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This week, Mary Holland, Children’s Health Defense (CHD) president, and Polly Tommey, co-producer of “Vaxxed,” cover the latest COVID headlines, including more news about the Omicron variant.

A person in California who was vaccinated against COVID became the first in the U.S.  to have an identified case of the variant, and health experts are closely monitoring the variant’s impact on children after new information indicates they are at risk. The concern stems from data in South Africa showing a high number of hospital admissions of infants under 2 years old.

Also on tap this week: The International Monetary Fund is likely to lower its global economic growth estimates due to Omicron. Plus, the variant is being seen more in the vaccinated population.

At least 32 cases of the Omicron variant have been reported across 12 states and now the U.S, Food and Drug Administration is in discussions to streamline the authorization of an Omicron-specific vaccine.

Polly and Mary also discussed President Joe Biden’s strategy to fight the Omicron and Delta coronavirus variants over the winter, including free and insurer-funded at-home COVID testing and new requirements for international travelers.

Here are more of this week’s highlights:

  • BioNTech should be able to adapt its coronavirus vaccine relatively quickly in response to the Omicron variant, and the next few weeks will show how urgently an upgrade is needed, its CEO Ugur Sahin said.
  • As public health officials stir up fear about the latest new COVID variant, experts warn vaccines are maiming and killing young people in alarming numbers. “This is so tragic,” said Mary.
  • The Omicron variant sends vaccine makers’ stocks soaring. Data released Dec. 3 by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) included a total of 927,740 reports of adverse events from all age groups following COVID vaccines, including 19,532 deaths and 146,720 serious injuries. This includes a 5-year-old who died 4 days after receiving the vaccine. “This is just a fraction of the injuries and death,” said Mary.
  • A new study from Germany showed extremely few deaths among healthy children overall — including zero deaths among children 5 to 11 — suggesting some studies are designed to distort the risk to kids.
  • Israel reports “no serious side effects” among children 5 to 11 who received the COVID vaccination. “This is ridiculous,” said Polly.
  • The families of 70 children ages 5 to 11 were notified their children were given an expired first or second dose of the Pfizer pediatric vaccine at a clinic in Maryland. “This sounds extremely dangerous to me,” said Polly.
  • Australia’s medicine regulator provisionally approved Pfizer’s vaccine for children between the ages of 5 and 11, with the health minister saying the rollout could begin from Jan. 10.
  • U.S. biotech Novavax is expecting results from an Australian study of a COVID and influenza vaccine at the start of next year, paving the way for the development of a combined jab to fight both diseases. “Here we go, we knew this was going to happen,” said Polly.
  • China calls vaccinated children “little inoculated warriors” in a campaign to vaccinate millions of people. “This is a disturbing article,” said Polly.
  • More than half of the Omicron COVID cases in the UK are among fully vaccinated people.
  • Thanh Hoa in Vietnam suspended the use of a Pfizer vaccine batch after more than 120 teens were hospitalized following their inoculation. “This is awful,” said Polly.
  • Ministers gave doctors in England the green light to provide less care to millions of patients for the next four months so they can join the “national mission” to urgently deliver COVID booster shots. “This is where you start saying this is not about health,” said Mary. “This is about control.”
  • A House of Lords committee raised concerns about proposed legislation to make vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 mandatory for all NHS staff in England, claiming there is insufficient evidence.
  • The Philippines is considering stretching the shelf life of some COVID vaccines after thousands of AstraZeneca shots were reported to have been unused past their original expiry dates.
  • Germany announced a nationwide lockdown for the unvaccinated, as its leaders backed plans for mandatory vaccinations in the coming months. “This is extremist,” said Mary.
  • It is time for the European Union “to think about” making COVID vaccines mandatory, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.
  • On Dec. 4, hundreds of thousands of people across the globe protested in support of Australia’s SOS for help as the country struggles with increased lockdowns, forced vaccination and quarantine facilities. “This is very hopeful,” said Mary. “It’s very beautiful.”
  • “Pfizer has been hesitant to go into some of the countries because of the liability problems, they don’t have a liability shield,” World Bank President David Malpass said. “It’s just insane,” said Mary.
  • Scientists believe they have solved the mystery behind the blood clots caused by the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccination.
  • Researchers designed a new nanoparticle adjuvant that may be more potent than others now in use. Studies in mice showed it significantly improved antibody production following vaccination against HIV, diphtheria and influenza. “Be careful,” said Polly. “This is a concern.”
  • Mumps cases continue to circulate in the U.S., largely among vaccinated people, including children. “There are several reasons this vaccine isn’t working, including flat-out fraud,” said Mary.
  • More than 6% of the Air National Guard and Reserve did not meet the deadline to get the COVID vaccine, and could face consequences if they don’t get the mandated shots or receive an exemption, the Air Force said. “This is scary,” said Mary. “What we are doing to ourselves is just flat-out crazy.”
  • The CDC released its latest prevalence estimates for autism, finding 1 in 44 or 2.27% of American 8-year-olds has an autism spectrum disorder. “We can assume the rate is much higher than that,” said Mary.
  • Twenty-seven thousand ducks are being culled after a suspected case of bird flu was reported in a commercial flock in Northern Ireland. “Keep your eyes on this,” said Polly.
  • The Chief Veterinary Officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland agreed to bring in new housing measures to protect poultry and captive birds from avian influenza following a number of confirmed cases across the UK in recent weeks.
  • Two hippos tested positive for COVID at Antwerp Zoo in Belgium. “This is going to be another huge moneymaker,” said Mary.
  • Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s book — “The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health” — released Nov. 16, is #1 on Amazon. Order your book today.

Watch “This Week” with Mary + Polly: