COVID News: Benefits of vaccine outweigh risks for kids, FDA says

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information
NEW YORK (WABC) -- The FDA says the benefits outweigh the risks when it comes to giving Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to children.

The agency posted a new assessment for kids ages five to 11 Friday night.

It notes a theoretical risk of heart inflammation for vaccinated children but says the danger of COVID-19 is greater.

FDA vaccine advisors will meet next week to discuss allowing kids as young as five to get the shots.

Pfizer says its vaccine is more than 905 effective in preventing symptomatic disease in kids five to 11 years old.

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



FDA set to weigh in on vaccines for kids 5-11
President Joe Biden said health officials could make the vaccines available to children ages 5-11 years old within weeks. "I've spent a lot of time with the team on these things, and it's likely to be approved," the president said. An independent FDA panel is expected to weigh in on the shots for kids as soon as Tuesday, but the CDC will make the final decision. Their advisory panel will meet in early November.

NY state senator tests positive for COVID
New York state Senator Alessandra Biaggi announced she has tested positive for COVID-19 and is using her breakthrough case to urge vaccination.
"Yesterday evening, I tested positive for COVID-19. While I am fully vaccinated and have taken all CDC recommended safety precautions, I unfortunately contracted the virus. I am experiencing symptoms and isolating at home per CDC guidelines. As someone experiencing a breakthrough case, I urge everyone unvaccinated to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine has proven to slow transmission of the virus and to suppress symptoms, protecting people from more serious outcomes, including death. All of us must continue to do our part in protecting our community's health and safety-- that means getting vaccinated. If you have any questions regarding the vaccine or need help scheduling an appointment, please visit vaccines.gov or covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov."

Pfizer: COVID-19 vaccine more than 90% effective in kids
Kid-size doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine appear safe and nearly 91% effective at preventing symptomatic infections in 5- to 11-year-olds, according to study details released Friday as the U.S. considers opening vaccinations to that age group. The shots could begin in early November - with the first children in line fully protected by Christmas - if regulators give the go-ahead.

CDC expands COVID booster rollout with Moderna and Johnson & Johnson doses, OKs mixing shots
Millions more Americans can get a COVID-19 booster and choose a different company's vaccine for that next shot, federal health officials said. Certain people who received Pfizer vaccinations months ago already are eligible for a booster and now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says specific Moderna and Johnson & Johnson recipients qualify, too. And in a bigger change, the agency is allowing the flexibility of "mixing and matching" that extra dose regardless of which type people received first. The Food and Drug Administration had already authorized such an expansion of the nation's booster campaign on Wednesday, and it was also endorsed Thursday by a CDC advisory panel. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky had the final word on who gets the extra doses.

COVID has killed 5 times as many police officers as gunfire during pandemic
The coronavirus has become the leading cause of death for officers despite law enforcement being among the first groups eligible to receive the vaccine at the end of 2020. The total stands at 476 COVID-19 related deaths since the start of the pandemic, compared to 94 from gunfire in the same period.

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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