Overnight Health Care — Presented by EMAA — Pfizer requests FDA authorize COVID-19 vaccine for 5 to 11 year olds

Overnight Health Care — Presented by EMAA — Pfizer requests FDA authorize COVID-19 vaccine for 5 to 11 year olds

Welcome to Thursday’s Overnight Health Care, where we’re following the latest moves on policy and news affecting your health. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.

More zebras escaped — but this time from a pumpkin farm in Illinois. But unlike the zebras in Maryland who have been on the loose for more than a month, these two were captured in about two hours. 

Five to 11 year olds are one step closer to getting a COVID-19 vaccine after Pfizer finished submitting an application for an emergency use authorization Thursday morning.

For The Hill, we’re Peter Sullivan (psullivan@thehill.com), Nathaniel Weixel (nweixel@thehill.com) and Justine Coleman (jcoleman@thehill.com). Write to us with tips and feedback, and follow us on Twitter: @PeterSullivan4, @NateWeixel and @JustineColeman8.

Let’s get started.

Pfizer applies for COVID-19 vaccine authorization in children 5-11 

There’s a potential light at the end of the tunnel for parents worried about their children under 12. 

Pfizer said Thursday that it had submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5 to 11.

The application has been highly anticipated, as millions of parents are eager to vaccinate their kids. No vaccine is currently available for children under 12.

The FDA has previously said it would move quickly to review the application, "likely in a matter of weeks rather than months.”

An FDA advisory committee is meeting to discuss the application on Oct. 26, and the agency will decide whether to accept the recommendation. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel will meet shortly after. 

Children generally do not get severely ill with COVID-19 as much as older people do, but there were still almost 175,000 cases among children in the week ending Sept. 30, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Between 0.1 percent and 1.9 percent of COVID-19 cases in children resulted in hospitalization, according to AAP.

Pfizer has tested a dose for children that is one-third the amount used in adults. Late last month, it announced positive results from its studies, pointing to a “favorable safety profile and robust neutralizing antibody responses.”

Read more here.



After 20+ years of use, evidence shows medication abortion care is safe and effective. It’s time for the FDA to follow the science and lift outdated restrictions on medication abortion.



More than 120,000 children in the U.S. lost a primary caregiver during the pandemic, a study released Thursday found, drawing attention to the wider impact COVID-19’s spread has had on children.  

The research, published in Pediatrics, estimated that another 22,000 lost a secondary caregiver, or a co-residing grandparent that provides housing, also died from COVID-19-associated deaths. In total, about 1 in 500 children experienced the COVID-19-associated death of a parent or caregiver.

Researchers defined COVID-19-associated deaths as fatalities spanning from April 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, that were caused both directly by the virus and indirectly by the pandemic, such as due to lockdowns or less access to health care. 

Call for action: The study, conducted by the CDC, Imperial College London and several universities, highlights the “ongoing secondary tragedy” among children and calls for the public health response to encompass the growing issue, the National Institutes of Health said in a release

"Effective action to reduce health disparities and protect children from direct and secondary harms from COVID-19 is a public health and moral imperative,” the paper reads.

Read more here

Biden on the road to push benefits of vaccine requirements 

President BidenJoe BidenHouse passes 8B defense policy bill House approves bill to ease passage of debt limit hike Senate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale MORE on Thursday aggressively lobbied for vaccine requirements as an effective tool to end the pandemic, arguing mandates had become necessary to turn the corner on the pandemic. 

"These requirements work. And as the Business Roundtable and others told me when I announced the first requirement, that encouraged businesses to feel they could come in and demand the same thing of their employees. More people are getting vaccinated. More lives are being saved."

Biden traveled to Illinois, where the state's governor and the mayor of Chicago have implemented vaccine requirements for some workers, to lay out the case for why his administration has gotten more forceful in pushing for mandates.

Government officials had exhausted various other options to nudge people to get vaccinated, Biden argued. He said steps officials had taken included purchasing enough vaccines to ensure every American could get the shot, expanding eligibility and access, and offering incentives for those who were still holding out during the summer.

"We have to beat this thing," Biden said. "So while I didn’t race to do it right away, that’s why I had to move toward requirements that everyone get vaccinated where I had the authority to do that."

Biden was in Elk Grove Village, a suburb of Chicago, where he toured a construction site being run by Clayco. The company announced Thursday it would be implementing a vaccination or testing requirement for its employees moving forward.

Read more here.



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyFauci: Omicron appears to be less severe Officials seek to reassure public over omicron fears The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Omicron tests vaccines; Bob Dole dies at 98 MORE urged Americans aged six months and older to get their flu shots as health officials prepare for a potentially “severe” flu season.

The CDC is preparing for the return of the flu after last year saw a “near absence” of it, Walensky said as she advocated for the vaccine during a National Foundation for Infectious Disease (NFID) news conference on Thursday.

The low levels of flu last year, likely due to COVID-19 prevention measures, could contribute to a worse season this year, public health experts have said.  

“Because of so little disease last year, population immunity is likely lower, putting us all at increased risk for disease this year especially among those most vulnerable, including our children,” Walensky said. 

“This is why it is doubly important this year that we build up community immunity with vaccination as we head into the fall and winter,” she added. 

Current status: The U.S. is on track to match last season when 52 percent of those older than six months for the flu shot, she said.

Read more here.



After 20+ years of use, evidence shows medication abortion care is safe and effective. It’s time for the FDA to follow the science and lift outdated restrictions on medication abortion.


Texas to appeal ruling blocking abortion law  

Texas will appeal a court order blocking the state's restrictive abortion law after a federal judge called it an "offensive deprivation of such an important right."

In public statements and court filings issued just hours after the ruling from U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman, Texas officials said they intended to take the case to an appeals court.

"We disagree with the Court's decision and have already taken steps to immediately appeal it to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) said on Twitter Thursday morning. "The sanctity of human life is, and will always be, a top priority for me."

Pitman, who was appointed by former President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden Supreme Court study panel unanimously approves final report To advance democracy, defend Taiwan and Ukraine Press: GOP freak show: Who's in charge? MORE, sided with the Biden administration late Wednesday in blocking the enforcement of the law, known as S.B. 8, saying that Texas lawmakers purposely designed a legislative scheme to bypass constitutional protections for women seeking abortions.

"From the moment S.B. 8 went into effect, women have been unlawfully prevented from exercising control over their lives in ways that are protected by the Constitution," Pitman wrote. "That other courts may find a way to avoid this conclusion is theirs to decide; this Court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right."

Read more here


  • Young, pregnant and unvaccinated: Hospitals confront a wave of severe illness and death (The Washington Post)
  • Where Biden’s vaccine mandate will hit and miss (Politico)
  • Faced with losing their jobs, even the most hesitant are getting vaccinated (NPR)



  • NC schools ordered to cooperate with health officials over contact tracing, quarantines (The Charlotte Observer)
  • More Wyoming children are being hospitalized for COVID-19, some facilities near rationing care (Casper Star Tribune)
  • Abortions resume in some Texas clinics after judge halts law (The Associated Press)


That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s healthcare page for the latest news and coverage. See you Friday.