What we’re reading: Pfizer asks FDA to approve vaccine for children, rain record in Italy, Texas abortion law blocked



FILE – A healthcare worker holds a vial of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, in this Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, file photo. Pfizer asked the U.S. government Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, to allow use of its COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5 to 11 — and if regulators agree, shots could begin within a matter of weeks. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

By Chaelie DeJohn

Pfizer asks the FDA to approve the vaccine for children 5 to 11

Pfizer-BioNTech said they had asked federal regulators to authorize emergency use of the vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 Thursday morning. This decision could help protect more than 28 million people from the coronavirus in the U.S. according to the New York Times.

The agency is acting quickly on the request and has a meeting scheduled for Oct. 26 to consider this move. A final decision is expected to be made between Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Dr. Janet Woodcock, the acting FDA commissioner, has voiced concerns about children receiving the same formula or dosage as adults. In response, Pfizer has proposed the idea of giving children one-third of the adult dosage. 

Regulators will have to examine if the stability of the altered doses of the vaccine will match the quality of the adult dosage. A pediatric dose will require new specific labeling in order to track case reports of serious side effects.

Italy experiences record-breaking rainfall

A view of a river near Savona in Northern Italy, swallowed after heavy rains in the region. Heavy rain battered Dligurua, the northwest region of Italy bordering France, causing flooding and mudslides. Oct. 4, 2021 (AP Photo/Tano Pecoraro).

A series of storms hit northwestern Italy, creating rainfall rates that have never been seen before on Monday. In the span of 12 hours, over 36 inches of rain fell, according to CNN News.

Wet weather is not uncommon in northwestern Italy, as the yearly average of rain is around 50 inches. However, the series of storms dropped over 30 inches in 12 hours, setting a new rainfall record in Europe. 

As global temperatures rise, extreme precipitation events will drop large amounts of water, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The report stated that for every one degree Celsius increase in the air, the atmosphere can produce around 7% more water vapor.

A U.S. judge blocked the recent enforcement of Texas abortion law

People attend the Women’s March ATX rally, at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas. A federal judge has ordered Texas to suspend a new law that has banned most abortions in the state since September. The order Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman freezes for now the strict abortion law known as Senate Bill 8. (AP Photo/Stephen Spillman, File)

A federal judge has blocked the enforcement of the new controversial abortion law in Texas, according to NPR News.

Known as Senate Bill 8, the law bans all abortions in the state after six weeks of pregnancy. This includes cases of rape, sexual assault and incest. 

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman said that since SB 8 went into effect in September, women have been prevented from exercising the right to control their lives as outlined in the Constitution.

Pitman’s ruling has blocked the Texas law only temporarily. It is unclear how long this block will be in effect. 

Texas has already filed notice that it will appeal Pitman’s ruling, and it is expected to request an immediate stay from the court on Wednesday’s order.

A global energy crisis is coming due to an increase in natural gas prices

A global energy crunch is getting worse because of weather and high demand, according to CNN Business News. With winter ahead, more energy will be needed to heat and light homes. 

Global governments are trying to limit this impact on consumers, but they may not be able to prevent the spike in expense. 

Rolling blackouts have already started in China, while power stations in India are scrambling to collect coal. European consumer advocates want to put a ban on disconnections if customers can’t pay their bills. 

With an upcoming summit on climate in November, governments are facing increased pressure to speed up the transition to cleaner energy sources.

The rising energy prices are already resulting in inflation, which is concerning given the already weakened state of the global economy due to the pandemic.