(NEW YORK) — As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe, more than 4.9 million people have died from the disease worldwide, including over 738,000 Americans, according to real-time data compiled by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
Just 67.2% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Oct 27, 3:41 am
Australia to lift ban on citizens leaving the country
After more than 18 months, Australia announced Wednesday that it will lift a ban on its own people from leaving the country without permission.
Starting Nov. 1, citizens and permanent residents of Australia who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will no longer require an exemption to travel abroad. Australia has imposed some of the world’s strictest border rules amid the pandemic, which Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said has kept the country “free from widespread COVID transmission.”
“The easing of these restrictions is possible thanks to our impressive national vaccination rates, and I thank all those who have done the right thing and rolled up their sleeve,” Andrews said in a statement Wednesday.
While Australian citizens and permanent residents are currently the “first priority,” Andrews said, more travel restrictions — including for some foreigners — will be relaxed as the national vaccination rate “continues to climb.” As of Wednesday, nearly 75% of people aged 16 and over in the country are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data posted by the Australian Department of Health.
“I look forward to further easing restrictions over coming weeks and months as more and more Australians become fully vaccinated,” Andrews said. “Before the end of the year, we anticipate welcoming fully vaccinated skilled workers and international students.”
Oct 26, 8:53 pm
Immunocompromised may need 4th dose: CDC
Immunocompromised people may need a fourth dose of the vaccine, according to newly issued guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Those patients may end up needing an additional shot six months after their third dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, the CDC said. The fourth dose can be of any of the three available vaccines, according to the agency.
This is in line with what the CDC has said before regarding immunocompromised adults. A third shot is considered necessary to establish vaccination for those patients and a boost would need to come six months later, according to the agency.
Oct 26, 4:26 pm
FDA panel greenlights vaccines for kids
An advisory panel at the Food and Drug Administration voted Tuesday in support of the Pfizer vaccine for kids 5 ages 11.
Seventeen people voted “yes” and one person abstained.
Next, the FDA will make a decision. Then, the matter heads to the CDC’s independent advisory panel to deliberate and vote next week, and after that, the CDC director is expected to make the final signoff.
The earliest shots could be in arms is the first week of November.
Oct 26, 2:37 pm
Biden administration to ship vaccines for children as soon as FDA approves them
The Biden administration will begin shipping vaccine doses for kids ages 5 to 11 as soon as the Food and Drug Administration gives the green light in coming days, White House officials told governors on a private phone call Tuesday.
Doing so will allow children to begin receiving shots as soon as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signs off, which is expected around Nov. 4.
Jeff Zients, the White House coordinator on the federal response to COVID-19, said one big concern is the shorter shelf life for pediatric doses. In trying to make the vaccine easier for pediatricians to handle, the doses for kids 5 to 11 can be kept for only 10 weeks, compared with six to nine months for adult doses.
“We don’t want to have wastage, so we encourage you to build flexibility into your distribution systems you can move around within your state or territory,” he told the governors. Audio of the call was obtained by ABC News. “Just order what you need. We have plenty of supply. We can always get you doses on short notice.”
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.