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Ask SAM: So, how much has the government paid drug companies for COVID-19 vaccinations?
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Ask SAM: So, how much has the government paid drug companies for COVID-19 vaccinations?

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Q: Is there any way to know how much the U.S. government paid the drug companies for the COVID-19 vaccinations?

D.D.

Answer: According to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report from March, a total of about $20 billion has been spent on COVID vaccinations.

Here’s a breakdown of how much each drug company got:

Pfizer: $6 billion (29.4%)

Moderna: $5.3 billion (26.1%)

Sanofi: $2.2 billion (10.6%).

Janssen: $2.1 billion (10.5%)

AstraZeneca: $1.6 billion (7.9%)

Novavax: $1.6 billion (8.0%)

An additional $1.5 billion (7.5%) went for vaccine related expenses.

Q: I live off Polo Road near Deacon Station Apartments. I saw several beagles and handlers at the complex recently and wondered if something was wrong.

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L.R.

Answer: Wake Forest University students live at Deacon Station, so SAM turned to Cheryl Walker, a spokeswoman for Wake Forest University. Walker said the dogs were there as part of routine maintenance.

“Wake Forest leases space at Deacon Station,” she said. “As part of preventative maintenance, the university inspects leased units before they are occupied. The inspections were routine and not responsive to a problem.”

Q: Are we in the “dog days” of summer?

D.C.

Answer: Yes. The phrase “dog days” refers to a period of hot and uncomfortable weather during July and August. The days included in that period vary, and in ancient Rome the dog days were considered to last from July 23 or 24 to Aug. 23 or 24.

They are “now often reckoned from July 3 to Aug. 11,” according to Dictionary.com, and the phrase is also more generally used to denote “a period marked by lethargy, inactivity or indolence.”

The phrase is a translation of the Latin phrase “dies caniculares,” which means “days of the dog star,” because during those months, the rising of Sirius, the dog star, coincides with the rising of the sun.

Sirius, part of the constellation Canis Major (the name means “the greater dog” in Latin), is by far the brightest star in the nighttime sky. Some ancient stargazers concluded that the sun and Sirius rising together made the days extra hot. But the star has nothing to do with the heat; the sun gets all the credit.

The book “Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning” quotes an ancient astronomer, Geminos, as saying: “It is generally believed that Sirius produces the heat of the dog days; but this is an error, for the star merely marks a season of the year when the sun’s heat is the greatest.”

Upcoming shredding events

Fries Memorial Moravian Church, 251 N. Hawthorne Road, Winston Salem, will have Community Shred Day from 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 11. Shamrock Shredding will be shredding documents on-site in the church parking. Donations of $5 per file box or bag are requested. Proceeds will benefit local ministries. Donations of non-perishable food for Sunnyside Ministry will also be accepted.

The Bermuda Run Garden Club will have a shredding event from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 16 in the parking lot of the Bermuda Run Town Hall, 120 Kinderton Blvd., Bermuda Run, off U.S. 158. The cost is $5, cash only, per paper grocery bag or equivalent size box. Proceeds will benefit Davie County community programs. For more information, call 336-650-5518.

Email: AskSAM@wsjournal.com

Online: journalnow.com/asksam

Write: Ask SAM, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101

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