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Covid-19 vaccines can go into younger teens' arms as soon as Thursday, FDA predicts

Coronavirus vaccines can likely go into younger teens’ arms as soon as Thursday, US Food and Drug Administration officials said Monday.

The FDA extended emergency use authorization of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine to kids ages 12 to 15 on Monday. 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has scheduled an emergency meeting for Wednesday. It’s expected to vote to recommend use of the vaccine. After that, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky is expected to give her final approval, after which states can give the go-ahead to administer the vaccine to the new age group.

States regulate medical practice but things should move quickly, said Dr. Peter Marks, director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, the arm of the FDA that regulates vaccines.

“We would assume they could be as soon as Thursday,” Marks told reporters in a briefing Monday evening.

“Thursday, right,” added FDA Acting Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock.

FDA decision on extending coronavirus authorization to younger teens was "straightforward"

The US Food and Drug Administration’s decision to extend emergency use authorization of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine to kids ages 12 to 15 was “straightforward,” an FDA official said Monday.

“It was a relatively straightforward decision,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, the arm of the FDA that regulates vaccines, told reporters Monday evening.

The FDA looked at safety data from more than 2,000 adolescents, half who got the vaccine and half who got a saline placebo injection, before making its decision. Field efficacy data on 1,000 children showed none of the vaccinated youth became infected with the virus.

They also looked at the immune responses of some of the children who were vaccinated, and compared them to the immune responses of older teens and adults who got the shot.

“The response to the vaccine was excellent and in fact it was even better, really, in the younger age group than it was in the 16-25 age group,” Marks said.

“The safety profile was very similar in 12-15-year-olds as in 16-25-year-olds.”

What’s next: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has scheduled an emergency meeting for Wednesday. It’s expected to vote to recommend use of the vaccine. After that, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky is expected to give her final approvalafter which states can give the go-ahead to medical professionals to administer the vaccine.

Only 7% of L.A. high school students return to campus for in-person learning

Austin Beutner, left, Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District talks with freshman baseball player David Maldonado, right, in the classroom of physical education teacher and head baseball coach Ruben Torres on the James A. Garfield High School campus as freshmen students arrive for their first time on campus on Tuesday, April 27.

Only 7% of high school students enrolled in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) have returned to campuses for in-person learning, according to new data from the nation’s second largest school district.

While the LAUSD reopened all of its schools with extensive safety measures, including upgraded air filtration systems and a school-based Covid-19 testing and contact tracing program, data released Monday shows that most high school students are taking classes online at home rather than returning to school. 

LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner noted that more high school students from lower income communities are returning to school for in-person learning compared to those in higher income communities.

“In Huntington Park, where the median income is about $44,000, 12% of high school students have returned to in-person learning, while in Woodland Hills, with incomes of nearly $100,000, only 5% have returned,” Beutner said in a briefing Monday. 

“We must do all we can do bring them back including providing access to vaccinations to help facilitate their safe return,” Beutner added. 

The district, which has an enrollment of over 600,000 K-12 students across 1,000 schools, has launched 15 school-based vaccination clinics in neighborhoods hardest hit by the pandemic. These clinics provide access to those who may lack transportation to get to other sites or don’t have the time or technology to make an appointment on a computer, according to Beutner.

“Our aim is to bring access to the vaccine to every middle and high school in Los Angeles Unified as soon as we can,” said Beutner. “Our schools serve almost 650,000 students and there is no better place to provide vaccinations to school children than at a local neighborhood school.”

While data shows that only 7% of LAUSD’s high school students returned to campus, the rate of in-person attendance for elementary school students is about 30%. Elementary schools have also had higher in-person enrollment in more affluent communities, Beutner noted.

“Students are allowed to use playground equipment at schools for the first time since the pandemic hit last March,” the superintendent said. “If you happened by a school at recess last week, there were smiles all around.”

