Children as young as 12 can expect to start getting Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine Thursday in many states.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday adopted the recommendation of a federal advisory committee that said the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for adolescents 12-15, opening the door for its widespread use starting Thursday. The CDC panel met to discuss the merits of the vaccine in that age group after the Food and Drug Administration signed off Monday on the shots. That prompted a handful of cities to start administering them Tuesday, but the CDC’s clearance makes them more widely available.
“Getting this safe, effective vaccine means that these adolescents won’t have to miss school, sporting events or other activities if they are exposed to someone with COVID-19, taking another step toward getting their lives back to normal,” Dr. Danny Avula, Virginia’s vaccination coordinator, told the Staunton News Leader.
CVS Health announced that children can begin scheduling COVID-19 vaccine appointments at more than 5,600 pharmacy locations nationwide. The push to get adults vaccinated remains a priority, too – in New Orleans a jab can get you a bucket of crawfish; in Ohio it could be $1million.
Also in the news:
►McDonald’s is raising pay at 650 company-owned stores in the U.S. as part of its push to hire thousands of new workers amid an easing pandemic and economic boom.
►India reported more than 4,000 coronavirus deaths for the second day in a row amid concerns that many more rural deaths are going unreported.
►Caesars Entertainment announced that its nine casinos have been cleared for 100% capacity in Las Vegas amid easing of coronavirus restrictions.
►The CDC updated its Conditional Sailing Order to loosen mask-wearing requirements for fully vaccinated cruise passengers.
►California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state would discard outdoors mask requirements by the time it fully reopens its economy on June 15, but some form of indoor mask mandates would remain in place.
►More than 300,000 people have signed a petition calling for the Tokyo Olympics, set to begin in late July, to be canceled.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 32.8 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 583,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: Nearly 160 million cases and 3.33 million deaths. More than 337 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S. and more than 264.6 million have been administered, according to the CDC. More than 117.6 million Americans have been fully vaccinated – 35.4% of the population.
📘 What we’re reading: How effective are COVID-19 vaccines in the real world? Two studies offer ‘stunning’ results, one doctor says.
Keep refreshing this page for the latest updates. Want more? Sign up for our Coronavirus Watch newsletter for updates to your inbox and join our Facebook group.
‘Vax-a-Million’: Ohio vaccine lottery to give away five $1 million prizes
Ohio will give away $1 million prizes to five adults, plus another five full-ride public college scholarships to teens who get vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. Mike DeWine announced during a statewide televised address Wednesday. “Ohio Vax-a-Million” drawings will be held for five consecutive Wednesdays, starting May 26, to pick the $1 million winners. The Ohio Lottery will conduct the drawings, but the money will come from existing federal coronavirus relief funds. To be eligible, you must be 18 or older, an Ohio resident and vaccinated before the drawing.
DeWine said 12- to 17-year-olds can sign up for the scholarship drawing via an electronic portal that will open May 18.
– Laura A. Bischoff, The Columbus Dispatch
Vaccine manufacturing capacity key to halting COVID spread, report says
High-income countries with access to manufacturing vaccines should commit to providing low-income countries at least 1 billion vaccine doses no later than fall 2021, according to a new report delivered to the World Health Organization. The report, intended to address missteps over the past year leading to more than 3 million deaths and even more lives changed, also focused on what countries in WHO can immediately do to stop the pandemic.
“The significant inequity in vaccine access must be addressed immediately, as it is not only unjust but also threatens the effectiveness of global efforts to control the pandemic,” the report said.
The report, released with another in advance of this month’s meeting of the WHO’s governing assembly, also said that world governments must act swiftly and preemptively with the next pandemic in order to avoid global catastrophe.
“Current institutions, public and private, failed to protect people from a devastating pandemic,” the report said. “Without change, they will not prevent a future one.”
CDC reports more cases of blood clots linked to J&J COVID-19 vaccine
Thirteen more cases of an unusual blood clotting disorder have been identified among people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but no one else has died and no new cases have been seen among people vaccinated after the government’s 11-day pause in J&J shots.
The CDC said Wednesday that 28 people have now been identified with a disorder being called Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS). To qualify for the diagnosis, someone must have a blood clot, known as a thrombosis, in an uncommon location, such as the brain, as well as low levels of platelets in their blood, a condition known as thrombocytopenia.
The combination is extremely rare. The fact that it occurred in so many people within about two weeks of vaccination “suggests a plausible causal association,” Dr. Tom Shimabukuro, deputy director of the CDC’s Immunization Safety Office, told an agency advisory committee Wednesday.
– Karen Weintraub
Contributing: The Associated Press.