Reason Roundup

FDA Approves Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine, but Feds Undecided on Who It's for

Plus: The story of a 10-year-old rape victim who sought an abortion is confirmed, inflation hits a record 9.1 percent, and more...


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted emergency approval to the Novavax vaccine, which is distinct from the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in that it does not use mRNA technology. Federal health officials hope that some Americans who remain unvaccinated—about 22 percent of all people in the U.S.—will be more comfortable opting for the Novavax vaccine.

The Novavax vaccine will also be a strong option for vaccinated but unboosted Americans. According to The New York Times, the side effects of the Novavax vaccine appear to be milder than the other vaccines, which produce aches and fatigue in many people.

Even so, federal health officials have yet to determine who the vaccine will be for.

"Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet next week and are expected to discuss who should get the Novavax vaccine," the Times reported. "The two-dose vaccine was authorized as a primary immunization series for adults, rather than a booster, which is likely to limit its market at first."

Meanwhile, the BA.5 variant of COVID-19 is spreading, causing cases to rise throughout the country. The variant has a high rate of reinfection: People who previously recovered from COVID-19 are contracting it. This has translated to an increase in hospitalizations, due to the sheer number of vulnerable people contracting the disease—but importantly, the variant has not caused a spike in deaths.


The disturbing story out of Ohio that a 10-year-old girl had sought an out-of-state abortion after being raped was confirmed on Wednesday.

The story initially went viral on social media and was even mentioned by President Joe Biden as a reason to oppose the new strict limitations on abortion that Republican-controlled states are implementing. In attempting to confirm it, The Washington Post cast some doubt on whether the story was actually true; Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler could find no evidence that such a crime had actually been reported to the authorities. In response, some conservative media figures began to openly doubt the allegations. A Wall Street Journal editorial described it as "An Abortion Story Too Good to Confirm."

It is now confirmed.

Columbus Dispatch writers Bethany Bruner, Monroe Trombly, and Tony Cook reported that police have arrested 27-year-old Gerson Fuentes for the crime:

Gerson Fuentes, 27, whose last known address was an apartment on Columbus' Northwest Side, was arrested Tuesday after police say he confessed to raping the child on at least two occasions. He's since been charged with rape, a felony of the first degree in Ohio.

Columbus police were made aware of the girl's pregnancy through a referral by Franklin County Children Services that was made by her mother on June 22, Det. Jeffrey Huhn testified Wednesday morning at Fuentes' arraignment. On June 30, the girl underwent a medical abortion in Indianapolis, Huhn said.

Huhn also testified that DNA from the clinic in Indianapolis is being tested against samples from Fuentes, as well as the child's siblings, to confirm contribution to the aborted fetus.

It was not insane to approach the story with some skepticism, given that its single source was someone with only secondhand knowledge of the circumstances. But it is now known that the horrible occurrence was regrettably very real.

Fuentes is believed to be in the U.S. illegally, which is now likely to become the main focus of the conservative response to the story.


A look at the goods hit by inflation. Inflation just hit its highest point in 40 years. According to the consumer price index, prices are up 9.1 percent since this time last year.

Gas price increases were largely responsible for the trend. The price of gas increased by 11 percent since last month and nearly 60 percent over the last 12 months. Food and rent costs also rose precipitously.

Biden said in a statement that fighting inflation was his "top economic priority," but also contended that the numbers were "outdated" and that the price of gas is now falling.

Inflation woes have prompted Sen. Joe Manchin (D–W.Va.) to swear off any new federal spending due to concerns that the government pumping more money into the economy would only exacerbate the problem.

"No matter what spending aspirations some in Congress may have, it is clear to anyone who visits a grocery store or a gas station that we cannot add any more fuel to this inflation fire," said Manchin.

One encouraging note: Costco is refusing to raise the price of its iconic hot dogs.

In an interview Monday on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street," CEO Craig Jelinek had a one-word answer when asked whether he would raise the signature food court item's price: "No."…

The hot dog and soda combo has sold for $1.50 for decades, and was the subject of a Mental Floss article from 2018 that recently began circulating again.

The article recounts a time when Jelinek approached Costco co-founder and former CEO Jim Sinegal. He told him the company was losing money over the iconic food item.

"I came to (Sinegal) once and I said, 'Jim, we can't sell this hot dog for a buck fifty," Jelinek said, according to the Mental Floss article, which cites 425Business. "We are losing our rear ends.' And he said, 'If you raise (the price of the) effing hot dog, I will kill you. Figure it out.' That's all I really needed."


• New testimony at the January 6 committee hearings revealed that former President Donald Trump wrote, but did not send, a draft tweet that urged his supporters to march to the Capitol. "Please arrive early, massive crowds expected," he wrote. "March to the Capitol after. Stop the steal!"

• The full video of Uvalde cops waiting in the hallway outside the classroom and failing to confront the shooter has been released; Uvalde's mayor criticized the local media outlet for publishing it.

• Twitter is suing Elon Musk for backing out of his deal to acquire the company.

• New Zealand is bringing back COVID-19 restrictions.

• Rep. Lauren Boebert (R–Colo.) is not a huge fan of separating church and state.

• Eat the rich—literally? Popsicles shaped like the heads of billionaires hit New York City.