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FDA Panel Approves Pfizer’s Vaccine for Children




Oct 26, 2021 — The vaccine’s benefits for children aged 5-11 years old, Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, outweigh its risks. On Tuesday, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the vaccine. After that, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet and make recommendations regarding the vaccine’s use. The CDC committee must adhere to the EUA’s conditions of use. Therefore, its recommendations will likely be similar to the FDA’s. The next meeting of the committee is scheduled for Nov. 2, and 3. “This is a much harder one than we had anticipated going into it,” said Eric Rubin, MD. He is the editor-in-chief of New England Journal of Medicine. The committee heard presentations that outlined the potential benefits and risks of vaccinations for children before the vote. Fiona Havers MD, a medical officer at the CDC in Atlanta, stated that children have been greatly affected by the pandemic. She also presented information about the potential risks and benefits of vaccinating children. Regular testing of anonymous blood samples taken at various sites in the U.S. showed that 6 times more children have been diagnosed with COVID than is reported in official counts. Blood sample testing revealed that about 13% of the tested children had antibodies to the virus. This number had risen to 42% by the end of the summer. Many members of the committee were impressed and asked the FDA’s vaccine reviewers whether they had attempted to account for immunity from previous infections in their modeling. They didn’t. Some felt that even though the vaccine was highly effective, Pfizer’s new data showed that the vaccine was only 90 % effective in preventing symptomatic infection in children. However, caution was needed as more people are affected by inflammation in their younger years. Although it usually disappears over time, it is still a serious condition that requires hospital treatment. Myocarditis can have lingering effects in those who have it. It is not known whether there are any cases of myocarditis in the Pfizer studies of the vaccine in children. William Gruber, MD, senior Vice President of vaccine research and Clinical Development at Pfizer, stated that the vaccine has optimized the immune response and minimized the reactions. However, the studies didn’t have enough participants to detect rare but serious adverse events such as myocarditis. Rubin stated that although we are concerned about a side effect that is difficult to measure, it is likely that it is real and that there is a benefit that is not as great in older age groups. The FDA has created a model that shows the risks and benefits for children in a variety of situations. The amount of transmission to children will determine the benefits. However, children who are hospitalized with myocarditis are less likely to become seriously ill than those with myocarditis. “If the current trends continue, the emergency for children will not be what we might have hoped.” James Hildreth MD, president and CEO of Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN, said that this was his concern. However, others warned against complacency. “Thinking this will be the end of it permanently may be a little too optimistic,” said Arnold Monto, MD, chairman of the committee and professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Michigan. Most COVID-19 cases in children is mild. According to CDC data, only 1% of children are admitted to hospital for their infections. According to CDC data, only 1% of children are admitted to hospital for their infections. This complication is most common in children aged 5-11 years. Although it is not known how often this occurs, there are less data than adults. Havers stated that between 7% and 8% of children have symptoms that last more than 12 weeks after an infection. Children can experience fatigue, muscle and joint pains, headaches, and even insomnia. “What is clear is the fact that secondary transmission occurs from children to other children to adults,” Havers stated. This allows them to spread the virus and allow it to mutate and become even more dangerous. Capt. Amanda Cohn MD, chief medical officer at National Center for Immunization & Respiratory Diseases. “I believe the benefits in this age group are super important, even though they are lower than other age groups.”

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New GR Pharmacy to Serve Spanish-speaking Patients




GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — By the end of the year, Grand Rapids’ Roosevelt Park neighborhood will have a new pharmacy.

Trinity Health Clinica Santa Maria began construction Monday morning on the $1.5 million project. The new pharmacy will include both walk-up and drive-thru services.

Trinity Health Clinica Santa Maria practice leader Kameron Selleck it will offer convenience in a neighborhood that doesn’t have a pharmacy close in proximity, making it challenging for patients to get their prescriptions in a timely manner.

“A lot of our patients do encounter a lot of social barriers in their lives,” Selleck said.

He added that a language barrier can make it difficult patients to get their prescriptions. He said nearly every employee at Clinica Santa Maria is bilingual in Spanish and the plan is for that trend to carry over to new pharmacy and pharmacy tech hires.

“I think this project was announced almost five years ago, so it’s here,” Selleck said. “I just really encourage the community to be as excited as we are.

The pharmacy is at 730 Cesar E. Chavez Ave. SW (formerly Grandville Avenue) at Martin Luther King Jr. Street (formerly Franklin Street) in Grand Rapids. It will be the seventh Trinity Health pharmacy in the Grand Rapids area, with the other locations being Cathedral Square, the Wege Building at Trinity Heath Saint Mary’s, Hudsonville, Rockford, Byron Center and Southeast Grand Rapids.

