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Covid News Watch

Dec 16, 2021

8 Heart Inflammation Cases Reported Among Young Kids Who Got COVID Shot + More

8 Heart Inflammation Cases Among Young Kids Who Got COVID Shot — U.S. CDC

Reuters reported:

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Thursday it had received reports of eight cases of myocarditis, a type of heart inflammation, in children aged 5-11 years who received Pfizer (PFE.N) and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine.

The CDC did not say whether it believes there is a link between the myocarditis cases and the vaccine, or disclose the rate of myocarditis in the age group without vaccination.

The cases were reported in the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System and presented by the CDC to a panel of its expert advisers.

CDC Panel Recommends Pfizer, Moderna Vaccines Over J&J Shots for Adults Due to Rare Blood Clot Cases

CNBC reported:

An advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday recommended Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines over Johnson & Johnson’s shot for adults 18 and over, after finding dozens of people developed a rare blood clot condition following J&J vaccination, all of whom were hospitalized and nine of whom died.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted unanimously to recommend Pfizer and Moderna over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky still has to weigh in on the panel’s recommendation.

The CDC has confirmed 54 cases of people developing blood clots and showing low blood platelet levels, a new condition called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome that mostly affects younger women. All of the patients were hospitalized, nine people died and 36 were treated in intensive care.

Broadway Performances Canceled Due to Breakthrough COVID Cases

CNN Entertainment reported:

Several Broadway shows were forced to cancel performances this week due to positive COVID-19 tests among the cast or crew, a setback for the industry that comes just months after it raised the curtain on an 18-month shutdown due to the pandemic.

Since its return, Broadway has required eligible audiences, crews, performers and other staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19. This week, the Broadway League, a trade association for the industry, began enforcing a new vaccination and mask policy for children.

Here’s a look at the shows that canceled performances this week: “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s opus on the life of Alexander Hamilton, canceled its Wednesday night show less than an hour before it was set to begin due to breakthrough COVID-19 cases, according to a post on its Twitter page.

Should Healthy, Vaccinated Pro-Athletes Who Test Positive Play On? Not yet, Experts Say.

The Washington Post reported:

Coronavirus cases have spiked this week across North American professional sports despite sky-high vaccination rates among players and staffs.

Sidelined stars, postponed games and disrupted seasons have doused any promise that vaccines would restore normalcy to the sports world. One month away from the NFL playoffs and barely a week out from the NBA’s annual Christmas Day showcase, both leagues are again mired in COVID-related obstacles.

Among the rash of players unavailable to play after testing positive, the vast majority are vaccinated and many are asymptomatic. So in a time of widely available vaccines and booster shots, would it be safe for sports leagues to allow vaccinated, asymptomatic players who test positive for the coronavirus to play in games?

Vaccine Watchdog Committee Makes Pregnant Women Priority Group for COVID Vaccination

The Guardian reported:

Pregnant women have been made a priority group for vaccination following research showing they are vulnerable to more serious illness and pregnancy complications if they are infected with COVID-19.

The vaccines watchdog, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), announced on Thursday that pregnant women would be moved into priority group 6 alongside adults under the age of 65 who have long-term health conditions, and urged pregnant women to get first and second doses and booster jabs as soon as possible.

Fauci Pushes for Universal Coronavirus Vaccine

NBC News reported:

The scientific quest for a universal coronavirus vaccine received a boost Wednesday, as three top federal researchers, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, outlined a path to develop new vaccines that could tackle a variety of ailments including COVID-19, some common colds and future viruses.

Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, Fauci and two colleagues said the virus that causes COVID-19 is unlikely to be eliminated, and current vaccines are too limited to prevent the emergence of new variants. Other coronaviruses are also likely to spill over from animals to become future pandemic threats, they wrote.

Refugees Lack COVID Shots Because Drugmakers Fear Lawsuits — Documents

Reuters reported:

Tens of millions of migrants may be denied COVID-19 vaccines from a global program because some major manufacturers are worried about legal risks from harmful side effects, according to officials and internal documents from Gavi, the charity operating the programme, reviewed by Reuters.

Many COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers have required that countries indemnify them for any adverse events suffered by individuals as a result of the vaccines, the United Nations says.

