Health News Roundup: U.S. FDA authorizes Pfizer's COVID booster shot for young children; Pollution killing 9 million people a year, Africa hardest hit - study and more

Air pollution from industry processes along with urbanization drove a 7% increase in pollution-related deaths from 2015 to 2019, according to the scientists’ analysis of data on global mortality and pollution levels. Factbox - Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus Health authorities in Shanghai face huge pressure to keep COVID-19 at bay the longer the city goes without a new community infection with residents counting down the days until June 1 and the end of their hated lockdown.


Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 18-05-2022 10:32 IST | Created: 18-05-2022 10:28 IST
Health News Roundup: U.S. FDA authorizes Pfizer's COVID booster shot for young children; Pollution killing 9 million people a year, Africa hardest hit - study and more
Representative Image. Image Credit: ANI

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

U.S. FDA authorizes Pfizer's COVID booster shot for young children

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday authorized the use of a booster shot of Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11, making everyone in the country over the age of 5 eligible for a third shot. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still needs to sign off on the shots before they can be administered.

Pollution killing 9 million people a year, Africa hardest hit - study

Worsening outdoor air pollution and toxic lead poisoning have kept global deaths from environmental contamination at an estimated 9 million per year since 2015 – countering modest progress made in tackling pollution elsewhere, a team of scientists reported Tuesday. Air pollution from industrial processes along with urbanization drove a 7% increase in pollution-related deaths from 2015 to 2019, according to the scientists' analysis of data on global mortality and pollution levels.

Factbox - Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

Health authorities in Shanghai face huge pressure to keep COVID-19 at bay the longer the city goes without a new community infection with residents counting down the days until June 1 and the end of their hated lockdown. DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

N.Korean leader Kim slams officials' 'immaturity' in response to COVID outbreak

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un slammed his country's response to its first confirmed COVID-19 outbreak as immature, accusing government officials of inadequacies and inertia as fever cases swept the country, state media reported on Wednesday. North Korea reported 232,880 more people with fever symptoms, and six more deaths after the country revealed the COVID outbreak last week. It did not say how many people had tested positive for COVID-19.

As U.S. COVID-19 cases rise, so does the demand for antivirals

Rising COVID-19 cases are driving up the use of therapeutics, with Pfizer Inc's oral antiviral treatment Paxlovid seeing a 315% jump over the past four weeks, U.S. health officials said on Tuesday. The increase in U.S. cases and hospitalizations is starting to affect recommendations on behavior, with New York City, the nation's most populous city, advising stricter mask usage but stopping short of new mandates. Apple has scrapped return to office plans.

In Europe's first, Spain aims to introduce paid menstrual leave

Spain's leftist coalition government on Tuesday approved a draft bill to reinforce abortion rights and make Spain the first country in Europe to offer state-funded paid leave for women who suffer from painful periods. The minority Socialist-led government hopes to guarantee access to abortion across Spain and destigmatize menstrual health with the new bill.

'Huge' pressure as Shanghai remains COVID-free and end to lockdown looms

Health authorities in Shanghai face huge pressure to keep COVID-19 at bay the longer the city goes without a new community infection with residents counting down the days until June 1 and the end of their hated lockdown. The commercial hub of 25 million achieved a fourth consecutive day without any new infections in the community, keeping hold of its prized "zero COVID" status and keeping alive hopes for an imminent end to lockdown misery.

Michigan judge blocks enforcement of state's pre-Roe v. Wade abortion ban

A Michigan judge on Tuesday granted a temporary injunction to block the enforcement of a state abortion ban, which might have taken effect if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the Roe v. Wade precedent that legalized abortion nationwide. A Michigan Court of Claims judge in Lansing sided with women's healthcare provider Planned Parenthood in its lawsuit against the state seeking to stop the potential enforcement of the ban, which was enacted in 1931 and rendered unconstitutional in 1973.

Mexico's Guerrero state becomes the ninth to allow abortions

Lawmakers in Mexico's southwestern state of Guerrero voted on Tuesday to allow abortions, making it the ninth of the country's 32 federal entities where women can legally end pregnancies amid a recent wave of loosening restrictions around the procedure. The approved measure, which strips punishment of one to three years of jail time from the penal code, passed with 30 votes in favor and 13 against.

U.S. lawmakers unveil FDA emergency funds bill to address baby formula shortage

U.S. House Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a bill to provide $28 million in emergency funds to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help it respond to a nationwide shortage of infant formula and strengthen supervision of the industry. The funds would provide the FDA with the resources to prevent fraudulent products from being placed on shelves, a House Appropriations Committee statement said.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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