Pennsylvania’s Legislature voted to end Gov. Wolf’s pandemic disaster emergency declaration and to extend many regulatory waivers his administration had approved. The bill that allows the waivers to last through Sept. 30 was signed by Wolf on Friday. The Wolf administration maintains that dissolving the emergency does not affect a health secretary’s disease-prevention authority to issue mask-wearing and stay-at-home orders or shut down schools and nonessential businesses. Wolf, in any case, has ended those measures. The exception is a mask mandate for unvaccinated adults that will be lifted by June 28 or when 70% of adults are fully vaccinated, whichever comes first.
U.S. regulators are allowing for the release of 10 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine from a troubled Baltimore factory, but material to make many more must be thrown out because of possible contamination, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Friday. The FDA announced that it had determined that two batches from the plant could be released. But it said several other batches are not suitable for use and additional batches are still under review.
CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens are part of an effort that will see some locations stay open late on Fridays in June, trying to make it easier for people to get vaccinated if they don’t have a traditional schedule or flexible work hours. Check with your local store. The White House has set a goal of 70% of adults getting at least one vaccine shot by July 4.
Pennsylvania reported 380 new COVID-19 cases and 19 new deaths Friday. The state also reported 630 people hospitalized, a number that continues to drop. Over 5 million Pennsylvanians are now fully vaccinated, including 56.6% of adults, and the state is averaging more than 37,000 people a day getting vaccinations.
Click here to see data for the number of cases, new cases per day and deaths since March 2020.
Vaccine advisers to the FDA debated what kind of information the agency would need to consider authorizing the use of vaccines in children younger than 12. While a few advisers said it’s too soon to rush the use of vaccines in children because kids are at such low risk from the virus, most argued that it’s important to have authorizations on hand should there be a resurgence of the virus in the fall and winter. And a top FDA official reminded committee members that COVID-19 can and does kill children. The FDA will advise companies on what kinds of clinical trials and data it would like to see, and it’s up to the companies to ask FDA to extend authorization to new age groups.