Breanna Reeves |
CDC issues updated travel guidance
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new COVID-19 travel-related update which extends the mask mandate for public transit and airplanes until May 3. The updated guidance was announced on April 13 after closely monitoring the spread of Omicron and the subvariant, Omicron BA.2.
The nationwide mandate was set to end on April 18, but the CDC has reported increases in cases in the 7-day average of cases in early April. According to the CDC, Omicron BA.2 now accounts for more than 85% of cases in the U.S.
“The CDC Mask Order remains in effect while CDC assesses the potential impact of the rise of cases on severe disease, including hospitalizations and deaths, and healthcare system capacity,” the statement read.
California pauses plans to require students to be vaccinated
Last October, California became the first state in the nation to announce plans that would require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Those plans came to a halt this week as the state senator who proposed a bill that would mandate the vaccine for children pulled the legislation and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a statement announcing that the requirement will not be initiated for the upcoming 2022-23 school year until vaccines are fully approved for the necessary age range of students in grades 7-12.
The CDPH stated that COVID-19 vaccine requirements will not take effect until after full Federal and Drug Administration approval and no sooner than July 1, 2023.
Senator Dr. Richard Pan (D-CA) introduced Senate Bill 871, the Keep Schools Open and Safe Act, back in January. The bill would have prohibited any students not vaccinated against COVID-19 from schools and child care centers, with no exceptions.
As the Chair of the Senate Health Committee, Dr. Pan stated that until children are able to access COVID-19 vaccinations through their physicians, the policy to require vaccinations in school is not an “immediate priority.”
“Unfortunately, COVID vaccination rates, particularly among children, are currently insufficient, and the state needs to focus its effort on increasing access to COVID vaccinations for children through physicians and other health providers who care for children and on education efforts to give families accurate information about the COVID vaccine,” Dr. Pan said in a statement.
As of now children five years of age and older are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 under the FDA’s emergency use authorization. The FDA fully approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for those 16 years and older and fully approved the Moderna vaccine for those 18 years of age and older.
Pfizer and BioNTech announce promising results regarding boosters for children
On April 14 Pfizer and BioNTech announced positive results from a clinical trial that evaluated the safety and efficacy of a COVID-19 booster dose in children five through 11 years of age.
The new data comes from the Phase 2/3 clinical trial that included a small group of 140 children who received a third 10-microgram dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their second dose.
“These data demonstrate an increase in SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant and wild-type strain neutralizing titers following a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine compared to two doses,” the statement read. “These data reinforce the potential function of a third dose of the vaccine in maintaining high levels of protection against the virus in this age group.”
According to the statement, the companies plan to submit a request for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of a booster dose for children ages 5 through 11 in the coming days.