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Pfizer asks FDA for broader authorization of vaccine booster

A nurse fills a syringe with a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine at Smoketown Family Wellness Center on Nov. 8 in Louisville (Jonathan Cherry/Reuters)
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Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, on Tuesday asked the Food and Drug Administration to authorize a booster dose of its coronavirus vaccine for people 18 and older.

The FDA could clear the request by the end of the month, according to health officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue. The officials are concerned about studies showing waning vaccine protection, as well as increased infections in parts of the United States.

Currently, the government recommends the Pfizer-BioNTech booster vaccine for people 65 and older and those 18 to 64 who are at high risk of covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, because of underlying medical conditions or potential exposures at work or in their living situation. The extra shots are administered six months after the second dose of the initial two-shot Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

U.S. coronavirus cases tracker and map

Here’s what to know

  • French President Emmanuel Macron said that the country will require anyone over 65 to have a booster shot if they want to keep their health pass.
  • A U.S. District Court denied a petition filed by a group of federal workers and service members to block the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for federal and military personnel.
  • England’s front-line health and social care workers will be required to be vaccinated by spring 2022, the government announced Tuesday.
  • Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said takes “full responsibility” for misleading statements he made previously about being unvaccinated for the coronavirus.
  • The U.S. federal government will purchase another $1 billion worth of the covid-19 treatment pill made by pharmaceutical giant Merck.
  • The State Department called on the Chinese government Monday to release citizen journalist Zhang Zhan, who is serving a four-year prison sentence for her early reporting on the coronavirus.
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Here's what to know:

French President Emmanuel Macron said that the country will require anyone over 65 to have a booster shot if they want to keep their health pass.
A U.S. District Court denied a petition filed by a group of federal workers and service members to block the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for federal and military personnel.
England’s front-line health and social care workers will be required to be vaccinated by spring 2022, the government announced Tuesday.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said takes “full responsibility” for misleading statements he made previously about being unvaccinated for the coronavirus.
The U.S. federal government will purchase another $1 billion worth of the covid-19 treatment pill made by pharmaceutical giant Merck.
The State Department called on the Chinese government Monday to release citizen journalist Zhang Zhan, who is serving a four-year prison sentence for her early reporting on the coronavirus.

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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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