What you missed in Columbus for Aug. 23

FDA gives Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine full approval; Biden reconsiders deadline for troop withdrawal in Afghanistan; the Crew suffers gutting home loss

Joel Oliphint
Columbus Alive
Columbus Crew defender Jonathan Mensah (4) kneels while Seattle Sounders Nicolas Benezet (20) and Kelyn Rowe (22) celebrate the team's 2-1 win at the end of extra time during the game at Lower.com Field on Saturday, Aug. 21.

Today, the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for everyone ages 16 and over. Previously, the FDA sanctioned the emergency use of coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. The Pfizer vaccine will continue to be authorized for emergency use for children ages 12 to 15.

The full FDA approval will likely set off a new round of vaccine mandates in the higher education, medical and corporate sectors. United Airlines, for instance, has said that its employees must show proof of vaccination within five weeks of FDA approval.

According to the New York Times, "Pfizer said it presented the F.D.A. with data from 44,000 clinical trial participants in United States, the European Union, Turkey, South Africa and South America. The company said the data showed the vaccine was 91 percent effective in preventing infection."

"The FDA decision also clears the way for the companies to market their vaccine, which is not permitted without full licensure," the Dispatch reported. "And it may launch a race for booster shots, allowing doctors to prescribe extra Pfizer-BioNTech shots 'off label' to anyone they think should get one."

On Sunday, Ohio reported 2,194 new COVID-19 cases, and currently 1,884 COVID patients are hospitalized throughout the state. 

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The New York Times reports that President Joe Biden is considering extending the Aug. 31 deadline for U.S. troops to withdraw from Afghanistan, where "violent clashes at Kabul’s airport on Monday reinforced fears that the American withdrawal will aggravate the already precarious security situation."

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Ohio's GOP Senate candidates continue trying to out-Trump each other.

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The Columbus Crew extended its losing streak to six games in utterly heartbreaking fashion over the weekend. Facing the Seattle Sounders for the first time at Lower.com Field on Saturday, the home team held off Seattle — a club the Crew defeated to win MLS Cup last year, and currently one of the best teams in the league — and went up 1-0 on a goal from Bradley Wright-Phillips in the 78th minute. Seattle answered with a goal in the 88th minute, then scored again a minute later, putting the Sounders on top 2-1, avenging their MLS Cup defeat in a loss that left Crew fans and players shell-shocked and gutted. "It's a nightmare right now," center back Vito Wormgoor said.

The Crew will face rivals FC Cincinnati on Friday for the first "Hell is Real" match at Lower.com Field.