Next up for COVID Vaccines: Kids Under 12
“I don’t think it’ll be long before they extend it to 12 to 15 — maybe within a few weeks to a month or so,” said Dr. Bob Frenck, director of the Vaccine Research Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
Parents are already clamoring to hear more about approval or authorization for children under 12, however. Studies looking at that are underway.
NIH Director: Vaccine Approval for Kids Unlikely Before Late 2021
One of the federal government’s top public health experts on Tuesday predicted it is unlikely children under the age of 12 will be eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine before late 2021, contradicting the speedier timelines offered by other Biden administration officials.
Vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna are currently studying the shot’s safety and efficacy in younger children and infants, with Pfizer expected to deliver the results of its trials for 5-11-year-olds to the Food and Drug Administration sometime in September.
New CDC Studies Point to Waning Immunity From Vaccines
Two new studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show fully vaccinated Americans’ immunity to COVID-19 is waning as the more-transmissible Delta variant continues to spread across the country.
One study, which focused on frontline health care workers, found that vaccine effectiveness declined by nearly thirty percentage points since the Delta variant became the dominant strain in the U.S. The analysis also concluded that the COVID-19 vaccines were 80% effective in preventing infection among the frontline health care workers.
Caught in the Crossfire Over COVID’s Origin
In the early days of the pandemic, scientists reported a reassuring trait in the new coronavirus: It appeared to be very stable. The virus was not mutating very rapidly, making it an easier target for treatments and vaccines.
At the time, the slow mutation rate struck one young scientist as odd. “That really made my ears perk up,” said Alina Chan, a postdoctoral fellow at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass. Dr. Chan wondered whether the new virus was somehow “pre-adapted” to thrive in humans, before the outbreak even started.
“By the time the SARS-CoV-2 virus was detected in Wuhan in late 2019, it looked like it had already picked up the mutations it needed to be very good at spreading among humans,” Dr. Chan said. “It was already good to go.”
New Evidence Points to Antibodies as Reliable Indicator of Vaccine Protection
When Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke recently at a White House briefing about the need for COVID-19 booster shots, buried in his slideshow of charts and data points was a little-noticed scientific paper that offers evidence for a reliable way to predict how much protection a COVID-19 vaccine offers.
The study appeared on a preprint server earlier this month without much fanfare, but many interested in the future of COVID-19 vaccines had been eagerly awaiting the results.
The researchers were looking for markers in vaccinated patients’ blood that would indicate protection against COVID-19, what’s known as “correlates of immunity.” What the team of scientists found were neutralizing antibodies — proteins made by the immune system that are known to disarm the coronavirus.
Where Do Moderna and Johnson & Johnson Stand on Full FDA Approval?
While the FDA approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is welcome news for public health officials hoping it boosts vaccine uptake, it’s just one of the three COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. So far, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are still under Emergency Use Authorization.
Back in June, Moderna announced it would start “rolling submission” of data to the FDA for approval over the coming weeks. Moderna said it would request a Priority Review. This designation would call for the FDA to make a decision within six months rather than the typical 10-month waiting period.
Pfizer started that process in May and the FDA made a decision four months later. It means Moderna’s full FDA approval could come as early as next month.
Biden to Receive a Classified Report on The Origins of COVID-19
Leila Fadel, host:
Today marks 90 days since President Biden ordered a systematic review into the origins of the coronavirus. Many scientists believe that the virus likely came from nature. But an alternative view is that it leaked from a laboratory in China, a theory that had been dismissed by many as a conspiracy theory until recent months. Joining us to discuss what this report might say is NPR’s science and security correspondent Geoff Brumfiel.
The NFL’s COVID Reality: Unvaccinated Players Are a Liability
For months, the NFL’s vaccine stragglers have clung to the nebulous need for more. More data, more research, more approval.
Now they’ll need more excuses.
That’s what Monday’s biotech news brought, by way of the FDA’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine. It’s a development that is sure to be followed in the coming months by other approvals in the space, just as it’s sure to be blown off by some NFL players who refuse to get vaccinated. But this time around, players won’t be able to lean on the lack of an FDA approval, leaving some to continue grasping at their own nebulous concoction for why they refuse an added layer of protection from COVID-19.
Carnival Calls Circumstances of Passenger’s COVID-Related Death ‘Disinformation’
Carnival Cruise Line is calling the circumstances of a COVID-related death that occurred to a cruise passenger last month “disinformation” after suggestions were made that the passenger contracted the virus on board.
“Regrettably, there is a fair amount of disinformation about the circumstances of this matter,” Carnival said in a statement. “The guest almost certainly did not contract COVID on our ship, and she was assisted with expert medical care on board and was ultimately evacuated from Belize after we provided a resource to her family.”