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Healthwatch with Dr. Leana Wen: kids' vax, omicron, new normals?

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Dr. Leana Wen, emergency physician and public health advocate, teaches at GWUniversity's Milken Institute School of Public Health. (GWU)

About a month ago, the Food and Drug Administration authorized booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds, and it lowered the time frame for everyone getting a booster from six months to five months after the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. The CDC made a final recommendation to allow it soon thereafter.

About a month from now, it’s expected that the Pfizer vaccine will be approved for children as young as six months old.

There is some progress to be happy about in the fight against COVID. In mid-January, the United States was reporting more than 900,000 new cases of COVID 19 per day. Over the weekend, that number had receded to about 304,000. The positivity rate here in MD was nearly 27% last month. As of this morning, it stands at just above 6%.

But, more than a year into vaccine availability, only about 64% of Americans are fully vaccinated. Dozens of other countries have much higher rates of vaccination. With vaccines now available for virtually everyone except newborns, the question is, will Americans take full advantage of the opportunity? And will wealthy countries like the US assist less wealthy countries to get their people fully vaxed?

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By early March, Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID vaccine will be approved in the US for children between the ages of 6 months to 5 years. (image credit Marco Verch via FLickr CC by 2.0)

Today, it’s the Midday HealthWatchTom's guest is Dr. Leana Wen, who for years, has been sharing her time and expertise with Midday listeners ever since she served as the Health Commissioner of Baltimore. Dr. Wen is an emergency physician who teaches at the George Washington University School of Public Health. She’s also a columnist for the Washington Post, a medical analyst for CNN, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and the author of Lifelines: A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health.

Dr. Leana Wen joins us on Zoom

And we welcome your questions and comments…

Host, Midday (M-F 12:00-1:00)
Malarie is Midday's Supervisory Producer.
Rob is Midday's senior producer.