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  • Last week, Chile announced that it would start offering a fourth dose in February. Chile has reported almost 86% of its population fully vaccinated, making it ...

Israel has approved a fourth vaccine dose for people most vulnerable to COVID-19, an official said Thursday, becoming one of the first countries to do so as it braces for a wave of infections fueled by the omicron variant.

Russia's Sputnik V vaccine. Image credit - Business Recorder

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  • The Gamaleya Institute that developed Sputnik V has said the vaccine should be efficient against the omicron variant of COVID-19, but announced that it will immediately start working on adapting it to counter the new variant.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday voiced hope for a quick approval of the country’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine by the World Health Organization, saying the move is essential to expand its global supplies.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks in San Francisco, Sept. 24, 2021. File photo

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  • Americans 12 years old and up are already eligible for the Pfizer vaccine under an emergency use authorization, but the vaccine has been fully approved -- an FDA process that takes longer -- for those over 16.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday that the state will require COVID-19 vaccines for all school children ages 12-17 once the FDA grants full approval, becoming the first state in the country to move forward on mandating vaccines for school children.

A woman receives Pfizer vaccine jab from a healthcare worker during the inaugural vaccination weekend drive in Katlehong, east of Johannesburg, South Africa Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. The aim of the vaccination drive is to mobilise citizens and people living in South Africa to get vaccinated as a means to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

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  • The government has urged anyone 18 or over who hasn’t been vaccinated to turn up at hospitals, town centers and mobile clinics nationwide for a shot and, in an attempt to encourage them, dropped requirements that they must register for an appointment in advance.

South Africa launched a new COVID-19 vaccination drive Friday and will try to give doses to 500,000 people in two days to reinvigorate a flagging campaign that’s coming up against hesitancy and complacency in the continent’s worst-affected country.

This undated image provided by Merck & Co. shows their new antiviral medication. Pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. said Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, that its experimental COVID-19 pill reduced hospitalizations and deaths by half in people recently infected with the coronavirus and that it would soon ask health officials in the U.S. and around the world to authorize its use. (Merck & Co. via AP)

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  • Even with the news of a potentially effective new treatment, experts stressed the importance of vaccines for controlling the pandemic, given that they help prevent transmission and also reduce the severity of illness in those who do get infected.

In a potential leap forward in the global fight against the pandemic, drugmaker Merck said Friday that its experimental pill for people sick with COVID-19 reduced hospitalizations and deaths by half.

A syringe is prepared with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at the Reading Area Community College in Reading, Pa., Sept. 14, 2021.

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  • There were 2,268 participants ages 5 to 11 in the trial, which, while it still followed a two-dose regimen, used a lesser dose than the amount given to people ages 12 and older, for the "safety, tolerability and immunogenicity" of younger children.

Data shows the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for children ages 5 to 11, the companies announced Monday morning.

Judge: Florida can't enforce ban on school mask mandates

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  • Since DeSantis signed the mandatory mask ban order on July 30, 13 school boards representing more than half of Florida's 2.8 million students have adopted mask requirements with an opt-out only for medical reasons.

A Florida judge ruled Wednesday that the state cannot enforce a ban on public schools mandating the use of masks to guard against the coronavirus, while an appeals court sorts out whether the ban is ultimately legal.

FILE - In this Aug. 31, 2021, file photo, Jack Kingsley R.N. attends to a COVID-19 patient in the Medical Intensive care unit (MICU) at St. Luke's Boise Medical Center in Boise, Idaho. The summer that was supposed to mark America’s independence from COVID-19 is instead drawing to a close with the U.S. more firmly under the tyranny of the virus, with deaths per day back up to where they were in March 2021. (AP Photo/Kyle Green, File)

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  • The summer wave was fueled by the extra-contagious delta variant combined with stark resistance to vaccinations that formed along political and geographic lines, ...

The summer that was supposed to mark America’s independence from COVID-19 is instead drawing to a close with the U.S. more firmly under the tyranny of the virus, with deaths per day back up to where they were in March.

US regulators give full approval to Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

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  • As for effectiveness, six months into Pfizer’s original study, the vaccine remained 97% protective against severe COVID-19. Protection against milder infection waned slightly, from a peak of 96% two months after the second dose to 84% by six months.

