For the first time on Friday, federal regulators evaluated the efficacy and safety of COVID-19 vaccines for kids between the age of 5 to 11 years.
The Food and Drug Administration disclosed data of vaccine-producing company Pfizer that showed that its vaccine has an efficacy rate of 90.7% in preventing serious hospitalizations and deaths among those aged between 5 to 11 years.
States And Pharmacies Face A New Challenge As Booster Shot
These findings can speed up the process of authorization of vaccines for children by the FDA, most likely by next week.
The independent expert committee of vaccines of the agency is scheduled to meet on Tuesday to decide on whether to grant these vaccines authorization.
A briefing document was posted on the website of FDA in which the reported that vaccines balance the dangers of deaths, hospitalizations, and other serious conditions like myocarditis which causes inflammation of muscles of the heart. This condition has been linked to the COVID-19 vaccines of Moderna and Pfizer especially among young men.
If the Food and Drug Administration favors authorization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agrees, more than 28 million children will become eligible.
Meanwhile, the federal regulators have authorized the booster doses of all three companies. Pharmacies and state health authorities over the nation are trying to get more shots into the arms of people.
The CDC director, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky recommended booster shots of Johnson & Johnson and Moderna for millions of US people on Thursday. The agency also gave a positive signal for a mix and match vaccine plan. They have left the choice to the people of which vaccine they choose to get for their booster dose.
As pharmacies, doctors, and states on Friday started administering these shots, they faced some issues- they will have to help people choose a booster shot and explain to them if they are eligible.
The CDC said that people who took the mRNA vaccine’s second dose more than six months ago can now get their booster dose. People who qualify for this at present are those with underlying conditions, people who work in areas that are high in cases, people above the age of 65 years, and the group of vulnerable people.
For recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which is one dose, who took their shot two months ago and are 18 years or above are now eligible. The booster dose of Moderna is a half-dose shot and can be even administered to people who did not take its initial dose.
Growing evidence suggests that booster vaccines of Pfizer and Moderna are highly effective in raising levels of antibodies as compared to booster vaccines of Johnson & Johnson.
On Friday, Dr. Walensky, talking about the mix-and-match strategy, said that we have an experience of 10 months in vaccines and some may prefer another booster dose. She added that it is perfectly fine to choose this option.
The challenges faced by medical providers include reaching homeless people, marginalized groups, migrant workers and making sure they get their booster shots.
The White House coronavirus response coordinator, Jeffrey D. Zients said that in the coming months more than 120 Americans will become eligible for booster doses. He said that at present booster shots are available at around 80,000 locations including 40,000 pharmacies.
Health departments of states usually follow the recommendations of the CDC and many are scheduled to move ahead with booster doses.
The Gov of Colorado, Jared Polis got his booster shot of Moderna on Friday. Polis is 46 years old and explained that he comes in the category of eligible people because his job exposes him to the threat of contracting an infection.
In a news conference, he said that along with his fellow Americans he is ready to put the coronavirus pandemic behind him and he’s excited to get this level of protection against the virus.
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