What We’re Reading: FDA Probing Rare Vaccine Adverse Effect; Texas Abortion Law Proceedings; Global COVID-19 Deaths Surpass 5M

FDA announce it will need more time on its decision to approve Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in children aged 12 to 17 years; lingering questions as the Supreme Court proceeds with hearings on the legality of the Texas abortion law; global death toll from COVID-19 surpasses 5 million.

FDA Investigating Rare Moderna Vaccine Adverse Effect in Teens

As reported by NPR, FDA announced yesterday that it will need more time on its decision to approve Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in children aged 12 to 17 years to investigate reports of a rare adverse effect in recipients. Moderna said that the government’s review of its vaccine—which has been linked with rare cases of myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle—for emergency use authorization in adolescents may not be completed before January. The company said that of the more than 1.5 million adolescents who had received its vaccine, no increased risk of myocarditis was found.

Supreme Court to Take Up Texas Abortion Law Proceedings

An article by POLITICO discussed 5 questions for when the Supreme Court starts its proceedings today on the legality of the Texas abortion law. With the Court splitting 5-4 in deciding not to block the law back in September, the article noted several key factors to monitor, including the precedent of Roe v Wade, the decision of Chief Justice John Roberts, the influence of abortion rights advocates, and the speed at which the proceedings will be completed. Notably, a recent study by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project showed a nearly 50% year-over-year drop in statewide abortions after the law took effect, from 4313 in September 2020 to 2164 in September 2021.

Global COVID-19 Death Toll Tops 5 Million

Nearly 2 years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the global death toll from the virus surpassed 5 million today, with the Associated Press reporting that upper-middle- or high-income countries account for almost half of all deaths. As coronavirus hot spots shifted frequently over the pandemic, current areas struggling to manage COVID-19 were indicated to be those where rumors, misinformation, and distrust in government have affected vaccination efforts, including in Ukraine and Armenia. Confirmed COVID-19 cases have been on the decline in the United States, with current tallies at less than half those observed during the pandemic's most recent Delta variant peak.