COVID News: Biden administration buys 65 million Pfizer pediatric vaccine doses

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ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Biden administration buys 65 million Pfizer pediatric vaccine doses
The Biden administration is prepared if and when the FDA authorizes COVID vaccines for kids ages 5 to 11.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The Biden administration is preparing for if and when the FDA authorizes COVID vaccines for kids ages 5 to 11, purchasing 65 million Pfizer pediatric vaccine doses.

That's more than enough to fully vaccinate all 28 million U.S. children in that age group with a two-shot regimen.

Federal officials say at least 31,000 providers have enrolled to administer the vaccines to children.

The FDA could authorize the vaccine for kids within a few weeks.

Here are more of today's COVID-19 headlines:

NYC launching vaccines sites outside movie theaters

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday announced the launch of the "Vax to the Movies" initiative, which will open pop-up COVID vaccine sites outside movie theaters. Beginning this weekend, movie patrons can get vaccinated at the following theaters:

--AMC Magic Johnson Harlem

--Regal Union Square

--Concourse Plaza Multiplex Cinemas

--Regal UA Sheepshead Bay

--Regal A Kaufman Astoria

--Regal Bricktown Charleston

The city is planning additional sites for upcoming weekends.

Hochul calls religious exemption ruling 'disappointing decision'

A federal judge in Utica sided with 17 health care workers who object to New York State's vaccine mandate for health workers on religious grounds, and Governor Kathy Hochul called it a "disappointing decision" that has an "impact on our ability to help people." Hochul says they plan to appeal the ruling in the second circuit court.

On Tuesday, Judge David Hurd wrote, "There is no adequate explanation from defendants about why the 'reasonable accommodation' that must be extended to a medically exempt health care worker under 2.61 could not similarly be extended to a healthcare worker with a sincere religious objection."

Port of Los Angeles going 24/7 in effort to ease supply chain bottlenecks before holidays

The White House said Wednesday it has helped broker an agreement for the Port of Los Angeles to become a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week operation, part of an effort to relieve supply chain bottlenecks and move stranded container ships that are driving prices higher for U.S. consumers. President Joe Biden planned to discuss the agreement during an afternoon speech about supply chain issues that have hampered the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The supply chain problem is tightly linked with the broader challenge of inflation confronting Biden, as higher prices are creating both economic and political risks.

Unsupported claims blame Southwest cancelations on pilot 'sickout' over vaccine mandates

When Southwest Airlines canceled more than 2,000 flights over the weekend, citing bad weather and air traffic control issues, unsupported claims blaming vaccine mandates began taking off. Conservative politicians and pundits, including Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, alleged the flight disruptions resulted from pilots and air traffic controllers walking off their jobs or calling in sick to protest federal vaccination requirements. The airline, its pilots' union and the Federal Aviation Administration denied that.

"The weekend challenges were not a result of Southwest employee demonstrations," Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz said Monday.

Boeing mandate requires COVID vaccine for employees

The Boeing Co. has told employees they must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or possibly be fired. The Seattle Times reports the deadline for workers at the aerospace giant is Dec. 8.

"Compliance with these requirements is a condition of employment," states a Boeing internal presentation from Tuesday viewed by the newspaper. "Employees who are unable to meet these requirements ... may be released from the company."

Employees can request exemptions "due to a disability or sincerely held religious belief." Any employee granted such an exemption will have to "undergo frequent testing for COVID-19" and be ready to "present a negative test result upon request."

More boosters on the way? FDA panel to discuss extra vaccine doses of Moderna, J&J

With many Americans who got Pfizer vaccinations already rolling up their sleeves for a booster shot, millions of others who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine wait anxiously to learn when it's their turn. Federal regulators begin tackling that question this week. On Thursday and Friday, the Food and Drug Administration convenes its independent advisers for the first stage in the process of deciding whether extra doses of the two vaccines should be dispensed and, if so, who should get them and when. The final go-ahead is not expected for at least another week.

Experts explain why lawsuits against COVID-19 vaccine mandates fail

From teachers to airlines workers, some employees who have faced termination for not complying with their company's COVID-19 vaccine mandates have gone to court to fight the decisions. Some of the plaintiffs, such as New York City Department of Education employees, a handful of Los Angeles county public employees and United Airlines workers, have argued that the mandates should be removed, questioning the rules' constitutionality and some contending their religious rights weren't observed. So far, these arguments have not swayed judges who have almost all ruled in favor of the employer, or not issued long injunctions while they hear the case. And legal experts tell ABC News they don't expect different outcomes in courtrooms anytime soon.

What to know about religious exemptions for COVID shots as vaccine mandates roll out

With COVID-19 vaccine mandates proliferating across the country in the public and private sectors as well as some school districts, the pushback from those unwilling or hesitant to get their shots is heating up. The vaccination effort has raised new questions about exemptions because mandates for adults are generally rare outside of settings like healthcare facilities and the military, and the inoculations are relatively new.

While there is no overall data yet on exemptions for COVID-19 vaccines, a number of companies and state governments have seen interest in religious exemptions -- a protection stemming from the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This leaves employers in the difficult and legally precarious position of determining whether the requests are valid. As such, some states have tried to do away with non-medical exemptions overall for their employees.

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