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DAILY DOSE: Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine over 90% effective in 5-to-11-year-olds; Curing a lazy eye with more television time.

Pfizer has officially announced the results of its clinical trials for its Covid-19 vaccine in children. It’s great news. According to the Associated Press, “Kid-size doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine appear safe and nearly 91% effective at preventing symptomatic infections in 5- to 11-year-olds, according to study details released Friday as the U.S. considers opening vaccinations to that age group. The shots could begin in early November — with the first children in line fully protected by Christmas — if regulators give the go-ahead.” Parents will undoubtedly breathe a sigh of relief… Well, at least the ones that view vaccines as a good thing. The only problem that still remains is for children under the age of 5 years old.

Zero-Covid countries may be in for a bumpy road to reopening. At least, that appears to be the take away as Singapore begins its gradual move towards normality. They’ve seen a spike in cases and deaths. Per Reuters, “Despite mask mandates, strict social curbs and COVID-19 booster doses available for over a month, infections in the Asian city-state’s latest outbreak, driven by the Delta variant, took the death toll to 280, up from 55 early in September… But the question authorities face is how to avert surges among older people and those with weak immune systems, particularly after the fast-spreading Delta, which arrived in Singapore this year, became the most dominant strain globally.” 84% of the population is vaccinated with either Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

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On paper, the World Health Organization’s attempt to provide Covid-19 vaccines to the world appeared to be a great thing. The reality was a bit less rosy. Countries who signed up and paid money failed to get vaccines. An investigative report shows how the WHO promised more than it could deliver. “The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and STAT reviewed confidential internal documents and spoke with officials from two dozen countries, many of whom described confusion and frustration with COVAX. Although grateful for what COVAX is trying to do, they describe struggling to get information from COVAX personnel and being left in the dark over when, if ever, deliveries would arrive.” It highlights just how far the global community is from truly tackling the pandemic. As long as a good portion of the world remains unvaccinated, Sars-CoV-2 will continue to fester and mutate into potentially harmful strains. That isn’t good for anyone.

Children with amblyopia can celebrate. There may be a cure for the condition that may not fix their so-called lazy-eye but it will entertain them as well. Per FierceBiotech, “In a dream come true for kids, rather than dissuading their pediatric patients from watching too much TV, physicians may now actually prescribe screen time as part of a therapeutic regimen. The FDA issued a de novo premarket approval for Luminopia’s digital program that aims to treat amblyopia, or lazy eye, using modified TV shows and movies viewed through a virtual reality headset. Children who are prescribed Luminopia One will wear the VR headset for an hour a day to watch familiar shows and movies of their choice from the comfort of their own homes. The content will be modified in real-time by Luminopia’s algorithms embedded in the headset to promote usage of a patient’s weaker eye and encourage their brains to combine input from both eyes, therefore teaching the eyes to work together.” That’s pretty much a win-win for everyone involved.

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend. Let’s be careful out there.

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