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Tulip Time Crowds Encouraging for Returning Festivals




HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Tulip Time saw big crowds this year as it returned to a more regular schedule.

The event was cancelled in 2020 and scaled back last year because of the pandemic.

Hot temperatures caused damage to some of Holland’s tulips, Tulip Time organizers say.

The heat caused challenges for the 2022 festival. The Tulip Immersion Garden, a new attraction, had to close early because the hot temperatures caused too much damage to the flowers, Tulip Time Executive Director Gwen Auwerda said.

“They don’t like 80 degree, 90 degree weather. Tulips prefer it to be about 40 at night, 60 to 70, maybe 80 during the day,” Auwerda said.

Heat closes down Tulip Time Immersion Garden early

The organization is working on final numbers but saw attendance return to pre-pandemic levels.

“I do know that the carnival exceeded 2019 by 25 to 30%, so that was fabulous for them and it was packed everywhere in town,” Auwerda said.

Kevin Knight, the owner of Market Zero, said the festival definitely provided a boost as they worked to keep up with demand. 

“It’s a huge kick off to your summer season,” Knight said. “Our fridges were completely full and got completely empty and completely full and completely empty, so it was about everything we could handle.”

Market Zero in downtown Holland on May 16, 2022. Inside Market Zero in downtown Holland on May 16, 2022.

The return of crowds could be good sign for other events coming back this summer, like the Festival of the Arts in Grand Rapids. Mark Azkoul, an organizer for the event that began in 1970, sees the success of Tulip Time as encouraging.

Tulip Time has record-breaking opening weekend

“We’ve been out for two years so this is a big thing for us and for the city to get Festival back up and going,” Azkoul said.

Organizers created the Plein Air event for 2021, which combined outdoor art and music.

The 2022 event runs June 3 through June 5. After taking a break because of the pandemic the festival needs extra help.    

“A lot of people still don’t know yet festival is coming back, so we really want to get the word out. We need more volunteers,” Azkoul said.

People interested in volunteering can sign up on the Festival of the Arts website.


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Mom Does ‘small Part’ to Help Parents Who Need Formula




HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Though there appears to an end of the baby formula shortage in sight, it’s still causing problems for parents, so a mother in Holland did what she could to help.

Abbott Nutrition has announced its entered into an agreement with the federal Food and Drug Administration to restart its Sturgis plant within two weeks. The closure of that plant has been a huge contributing factor to the shortage. The company expects its products to ship to stores eight weeks after production resumes.

But for now, many parents can’t find the formula they need. The low supply has some stores limiting the number of formulas customers can purchase, adding that they are in “extraordinary high” demand.

The baby formula shelves at a Meijer in Holland.

So Caitlin Dampier, a mother of two whose youngest is a 3-month-old girl, stepped up to help where she could.

“I really wish I could help out more, but this is just my small part,” Dampier said.

She got a box of Enfamil formulas that she’s not using because she’s breastfeeding.

“When you’re pregnant, you get free samples and so I thought I would just offer mine for free for mothers who need them,” Dampier said. “I kept it around in case I wasn’t able to breastfeed.”

5 things to know if you can’t find baby formula

Dampier made a post on Facebook this week directed at parents who can’t find formula. The box she received included three cans of Enfamil formulas and two ready-made formulas.

Two mothers reached out to her, including Kourtney Hann, another Holland resident. She’s one of thousands of mothers across the country who have had to go to great lengths to find food for their baby.

“I have had to go to stores maybe 45 minutes away just to even try to get formula,” she said. “It’s very hard to find them where I’m at right now. I went to Walmart yesterday and all they had was Similac and my daughter has a really bad reaction to Similac.”

Hann was able to connect with Dampier and picked up a can of Enfamil. Dampier left the box on her front porch with the message, “Please take only the formula you chose and tear out some coupons for yourself. My prayers are with you during this difficult time.”

The box of Enfamil products Caitlin Dampier left at her door for mothers to pick up.

Hann said she was down to her last can of baby formula which lasts her about five days. Now that she has received another can from Dampier, she’ll be able to feed her 9-month-old for the next two weeks.

“Being a mom is hard enough as it is. You have so many other struggles and to be afraid to know if you’re going to be able to feed your baby or not is a struggle,” Dampier said. “You want to do everything for your kids so when you’re not able to it’s hard. It’s just the worst feeling in the world.”


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