Pfizer Vaccine for 12 to 15 years: On Monday, the United States of America authorised the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 for children aged 12 to 15 years. Earlier, the US Food and Drug Administration granted an emergency use authorisation for the jab to children who are at least 16 years old.
The US President Joe Biden said, “This is a promising development in our fight against the virus”. But the World Health Organisation in Geneva classified the B.1.617 variant spreading in India as a variant of concern at the global level. It warned that this variant appears to be more contagious.
In many countries the virus is still surging. Nearly 3.3 million people have lost their lives in the pandemic worldwide since late 2019, bringing normal life to a standstill. This has also led to an economic chaos globally. Nations are however trying to return to their pre-COVID lifestyle through rapid vaccination programs. The head of the European Medicines, on Monday, said that the Pfizer vaccine could soon be approved for the 12-to-15 year olds.
Countries regulating restrictions
On Monday, Ireland put an end to domestic travel restrictions. It also started a phased reopening of the non-essential retailers. Greece has now opened nursery, elementary and middle schools. The tourist season there starts from May 14. The European Union said that tourism was “fully on track” to ensure that a COVID health pass would be ready in June for boosting travel.
As for Britain, the country with the highest COVID-19 death rate in Europe, it would reopen indoor seating in pubs from next week in England. Following a successful vaccination campaign, the country has not recorded any daily deaths due to the virus for the first time in about a year.
Cyprus has exited a third partial lockdown with a new Coronavirus “safety pass” system that allows people to move about freely. The La Scala Opera House reopened in Milan, Italy after remaining closed for half a year. Germany, where people are fully vaccinated lifted several restrictions after passing a new legislation on Sunday.
Usage of vaccines other than Pfizer vaccine
Berlin has given access to the Johnson and Johnson vaccine to all adults. But Norway has dropped it weighing the side effects. The country also stopped the usage of AstraZeneca for the same reason.
Current situation in India
India is currently grappling with one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the world. The country reported approximately 370,000 fresh cases and more than 3,000 deaths on Monday. The devastating situation has put a burden on the healthcare system and as per experts, the official numbers in terms of cases and deaths is much lower than the actual numbers. The variant has spread to some of India’s neighbouring countries as well, including Nepal and China.
A picture of the future
As Tokyo hosted a test event ahead of the Summer Olympic games, we got a glimpse of the post-pandemic world. But after a Coronavirus state of emergency was extended, the International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach was forced to postpone his visit to Japan. The US remains the worst affected country with the highest number of reported cases and fatalities. New cases have lowered since January this year as more than 114 million citizens have been vaccinated.