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FDA authorizes Pfizer booster for kids ages 16-17: Live updates

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The Meals and Drug Administration on Thursday approved booster photographs of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for 16- and 17-year-olds at the very least six months after their preliminary doses.

The third dose is similar to the opposite two. Booster doses are already inspired for individuals over 18 who had their earlier Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines at the very least six months earlier, or the Johnson & Johnson shot at the very least two months prior. The U.S. authorities has pre-purchased sufficient doses to offer boosters freed from cost to anybody who qualifies.

“The booster vaccination will increase the extent of immunity and dramatically improves safety in opposition to COVID-19 in all age teams studied thus far,” Ugur Sahin, CEO and co-founder of BioNTech, mentioned in a press release. “It is very important supply everybody a booster, significantly in opposition to the background of the newly rising variants comparable to Omicron.”

A preliminary examine launched Wednesday by Pfizer and BioNTech confirmed solely weak safety in opposition to the brand new omicron variant after two photographs however recommended safety could be totally restored after a 3rd one.

Nonetheless Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Training Middle at Youngsters’s Hospital of Philadelphia, mentioned in a Wednesday name with the media he doesn’t suppose youngsters want booster photographs. They’re extraordinarily unlikely to change into severely in poor health from any of the recognized variants of COVID-19, he mentioned, and males on this age group run the next danger than older males of myocarditis, a swelling of the guts muscle. 

The Biden administration has really useful everybody who’s eligible for a booster shot ought to get one.

Karen Weintraub

Additionally within the information:

►The NBA’s Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors canceled their Thursday practices, citing an abundance of warning with COVID-19 well being and security protocols.

►African governments may need to resort to vaccine mandates if their residents don’t hurry to get the more and more out there doses, Africa Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention director John Nkengasong mentioned Thursday.

►College of Wisconsin regents voted Thursday to permit scholar candidates to forego sending in ACT and SAT take a look at scores for one more two years. Many schools throughout the nation have suspended rating submissions due to the pandemic.

►Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce examined optimistic for the coronavirus whereas touring in Washington, D.C. Joyce, who’s totally vaccinated, mentioned he has  skilled gentle signs and can stay in isolation whereas searching for additional recommendation.

►A Massachusetts man who used stolen identities to fraudulently apply for pandemic-related unemployment advantages has been sentenced to greater than three years in jail. Wagner Sozi, 33, was additionally ordered to pay about $110,000 in forfeiture and restitution, the U.S. lawyer’s workplace in Boston introduced.

📈As we speak’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded greater than 49.5 million confirmed COVID-19 instances and greater than 793,600 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. International totals: Greater than 268.2 million instances and 5.2 million deaths. Greater than 200 million People – 60% of the inhabitants – are totally vaccinated, according to the CDC.

📘What we’re studying: The COVID-19 pandemic, as a well being emergency accompanied by disruption and isolation for households and youngsters, has aggravated mental health issues for both adults and children, analysis exhibits.

Hold refreshing this web page for the most recent information. Need extra? Sign up for USA TODAY’s Coronavirus Watch free newsletter to obtain updates on to your inbox and join our Facebook group.

Emergence of variants augurs a future with extra COVID vaccine photographs

That third shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine the businesses are  recommending most likely will not be the final one required to maintain the coronavirus at bay.

Variant-specific photographs and boosters at the very least yearly will most likely be a part of the longer term routine, based on Pfizer chief scientific officer Mikael Dolsten.

The emergence of the brand new, extremely mutated omicron variant “will increase the chance that sooner or later there will likely be a shift to a variant vaccine,” Dolsten told Bloomberg, including that the booster shot now being broadly promoted will purchase time for the event of a vaccine that targets omicron. 

That course of has already begun, not solely by Pfizer however different vaccine makers as effectively. Early studies out of South Africa, the place omicron was first recognized, point out omicron is at the very least partially capable of elude vaccine-induced safety, though most preliminary infections among the many vaccinated have resulted in gentle sickness.

Delta is the issue, not omicron. A minimum of for now.

The most recent mutation of the coronavirus, omicron, is making headlines throughout the nation. However the earlier extreme mutation, delta, is answerable for the hovering variety of infections and hospitalizations throughout the nation. Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, says omicron, first recognized in South Africa final month, “nearly actually just isn’t extra extreme” than delta.

“There may be some suggestion that it would even be much less extreme,” Fauci instructed Agence France-Presse this week. “While you have a look at a number of the cohorts which are being adopted in South Africa, the ratio between the variety of infections and the variety of hospitalizations appears to be lower than with delta.”

New instances within the U.S. climbed from a median of almost 95,000 a day on Nov. 22 to nearly 119,000 a day this week, and hospitalizations are up 25% from a month in the past. The will increase are nearly totally from the delta variant, although omicron has been confirmed in at the very least 21 states and is certain to unfold much more.

Deaths are working near 1,600 a day on common, again as much as the place they have been in October. And the general U.S. loss of life toll lower than two years into the pandemic figures to hit the 800,000 milestone in a matter of days.

