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Pfizer/BioNTech data shows COVID-19 vaccine safe and protective in kids

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Sept 20 (Reuters) – Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and BioNTech SE said on Monday their COVID-19 vaccine induced a robust immune response in 5 to 11 year olds, and they plan to ask for authorization to use the vaccine in children in that age range in the United States, Europe and elsewhere as soon as possible.

The companies said the vaccine generated an immune response in the 5-to-11 year olds in their Phase II/III clinical trial that matched what they had previously observed in 16-to-25 year olds. The safety profile was also generally comparable to the older age group, they said.

“Since July, pediatric cases of COVID-19 have risen by about 240 percent in the U.S. – underscoring the public health need for vaccination,” Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla said in a news release.

“These trial results provide a strong foundation for seeking authorization of our vaccine for children 5 to 11 years old, and we plan to submit them to the FDA and other regulators with urgency.”

Top U.S. health officials believe regulators could make a decision on whether the shot is safe and effective in younger children within three weeks of the companies submitting a request for authorization, two sources told Reuters earlier this month.

COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths have surged in the United States in recent months due to the highly contagious Delta variant. Pediatric cases are also up, particularly as children under 12 are all unvaccinated, but there is no indication that, beyond being more transmissive, the Delta virus is more dangerous in kids.

A rapid authorization could help mitigate a potential surge of cases in the fall, especially with schools already open nationwide.

The companies’ vaccine, called Comirnaty, is already authorized for use in children as young as 12 in many countries, including the United States. The vaccine was originally authorized for emerenecy use in people 16 or older in the United States in December 2020 and received full U.S. approval in that age group last month.

The 5-to-11 year olds were given two shots of a 10-microgram dose of the vaccine, one-third the dose size that has been given to people 12 and older. The companies expect data on how well the vaccine works in children 2-to-5 years of age and children 6 months-to-2 years of age as soon as the fourth quarter of this year.

Unlike the larger clinical trial the drugmakers previously conducted in adults, the 2,268 participant pediatric trial was not primarily designed to measure the vaccine’s efficacy by comparing the number of COVID-19 cases in vaccine recipients to those who received a placebo.

Instead, the trial compares the amount of neutralizing antibodies induced by the vaccine in the children to the response of older recipients in the adult trial.

A Pfizer spokesperson said the companies may later disclose vaccine efficacy from the trial but there had not been enough cases of COVID-19 yet among the participants to make that determination.

The vaccine was around 95 percent effective in the adult clinical trial, but Pfizer has said that immunity wanes some months after the second dose. U.S. regulators are expected to authorize a third, booster dose of the vaccine for older and high-risk Americans early this week. read more

The companies said the vaccine was well-tolerated, with side effects generally comparable to those observed in participants 16 to 25 years of age.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been linked by regulators to rare cases of heart inflammation in adolescents and young adults, particularly young men. Pfizer said they did not see any instances of heart inflammation in the trial participants.

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Health

Why more older men are suffering from urinary tract infections –Expert

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A medical expert has urged older men to take better care of their prostate health to prevent other health complications.

The expert, a Professor of Surgery, Kehinde Tijani, noted that the poor state of prostate health is a major reason for the increasing incidence of urinary tract infections among older men.

 Recall that it was recently reported that 75-year-old former president of the US, Bill Clinton was hospitalised at the University of California, Irvine Medical Centre, due to a urinary tract infection.

 According to reports, an aide to the former president confirmed that he had a urological infection that spread to his bloodstream but was on the mend.

Recall also that after a few days at the hospital, Clinton was discharged and, in a video, said, he was on the road to recovery.

 Though UTIs are more common in women, Tijani, who is also a consultant urologist, said men also suffer from this infection.

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 According to the consultant urologist, while cases of UTI are rare among young men, it is quite prevalent in men from 50 years of age. This, he said, is due to the state of the prostate.

Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, Professor Tijani said, “UTI is more common in women than men because the urethra is closer to the anus in women than in men. So, because most UTIs usually come from the anus, that is the major thing. But, yes, men have it but it is not common.

“It becomes more common in men as they become elderly from the 50s and 60s because of the prostate but generally young men rarely have it unless there is an underlying cause.”

 He explained that the reason why older men are prone to UTIs is because of the inability of urine to flow freely through the prostate.

 Using an analogy, the professor said, “If you have a gutter that is flowing very well, things will not grow in it but if the gutter is stationary and something blocks it, things will start growing in that gutter. That is the same thing with the urinary tract in men.

“So, when they have a prostate enlargement that is slowing down the urine or there’s any problem that is slowing down the urine, this may lead to urinary tract infection.

Punch

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Health

86% of COVID-19 infections in Africa go unnoticed – WHO

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About 86 per cent of all coronavirus infections in Africa go unnoticed, the World Health Organization reported on Thursday.

The WHO puts the number of all infections on the continent at 59 million, over seven times more than the eight million reported cases.

It said: “The high number of unreported cases can be explained by the fact that health facilities have so far focused on testing people. People with symptoms of the disease has led to extensive under-reporting.”

Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said with limited testing, the continent is flying blind in far too many communities.

“By comparison, the United States, with about a third of the population, had conducted more than 550 million tests.

“While Britain, with less than 10 per cent of Africa’s population, had conducted more than 280 million tests.”

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In total, more than 8.4 million coronavirus cases have been recorded in Africa, including 214,000 deaths.

According to WHO data, less than half of the African countries that received vaccines have fully vaccinated an average of about two per cent of their population.

dpa/NAN. “By comparison, the United States, with about a third of the population, had conducted more than 550 million tests.

“While Britain, with less than 10 per cent of Africa’s population, had conducted more than 280 million tests.”

In total, more than 8.4 million coronavirus cases have been recorded in Africa, including 214,000 deaths.

According to WHO data, less than half of the African countries that received vaccines have fully vaccinated an average of about two per cent of their population.

dpa/NAN.

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Entertainment

BBNaija winner, Whitemoney hospitalized in Lagos

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Winner of the 2021 Big Brother Naija, BBNaija, reality TV show, WhiteMoney, has been hospitalized.

 

WhiteMoney was hospitalized on Tuesday morning.

 

Although the cause of his illness was not revealed, he was sighted on drips.

 

Alongside an Instagram video of the 29-year old receiving treatment was a caption that read, ”Good morning, break in transmission. We will be back shortly.”

BBNaija finalists have been going for media rounds since their exit from the house. His tight schedule may be responsible for his breakdown.

 

WhiteMoney emerged winner of the ‘Shine ya Eye edition’ ahead of Liquorose, Pere, Cross, Angel and Emmanuel on the final day of the show.

 

He walked away with N30million in cash and prizes adding up to N60million.

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