What We’re Reading: CDC Recommends Boosters for Kids 12 and Up; Pollution-Related Asthma in Children; Nurses Unions Sue Biden Over Worker Protections

The CDC recommends children aged 12 years and up to receive COVID-19 vaccine boosters; nearly 2 million children develop asthma as a result of breathing in an air pollutant; nurses unions sue the Biden administration for withdrawing COVID-19 worker protections.

CDC Recommends Boosters for Adolescents Aged 12-17

The CDC announced that adolescents age 12 to 17 years should receive a Pfizer-BioNTech booster vaccine 5 months after their initial series of immunizations against COVID-19, reported NPR. The announcement came days after the FDA authorized the use of the booster for this age group, while also shortening the time between the completion of primary vaccination of a COVID-19 vaccine and a booster dose from 6 to 5 months. The recommendations for booster shots for those who initially received vaccines developed by Moderna or Johnson & Johnson have not changed—they should seek a booster after 6 months and 2 months, respectively.

Nearly 2 Million Children Develop Asthma Resulting from Air Pollution

According to a report from George Washington University, nearly 2 million new cases of asthma in children annually may have been caused by breathing in a traffic-related air pollutant, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is prominent in big cities around the world. The study is the first to estimate the burden caused by this pollutant in more than 13,000 cities, including Los Angeles and Mumbai. NO2 is released in the environment through tailpipe vehicle emissions, power plants, and industrial sites. Among the 1.85 million new pediatric asthma cases attributed to NO2 globally in 2019, two-thirds occurred in urban areas. The investigators said that more needs to be done to curb harmful emissions of NO2.

Nurses Unions Sue Biden Over Worker Protection Withdrawals

A group of nurses unions asked a federal court to force the Biden administration to adopt safety standards for health care workers to protect them against COVID-19 infections, according to the Huffington Post. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration implemented an emergency safety standard in June 2021 to protect nurses and other frontline health care workers during the pandemic. However, the Biden administration recently announced that it was withdrawing key portions of the rule while it continues to come up with a more permanent solution, angering labor groups and workplace safety advocates, especially as cases of COVID-19 surge in light of the fast-spreading Omicron variant.