Pediatricians prepare to vaccinate 12-to-15-year-olds against Covid-19

The US Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer/BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for children and teens ages 12 to 15 Monday. Now pediatricians are preparing to vaccinate the youngest cohort of Covid-19 vaccine recipients yet. 

A delivery of 1,000 Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine doses arrived at Sandhills Pediatrics in Southern Pines, North Carolina, early this morning. Dr. Christoph Diasio, a pediatrician at the office, is preparing to start vaccinating his patients as soon as possible.

For years now, Diasio’s office has been offering routine vaccinations to family members who come in with pediatric patients – which he says is a pretty common practice among pediatricians nationwide. With the Covid-19 vaccine, Diasio hopes it will also be a way to overcome some hesitancy.

“We feel that primary care is going to have a real role with the folks who are a little bit hesitant or just need some questions answered,” he said. “Maybe the community, for whatever reason, trusts their family doctor or their pediatrician more than they trust, for example, a corporate pharmacy.”

Diasio said his office has not yet offered Covid-19 vaccines to patients 16 and older, partially because his community has been able to cover the need with existing vaccine sites.

“I think we’re moving to a phase of the campaign where now we need to be giving the Covid vaccine like we do the flu vaccine, where it’s just a regular part of what we do every day,” Diasio said.

Diasio said quite a few family members have recently called the office to inquire about when their 12-to-15-year-olds can make an appointment to get vaccinated.

One of those family members is Betsy Saye, who is eager to get her 14-year-old daughter Hannah vaccinated. Hannah is the youngest member of the family and the only person in the household yet to be vaccinated against coronavirus.

She was born with a heart defect that places her at high risk for Covid-19. Her family decided that the benefits of Hannah being protected against the virus outweigh any potential risks associated with the vaccine.

Vaccine advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet Wednesday to discuss if and how the vaccine should be recommended for use in this age group, and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky will make the final recommendation.

L.A. County will reach herd immunity by July with current rate of Covid-19 vaccinations

A nurse administers the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at Kedren Community Health Center in Los Angeles in February.

At the current rate of Covid-19 vaccinations, Los Angeles County is expected to reach herd immunity to coronavirus by mid to late July, county health officials said in a briefing Monday.

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County’s public health director, explained that at least 400,000 residents need to be vaccinated each week before the county reaches this level of community immunity.

The county still has about 1.5 million first doses to administer before 80% of all residents are vaccinated, according to Ferrer.

While over eight million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the county, there are over three million eligible residents who have not yet been vaccinated, Supervisor Hilda L. Solis said.

The county is encouraging people to get vaccinated and is now offering mobile vaccination units to go directly to the workplace for those who may have limited availability or time.

According to Ferrer, the rate of vaccinations continues to rise, but at a slightly slower pace now than earlier in the year.

With over 10 million residents, Los Angeles County is the most populous county in the nation. The county has reported a total of 24,003 Covid-19 deaths and at least 1,235,797 cases. 

FDA schedules advisory meeting to discuss Covid-19 vaccines for children under 12

The US Food and Drug Administration, which extended emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine to 12-15-year-olds on Monday, also scheduled a meeting of its vaccine advisers for next month to discuss authorizing Covid-19 vaccines for younger children.

The FDA had said it would not need input from advisers for the EUA for younger teens, but plans input from its outside advisers before deciding on use in children under 12.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) will convene a virtual meeting of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) on June 10, 2021, via webcast,” the FDA said in a statement.

“During the meeting the agency will provide a status update on our approach to emergency use authorization (EUA) for COVID-19 vaccines intended for use in individuals 12 through 17 years of age. The committee will also discuss the data needed to support an EUA and a biologics license application (BLA) for a COVID-19 vaccine intended for use in children less than 12 years of age. The committee will not discuss any specific products.”

Novavax has about 30 to 40 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine right now

Novavax has about 30 or 40 million doses of coronavirus vaccine stockpiled on the shelf currently, the American biotechnology firm’s president and CEO Stanley Erck said during an investors call on Monday.

