Coronavirus Updates: FDA could give full approval to Pfizer vaccine in weeks

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information
NEW YORK (WABC) -- The Pfizer vaccine, which was first COVID shot available after the FDA gave it emergency use authorization in December, may be just weeks away from full approval.

A senior White House official says it could be fully approved by early September.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says that approval will be crucial for vaccine mandates.

He says most likely, the federal government will not mandate the vaccinations.

Here are more of today's headlines:



US plans to require COVID-19 shots for foreign travelers
The Biden administration is taking the first steps toward requiring nearly all foreign visitors to the U.S. to be vaccinated for the coronavirus, a White House official said Wednesday.

The requirement would come as part of the administration's phased approach to easing travel restrictions for foreign citizens to the country. No timeline has yet been determined, as interagency working groups study how and when to safely move toward resuming normal travel. Eventually all foreign citizens entering the country, with some limited exceptions, are expected to need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter the U.S.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview the policy under development.

Murphy rips vaccine protesters as 'ultimate knuckleheads'
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy anti-vaccine protesters at his Union City bill signing on Wednesday calling them "the ultimate knuckleheads."

Murphy started by telling event attendees sitting in socially distant chairs on Summit Avenue that New Jersey has reached "an inflection point in our fight, not just against the COVID pandemic, but also against the tremendous upheaval for thousands and thousands of New Jerseyans."

On Wednesday, New Jersey reported more than 1,100 new positive cases,13 deaths, 598 hospitalizations, 99 in intensive care. 90 went into the hospital.

Gov. Lamont concerned over delta variant outbreaks
Governor Ned Lamont and acting Health Commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford are expressing concern with recent COVID-19 outbreaks among vaccinated and unvaccinated persons in Connecticut.

They pointed to several incidents that have happened in recent weeks, as well as members of the population still hesitant to get vaccinated.

NYC Auto Show Canceled
The 2021 New York International Automobile Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center has been canceled due to the growing incidences of the COVID-19 Delta variant and the increased measures announced recently by state and local officials to stop its spread.

NYC to require proof of vaccine for indoor dining, gyms and entertainment
New York City will require proof of vaccination for most indoor events and activities, believed to be the first such mandate by an American city. Dining at restaurants, working out at a gym, and attending a movie or play will all require proof of vaccination starting August 16. Enforcement -- but not by police -- will begin on September 13, to coincide with the return of children to schools.

Offspring drummer says band axed him from tour for not getting COVID vaccine
Pete Parada says he's been dropped from his band The Offspring and their tour over his refusal to get vaccinated. The drummer posted a lengthy note on his verified Instagram account saying that he had some "unfortunate and difficult news to share."

"Given my personal medical history and the side-effect profile of these jabs, my doctor has advised me not to get a shot at this time," his note read. "I caught the virus over a year ago, it was mild for me - so I am confident I'd be able to handle it again, but I'm not so certain I'd survive another post-vaccination round of Guillain-Barre Syndrome which dates back to my childhood and has evolved to be progressively worse over my lifetime."

China seals city as its worst COVID outbreak in a year grows
China's worst coronavirus outbreak since the start of the pandemic a year and a half ago escalated Wednesday with dozens more cases around the country, the sealing-off of one city and the punishment of its local leaders. Since that initial outbreak was tamed last year, China's people had lived virtually free of the virus, with extremely strict border controls and local distancing and quarantine measures stamping out scattered, small flareups when they occurred. Now, the country is on high alert as an outbreak of cases connected to the international airport in the eastern city of Nanjing touched at least 17 provinces. China reported 71 new cases of COVID-19 from local transmission Wednesday, more than half of them in coastal Jiangsu province, of which Nanjing is the capital.

Broadway's 1st post-pandemic play opens for previews
A Broadway play opens Wednesday night for previews, the first in a year and a half, as more venues require proof of vaccination for entry. "Pass Over," a new play dealing with issues of race and police brutality, opens for previews at the August Wilson Theater. Guests over 16 have to prove they are vaccinated. Children can show proof of a recent negative COVID test. The show is going to end with a free block party outside, on 52nd Street, to celebrate the return of Broadway.

Obama scales back 60th birthday celebration due to delta variant spread
Former President Barack Obama has "significantly scaled back" his plan to host hundreds for his 60th birthday party amid concerns about spreading the delta variant of COVID-19, a spokesperson confirmed to ABC News Wednesday morning. The spokesperson said the event on Martha's Vineyard will now include only family and close friends. Hundreds of former administration officials, celebrities and Democratic donors were originally slated attend the party. Obama's office declined to give a new estimate of how many guests will attend the gathering.

72,000 COVID cases reported among US children, teens last week, a 'substantial' spike
With the new school year stirring concerns about protecting children from COVID-19, the American Academy of Pediatrics said Tuesday there's been a "substantial" increase in cases among children. Nearly 72,000 children and teens caught COVID-19 last week -- five times as many as at the end of June, the group said. The definition of a child varies by state, but generally includes those up to age 17 or 18. COVID-19 protocols vary across the country, but when children go back to school, districts will need to know how to respond to outbreaks quickly.

Help or 'get out of the way,' Biden says to Republican governors on combatting COVID pandemic
President Joe Biden took aim Tuesday at local officials, including the Republican governors of Florida and Texas, over measures that prevented public health measures in the wake of surging COVID-19 cases. Biden called out Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, states that Biden said account for one-third of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S.

"I say to these governors: please help, but you aren't going to help at least get out of the way," Biden said. "The people are trying to do the right thing. Use your power to save lives...And worst of all, some state officials are passing laws or signing orders that forbid people from doing the right thing. As of now, seven states not only banned mask mandates, but also banned them in their school districts, even for young children who cannot get vaccinated."

WHO leader calls for moratorium on vaccine booster shots
The head of the World Health Organization is calling for a moratorium on administering booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines to help ensure that doses are available in countries where few people have received their first shots. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the appeal on Wednesday mostly to wealthier countries that have far outpaced the developing world in numbers of vaccinations. WHO officials say the science is unproven about whether giving booster shots to people who have already received two vaccine doses is effective in preventing the spread of the coronavirus. WHO has repeatedly called for rich countries to do more to help improve access to vaccines in the developing world.

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