FDA authorizes new COVID drug for individuals with critical well being issues

Federal well being officers on Wednesday approved a brand new COVID-19 antibody drug for individuals with critical well being issues or allergic reactions who can’t get enough safety from vaccination. The AstraZeneca antibody drug cleared by the FDA is the primary antibody remedy meant for long-term prevention in opposition to COVID-19 an infection, moderately than a short-term remedy. Beneficiaries will embrace most cancers sufferers, organ transplant recipients and other people taking immune-suppressing medication for situations like rheumatoid arthritis. Well being consultants estimate about 2% to three% of the U.S. inhabitants falls into that group.

“These individuals nonetheless should shelter in place as a result of they’re at actually excessive danger of extreme illness and loss of life,” Dr. David Boulware of the College of Minnesota mentioned forward of the announcement. “So having this remedy will allow a number of them to get again to their regular lives.”

COVID vaccine refusers gasoline chain response of issues to well being care

Those that refuse to take COVID-19 vaccines are creating a lethal domino impact, a Michigan physician is warning. They’re getting sick, spreading the virus to family members and the group, filling hospital beds and utilizing up scarce medical sources, mentioned Dr. Marschall Runge, CEO of Michigan Medication and dean of the College of Michigan Medical Faculty.

“The underside line is COVID-19 just isn’t solely life-threatening for many who have COVID-19. The surge of COVID-19 is placing others in danger by conserving us from delivering lifesaving care” for all the things from coronary heart assaults to most cancers to strokes, Runge mentioned in a Wednesday information convention. 

The variety of People totally vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19 reached 200 million Wednesday amid a dispiriting holiday-season spike in instances and hospitalizations. Runge mentioned the loss of life price from heart problems went up 3% in 2020 after years of regular declines as a result of individuals delayed remedy. The unvaccinated make up the overwhelming majority of hospitalized COVID-19 sufferers at Michigan Medication, Runge mentioned, and each coronavirus affected person who’s on a ventilator is unvaccinated. 

“It is a dire state of affairs throughout the state proper now,” Runge mentioned. “The state of Michigan reached a report excessive (variety of)  hospitalized COVID-19 sufferers this week – the best quantity for the reason that very starting of the pandemic, now greater than a 12 months and a half in the past.”

– Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press

Vaccine makers updating jabs for omicron, await newer variants

Vaccine makers are making ready to replace their jabs in opposition to the most recent coronavirus risk even earlier than it’s clear a change is required. The World Well being Group has appointed an unbiased scientific panel to advise on whether or not the photographs want reformulating. Specialists doubt in the present day’s photographs will change into ineffective however say it’s important to see how briskly firms may produce a reformulated dose and show it really works. Omicron just isn’t more likely to be the final worrisome mutation.

Omicron “is pulling the hearth alarm. Whether or not it seems to be a false alarm, it could be actually good to know if we will really do that – get a brand new vaccine rolled out and be prepared,” mentioned immunologist E. John Wherry of the College of Pennsylvania.

Who decides when the pandemic is over?

How will the world resolve when the pandemic is over? In January 2020, the World Well being Group designated the virus a world well being disaster “of worldwide concern.” A few months later the WHO — the United Nations’ well being company — described the outbreak as a “pandemic,” reflecting the virus’ unfold to just about each continent. The pandemic could also be broadly thought-about over when WHO decides the virus is now not an emergency of worldwide concern, a designation its skilled committee has been reassessing each three months. However when probably the most acute phases of the disaster ease inside nations may differ, consultants say.

“There may be not going to be sooner or later when somebody says, ‘OK, the pandemic is over,’” mentioned Dr. Chris Woods, an infectious illness skilled at Duke College.

The US is undercounting COVID deaths, researchers say

Information launched by the CDC this week may assist reply questions on what kinds of non-COVID deaths elevated throughout the pandemic and which COVID-19 deaths have been misclassified as one thing else, comparable to a loss of life from coronary heart illness, stroke or a respiratory sickness. Andrew Stokes, an assistant professor of demography and sociology at Boston College’s Division of International Well being, mentioned the brand new knowledge permits researchers to “drill down” to the county degree and see how the pandemic is evolving domestically.

“That’s unprecedented in comparison with the place we have been at only a 12 months in the past,” Stokes mentioned. “In a public well being emergency, real-time surveillance is important.”

– Dillon Bergin, Betsy Ladyzhets, Mohar Chatterjee and Derek Kravitz, Brown Institute for Media Innovation

Finland prime minister apologizes for clubbing after COVID publicity

Finland Prime Minister Sanna Marin, one of many world’s youngest elected leaders, apologized this week after facing backlash for spending a night out in Helsinki after she was exposed to COVID-19.  Marin defined in a Fb publish on Monday that she was instructed Saturday that International Affairs Minister Pekka Haavisto had examined optimistic after being in shut contact together with her. However she mentioned she was instructed ministers weren’t requested to quarantine so long as that they had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.  

So, Marin and her husband met with pals and went out to dinner that night time. A gossip journal printed pictures of Marin in a nightclub on Saturday and reported that she was dancing till 4 a.m., based on the BBC. The 36-year-old prime minister wrote on Fb that she left her work telephone at dwelling and did not instantly obtain additional steerage recommending she keep away from contact with others.

“I ought to have used higher consideration on Saturday night time … I’m actually sorry,” she mentioned within the publish, as translated in a number of studies. She added that she examined detrimental for the virus Sunday.   

 – Marina Pitofsky, USA TODAY

Contributing: The Related Press

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