“In the third quarter, we had expected to produce roughly 70 to 80 million doses per month at the Novavax sites, excluding Serum,” Erck said, referring to the company’s manufacturing partner Serum Institute of India.

“I would guess that we’re probably in half that right now,” Erck said. “We’ve made 30 or 40 million doses on the shelf and it’s getting larger every week.” 

Novavax noted in a news release on Monday that the company’s anticipated manufacturing capacity has been revised to 100 million doses per month by the end of the third quarter of this year, with the remainder of capacity expected to come online in the fourth quarter to support 150 million doses per month.

Erck said earlier Monday the company plans to apply for emergency use authorization of its Covid-19 vaccine in the US in the third quarter of this year.

FDA authorizes Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine for use in kids ages 12 to 15

The US Food and Drug Administration has expanded the emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine to include kids ages 12 to 15.

This is the first Covid-19 vaccine in the United States authorized for use in younger teens and adolescents; the vaccine had previously been authorized for people age 16 and older. Covid-19 vaccines from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are authorized for use in people age 18 and older.

To support the extended use, the FDA reviewed data submitted by Pfizer. The company said at the end of March that a clinical trial involving 2,260 12-to-15-year-olds showed the vaccine’s efficacy is 100% and it is well tolerated.

The FDA’s independent Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee did not meet to vote on whether to recommend the expansion of the EUA to 12-to-15-year-olds. But the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is scheduled to meet Wednesday to advise CDC on whether to recommend use of the vaccine in this age group. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky will then decide whether the agency will recommend the vaccine’s use in the new group.

Vaccinations for 12-to-15-year-olds are not expected to begin until after that recommendation. The Biden administration has said it will quickly mobilize to ready vaccinations for 12-to-15-year-olds through the federal pharmacy program, pediatricians and family doctors.

Expanding authorization to people 12 to 15 opens Covid-19 vaccination to another 5% of the US population, nearly 17 million more people. The expanded authorization means 85% of the US population is eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccine.

“Today’s expansion of our EUA represents a significant step forward in helping the U.S. government broaden its vaccination program and help protect adolescents ages 12-15 before the start of the next school year. We are grateful to all of our clinical trial volunteers and their families, whose courage helped make this milestone possible. Together, we hope to help bring a sense of normalcy back to young people across the country and eventually around the world,” Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Pfizer said last week it expects to submit for emergency use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 2 to 11 years old in September. Its vaccine safety and efficacy study in children ages 6 months to 11 years old is ongoing.

Novavax's Covid-19 vaccine could be a "booster for everyone," CEO says

Novavax’s coronavirus vaccine could be used as a booster shot later this year for people in the United States who have already been vaccinated against Covid-19, the biotech firm’s CEO Stanley Erck told CNN Monday.

“In the US, I think it will be the booster for everyone, particularly if we get it out late in the third quarter,” Erck said in a phone interview. “It’s going to be time to start boosting — whether it’s six months or at a year point.”

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says vaccine types and brands are not interchangeable for the initial immunization, and there has been no decision either in the US or globally on the need for booster doses, let alone which vaccine might be appropriate for any booster.

France records lowest number of Covid-19 infections since December

A medical staff member holds a nasal swab as he collects samples from a person at a Covid-19 test site in Brest, France, in July 2020.

France has reported 3,292 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the lowest number of confirmed cases since Dec. 28, official figures from the French government showed on Monday.

In an interview with Le Parisien on Monday, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said, “We are finally and durably exiting this health crisis. Of course, this exit will happen progressively, carefully and with constant monitoring. But the trend is clear, we’re reaching our goal and that’s good news.”

Asked whether France was sufficiently prepared to face a potential fourth wave, Castex said “nothing should ever be excluded” and the country had to remain “hyper vigilant, particularly through controlling the spread of variants, especially at borders and where people quarantine.”

