Pfizer and BioNTech have asked federal regulators to authorize emergency use of their coronavirus vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11, the companies announced Thursday.The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will need to sign off on the vaccine before it becomes available to children of those ages.An independent expert panel will review the data Oct.26.”With new cases in children in the U.S.
continuing to be at a high level, this submission is an important step in our ongoing effort against #COVID19,” Pfizer tweeted .”We’re committed to working with the FDA with the ultimate goal of helping protect children against this serious public health threat.” Pfizer and its German vaccine partner released data from a clinical trial last month indicating their vaccine was safe and effective for children ages 5 to 11 at one-third of the dose given to adolescents and adults.The vaccine could be crucial for elementary schools, where no students have had access to vaccination because of age limits.
The study of 2,268 volunteers ages 5 to 11 showed they mounted the same type of strong immune response to the vaccine as teens and young adults.Because the vaccine has already proved effective in older groups, the companies only had to show that it led to a similar immune response in children – rather than prove it prevented COVID-19 infections.Also in the news: ►In another sign that the surge of COVID-19 cases fueled by the delta variant is waning, San Francisco will lift mask mandates on some public indoor venues that require proof of vaccination starting Oct.15.Surrounding counties in the Bay Area are also relaxing masking rules.►High school weight rooms are being renovated and new football fields are getting built.The money for these high school sports projects was part of a $123 billion infusion intended to help schools reopen and recover from the pandemic.But some districts have used large portions for athletics projects they couldn’t previously afford.
►Health authorities in Spain say the key 14-day infection rate of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people has dropped below 50 for the first time since July 2020, which Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez called “a crucial milestone.” ► A Texas man who posted on Facebook that he paid someone sick with COVID-19 to intentionally spread the virus was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison .He was found guilty on two counts for violating a federal law that criminalizes false information and hoaxes related to biological weapons after pretending to have someone spread COVID-19 at a San Antonio grocery store.►The World Health Organization is working to ship COVID-19 medical supplies into North Korea, a possible sign that the North is easing one of the world’s strictest pandemic border closures to receive outside help.📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S.
has recorded more than 44 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 708,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data .
Global totals: More than 236.6 million cases and 4.83 million deaths.More than 186.5 million Americans – 56.5% of the population – are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC .📘 What we’re reading: Schools and parents are still burdened by COVID-19 cases, contact tracing and quarantines.
Remote learning has returned in some cases.In others, kids are back to sitting at home without work.Unlike last year, most classrooms are open, but they operate amid shifting health recommendations and frequent fights over masks.When will school be normal again? Many educators, parents and students look past the health hurdles and say: Never.
Read more here.Keep refreshing this page for the latest news.Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY’s Coronavirus Watch newsletter to receive updates directly to your inbox and join our Facebook group .Two new studies show the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine provided diminished protection over time against coronavirus infection, although one of them presented strong evidence the shots continue to offer powerful protection against severe COVID, hospitalization and death.The studies, conducted in Israel and Qatar , were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.Both concluded that vaccine protection diminishes the most for people age 65 and older as well as the immunocompromised, supporting the Biden administration’s moves to prioritize those groups for booster shots.The studies serve as a warning about the continued dangers of the coronavirus despite the development of vaccines, and the likely need for boosters.
“Strategies to prolong host immunity need to be evaluated in order to protect the population against SARS-CoV-2 and its variants,” researchers in the Israel study said.
More than four in 10 Americans aren’t sure about or aren’t planning on getting a flu shot this year, a new survey found, a trend public health experts say could exacerbate a worse-than-average flu season .Last year’s worries around a “twindemic” of influenza and COVID-19 overwhelming hospitals around the nation did not materialize because of a historically mild flu season.But with COVID-19 vaccinations affording many people a return to more “normal” lives of socialization and in-person work during flu season, hospitals and health systems could be strained in parts of the country where vaccination against both viruses remains low, doctors say.”We’re particularly concerned because COVID is out there,” said Dr.William Schaffner, medical director for the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.”Flu will come back this year.
And we don’t want to further stress our already very stressed health care system.” – Ryan W.Miller A Maryland man accused of killing his pharmacist brother and sister-in-law had expressed anger about the administering of COVID-19 vaccinations , according to court documents obtained by multiple media outlets.Jeffrey Burnham, 46, was arrested Friday in West Virginia after an 18-hour search.He was charged with killing his brother, Brian Robinette, 58, and sister-in-law, Kelly Sue Robinette, 57, at their home near Baltimore.Burham’s mother said Burham told her he planned to confront his brother about the coronavirus vaccine and that he believed it was the government’s attempt at “killing people with the COVID-19 shot.” – Scott Gleeson The White House released a report early Thursday on the effects of vaccination requirements in the U.S., contending that mandating vaccines will lead to millions more Americans getting shots.The report was released ahead of President Joe Biden’s trip to Chicago, where he will meet leaders who implemented vaccination requirements in public and private sectors, analyzed health care systems, educational institutions, public-sector agencies and private businesses.
