The FDA is preparing to authorize the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents aged 12 to 15 years; COVID-19 restrictions on capacity limits are lifting nationwide; children account for more than 1 in 5 new COVID-19 cases.
According to The New York Times, the FDA is preparing to authorize the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents aged 12 to 15 years following positive trial results in these populations. As an expansion to the existing emergency use authorization, the clearance could come as early as late this week. If granted, the CDC’s advisory panel will likely meet the following day to review clinical trial data and provide recommendations on the vaccine’s use in adolescents.
COVID-19 restrictions on capacity limits are set to be lifted in New York and New Jersey this month, with restaurants, theaters, and bars able to operate at full capacity, although masks and social distancing will still be enforced in both states. In New Jersey, which has suffered the nation’s highest death rate, the move follows significant drops in the reported 7-day average of new COVID-19 cases, from 6600 in January to 1900 this past week. In Washington, capacity limits are also set to expand at indoor and outdoor events such as sporting events and graduations if designated vaccination sections are provided.
Yesterday, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced data findings indicating that children represent 22.4% of new COVID-19 cases nationwide, amounting to 71,649 of 319,601 cases. NPR reports that the number of pediatric cases is much lower than the record highs set at the beginning of the year, although the rate is much higher compared with 1 year ago, when children accounted for only 3% of US cases. Experts associated findings with the growing vaccination rates in older adults and populations aged 18 to 24 years, who are the age group with the highest case rates in the United States.