He said these controls were among “the most stringent” in Europe.

Monday’s figures bring the total number of confirmed cases in France to over 5.7 million since the pandemic began, the fourth highest figure in the world after the United States, India and Brazil according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Novavax's US and Mexico Phase 3 trial results expected "in a few weeks," CEO says

Biotechnology company Novavax expects to see results from a Phase 3 study of its Covid-19 vaccine in the United States and Mexico “in a few weeks,” the company’s CEO Stanley Erck told CNN Monday.

The trial has enrolled 30,000 volunteers across more than 100 locations. Previously, the Maryland-based company announced that it was on track to have the trial results sometime in April.

“We’re still unblinding in the second quarter — that hasn’t changed. It’s just not in April, obviously, and so it’ll be in a few weeks,” Erck said in a phone interview.

The new timeline “gives us the ability to count more cases,” Erck said. “It gives us a bit more robust data, hopefully, and allows us to catch more severe events, and also take a closer look at what variants were infecting our population.”

Erck added that the trial data will reveal the efficacy level of the vaccine in the United States and Mexico as well as which variants were circulating at the time of the trial and what the efficacy of the vaccine will be against those variants.

In March, Novavax announced that a final analysis of a separate Phase 3 trial in the United Kingdom confirmed its Covid-19 vaccine had an efficacy of 96% against the original coronavirus strain and 86% against the B.1.1.7 variant first identified in the UK.

Here are the latest numbers from the US' Covid-19 vaccine rollout

About 262 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States, according to data published Monday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC reported that 261,599,381 total doses have been administered – about 79% of the 329,843,825 doses delivered.

That’s about 1.9 million more administered doses reported since yesterday, for a 7-day average of about 2.1 million doses per day.

About 46% of the population – 153 million people – have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 34.8% of the population – about 116 million people – have been fully vaccinated.

Data published by the CDC may be delayed, and doses may not have been given on the day reported.

Hundreds break Covid-19 protocols to attend funeral in India's Uttar Pradesh state

Hundreds of people attended the funeral of a senior Muslim cleric on Sunday, flouting Covid-19 protocols and a state-wide lockdown in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

Qazi Hazrat Abdul Hameed Mohammed Salimul Qadri died Sunday afternoon in Badaun district and as news of his death spread, people started collecting, Praveen Chauhan, a senior police official, told CNN. 

“He was beloved in the community so people came to pay their respects,” said Chauhan.

He added that there was a curfew but the area is such that even with barricades and check points in place people were able to get in. If not for the Covid-19 restrictions, the crowd would have been in hundreds of thousands, he said.

On Sunday, Uttar Pradesh extended its current lockdown until May 17 as India continues to battle the second wave.

Local police have filed a complaint against “unknown people” and are currently investigating the incident. 

No arrests have been made yet.

New York will require vaccinations for in-person students at public universities this fall, governor says

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that students attending classes in person at public colleges in the state’s SUNY and CUNY system will be required to be vaccinated.

Cuomo tweeted then announcement earlier today:

Some more context: More than 100 US colleges and universities have said they will require all their students to get vaccinated against Covid-19 before they return to campus for the fall semester, according to a CNN tally.

Earlier this month, the tally indicated that at least 14 universities and colleges were adopting that policy. Since then, dozens of higher education institutions have jumped on the bandwagon, demonstrating the trajectory of vaccine requirements. Some schools have said they will make exemptions for medical, religious or personal reasons.

DC to lift capacity restrictions on all businesses starting June 11

Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Monday that capacity limits will be lifted at most businesses on May 21, and all businesses including restaurants, bars, and larger sports or entertainment venues on June 11, given rates of infections continue to decrease. Residents will still be required to wear masks indoors.

“Friday, May 21st we will be turning on substantially more activity in the District. We anticipate on three weeks following that on June 11 we will be able to turn up activity in the District all the way,” Bowser said at a news conference. 

