‘It’s a big deal’ for America’s push to reopen, says NIH Director on Pfizer vaccine approval for adolescents

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National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins described the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization of Pfizer and BioNTech‘s Covid vaccine for kids aged 12 to 15 as “a big deal” in America’s push to reopen. 

“This is exciting news,” said Collins. “We know that a million-and-a-half adolescents have been infected with Covid-19 since this pandemic started, and not all of them have fared as well as most. And some of them have ended up with this long Covid where they’re not better, even weeks or months after getting ill, so we really want to protect adolescents.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine advisory committee has scheduled a meeting for Wednesday to review the shots for kids. If approved by the CDC, as expected, it could be distributed to adolescents as soon as this week.

More than 44% of all U.S. adults are fully vaccinated, and roughly 58% have now received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, according to the CDC. The White House is aiming to get that number up to 70% by July 4th. 

Collins told CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith” that the U.S. is on a “pretty good path” and that the nation should be able to see the CDC relax indoor mask regulations. 

“It’s just finding the right way of balancing the desire not to inspire another surge, which is the last thing we need right now, with the fact that people are really sick of wearing masks,” said Collins.

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