Health News Roundup: Chile to become first country in Latin America to offer fourth COVID shot; Moderna CEO Bancel says people may need another booster in fall of 2022 and more


Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Chile to become first country in Latin America to offer fourth COVID shot

Chile will begin offering a fourth shot of the coronavirus vaccine next week to immunocompromised citizens, the government said on Thursday, the first country in Latin America and one of the first in the world to offer the extra dose. “Starting next Monday, January 10, we are going to start a new mass vaccination process with a fourth dose or a second booster dose,” said Pinera in a press conference.

Moderna CEO Bancel says people may need another booster in fall of 2022

The efficacy of boosters against COVID-19 is likely to decline over the next few months and people may need another shot in the fall of 2022, Moderna Inc Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel said at a Goldman Sachs-organized healthcare conference on Thursday. Bancel said the company is working on a vaccine candidate tailored to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus but is unlikely to be available in the next two months.

J&J says its single dose protects against breakthrough COVID-19 for up to 6 months

Johnson & Johnson said on Thursday that a real-world study showed its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine protects against breakthrough infections and hospitalizations for up to six months. The study, sponsored by the vaccine developer, was conducted between Jan. 1 and Sept. 7 last year, before the Omicron variant was discovered. It is also yet to be peer-reviewed.

Omicron may be less severe in young and old, but not ‘mild’ – WHO

The more infectious Omicron variant of COVID-19 appears to produce less severe disease than the globally dominant Delta strain, but should not be categorized as “mild”, World Health Organization (WHO) officials said on Thursday. Janet Diaz, WHO lead on clinical management, said early studies showed there was a reduced risk of hospitalization from the variant first identified in southern Africa and Hong Kong in November compared with Delta.

CDC recommends Pfizer’s COVID-19 booster for ages 12 to 15

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Wednesday it expanded the eligibility of Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE’s booster doses to those 12 to 15 years old.

The move came after a panel of outside experts advising the CDC voted earlier to recommend booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine be made available for ages 12 to 15.

White House says decision to enact vaccine mandates for schools up to local school districts

The White House said on Thursday the decision to enact vaccine mandates for schools is up to local school districts. “Those decisions related to schools …. will always be up to local school districts in terms of what steps need to be taken,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

Sydney Omicron outbreak could peak by late January, modelling shows

The Omicron outbreak in Australia’s most populous state could peak by the end of January, official modeling showed on Friday, as authorities reinstated some restrictions in a bid to slow the record spike in infections. After containing the virus through lockdowns and tough border rules earlier in the pandemic, Australia is now suffering infection rates far higher than elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region.

UK PM Johnson says COVID-19 shots will stay voluntary, attacks anti-vax movement

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday COVID-19 vaccines would not be made mandatory even though anti-vax campaigners were dissuading people from taking up the shots. Johnson said he wanted to persuade those people hesitating about the vaccines to get them, but the task was made harder by people spreading misinformation.

Japan set to declare COVID-19 curbs in 3 regions hosting U.S. bases

Japan is set to declare quasi-emergency measures in three regions on Friday to stem a COVID-19 surge that some officials have linked to U.S. military bases in the country. It would mark the first such measures since September when Japan lifted emergency controls that had prevailed over the country for most of last year.

Chicago public schools cancel classes again in COVID-19 teacher walkout

Chicago Public Schools, the third-largest U.S. education district, canceled classes for a second day on Thursday amid a walkout by teachers demanding tougher COVID-19 protection measures, although city officials insisted schools are safe. The stalemate, idling some 340,000 students, came after the teachers’ union voted to reinstate virtual instruction and pushed for more rigorous safety protocols, including wider testing, citing the rapid spread of the highly infectious Omicron variant in recent weeks.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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