COVID News: FDA withholds booster recommendation, outside panel to examine

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, September 16, 2021
Pfizer continues to push for booster shot approval
Elizabeth Schulze reports on the fight against the coronavirus in the US.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- There is continued uncertainty over the issue of booster shots after the FDA withheld a recommendation for a third Pfizer dose in a report released Wednesday.

U.S. government advisers will debate Friday if there's enough proof that a booster dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, the first public step toward deciding which Americans may get an extra dose and when.

The FDA posted much of the evidence that it will ask outside experts to consider at Friday's meeting, but the agency struck a cautious tone in reviewing the data and discussing the rationale for boosters.

That careful approach is notable given that White House officials have been previewing a booster campaign that they hoped to begin next week.

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

San Gennaro begins in NYC as post-Electric Zoo COVID cluster renews concern

There are renewed concerns about the spread of coronavirus at mass gatherings in New York City, as the Department of Health investigates a cluster of COVID-19 cases after a large music festival and amid the return of the popular Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy. The health department investigation is focusing on more than a dozen COVID cases following the Electric Zoo Music Festival on Randalls Island. Before the pandemic, the Labor Day weekend festival drew more than 100,000 people. This year, attendees had to be fully vaccinated. Still, the health department says the case count is now up to 16, so they are asking anyone who attended to get tested.

Temple Emanu-El holds its first-ever Yom Kippur services in Central Park

Temple Emanu-El is holding its first-ever Yom Kippur services in Central Park. Services were being held at 9 a.m., 12:30 p.m. for teens, and 3 p.m. for families. Those who took part in the services had to preregister. The outdoor services were being held in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Day of Action: Mobile COVID-19 vaccine sites at 26 restaurants across NYC

It's a day of action for small business owners Thursday, as elected officials join restaurants across the city to encourage COVID-19 vaccination. The New York City Test & Trace Corp has deployed mobile vaccination units to 26 restaurants across the city to make sure New Yorkers are protected from the novel coronavirus. With Key-to-NYC vaccine mandates now in effect, residents must be vaccinated to access all the eateries that make the Big Apple a world-renowned food destination.

Mayor details NYC booster shot rollout plan

Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed some details of NYC's COVID booster vaccination plan if and when federal approval for the additional shots comes. The plan will utilize all 1,900 vaccination sites across the city, and 25 city-run sites will stay open with extended hours. The city will hold weekend booster shot events to give 45,000 additional shots per week as needed. And the city will mount a proactive booster shot outreach campaign. A recommendation from the FDA and CDC on booster shots is expected as soon as next week.

Hochul announces end of NY state hiring freeze

Governor Kathy Hochul on Thursday announced the suspension of the state hiring freeze through the end of the fiscal year, supporting COVID-19 recovery efforts. It came as the governor released the updated State Financial Plan, projecting $2.1 billion in revenue above projections, with the economic recovery beating expectations. While agencies are now able to hire without first obtaining a waiver from the Division of the Budget, they must prioritize hiring for their core missions and continue to prudently manage their resources, the governor's office said.

Grand Central Oyster Bar to reopen Monday

The on again, off again reopening of the Grand Central Oyster Bar - now possibly the most reported reopening of the pandemic -- has been officially scheduled for Monday Sept 20 at 100% capacity, Chief Sandy Ingber told the mayor. The oyster bar first said it would be opening Sept. 7 after a nearly 17-month closure by the pandemic, but then pushed the date back again, citing "unforeseen operational issues, and delays caused by Hurricane Ida." Ingber joined the mayor to announce the 440-seat restaurant's reopening Monday, at 100% capacity.

1 in 500 Americans have died of COVID since 1st US infection

The United States has reached another grim milestone in its fight against the devastating COVID-19 pandemic: 1 in 500 Americans have died from coronavirus since the nation's first reported infection.

As of Tuesday night, 663,913 people in the US have died of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University data. According to the US Census Bureau, the US population as of April 2020 was 331.4 million.

Masks now required at NY day care centers, state-regulated day programs

Citing recent data showing increased rates of pediatric COVID-19 cases, NY Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that starting immediately, face masks will be required at all child care and day care centers in the state. Masks will also be required at all state-regulated residential and congregate day programs, including mental health facilities and substance abuse service facilities.

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