The U.S. gave full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine Monday, potentially boosting public confidence in the shots and instantly opening the way for more universities, companies and local governments to make vaccinations mandatory.

Ebola case reported in Ivory Coast after Guinea outbreak

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  • Ebola is transmitted by coming into contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person or contaminated materials. However, the early symptoms of fever and muscle aches resembles other common diseases like malaria.

A patient has tested positive for Ebola in Abidjan, a city of more than 4 million people, marking the first case of the disease in Ivory Coast in more than a quarter century, the World Health Organization said.

US mulls COVID vaccine boosters for elderly as early as fall

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  • Israel has been offering a coronavirus booster to people over 60 who were already vaccinated more than five months ago.

Warning of tough days ahead with surging COVID-19 infections, the director of the National Institutes of Health said Sunday the U.S. could decide in the next couple weeks whether to offer coronavirus booster shots to Americans this fall.

COVID-19 vaccine shipments to Africa ramp up

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  • So far, almost 79 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have arrived in Africa and 21 million people, or just 1.6% of Africa’s population, are fully vaccinated. High-income countries have given 61 times more doses per person than low-income countries.

COVID-19 vaccine shipments to Africa are rapidly ramping up from multiple sources after a near-halt to deliveries in recent months. Nearly 4 million doses from COVAX arrived in Africa last week, compared with around 2.3 million doses from the facility throughout the month of June.

CDC warns that delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox and may make people sicker than original Covid

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  • Delta, now in at least 132 countries and already the dominant form of the disease in the United States, is more transmissible than the common cold, the 1918 Spanish flu, smallpox ...

The CDC warned House lawmakers that the delta variant sweeping across the country is as contagious as chickenpox, has a longer transmission window than the original Covid-19 strain and may make older people sicker, even if they’ve been fully vaccinated.

Study: Vaccinated people can carry as much virus as others

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  • The outbreak in Provincetown — a seaside tourist spot on Cape Cod in the county with Massachusetts’ highest vaccination rate — has so far included more than 900 cases. About three-quarters of them were people who were fully vaccinated.

In another dispiriting setback for the nation’s efforts to stamp out the coronavirus, scientists who studied a big COVID-19 outbreak in Massachusetts concluded that vaccinated people who got so-called breakthrough infections carried about the same amount of the coronavirus as those who did not get the shots.

Medical workers at a temporary laboratory used for Covid testing in Nanjing, China on Wednesday.AFP

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  • Officials in Nanjing are now on "high alert" and plan to test all the city's residents, having already got through 1.9 million people in one day, the Xinhua news agency reported Thursday.

For most countries, the spike in Covid-19 cases playing out in China would register as little more than a blip on the chart.

President Joe Biden holds up his face mask as he speaks about vaccine requirements for federal workers in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, July 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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  • Biden, seemingly fed up with persistent vaccine resistance among many Americans, delivered a sharp rebuke to those who have yet to get shots, saying “they get sick and fill up our hospitals,” taking beds away from others who need them.

President Joe Biden on Thursday announced sweeping new pandemic requirements aimed at boosting vaccination rates for millions of federal workers and contractors as he lamented the “American tragedy” of rising-yet-preventable deaths among the unvaccinated.

Should vaccinated people mask up with COVID-19 cases rising?

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  • The CDC recently announced the updated guidance, citing new evidence that vaccinated people who get breakthrough infections could carry enough virus in their noses and throats to infect others.

Should vaccinated people mask up with COVID-19 cases rising?

Joann Marcus of Fort Lauderdale, left, cheers as she listens to the Broward School Board's emergency meeting, Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. A small but vocal group spoke vehemently against masks, saying their personal rights were being eroded and their children were suffering socially. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

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  • The federal recommendations quickly plunged Americans into another emotionally charged debate over the face coverings meant to curb easy transmission of the deadly coronavirus.

New guidance from the federal government set off a cascade of mask rules across the nation Wednesday as cities, states, schools and businesses raced to restore mandates and others pushed back against the guidelines at a time when Americans are exhausted and confused over constantly shifting pandemic measures.

Moderna expanding kids vaccine study to better assess safety

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  • Currently, Pfizer has the only U.S. vaccine authorized for children 12 years and up, while Moderna is expecting an FDA ruling on its application in the coming days.