The mayor said the loosening of these restrictions will be formalized in a Mayor’s Order.  

Bowser stated that residents need to get vaccinated in order to allow reopening. 

“I just want to reiterate how important the following will be for us to continue to reopen our city to get back to life, we need to get people vaccinated,” she said. 

226,566 residents have been fully vaccinated according to data from the DC Department of Health.

When asked whether she might reverse this reopening stance if the course of the pandemic changes, Bowser answered, “do I think that we would have to put in business restrictions at a future date? I hope not. But if we think that our health system was strained by covid, we would have to.”

DC Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt echoed the warnings of health officials across the country, urging caution and stressing the immense importance of vaccines, as the District stands poised to reopen. “We still want people to be cautious. If you are not fully vaccinated, your degree of risk is still going to be higher than someone who was fully vaccinated. The more that you want to do without a mask, the more we need people to continue to get vaccinated,” she said.

Despite the large-scale lifting of restrictions, Bowser suggested that DC’s public health emergency would remain in place for “administrative” reasons, including those having to do with reimbursements from the federal government as the District continues to recover from the pandemic. The current public health emergency expires on May 20.

Bowser also clarified to reporters that the new guidance outlined on Monday would include a lift on restrictions on dancing at wedding venues and live music venues as they open in the coming weeks.

This comes after the mayor faced backlash for a so-called “dancing ban,” due to a provision in a previous health order prohibiting “standing and dancing receptions” at wedding venues opened at reduced capacity.

New York City's public libraries will open for limited browsing, mayor says

People walk by the New York Public Library in July 2020.

Public libraries in New York City will reopen for limited browsing for the first time since the pandemic began, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday.

The New York Public Library, the largest public library system in the United States, will add the expanded services beginning Monday, alongside the Brooklyn and Queens public library systems, de Blasio said.

The NYPL will reopen with limited browsing at select locations. It plans to expand services at additional library branches in the coming weeks, with all available branches set to reopen with at least limited services by mid-July, according to their website.

Min Jin Lee, a native New Yorker and author of novels such as “Pachinko” and “Free Food for Millionaires,” joined Mayor de Blasio for the announcement. Lee said she grew up going to the public library in Elmhurst, Queens, and said she “wouldn’t be a writer unless [she] had been there.”

Lee applauded the reopening of public libraries as a place to come together after the pandemic “made us afraid of each other.”

“The pandemic has made us all afraid of getting sick, or dying. But it has also made us afraid of each other because we haven’t had a time to hang out and I can’t think of a better place in New York City in which we can hang out and learn, and really learn more about each other and about ourselves,” Lee said.

Lee also said the rise in violence against the AAPI community makes communal spaces such as libraries more important than ever.

Some more context: New York City has administered 7,048,270 Covid-19 vaccine doses to date – more doses than there are people in the state of Massachusetts, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday. 

De Blasio said that approximately 3 million New York City residents are now fully-vaccinated and about 3.8 million have received at least one dose, but acknowledged that the city’s vaccine supply now exceeds the demand for them.

Nepal official calls the pandemic an "overwhelming burden" days after saying it was "under control"

Nepal’s caretaker Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli said the Covid-19 pandemic in his country is “turning out to be an overwhelming burden,” in an opinion piece in The Guardian on Monday.

“Nepal’s history is one of hardship and struggle, yet this pandemic is pushing even us to our limits. The number of infections is straining the healthcare system; it has become tough to provide patients with the hospital beds that they need,” he wrote.

He added that the government is making efforts for prevention and treatment but that “due to the constraints of resources and infrastructure, the pandemic is turning out to be an overwhelming burden.”

He wrote in the piece, “I have, therefore, appealed to the international community to help us with vaccines, diagnostic tools, oxygen kits, critical care medicines and equipment, to support our efforts to save lives. Our urgent goal is to stop preventable deaths occurring.”

