What We're Reading: California Opioid Case Decision; Vaccine Approval for Younger Children; Pandemic Screen Time Increases

California judge rules Allergan, Endo, Johnson & Johnson, and Teva not liable for state's opioid crisis; CDC panel to decide on approval of and recommendations for Pfizer/BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine in children aged 5 to 11 years; screen time among teenagers more than doubled during the pandemic.

California Judge Rules 4 Drug Companies Not Liable for Opioid Crisis

Yesterday, Superior Court Judge Peter J. Wilson of California rejected claims that 4 drug companies—Allergan, Endo, Johnson & Johnson, and Teva—used false and misleading marketing to promote the sale of prescription opioids. Reported by NPR, the ruling indicates that the 4 drug companies cannot be held liable for California’s opioid crisis. If found guilty, they would have had to pay for several costly public health and drug treatment programs. There are several other opioid lawsuits in state and federal courts nationwide, with cases currently underway in New York, Ohio, and West Virginia.

CDC to Decide on Vaccine Approval in Younger Children

A special advisory panel from the CDC is meeting today to consider recommendations for administering Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine in children aged 5 to 11 years, with The Associated Press reporting that the Biden administration, anticipating approval from advisors, is beginning to assemble and ship millions of shots. Delivering a dose that is one-third of the vaccine given to adults, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said the government has enough vaccine for all 28 million young children of the age group. Pending approval, the first shots could be given to children by midweek. Parents will be able to go to vaccines.gov and filter on vaccines for children 5 to 11 to find a location near them that is offering the vaccine.

Teen Screen Time More Than Doubled Amid Pandemic

As reported by USA Today, a study published yesterday in JAMA Pediatrics found that screen time among teenagers outside of virtual school more than doubled from 3.8 hours per day before the pandemic to 7.7 hours per day in 2020. Leveraging data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study, the data also show that children of color and those of lower-income families reported greater screen time than their White, wealthier counterparts. Because participants were asked to self-report screen use, wellness experts noted that study projections may be underreported and that estimates are likely greater in teens.