American babies may soon be vaccinated against Covid. That’s why it’s a big moment in the pandemic

It comes a day after 22 members of the agency’s advisory committee voted unanimously to approve Moderna’s vaccine for children ages 6 to 17.

Both companies reported positive test results when using their vaccines in young children. Pfizer found that three doses for children were found to be safe and, in trials, elicited an immune response comparable to that of the elderly. In the meantime, Moderna reported that two smaller doses appear to elicit the same immune response as their two-dose series of vaccine in adults aged 18 to 25.

And the White House is ready for the FDA green light. The Biden administration has prepared 10 million doses for national distribution and expects the first vaccination to begin next week, according to a newsletter provided by CNN this month.

However, the big question is how quickly parents will seize the opportunity to vaccinate their young children.

According to a Vaccine Monitor poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation published last month, only 18% of parents of children under 5 said they would get their child vaccinated against Covid-19 as soon as a vaccine becomes available.

Nearly 40% of parents of young children said they would “wait and see” before vaccinating their child, 11% said they would only get a vaccine if needed, and 27% said they would “definitely not” vaccinate their child against Covid-19. .

According to the survey, the lack of available information about the program is the reason for this hesitation; most parents of children under 5 years of age said they did not have enough information about its safety and effectiveness.

But the US will not be alone in vaccinating toddlers and preschoolers against Covid-19.

According to Our World in Data, most countries offer the vaccine to children as young as 5 years of age. However, some are extending their programs to younger children—and have been for some time.

China started vaccinating children as young as 3 years old last year, and some early real data a few months later showed that Sinovac and CoronaVac vaccinations do offer some protection to young people.

Hong Kong approved vaccinations for 3-year-olds in February amid a surge in infections. And Cuba is vaccinating children ages 2 and up for nine months as part of a strategy that initially aimed to reopen schools during a wave of cases.

While Covid-19 is more severe in older age groups, there are benefits to vaccinating the youngest children. Children can be ill with Covid for a long time and are susceptible to the wide and unpredictable range of symptoms that accompany the condition. Hospitalizations of young children with Covid are infrequent but do occur, and transmission rates in schools can be high.

“We have been waiting for this moment for a long time,” White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said last week.

“If the FDA and CDC recommend these vaccines, it will be a big moment in the pandemic… children are better protected, they are better off if they are vaccinated,” he added.

YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED.

Q: Will we ever know how the pandemic started?

BUT: A group of international scientists tasked with understanding the origins of the coronavirus pandemic released their first report on Thursday, saying all hypotheses remain on the table, including a possible laboratory incident.

A 27-member scientific advisory panel convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) said the available evidence suggests the virus passed from animals to humans, but gaps in “key pieces of data” mean a full understanding of its origin cannot be installed.

“Studying the origin of any new pathogen or pandemic is incredibly difficult,” said Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, Technical Lead for the Covid-19 Health Emergencies Program at WHO. “There is still a lot of work to be done in China and elsewhere.”

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READINGS OF THE WEEK

American workers got power during Covid. An unstable economy will test this for strength

The pandemic has highlighted disparities in benefits and rights among the U.S. workforce and helped ignite a movement to unionize more workers, reports Alice Wallace.

Large corporations such as Starbucks and Amazon are forming unions; union election petitions filed with the National Labor Relations Board from October 2021 to March 2022 are up 57% year-over-year. A September Gallup poll found that 68% of Americans polled supported unions, the highest approval rate since 1965.

But the war in Ukraine, record gas prices and skyrocketing inflation continue to put pressure on the US economy, raising questions about whether a newly entrenched labor movement can weather higher unemployment and a possible economic downturn.

Cancellation of US testing rule opens gateways for international summer travel

As temperatures rise, the US is lifting the requirement for all travelers entering the country to test negative for Covid-19.

The rule ended on Sunday, prompting a collective sigh of relief and with it, most likely, a flood of US-bound travelers.

For many American travelers, this means they no longer have to worry about testing before returning to the States or face the costs and burdens of being abroad in quarantine and waiting for a negative test result.

International travelers heading to the US can now plan trips without fear of cancellation due to a positive test. Most non-US citizens still need to be vaccinated to travel to the country.

They felt like the world had left them behind: raising young children in a pandemic

Rohit Kumar Rai and his wife have lost family members in India to Covid-19 so they know how serious the disease can be. That’s why they live so discreetly in Texas until their 4-year-old son gets his shot.

That means holding back from playing and going to school when the incidence is higher, he said, a discrepancy that could upset their son. “Sometimes you say you can go, and sometimes you say you can’t,” complains Rai, his son.

While some families hesitate or refuse to vaccinate their young children, for many this news brings a huge sigh of relief.

“It’s not that I’m waiting for some miracle vaccine; once he gets it, it’s all over,” Rai said. “He can get Covid, he can get sick, but the worst case scenario is not going to happen. This is my ultimate goal for my child.”

MAIN ADVICE

Summer holidays are getting easier.

This month, Japan began allowing entry to foreign tourist groups (solo travelers are still not allowed), and the US has lifted its testing rule, which means some aspects of international travel should be smoother.

But be sure to read the advice wherever you go. This week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention placed Mexico in the “high risk” category for Covid-19.

The CDC also recommends getting tested within three days of flying and not traveling if you are sick.

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