2021-09-25 16:02:46 Pfizer boosters are recommended for many Americans, and Alaska faces its worst surge: The week in Covid news.
Pfizer boosters are recommended for many Americans, and Alaska faces its worst surge: The week in Covid news.
Millions of Americans became eligible for booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine this week, after federal regulators recommended it for people who received the vaccine more than six months ago and fall into one of three categories: those over 65, those with underlying medical conditions, or those working in jobs that put them at risk of infection.
The inclusion of that final category was hotly debated among regulators.
The Federal Drug Administration recommended booster shots for Americans in all three categories on Wednesday. However, the CDC’s advisory committee on immunization practices issued its own recommendations the next day, which excluded frontline workers.
Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overruled her agency’s advisers on Friday and said frontline workers should be able to get the booster shots. “This was a scientific close call,” she said at a White House press briefing on Friday. “It was my decision to make in that situation.”
Dr. Walensky went on to say, “It was a decision about providing access rather than withholding access.”
President Biden applauded Dr. Walensky’s decision and encouraged those who qualify to get the booster shots. At the White House briefing, he also lamented the 70 million Americans who have chosen not to be vaccinated, and he blasted what he called “elected officials actively working to undermine the fight against Covid-19 with false information.”
This week also saw the following events:
Pfizer-BioNTech announced on Monday that its vaccine had been shown in low doses to be safe and effective in children aged 5 to 11. If the Food and Drug Administration approves the Pfizer vaccine for those ages, it could be a game changer for millions of American families and help strengthen the United States’ response to the highly contagious Delta variant. Vaccine uptake among older children has been slow, and polling shows that a significant number of parents are hesitant to vaccinate their children.
A World Health Organization panel recommended using a monoclonal antibody treatment for Covid patients who are at high risk of hospitalization or who are not producing antibodies to fight the disease. The costly treatment, developed by the American pharmaceutical company Regeneron and the Swiss biotech company Roche, has gained traction as an alternative therapy for Covid-19, particularly among those who have avoided vaccines.
Mr. Biden’s plan to expand global vaccine donations was lauded by African public health experts on Thursday, but they warned that his ambitious goals would not be met without faster deliveries and greater transparency about the number of doses sent. The continent, which has the lowest Covid-19 vaccination rate, has been harmed not only by a lack of doses, but also by delayed and inconsistent deliveries. African countries have still only received one-third of the doses promised for this year.
On Friday, two hosts of the television show “The View” were ordered to leave the set live on air after testing positive for the coronavirus. Ana Navarro and Sunny Hostin, the hosts, were about to introduce Vice President Kamala Harris for an in-person interview.