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States placing orders for pediatric vaccine; FDA authorization expected as soon as Friday

Middle school student Elise Robinson receives her first coronavirus vaccination in Decatur, Ga., on May 12, 2021. (Ron Harris/AP)
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The Food and Drug Administration is aiming to grant emergency use authorization to the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 on Friday, according to federal officials familiar with the plans.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the final say in the vaccine’s authorization for that age group, states already are gearing up to acquire the necessary doses.

The Biden administration has said it has acquired enough doses to immunize every child in the 5-to-11 age group. Providers could start administering the shots by the middle of next week if the CDC recommends its use for that cohort.

U.S. coronavirus cases tracker and map

Here’s what to know

  • New coronavirus infections in the United States have dropped nearly 60 percent since the September spike brought on by the more contagious delta variant, according to data compiled by The Washington Post.
  • U.S. pharmaceutical giant Merck has agreed to share its license with a nonprofit so that its experimental covid-19 drug, molnupiravir, can be manufactured widely around the world.
  • Merriam-Webster is adding “ghost kitchen” and “curbside delivery” to its dictionary in a nod toward how the pandemic has changed dining as we know it.
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Here's what to know:

New coronavirus infections in the United States have dropped nearly 60 percent since the September spike brought on by the more contagious delta variant, according to data compiled by The Washington Post.
U.S. pharmaceutical giant Merck has agreed to share its license with a nonprofit so that its experimental covid-19 drug, molnupiravir, can be manufactured widely around the world.
Merriam-Webster is adding “ghost kitchen” and “curbside delivery” to its dictionary in a nod toward how the pandemic has changed dining as we know it.

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Coronavirus: What you need to know

Vaccines: The CDC recommends that everyone age 5 and older get an updated covid booster shot designed to target both the original virus and the omicron variant. Here’s some guidance on when you should get the omicron booster and how vaccine efficacy could be affected by your prior infections.

Variants: Instead of a single new Greek letter variant, a group of immune-evading omicron spinoffs are popping up all over the world. Any dominant variant will likely knock out monoclonal antibodies, targeted drugs that can be used as a treatment or to protect immunocompromised people.

Tripledemic: Hospitals are overwhelmed by a combination of respiratory illnesses, staffing shortages and nursing home closures. And experts believe the problem will deteriorate further in coming months. Here’s how to tell the difference between RSV, the flu and covid-19.

Guidance: CDC guidelines have been confusing — if you get covid, here’s how to tell when you’re no longer contagious. We’ve also created a guide to help you decide when to keep wearing face coverings.

Where do things stand? See the latest coronavirus numbers in the U.S. and across the world. In the U.S., pandemic trends have shifted and now White people are more likely to die from covid than Black people. Nearly nine out of 10 covid deaths are people over the age 65.

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