Even as Gov. Murphy continues to roll back restrictions on attendance for proms and graduation ceremonies, there was more good news concerning COVID.

The New York Times is reporting that the Food and Drug Administration will authorize the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds by early next week, expanding the U.S. vaccination campaign to millions more people.

Some parents have been counting down the weeks since Pfizer announced results from its trial in adolescents showing that the vaccine is at least as effective in that age group as it is in adults, the Times reported on May 3. Vaccinating children is key to raising the level of immunity in the population and bringing down the numbers of hospitalizations and deaths.

The clearance would come in the form of an amendment to the existing emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine. If it is granted, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine advisory panel is likely to meet the following day to review the clinical trial data and make recommendations for the vaccine’s use in adolescents.

The expansion would be a major development in the country’s vaccination campaign and welcome news to some parents who are anxious to protect their children during summer activities and before the start of the next school year. Read the full New York Times article here.

Meanwhile, Gov. Murphy signed an executive order that makes the following changes effective Friday, May 7 (some of which were previously scheduled to take effect on Monday, May 10):

Outdoor gatherings limit  The limit will increase to 500 persons, up from 200.

Large venue outdoor capacity  The maximum capacity allowed will increase to 50% for venues with 1,000 fixed seats or more, as long as six feet of distance is maintained, up from 30% capacity for venues with a 2,500 fixed seating capacity.

Increase in maximum capacity for certain indoor activities  Currently, indoor catered events are limited to 35% of the capacity of the room in which they are held, up to 150 persons. The capacity limit for those events, including proms, will be raised to 50%, up to a maximum of 250 individuals. The capacity limit for indoor political events, weddings, funerals, memorial services, and performances will also increase accordingly.

Dance floors at private catered events  Dance floors at events such as proms would be permitted to open, with masking and social distancing requirements in place.

See the full description of the governor’s latest executive order here.

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