White House readies nation for pediatric COVID-19 vaccines

During a briefing today White House officials said they are preparing to vaccinate up to 28 million American children aged 5 to 11 as soon as the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine gains approval from regulators.

The administration has bought enough vaccine supply to cover all children and said 15 million doses would be ready to ship within a week of authorization.

"We know millions of parents who've been waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine for kids in this age-group, and should the FDA and CDC authorized the vaccine, we will be ready to get shots in arms," said White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients.

Next week the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will consider Pfizer's application for using a reduced dose of their two-dose mRNA vaccine in children ages 5 to 11, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is slated to take up the issue the first week of November.

"We want the shots to be easy, convenient, and accessible to every family," Zients said. "Equity and fairness will be at the center of the vaccination program."

Cases continue to drop

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, said the 7-day average of new COVID-19 cases dropped to 75,572 per day, a decrease of 16% over the prior week. The 7-day average of hospital admissions is down 11%, to 6,000 per day, and deaths dropped 3%, to 600 per day.

The United States reported 81,238 new COVID-19 cases yesterday and 2,357 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker.

The CDC COVID Data Tracker shows 57.1% of Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, 66% have received one dose of vaccine, and 5.8% of fully vaccinated people have received a booster dose.

Zients said that, by the end of the day today, 190 million Americans ages 12 and older will be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Tomorrow the CDC advisory group, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice, will meet to discuss booster doses for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients.

NYC to require vaccines for city workers

By the end of the month, New York City will require all city workers to have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, the New York Times reports. The mandate will apply to more than 160,000 police officers, fire fighters, and sanitation workers.

The US Supreme Court yesterday declined to hear an emergency appeal of a vaccine mandate for Maine healthcare workers, Axios reports. Earlier this year the Supreme Court also declined to hear an appeal against vaccine mandates at Indiana University.

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