COVID-19 Update: Oct. 26, 2021

A simulated image of a novel coronavirus particle. Image courtesy of Fusion Medical

Eight new COVID-19 cases were reported in Cordova between Oct. 19-25, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced. All eight of those cases were residents.

A cumulative total of 356 COVID-19 cases have been reported in Cordova, of which 329 have been Alaska residents and 27 have been non-residents. A cumulative total of seven people have been hospitalized with the virus in Cordova, of which six have been residents and one has been a non-resident. A cumulative total of three people have died of the virus in Cordova, of which all three have been residents.

Fifty-eight percent of people in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area have received at least one dose of novel coronavirus vaccine, according to DHSS data. Sixty-nine percent of people age 12 and over in the census area have received at least one dose of vaccine.

Though children under 12 are currently not eligible to be vaccinated, on Tuesday, Oct. 26, a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted unanimously in favor of allowing a low-dose vaccine manufactured by Pfizer to be used for 5- to 11-year-olds. In its non-binding recommendation, the panel said that the vaccine’s benefits in preventing COVID-19 in that age group outweigh any potential risks, the Associated Press reported.

A study of elementary schoolers found the Pfizer shots were roughly 91% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections, despite the fact that the children received one third of the dose given to older children and adults.

“I do think it’s a relatively close call,” adviser Dr. Eric Rubin of Harvard University told the AP. “It’s really going to be a question of what the prevailing conditions are but we’re never going to learn about how safe this vaccine is unless we start giving it.”

Moderna is also studying its vaccine in children under 12, and Pfizer has additional studies underway to assess the effect of COVID-19 vaccines on children under 5, the AP reported.