Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

Staff reports | Pfizer and BioNTech on Tuesday asked the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to authorize a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11.

Meanwhile, In South Carolina, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) transitioned to weekly reporting of new COVID data last month. This week’s data has been delayed due to testing of planned upgrades to the state’s data system, DHEC said in a statement. This means last Tuesday’s update being the most recent of reports including data taken from April 10-16.

Pfizer’s request follows the drug manufacturer’s release of data earlier this month from a small lab study from 30 kids in the age group which showed a 36-fold increase in antibody count against the Omicron variant compared to only two vaccine doses. The third shot demonstrated no new safety concerns in the trial.

The booster is a 10-microgram dose, the same level as the primary vaccination series. The FDA previously authorized Pfizer booster doses for children aged 12-15 in January as the Omicron wave spread across the U.S. The protection from infection granted by the vaccines, however, has waned, particularly in the context of the new subvariant Omicron BA.2. The vaccines are still providing strong protection against severe illness. 

The FDA did not call meetings outside of its ordinary expert panel before authorizing the third shot for the older age group in January. It is unclear whether the advisory committee will meet to discuss the data and make a recommendation. 

Latest COVID-19 data

In South Carolina, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) transitioned to weekly reporting of new COVID data last month. This week’s data has been delayed due to testing of planned upgrades to the state’s data system, DHEC said in a statement. This means last Tuesday’s update being the most recent of reports including data taken from April 10-16.

State health officials on Tuesday reported 1,521 total new cases of COVID-19, with 996 confirmed, and seven total new deaths, six of which were confirmed. As of April 18, 90 COVID-19-positive individuals are hospitalized, and nine COVID-19-positive individuals are ventilated.

No positivity rate was reported by DHEC.

  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ with at least one vaccine: 67.1%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ who have completed vaccination: 58%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 with at least one vaccine: 20.2%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 who have completed vaccination: 16.4%

For more information, visit the S.C. SCDHEC COVID-19 dashboard.


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