinated, the CDC reports. Those findings compare with estimates of 17.5% for at least one dose and 8.4% for full vaccination in the 2003-04 season.Immunization rates for toddlers varied widely by location, with single-dose coverage ranging from 9.1% in Clark County, Nev., to 59.3% in Massachusetts, the CDC says.The report notes that the United States had a shortage of flu vaccine in 2004-05 because one manufacturer (Chiron) couldn’t deliver the doses it had planned to. However, the shortage didn’t directly affect the supply for toddlers, because Chiron’s vaccine was not licensed for children under 4 years old.A previous CDC survey, from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), yielded a higher estimate of flu immunization among toddlers in 2004-05: 48.4%. Several factors may explain the difference, the article says.The BRFSS figures are based on reports from parents and are not confirmed by healthcare providers, which might result in overestimates, the CDC says. In addition, the BRFSS used a different definition of the 6- to 23-month-old age-group and a slightly longer vaccination period.Flu shots in elderly sagged in 2005The CDC report of a drop in flu immunization among older people in 2005 came from BRFSS surveys. In the 2004 and 2005 surveys, people were asked whether they had had a flu shot in the preceding 12 months. Survey respondents who were 65 or older numbered 68,514 in 2004 and 87,351 in 2005.In 2005, 63.3% of the elderly respondents said they’d had a flu shot, compared with 67.6% in 2004. The decline in coverage was statistically significant in 16 states, and it exceeded 10% in 13 of those states, the CDC reports.State immunization rates for the elderly varied widely in both years; in 2005 they ranged from 35.3% in Puerto Rico to 78.8% in Minnesota, with a median of 65.5%. Among the states, the median drop in coverage was 5.1%.To assess vaccination coverage in the 2003-04 and 2004-05 flu seasons, the CDC did a separate analysis of the findings from people interviewed in the first 6 months of each of the 2 years. Most people questioned during those periods were reporting on vaccinations received between the preceding September and December, the article says.This analysis revealed a steeper decline in flu immunization than was found in the full-year analysis. In the first half of 2005, 64% of respondents said they had been immunized, down from 73.8% in the first half of 2004. Coverage declined in all but two states and territories; the decreases ranged from 3.2% to 23.7%, with a median of 12.0%. The decline was significant in 44 states and greater than 10% in nine of them.The CDC says the findings suggest that elderly people were affected by the vaccine shortage in 2004-05. About 61 million doses were produced for that season, compared with 87 million the previous season and 95 million in 2002-03, the report says.In response to the supply problems of recent years, the article says the CDC is working with manufacturers and distributors to improve a vaccine-supply tracking system that was first devised in the 2004-05 season.Unlike flu immunizations, pneumococcal vaccination coverage in the elderly was stable over the 2 years. In 2005, 63.7% of respondents reported ever having received pneumococcal vaccine, compared with 63.4% in 2004. Coverage in 2005 ranged from 28.3% in Puerto Rico to 71.7% in North Dakota, with a median of 65.7%.The government has set goals of increasing flu and pneumococcal vaccination coverage among the elderly to 90% by 2010.CDC. Childhood influenza vaccination coverage—United States, 2004-05 influenza season. MMWR 2006 Oct 6;55(39):1061-5 [Full text]CDC. Influenza and pneumococcal vaccination coverage among persons aged >65 years—United States, 2004-2005. MMWR 2006 Oct 6;55(39):1065-8 [Full text]
The appreciation of the euro against the US dollar stifled investment returns from Portuguese occupational pension funds in the second quarter of 2017, according to Willis Towers Watson.Schemes generated a median return of 0.2% over the period. The average 12-month return to the end of June was 2.7%, compared with a 3.3% return for the 12 months to 31 March 2017. Annualised returns for the three years to 30 June rose to 3%, and reached 5.6% for the five-year period.José Marques, senior investment consultant at Willis Towers Watson, said: “The key factor affecting the returns of all assets for euro-zone investors was the euro’s appreciation against the US dollar. Although global equities performed relatively well in local currency over Q2, the strengthening of the euro versus the US dollar resulted in poor returns, -2.4%, when measured in euros.”However, in Portugal pension funds were largely invested in the euro-zone so the impact of the euro’s appreciation was only modest, he said. He said: “Euro equities outperformed most other geographical equities over the quarter. European equities have