A version of this story appeared in the May 13 edition of CNN’s Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction newsletter. Sign up here to receive the need-to-know headlines every weekday.

CNN  — 

America may be inching closer to herd immunity, with 17 million more people becoming eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine.

CVS pharmacies and some hospitals across the United States will start administering the Pfizer-BioNTech shots to 12- to 15-year-olds today, following a recommendation by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

It’s yet another major step in America’s road out of the pandemic. While severe illness due to Covid-19 is relatively rare among teens, they can still spread the virus – and their inclusion in the vaccination program is key for any hope of achieving herd immunity.

But as the focus in the US shifts to inoculating younger people and convincing those who are hesitant to get the shot, much of the rest of the world is struggling to get vaccines even for those who need them the most, including vulnerable people and healthcare workers.

India, which is struggling to contain its worst coronavirus outbreak, suspended vaccinations for people aged between 18-44 in two states and the union territory of Delhi yesterday, because of shortages.

That announcement is even more worrying because India is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer and a key supplier for COVAX, the vaccine-sharing initiative that provides free and discounted doses for lower-income countries.

In late March, in a desperate attempt to curb infection, the Indian government restricted the export of Covid-19 vaccines from its giant manufacturing hubs, to meet some of the country’s more urgent needs.

President Joe Biden has announced that the US will send 80 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to other countries by the end of June, 20 million more than originally announced and five times more than any other country has shared to date.


Q: How can a parent be sure that Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine won’t affect their child?

A: Children too young to be vaccinated will still have to wear masks when they are indoors and around others, even if older kids and adults are free to take off face protection once they are fully vaccinated, says Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Here’s what the terms mean:

Herd immunity requires a certain percentage of people to be infected or vaccinated to stop the spread, but experts say it depends on the herd, or community, as well as its density, the number of susceptible people and other factors.

Eradication is the unicorn of infectious disease. It’s been achieved only twice: with rinderpest and smallpox.

Elimination is more common. It’s when cases are reduced to zero or near zero in a specific area, owing to continual efforts to prevent transmission. In the US, examples of diseases that have been largely wiped out include measles, rubella and diphtheria. The key word is “largely.” Measles demonstrates the tentative nature of elimination if control measures aren’t maintained.

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UK changes tack on vaccination program as cases of the B.1.617 Covid-19 variant rise rapidly

Scenes in India, of funeral pyres and people lining up outside hospitals, are being replicated in Nepal, where hospitals are running out of oxygen and turning away patients.

Just a month ago, the Himalayan nation of 31 million was reporting about 100 Covid-19 cases a day. On Tuesday, it reported 9,483 new cases and 225 virus-related fatalities, according to its health ministry – the highest single-day death toll since the pandemic began.

Critics say public complacency and government inaction likely worsened Nepal’s coronavirus outbreak. Public anger has now forced the country’s Prime Minister to step down. K. P. Sharma Oli – who touted unproven coronavirus remedies and attended crowded events even as cases rose – was removed from his position after losing a vote of confidence on Monday.

India’s Modi speaks out on the crippling second wave

People who got mixed doses of coronavirus vaccines – receiving a different second vaccine type than the first dose – appear to be more likely to experience mild side effects such as fever, chills, fatigue or headache, researchers in the UK reported yesterday.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi finally addressed the devastation that the second wave has inflicted, marking the first time in three weeks that he has publicly addressed the crisis. Hospitals have run out of oxygen and medicine, while rural states and far-flung villages have been left without access to care. The country has recorded more than 24 million cases, with the daily number of deaths exceeding 3,000 for weeks.

Tokyo Olympics in question as growing chorus of voices say it’s time to call off the Games

The CEO of Japan’s leading e-commerce company, Rakuten, has said hosting the Olympics this summer would be a “suicide mission” and scored the Japanese government a “2 out of 10” for its handling of the pandemic. Hiroshi Mikitani says he has been trying to convince the government to cancel the Games but had been so far unsuccessful. His comments came as more than 352,000 Japanese citizens have signed a petition calling for the Tokyo Olympics to be canceled.

The anti-Olympics campaign is gaining traction in Japan. An online petition calling for the games to be canceled has garnered almost 200,000 signatures in just a few days. However, the International Olympic Committee said they are moving ahead as planned.

A "No Olympics" banner is displayed during a protest against the Tokyo 2021 Games.

Taiwan was a Covid success story. Now it’s fighting its biggest outbreak


  • The president of America’s largest nurses’ union said the new mask guidance from the CDC creates confusion among the public and endangers nurses and health-care workers.
  • At least 269 doctors have died from Covid-19 during India’s second wave – an average of 20-25 deaths per day, the Indian Medical Association has estimated.
  • World Athletics President Seb Coe says he is confident the Tokyo Olympics can be held in a safe way, despite growing calls for the Games to be canceled.
  • Summer camps across the US are looking forward to welcoming back children – with new protections in place.
  • Taiwan is closing schools and temporarily banning foreign arrivals following a record day of Covid-19 cases.
  • Nepal doesn’t have enough Covid-19 test kits for people returning from India, district officials told CNN.
  • New York won’t require masks or social distancing for fully vaccinated people starting tomorrow.


Houses of worship can also use stationary collection boxes for offerings instead of passing a basket, or accept contributions online. If food is offered at or after services, choose pre-packaged foods instead of buffet or potluck meals, if possible.

Wen is an emergency physician and visiting professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

Her first suggestion? “Talk to your child. More than likely, he or she has a strong opinion,” she said.