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N.Y. Today: Vaccination Age Could Soon Go Even Lower

Email sent: May 12, 2021 5:57am
What you need to know for Wednesday.

What to Know About Vaccinations for Children 12 to 15 in N.Y.

By Troy Closson


It’s Wednesday.

Weather: Mix of sun and clouds, and windy. High in the mid-60s.

Alternate-side parking: In effect today. Suspended tomorrow for Solemnity of the Ascension and Eid al-Fitr.


Hannah Beier/Reuters

Some New York families will soon be able to take another step toward normalcy.

This week, the Food and Drug Administration authorized use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds. It is not the last hurdle: A federal advisory committee must meet to make recommendations for the vaccine’s use in the age group, and a state task force oversees the final approval.


But Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said this week that vaccinations are set to be cleared for 12- to 15-year-olds as soon as tomorrow.

Here’s what you need to know:

What do the studies show?

Clinical trials have found that children in the age group may safely receive the dose already available for adults, and indicate that it is highly effective at preventing symptomatic illness.

The side effects for the children involved in the trials were comparable to those seen in trial participants who were 16 to 25 years old, my colleague Apoorva Mandavilli reported. Scientists also agreed that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine seemed to meet all expectations regarding safety and efficacy.


The vaccine is already available to anyone 16 or over. Mr. Cuomo said that across the state, the focus would remain on increasing vaccinations among people 16 to 40 years old.

[Read more about the findings.]

What about children under 12?

Pfizer and BioNTech have begun testing the vaccine in children ages 2 to 11. If trial results are positive, the companies expect to apply to the F.D.A. in September for emergency authorization to administer doses to those age groups.

Results from trials of Moderna’s vaccine in 12- to 17-year-olds are expected to come soon. AstraZeneca is testing its vaccine in children 6 months and older, while Johnson & Johnson plans to wait for trial results in participants over 12 before turning to younger children.

Will public schools require students be vaccinated?

When Mayor Bill de Blasio was asked at his news briefing on Tuesday if public school students returning to the classroom in the fall would be required to be vaccinated against the virus, he replied, “No across the board.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Cuomo said that if the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine receives full approval — as opposed to the current authorization, only for emergency use — a requirement for schoolchildren would be “a legitimate topic of discussion.”

Even after approval, students could still opt out by citing medical reasons or religious beliefs.

From The Times

The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.

What we’re reading

New York City plans to install 30 miles of protected bike lanes in addition to 28 miles of new and revamped busways and bus lanes in 2021, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. [NBC 4 New York]

A look at life in a New York City hotel room for four homeless people in New York. [The City]


This newsletter is free, and highlights a small portion of New York Times journalism. To access all of it, consider becoming a subscriber with this special offer.

And finally: The arts move outdoors at Lincoln Center

The Times’s Julia Carmel writes:

Lincoln Center sprung back to life on Monday, opening several of the 10 outdoor spaces that are part of its Restart Stages initiative.

The new and redesigned stages, rehearsal areas and “civic activation spaces” — which include a new 14,000-square-foot green space installation by Mimi Lien — will be welcoming performances, blood drives, high school graduations and food bank distributions in the coming months.

“Right now we have over 150 events planned throughout the summer,” said Clive Chang, Lincoln Center’s chief strategy and innovation officer. “The majority of them will feature free and low-cost tickets, and that’s very important to us, to make sure that we welcome the community back in a really accessible way.”

Henry Timms, the president and chief executive of Lincoln Center, said the initiative — which is a collaboration with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation — aims to meld the arts with civic engagement through these reimagined public spaces.

“Lincoln Center has, for the first time, become a polling place,” Mr. Timms said. “So you can come vote at Lincoln Center; you can donate blood at Lincoln Center. We’re very focused on the idea of civic responsibility of being a great New York institution — what that means and how we expand it.”

The new outdoor areas include rehearsal spaces for local schools, an outdoor reading room created by the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, and smaller cabaret-style stages that are scattered around the campus’s plazas. Though Film at Lincoln Center will be open at limited capacity, all of the other indoor venues will remain closed until further notice.

The largest outdoor stage, at Damrosch Park, can now hold 380 people while maintaining a six-foot distance between each two-person pod. Hopefully, Mr. Timms said, the audience capacities will be able to grow as social distancing rules relax.

“It’s like an accordion, right?” Mr. Timms said. “We keep it tight to begin with, but as things loosen up, we should be able to extend and extend.”

“In a dream scenario,” he continued, “by the end of the summer we’ll have many more people in this space.”

It’s Wednesday — think outside the box.

Metropolitan Diary: Bananas!

Dear Diary:

I was riding a Citi Bike home at dusk when I saw an older woman standing next to a huge box of bananas.

How is she going to carry that home, I wondered as I approached her.

“They just left them,” she said. “They’re ready to eat, but take some.”

“Free bananas!” I said excitedly to a man who was walking by.

He held up several grocery bags.

“I just bought some,” he said. “But I’ll take some more!”

The three of us filled our bags.

“We can freeze them and put them in smoothies!” I said.

“I was thinking the same thing,” the older woman said with a smile as I rode away.

— Samuel Shipman

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