The report found that businesses instituting vaccine requirements have seen their number of fully vaccinated workers rise above 90%.
Nationwide, 63% of adults 18-64 are fully inoculated.“Without vaccination requirements, we face endless months of chaos in our hospitals, further detrimental impacts on our economy, and anxiety in our schools,” the report reads.According to the White House analysis, vaccine requirements have broad public support and will help boost the economy by bringing workers back to the labor force.
But a number of Republican-led states have remained steadfast in opposing such requirements, going as far as punishing areas that attempt to enlist such directives.The Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System reported Tuesday that 99% of its workforce is compliant with its COVID-19 vaccination requirement.The figure means team members are either fully vaccinated, on the way to completing a two-dose regimen or have received an approved medical or religious exemption.“This is a true testament to Team HFHS and how much our team cares about your health, the community’s health, their own health and the health of their teammates,” said Bob Riney, president of Healthcare Operations and Chief Operating Officer, during a briefing with reporters.
“We’re really grateful for their dedication.” A Colorado health system is requiring “almost all” organ transplant patients to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before they receive their transplant.UCHealth confirmed to USA TODAY that “in almost all situations, transplant recipients and living donors” within the system “are now required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in addition to meeting other health requirements.” For transplant patients who contract COVID-19, the mortality rate can range from 20% to over 30%, significantly higher than the general population, the health system said.“These requirements increase the likelihood that a transplant will be successful and the patient will avoid rejection,” UCHealth said in a statement.– Marina Pitofsky At least 140,000 children across the U.S.have lost a primary or secondary caregiver to COVID-19, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Pediatrics.The study highlights a pandemic-driven childhood crisis and its disproportionate impact.Researchers found children of color account for 65% of those orphaned from COVID-19 through June.That’s more than 91,000 children of color, compared to 51,000 white children.
Hispanic children were twice as likely as white children to lose a caregiver, and one in every 412 Hispanic children lost at least one, the study found.
Indigenous children, who had the highest risk, were almost five times more likely; about 1 in every 168 Native American children lost a caregiver.The study’s lead author, CDC epidemiologist Susan Hillis, called the disparities “disturbing.” Read more here.– Nada Hassanein As coronavirus cases drop in Mississippi schools, doctors warn children infected with COVID-19 are still filling up the state’s only pediatric hospital as some schools are again doing away with mask requirements.Of 740 schools reporting from 73 of Mississippi’s 82 counties, there were more than 800 new COVID-19 cases in Mississippi students statewide from Sept.27 through Oct.1, according to the health department’s Tuesday report .Some Mississippi schools have begun to relax mask mandates as community cases have started to decline.
The American Academy of Pediatrics Mississippi Chapter wrote a Thursday memo to school leaders and parents saying mask-wearing in schools is imperative to lessening COVID-19 transmission.– Sarah Haselhorst, The Clarion Ledger The Biden administration on Wednesday announced a new $1 billion investment in home coronavirus tests that will quadruple the nation’s supply of these rapid tests by early December, officials said.The administration has secured commitments from test manufacturers to supply up to 200 million home tests per month by December, said Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator.
Last month, the Biden administration announced it would spend nearly $2 billion to purchase about 280 million coronavirus home tests to supply long-term-care facilities, community testing sites, homeless shelters, prisons, jails and other centers that serve vulnerable populations.On Monday, the FDA authorized ACON Laboratories’ Flowflex COVID-19 home test, a move that would add tens of millions of tests within weeks, an FDA official said.– Ken Alltucker, USA TODAY A 37-year-old woman died Sept.
7 from a rare and severe condition causing blood clots that has been linked to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.Jessica Berg Wilson, a mother of two, was opposed to COVID-19 vaccinations, according to her obituary .
During the last weeks of her life, “the world turned dark with heavy-handed vaccine mandates,” it reads.“Local and state governments were determined to strip away her right to consult her wisdom and enjoy her freedom.” Three other deaths from the blood clots have been confirmed nationally.The CDC and FDA paused the J&J vaccine for 10 days in April to investigate, but ultimately lifted the pause and resumed use of the vaccine .Contributing: Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY; The Associated Press.