Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine will not be available soon for children under 5 years of age.
In early tests, the lowest dose given to children ages 2 to 5 did not produce as much immune protection as injections given to other age groups, a Pfizer scientist said at a federal advisory committee meeting Wednesday, expanding on the information. provided. late last year.
The company expects a third dose of the vaccine eight weeks after the first two injections to provide the desired effectiveness, said Dr. Alejandra Gurtman, Pfizer vice president of clinical research and vaccine development at a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. .
But that means waiting until late March or early April for results, he said, allowing time for the children in the trial to receive a third injection and then have their immune responses assessed.
“This could be a three-dose vaccine,” Gurtman said, adding that Pfizer-BioNTech is also testing a third dose in children ages 5 to 12.
The vaccine has been shown to be safe in younger children, he said, as well as older children and adults.
Also in the news:
► COVID-19 indicators for New Hampshire have risen dramatically in the past week after three weeks of steady declines. The number of new cases per day is now almost double what it was at the peak of the first wave in late 2020.
► Alaska Airlines is cutting 10% of its remaining January flight hours as it continues to battle with the COVID-19-related employee shortage and recent severe weather.
► More than 1,000 police officers, firefighters and paramedics in the Los Angeles region were ill or in home quarantine Tuesday after testing positive.
📈Today’s numbers: The United States has recorded more than 58 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 833,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. World totals: more than 300 million cases and 5.4 million deaths. More than 207 million Americans (62.4%) are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
📘What we are reading: A new study says that the technology used in COVID-19 mRNA vaccines could also be used in the treatment of heart disease, offering hope to millions.
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WHO: Record weekly global case count, but fewer deaths
The World Health Organization said Thursday that the world reported a record 9.5 million COVID-19 cases during the past week, a 71% increase from the previous week.
But unlike the rapidly increasing number of cases, which the WHO compared to a “tsunami,” the number of deaths reported weekly decreased.
“Last week, the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the pandemic was reported so far,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He added that the WHO was sure it was an understatement due to a delay in testing around the end of the year holidays.
The UN health agency said the weekly COVID-19 case count reached 9,520,488 new cases. There were 41,178 deaths last week, compared with 44,680 in the previous week.
Mayo Clinic fires 700 workers who missed vaccine mandate deadline
The Mayo Clinic, one of the largest health care systems in the United States, this week fired 700 employees who did not comply with the organization’s mandate to get vaccinated before Monday, January 3.
Mayo said workers would lose their jobs for missing the company’s deadline, which stipulated receiving one dose of one vaccine or not being late for a second dose. Mayo said it had granted most of the medical and religious exemption requests, according to the New York Times.
Last summer, New York State imposed a vaccine mandate for healthcare workers that allows medical exemptions, but not those based on religious objections.
In October 2021, New York healthcare provider Northwell Health announced that 1,400 employees would be leaving their jobs after refusing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Health workers in New York sued, saying in a lawsuit that the lack of a religious exemption violated their First Amendment right to practice religion. But in December, the US Supreme Court allowed the state mandate to remain in place without a religious exemption.
Contributing: The Associated Press