Take 2: Covid vaccine, Blue Origin

The Take 2 series features brief weekly updates on the state or nations relevant news for the community.

Hannah Gonzalez

The Take 2 series features brief weekly updates on the state or nation’s relevant news for the community.

Covid vaccine for kids ages 5-11: Pfizer and BioNTech announced through a tweet on Oct. 7 that they have submitted a request to the FDA for authorization of the two-dose Covid-19 vaccine in children ages 5-11. Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid vaccine would be the first authorized for children under 12. In March, a trial was launched to test the proper dosage for children as young as 6 months. Pfizer has proposed giving children one-third of the normal, adult dosage. The FDA’S vaccine advisory group is scheduled to meet on Oct. 26. If the request is approved, shots could become available by late October or early November.

Significance: Since the surge of the Delta variant, children accounted for one in four infections. The move could help protect more than 28 million people in the United States. Parents across the country are waiting for the decision which will affect the operation of schools. On Sept. 27, Pfizer board member and former FDA commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, told CNBC that Covid would eventually become an “endemic virus” meaning it will circulate seasonally. Getting vaccinations would help symptoms to be less severe. However, officials say that preventative methods like wearing a mask could still be the norm during Covid season

Crew flight aboard New Shepard: On Oct. 13, space tourism company, Blue Origin, made its second crew flight on the New Shepard rocket. The rocket, designed for space tourism, takes passengers into suborbital space inside a crew capsule. It can be reused up to 25 times and emits clean water vapor as the only exhaust. Aboard this flight was William Shatner who starred as James T. Kirk, captain of the USS Enterprise, in the Star Trek franchise. Shatner is now the oldest person to travel to space at the age of 90. Blue Origin’s vice president of missions and flight operations, Audrey Powers, as well as 2 separate founders of space-related companies, Dr. Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries joined Shatner on the flight. The mission, known as NS-18, launched from Blue Origin’s West Texas site near the town of Van Horn. The whole experience lasted 11 minutes, but the passengers were able to witness “life-changing” views of Earth before descending under parachutes. 

Significance: Jeff Bezos, the founder of Blue Origin and Amazon, created the company with a “vision of enabling a future where millions of people are living and working in space to benefit Earth.” Blue Origin is working to create fully reusable launch vehicles that are safe and low-cost. The two flights so far have been successful, but the team of Blue Origin says this is only the foundation for what they hope to be a new generation of economic activity in space. Blue Origin’s ultimate goal is to colonize space and allow the vast majority of people to travel to space. Currently, the price is extremely high, with a spot on the first flight being auctioned off at 28 million. Experts agree that it is decades away until the price is affordable