Pullen Park's Holiday Express canceled for 2021

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Here's the latest news and information on COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccines.

4:25 p.m.
Vaccine advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration voted 17-0 with one abstention Tuesday to recommend Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine in children 5 to 11.

Members of the FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee agreed that the benefits of vaccinating younger children appeared to outweigh the risks, but some members appeared troubled about voting to vaccinate a large population of younger children based on studies of a few thousand.

1 p.m.
Raleigh Parks announced that it has decided to cancel Pullen Park's Holiday Express for 2021.

Parks officials called it a "difficult decision."

The city cited staffing levels for its decision, saying the event "requires an incredible number of staff and volunteers to run successfully" and it does not have enough staffing right now to put on an "exceptional experience."

1 p.m.
1,340 new daily COVID-19 cases were reported on Tuesday.

The daily percent of positive tests in the state is at 6%.

1,443 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19. This marks the 10th straight day below 2,000.

There are 419 adult ICU COVID-19 patients. That's down 21 percent from last Tuesday.

21 more COVID-19 deaths were reported on Tuesday.

9:30 a.m.
ABC News reports that the states with low vaccination rates continue to bear the brunt of the country's coronavirus crisis. The five states with the highest death rates over the last week -- Wyoming, Montana, Alaska, West Virginia, and Idaho -- are also among the states with the lowest full vaccination rates.

People who have not been fully vaccinated are 6.1 times more likely to test positive with the virus and 11.3 times more likely to die from it, compared with people who are vaccinated, according to federal data.

More than 1,100 American lives are still being reported lost to the virus every day -- the vast majority of them unvaccinated individuals.

Tuesday morning headlines



An advisory panel for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will meet Tuesday to discuss whether Pfizer has presented enough evidence to show their COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective in children ages 5-11.

The highly anticipated meeting isn't the last step in authorization--the decision still needs to go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Emergency Use Authorization, if granted, is expected as early as November 3.

Still, states are planning for a rush of appointments as parents get their kids vaccinated in time for the holidays. States will get doses in three waves--in the first wave, North Carolina is expected to receive 124,500 doses.

Although the state is already placing orders, no vaccines will ship until the FDA grants authorization.

Durham County Health Department will also start offering more booster shots Tuesday--adding Moderna and Johnson & Johnson to the list.

Anyone eligible to receive a booster can choose to receive a vaccine brand different from what they first received. Appointments and walk-ins are both available--but a vaccination card is necessary.

MONDAY

5:25 p.m.
What works and what doesn't when it comes to encouraging people to get vaccinated against COVID-19?

A new study in North Carolina shows that offering $25 to people getting their first shot was an important factor. Less successful, however, was the state's rollout of a $4.5 million lottery package that ultimately went to just eight winners.

The report was released Monday by researchers with the state Department of Health and Human Services, North Carolina Central University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. They looked at a state pilot program offering prepaid cards worth $25 to people in four counties.

4:15 p.m.
People who want an extra boost of protection against COVID-19 are rolling up their sleeve for the shot in Wake County.

The public health department started offering all three COVID-19 booster shots at its five clinics Monday.

In the first four hours of the rollout, staff running the Wake County Human Services Center on Departure Drive in Raleigh served 56 people, most of them had requested the Moderna booster.

"They want that Moderna dose because they're seeing there's very limited preliminary data from the clinical studies that gives you the biggest boost in antibody production," said Stacy Beard, spokesperson for Wake County Public Health.

The CDC has cleared the way for allowing the mixing and matching of booster shots, so no matter which brand of vaccine you received initially, you can choose which booster dose you get.

For those at least 18 years old who have an underlying medical condition or live or work in a high-risk setting and have waited at least six months since getting the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, you're eligible for a booster.

Anyone 18 and older who got the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine at least two months ago is eligible as well.

"You should find availability at all of our sites," said Beard. "It might not be today, but it'll be this week. We amped up our capacity so that we could deal with the demand that we expected in the first few weeks of boosters being approved for all brands."

You will need to bring your vaccine card with you when you come to your booster appointment.

12:15 p.m.
COVID-19 metrics from North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services again showed slight improvements.

Monday's numbers are always lower than other days of the week, but when compared to last Monday's metrics, the improvement is still noticable.

The state added just 1,183 new cases for a daily positive rate of 5.6%. Last Monday those numbers were 1,599 and 6.4% respectively.

In addition, hospitalizations continue to decline. Now 1,527 people are in the hospital battling COVID-19.

Unfortunately, another 102 people died from the virus.

10:20 a.m.
Downtown Raleigh Alliance said its data indicates the economic recovery continues to move ahead.

DRA's third quarter report showed growing sales at stores, restaurants and other businesses.

In addition, downtown's residential market is at 95 percent occupancy, with more than 1,000 residential units are under construction.

Pedestrian traffic downtown increased 17 percent from the second quarter and 126 percent from the third quarter a year ago.

Likewise, food and beverage sales jumped 5 percent from the second quarter and 143 percent from the third quarter a year ago.

You can take a look at the full DRA report here.

MONDAY MORNING HEADLINES
Cary town leaders are reviewing COVID-19 precautions to see if they should remain in place.

In Cary and across the state, key COVID-19 metrics continue to improve. So people are starting to ask when mask mandates will end.

Cary's mayor said the town is reviewing local data and will make a decision Friday about any possible changes.

The mask mandate is scheduled to expire November 1, so local leaders will need to make a decision this week if they plan to extend it.

One key metric that has not yet shown significant improvements: levels of community transmission. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said counties should have moderate or low levels of community transmission before considering dropping mask mandates.

So far, not a single county in North Carolina has improved its community spread to moderate or low levels.

Meanwhile, Wake County's health department is offering all three COVID-19 booster shots.

SEE ALSO: Who can get booster shots?

Anyone who got the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines more than six months ago -- and who is 65 and older or at a higher risk for severe disease -- is eligible for a booster shot.

Those 18 and older who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than two months ago can get a booster shot.

You can get any of the shots as your booster, as the CDC and FDA have signed off on mix and matching for the booster shot.

Early evidence suggests that booster doses of Moderna or Pfizer more effectively raise antibody levels than a booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Tomorrow, an FDA advisory panel is scheduled to discuss recommending the Pfizer vaccine for children 5-12 years old.

So far, the FDA has said the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the minimal risks. If authorized, kids would get a dose 1/3 the size of the adult dose.

Chatham County Schools is rolling out free weekly COVID-19 testing in elementary schools.

Testing will then begin in middle schools November 1 and in high schools November 8.
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