Coronavirus update: Pfizer seeks to expand boosters for adults 18 and older

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The U.S. Surgeon General is weighing in on vaccinations for children

Coronavirus (COVID-19) ‌tally‌ ‌as‌ ‌‌compiled‌‌ ‌by‌ ‌Johns‌ ‌Hopkins‌ ‌University.‌ ‌(Previous‌ ‌numbers‌ ‌in‌ ‌parentheses.)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 46,707,838 (46,624,332)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 757,745 (755,915)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 251,107,751 (250,580,621)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 5,068,862 ( 5,060,487)‌

FDA asked to expand Pfizer booster shots

Pfizer and BioNTech have asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expand the use of the companies’ vaccine booster shots to adults aged 18 and older. The boosters are currently approved for people aged 65 and older and other at-risk groups.

The application for an emergency use authorization (EUA) could open booster shots to millions more Americans before the end of the year, providing what scientists say would be an extra layer of protection during the holiday season.

Even before the request, the Wall Street Journal reports that the Biden administration has been actively considering a request to expand boosters of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to adults aged 18 and older.

Surgeon general stresses importance of vaccinations for kids

Actor Matthew McConaughey, who is considering an entry into the Texas governor’s race, has spoken out against vaccination mandates for children and said he needs “more information” before deciding to vaccinate his children. McConaughey himself is vaccinated.

Asked to respond, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Viveck Murthy said the vaccine is as important for kids as it is for most adults. The Delta variant, he says, has not been kind to young patients.

"Many kids have died. Sadly, hundreds of children -- thousands -- have been hospitalized, and as a dad of a child who has been hospitalized several years ago for another illness, I would never wish upon any parent they have a child that ends up in the hospital," Murthy told CNN.

NFL fines Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers over COVID-19 protocols

The National Football League is fining the Green Bay Packers $300,000 for allegedly violating the league’s rules concerning COVID-19. It’s also fining quarterback Aaron Rodgers and wide receiver Allen Lazard $14,560 each.

The NFL accused the franchise of allowing Rodgers and other players to openly violate COVID-19 protocols. An investigation reportedly found that Rodgers and Lazard attended a Halloween party despite not being vaccinated. Rodgers tested positive last week.

“We respect the League's findings and we recognize the importance of adherence to the COVID protocols to keep our team and organization safe and healthy,” Packers President Mark Murphey said in a statement. “We will continue to educate the team regarding the importance of the protocols and remain committed to operating within the protocols.”

Around the nation

  • Texas: A report from the state health department shows that unvaccinated Texans account for most of this year’s COVID-19 cases and deaths. Health department officials say the numbers show that the COVID-19 vaccine dramatically prevents death and is the “best tool to prevent transmission” of the deadly virus.

  • California: Hospitalizations are rising in several areas of the state, reversing what had been a positive trend. Gov. Gavin Newsom warns that his state could see a dramatic surge in cases of the virus during the winter months.

  • Pennsylvania: Gov. Tom Wolf says school districts around the state will be allowed to modify the requirement that students and staff wear masks while at school beginning in January. Wolf said it’s “time to prepare for a transition back to a more normal setting.”

  • Louisiana: Data from federal health agencies shows that Louisiana has gone from having one of the highest hospitalization rates in the nation to the lowest. The hospitalization rate has fallen by 54% in the last month, and now the state has just five people hospitalized per 100,000, compared to the U.S. average of 14 people hospitalized per 100,000. 

  • Nevada: Nevada, which has struggled to contain the spread of the coronavirus, is reporting another spike in cases. State health officials report that the state’s positivity test rate jumped to 7% last week. That’s the biggest increase since early August.

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