But on Saturday, Oli told CNN that the Covid-19 situation in Nepal was “under control.”

In the interview, he said the government is taking measures to control the situation. He also said there had been “some mistakes” when asked about large events that were held in the country in recent weeks, though added “this should not be a political issue.” 

Meanwhile, Oli was removed from his post as prime minister on Monday after losing a confidence vote in Parliament.

CNN’s Jake Kwon and Sugam Pokharel contributed reporting to this post. 

Some international travel from the UK on track to resume on May 17

England is on track to start easing Covid-19 restrictions in mid-May as planned, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a press conference on Monday.

International travel to countries on the so called “green list” will be allowed without quarantining, and indoor hospitality and indoor entertainment can reopen, Johnson outlined. 

Under the “single biggest step” toward normality, as of next Monday, universities will re-open to in-person classes, all remaining outdoor entertainment can reopen and some larger events will be able to take place, including conferences, theatre and concert performances, and sports events, Johnson said.

WHO classifies Covid-19 variant first identified in India as a variant of concern

The World Health Organization has classified the B.1.617 Covid-19 variant, which was first identified in India, as a variant of concern, the WHO’s technical lead for Covid-19 said during a news briefing on Monday.

A “variant of concern” label indicates that the identified variant may show, among other indicators, evidence of increased transmissibility or evidence of increased severity.

“There is some available information to suggest increased transmissibility of B.1.617,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO Covid-19 technical lead.

Quantifying the risk posed by the variant will require real-world data in addition to greater genomic surveillance, WHO officials said.

“Even though there is increased transmissibility demonstrated by some preliminary studies, we need much more information about this virus variant in this lineage and all of the sublineages,” Van Kerkhove said Monday. “We need more targeted sequencing to be done, and to be shared in India and elsewhere so that we know how much of this virus is circulating.”

WHO said it will be releasing more information on the variant in its Situation Report on Tuesday.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on its website currently classifies the B.1.617 variant as a “variant of interest.” CNN has reached out to the CDC to see if it has any immediate plans to reclassify B.1.617 as a “variant of concern” in the United States.

Parents urged to catch kids up on other shots ahead of Covid-19 vaccine rollout

With Covid-19 vaccinations possibly on the horizon for children ages 12 to 15 in the United States, pediatricians are concerned about the challenge of getting children up-to-date on their childhood vaccines and balancing that with scheduling potential Covid-19 shots.

“We have seen throughout the pandemic that there has been a decline in routine immunizations, and that does concern me greatly as a pediatrician because I know that many children have missed other important vaccines for diseases like measles or whooping cough – which, like Covid-19, can be deadly,” Dr. Lisa Costello, a pediatrician at WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on State Government Affairs, told CNN on Friday.

Parents are urged to get their children caught up on immunizations since, Costello said, eventually younger children could soon also be eligible to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

Signs first emerged around the spring of last year that childhood vaccinations have plunged since the pandemic began. One study published in May 2020 by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the number of childhood vaccines administered in Michigan dropped by as much as 22%.

“It’s been documented over the past year that routine childhood immunizations have declined because people weren’t going for well child exams. People were avoiding health settings when not absolutely necessary, and so those rates dipped,” Jill Rosenthal, senior program director at the National Academy for State Health Policy, told CNN on Friday.

Now, “they’re getting back to normal for some populations of kids, and some populations of kids are still a bit behind. So, there’s a real concerted effort right now to catch kids up on those routine immunizations, but there’s also a blackout period that no one can have other vaccines at the same time that they’re getting the Covid-19 vaccine,” Rosenthal said.

“So, it’s an interesting dilemma of how states and providers are going to think about trying to catch kids up at the same time that the Covid-19 vaccine is becoming available (for children ages 12 to 15) – and particularly right now because a lot of the catch up routine immunizations happen as a result of school requirements,” Rosenthal said. “Summer, maybe early fall, is a time where you see concerted efforts to make sure kids are fully immunized.”

