News Wrap: Moderna seeks FDA approval for its Covid vaccine for children under 6

In our news wrap Thursday, Moderna filed for FDA authorization of its Covid-19 vaccine for children under the age of 6, Oklahoma lawmakers gave final approval to ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, new research warns thousands of new viruses could spread in the next 50 years due to climate change, and President Biden is considering canceling additional federal student loan debt.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: After a year of roaring growth, the U.S. economy slowed down in the first quarter of this year. The Commerce Department says it shrank at an annual rate of 1.4 percent. That had not happened since the pandemic recession hit in 2020. We will take a closer look after the news summary.

    Despite the economy's retreat, Wall Street took heart from strong consumer spending and upbeat earnings reports. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 614 points to close at 33916, nearly 2 percent. The Nasdaq rose 382 points. That's 3 percent. The S&P 500 added 103. That's 2.5 percent.

    Moderna formally asked the FDA today to authorize its COVID-19 vaccine for children under the age of 6. If approved, the low-dose shots would be the first available for that age group. Company officials said they hoped for decision before summer.

  • Dr. Paul Burton, Chief Medical Officer, Moderna:

    This is a group of children who are at high unmet need. I think we now have a safe and effective vaccine to be able to offer them that moms and dads and caregivers and physicians, that will safely protect them.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The Moderna vaccine has proved 40 to 50 percent effective in preventing infections in young children, but more effective in preventing serious illness. That is roughly the same as in vaccinated, but unboosted adults.

    New research concludes that a warming planet could help thousands of new viruses spread in the next 50 years. Scientists at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., studied 3,000 mammal species. They reported that animals may migrate and carry new diseases with them as temperatures rise. The results appear in the journal "Nature."

    There were observances around the world today of Holocaust Remembrance Day in memory of the six million Jews and others murdered by the Nazis. In Poland, President Andrzej Duda joined survivors and others at Auschwitz, where more than one million people were killed. He used the occasion to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

  • Andrzej Duda, Polish President (through translator):

    In fact, it's hard to believe that at all, that, after so many Russian leaders held speeches here, filled with pride about the fact that the Red Army had liberated the Auschwitz camp, they dared to bomb Babyn Yar, a place where Ukrainian Jews were executed during the Second World War.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    In Israel, drivers stopped their cars and bowed their heads. Shoppers in markets did the same, as sirens blared for two minutes in an annual tradition.

    Back in this country, lawmakers in Oklahoma gave final approval today to banning nearly all abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy. It is modeled on a law in neighboring Texas and will effectively stop women from crossing the state line for abortions. The new law takes effect immediately once the governor signs it.

    And President Biden has confirmed that he is mulling whether to cancel additional federal student loan debt. Democratic lawmakers and activists have urged him to erase $50,000 in debt per person. The president was asked about that at the White House today.

  • President Joe Biden:

    I am considering dealing with some debt reduction. I am not considering $50,000 debt reduction. But I'm in the process of taking a hard look at whether or not there are going to — there will be additional debt forgiveness.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Mr. Biden said he plans to make his decision in the next few weeks. He previously said he is willing to forgive $10,000 per borrower. He has also extended a pandemic era pause on repaying student loans that began under then-President Trump.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour": a divided Congress grapples with rising gas prices, COVID relief and immigration; the government's push to eliminate menthol-flavored tobacco products; preserving the artistic and cultural treasures at risk in Ukraine using tools of the digital age; and much more.

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