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FDA Expands Booster Pfizer Eligibility to Children Ages 12-15

“With the current wave of the Omicron variant, it’s critical that we continue to take effective, life-saving preventative measures such as primary vaccination and boosters, mask-wearing and social-distancing in order to effectively fight COVID-19,” Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said in a statement.

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Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine vials setup for vaccinating children ages 5-11 at Katherine R. Smith Elementary School in San Jose, Calif., on Nov. 4, 2021. Photo by Harika Maddala/ Bay City News.
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine vials setup for vaccinating children ages 5-11 at Katherine R. Smith Elementary School in San Jose, Calif., on Nov. 4, 2021. Photo by Harika Maddala/ Bay City News.

By Eli Walsh, Bay City News Foundation

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration amended its emergency use authorization of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, allowing children ages 12-15 to get a booster vaccine dose.

The FDA opened booster vaccine eligibility to everyone age 16 and up in November, arguing that an additional dose of any of the three available vaccines would bolster one’s immune response to the virus.

On Monday, the agency said it would expand that eligibility after reviewing data from more than 6,300 children in Israel, which showed no new safety concerns for children ages 12-15 after they had received a booster.

“With the current wave of the Omicron variant, it’s critical that we continue to take effective, life-saving preventative measures such as primary vaccination and boosters, mask-wearing and social-distancing in order to effectively fight COVID-19,” Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said in a statement.

The FDA and officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began approving the use of booster vaccines in August of 2021 – at that time, only for people with weakened or compromised immune systems – as data has shown vaccine-triggered immune responses tend to decline in the months following the initial vaccination series.

While the available vaccines remain highly effective at preventing serious COVID-19 illness and death, public health officials at all levels have argued that bolstering the body’s immune response will maximize protection against existing and potential variants of the virus, which could become more contagious and even circumvent vaccine protections.

The FDA also announced Monday that it will reduce the time Pfizer vaccine recipients must wait before being eligible for a booster from six months to five.

Moderna vaccine recipients will still be required to wait at least six months to get a booster dose while Johnson & Johnson recipients will still be required to wait at least two months past receiving their initial shot.

For children ages 5-11, the FDA said it would expand the primary vaccination series from two vaccine doses to three if the child is immunocompromised due to illness or a solid organ transplant.

The Pfizer vaccine is currently the only vaccine option for children ages 5-11. FDA officials said that the third dose will allow eligible immunocompromised children to receive the full expected protection of vaccination.

The FDA has previously made a third vaccine dose part of the initial vaccination series for people aged 12 and up if they have a weakened immune system.

Activism

COMMENTARY: Roosevelt Vernon Cobb, Daddy Hammercy!

I now understand why publishing has been a major part of my life, because you worked for the Phoenix newspaper in Muskogee, Oklahoma, before you brought your family to Oakland, where I was born at 1776 7th Street at the Pack Train Hotel into a large, welded barrel that you kept in the closet.

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Theodore Vernon Cobb. Photo courtesy of the family.
Theodore Vernon Cobb. Photo courtesy of the family.

Publisher Paul Cobb’s Birthday Tribute to his father

By Paul Cobb, Publisher, Post Newsgroup

Happy Birthday, Daddy. I am honored to be a son of your seven-children family circle.

Even though you only finished the 6th grade, you were known to spot talent and could predict future opportunities for success, especially when you met Mary Magdalene Bland while she was working at Grandpa Early Bland’s watermelon and food stand.

And you prophesied that the “Lord willing, I’m going to marry you.”

You crested when you married her after she had graduated from Langston University.

I now understand why publishing has been a major part of my life, because you worked for the Phoenix newspaper in Muskogee, Oklahoma, before you brought your family to Oakland, where I was born at 1776 7th Street at the Pack Train Hotel into a large, welded barrel that you kept in the closet.

Most of that money was “earned” from your after-work second job mastery of the billiard tables on Seventh Street while wearing overalls with a cargo hook in your back pocket.

You brought your entrepreneurial skills to your work as a longshoreman, where unbeknownst to your children, you managed to save by dropping the dimes, quarters, halves, and silver dollars.

Those coins allowed you to buy properties and a car, in the same manner in which you earned them, face-to-face, over the counter, to be counted and acknowledged by the bankers and dealers, while you watched.

As a kid, with a portable shoe shine box, I worked in front of the pool halls by day, where I collected national Black newspapers from the Pullman Porters who brought them to me as a tip with payment.

You and Jimmy Herman helped me and my brother to get hired as ship clerks.

Dad, I did not know that you “graced” those same places at night. I remember when your wife told you to stop that lifestyle or she would leave, you stopped. You abruptly pursued a Bible-based lifestyle with zeal.

I still use some of your favorite aphorisms, such as, “don’t back down from any challenge, or anybody, at any time: You must outwork them.”

“Always come big or stay at home and if you do that, then all I can say is Hammercy.”

Following your advice, I married Gay Plair in 1970. I discovered that her father and you were both named after President Theodore Roosevelt and both of you share conjoined birth dates. Theodore Plair’s birthday is December 31 and yours is January 1. “Hammercy!”

You would have been proud to know that ILWU President Jimmy Herman came to my house with Port Director Wally Abernathy and American President Lines Shipping Co., CEO Bruce Seaton where we organized the Oakland Dredging Coalition to expand jobs and maritime opportunities.