performed extremely well this year, boosted by higher company earnings compared with analysts’ estimates, and the defeat of right-wing political parties in France and the Netherlands.”Marques continued: “During the quarter, developed market equities [lost] 2.4% in euro terms, underperforming emerging market equities by 2.1%. Developed French and Italian equities returned the best performance from major regions – 2.3% and 2.2% respectively.”The worst performer in euro terms was equities in developed Asia Pacific ex-Japan, which lost 4.8%, predominantly as a result of euro appreciation against Pacific region currencies.Performance figures were submitted by so-called ‘closed’ funds, which are generally pension plans for a single employer or group of companies, and make up the vast bulk of occupational plans in Portugal.The analysis used data covering around €13bn in assets, equal to 80% of the closed pension fund market in Portugal. It incorporated more than 100 pension funds, including the five biggest pension fund managers in the country.Portuguese pension fund portfolios were still heavily dominated by debt, which made up 51.7% of portfolios (including direct and indirect holdings), according to estimates from the Portuguese Association of Investment Funds, Pension Funds and Asset Management (APFIPP). The estimates cover 88% of the Portuguese pension fund market at end-March.Equities made up 22.8%, and real estate 13.1%, of portfolios at that date.Meanwhile, Marques said that government and corporate bonds both made a small positive return in Q2 compared with the losses experienced in Q1.For example, 10-Year EMU government bonds returned 1% over the second quarter of 2017, while European corporate bonds – as measured by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch EMU Non-Sovereigns index – returned 0.2% over the quarter. French bonds delivered positive returns due to a fall in French yields following the presidential election.
Dubai: Former world No. 1 and top seed Simona Halep dug her way out of the pit with a 1-6, 6-2, 7-6 win over Arab region’s best player Ons Jabeur as the quarter-final line-up of the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open was nearly finalised late on Wednesday.Coached by Dubai-based Tunisian Davis Cup player Issam Jallali, the 25-year-old Jabeur was ruthless against her more fancied opponent, currently ranked No. 2 as she came out firing all cylinders. Egged on by a near-full Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, the lone former champion from the three who entered this week, just stuck to a game plan and hung in there before escaping with a memorable win on centre court.“I think I was a little bit lucky there,” Halep told fans later. “It was a tough match and I know she is a really tough player. I had to give everything I had and I am proud that I was able to fight till the end,” the Romanian added.“In the end I don’t know how I could finish that in a right way. But it was up-and-down a lot because she doesn’t give rhythm. It was very weird, but happy I could win. The atmosphere was like a football match or a Fed Cup match. I didn’t really realise what is going on on-court. Everyone was with a lot of energy so we had to give our best. I think it was a great match.”Halep’s opponent in quarter-finals will be seventh seed Aryna Sabalenka after the Belarussian got past Belgium’s Elise Mertens 6-4, 6-3.Earlier in the day, Karolina Pliskova and Garbine Muguruza stemmed the rot after Tuesday’s carnage of seeds even as Elena Rybakina continued to roll into the singles quarter-finals.Making her seventh main draw appearance during which her best was a runners-up spot when she lost to Simona Halep in 2015, Pliskova brushed aside qualifier Kristina Mladenovic 6-1, 6-2 in a little over one hour.Australian Open losing finalist Muguruza, who had survived a battling former world number one Kim Clijsters on the opening night, had to dig in even deeper for a 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 win over Dubai main draw debutant Veronika Kudermetova in nearly two-and-a-half hours.Losing finalist at last weekend’s St Petersburg Open, the 20-year-old Rybakina — who famously packed off Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin on Tuesday — continued her fine form with a smooth 6-3, 6-3 win over Czech qualifier Katerina Siniakova. AgenciesAlso Read: Simona Halep marches into semifinalsAlso Watch: ‘Dehal Kasirodam Utsav’ by Karbi Community observed in Guwahati
Update on the latest in sports: The Olympic body’s public stance eased slightly Wednesday when its president Thomas Bach said the in-house athlete committee would “explore different ways” how opinions could be expressed. Bach says he opposes what he calls “potentially divisive demonstrations.”BROWN-DROPPING SPORTSBrown reinstates track, cross country, in diversity movePROVIDENCE. R.I. (AP) — Brown University has reinstated its men’s varsity track and cross country programs. The school president said dropping the teams to club status would have had a negative effect on efforts to build and maintain diversity on campus, particularly for African Americans.The reversal came two weeks after the school announced it would reduce its number of varsity sports from 38 to 29 in a move designed to make the Bears more competitive in the Ivy League. The Idaho law applies to all sports teams sponsored by public schools, colleges and universities. A girls’ or women’s team will not be open to transgender students who identify as female.NFL-PANTHERS-RICHARDSON STATUECHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A statue of former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has been removed from the spot where it stood outside the team’s stadium for nearly 25 years.A team statement said that it was concerned about possible attempts to take it down. The team didn’t say where the statue would be relocated.Richardson announced in 2017 that he was putting the team up for sale after a Sports Illustrated report, citing unidentified sources, said he made sexually suggestive comments to women and directed a racial slur at an African American team scout. The lawsuits are believed to be the first major filings under a new California law that allows sexual abuse victims to confront in court their abusers and the organizations that protected predators. Assembly Bill 218, which went into effect on Jan. 1, created a three-year window to file past claims that had expired under the statute of limitations.NFL-PACKERS-KERKSEYPackers’ Kirksey benefits from familiar face in new locationUNDATED (AP) — Green Bay’s Christian Kirksey believes his history with his new defensive coordinator will help the veteran linebacker make a smooth transition as he switches teams for the first time. Kirksey signed with the Packers in March after spending his first six NFL seasons in Cleveland.Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine was the Browns’ head coach in 2014-15. Kirksey is counting on his comfort level with Pettine to help as the 27-year-old enters a critical stage of his career. Rory McIlroy said, “It’s going to be very easy to fall back into old habits” because it’s just what they’ve done. McIlroy said they’re having to figure it out as they go along.Players and caddies were among the essential personnel who were tested for the virus when they arrived, and Commissioner Jay Monahan said no one has tested positive.TENNIS-FEDERERFederer won’t return this yearLONDON (AP) — Roger Federer will miss whatever remains of the coronavirus-impacted 2020 tennis season because of a setback in his recovery from surgery on his right knee. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditMLB-TIGERS-TORKELSONTigers draft Arizona State slugger Torkelson with No. 1 pickDETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Tigers selected Arizona State slugger Spencer Torkelson with the No. 1 pick Wednesday night in the Major League Baseball amateur draft. The baseball-bashing Torkelson played first base in college but was announced as a third baseman by Commissioner Rob Manfred. Detroit opened the draft for the second time in three years. Torkelson hit 54 home runs at Arizona State and finished just two shy of Bob Horner’s school record. US SOCCER-ANTHEMUS Soccer repeals rule that banned kneeling during anthemUNDATED (AP) — U.S. Soccer’s board of directors has voted to repeal a 2017 policy that required national team players to stand during the national anthem, a rule adopted after Megan Rapinoe kneeled in support of Colin Kaepernick. The board made the decision during a conference call. Rapinoe took a knee during the anthem at a pair of national team matches in 2016. She said she wanted to express solidarity with Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who silently took a knee during the national anthem before NFL games to raise awareness of police brutality and racial injustice.The U.S. Soccer Athletes’ Council, which includes current national team players Alex Morgan and Ali Krieger, as well as former players like Landon Donovan, called on U.S. Soccer to also apologize for the policy to foster a “positive relationship to exist going forward.”The U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association also called for an apology from U.S. Soccer and a plan to substantively address racial inequality. Brown president Christina H. Paxson wrote in a letter to the campus community she had received strong feedback against the original decision.NCAA TOURNAMENT-IDAHORights groups, athletes ask NCAA to move tourney from IdahoBOISE, Idaho (AP) — Groups that advocate for civil rights and women’s rights have joined notable athletes in asking the NCAA to move the first and second rounds of the 2021 men’s basketball tournament out of Idaho after the state passed a law banning transgender women from competing in women’s sports.A letter sent and signed by a list of professional athletes including Megan Rapinoe, Billie Jean King, Jason Collins and Sue Bird calls for the NCAA to move the games set to be held next March at Boise State University. Williamson’s lawsuit stated that Prime Sports violated the state’s sports agent law, both by failing to include disclaimers about the loss of eligibility when signing a contract and the fact neither Prime Sports nor Ford were registered with the state.US SWIMMING-LAWSUITWomen sue USA Swimming over sexual abuse by coachesUNDATED (AP) — Six women have filed civil lawsuits against USA Swimming, its local associations in California and three now-banned coaches claiming the national governing body failed to protect them from abuse by those coaches. Debra Grodensky, Suzette Moran and Tracy Palmero, along with three other women who remain anonymous, filed three lawsuits this month. Among individuals named in the suits are former U.S. Olympic and national team coach Mitch Ivey, former U.S. national team director Everett Uchiyama and former coach Andrew King.The suits allege USA Swimming, including a former executive director and other top officials along with local associations and clubs were aware of their predatory behavior but refused to address it, creating a culture of abuse that exposed dozens of underage swimmers to sexual abuse and harassment. The 20-time major champion had arthroscopic surgery on his knee in February. Federer posted a statement on Twitter to say he needed an “additional quick arthroscopic procedure” and will take his time to return to 100% fitness.The 38-year-old Federer had initially planned to be sidelined for at least four months but has barely missed any elite tennis since his surgery because the tour has been suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic. TENNIS-KVITOVATwo-time Wimbledon champ added to exhibition lineupUNDATED (AP) — Petra Kvitova will play at a tennis exhibition event next month in Berlin and Tommy Haas will come out of retirement to join in. Stacey Allaster US Open’s 1st female tournament directorNEW YORK (AP) — Stacey Allaster is taking over as the U.S. Open’s tournament director. Allaster is the first woman to hold that job at the American Grand Slam tennis tournament. She is a former CEO of the WTA women’s tour and has worked at the U.S. Tennis Association since 2016. Allaster pushed for changes at the Open such as the serve clock and warmup clock and lobbied for coaching to be allowed during matches. The USTA announced this week it had eliminated 110 positions from its national staff and is expected to decide as soon as next week whether to hold the U.S. Open. June 10, 2020 Organizers added the two-time Wimbledon champion to play against a women’s lineup of Elina Svitolina, Kiki Bertens, Julia Goerges and Andrea Petkovic.Haas hasn’t played since 2017 and is tournament director of the Indian Wells event. He was added to a men’s tournament alongside Dominic 8, Alexander Zverev, Nick Kyrgios and Jannik Sinner.One more player is still to be announced for each of the men’s and women’s events.Organizers plan to play on grass from July 13-15 and then on hard courts from July 17-19. No fans are expected to be able to attend amid the coronavirus pandemic.TENNIS-US OPEN ZION WILLIAMSON-LEGAL WOES CONTINUEWilliamson attorney: allegations of ineligibility ‘baseless’UNDATED (AP) — Attorneys for NBA rookie Zion Williamson’s former marketing agent are continuing their legal push to examine whether the former Duke All-American accepted improper benefits before playing for the Blue Devils. In a court filing Tuesday in the North Carolina case, Prime Sports-Ford attorneys continued to argue that last summer’s No. 1 overall NBA draft pick didn’t meet the definition of a student-athlete because he was “ineligible/permanently ineligible” to play college sports.The filing references housing for Williamson’s family during his time with the Blue Devils as well as three luxury SUVs registered by his mother and stepfather between December 2017 and April 2019 — the latter being the same month Williamson announced he would go pro before ultimately being picked by the New Orleans Pelicans.The argument about Williamson’s eligibility is center of the legal fight over Williamson’s endorsement potential. UNDATED (AP) — NASCAR has banned the Confederate flag from all events and properties. NASCAR says the Confederate flag runs contrary to their commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, competitors and the industry.NASCAR banned the Confederate flag from its races and properties on Wednesday, formally distancing itself from what for many is a symbol of slavery and racism that had been a familiar sight at stock car events for more than 70 years.The move comes amid social unrest around