Friday, June 10, 2022 | Kaiser Health News

Preparations Begin As Millions Of Covid Shots Ordered For Under-5s

Five million doses are expected to be available in the initial release, around half of them Pfizer’s version of the covid vaccine and half Moderna’s, and preparations to distribute them are beginning. In Maryland, for example, about 65,000 doses will be ready on June 20.

AP: Officials: Millions Of COVID-19 Shots Ordered For Youngest

Millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses have been ordered for small children in anticipation of possible federal authorization next week, White House officials say. The government allowed pharmacies and states to start placing orders last week, with 5 million doses initially available — half of them shots made by Pfizer and the other half of the vaccine produced by Moderna, senior administration officials said. As of this week, about 1.45 million of the 2.5 million Pfizer doses have been ordered, and about 850,000 Moderna shots have been ordered, officials said. More orders are expected in the coming days. (Stobbe, 6/9)

The Washington Post: Maryland Ready To Distribute Pediatric Vaccines On June 20, Pending Approval

Maryland has ordered 65,400 doses of a pediatric coronavirus vaccine that will be ready for children on June 20, pending federal approval, state health officials said Thursday. Deputy Health Secretary Jinlene Chan said at a news conference that the state “will have this important vaccine available for families right away” if it is approved during meetings of federal regulators late next week. (Cox, 6/9)

The Washington Post: Covid Shots For Young Kids Are Almost Available. Here’s What You Need To Know

Finally, vaccines for the youngest children are almost here. Federal regulators and their outside advisers will scrutinize coronavirus vaccines Wednesday for the only group in the United States still not eligible for the shots — children younger than 5, a contingent 19 million strong. The long-anticipated action comes a year and a half after the first shots were cleared for adults, and amid a rush of graduations, vacations and camp gatherings as families scramble to enjoy the summer. (Sun and McGinley, 6/9)

In other news about the spread of covid —

Politico: New York City Scraps School Mask Mandate For Toddlers

New York City toddlers won’t be required to wear masks in schools or day cares starting Monday, Mayor Eric Adams announced Thursday morning in a move that lifted the public school system’s last remaining mask mandate. Adams, who has felt pressure from parents and advocates to nix the requirement sooner, said schools “have remained the safest place for our children” throughout the current Covid-19 wave. The move also affects city-funded day care centers. (Toure, 6/9)

Health News Florida: Florida Hospital Admissions For COVID Is Up 14% Over The Past Week

The number of Florida hospital inpatients with COVID-19 has topped 3,000 and is up more than 14 percent during the past week, according to data posted online Wednesday by the US Department of Health and Human Services. The data showed 3,078 inpatients with COVID-19, up from 2,694 a week earlier and 2,253 two weeks earlier. The new data also showed 259 COVID-19 patients in intensive-care units, up from 209 a week earlier. (6/9)

The Baltimore Sun: Gov. Hogan Announces Long-Term COVID-19 Preparedness Strategy For Maryland

Gov. Larry Hogan announced a long-term plan Thursday to manage the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that centers on ensuring accessibility of the latest tests, vaccines and medications. “Our state public health response has now fully transitioned from an emergency into an ongoing operation of state government,” Hogan said at a news conference Thursday. Called COVIDReady Maryland, the long-term preparedness plan aims to maintain readiness for emerging variants and surges in cases so people stay healthy and out of the hospital. (Gaskill and Cohn, 6/9)

Las Vegas Review-Journal: COVID-19 Self-Test Kit Vending Machines Installed At Two Locations

As COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to inch up in Clark County and Nevada, there is a new option available for Southern Nevadans. COVID-19 self-test vending machines have opened at two locations, according to a Southern Nevada Health District news release. Residents can obtain the tests at the Regional Transportation Commission’s Bonneville Transit Center, 101 E. Bonneville Ave., and Mesa View Regional Hospital in Mesquite. The at-home antigen test kits are free. People who are interested in accessing the tests from the vending machines can register here. A PIN will be issued once registration is completed. (Garcia, 6/9)

The New York Times: Man Pleads Guilty To Selling $2.7 Million Worth Of Unregistered Covid Pesticide

A New Jersey man admitted in federal court on Thursday to sell $2.7 million worth of pesticides that he falsely claimed had been registered with the Environmental Protection Agency as effective safeguards against the coronavirus. The man, Paul Andricola, 63, of Maple Shade, NJ, sold the pesticide to several government agencies, including a US Air Force base and the US Marshal’s Service. Federal law requires that pesticides according to be registered with the EPA to ensure that they are “safe, effective, and bear labeling containing true and accurate information,” to the US Attorney’s Office in New Jersey. (Medina, 6/9)

In covid research —

The New York Times: Mysteries Linger About Covid’s Origins, WHO Report Says

In its first report, a team of international scientists assembled by the World Health Organization to advise on the origins of the coronavirus said on Thursday that bats likely carried an ancestor of the coronavirus that may have then spilled over into a mammal sold at a wildlife market . But the team said that more Chinese data was needed to study how the virus spread to people, including the possibility that a lab leak played a role. The team, appointed by the WHO in October as the organization tried to reset its approach to studying the pandemic’s origins, said that Chinese scientists had shared information with them, including from unpublished studies, on two occasions. But gaps in Chinese reports made it difficult to determine when and where the outbreak emerged, the report said. (Mueller and Zimmer, 6/10)

Bloomberg: Covid During Pregnancy Double Babies’ Risk Of Delays In Study

Babies whose mothers caught Covid-19 during pregnancy faced nearly double the risk of being diagnosed with delayed speech or motor skills by their first birthday, according to a study of medical records. While the risk of developmental delays was low overall, it rose to about 6% among babies who were exposed to Covid in the womb, while unexposed infants’ risk was about 3%, according to findings released Thursday in the journal JAMA Network Open. The lags were seen in behaviors such as rolling over, reaching for objects or babbling — basic milestones of infancy. (Goldberg, 6/9)

Stat: Are These Golden Hamsters A Key To Cracking Long Covid?

In late 2020, Justin Frere, a wiry MD/Ph.D. Student dressed in head-to-toe white Tyvek, picked up a clear pipette, methodically reached into the cages of 30 unsuspecting, sedated hamsters and drip-dropped 1,000 infectious coronavirus particles down each of their nostrils. Then, he waited. Days for some. A whole month for others. The waiting was essential. His goal was to make a tool experts say will be critical to understanding and perhaps one day effectively treating long Covid, the debilitating and still scarcely understood constellation of symptoms that afflict many Covid-19 patients long after their initial infection has passed. (Mast, 6/10)