FDA authorizes Pfizer booster for people 65 and over; Iowa sets new 2021 high for coronavirus hospitalizations: COVID-19 updates

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The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for people 65 and older and whose jobs put them at high risk for exposure to COVID-19.

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Individuals 18 years of age and older who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 were also included in the authorization, which covers only those who have received at least their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Six months out.

High-risk jobs include “health care workers, teachers and day care staff, grocery workers and homeless in shelters or prisons,” said FDA Executive Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said.

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The decision comes nearly six weeks after the FDA authorized additional doses of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for people who are severely immunized.

Albert Boerla, President and CEO of Pfizer, said: “We believe boosters have a critical role to play in addressing the continued threat of this disease, as well as increasing global reach and access among non-vaccinated people. With efforts to move forward.”

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—Elizabeth Weiss and Karen Weintraub, USA Today

Also in the news:

Mormon temples will require face masks indoors to limit COVID spread, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced on Wednesday.

a doctor who was He was fired after Houston-area public health officials accused him of stealing vials of the COVID-19 vaccine Administered Family and Friends sued the county on Tuesday, accusing it of discriminating against South Asians and issuing propaganda about them.

President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that the United States is doubling Pfizer’s purchases of COVID-19 shots to be shared with the world – 1 billion doses – as he plans to vaccinate 70% of the global population within the next year. accepts the goal.

Michigan reached a grim milestone on Wednesday, surpassing 1 million COVID cases since the start of the pandemic early last year, its health department said. More than 20,000 deaths have also been reported due to COVID-19 in the state.

I Today’s issue: The US has recorded more than 42 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 681,000 deaths, According to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: More than 230 million cases and 4.7 million deaths. More than 182 million Americans – 54.9% of the population – have been fully vaccinated, according to CDC.

I What we are reading: COVID-19 vaccines for children may be just around the corner. So, when can little ones get vaccinated? We answered your questions.

Keep refreshing this page for the latest news. want more? sign up for USA Today’s Coronavirus Watch newsletter To get updates straight to your inbox and Join our Facebook group.

Quarantine now optional for students exposed to COVID in Florida

Florida’s new surgeon general, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, an outspoken critic of the lockdown and the COVID mandate, signed new protocols on Wednesday allowing students exposed to COVID-19 not to be quarantined if chosen by their parents. got permission.

The new state guidance states that students who are asymptomatic after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive can stay in school. Previous guidance required students to be away from school for at least four days after being exposed.

“Quarantining healthy students is incredibly damaging to their educational advancement,” said Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. “It is disruptive to families as well. We are going to follow a symptom-based approach.”

The CDC recommends that students quarantine for 14 days after vaccination, and for seven days if they test negative after exposure. Children under the age of 12 are not currently eligible for the vaccine.

Iowa sets new 2021 high for COVID hospitalizations

More Iowans are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 than at any time in 2021, according to data released Wednesday by the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The weekly data release shows 638 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Iowa, up from 578 last week. While this is nowhere near the peak of 1,527 concurrent COVID-19 hospitalizations in November 2020, it is the highest number since December 22, 2020.

There are 161 COVID-19 patients in the ICU and 74 on ventilators, both up from last week.

Iowa dealt with this number of COVID-19 patients for the first time, it was a harbinger of November’s spike that pushed the health care system to the brink. Now, health care officials are concerned about the pressure the 18 months of pandemic care will put on the workforce.

-Tim Weber and Nick Coltrane, The Des Moines Register

Contribution: The Associated Press

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