COVID News: Boosters likely needed for general public by winter, Fauci says

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NEW YORK (WABC) -- Dr. Anthony Fauci says Pfizer and Moderna boosters could soon be available to all Americans, and not just certain groups.

Right now, Moderna and Pfizer boosters are available just for seniors, the immunocompromised, or those frequently exposed to the virus through work.

Dr. Fauci says it's expected that everyone will eventually need boosters, and the general population could be up for boosters this winter.

The global death toll from COVID-19 topped 5 million on Monday, less than two years into a crisis that has not only devastated poor countries but also humbled wealthy ones with first-rate health care systems.

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



Pharmacists can administer additional COVID-19 vaccines to those 18+
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation S.4807-A/A.6476 which expands the immunizations that licensed pharmacists can administer to patients who are 18 years or older. Under the new law, pharmacists will be able to administer vaccines recommended by the CDC for hepatitis A and B, human papillomavirus, measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella. The new law also makes permanent the ability for licensed pharmacists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.

"Immunizations are the best tool at our disposal for protecting public health and we must implement every sensible measure to make vaccines widely available," Governor Hochul said. "With this new law, we are expanding the locations where New Yorkers can go to get vaccines to protect their own health - and the health of their communities."

NYC vaccine mandate: Fire companies close, trash piles up
The ongoing battle over New York City's expanded vaccine mandate continues Tuesday, one day after enforcement began for all municipal workers -- including the NYPD, FDNY and Department of Sanitation. Officials say 92% of city employees are vaccinated, with several departments improving their numbers Monday. The fire department is now reporting 81% of its employees being vaccinated, including 77% of firefighters -- up 2% from Monday. The NYPD has 85% of its force vaccinated, but thousands are still off the job due to their vaccination status.

Is it COVID, a cold or the flu? Here are a few easy ways to tell
As the weather starts to cool down, doctors are seeing their practices start to fill up.

"We have seen a number of individuals, kids more as they go back to school, that they're coming in with a runny nose, sneezing, and slight cough," said pediatric infectious disease specialist Dr. Daisy Dodd with Kaiser Permanente.

Most COVID-19 tests turn out to be negative. Dodd explained it's difficult for parents to tell the difference between the cold, flu and coronavirus. Here's how to tell the difference.

CDC advisers to vote on Pfizer COVID vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11
Should all school-age kids get Pfizer's pediatric COVID-19 vaccine? That's the question before an influential government advisory panel Tuesday. The Food and Drug Administration has authorized emergency use of kid-size doses for children ages 5 to 11. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also must sign off before widespread vaccinations begin in that age group. CDC's advisers are weighing who will get the most benefit as they deliberate whether to recommend the shots for up to 28 million more children, or perhaps only for those most vulnerable to serious illness. Their recommendation goes to the CDC director for the final say. Shots into little arms could begin this week, as Pfizer already is packing and shipping the first orders, millions of doses, to states and pharmacies to be ready.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade returning to pre-pandemic form, adding Baby Yoda
The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will return to its pre-pandemic form this year, with its route restored through Manhattan, high-flying helium balloons once again pulled by handlers and crowds welcomed back to cheer them on. And Baby Yoda is joining the party for the first time. This year's parade - the 95th annual - will snap back to form after bowing to pandemic restrictions last year. It will feature 15 giant character balloons, 28 floats, 36 novelty and heritage inflatables, more than 800 clowns, 10 marching bands and nine performance groups and, of course, Santa Claus.
New balloon giants joining the line-up on Nov. 25 include Ada Twist, Scientist; Grogu (so-called Baby Yoda from the "The Mandalorian"); and the Pokémon characters Pikachu and Eevee. Broadway will be represented by the casts of "Six," "Moulin Rouge! The Musical" and "Wicked." The Rockettes will be there, as will the cast of the upcoming NBC live production of "Annie."

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