Moderna said Monday it plans to expand the size of its COVID-19 vaccine study in younger children to better detect rare side effects, such as a type of heart inflammation recently flagged by U.S. health authorities.

Fauci says US headed in ‘wrong direction’ on coronavirus

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  • Fauci said government experts are reviewing early data as they consider whether to recommend that vaccinated individuals to get booster shots. He suggested that ...

The United States is in an “unnecessary predicament” of soaring COVID-19 cases fueled by unvaccinated Americans and the virulent delta variant, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert said Sunday.

McConnell Urges Americans: ‘Get Vaccinated' as Cases Spike

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  • “These shots need to get in everybody's arms as rapidly as possible or we’re going to be back in a situation in the fall that we don't yearn for — that we went through last year,” he said. “This is not complicated.”

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell implored unvaccinated Americans Tuesday to take the COVID-19 shot, issuing a stark and grave warning of a repeat of last year's rising caseloads and shutdowns if people refuse to protect themselves from the coronavirus.

The SARS-CoV-2 Lambda variant, also known as lineage C.37, is a variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

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  • "The lambda is the dominant variant in Peru and Peru has had a very difficult time with COVID-19. It shares mutations in common with the alpha variants, the beta, the gamma, which is the dominant variant in Brazil," Dr. Wesley Long, medical director of Diagnostic Microbiology at Houston Methodist, told ABC News.

A major Texas hospital system has reported its first case of the lambda COVID-19 variant, as the state reels from the rampant delta variant.

People crowd a market area ahead of Eid-al Adha in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, July 16, 2021. Millions of Bangladeshis are shopping and traveling during a controversial eight-day pause in the country’s strict coronavirus lockdown that the government is allowing for the Islamic festival Eid-al Adha. (AP Photo/Mahmud Hossain Opu)

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  • With the spread of the virus rampant, most everything in Bangladesh was ordered shut on July 1, from markets to mass transportation. Soldiers and border guards patrolled the streets and thousands were arrested and sent to jail for violating the lockdown.

Waiting among hundreds of fellow travelers to catch a ferry out of Bangladesh’s capital, unemployed construction worker Mohammed Nijam knew he was risking catching the coronavirus, but he felt it was even riskier to stay in Dhaka with another lockdown looming.

People drink on the dance floor shortly after the reopening, at The Piano Works in Farringdon, in London, Monday, July 19, 2021. Thousands of young people plan to dance the night away at 'Freedom Day' parties after midnight Sunday, when almost all coronavirus restrictions in England are to be scrapped. Nightclubs, which have been shuttered since March 2020, can finally reopen. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

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  • In a reminder of how volatile the situation is, the prime minister was spending “freedom day” in quarantine. Johnson and Treasury chief Rishi Sunak are both self-isolating for 10 days after contact with Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.

Corks popped, beats boomed out and giddy revelers rushed onto dancefloors when England’s nightclubs reopened Monday as the country lifted most remaining restrictions after more than a year of lockdowns, mask mandates and other pandemic-related curbs on freedom.

FILE - In this Saturday, May 15, 2021 file photo, empty vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines lie in a box during a vaccine campaign at the Vaccine Village in Ebersberg near Munich, Germany. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

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  • Inequity is everywhere: Inoculations go begging in the United States while Haiti, a short plane ride away, received its first delivery July 15 after months of promises — 500,000 doses for a population over 11 million. Canada has procured more than 10 doses for every resident; Sierra Leone’s vaccination rate just cracked 1% on June 20.

No one disputes that the world is unfair. But no one expected a vaccine gap between the global rich and poor that was this bad, this far into the pandemic.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday ordered all French health care workers to get virus vaccine shots by Sept. 15 and urged all of his compatriots to get vaccinated as soon as possible, to fight resurgent infections that are threatening the country’s economic recovery.

Pfizer to seek OK for 3rd vaccine dose; shots still protect

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  • In laboratory tests, blood from several dozen people given their first dose of the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines “barely inhibited” the delta variant, the team reported in the journal Nature. But ...

Pfizer is about to seek U.S. authorization for a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, saying Thursday that another shot within 12 months could dramatically boost immunity and maybe help ward off the latest worrisome coronavirus mutant.

