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Coronavirus update: White House makes plans for vaccinating young children

Younger adults may be next to get booster shots

COVID-19 vaccine concept with doctor and child
Photo (c) andreswd - Getty Images
Coronavirus (COVID-19) ‌tally‌ ‌as‌ ‌‌compiled‌‌ ‌by‌ ‌Johns‌ ‌Hopkins‌ ‌University.‌ ‌(Previous‌ ‌numbers‌ ‌in‌ ‌parentheses.)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 45,157,284 (45,059,288)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 728,826 (726,439)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 241,824,120 (241,305,371)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 4,917,467 (4,909,653)‌

White House makes plans for vaccinating young children

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet cleared the COVID-19 vaccines for children between the ages of five and 11, but the White House wants to be ready when and if the green light flashes. Administration officials say they plan to use schools, as well as pharmacies and doctor’s offices, as vaccination venues.

The FDA is already reviewing data submitted by Pfizer and BioNTech to determine if their vaccine is safe and effective for use by young children. The government has also procured enough small doses to begin inoculating children.

“Kids have different needs than adults and our operational planning is geared to meet those specific needs, including by offering vaccinations in settings that parents and kids are familiar with and trust,” said White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients.

FDA may consider making booster shots available for younger adults

The FDA is in the process of approving booster shots of all three COVID-19 vaccines for older Americans, but sources say the agency may be ready to lower the age for eligibility. 

CNN quotes a source within the FDA as saying the agency is considering making the booster shot available to people as young as 40. Health officials are concerned about the growing number of younger Americans who require hospital treatment for the virus.

If the FDA decides younger people should receive the booster shot, the proposal would then go to a committee of experts advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with the agency’s director making the final decision.

Sex of baby can determine how pregnant women respond to infection

When pregnant women get COVID-19, they react in different ways. Now, two new studies suggest that the sex of the baby the woman is carrying can play a role in how she fares against the virus.

The studies appearing in Science Translational Medicine found that pregnant women generally produce a lot of antibodies when they are infected with the virus. But the sex of the child appears to determine just how many antibodies.

The researchers conclude that women who are pregnant with a female child have a more robust antibody response than those carrying a male child. The researchers think their findings could shed light on why men generally have more severe cases of the virus than women.

Around the nation

  • California: City employees in Los Angeles may get additional time to show that they have been vaccinated. City officials have offered a plan to postpone the city’s vaccination mandate deadline until next month, as long as unvaccinated employees get tested twice a week.

  • Virginia: Public health officials in Richmond say they are working now to secure vaccine supplies for young children, even though vaccinations haven’t been approved for five- to 11-year-olds. The officials say they are concerned that the smaller doses intended for children may go quickly and be hard to obtain.

  • Missouri: Missouri, once an epicenter of COVID-19 cases, continues to see dramatic declines in positive test results. The state’s seven-day rolling average for COVID-19 cases has dropped below 800 for the first time in over three months, health officials report.

  • New York: The NBA’s Brooklyn Nets have started the season without star Kyrie Irving, who has refused to be vaccinated. The NBA doesn’t have a vaccination mandate for players, but New York does, meaning Irving can’t play when the Nets are at home. The team has also benched the star for away games.

  • Michigan: A cat from Ingham County is the first pet in Michigan to have a confirmed case of COVID-19, apparently catching the virus from its owner. “Given the other reported cases of SARS-CoV-2 being found in pets throughout the world, this detection is not unexpected,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland. 

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