COVID booster vaccine authorized for teens ages 16 and 17

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The latest on COVID-19

Hours after the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded on Thursday, December 9, the authorization of emergency use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine so that adolescents aged 16 and 17 can receive the booster doses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also gave the green light.

This third booster dose can be administered at least two months after receiving the first two doses of the vaccine from this pharmaceutical company.

“Vaccination and receiving a booster when eligible, along with other preventative measures such as wearing a mask and avoiding large crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, remain our most effective methods of combating COVID-19,” said the Acting FDA Commissioner. , Dr. Janet Woodcock

“When people gather indoors with family and friends during the Holiday break, this is an essential public health measure. As the delta and omicron variants continue to spread, vaccination remains the best protection against COVID-19. “

About 2.6 million teens in that age bracket would be eligible.

On November 19, the FDA had already extended the recommendation of the booster for all adults 18 years of age and older.

USA: 50 million COVID cases

The total number of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic in the United States was reaching 50 million on Tuesday, December 7.

Cases are on the rise, both caused by the delta variant and omicron, the latest strain on record.

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As of Tuesday, the new variant had been detected in 19 states. It would appear to be more contagious but cause less severe cases.

The resurgence of cases has generated increased demand for vaccines and boosters. Public health experts assure that mass vaccination is the only way to corner the virus and prevent it from mutating.

The first case of omicron was recorded in a California resident who returned from South Africa on November 22 and tested positive for COVID on November 29.

The person was vaccinated, but had not received the booster dose.

The omicron variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was first registered in southern African countries, and is already present on all five continents.

Genomic sequencing was carried out at the University of California, San Francisco and confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Europe

The fourth wave of COVID-19 is hitting hard in Europe, where some countries are once again registering record numbers of cases. Germany had 65,000 new cases on Thursday, November 18, although health officials say the actual number of cases may be triple.

Germany’s vaccination rate, currently around 67% of the population, is low compared to many other countries in the European Union. The vast majority of people currently admitted to hospital with COVID are not vaccinated.

In the Netherlands, 20,000 new cases were reported on Wednesday the 17th. The same figure was registered by France.

The Netherlands and Austria have re-implemented quarantines. Remote work and the use of masks indoors have been re-implemented in Belgium.

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Austria has one of the highest national coronavirus infection rates in Europe, and one of the lowest vaccination rates in Western Europe, with only 66 percent of the population fully vaccinated.

Vaccines against COVID prevent hospitalization and death in about 90% of cases, but not infection and transmission of the virus. That is why it is possible that there are vaccinated people who become infected with SARS-CoV-2 and can transmit it to other people, even if they too have been immunized.

Situation in Latin America

By the end of November, more than 44% of the population eligible for doses in Latin America had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the majority through doses donated or acquired through the COVAX program, led by the World Health Organization ( WHO) for vaccines to reach developing nations.

Countries such as Uruguay and Argentina have more than 60% of the population fully vaccinated while others, such as Nicaragua, do not reach 10% and some Caribbean nations, do not exceed 20%.

The first week of November, the Region had just over 800,000 new cases, with 18,000 deaths, the lowest figures in the last year.

Childhood vaccines

Just over a million children ages 5 to 11 have already received at least their first dose of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine in the United States. This represents the 3% of this population that is now eligible.

An analysis by KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) revealed that only 27% of parents planned to be first in line to vaccinate their children. 30% said they would not vaccinate them.

Johns Hopkins University created a near real-time case map that you can also view and follow here:

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What are coronaviruses

Coronaviruses (CoVs) are a broad family of viruses that can cause a variety of conditions, from the common cold to more serious illnesses, such as the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and the respiratory syndrome coronavirus. severe acute (SARS-CoV). A new coronavirus is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been found before in humans.

How do you get coronavirus?

Coronaviruses can be transmitted from animals to people (called zoonotic transmission). Studies have confirmed that SARS-CoV was transmitted from the civet to humans and that transmission of MERS-CoV from dromedary to humans has occurred. In addition, it is known that there are other coronaviruses circulating among animals, which have not yet infected humans.

Characteristic symptoms

These infections usually cause fever and respiratory symptoms (cough and dyspnea or shortness of breath). In the most severe cases, they can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.

Also headache and loss of taste and smell.

How to prevent contagion

The usual recommendations to avoid spreading the infection are to wash your hands frequently and cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing (with your arm, not your hand). Masks should be used, especially indoors.

Close contact with anyone showing signs of a respiratory condition, such as coughing or sneezing, should also be avoided. Comply with the 6-foot (two-meter) social distancing and stay home if symptoms appear.

Sources: WHO, CDC, Johns Hopkins.

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