A COVID-19 patient is admitted to a hospital in Johannesburg, Wednesday, June 23, 2021. South Africa's third wave of COVID-19 infections is overwhelming the health system in Gauteng, the country's most populous province that is now running out of beds to treat patients. (AP Photo)

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  • The delta variant, first discovered in India, appears to be driving South Africa’s new increase, President Cyril Ramaphosa said Sunday night, announcing the return to strict measures.

Battling a fast-increasing surge of COVID-19 cases, South Africa has reintroduced tough restrictions including a ban on alcohol sales and an extended nightly curfew.

A health worker administers a dose of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine to a woman in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, May 31, 2021. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

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  • People in Ho Chi Minh city are only allowed to leave home for necessary activities and public gatherings of more than 10 people are banned for the next two weeks, the government announced. Prior to the order, ...

Vietnam plans to test all 9 million people in its largest city for the coronavirus and imposed more restrictions Monday to deal with a growing COVID-19 outbreak.

A health worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine at the newly-opened mass vaccination program for the elderly at a drive-thru vaccination center outside Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. South Africa aims to vaccinate 5 million of its older citizens by the end of June. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

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  • South Africa’s decision to go back to a stricter lockdown reinforces — as the crisis in India has already done so starkly — how the global pandemic is far from over.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced Sunday that his country will return to stricter lockdown measures in the face of a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases that indicate the virus is “surging again” in Africa’s worst-affected nation.

Patients suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) get treatment at the casualty ward in Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) hospital, amidst the spread of the disease in New Delhi, India April 15, 2021. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo

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  • The government says it will go ahead with plans to ease lockdown restrictions on Monday. People in England will be able to ...

Britain’s health minister says a fast-spreading coronavirus variant first identified in India is likely to become the dominant strain of the virus in the U.K.

President Joe Biden claps with Vice President Kamala Harris after speaking on updated guidance on face mask mandates and COVID-19 response, in the Rose Garden of the White House, Thursday, May 13, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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  • The new guidance is likely to open the door to confusion, since there is no surefire way for businesses or others to distinguish between those who are fully vaccinated and those who are not.

In a major step toward returning to pre-pandemic life, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people on Thursday, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.

Pfizer COVID-19 shot expanded to US children as young as 12

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  • The younger teens received the same vaccine dosage as adults and had the same side effects, mostly sore arms and flu-like fever, chills or aches that signal a revved-up immune system, especially after the second dose.

U.S. regulators on Monday expanded the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to children as young as 12, offering a way to protect the nation’s adolescents before they head back to school in the fall and paving the way for them to return to more normal activities.

EU agrees potential 1.8 billion-dose purchase of Pfizer jab 37 minutes ago

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  • The European Commission currently has a portfolio of 2.3 billion doses from half a dozen companies. “Other contracts and other vaccine technologies will follow,” von der Leyen said in a Twitter message.

The European Union cemented its support for Pfizer-BioNTech and its novel COVID-19 vaccine technology Saturday by agreeing to a massive contract extension for a potential 1.8 billion doses through 2023.

Spanish man charged with infecting 22 people with COVID-19

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  • Days before the outbreak, the man showed COVID-19 symptoms but refused his colleagues’ suggestions to go home and self-isolate, police said in a statement.

A Spanish man with COVID-19 symptoms who coughed on work colleagues and told them “I’m going to give you all the coronavirus” has been charged with intentionally causing injury after allegedly infecting 22 people.

Protesters hold empty containers of anti-retroviral (ARV) medicines during a demonstration over shortages of ARVs, organized by people living with HIV or AIDS, sex-workers, members of the LGBT community, and their supporters, in the port city of Mombasa, Kenya, Thursday, April 22, 2021. Kenyans living with HIV say their lives are in danger due to a shortage of anti-retroviral drugs donated by the United States amid a dispute between the U.S. aid agency and the Kenyan government. (AP Photo)

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  • The delayed release of the drugs shipped to Kenya late last year is due to the government slapping a $847,902 tax on the donation, and the U.S. aid agency having “trust” issues with the graft-tainted Kenya Medical Supplies Authority, ....

Kenyans living with HIV say their lives are in danger due to a shortage of anti-retroviral drugs donated by the United States amid a dispute between the U.S. aid agency and the Kenyan government.