Where governments are not in control, that is not possible. The concerns affect people, such as those displaced by the Myanmar, Afghanistan and Ethiopian crises, who are beyond the reach of national governments’ vaccination schemes.

Cleveland Browns Coronavirus Outbreak Leaves Over 90 NFL Players on COVID Reserve

Forbes reported:

A COVID-19 outbreak has left over a dozen Cleveland Browns players infected with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Even Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski has tested positive for the virus. As a result, over 90 players across the league are now on the NFL’s COVID reserve list.

This may leave the Browns rather undermanned when they play against the Las Vegas Raiders this Saturday. Nevertheless, it looks like this game will still go on, even though the NFL ended up rescheduling 15 games last season due to the pandemic. According to the following tweet on Thursday from Judy Battista, a reporter for the NFL Network, the NFL doesn’t plan on postponing or canceling the game.

It’s been an outbreak season for other teams as well. Over the past week, there’s been a recent surge in positive COVID-19 tests around the NFL.

Omicron Variant May Hasten Pace for COVID to Become Endemic, ‘Ideal Situation for a Virus’

Fox News reported:

Some health officials have expressed reserved optimism that the coronavirus Omicron strain could be a significant step in the pandemic‘s transition to becoming endemic, with one expert calling initial studies “the ideal situation for a virus.”

Dr. Adam Koppel, the managing director of Bain Capital Life Sciences, told the Massachusetts High Technology panel on Tuesday that if the projections are true and Omicron becomes the dominant global strain, it will “enable us to more quickly get to an endemic state as opposed to a pandemic state where we can live more regularly with the virus more similar to the flu than what COVID has looked like,” the Boston Herald reported.

Small South Africa Patient Study Shows Omicron Breaking Through Booster Shots

Reuters reported:

A small study of seven COVID-19 cases in South Africa shows the Omicron variant can break through booster vaccine shots, one of the scientists involved said on Thursday.

A group of seven German visitors to Cape Town, aged between 25 and 39, were infected at some point in late November or early December with confirmed cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant. A copy of the study seen by Reuters said they all suffered only mild to moderate symptoms and none required hospitalization.

Of the group, six were fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech (PFE.N) vaccine, of whom five had also had a booster Pfizer shot while the sixth had received a booster dose of the Moderna (MRNA.O) vaccine.

A seventh had received an initial dose of AstraZeneca‘s vaccine (AZN.L), followed by a second and then third booster dose of Pfizer. None had reported past infection with COVID-19.

mRNA Vaccine Efficacy Against Delta Plummeted in Veterans — Large Cohort of Older Veterans Shows Potential Waning Efficacy, Less Protection Against Infection

MedPage Today reported:

Effectiveness of a two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine was estimated to be substantially lower during the summer months in older male veterans, a case-control study found.

Moreover, estimated vaccine effectiveness dropped to around 20% during months 5 to 7 of the “high Delta” period, the authors wrote in a JAMA Network Open research letter.

Brazil Health Regulator Approves Pfizer COVID Shot for Ages 5 to 11

Reuters reported:

Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa said on Thursday it has approved the use of Pfizer’s (PFE.N)COVID-19 vaccine for children aged from 5 to 11 years old.

The regulator said the benefits of mass-immunization far outweigh the risks associated with the vaccine. It remains unclear, however, as to when Brazil might roll out doses to this age group.

Dec 15, 2021

Cornell Reports Many of 900+ COVID Cases Are Omicron in Fully Vaxxed Students + More

Cornell University Reports More Than 900 COVID Cases This Week. Many Are Omicron Variant Cases in Fully Vaccinated Students

CNN reported:

Cornell University reported 903 cases of COVID-19 among students between December 7-13, and a “very high percentage” of them are Omicron variant cases in fully vaccinated individuals, according to university officials.

“Virtually every case of the Omicron variant to date has been found in fully vaccinated students, a portion of whom had also received a booster shot,” said Vice President for University Relations Joel Malina in a statement.

As of result, the school has decided to shut down its Ithaca, New York, campus, where it has about 25,600 students. The university will move final exams for the semester online, cancel all activities and athletics and close the libraries, President Martha Pollack wrote in a letter to the student body posted Tuesday.

CDC Vaccine Advisers to Revisit Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccine Recommendation

CNN Health reported:

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine advisers will meet on Thursday to revisit the benefits and risks for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is scheduled to vote on “updated recommendations for use,” according to an agenda for the meeting posted online Wednesday.