It’s recommended to wait two weeks after getting the Covid-19 vaccine before getting other immunizations, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

“We do not yet know whether we will be able to co-administer vaccines – meaning you may have to get the Covid-19 vaccine solo, not with other vaccines,” Costello said.

The Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, which is being considered for authorization in children and teens ages 12 to 15, is administered as two doses, three weeks apart. 

“Then you have to wait two weeks after that,” Costello said. “So, it’s really important that parents now are choosing to get their children caught up on other vaccines that they may have had to miss, even if they’re under age 12.”

Costello added that she has treated children of various ages for Covid-19 in the hospital – from a two-month-old baby having trouble breathing, the infant’s small chest slowly expanding up and down – to a 17-year-old teen needing oxygen support. She hopes that the potential roll out of Covid-19 vaccines for children can help curb the risk of young people getting sick.

Costello said, “It’s going to be important that they are vaccinated – to help protect themselves, but also to protect their families and their loved ones and their communities.”

Go There: CNN is in Africa, where some countries are facing dwindling vaccine supplies

Some countries in Africa have been relying on a vaccine-sharing initiative to help vaccinate the population.

However, supplies are beginning to run out and the World Health Organization says it could open a door to a new wave of Covid-19 infections. 

CNN’s David McKenzie was live from Johannesburg with the latest.



Malaysia imposes nationwide lockdown during 3rd wave of coronavirus

A road near Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is near-empty on May 7.

Malaysia’s prime minister has declared a nationwide lockdown from Wednesday until June 7 in an effort to contain the rise in coronavirus cases, state media Bernama News Agency reported.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced the lockdown, known as the Movement Control Order or MCO, saying “Malaysia is facing the third wave of the pandemic which can trigger a national crisis.”

The prime minister added that Malaysia’s daily Covid-19 cases have exceeded 4,000 as of Monday. There are 37,390 active coronavirus cases and the death toll stands at 1,700 as of May 10, he said.

Yassin also warned of “the emergence of new variants with higher infection rates” that could pressure the country’s healthcare infrastructure.

Under the nationwide lockdown all social gatherings will be banned along with inter-state and inter-district travel.

The Hari Raya Aidilfitri or Eid al-Fitr prayers will also be limited to 50 people for mosques that can accommodate 1,000 people and 20 for mosques that accommodate less.

The limit also applies to Friday prayers.

Restaurants will not be allowed dine-in customers, only take-aways are permitted. No weddings or social functions are permitted during the lockdown.

Educational institutes will also remain closed.

The lockdown comes while Malaysia is still under a state of emergency, which was declared by the prime minister back in January to contain the pandemic.

The first nationwide lockdown in Malaysia was imposed on March 18 to May 3, 2020.

Biden will talk about the economy and "additional steps to get Americans back to work" today

President Joe Biden will focus on child care, funding for states and localities, and employer assistance during remarks on the economy Monday, a White House official tells CNN. 

“Today the President will announce additional steps to get Americans back to work, including removing barriers that are preventing Americans from returning safely to good-paying work, and taking steps to make it easier for employers to hire new workers,” the official said. 

The official added, “The remarks will highlight assistance to hard-hit child care providers, funding to state and local governments, and assistance to employers to rehire and retain workers. The President will also reaffirm the basic rules of unemployment insurance benefits.” 

The remarks come after a disappointing jobs report out last week and new concerns about inflation.

It also comes as Republicans and some business owners say that enhanced unemployment benefits during the pandemic have discouraged Americans from re-entering the workforce. 

Asked Friday if he thought those unemployment benefits had an impact on the bruising jobs report, Biden told reporters, “No. Nothing measurable.” 

Biden’s remarks are set for 1:15 p.m. ET in the East Room.

Nepal records its highest daily rise in Covid-19 cases and deaths

Army personnel load into a vehicle the body of a person who died from Covid-19 in Kathmandu, Nepal, on May 5.

