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World

US authorizes Pfizer jab for 12-15 year olds as India outbreak rages

  • Tourism might get a shot in the arm from the European Union, which said it was "fully on track" to ensure a Covid health pass would be ready in June to boost travel.
11 May 2021

WASHINGTON: The United States on Monday authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 years old, while the devastating outbreak in India raged on.

The US Food and Drug Administration previously had granted an emergency use authorization for the jab to individuals aged 16 and older.

"This is a promising development in our fight against the virus," said President Joe Biden.

But the World Health Organization in Geneva warned the B.1.617 variant spreading in India appears to be more contagious, classifying it as a "variant of concern at the global level."

The virus is still surging in many countries and the pandemic has killed close to 3.3 million people worldwide since late 2019, upending normal life and causing global economic chaos.

Rapid vaccination programs, however, have allowed a number of wealthy nations to start taking steps towards normality.

The head of the European Medicines Agency said Monday that BioNTech/Pfizer's jab against Covid-19 soon could be approved for 12- to 15-year-olds in the EU, as well, perhaps as early as this month.

Ireland on Monday lifted domestic travel restrictions and began a phased reopening of non-essential retailers, while Greece opened nursery, elementary and middle schools ahead of kicking off the tourist season from May 14.

Tourism might get a shot in the arm from the European Union, which said it was "fully on track" to ensure a Covid health pass would be ready in June to boost travel.

Britain, which has the highest Covid-19 death toll in Europe, announced the reopening of indoor seating in pubs and restaurants in England from next week.

This easing came as the country reported no daily virus deaths for the first time in over a year following a successful vaccination campaign.