According to the agenda, the CDC’s vaccine advisers will hear presentations about thrombosis and thrombocytopenia syndrome, known as TTS, a rare, serious type of blood clotting condition that has been linked to the J&J vaccine, but not to the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

Wuhan Lab Leak More Likely Origin of COVID, UK Parliament Panel Told

Business Standard reported:

A Canadian molecular biologist on Wednesday told cross-party members of Parliament (MPs) on the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee that a leak from a laboratory in Wuhan region of China is now the more likely origin of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Dr Alina Chan, specialising in gene therapy and cell engineering and co-author of Viral: The Search for the Origin of COVID-19′, told the Parliament panel’s evidence session on scientific research that the pandemic was being caused by the unique feature of the coronavirus called furin cleavage site, which has been linked to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

On whether the virus was modified in the lab before a leak, Chan said: We have heard from many top virologists that a genetically engineered origin of this virus is reasonable…and this includes virologists who themselves have made modifications to the first SARS virus.

Judge Rules Hospital Can’t Block Treatment of COVID With Ivermectin

NBC Washington 4 reported:

A Virginia hospital can’t stand in the way of a family’s preference to be treated for COVID-19 with the drug ivermectin, which is not approved for treating the virus, a judge ruled.

Kathy and Don Davies were rushed to Fauquier Hospital Oct. 9 suffering serious COVID-19 symptoms. Their son, Chris Davies, is an X-ray technician at the hospital. He’d heard about some people finding help in the drug ivermectin, typically used as an anti-parasitic, often for animals. He asked the hospital to try it as a treatment, but the doctors refused.

Judge James Fisher sided with the Davies family, ordering the hospital to allow them to have ivermectin given to Kathy Davies or face a $10,000-a-day fine. She got the first dose on Monday night.

The Fears of Five-Year-Olds: How Young Children Cope With COVID Anxiety

The Guardian reported:

Let me introduce you to a little girl called Miriam. She’s five years old and attends a primary school in north-east London. The adults who know her describe her as a confident, outgoing child.

But the pandemic that continues to spread fear and uncertainty across all our lives has made her scared of the world around her. Getting to sleep is difficult for Miriam because she has nightmares. Especially on Sundays. Coming into school is hard, because she doesn’t want to leave her mother.

Concerns about the devastating impact of the pandemic on mental health have been well aired since COVID-19 first swept the globe. But what of our youngest pupils, who have missed school without knowing what they’re missing and shouldn’t have a care in the world?

Fauci Says COVID Boosters Work Against Omicron, No Need for Variant-Specific Third Shot

CNBC reported:

White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday that currently available booster shots work against the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and do not need to be adjusted to fight the new, highly contagious strain of the virus at this time.

Fauci said the primary two-dose vaccination series from Pfizer and BioNTech is significantly compromised by Omicron, but still offers considerable protection against severe disease. Protection from the two-dose vaccine against infection dropped to 33% compared with 80% before the emergence of Omicron. However, two doses are still 70% effective at preventing hospitalization in Omicron patients in South Africa, Fauci said.

A booster dose increases protection against symptomatic disease to 75%, Fauci said, citing data from the U.K. Health Security Agency.

U.S. Study Suggests Vaccines May Be Ineffective Against Omicron Without Booster

Reuters reported:

All three U.S.-authorized COVID-19 vaccines appear to be significantly less protective against the newly-detected Omicron variant of the coronavirus in laboratory testing, but a booster dose likely restores most of the protection, according to a study released on Tuesday.

The study from researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Harvard and MIT that has not yet been peer reviewed tested blood from people who received the Moderna (MRNA.O), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) and Pfizer (PFE.N)/BioNTech vaccines against a pseudovirus engineered to resemble the Omicron variant.

The researchers found “low to absent” antibody neutralization of the variant from the regular regimens of all three vaccines — two shots of the Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines or one of J&J‘s single-dose vaccine. But the blood from recent recipients of an additional booster dose exhibited potent neutralization of the variant, the study found.

São Paulo Says It Has Fully Vaccinated 100% of Its Adults. Will It Be Enough to Stop Omicron?

The Washington Post reported:

In a world struggling to convince people to take the coronavirus vaccine, the news was striking.

