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Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Millions of kids under 12 could begin getting COVID-19 shots "within the first week or two of November," NIAID director Anthony Fauci said on ABC News' "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" over the weekend.

Why it matters: This would be a major milestone for getting approximately 28 million more kids protected as they prepare to gather with family during the holidays and spend more time indoors due to cold weather.

  • Kids accounted for more than a quarter of all COVID-19 cases in the U.S. as of Oct. 14, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Driving the news: FDA regulators said Friday that the benefits of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children far outweigh the risks for children ages 5 to 11.

  • A key FDA advisory committee plans to meet Tuesday to discuss shots for that age group. The CDC's independent advisory committee will meet Nov. 2–3.

What to watch: The White House rolled out its plan last week for getting kids' shots to pediatricians and pharmacies, including modifying its packaging.

  • Clear messaging is an especially high priority after the rollout for booster doses for some adults faced criticism, Vox reported.
  • "Our messaging on boosters has been a mess," Brown University's Ashish Jha said Friday on the SiriusXM show "Doctor Radio Reports."

Yes, but: While many parents are eager to get their gets vaccinated, there are lingering concerns about how many parents may not feel comfortable vaccinating young children.

  • A recent Ipsos poll found a third of American parents of children under 12 — including many who were vaccinated — said they would not get a vaccine for their child "right away."
  • CDC director Rochelle Walensky acknowledged the challenge in an interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace on Sunday.
  • There are a lot of parents "who are ready to get their children vaccinated right away and we know we have a lot of work ahead of us just as we did with the initial vaccine," she said.

Go deeper

Nov 26, 2021 - Health

Updated data shows Merck antiviral COVID pill less effective

Photo: Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Merck said Friday updated data from a study on its experimental COVID-19 pill showed the drug is less effective than initially reported.

Driving the news: The drugmaker said molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization or death for patients with mild or moderate COVID-19 by about 30%, based on a study of more than 1,400 adults. Last month, the company said the study showed about 50% efficacy, based on data from 775 patients.

NY declares state of emergency amid concerns over Omicron COVID variant

Gov. Kathy Hochul at an event on Nov. 3. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday declared a state of emergency amid rising COVID-19 cases and the newly identified Omicron variant of the virus.

Driving the news: The declaration enables the state to acquire supplies to fight a potential surge in cases, increase hospital capacity and combat potential staff shortages, NBC's local affiliate reports.

Updated Nov 27, 2021 - Health

COVID-19 Omicron variant cases identified in Europe, U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Health officials in the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany announced on Saturday that they've detected the first known cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The discoveries come as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.