U.S. Rolls Out COVID Vaccine for Young Children, Ending Long Wait for Some Parents

Reuters reported:

The United States on Wednesday started vaccinating children aged 5 to 11 against COVID-19, with roughly 28 million school-age kids now eligible for the shots that provide protection against the illness.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the Pfizer Inc (PFE.N)/BioNTech SE shot for broad use in that age group after a panel of outside advisers voted in favor of it. read more

Still, it remains unclear how parents will react. Many people who have been vaccinated themselves are more divided over whether or not to vaccinate their own younger children given that severe COVID-19 is much less common for them.

U.S. CDC Director Backs COVID Vaccine for Children Ages 5 to 11

Reuters reported:

The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday backed broad use of Pfizer‘s (PFE.N) and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5 to 11, clearing the way for shots to go into young arms as soon as Wednesday.

The announcement comes hours after the advisers to the U.S. CDC unanimously supported the move, saying the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks. Much of their discussion stemmed from rare cases of heart inflammation that have been linked to the vaccine, particularly in young men.

Brothers, Ages 5 and 9, First Elementary Aged Kids to Get COVID Shot in Houston

KHOU 11 Houston reported:

Thousands of children ages 5 to 11 are already signed up for appointments across the Houston area.

Houston children as young as age 5 are now able to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine — the first of these doses being administered Wednesday at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Five-year-old Paxton and his brother, 9-year-old Patrick Bowers, are believed to be the first kids in the 5 to 11 age group to receive the vaccine in Houston. They were given one-third of the dose given to teens and adults.

New Survey Shows Why Some Parents Are Against COVID Vaccine for Kids

WFSB News 3 reported:

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for children ages 5 to 11, but a new survey shows why some parents are against it.

The survey was put out by QuoteWizard by LendingTree, LLC, which showed nationwide, 60% of people surveyed say concerns over side effects will keep them from vaccinating their children.

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Analysis: Country by Country, Scientists Eye Beginning of an End to the COVID Pandemic

Reuters reported:

As the devastating Delta variant surge eases in many regions of the world, scientists are charting when, and where, COVID-19 will transition to an endemic disease in 2022 and beyond, according to Reuters interviews with over a dozen leading disease experts.

They expect that the first countries to emerge from the pandemic will have had some combination of high rates of vaccination and natural immunity among people who were infected with the coronavirus, such as the United States, the UK, Portugal and India.

COVID Virus Does Not Infect Human Brain Cells, Study Suggests

The Guardian reported:

The virus that causes COVID-19 does not infect human brain cells, according to a study published in the journal Cell. The findings will raise hopes that the damage caused by SARS-CoV-2 might be more superficial and reversible than previously feared.

The study contradicts earlier research that suggested the virus infects neurons in the membrane that lines the upper recesses of the nose.

This membrane, called the olfactory mucosa, is where the virus first lands when it is inhaled. Within it are olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs), which are responsible for initiating smell sensations. They are tightly entwined with a kind of support cell called sustentacular cells.

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Some Parents Eager, Others Unsure as COVID Shot Approved for Kids

Reuters reported:

“We have a group of parents who are so excited that they want us to give them a call as soon as we have the vaccine so they can make appointments…and we have parents that are still questioning,” said Dr. Kimberly Montez, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina.

Some parents have expressed concern about the lack of long-term data on the vaccine’s effects on children under 12. Others question its necessity given that severe COVID-19 is much less common for that age group, although many children have been hospitalized during the recent Delta variant wave.

Indian Home-Grown COVID Shot Wins WHO Emergency Use Approval

Reuters reported:

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that it has granted approval for Indian drugmaker Bharat Biotech’s home-grown COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use listing, paving the way for it to be accepted as a valid vaccine in many poor countries.

The decision had been delayed as the advisory group sought additional clarifications from Bharat Biotech before conducting a final risk-benefit assessment for the vaccine’s global use.

WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization also recommended Covaxin’s use in two doses, with an interval of four weeks, in age groups 18 and above. These recommendations are in line with the company’s guidance.

True Spread of AY.4.2 Variant, Which Could Spread Faster, Unclear Due to Sequencing Issues

Newsweek reported:

Current data on the spread of the AY.4.2 COVID-19 variant appears to be uncertain as scientists work to publish sequencing information.

AY.4.2, an offshoot of the Delta variant, has made headlines in recent weeks due to its rapid spread in the U.K. where it now accounts for around 12% of new sequenced samples.

It is identified by new main mutations in its spike protein: A222V and Y145H. While studies into AY.4.2 are still ongoing, some scientists have suggested it may be better at spreading than previous Delta versions.

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