The Latest: Pfizer close to big step toward kids' vaccine

Pfizer’s CEO says “it’s a question of days, not weeks” before the company and German partner BioNTech submit data to U.S. regulators for federal authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine for children age 5 to 11

Via AP news wire
Sunday 26 September 2021 17:12
Virus Outbreak Vaccine Supply
Virus Outbreak Vaccine Supply

WASHINGTON — Pfizer’s CEO says “it’s a question of days, not weeks” before the company and German partner BioNTech submit data to U.S. regulators for federal authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine for children age 5 to 11.

That would be an important step toward starting vaccinations for those youngsters, especially with kids now back in school and the delta variant resulting in a big jump in pediatric infections.

Pfizer said last week that its vaccine works for that age group and that it tested a much lower dose of the vaccine that’s already available for anyone 12 and older. The company said that after children age 5 to 11 got their second dose during testing, they developed coronavirus-fighting antibody levels just as strong as teenagers and young adults getting the regular-strength shots

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Sunday that if the Food and Drug Administration approves the company’s application, “we will be ready with our manufacturing to provide this new formulation of the vaccine.”

And when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, he told ABC's “This Week” that within a year, “I think we will be able to come back to normal life. I don’t think that this means that variants will not be continuing coming. And I don’t think that this means that we should be able to live our lives … without having vaccinations, basically.”

Bourla also said “we will have vaccines that … will last at least a year’’ and that “the most likely scenario, it is annual revaccinations.”

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MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

— U.S. has enough COVID-19 vaccines for boosters, kids' shots

— UK counts on vaccines, ‘commen sense,’ to keep virus at bay

— EXPLAINER: Who’s eligible for Pfizer booster shots in US?

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See all of AP's pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

HELSINKI — Police in Norway have reported dozens of disturbances and violent clashes, including mass brawls in the Nordic country’s big cities, after streets, bars, restaurants and nightclubs were filled with people celebrating the end of COVID-19 restrictions.

The Norwegian government abruptly announced Friday that most of the remaining coronavirus restrictions would be scrapped from Saturday and that life in the nation of 5.3 million would return to normal.

The unexpected announcement by Prime Minister Erna Solberg late Friday afternoon to drop coronavirus restrictions the next day took many Norwegians by surprise and led to chaotic scenes in the capital, Oslo, and elsewhere in the country on Saturday.

Rowdy celebrations across Norway by hundreds of citizens started Saturday afternoon and lasted until the early hours of Sunday. Police said unrest was reported in several places, including in the southern city of Bergen and the central city of Trondheim, while the situation was the worst in Oslo.

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PHOENIX — Health officials in Arizona on Sunday reported 2,579 more COVID-19 cases and six additional deaths.

The latest numbers pushed the state’s totals to 1,804,369 cases and 19,812 known deaths since the pandemic began.

On Saturday, Arizona had reported 2,916 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases and 69 more deaths as the pace of virus deaths has nearly doubled over the past two weeks.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services COVID-19 dashboard, there were 1,834 COVID-19 patients occupying inpatient hospital beds as of Friday — a level below the current surge’s peak of 2,103 on Sept. 12.

More than 4.1 million people (57.7% of the state’s population) have received at least one dose of vaccine and over 3.6 million residents are fully vaccinated (51.1% of the population).

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NEW YORK -- New York City schools have been temporarily blocked from enforcing a vaccine mandate for its teachers and other workers by a federal appeals judge days before it was to take effect.

The mandate for the the nation’s largest school system was set to go into effect Monday.

But late Friday, a judge for the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a temporary injunction and referred the case to a three-judge panel an an expedited basis.

Department of Education spokesperson Danielle Filson said officials are seeking a speedy resolution by the circuit court next week.