As students return to school, COVID-19 infections among children are up by about 240 percent since July. This week, the COVID-19 death toll in the United States surpassed that of the 1918 flu pandemic, with more than 1 in 500 Americans having lost their lives to COVID-19. Death rates continue to be disproportionately higher among Black, Latino, and American Indian and Alaskan Native people. At the same time, the summer surge of COVID-19 cases seems to be slowing, with averages of new daily cases and hospitalizations declining. [IMPAQ 9.24.2021]
Vaccine and Booster Updates. The FDA granted emergency use authorization to the Pfizer booster shot. Use is limited to adults 65 or older adults, 18 or older at high risk for severe illness, and those at high risk of exposure due to their jobs, such as health care workers. Additionally, recent CDC research concluded that unvaccinated people are 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those who have been vaccinated. In other vaccine news:
· President Biden’s recently announced vaccine mandate for employers with at least 100 workers will be written by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
· A pediatric study of the Pfizer vaccine showed that children ages 5-11 who received a lower dose of the vaccine had comparable antibody responses to participants ages 16-25 who received the typical adult dosage. Children also had comparable side effects to the 16-25 group. Pfizer plans to file for emergency authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine for children under 11 in October.