Coronavirus vaccines have been authorized for most people, but so far none for children. Here’s what’s happening.
People make mRNA all the time. In our cells, DNA in the nucleus is used to make mRNA, which is sent to the cytoplasm where it serves as a blueprint to make proteins. Most of the time, the proteins that are produced are needed to help our bodies function.
mRNA vaccines take advantage of this process by introducing the mRNA for an important protein from the virus that the vaccine is trying to protect against. In the case of COVID-19, the important protein is the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The mRNA that codes for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is taken up by cells called dendritic cells, which express the spike protein on the cell surface, travel to a local lymph node, and stimulate other cells of the immune system (B cells) to make antibodies. These antibodies protect us, so that if we are exposed to SARS-CoV-2 in the future, our immune system is ready and we don’t get sick. (See more about dendritic cells and the adaptive immune system in this animation.)
The answers have a lot to do with how vaccines are developed and tested in general, and the fact that neither of the vaccines currently being used in the US has been approved for kids under 16. But there’s also a particular quirk with this coronavirus that actually helps — namely, that children tend to have a higher rate of recovery from COVID-19 than almost any other age group. Plus, children aren’t the only group specifically being told to hold off on getting coronavirus vaccines (keep reading for who else should skip the vaccine line).
The WWE’s popularity throughout the years has produced many wrestling stars that have become fan favorites that kept viewers tuning in. The dramatic storylines, that can be compared to soap operas, drew people in and led them to throw their support to their favorite stars. So where are the big names of the WWE now? Here’s where these retired big-name wrestlers are today.
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The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has issued interim recommendations for the use of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the United States. Both vaccines are lipid nanoparticle-formulated, nucleoside-modified mRNA vaccines encoding the prefusion spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
These interim CDC clinical considerations are informed by data submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the vaccines, other data sources, general best practice guidelines for immunization, and expert opinion. These considerations for mRNA vaccines only apply to the currently authorized vaccine products in the United States (i.e., Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines). Considerations will be updated as additional information becomes available and/or if additional vaccine products are authorized.
Scott Oliver Hall, best known as Razor Ramon by his fans, first started his wrestling career in the 1980’s but really hit it big in the 90’s after he joined up in the WCW and WWF. Lately he has been suffering from health issues including seizures, pneumonia, and low blood pressure.
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Since the start of the pandemic, questions have flourished surrounding the role children might play in contracting and spreading COVID-19. And yet, as the rollout of vaccinations against the coronavirus continues to ramp up, one group — kids — has been conspicuously absent from any of the priority groups. Although children represent a small but significant percentage of coronavirus cases, a few of those patients have experienced some of the most severe COVID-19 symptoms. Plus, research has shown children are responsible for at least some of the virus’s spread. So, why aren’t kids getting vaccinated yet?
A few days after Christmas, Molly Hering, 14, and her brother, Sam, 12, got their first shots as part of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trials for kids. Their mom had heard about a clinical trial being conducted at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and Molly told me that she’d agreed to join because she wanted to contribute to the vaccine-development effort.
Molly and Sam’s dad was recently hospitalized with COVID-19. (He recovered.) Both kids have spent most of the past year dealing with Zoom school and its attendant technical glitches. Molly finally went back to in-person ninth grade this month, but masks and social distancing are required at school. Like everyone else, she’s looking forward to the end of the pandemic. “I’ll finally be able to go to school normally,” she said.
With COVID-19 vaccines proven to be safe and effective in most adults, Pfizer and Moderna have both begun U.S. trials for kids as young as 12. And if those trials go smoothly, the vaccines will be tested in younger and younger kids. This is typical for new vaccines: “It’s called the age deescalation strategy,” Carol Kao, a pediatrician at Washington University in St. Louis, told me.
There are some 70 million kids in the U.S., nearly a quarter of the country’s population. Children in general are not especially vulnerable to COVID-19; most infections are mild or even asymptomatic. In some very rare cases—fewer than 0.01 percent—young patients can develop a complication called multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C, but it is generally quite treatable in a hospital.