São Paulo, the largest city in the Western Hemisphere, announced late last month that it had succeeded where others had failed. One hundred percent of its adult population had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Then there is the biggest uncertainty of them all: Omicron.

The extraordinary success of São Paulo’s vaccination campaign has laid the groundwork for what amounts to a large-scale experiment. The coming weeks will help show how the new variant will behave in a massive urban environment where virtually everyone has been vaccinated, and whether its spread will be slowed by São Paulo’s vaccination firewall.

Londoners With Cold Symptoms More Likely to Have COVID, Says Expert

The Guardian reported:

People who have cold-like symptoms in London are more likely to have COVID than a cold, according to the scientist behind the Zoe coronavirus symptom tracker app.

Prof Tim Spector told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that most of the symptoms of Omicron were the same as those of a common cold, including headaches, sore throat, runny nose, fatigue and sneezing.

Spector urged people with cold symptoms — and not just the classic COVID symptoms — to take a test.

Pfizer Set to Oust AstraZeneca as Top Supplier of COVID Shots to Poor Nations

Reuters reported:

Pfizer (PFE.N) and BioNtech (22UAy.DE) are set to displace AstraZeneca (AZN.L) as the main suppliers of COVID-19 vaccines to the global COVAX programme at the start of 2022, a shift that shows the increasing importance of their shot for poorer states.

The expected change comes with headaches for receiving countries that lack sufficient cold storage capacity to handle the Pfizer vaccine, and amid risks of a shortage of syringes needed to administer that shot.

Why UK Has Been Less Keen Than U.S. to Give COVID Jab to Children

The Guardian reported:

The UK and U.S. may have many things in common, but when it comes to vaccinating children against COVID, the approach has been markedly different.

The UK has shown significantly less speed in expanding its COVID vaccination programmes to children despite a successful rollout among adults, with almost 70% of the population having had two jabs.

EU Regulator Backs J&J COVID Booster Dose for Adults

Reuters reported:

The European Union’s drug regulator on Wednesday recommended that a booster dose of Johnson & Johnson‘s (JNJ.N) COVID-19 shot may be given at least two months after a first dose in people aged 18 years and older, as the bloc battles surging infections.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said its recommendation to allow J&J booster doses follows data which showed the additional shot led to a rise in antibodies against the COVID-causing SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

The EMA said that a J&J booster dose may also be given after two doses of one of the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech (PFE.N), (22UAy.DE) or Moderna (MRNA.O), in line with its recommendation on mixing vaccines.

Dec 14, 2021

We’ll All Be Dead Before FDA Releases Full COVID Pfizer Vaccine Record + More

We’ll All Be Dead Before FDA Releases Full COVID Vaccine Record, Plaintiffs Say

Reuters reported:

In advance of a court hearing before a federal judge in Fort Worth, Texas, Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration has offered by the end of January to make public 12,000 pages of data that it relied on to license Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine.

At first glance, that sounds like a lot of material. Except a group of scientists and doctors who’ve sued the agency under the Freedom of Information Act is seeking an estimated 400,000-plus additional pages of information about the vaccine’s approval.

Under the FDA’s proposed schedule — the agency pledges to release “a minimum” of 500 pages a month after the initial dump — the full trove might not be made public until the year 2097.

NFL Records Highest Number of Single-Day Positive COVID Tests Since Pandemic Began

Yahoo! Sports reported:

The NFL’s COVID-19 outbreak hit an all-time high on Monday.

There were 36 players and one staff member across the league that tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday, the most ever in a single day since the pandemic began in 2020, according to the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

The staff member reportedly tested positive for the Omicron variant, which marks the first known case of that variant in the league.

Pfizer Pill Reduces Risk of COVID Hospitalization and Death by 89% and Should Protect Against Omicron

Fortune reported:

A new study confirms that Pfizer’s new antiviral pill Paxlovid significantly decreases severe illness in COVID patients, and is also effective against the Omicron variant.

The study, which included 2,246 unvaccinated participants at high risk of developing severe symptoms, reveals that the pill can reduce the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID by 89% if taken within three days of the onset of symptoms, the company said Tuesday.

Pfizer CEO: COVID-19 Treatment Pills Are Not a Substitute for Vaccines

CNN reported:

While CEO Albert Bourla called it a “game changer,” he cautioned that people should not see the treatment as a replacement or alternative to taking the vaccine.

