Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today?

FDA panel approves vaccines for children In a move eagerly awaited by many parents and educators across the United States, an FDA advi...

In a move eagerly awaited by many parents and educators across the United States, an FDA advisory committee Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine recommended for children 5 to 11 years old. If fully authorized, snapshots could be offered as early as next week.

External FDA experts voted after regulators argued that thousands of children aged 5 to 11 have been hospitalized with Covid-19 and nearly 100 have died during the pandemic. Seventeen committee members voted in favor of the pediatric dose; one abstained.

The panel voted to give children in this age group a dose that is one-third of the strength given to people 12 years and older, in two injections, three weeks apart.

The decision paves the way for the vaccination of 28 million children in the United States. A survey has shown that about a third of parents of elementary school students are eager to vaccinate their children right away, while a third prefer to wait.

Here are some answers to some common questions about vaccines and children.

How effective is Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children?

In clinical trials, children who received the vaccine produces a strong immune response, comparable to antibody levels seen in previous studies of participants aged 16 to 25. But children in the 5 to 11 age group got this response with 10 micrograms of the vaccine, one-third of the dose given to older people. children and adults. Pfizer presented trial data, claiming its vaccine had a 91% effectiveness rate against symptomatic Covid-19.

What about the side effects?

Side effects tend to be mild and similar to those seen in young adults. At higher doses, researchers observed more side effects in young children, including fever, headache and fatigue, although none were serious, experts said. After lowering the strength of the dose, the researchers said they saw less side effects.

In rare cases, the vaccine has caused myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, in young men. Federal health officials said heart disease tended to be mild and resolve quickly. None of the children involved in Pfizer’s clinical trial developed this heart disease, but that was expected given its rarity.

Why vaccinate children against Covid-19?

Nearly two million children aged 5 to 11 have been infected, 8,300 have been hospitalized and nearly 100 have died during the pandemic. Dr Peter Marks, who heads the division of the FDA that oversees vaccine approvals, told the FDA panel that Covid is now one of the top 10 causes of death in children aged 5 to 11.

In the Opinion section of the Times, Lee Savio Beers, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, argued that a childhood vaccination campaign could help slow the spread of the disease to unvaccinated and more at risk adults, reduce its toll for everyone.

For 11 year olds about to turn 12, is it better to wait for the adult dose or take the smaller dose right away? Does the child’s weight or height make a difference?

Five experts in immunology and infectious diseases agreed: The appropriate dosage for children is best determined by age, not height. So if your 11-year-old can get the vaccine starting in November, do it right away rather than waiting until your child is 12.

Weight is an important factor when giving a medicine to a young child like Tylenol because there is a great variation in weight from infancy to childhood and too much of the medicine can be toxic. The optimal dose of vaccine, however, depends on age and is adjusted to minimize potential side effects.

What happens next?

The FDA usually follows the advice of its advisory group, and the head of the agency will make its final decision, usually within a few days.

Then, an advisory committee to the CDC will review the FDA’s decision and make recommendations, which the CDC typically follows. The CDC director will then issue the agency guidelines. State health departments typically follow CDC recommendations. Federal officials have said that if pediatric doses of the Pfizer vaccine are permitted, 15 million doses of the vaccine will immediately be shipped to states for distribution.

Moderna announced today that it will sell up to 110 million doses of its vaccine to African countries after facing criticism for keeping its Covid vaccine out of reach of the poorest countries.

The company said it would deliver 15 million snapshots by the end of this year and 35 million more by the end of March. This is a modest increase in supply for a continent with severe vaccine shortages and some of the lowest vaccination rates in the world.

The Times reported this month that Moderna aggressively chased profits, and that its shots went almost entirely to richer countries. The company has come under heavy criticism for not sharing its vaccine recipe or transferring its technology to manufacturers in poorer countries who could produce doses for local markets.

However, Moderna said today that she is “working on plans” to bottle doses of her Covid vaccine somewhere on the African continent as early as 2023, in addition to her plans announced this month to open a factory. in Africa at an unspecified date. (BioNTech – the German company that has partnered with Pfizer to produce its Covid vaccine – also said today that it plans next year to start building a factory somewhere in Africa to make vaccines.)

Experts argue that rather than sending in vaccines and promising to build facilities, it would be more efficient for Moderna and Pfizer share their expertise and license their technology. Less than 6% of Africans are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

“It’s a drop in the ocean for what the needs are,” Fatima Hassan, head of the Health Justice Initiative in South Africa, said of Moderna’s announcement. “That’s up to 110 million for a population and a continent of 1.3 billion.”

When the pandemic slowed down lives and kept many people at home, some of us returned to the garden, worked on family recipes, or watched binge-worthy television.

Others have found solace in the books, reverting to their old favorites or researching new titles to help manage the moment. If this sounds like you, we would love to hear from you.

We ask readers: which book left its mark on you the most during the pandemic – and why?

Let us know using this form. We may publish your response in a future newsletter.

I am back at the office where I share an open space with 30 other colleagues. Unfortunately, I have to clean my desk, chair and computer when I arrive. I find dirty towels or cups left out every few days. People are tired of talking with their masks on. I don’t want to think about what it will be like in winter, when the windows are closed and the heat is on. However, I am happy to chat with some of my colleagues and to no longer be alone at home!

– Hélène Lionnet, Paris

Let us know how you are dealing with the pandemic. Send us an answer here, and we can feature it in a future newsletter.

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Amelia Nierenberg contributed to today’s newsletter.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today?
Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today?
Newsrust - US Top News
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