Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
In a study published by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday (and conducted while the Delta variant was surging), Pfizer and BioNTech said their reduced-dosage COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 is nearly 91 percent effective at preventing symptomatic infection. FDA staff concluded over the weekend that the benefits of the vaccine to children outweigh the risks, and an agency advisory group is set to meet this week to recommend formal authorization.
Central Command spokesperson Army Maj. John Rigsbee announced on Friday that the United States conducted an airstrike in northwest Syria that killed Abdul Hamid al-Matar, a senior leader of al-Qaeda. Rigsbee said there was “no indication” of civilian casualties, and that the strike “will disrupt the terrorist organization’s ability to further plot and carry out global attacks threatening U.S. citizens, our partners, and innocent civilians.”
The Ethiopian government confirmed on Friday that it launched an airstrike on Mekelle, the capital of the country’s northern Tigray region. The government claimed it was targeting a military facility used by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), but the TPLF and humanitarian sources told Reuters that the strike hit a university. The United Nations suspended flights carrying aid workers to the region as a result.