Latest News on the COVID-19 Pandemic
COVID-19 Vaccine for Children
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued emergency use authorization for BioNTech, Pfizer vaccine, for children ages 5 to 11. This is the first COVID-19 vaccine authorized for children in the United States. According to a clinical trial by Pizer, the BioNTech, Pfizer vaccine provides more than 90% protection against symptomatic children. The vaccine for children is formulated at one-third the dose of the vaccine used for people 12 and older. Now it is up to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to decide if the BioNTech, Pfizer vaccine should be administered to children. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices meets November 2nd to decide if they will recommend the COVID-19 vaccine to children. The CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, makes the final decision on if the vaccine should be administered to children. Assuming the CDC signs off on the emergency use of BioNTech, Pfizer vaccine, for children ages 5 to 11, the White House has stated they have a plan in place to distribute vaccines to children.
COVID-19 Booster Shots for Adults
Currently, the CDC recommends booster shots for the mRNA vaccines, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Dr. Rochelle Walensky stated COVID-19 vaccines “are all highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even in the midst of the widely circulating Delta variant,”. The CDC stated it is safe to mix and match COVID-19 vaccines. Meaning if you received the Moderna vaccine, you could receive the Pfizer-BioNTech or Johnson & Johnson vaccine as your booster shot and vice versa. There is little evidence to show one vaccine as more effective than the other. People eligible for booster shots include people 65 and older and all adults at high risk of COVID-19 due to medical conditions or due to place of work. Booster shots are recommended at least 6 months after receiving the 2nd dose of either Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines and at least two months after receiving 1 dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
COVID-19 Delta Variant
As hope emerged that the COVID-19 pandemic could recede, new mutations surfaced as vaccines became available to help stop the spread of the deadly virus. The Delta variant specifically has surfaced in the United States. The delta variant accounts for more than 99% of COVID-19 cases in the US. Studies conclude the delta variant is twice as contagious as previous variants and more likely to cause hospitalization. Unvaccinated people have the highest number of COVID-19 cases. It is incredibly important to get vaccinated to prevent severe symptoms, hospitalization, and death. As COVID-19 continues to spread and new mutations surface, it is incredibly important to get vaccinated and to continue to follow COVID-19 safety practices, including wearing a mask, social distancing, and hand washing.
1. Fox, Maggie. “FDA Authorizes Pfizer's Covid-19 Vaccine for Kids 5 to 11.” CNN, Cable News Network, 29 Oct. 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/29/health/pfizer-vaccine-fda-eua-young-kids-bn/index.html.
2. Mandavilli, Apoorva. “C.D.C. Recommends Covid Booster Shots for Millions of Americans.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 21 Oct. 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/21/health/covid-vaccine-boosters-cdc.html.
3. Katella, Kathy. “5 Things to Know about the Delta Variant.” Yale Medicine, Yale Medicine, 28 Oct. 2021, https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/5-things-to-know-delta-variant-covid.