I reminded your friend Herman how you would have said “Dig a little deeper or stay at home.” Hammercy!

This birthday message is being published in the Oakland Post because when Gay published her father’s birthday tribute on Facebook I finally realized that I, too, must honor you the same way. I hope the readers will show me how to use Facebook because I need to activate the “friends” names on my page.

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Activism

Emotional Emancipation Circle Series Offered for People of African Descent

Emotional Emancipation Circles are a collaboration between the Community Healing Network (CHN) and the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi). The purpose of the circles is to have a safe space for persons of African ancestry to share truths about the impact of racial stress within our society as well as of having internalized negative cultural messages grounded in the lie of Black inferiority.

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Beginning Jan. 11, 2022, the Circle will meet via Zoom the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month from 12:00-1:30 p.m. The last session will be on May 10, 2022.
Beginning Jan. 11, 2022, the Circle will meet via Zoom the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month from 12:00-1:30 p.m. The last session will be on May 10, 2022.

The First 5 Alameda County Ubuntu Healing Circle is excited to offer Emotional Emancipation Circles™ (EECs) to the Alameda County Community for people who identify as Black and/or African descent.

Beginning Jan. 11, 2022, the Circle will meet via Zoom the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month from 12:00-1:30 p.m. The last session will be on May 10, 2022.

Sessions will take place online. You will receive a link to join after registeringFor planning purposes, please register by January 10.

Emotional Emancipation Circles are a collaboration between the Community Healing Network (CHN) and the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi). The purpose of the circles is to have a safe space for persons of African ancestry to share truths about the impact of racial stress within our society as well as of having internalized negative cultural messages grounded in the lie of Black inferiority.

REGISTER HERE

For more information about the EECs, please visit communityhealingnet.org.

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Advice

Despite Recent Storms, Expect Warmer, Drier Winter Weather

The last water year, which stretched from Oct. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021, was among the driest ever recorded in California, according to the state’s Department of Water Resources. A year ago, just 12% of California was mired in extreme drought and 15% was drought free, according to data from the federal drought monitor. But as of Oct. 19, about 87% was experiencing at least extreme drought, with over 45% of the state in the most severe “exceptional” category. And no part of the Golden State is without drought.

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The winter storms across the state won’t have as much effect on long-term drought as once hoped, experts say.
The winter storms across the state won’t have as much effect on long-term drought as once hoped, experts say.

By Edward Henderson | California Black Media

In 1990, Tony! Toni! Toné!, the R&B trio from Oakland, released their hit song ‘It Never Rains in Southern California.’

For decades now, the words in the hook of that timeless R&B song have become a sort of a go-to jingle (or photo caption) for some proud Southern Californians. They use it to hype up their typically mild winter climate, playfully taunting East Coast or Midwestern family and friends — whether they are grilling outdoors for Thanksgiving or taking a selfie on a beach in the fall.

The “never rains” thing is an exaggeration for sure. On average, Southern California gets about 16 inches of rainfall each year. It is much less than the national annual average (about 38 inches), of course.

And if you were to look at the recent rain and snowstorms across the state over the last month, you would probably bet on wet, cold weather for the rest of winter.

But from now through March, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is warning that a warmer and drier winter is ahead, not just for Southern California but for the greater part of the state – from the Mexican border all the way up to just above the Bay Area.

That region includes the top 10 counties, by population, where Black Americans live.

Less rain will worsen the already-serious drought conditions in California, especially near the southern border where it has been driest. About 85% of the state was facing drought in June, reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

According to NOAA, La Nina, an oceanic atmospheric pattern, is the cause of the anticipated dry and warm winter conditions.

However, the sparsely populated stretch of California that reaches up to the Oregon border is expected to get wetter and colder weather winter weather.

“The Southwest will certainly remain a region of concern as we anticipate below-normal precipitation where drought conditions continue in most areas,” said Jon Gottschalk, chief Operational Prediction Branch at the NOAA.

The outlook does not project seasonal snowfall accumulations as snow forecasts are not predictable more than a week in advance.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center updates the three-month outlook each month. Their latest seasonal precipitation outlook for the first three months of 2022 predict that Southern California will see a 40-50% chance that precipitation will be below normal. The seasonal temperature outlook remains the same.

Seasonal outlooks help communities prepare for what is likely to come in the months ahead and minimize weather’s impacts on lives and livelihoods. Their goal is to empower people with actionable forecasts and winter weather tips to build a nation that is ‘weather-ready.’

“Using the most up-to-date observing technologies and computer models, our dedicated forecasters at the Climate Prediction Center produce timely and accurate seasonal outlooks to help communities prepare for the months ahead,” said Michael Farrar, Ph.D., director of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction.

The last water year, which stretched from Oct. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021, was among the driest ever recorded in California, according to the state’s Department of Water Resources. A year ago, just 12% of California was mired in extreme drought and 15% was drought free, according to data from the federal drought monitor. But as of Oct. 19, about 87% was experiencing at least extreme drought, with over 45% of the state in the most severe “exceptional” category. And no part of the Golden State is without drought.

The Center for Disease Control has outlined resources for communities preparing for potential droughts. Visit here for more information.

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