Pfizer’s experimental coronavirus vaccine is now being tested in the youngest age group yet — kids as young as 12.
The move into younger children was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and institutional review boards earlier this month, but Pfizer broke up the groups of children into older teens age 16 and 17 and young children age 12 to 15.
A team at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital finished vaccinating 100 children in the younger age group last week, said Dr. Robert Frenck, who is leading the trial for Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine at the hospital. Half the volunteers in this third and final phase of Pfizer’s vaccine are getting a placebo, or dummy shot.
“Now we are pausing to watch for reactions to the vaccine. We right now are in a planned pause to make sure that everything is as safe as it can be,” Frenck told CNN.
Among the side effects doctors are watching for are lumps, redness or pain at the site of the injection, as well as fever or achiness.
Abhinav, 12, is one of the young volunteers. The seventh grader — whose parents asked that only his first name be used to protect his privacy — hopes that widespread vaccination will help make it safe for his grandparents to resume visits from India, and for classes to get back to normal at school.
“I think everyone at my school would like to get back to normal,” Abhinav told CNN. “I really think a vaccine could prevent the spread of the infection. As of now, I probably would request other kids to maybe take it.”
Frenck said people may be nervous about giving children an experimental vaccine but noted Pfizer’s has already been tested in tens of thousands of adults.
“The reason we can use this vaccine in children is that Pfizer has 30,000 adults who have been enrolled and it has safety data from all those people,” he said.
Plus, he said, it will be important to vaccinate children against coronavirus if there is to be any hope of controlling the pandemic. They are almost certainly contributing to silent spread of the virus.
“I think the important thing people need to remember is that while adolescents aren’t getting as sick as older adults are, it doesn’t mean that some kids aren’t getting sick and some kids aren’t dying,” Frenck said.
“We have had 120 kids in the US die from Covid so far.”
Austria is considering more restrictive coronavirus measuring including a second nationwide lockdown, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Monday following a steep rise in the country’s daily coronavirus infection numbers.
“The higher the number of infections, the more restrictive measures are needed,” said Kurz after the Council of Ministers met Monday on Austria’s national holiday.
“The ultimate measure is a second lockdown,” he added.
“We are experiencing massive, exponential growth. This is an extreme challenge,” Kurz said. “The situation is very, very serious, even for those who still don’t want to believe it.”
Kurz went on to say that the situation in hospitals will be decisive in determining if a second lockdown is needed. He added that the goal of increased restrictions is to prevent intensive care units from being overwhelmed.
The seven-day moving average of new daily Covid cases stood at 68,767 after Sunday — a level not seen since the highest peak in late July, according to CNN’s analysis of data by Johns Hopkins University (JHU).
Over the last seven days, the United States added 481,372 new cases — the most the nation has added in a single week, according to JHU.
The period includes the two highest recorded single days for new cases, Friday and Saturday, which both eclipsed 80,000.
Sunday’s number was lower — 60,789 — but represents the highest reported number for a Sunday since July 22. New case totals are routinely lower on Sundays and Mondays, reflecting slower reporting on weekends.
China has rolled out mass coronavirus testing for nearly 5 million people and imposed lockdown measures in the prefecture of Kashgar in the far western region of Xinjiang, after a single asymptomatic coronavirus case was reported on Saturday.
The testing drive has so far identified 137 additional cases — and all are asymptomatic, according to Xinjiang’s regional health commission. This is the highest daily number of asymptomatic Covid-19 cases reported in China in nearly seven months.
As of Sunday afternoon, some 2.8 million people have been tested. The government expects to finish testing all of Kashgar’s 4.7 million population by Tuesday.
The outbreak is Xinjiang’s second since China’s initial wave of coronavirus infections was brought under control in March.
Friday nights are usually heady and vibrant in the Welsh capital; its people are famous for being fiercely proud and incredibly hospitable.
Cardiff, then, is a good place to welcome the weekend.
At least, it was, until Friday, October 23, when Wales rolled back the clock to March 2020 to start a second national lockdown.
Israel is set to reopen schools for grades 1-4 next week as coronavirus numbers across the country continue to fall. Classes will open under restrictions to prevent the resurgence of coronavirus, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, including learning in limited “capsules,” with classes held on alternate days.
Health experts say the reopening of the school system after the first lockdown was one of the key factors in the rapid rise in cases over the summer.
Further discussions, focusing on the reopening of more businesses and transportation, are expected to take place Monday.
Israel recorded 559 new coronavirus cases Sunday and a positivity rate of 2.7%, dramatic improvements from the record 9,000 cases in one day less than a month ago.
But Netanyahu warned the public not to be complacent and threatened increased enforcement against anyone who violates the Ministry of Health restrictions.
“I believe that the fines must be increased and that determined action must be taken against whoever violates the directives, whether at weddings, institutions or events, or any other place that causes mass infection,” he said.
France may have an estimated 100,000 new Covid-19 cases per day, according to Jean-François Delfraissy, who leads the scientific council that advises the French government.
Speaking to France’s RTL radio on Monday morning, Delfraissy said, “There are probably over 50,000 cases per day.”
However, the scientific council estimates that the reality is around 100,000 daily cases, “because beyond diagnosed cases there are many not diagnosed and asymptomatic cases,” Delfraissy said.
He added that France is in a “very difficult, even critical, situation.”
“This second wave is probably going to be stronger than the first wave,” he said, adding that the governing council’s main objectives going forward are to protect the most vulnerable people from coronavirus and protect the economy.
On Sunday, the French Health Authority reported its highest daily increase in Covid-19 cases with 52,010 new infections.
The most recent figures also show that of all the intensive care unit (ICU) patients, half of them are people ill with Covid-19. That proportion is even more alarming in the Paris region where 65.5% of ICU beds were occupied by Covid patients.
There are currently 2,575 people currently in ICU in France — double the number than in early October.
Russia reported 17,347 new Covid-19 cases on Monday in its biggest 24-hour increase, according to the data from the country’s coronavirus response center.
The previous daily high of 17,340 cases was reported three days ago on October 23.
The total number of reported Covid-19 infections in Russia stands at 1,531,224, with at least 26,269 deaths.
Austria recorded 6,396 new Covid-19 cases over the weekend, its highest figure over 48 hours, according to the latest data from the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES).
The total number of reported coronavirus infections in the country stands at 84,130.
Public health authorities say that 1,225 people are being treated in hospital for Covid-19, of which 174 are in intensive care units.
At least 979 coronavirus-related deaths have been recorded in the country.
Last week, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced a set of new social restrictions to contain the spread of the virus, including limiting indoor gatherings to six people and a maximum of 12 people meeting together outdoors.
In September, Kurz said Austria’s ski season will go ahead but with severe restrictions. Popular apres-ski parties will be banned to curb the spread of the virus.