Coronavirus Vaccine Updates: FDA expected to authorize Pfizer vaccine for ages 12-15 this week

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information
NEW YORK (WABC) -- The FDA could expand COVID vaccines for 12-to-15-year-olds as early as this week.

Health experts say the agency is expected to authorize Pfizer's drug for that age group any day now.

The decision would allow middle school students and all high school students to get the shots.

Pfizer says clinical trials showed the vaccine was 100% effective for 12-to-15 year-olds.

If authorized, that age group may start receiving the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

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Here are more of today's headlines:



NJ offers free brews to those who get vaccinated this month
A vaccination card will be the ticket for a free brewski in the Garden State this month.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced a "Shot and a Beer" program Monday that provides a free glass of beer at participating locations to anyone over 21 who gets their first vaccination dose this month. The plan is part of Murphy's multipronged approach to increasing the state's vaccination numbers and reach its goal of 4.7 million residents vaccinated by the end of June.

Not reaching herd immunity by the fall could have dire consequences, medical expert says
A nearly COVID-free summer has long been the goal of public health officials who are striving to get enough people vaccinated by then to achieve so-called herd immunity. But is that a realistic goal?

"I think by the end of the summer, I think we'll be in a different position than we are now," said President Joe Biden recently.

About 2.4 million people in the United States are now receiving COVID-19 vaccinations daily. Experts including Dr. Anthony Fauci have estimate between 70% to 85% of the US population needs to be immune to the virus -- through vaccination or previous infection -- to control its spread.

Despite new mask guidance, anxiety lingers for many
As life continues to reopen amid the pandemic in the Tri-State area, many people are hesitant to take off their masks in public.

After 15 months of playing it super safe, society is now taking some big steps toward a return to normal. But for some, it's hard to let go of anxieties associated with reopening.

Experts are offering advice for how to ease the nerves during Mental Health Awareness month.

UK reports a single COVID death in the last 24 hours
Health authorities in the United Kingdom reported a single COVID death in the last 24 hours and 105 deaths in the last week. There were 1,649 newly diagnosed cases reported in the last day.

The country has been under a lockdown for much of the time since a peak in January and vaccinating at a high pace.

Attention travelers! EU proposes reopening external borders
In announcement sure to be welcomed by travelers worldwide, the EU's executive branch has proposed easing restrictions on visiting the 27-nation bloc as vaccination campaigns keep gathering speed.

Travel to the EU is currently extremely limited except for a handful of countries with low infection rates. But with the summer season tourism looming, the European Commission hopes that the new recommendations will help dramatically expand that list. EU officials believe the COVID-19 vaccination campaigns will soon be "a game changer," especially in Europe. Its proposal will be discussed with EU ambassadors this week and EU officials hope it could start by June.

Germany cancels Oktoberfest for 2nd year over virus fears
Bavarian officials on Monday canceled Oktoberfest festivities for a second year in a row due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19, saying there are too many risks in hosting the celebrations - which bring in visitors from around the world - during a global pandemic.

Bavarian Governor Markus Soeder said it was with "heavy hearts" that they decided to call off the festival for which the state is known globally, but that with coronavirus numbers still stubbornly high and German hospitals already struggling, it had to be done.

What you need to know about New Jersey's major reopening plan
Governor Phil Murphy announced that he would be relaxing restrictions a few days sooner than anticipated and that the state would be taking part in a coordinated reopening later this month alongside New York and Connecticut.

NY announces major region-based reopening beginning May 19
NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced a major reopening of businesses and venues across the state beginning May 19, an effort which is being coordinated with neighboring New Jersey and Connecticut.

NYC subways to resume 24/7 service
Subway service in New York City will return to around-the-clock operations on May 17, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday. The decision to restore full service came as the subway system saw its highest number of swipes since March 2020.

NYC municipal workers head back to office
There are some big steps forward in the reopening process in New York. Restrictions on bars are loosening, and employees for the City of New York who have been working from home are heading back into the office. Tens of thousands of workers who will return to the office Monday. The city is the largest employer in the five boroughs. But, some are pushing back against the demands to return to in-person work. A rally was held over the weekend outside City Hall where workers accused the mayor of using them as political pawns.

How many people in your area are hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Most states have opened up COVID-19 vaccination to everyone 16 and older, but not everyone is lining up to get the shot. With the recent temporary pause on the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, doctors worry about an increase in vaccine hesitancy that may not be warranted. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey, the CDC found that as many as a third of adults in some areas reported being hesitant about getting the COVID-19 vaccine. These rates are highest in the states of Wyoming and North Dakota, and lowest in Massachusetts, Vermont and California.
When did you realize the COVID pandemic changed everything?
Many of us had a moment, most often occurring in March 2020, when we realized that COVID-19 had completely changed our lives forever. Even though we've managed to move forward and adapt to a new normal, that memory still sticks with us. Tell us: What was that moment to you?

Top 7 COVID vaccine questions answered
You had questions about COVID-19 vaccines and 7 On Your Side is getting you answers from doctors on the front line of the pandemic.

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