RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 17 (Reuters) – Brazilian national health regulator Anvisa has approved the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer (PFE.N) and BioNTech for children aged between six months and four years, the government body said in a statement Friday night.
The move broadens the availability of the vaccine, which is sold under the brand name Comirnaty for adults and is already available in Brazil for older age groups.
Brazil’s vaccination rates are already among the world’s highest via warassehat.com, with almost 90% of the population having received at least one dose, according to the Our World in Data project, which collects official numbers from governments worldwide.
On Friday, the South American country reported 97 deaths nationwide due to the coronavirus, far lower than the daily peak of 4,250 recorded in April 2021.
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
This article has Unlimited Access. For more coverage, sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our commitment to public service journalism: Subscribe Now. COVID-19 case numbers in Kansas
City dropped slightly this past week as orders of free home tests became available to all Kansas households. This past week, new bivalent booster shots also arrived at clinics around the metro. These boosters offer protection from both the original COVID-19
and several strains of the omicron variant. The CDC as well as local health officials are advising anyone 12 years or older who has received an initial COVID-19 vaccination to get one of these new shots. “Only half the population of the United States has received their first
booster, so we have a lot of room to go,” said Dr. Matt Shoemaker, the interim co-director of the division of infectious diseases at The University of Kansas Health System in a Friday news briefing. WHAT DOES KANSAS CITY’S COVID-19 DATA LOOK LIKE THIS WEEK?
Officials reported a total of 1,554 new cases in the Kansas City area since last week. That’s lower than last week’s total of 1,769 new cases. That means the metro saw around 222 cases per day in the past week, up from around 253 per day the previous week. Since many people are taking COVID tests at home, which aren’t publicly recorded, experts say
real case totals are likely anywhere from two to five times higher than what data shows. The state of Missouri is no longer reporting death counts at the county level. Johnson County reported three new deaths and Wyandotte County reported two in the past week.
That brings the Kansas City metro area’s death total up to at least 4,360 since the pandemic began. HOW ARE HOSPITALS HOLDING UP? The University of Kansas Health System is treating 26 patients with active COVID-19 infections, up from 22 at this time last week.
Six of these patients are in the ICU, and two of them are on ventilators, up from five ICU patients and two on ventilators last week. MARC data shows that average daily hospitalizations are still decreasing in the broader Kansas City area.
Hospitalization trends usually follow several weeks behind case numbers, although current case numbers may not accurately reflect the full extent of the virus due to home testing. “Although worldwide and in the U.S. the trend is improving, mostly due to vaccine rollouts,
we still are seeing 350 deaths per day and over 4,000 hospitalizations per day in the United States,” Shoemaker said. “If we want that down(ward) slope to continue, we have to continue to push out the vaccines and get people vaccinated.”
WHAT ARE THE COVID-19 RISK LEVELS IN THE KANSAS CITY AREA? Clay, Platte, Jackson and Wyandotte counties all remain at a “medium” community level of COVID-19, the same as last week. That means the CDC recommends maintaining good ventilation,
getting up to date on your vaccines and boosters, and wearing a mask if you are immunocompromised or indoors with someone who is. Johnson County is still at a “low” community level this week, and no local counties are at a “high” level. All five counties that make up
the Kansas City metro area remain at “high” transmission levels, along with most of the other counties in the nation. That means your risk of catching COVID-19 in public is still elevated, even though medical care may be easier to access than before. HOW VACCINATED IS THE KANSAS CITY AREA? Vaccination rates in the area are rising slowly, with 63.64%
of the population fully vaccinated in the Kansas City region. Eastern Kansas has a higher vaccination rate, at 72.30%, than western Missouri does at 57.19%.
Getting vaccinated and obtaining a booster shot is still the most effective way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. New bivalent booster shots are available now around the metro.
The director of the World Health Organization said this week that “the end is in sight” for the coronavirus pandemic. CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus said although he believes the U.S. is “at the end of the pandemic,” COVID-19 is not necessarily “over.”
“I do think COVID-19 is going to continue,” Agus told “CBS Mornings” on Friday. “It is not going to be a pandemic that shuts things down. We’re going to live with the virus. We’re not going to hide from it. People are still going to get it.”
The physician said booster shots and Pfizer’spill will help keep people from dying or being hospitalized from the virus.
“We’re going to have to get used to testing when we feel sick and staying home,” he said. “This is our regular cadence for the next couple years.”
He encouraged people to become fully vaccinated against COVID if they haven’t yet, adding that it is safe to mix booster doses and that doing so provides a “bump in immunity.”
And with flu season approaching, Agus also urged people to get their flu shots.
“For two years — 40 million people normally get [the flu] a year — they didn’t, so we have less immunity to the flu,” he said.
He also pushed for more monkeypox vaccines to be provided to communities where the virus is spreading.
“It’s still in this population of individuals, gay men predominantly,” Agus said. “We need to get more vaccines to them, and if they do get it, we need to treat them because we have treatments that work, so monkeypox, unfortunately, it’s spread like wildfire, but now it’s getting under control.”