the globe following the death in police custody of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis. Protests have roiled the nation for days and Confederate monuments are being taken down across the South — the traditional fan base for NASCAR.Bubba Wallace, NASCAR’s lone black driver, called this week for the banishment of the Confederate flag and said there was “no place” for them in the sport. At long last, NASCAR obliged.Former chairman Brian France tired in 2015 to ban the flying of Confederate flags at race tracks, a proposal too broad to enforce and one that angered NASCAR’s core Southern-based fan base. Injuries have caused Kirksey to play a total of nine games over the last two seasons.IOC-ATHLETE PROTESTIOC could allow stronger protests by athletes at OlympicsGENEVA (AP) — During a global wave of demonstrations against racism, the IOC says it’s opening talks that could let athletes make stronger protests at the Olympic Games.Only five months ago the Olympic body strengthened its ban on political statements by specifying that gestures such as taking a knee or raising a fist on a medal podium remain prohibited. The league’s 26 teams will be divided into six groups for the opening round of the tournament played without fans at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex at Walt Disney World. Sixteen teams will advance to the knockout round, with the winner earning a spot in the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League.Following the tournament, teams will resume the season in their home markets.GOLF-RYDER CUPQualifying extended for Ryder CupUNDATED (AP) — Brooks Koepka feels so strongly against a Ryder Cup without fans that he could see a scenario where some players protested by not playing. Would he be one of them? Koepka says that’s possible. Rory McIlroy is convinced it won’t come to that. McIlroy says he’s fairly certain the Sept. 25-27 matches at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin will have fans. The PGA of America is proceeding with an adjusted qualifying system for the U.S. team. Because golf was shut down for three months, the qualifying will be extended by one week. Steve Stricker now gets six captain’s picks for his U.S. Ryder Cup team. FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The PGA Tour is not simply picking up where it left off.Very little about the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial resembles the opening round of The Players Championship on March 12, the last professional golf played before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down golf and most everything else.Players return to a new set of rules, starting with mandatory tests for the coronavirus when they first arrive and having their temperatures taken before they can get to the parking lot.On the course, players are to make every effort to practice social distancing and show best practices for playing golf.But Wednesday’s activity was not a good start. Players and caddies exchanged clubs (players are supposed to handle the clubs themselves). Caddies were not wiping down the flagsticks or bunker rakes after use. Social distancing felt more like a guideline. Aerial video showed a huge crane lifting the statue from its pedestal to a flatbed tractor-trailer. MLS TOURNAMENTMLS to resume with tournamentUNDATED (AP) — Major League Soccer is set to resume its season with a tournament starting July 8 in Florida.The league suspended play on March 12 because of the coronavirus outbreak after its teams had played just two games. In other MLB news:— Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says there is a “100%” chance of big league ball this year. Major League Baseball will make another proposal to start the pandemic-delayed season in empty ballparks, but Manfred vowed to unilaterally order opening day if an agreement is not reached. The players’ association made its second proposal Tuesday, asking for an 89-game regular season and 100% of prorated salaries. MLB’s plan a day earlier was for a 76-game season, would guarantee 50% of prorated salaries and hinge 25% in additional money on the postseason’s completion.— The Coca-Cola Co. has ended its sponsorship of Major League Baseball after three seasons but will continue to support 16 MLB teams at the local level. PepsiCo Inc. sponsored MLB from 1997-2016.NASCAR-CONFEDERATE FLAG BANNEDNASCAR bans Confederate flag from its races and properties Associated Press Those three months wiped out three majors from the qualifying period. It all depends on whether the Ryder Cup is played as scheduled. A decision is expected by the end of the month.Players lost nine events that offered qualifying points.The change also means Justin Thomas and Tiger Woods are now outside the automatic qualifiers although qualifying is just over 60% completed.GOLF-COLONIALGolf passes initial test with no positive results from virus