CBS News has learned the Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children as young as 12 as soon as next week. Meanwhile, as states and cities continue to reopen, a variant in Oregon has led to one of the largest increases in infections in the country. CBS News correspondent Laura Podesta joined "CBSN AM" with the latest.
ANNE-MARIE GREEN: Now, turning to the pandemic here at home. The US vaccination rollout could soon expand to millions more people. More than 40% of adults across the country are fully vaccinated. Now, eligibility for who can get the shots may soon widen to include children as young as 12-years-old. This comes as many states are beginning to see a drop in infection rates. Laura Podesta is in New York City with the very latest. Laura, good morning.
LAURA PODESTA: Good morning, Anne-Marie. This could pave the way for more students to return to school on a regular basis or to sign-up for activities this summer, like camp. It's also impactful for a lot of children who might have pre-existing conditions, like asthma, and diabetes, and who are more at risk for severe illness due to COVID-19. CBS News has learned the FDA is expected to authorize Pfizer's COVID vaccine for children as young as 12 as soon as next week.
- To reach herd immunity, we need a certain number of the general population, including this age group, to be vaccinated. Athletics, dances, and other gatherings are going to be safer if the majority of kids are vaccinated. Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, is on Pfizer's board.
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: I think it'll pick up. Probably five million kids will get immediately vaccinated. Probably another five to seven million will get vaccinated over the course of the summer before the school year.
LAURA PODESTA: 13-year-old, Caleb Chung, was one of more than 2,000 children ages 12 to 15 who took part in Pfizer's trial, which found the vaccine was 100% effective.
CALEB CHUNG: Potentially helping other kids to feel safe and want to get the vaccine in the future when it becomes publicly available was really someway that I could actually help out.
LAURA PODESTA: Across the country, states and cities continue to reopen. Here in New York and neighboring Connecticut and New Jersey, most capacity restrictions will be lifted on May 19.
PHIL MURPHY: The events that we all associate with a summer, from fireworks displays, to parades, to the State Fair, can all go forward.
LAURA PODESTA: And good news for those of you who are itching to travel this summer. A new proposal by the European Union says, vaccinated Americans will be able to cross the pond by late June. Anne-Marie.
ANNE-MARIE GREEN: All right, well, you did mention New York is one of the states expected to lift most capacity restrictions this month. Can we expect to see revitalization of tourism, speaking of tourism? And--
LAURA PODESTA: I think we can. There was an article by "The New York Times--"
ANNE-MARIE GREEN: Mm-hmm.
LAURA PODESTA: Yes, there was an article by "The New York Times" earlier-- just a few weeks ago, saying that New York City is one of the cities that's seeing a resurgence of tourism, and hotel rooms that are getting booked up, and restaurants that are beginning to fill. We're also seeing that in Miami, Los Angeles, New Orleans, to name a few.
This week in Texas, it is Travel and Tourism Week, as pronounced by Governor Greg Abbott, and that's to encourage Texans to visit local communities and have a staycation, if you will. We aren't expected to see too much of a resurgence of international travel in 2021. It's still going to be a year of domestic travel, Anne-Marie.
ANNE-MARIE GREEN: OK, now, back to this business of kids being vaccinated. What more do we know about the FDA's pending authorization of the Pfizer vaccine on children? And any word if other US-approved vaccines will be able to be used on children in the near future as well?
LAURA PODESTA: So, we're expecting the FDA to make an announcement about Pfizer end of this week or beginning of next week. Regarding the other vaccines, like Moderna, that one is currently undergoing trials for young children. And right now, it's not authorized for anyone except for those 18 and up.
Johnson & Johnson, they are starting trials for children ages 16 to 17, but Pfizer is really ahead of the game. They've already started trials for children ages 5 to 11. And the hope is that those really young kids will be able to get Pfizer shots by this summer, Anne-Marie.
ANNE-MARIE GREEN: Wow. Laura Podesta, thank you.