It’s Tuesday, September 21st, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast here.
1) Pfizer Announces Vaccine Data For Kids
The Topline: On Monday, Pfizer announced that a more limited dose of its COVID-19 vaccine produced “robust” results for 5 to 11-year-olds.
“I believe that mandating vaccines for children to appear in school is a good idea.”
– Dr. Anthony Fauci, last month
Pfizer Vaccine For Kids
Vaccines are currently only approved for children 12 and up, but this might soon change. Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, say they saw positive results when they gave younger children one-third of the adult dose of the vaccine.
The children who received the modified dose — administered in two stages — showed similar levels of antibodies as vaccinated teens. Remember: Pfizer’s data has not been peer-reviewed or published yet.
Pfizer says the younger children they tested suffered no more severe side effects than teens or adults: mostly soreness, fatigue, or headaches.
The company says it found no cases of myocarditis — the heart inflammation found as a side effect primarily in teenage boys — but the company can’t rule it out.
Pfizer says it will seek emergency authorization promptly — but first, it has to submit its research to the FDA. Once that happens, acting commissioner Janet Woodcock has said the FDA could approve the vaccine in “a matter of weeks.” Dr. Scott Gottlieb — her predecessor, who is now on Pfizer’s board — said the vaccine could be ready by late October or November.
COVID-19 And Kids
Children have a smaller number of serious infections than adults. According to the CDC, a total of 439 children under the age of 18 have died from COVID-19 as of September 15, out of almost 5.3 million infections.
Only 280 children between the ages of 5 and 18 have died with the disease over the course of the pandemic.
The number of children being hospitalized with COVID-19 rose over the summer but now appears to be declining. Children make up less than 2% of all COVID-19 hospitalizations nationwide.
Doctors say many of those hospitalizations come from co-infections, where the child has another condition in addition to COVID-19.
The nation’s largest school district, LAUSD, the Los Angeles United School District, already demands that all students age 12 and up be vaccinated to receive in-person instruction.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has endorsed mandating vaccines for children to go to school.
Looking ahead: This likely won’t stop with children who are five years old since infant testing is underway in some areas. Pfizer and Moderna have announced they currently are, or plan to begin, testing children as young as 6 months old by the end of the year.
2) Democrat Immigration Proposal Faces Major Setback
The Topline: Over the weekend, the Biden administration was dealt a setback, as their plan to include sweeping immigration reform as part of a spending bill was rejected by an official advisor to the United States Senate.
Reports from late Sunday evening said the Senate parliamentarian indicated that Democrats can’t include a so-called “pathway to citizenship” for illegal immigrants in their latest multi-trillion-dollar spending bill.
In addition, Democratic Senators Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) are opposed to the bill and could jeopardize its passage.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released a statement saying, “Democrats will not be able to stuff their most radical amnesty proposals into the reckless taxing and spending spree they are assembling behind closed doors.”
Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) tweeted, “This ruling by the parliamentarian is only a recommendation. Senator Schumer and the White House can and should ignore it.”
What Does It Mean?
The Parliamentarian of the United States Senate is an official advisor to the Senate on the interpretation of the body’s standing rules and parliamentary procedure. The parliamentarian serves at the pleasure of the Senate majority leader, with Elizabeth MacDonough holding the position since 2012 after being appointed by former Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Remember: This is an advisory position, and the presiding officer can overrule the advice, but doing so would be unusual.
The parliamentarian is able to decide what is allowed under the Senate’s reconciliation process. The reconciliation process speeds up the passage of budget-related legislation, allowing it to be approved by a simple majority, rather than the sixty votes needed to end debate and block a filibuster.
With the parliamentarian saying, “policy changes of this proposal far outweigh the budgetary impact,” any hopes progressive Democrats had of including a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants into the bill have been challenged.
3) Hollywood Divided Over Vaccine Mandates
The Topline: Many of the world’s biggest stars have expressed support for COVID-19 vaccine mandates, but a few celebrities have recently gone against the trend.
Quote Of The Day:
Eighty percent of the artists that you all are following right now feel like I feel about the vaccine and are too afraid to speak on it.
…It’s disgusting that a person can’t speak about just questions or thoughts they’re having about something that they’re going to have to put in their body.
– Rapper Nicki Minaj, Instagram Post
Last week, Grammy-nominated rapper Nicki Minaj tweeted that she didn’t go to the Met Gala because event organizers had implemented a vaccine mandate.
MSNBC’s Joy Reid, late night host Jimmy Kimmel, and several other celebs slammed her comments as harmful.
Minaj essentially said she’s still researching and people shouldn’t be bullied into getting the shot.
Other Stars Speak Out
Some other stars like Eric Clapton, Gisele Bündchen, and Saturday Night Live alum Jim Breuer have expressed similar concerns.
Supermodel Doutzen Kroes put out a statement against mandates, saying, “I will not be forced to take the shot. I will not be forced to prove my health to participate in society. I will not accept exclusion of people based on their medical status … Freedom of speech is a right worth fighting for.”
Remember: The latest stats show only about 43% of the black community is vaccinated, so Minaj and others are speaking for a significant portion of the population.
Other Stories We’re Tracking
Elon Musk has committed $50 million to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital as part of a larger fundraising effort associated with the Inspiration4 launch. The fundraiser is on track to meet its $200 million donation goal. St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, treats childhood cancer free of charge.
The U.S. is continuing to fly Haitian migrants who amassed at the southern border in Texas back to their home country. Around 14,000 migrants were huddled under a bridge in the border town of Del Rio and several flights a day have been scheduled this week to remove them.
The 2021 Emmy awards show was skewered on social media when viewers observed very few stars were wearing masks or practicing social distancing, while staff and servers on-site were masked.
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