With the international coronavirus pandemic in its third year, a lot of governments have reduced public health restrictions.
A majority of the UK population is now estimated to be immune to SARS-CoV-2 through vaccination or natural infection, but experience and data suggest that new variants will emerge, accelerating local outbreaks, and with uncertain implications for prevention and treatment policies.
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rochelle Walensky on June 18 emphasized the necessity for parents to vaccinate their little children who are between the ages of 6 months to 5 years, accepting the findings of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the CDC’s vaccine advisory committee.
He further encourages parents and caregivers with questions to talk to their doctor, nurse or local pharmacist to learn more about the advantages of vaccinations and the importance of safeguarding their children by getting them vaccinated.
The FDA on June 17 authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for that youngest age group and also authorized Moderna’s vaccine for youth ages 6 to 17. The dispersion of pediatric vaccinations for the youngest children has begun and they will be accessible at thousands of pediatric practices, pharmacies, federally qualified health centers, health departments and clinics beginning this week. Health officials in May recommended that children 5 and older who have been vaccinated with Pfizer’s two-shot series get a booster.
On June 7, an independent panel of experts recommended that the FDA authorize a two-shot, protein-based vaccine from Maryland-based biotech company Novavax. When the FDA approves the product and experts at the CDC sign off on its use, the vaccine will join three other vaccines that have been made available to help curb infection and illness caused by the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).
Meanwhile, on June 8, COVID-19 vaccine maker Moderna announced that a newer version of its mRNA vaccine which was made to target multiple coronavirus variants, including the now-dominant omicron variant has generated a strong immune reaction among clinical trial participants.
The company has said that it intends to submit its data to the FDA in the coming weeks with the expectation that the usage of the new formula in boosters is expected to be proposed this fall.
A recent study confirmed by the CDC has verified that 1 out of 5 COVID-19 survivors aged between eighteen and sixty-four and 1 out of 4 survivors between sixty-five and older have suffered from at least one condition that might be attributed to a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. Conditions were seen in several organ systems, including the heart, kidneys and lungs. The most common conditions were respiratory symptoms and musculoskeletal pain. Older adults in the study were at increased risk for developing neurologic conditions and mental health issues. Researchers also established that COVID-19 survivors have twice the risk of developing pulmonary embolism or respiratory conditions.
CDC has recommended boosters for 5- to 11-year-olds. Its Director, Rochelle Walensky recommended that children from ages 5 to 11 get a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA COVID-19 vaccine on May 19. This recommendation follows an 11-to-1 vote by the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) that these kids get the extra shot five months after they have received a second dose.
On May 17, the FDA revised the vaccine’s emergency use authorization to add the booster shot for this age group.
The FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D confirmed that even though it is largely known that the case that COVID-19 tends to be less severe in children than adults, the omicron wave has resulted in more kids getting sick with the disease and being hospitalized, and kids may also experience the longer-term effects, even following initially mild disease.