Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today


Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today

Good news about teen vaccinesA clinical trial found that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was highly effective in adolescents aged 12 to 15, the compani

Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today
Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today
Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today

A clinical trial found that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was highly effective in adolescents aged 12 to 15, the companies said today. The trial found no infections among the children who received the vaccine, and the vaccines produced even stronger antibody responses in the children than they did in young adults. The children experienced no serious side effects.

The findings have not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal, but they excited experts.

“Oh my god, I’m so happy to see this — this is amazing,” Akiko Iwasaki, an immunologist at Yale University, told our colleague Apoorva Mandavilli.

Pfizer and BioNTech plan to request an amendment to the emergency-use authorization for their vaccine from the Food and Drug Administration, and immunizations of older children could begin before the start of the next school year. Trials are planned or underway in younger children, and the companies hope to make the vaccine available for children under 12 early next year.

Results from a Moderna trial in adolescents 12 to 17 are expected in the next few weeks, and in children 6 months to 12 years in the second half of 2021.

“This should make parents of adolescents, and actually even parents of younger kids, very happy and very optimistic,” Apoorva told us. “This news should, hopefully, convince any parents who had doubts about the vaccine’s effectiveness to get their kids immunized.”

Because severe illness in children has been uncommon, some families do not want to take what they perceive as an unnecessary risk. Two recent studies, not yet peer-reviewed, found substantial vaccine hesitancy among parents. In one study, concerns about the vaccine came mostly from mothers, particularly white, Republican mothers, writes one of its authors.

The new results may not sway all of those parents, but they may offer reassurance about in-person learning. “Being able to vaccinate children may help some families feel safer about returning to school,” Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told The Times.

Listen: Apoorva spoke about children’s vaccines on “The Daily” last month. She said she was signing her kids up for a shot as soon as she possibly can.

President Emmanuel Macron of France announced a new set of restrictive measures in a desperate move to halt a new deadly wave of infections that is filling hospital beds.

This is the third national lockdown for France — something Mr. Macron had tried hard to avoid — but the measures are not as strict as the national lockdown a year ago, which kept most people indoors.

Schools and nonessential businesses will be closed nationwide, travel between regions will be banned, and outdoor activities must be kept within six miles of home.

As the tally of coronavirus deaths relentlessly pushed close to the 100,000 mark, Mr. Macron effectively gave in to scientists and opposition politicians who have been pressing in recent weeks for a new lockdown. Cases in France began surging in recent weeks as the vaccination campaign in the country stalled. (Only about 13 percent of the country has received a first dose.)

The new national restrictions take effect Saturday and will last four weeks, Mr. Macron said, adding that people who wanted to isolate themselves in a different region than where they live could still travel over the weekend to get there.

It’s been a hard year, but there are finally a few glimmers of hope on the horizon. Yet many people are finding that their early-pandemic anxiety has been replaced by a late-pandemic listlessness. (We feel it too.)

Our colleague Sarah Lyall is working on an article about burnout and motivation, as more workers contemplate a return to the office. She wants to hear from you about how you are coping — or not.

To share your story, you can fill out a form here.

  • Wyoming announced that residents 16 years or older were now eligible to get a Covid-19 vaccine.

  • New Mexico and South Dakota will make all residents 16 years or older eligible on Monday. Pennsylvania will do the same for all adults on April 19.

  • The E.U. vowed to speed up its vaccine rollout as more countries tighten rules.

  • To bolster acceptance, Ukraine has opened vaccination to people deemed to have a public persona, regardless of their age. Recipients in the program are required to share their vaccination selfies on social media.

  • Russia claims to be the first country to develop coronavirus shots for animals.

I work for an independent health care company in the Midwest. We have been caring for Covid-19 survivors in their homes since the pandemic began. These are the supposed “lucky ones.” I beg to differ. The survivors’ lives will never be the same. Many suffer from anoxic brain injury, severely damaged lungs and heart problems. I feel like I’ve been running a marathon for a year. A marathon I never got to train for. Please let this nightmare end soon.

— Anne O’Sullivan, Chicago

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Kate Taylor contributed to today’s newsletter.

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