NEW YORK – Pfizer is calling on the U.S. government to allow its COVID-19 vaccine to be used in children aged 5 to 11.
If regulators agree, the shooting could start in a few weeks. Pfizer had previously reported that a lower dose of its vaccine worked and appeared safe in a study of young people.
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech officially filed their request with the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday. FDA advisers are expected to debate the evidence on October 26. Until now, the vaccine has only been available for 12-year-olds, and many parents and pediatricians are calling for protection for the younger ones.
Keeping children in school can be a challenge with the coronavirus still raging in poorly vaccinated communities.
Political cartoons about world leaders
– More than 120,000 American children saw their caregivers die during the pandemic
– WHO tries to get COVID-19 medical supplies to North Korea
– Virus measures prevent the legal return of thousands of people to New Zealand
– Health officials say it’s okay to get the COVID-19 and flu shot at the same time
– See all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS:
SEOUL, South Korea – The World Health Organization has started shipping COVID-19 medical supplies to North Korea, a possible sign the North is relaxing one of the world’s toughest pandemic border closures to receive outside help.
The WHO said it has started shipping essential COVID-19 medical supplies through the Chinese port of Dalian for strategic storage and subsequent shipment to North Korea.
A WHO representative told AP the items included emergency health kits and medicines. The country still claims to have a perfect record of fighting the virus and has not reported any cases of the coronavirus. He recently refused some Sinovac vaccines offered through the UN-backed program. It had severely restricted cross-border traffic and commerce over the past two years despite pressure on its crippled economy.
MOSCOW – The daily death toll from coronavirus topped 900 for a second day in a row with a record 924 deaths reported on Thursday.
The death toll reached 929 the day before. Russian authorities have struggled to control an increase in the number of new cases amid slow vaccinations and few restrictions.
The government’s coronavirus task force reported 27,550 new confirmed cases on Thursday. This is an increase of almost 10% compared to the day before. New infections in Moscow soared nearly 50% to 5,404 cases.
Russia has the highest death toll in Europe in the pandemic with more than 213,000 deaths, which many health experts consider to be undercount.
BEIRUT – Rebel-held northwest Syria faces an unprecedented wave of coronavirus, and aid agencies call on the world to provide humanitarian and medical aid, increase hospital capacity and ensure that people are vaccinated.
The surge apparently caused by the more contagious delta variant has overwhelmed hospitals with sick patients and is causing oxygen shortages, according to local officials. The rebel-led local authority has imposed a nighttime curfew from Tuesday as schools and universities were closed and students learn remotely.
The region is home to 4 million people, many of whom are internally displaced by the 10-year conflict in Syria.
Dr Khaula Sawah, president of the International Union of Medical Relief and Care Organizations, or UOSSM, said international aid was urgently needed “to avert a humanitarian catastrophe.” Millions of lives are at stake.
The rate of positive test results – an indication of how far the virus has spread – is around 55%, according to UOSSM and Christian aid organization World Vision. Only 1.3% of people are vaccinated, according to World Vision.
Local medical authorities say the number of recorded coronavirus cases in the region has reached nearly 77,000, with confirmed deaths at 1,357.
HANOI, Vietnam – Vietnamese airlines will resume domestic flights on Sunday, after the country suspended operations in July to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
In the first phase of the recovery, passengers must be vaccinated with at least one vaccine and hold a negative virus test to board flights, according to the plan announced Thursday by the Civil Aviation Authority. Carriers can only carry half the seating capacity of each aircraft.
Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam’s main city in the northern region, will remain closed to domestic flights. City officials said on Wednesday they were not ready to receive large numbers of travelers, who could potentially spread the virus.
The delta-fueled epidemic that began in July was Vietnam’s worst, infecting more than 800,000 people and killing more than 20,000. More than half of the 98 million people were confined for nearly three month.
TOLEDO, Ohio – The death toll from COVID-19 in the United States is dropping and the number of new cases per day is set to drop below 100,000 for the first time in two months.
All are encouraging signs, maybe the summer push is fading. Government leaders and employers are seeking to strengthen and expand the mandates of vaccines.
Los Angeles has enacted one of the country’s toughest vaccine mandates. The governor of Minnesota calls for vaccine and testing requirements for teachers and long-term care workers. Health experts say there are still far too many unvaccinated people. In New York City, a statewide vaccination mandate for all hospital and nursing home workers will be extended to home care and hospice workers on Thursday.
Across the country, deaths per day have fallen nearly 15% since mid-September and stand on average at around 1,750. New cases have fallen to just over 103,000 per day on average, a 40% drop in the last three weeks.
The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has declined by about a quarter since its most recent peak of nearly 94,000 a month ago.
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