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COVID-19

Pfizer COVID vaccines safe and effective for small children, FDA staff say

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(Last Updated On: June 13, 2022)

U.S. Food and Drug Administration staff reviewers on Sunday said Pfizer-BioNTech’s (PFE.N), COVID-19 vaccines were effective and safe for use in children aged 6 months to 4 years.

The FDA reviewers said in briefing documents published on Sunday evening that their evaluation did not reveal any new safety concerns related to the use of the vaccine in young children.

The FDA analysis of data from Pfizer’s trial was published ahead of a June 15 meeting of its outside advisers. Recommendations from the external advisers will determine the FDA’s decision on the vaccines.

“Available data support the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine 3-dose primary series in preventing COVID-19 in the age group of 6 months through 4 years,” FDA staff said in the review.

An early analysis of data from Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine based on 10 symptomatic COVID-19 cases identified when the Omicron coronavirus variant was dominant suggested a vaccine efficacy of 80.3% in the under-5 age group.

COVID-19 shots for children under the age of 6 are yet not approved in most parts of the world. It remains unclear how many parents will get their young ones vaccinated as demand has been low for kids aged 5 to 11.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration expects vaccinations for young children to begin in earnest as early as June 21 if the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approve the vaccines.

Government officials say pre-orders for use in the under-6 age group has been low but demand is expected to pick up once the vaccines gain authorization.

The FDA on Friday released a staff review of Moderna Inc’s (MRNA.O) COVID-19 vaccine which said the doses were safe and effective for use in children aged 6 months to 17 years old. 

COVID-19

China says 200 million treated, pandemic ‘decisively’ beaten

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(Last Updated On: February 17, 2023)

China says more than 200 million of its citizens have been diagnosed and treated for COVID-19 since it lifted strict containment measures beginning in November.

With 800,000 of the most critically ill patients having recovered, China has “decisively beaten” the pandemic, according to notes from a meeting of the ruling Communist Party’s all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee presided over by President and party leader Xi Jinping, AP reported. 

China enforced some of the world’s most draconian lockdowns, quarantines and travel restrictions and still faces questions about the origins of the virus that was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019. Heavy-handed enforcement prompted rare anti-government protests and took a heavy toll on the world’s second-largest economy.

The official Xinhua News Agency quoted Xi as saying that policies to control the outbreak had been “entirely correct.” The abrupt lifting in November and December of the “zero COVID” policy that had sought to eliminate all cases of the virus led to a surge in infections that temporarily overwhelmed hospitals.

Case numbers have since peaked and life has largely returned to normal, although international travel in and out of China has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.

China is now transitioning to a post-pandemic stage after a fight against the outbreak that was “extraordinary in the extreme,” Xinhua said.

The government will continue to “optimize and adjust prevention and control policies and measures according to the times and situations with a strong historical responsibility and strong strategic determination,” Xinhua said.

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COVID-19

Study suggests people who had COVID-19 risk new-onset diabetes

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(Last Updated On: February 15, 2023)

A new Cedars-Sinai Medical Center suggests that people who have previously been infected with COVID-19 could stand an increased risk for new-onset diabetes.

The study’s results, conducted by researchers at the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai “have confirmed that people who have had COVID-19 have an increased risk for new-onset diabetes — the most significant contributor to cardiovascular disease.”

“Our results validate early findings revealing a risk of developing Type 2 diabetes after a COVID-19 infection and indicate that this risk has, unfortunately, persisted through the Omicron era,” said Dr. Alan Kwan, the author of the study and a cardiovascular physician at Cedars-Sinai.

“The research study helps us understand — and better prepare for — the post COVID-19 era of cardiovascular risk,” he said.

The study also suggests that the risk of Type 2 diabetes appears to be lower in those who had already been vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to their infection.

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COVID-19

Iran registers over 160 new COVID cases, 2 deaths

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(Last Updated On: February 12, 2023)

The Iranian health ministry announced on Sunday that more than 160 new cases of COVID-19, and two deaths, had been recorded across the country in the past 24 hours.

“A sum of 161 new patients infected with COVID-19 have been identified in the country based on confirmed diagnosis criteria during the past 24 hours,” the Iranian Health Ministry’s Public Relations Center said on Sunday, adding “82 patients have been hospitalized during the same time span.”

“Unfortunately, two patients have lost their lives in the past 24 hours, increasing the number of the dead to 144,781,” the ministry noted.

FARS news agency reported that according to the ministry, 233 people infected with COVID-19 are in critical condition.

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