“I’m afraid that there will be some people that will think like that. It’s a very big mistake. Vaccines are needed. Vaccines are the primary frontier that you should be using to stop the disease,” he told CNN.

The goal is prevention from the disease, which is accomplished by the vaccine, he urged.

Who Says Omicron Is Spreading at a Rate Not Seen With Any Other COVID Variant

CNBC reported:

The World Health Organization on Tuesday warned the new omicron COVID-19 variant is spreading faster than any previous strain, and it is probably present in every country of the world.

“Omicron is spreading at a rate we have not seen with any previous variant,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a COVID update in Geneva. “Seventy-seven countries have now reported cases of omicron. And the reality is that omicron is probably in most countries, even if it hasn’t been detected yet.”

Two-Dose Vaccines Induce Lower Antibodies Against Omicron, Study Finds

Reuters reported:

Two-dose COVID-19 vaccine regimens do not induce enough neutralising antibodies against the Omicron coronavirus variant, British scientists found, indicating that increased infections in those previously infected or vaccinated may be likely.

Researchers from the University of Oxford published results on Monday from a study yet to be peer-reviewed, where they analysed blood samples from participants who were given doses from AstraZeneca-Oxford (AZN.L) or Pfizer-BioNTech (PFE.N), (22UAy.DE) in a large study looking into mixing of vaccines.

The results come a day after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that two shots will not be enough to contain Omicron, following findings from the UK health agency last week that boosters significantly restore protection against the variant.

UPS Vaccine Logistics Chief Fears More COVID Shots ‘Returned or Destroyed’ Due to Challenges

CNBC reported:

The next phase of the U.S. COVID vaccination distribution effort will be challenging, the president of UPS Healthcare told CNBC, as Tuesday marks one year since the initial shipments.

“The manufacturers are starting to think about how they change the formulation,” said Wes Wheeler, who leads the vaccine logistics effort for the global carrier. “When that happens, inventory becomes an issue, logistics becomes an issue and basically performance becomes an issue.”

“There will be potentially more vaccines that have to be returned or destroyed because they are not used and they are kept in storage beyond their shelf life,” he added.

Dec 13, 2021

Most Reported U.S. Omicron Cases Have Hit the Fully Vaccinated + More

Most Reported U.S. Omicron Cases Have Hit the Fully Vaccinated — CDC

Reuters reported:

Most of the 43 COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant identified in the United States so far were in people who were fully vaccinated, and a third of them had received a booster dose, according to a U.S. report published on Friday.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that of the 43 cases attributed to Omicron variant, 34 people had been fully vaccinated. Fourteen of them had also received a booster, although five of those cases occurred less than 14 days after the additional shot before full protection kicks in.

1 of Every 100 Americans Over 65 Has Died From Coronavirus, CDC Data Shows

Business Insider reported:

One in every 100 Americans over the age of 65 has now died from coronavirus, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show.

That same population is also the most vaccinated of any age bracket, according to the Mayo Clinic’s vaccine tracker.

Over 89% of the 65 to 74 population and 84% of the 75 and older group is fully vaccinated, the data shows.

Joyful Moment or Risky Move? Europe Divided Over Kids’ Vaccines

Reuters reported:

As Europe starts vaccinating younger children, countries are pursuing very different strategies in what will be a major test of parents’ willingness to get their kids inoculated.

One region in Italy is sending in clowns and jugglers to clinics, France and Germany are targeting only the most vulnerable kids, while Denmark has been administering shots even before the specially-designed vials and syringes have arrived.

But a major hurdle will be winning over parents. A lack of data on the effects on children was given as the main reason for the hesitancy, while a third thought that children would be less likely to get infected and 9% worried about long-term side-effects.

Gen Z Is Done With the Pandemic

The Atlantic reported:

Taylor Robertson wasn’t expecting his freshman year of college to end at home. The 21-year-old William & Mary junior spent most of 2020 away from his campus after classes went remote in March, and like so many other students, found that the virtual format didn’t work for him.

A year later, Robertson’s classes are entirely in-person. His college has a vaccine and indoor mask mandate, and almost everyone he knows is living a “normal” life.  “People don’t want to talk about COVID anymore,” Robertson told me.