Nepal has recorded its highest daily rise in new Covid-19 cases and deaths, according to figures from the Health Ministry released on Monday. 

The country reported 9,271 new Covid-19 cases on Monday. The previous daily record was 9,196 new cases on May 7.

A further 139 Covid-19 related deaths were also reported, surpassing the previous highest daily record of 58 reported on May 5.

It comes after then Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli told CNN on Saturday that Nepal’s Covid-19 situation is “under control” on Saturday. Oli was removed from his post on Monday after losing a vote of confidence in Parliament.

“We are taking very serious measures to control the situation to supply oxygens to supply beds, to supply ICU beds,” Oli told CNN.

Only a month ago this Himalayan nation of 31 million people was reporting about 100 cases a day. Some have linked that to India’s raging second wave spilling over into neighboring Nepal.

No US state is reporting an increase in coronavirus cases

In the US, not a single state is reporting an increase in Covid-19 cases in the past week compared to the previous week.

A majority of states — 33 — are reporting a decrease in cases.

A full break down of which states are seeing decreases and which are reporting steady figures is below. You’ll notice that New Jersey is gray — that’s because in late April, the state implemented an automated method to remove some duplicate case reports from the cumulative total. Despite this, state data shows declining daily Covid-19 numbers.

The guidance on wearing face masks indoors may be relaxed soon, says Fauci

People visit Glendale Galleria shopping mall in California, on May 6.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says federal guidance on wearing face coverings indoors may change soon.

Sunday on ABC News, Fauci was asked whether it’s time to start relaxing indoor masks requirements. Fauci replied, “I think so, and I think you’re going to probably be seeing that as we go along, and as more people get vaccinated.”

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be updating its guidance almost in real time, as more Americans get vaccinated, said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The CDC relaxed its guidance last month on wearing masks outdoors, but still advises both vaccinated and unvaccinated people to still wear masks in indoor public spaces, such as a mall, movie theater or museum.

“We do need to start being more liberal, as we get more people vaccinated,” he added.

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WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 06: DC Health Nurse Manager Ashley Hennigan fills a syringe with a dose of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine during a walk-up clinic at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' outdoor Reach area on May 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Hosted by the District of Columbia Health Department, the event also provided newly vaccinated people with a free beer courtesy of Solace Brewing Co. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

It may be time to relax indoor face mask mandates, Fauci says

UK lowers Covid-19 alert level

The United Kingdom’s Covid-19 alert level is being lowered from level four to level three, its Department of Health said Monday, ahead of Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing the further easing of pandemic restrictions.

According to the health department website, level four warns that transmission is high or rising exponentially. Level three warns that the Covid-19 epidemic is in general circulation.

Key indicators for de-escalation from level four to level three includes, an estimated “less than 10,000 new infections per day” and “UK weekly case rate less than 25 per 100,000 population.”

The UK’s Chief Medical Officers and NHS England National Medical Director said they advised to lower the warning level in light of recent data, which has been impacted by “the efforts of the UK public in social distancing and the impact we are starting to see from the vaccination program, case numbers, deaths and COVID hospital pressures have fallen consistently.”

They warned that the virus is still circulating in the country, with new infections being recorded each day, “so we all need to continue to be vigilant. This remains a major pandemic globally.”

While it still has the worst death toll in Europe, the UK has emerged from its devastating second wave – buoyed by the success of its vaccination campaign. The government said Sunday more than 50 million vaccine doses had been administered nationwide, and it remained on track to offer all adults a shot by the end of July.

Johnson’s press conference on Monday is expected to green-light the easing of more restrictions on May 17 – which will allow pubs and restaurants to serve indoors.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove told the BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday morning the government wanted to see “intimate contact between friends” restored in England. Asked if that meant hugs would be allowed again from around May 17, Gove answered: “Yes.”