On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for teens ages 12 to 15, which became the first injection to receive that kind of clearance in the U.S. The decision is welcome news to school districts struggling withhealthy in a pandemic. Teens 16 years and older already qualify for some vaccines as schools scramble to ensure seniors prepare for graduation.
The decision means adolescents ages 12 to 15 could qualify for shots as soon as Thursday, after the Wednesday meeting of an advisory committee to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Presidentsaid last week that 20,000 pharmacy locations are ready to begin vaccinating adolescents once approvals come through.
The president said that shots would also be available soon through pediatricians’ offices. “And if teens are on the move this, they can get their first shot in one place and a second shot elsewhere.” That may be more complicated in reality. FDA officials speaking late Monday said that while their authorization covers the entire country, each state may have its about administering vaccines, so not all pharmacies or vaccination sites available to adults will be open to adolescents.
Since it was authorized in December, older teens, ages 16 and 17, have been allowed to get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The other two vaccines licensed in the USA, from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, have not been available to minors because studies are still underway.
Also, in the news:
►The World Health Organization designated the B.1.617 variant first discovered in India as a “variant of concern.” India has been experiencing a deepening pandemic crisis as the variant runs rampant, which has since been found in 32 countries, including the United States.
►The president of El Salvador says he will donate coronavirus vaccines to seven towns in Honduras even though his own country’s vaccination effort is still struggling.
►Publix pharmacies are now accepting walk-ins for theAlabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
►New York state’s positivity rate fell to its lowestbefore Halloween, and new cases fell 26% last week compared with the prior week, state and federal records show.
📈 Today’s numbers: According to Johns Hopkins University data, the U.S. has more than 32.74 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 582,100 deaths. The global total: Over 158.6 million cases and 3.29 million deaths. According to the CDC, more than 329.8 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S., and more than 261.5 million have been administered. Over 115.5 million34.8% of the population.
📘 What we’re reading: Adistancing, mask-wearing, hand washing, and staying home to prevent coronavirus spread rendered the 2020-2021 influenza season practically nonexistent. Read more here. Keep refreshing this page for the . Want more? Sign up for our Coronavirus Watch newsletter for updates to your inbox, and join our .
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the pandemic’s effects could erase the U.S.’s gains in reducing its dropout rate, which fell from 9.3% in 2007 to 5.1% in 2019. “If we lose a student, it is going to be after kicking and screaming and fighting tooth and nail for them,” said Troy Pitsch, who supervises high school principals in Kansas City, Kansas.
unemployment programs geared to the pandemic on June 19. The decision means the state will drop the additional $300 weekly payment in unemployment benefits. The governor follows other Republicans, such as South Carolina’s Henry McMaster, who have announced early withdrawal from the federal programs, claiming they discourage some people from looking for employment and thus create a labor shortage. “There are no industry shutdowns, and daycares are operating with no restrictions,” Ivey said in a statement. “Vaccinations are available for all adults. Alabama is giving the federal to work.” – Brian Lyman, Montgomery Advertiser.
The information would help quickly show if a vaccine was compelling enough without needing large-scale, lengthy trials. “All you’d have to do iswith a new vaccine, measure their antibodies, and you’re done,” says biostatistician Dr. Peter Gilbert. “And you could do it with maybe 400 people instead of 40,000.” – Elizabeth Weise.
will release $36 billion to colleges nationally to help universities and students struggling during the pandemic. The funds are a part of the American Rescue Plan, and half is direct to students.
In addition to the direct grants, the department said colleges could use the money to retain students or help re-enroll those who dropped out due to the pandemic. Colleges could also use the funds to helpon campus.
Public and private nonprofit universities can use some funding to offset costs related to the pandemic, such as lost revenue, expenses tied to providing online education, or faculty and staff training. must direct all the money they receive to students directly.
International students and DACA recipients had been excluded from previous emergency funding under former President. On Monday evening, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said the relief funding would now include all students in a call with reporters.
In a quarterly report released Monday, Novavax said it intends to seek that clearance and the OK from European regulatory agencies by the third quarter. The company also revised its anticipatedmonthly doses by the end of September. Novavax has a production and manufacturing deal with the , and its vaccine is widely anticipated in developing countries.
Contributing: Karen Weintraub,