Robertson echoes a feeling that has permeated the minds and lifestyles of many young people who have missed out on experiences, friendships and milestones over the past two years of coronavirus disruption. There is a sense of needing to make up for lost time and reclaim a sense of normalcy, even as case counts rise and new variants take root.

As the Pandemic Raged, at Least 75 Lawmakers Bought and Sold Stock in Companies That Make COVID Vaccines, Treatments and Tests

Business Insider reported:

Dozens of Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill have invested in companies that have a direct stake in the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an Insider analysis of federal financial records.

In 2020, at least 13 senators and 35 US representatives held shares of Johnson & Johnson, the medical behemoth that produced the single-shot COVID-19 vaccine that more than 15 million Americans have received.

At least 11 senators and 34 representatives also held shares in 2020 of another COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer, Pfizer. Two representatives or their spouses held shares of Moderna during the same year that the world went on lockdown in response to the pandemic.

Dem Governor Declares COVID Emergency ‘Over,’ Says It’s ‘Their Own Darn Fault’ if Unvaccinated Get Sick

Fox News reported:

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, declared in a new interview that the COVID-19 emergency is “over” and that he won’t be implementing another statewide mask mandate in response to the spread of the Omicron variant, explaining that if people aren’t vaccinated at this point it’s their “own darn fault” if they get sick.

“You know, public health [officials] don’t get to tell people what to wear; that’s just not their job. You don’t tell people to wear a jacket when they go out in winter and force them to [wear it]. If they get frostbite, it’s their own darn fault.

“If you haven’t been vaccinated, that’s your choice. I respect that. But it’s your fault when you’re in the hospital with COVID,” he added.

Hospitalizations, Mortality Cut in Half After Brazilian City Offered Ivermectin to Everyone Pre-Vaccine

ZeroHedge reported:

Early on in the pandemic, before the vaccines were available, the Southern Brazilian city of Itajai offered Ivermectin as a prophylaxis against the disease.

Between July and December of 2020, roughly 220,000 people were offered a dose of 0.2mg/kg/day (roughly 18mg for a 200lb person) as an optional treatment for 2 days, once every two weeks. 133,051 people took them up on it, while 87,466 did not.

After analyzing the data, a team of researchers spanning several Brazilian institutes, the University of Toronto, and Columbia’s EAFIT concluded in a December pre-print study that hospitalization and mortality rates were cut in half over the seven month period among the Ivermectin group.

COVID Lab Leak Probe After Scientist Bitten by Infected Animal

Newsweek reported:

Taiwanese officials are investigating links between a mouse bite and a COVID-19 infection in Taiwan, after a laboratory worker tested positive for the virus last week.

Health officials are scrambling to investigate how the worker at Academia Sinica’s Genomics Research Center, a high-security laboratory, became infected with COVID-19 as the island’s borders remain shut.

The worker, a fully vaccinated woman in her 20s, tested positive for COVID-19 last week after coming into contact with the virus at the country’s top research institute in mid-November.

Israeli Study Finds Pfizer COVID Booster Protects Against Omicron

Reuters reported:

Israeli researchers said on Saturday they found that a three-shot course of the Pfizer/BioNTech (PFE.N), (22UAy.DE) COVID-19 vaccine provided significant protection against the new Omicron variant.

The findings were similar to those presented by BioNTech and Pfizer earlier in the week, which were an early signal that booster shots could be key to protect against infection from the newly identified variant.

Cyprus OKs COVID Vaccinations for Children Aged 5 to 11

Associated Press reported:

Cyprus will start vaccinating kids between the ages of 5 to 11, the government said Monday in fresh bid to head off another COVID-19 surge following the first confirmed cases of the Omicron variant on the eastern Mediterranean island nation.

Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela also said individuals can receive booster shots two weeks sooner than the previously mandatory six-month waiting period after their second vaccine shot.

Indonesia to Start Vaccinating Children Aged 6 to 11 Against COVID

Reuters reported:

Indonesia will start administering COVID-19 vaccinations for children aged between 6 to 11 on Tuesday, a health ministry official said, as the Southeast Asian country becomes one of the first in the region to immunize the very young.

Indonesia approved China’s Sinovac Biotech vaccine for the age group last month and about 26.5 million children have been targeted for vaccination, Maxi Rein Rondonuwu, a senior health ministry official, told a briefing.