US FDA clears Pfizer's Covid-19 booster shot for 12- to 15-year-olds
The US Food and Drug Administration on Monday authorized the use of a third dose of the Pfizer and BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for children aged between 12 and 15 years, and narrowed the time for all booster shots to 5 months from 6 months after primary doses.
The agency also authorized a third shot in children aged 5 through 11 years who are immunocompromised.
The FDA said it reviewed published data and real world evidence on the safety of booster doses provided by the Israeli Ministry of Health including data from over 6,300 individuals 12-to-15 years of age who received a Pfizer shot.
Global Covid-19 cases are surging due to the Omicron variant and health authorities have warned that its extremely high transmissibility could overwhelm many health systems.
Laboratory tests have shown that two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines generate low immune responses against Omicron, while boosters appear to be protective against the highly-mutated variant.
North Korea is ramping up the production of drugs and medical supplies to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, which has wreaked havoc. According to the Korean Central News Agency on Thursday, North Korea is also increasing the production of traditional Korean medicines used to reduce fever and pain. In the capital city of Pyongyang and nearby regions, factories are churning out more injections, medicines and thermometers and other medical supplies.
Veteran diplomat Bridget Brink, who was nominated by US President Joe Biden to be the country's next ambassador to war-hit Ukraine, was on Wednesday (local time) given a unanimous approval by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for appointment to the post, which means that she just a step away from being Washington's new representative in the east European nation. She was nominated by Biden on April 25.
Officials in Spain and Portugal announced on Wednesday that they have detected around 32 suspected cases of monkeypox, days after the UK reported new cases that have triggered concerns that there may be an undetected transmission in parts of Europe. Portugal had five confirmed and 20 suspected cases, Spain eight suspected cases and UK seven confirmed infections as on Wednesday.
US secretary of state Antony Blinken on Wednesday met Pakistan's foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at the UN headquarters and their talks focussed on regional security as well as strengthening bilateral economic and commercial ties. Bilawal is on a maiden visit to the US at the invitation of Blinken to attend the ministerial meeting on the “Global Food Security Call to Action” to be held at the United Nations later on Wednesday.
The World Bank said on Wednesday it will make $30 billion available to help stem a food security crisis threatened by Russia's war in Ukraine, which has cut off most grain exports from the two countries. The total will include $12 billion in new projects and over $18 billion funds from existing food and nutrition-related projects that have been approved but have not yet been disbursed, the bank said.