Shots in little arms: COVID-19 vaccine testing turns to kids. Plus, today’s latest virus news.

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The 9-year-old twins didn’t flinch as each received test doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine — and then a sparkly bandage to cover the spot.

“Sparkles make everything better,” declared Marisol Gerardo as she hopped off an exam table at Duke University to make way for her sister Alejandra.

Researchers in the U.S. and abroad are beginning to test younger and younger kids to make sure COVID-19 vaccines are safe and work for each age. The first shots are going to adults who are most at risk from the coronavirus, but ending the pandemic will require vaccinating children too.

“Kids should get the shot,” Marisol told The Associated Press this week after the sisters participated in Pfizer’s new study of children under age 12. “So that everything might be a bit more normal.” She’s looking forward to when she can have sleepovers with friends again.

So far in the U.S., teen testing is furthest along: Pfizer and Moderna expect to release results soon showing how two doses of their vaccines performed in the 12 and older crowd. Pfizer is currently authorized for use starting at age 16; Moderna is for people 18 and older.  Read more:

Here’s an update on all developments. Scroll or swipe further for in-depth coverage.

  • The Internal Revenue Service has sent roughly 127 million stimulus payments out in the past two weeks, but some of the lowest-income Social Security recipients are among those still waiting to get the money.
  • Chinese officials briefed diplomats Friday on the ongoing research into the origin of COVID-19, ahead of the expected release of a long-awaited report from the World Health Organization.
  • Virtual instruction may pose more risks to the mental health and wellness of children and parents than in-person learning, according to a study published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • A coalition of nongovernmental organizations is calling on President Joe Biden to immediately begin developing plans to share an expected surplus of hundreds of millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses with the world, once U.S. demand for shots is met.
  • Coronavirus contact tracing programs across the U.S. scaled back their ambitions as cases surged in winter, but New York City has leaned into its $600 million tracing initiative.
  • Rutgers University says it will require all students be vaccinated for the coronavirus before arriving for classes in the fall.
  • The Vatican is providing shots to 1,200 local poor people during Holy Week.
  • France’s president says he has nothing to be sorry about for refusing to impose a third virus lockdown earlier this year, even as his country is now facing surging infections that are straining hospitals and more than 1,000 people with the virus are dying every week.
  • More than 1 million COVID-19 vaccination shots have been dispensed at Major League Baseball stadiums, with the Oakland Coliseum and Marlins Park among the sites planning to continue operating after opening day.

For more summaries and full reports, please select from the articles below. Scroll further for the latest virus numbers.

Virus by the numbers