Vaccine companies look to inoculate children as Florida sees 5,166 new COVID-19 cases

Pfizer says its vaccine is safe for children as young as 12

ORLANDO, Fla. – As Florida is just days away from allowing anyone old enough to drive to get vaccinated, Pfizer announced Wednesday that its COVID-19 vaccine is strongly protective in children.

Beginning April 5, anyone 18 and older can get the shot in Florida. However, people 16 or 17 can elect to get the Pfizer vaccine.

With most of the country vaccinating adults, who are clinically proven to be at higher risk for contracting coronavirus, Pfizer is looking to make its shots safer for kids under 16.

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The Food and Drug Administration issued emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s vaccine candidate for people 16 and older in December 2020. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine candidates were approved only for adults.

Pfizer reported that it tested its shots in U.S. volunteers ages 12 to 15 and said its 100% effective among that age range. Researchers also noted those who received the actual vaccine had high levels of virus-fighting antibodies and side effects similar to young adults like pain, fever and fatigue. Most side effects happened with the second dose.

The biopharmaceutical company said it will continue to track its participants for two years but is planning to ask the FDA for authorization to use their shots on children as young as 12.

Moderna isn’t far behind.

The biotechnology company is in the process of testing its vaccine on children between the ages of 12 and 17. Though the results from its U.S. study have not been published yet, the FDA has already approved both Moderna and Pfizer to begin studies in children 11 and younger to eventually test its shots on infants as young as six months old.

Astrazeneca is also conducting its own pediatric study in Britain with its trial involving children ages 6 to 17. It has yet to present its findings to the FDA to get approval to use its shots on adults.

Johnson & Johnson is also looking to test its one-dose shot on people younger than 18 as well. Its CEO says it will likely have a vaccine available for children by September.

Meantime, in Florida, the state reports 40,629 people between 16 and 24 years old have already been fully vaccinated.

The Florida Department of Health pediatric report says the state has seen 233,102 coronavirus infections in children 17 or younger. Health officials report 1,516 children have been hospitalized and 11 have had virus-related deaths.

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Find the state-run COVID-19 dashboard below:

Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on March 31.

Cases

The Florida Department of Health reported 5,166 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the state’s overall total to 2,057,735 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020.

Deaths

Florida reported 89 new virus-related deaths Wednesday, bringing the death toll to 34,072. This number includes the 647 non-residents who died in Florida.

Hospitalizations

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were currently 2,944 people with the virus hospitalized in Florida, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.

Since last March, 85,197 people have been hospitalized in Florida after complications from COVID-19. That number includes the 224 new patients who have been recently hospitalized due to the virus, according to the health department’s daily report released on Wednesday.

Positivity rate

The percent of positive results was 6.67% Tuesday out of 77,448 tests. The numbers reported daily by the state reflect test results from the day prior. Health officials say the rate should remain between 5% and 10% to prove a community has a hold of the virus and is curbing infections.

Vaccinations

The Florida Department of Health began releasing a daily report in December on COVID-19 vaccines administered throughout the state.

FDOH reports 3,307,323 people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. These individuals either received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or completed a two-shot series.

As of Wednesday, 5,871,740 people have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

Below is the Central Florida region breakdown of new cases, deaths and hospitalizations for Tuesday.

CountyCasesNew CasesHospitalizationsNew hospitalizationsDeathsNew deaths
Brevard37,190742,16748081
Flagler6,685303611960
Lake26,679751,38366065
Marion29,044481,96059191
Orange123,6833312,58271,1861
Osceola39,604831,35534851
Polk61,1751564,789401,2547
Seminole30,052971,19534660
Sumter8,790105540257-1
Volusia38,2651961,95047171

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