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As Omicron Surges, Effort to Vaccinate Young Children Stalls

NBC News reported:

Two months after Pfizer’s covid vaccine was authorized for children ages 5 to 11, just 27 percent have received at least one shot, according to Jan. 12 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only 18 percent, or 5 million kids, have both doses.

The national effort to vaccinate children has stalled even as the omicron variant upends schooling for millions of children and their families amid staffing shortages, shutdowns and heated battles over how to safely operate.

EMA Lists Rare Spinal Condition as Side Effect of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 shot

Reuters reported:

A safety panel of the European drug regulator on Friday recommended adding a rare spinal inflammation called transverse myelitis as a side effect of AstraZeneca‘s (AZN.L) COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccine has faced several setbacks, including production delays and probes by regulators following rare cases of severe side effects such as blood clots with low platelets, which led to several countries restricting or stopping its use.

New York COVID Numbers Finally Trending Down, Gov. Hochul Says

CNBC reported:

New York is finally starting to turn the corner on the latest wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Friday.

The COVID positivity rate and the seven-day case average, which exploded to staggering new highs amid the spread of the highly transmissible omicron variant, are now trending downward, Hochul said at a press conference in Albany.

“There will come a time when we can say it’s all over,” Hochul said. “We’re not there yet, but boy, it’s on the horizon and we’ve waited a long time for that.”

Bill Gates Says ‘COVID Can Be Treated More Like Seasonal Flu’ After Omicron surge peaks

Business Insider reported:

As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic and case numbers break previous record highs, billionaire Microsoft cofounder-turned-philanthropist Bill Gates sees a potential end in the near future.

“Once Omicron goes through a country, then the rest of the year should see far fewer cases,” Gates told University of Edinburgh chair of global public health Devi Sridhar during a Twitter Q&A this week. “So COVID can be treated more like seasonal flu.”

Expect Another Omicron Wave in Early Summer, Sage Says

The Guardian reported:

Scientists advising the government have predicted there will be a fresh wave of Omicron cases in the early summer as people resume social activities and immunity wanes.

But experts on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said they were increasingly confident that the worst-case scenarios for the current wave are very unlikely to occur, with the latest modeling suggesting a peak of fewer than 4,000 hospitalizations each day.

Peak Omicron? Experts Wary of Calling Time on Variant Wave in Europe

Reuters reported:

A surge in coronavirus cases caused by the Omicron variant may have peaked in some parts of Europe but medics say the impact will continue to be felt across the region, with hospitals still at risk of facing a rush of admissions.

Health experts and politicians warn against complacency, saying it is not yet clear whether their data reflect the full impact of the Christmas and New Year holidays, when families gathered for long periods indoors and the risk of intergenerational spread of the virus may be greater.

More UK Infants in Hospital Amid Omicron Wave but Experts Urge Calm

The Guardian reported:

The proportion of infants in hospital with COVID-19 in the UK has risen with the spread of Omicron, figures suggest, although researchers have urged calm, noting most cases are very mild.

The number of Covid-positive admissions, whatever the cause, is expected to rise when there is more infection around, but the latest figures suggest there has been a shift in the proportion of children in hospital with coronavirus who are infants.

Romania to Launch COVID-19 Jabs for Children 5 to 11

U.S. News & World Report reported:

Children in Romania aged between 5-11 will be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 starting late January, authorities said, as the country grappled Friday with a virus surge and low adult vaccination rates.

Parents or legal guardians can schedule appointments starting this week to get their children inoculated with Pfizer jabs that will be available from Jan. 26, the national vaccination committee said Thursday.

Israel Says 500K Have Received 4th Vaccine Dose

ABC News reported:

Israel has administered a 4th vaccine dose to more than 500,000 people, the Health Ministry said Friday.

Israel was among the first countries to roll out vaccines a year ago and began widely offering third doses last summer in a bid to contain the Delta variant. Nearly half the population has received at least one booster shot.