The COVID-19 vaccine mandate fight rages on as Pfizer/BioNTech submit data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of their COVID-19 vaccine in children 5 to 11.
Young children are just steps closer to being approved to get the COVID-19 vaccine after Pfizer/BioNTech submitted an emergency request for the pediatric vaccine from the FDA. Reports indicate the vaccine for children is a different dose from the one adults get. The anticipated approval already has federal officials telling governors to be prepared to administer the vaccine in the states as early as next month.
“We know from our vast experience with other pediatric vaccines that children are not small adults, and we will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of clinical trial data submitted in support of the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine used in a younger pediatric population, which may need a different dosage or formulation from that used in an older pediatric population or adults.” said Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock.
The FDA is meeting this Thursday and Friday and again on Oct. 26 to discuss newly available data for the currently available COVID-19 vaccines.
Vaccinating children could be a hard sell for parents, according to a survey by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The survey revealed that less than half of the more than 1,700 parents who participated reported that they are likely to have their children receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Results showed only 28% of parents were very likely and 18% were somewhat likely to have their child receive the vaccine. One-third were very unlikely, 9% were somewhat unlikely and 12% were unsure. Vaccine safety and side effects were their chief concerns.
Last month, Mayor Bill de Blasio said COVID-19 vaccines will not be mandated for New York City public school students. A similar mandate was implemented in Los Angeles public schools requiring students age 12 and older to be vaccinated.
Numbers from the city’s health department indicate that 70% of youth aged 12 to 17 in the city have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Resistance continues over COVID-19 vaccine mandates for some adults in the city as a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction this week preventing New York State from denying health care workers’ religious exemptions from a statewide mandate. An attorney for the healthcare professional will argue their case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Thursday.
The case stems from a lawsuit consisting of 17 health professionals who said the vaccine mandate violates their rights and did not consider exemptions. Judge David Hurd in Utica, N.Y. ruled that the state cannot deny religious exemptions in the vaccine mandate.
“My responsibility as governor is to protect the people of this state, and requiring healthcare workers to get vaccinated accomplishes that,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said in response to the ruling. “I stand behind this mandate, and I will fight this decision in court to keep New Yorkers safe.”
While healthcare workers received a victory in their lawsuit, the same can’t be said for city public schools teachers. This week, a federal judge denied a temporary injunction to stop the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for teachers. The lawsuit Kane vs. de Blasio seeks to halt the mandate for teachers.
The Department of Education reports that 95% of school staff have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are now watching very closely the case of healthcare workers to be heard in the 2nd circuit court this Thursday,” said lead plaintiff and public school teacher Michael Kane. “If they are successful, it is highly likely we will appeal Kane vs. de Blasio to the 2nd Circuit Court.”
Last week, de Blasio announced that the NYPD and FDNY could be subject to a COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Reports indicate that 68% of police officers are vaccinated and the percentage is slightly lower for the FDNY. Both NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea and FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro support the possible mandate.
Currently, FDNY and NYPD employees must either get the COVID-19 vaccine or submit to weekly testing.
“We’re looking at a variety of tools,” de Blasio said last Friday. “So far, I like a lot how the mandates are going. They’re driving up vaccinations, they’re driving down COVID. There’s a lot of other tools we have and we’ll be talking about them in the next few days.”
In a statement, Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said the decision to get the vaccine should be made by members of the NYPD themselves and not the city.
“We have pushed to make the vaccine available to all members who seek it, and we will continue to protect the rights of members who are not vaccinated,” he said. “That position has not changed, and neither the city nor the NYPD has advised us of any changes to the current vaccination policy.”
In one report, Uniformed Firefighters Association Vice President Bobby Eustace said if a vaccine mandate is implemented, a large number of the FDNY force would be off the job or quit, causing dangerous results.
“We believe there should be a choice,” Eustace said. “That would be devastating to public safety. If you were to take away 40% of our workforce because they weren’t vaccinated, I can guarantee you public safety would be in jeopardy because a lot of the men and women on the frontlines would be gone and your safety would be in jeopardy.”