Teens eyed for COVID vaccines


COVID-19 vaccines may likely go into younger teens’ arms as soon, US Food and Drug Administration officials have reported.

The FDA extended emergency use authorization of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to kids ages 12 to 15 on Monday.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has scheduled an emergency meeting for Wednesday. It’s expected to vote to recommend use of the vaccine. After that, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky is expected to give her final approval, after which states can give the go-ahead to administer the vaccine to the new age group.

States regulate medical practice but things should move quickly, said Dr. Peter Marks, director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, the arm of the FDA that regulates vaccines.

As of Monday, Mississippi had 1,334 new cases since the previous Monday, and 19 deaths during the past seven days. The state has 313,942 total cases since March 2020 and 7,240 deaths, according to Health Department numbers.

There was one new reported case in Kemper County since the previous week. As of March 2020, there have been 957 cases reported in Kemper County and 28 deaths due to the disease.

Gov. Tate Reeves has discontinued all but one of the state mandated restrictions that have been in place for more than a year to keep the public safe during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Masks still must be worn by everyone inside a school building through the end of the 2020-2021 academic school year. The new executive order was issued last Friday. It marks a return to the way things were before the pandemic.

The governor recommends that people continue to follow the CDC and MSDH guidelines on safety, which include wearing a mask in all public spaces, social distancing, and hand-washing.

Health officials urge the public to not letdown their guard. The wearing of face masks when in public is encouraged. And anyone who has not been vaccinated for COVID-19 is urged to make an appointment and do so.

COVID-19 vaccinations for Mississippians are available at no cost from drive-through sites around the state, and from some local healthcare providers.

The governor and health officials say the vaccination shots offer excellent protection against illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. All persons aged 16 or older who live or work in Mississippi are eligible for vaccination.

Free vaccinations are available at MSDH drive-through sites statewide.

Local health clinics. physicians, pharmacies and providers also offer COVID-19 vaccination. Check the Mississippi Department of Health website to learn more about finding a vaccination site and making an appointment.

While the number of new cases are declining, health officials say it is no time to let down your guard. It is encouraged that you wear a mask when in public.

The more you are apart from others, the more you are protected from COVID-19 transmission. The virus spreads easily between those eating together, talking together, or attending events.

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