4th Booster Protection, Biden Urges Vaccination, Anger Over Tennis Champ Exemption, World Stats, More

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Israeli study shows second booster is safe, gives fivefold antibody increase

 

An Israeli study looking into the effects of a fourth total, or second booster, of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine showed with a “high degree of certainty” it’s safe and increased antibodies by fivefold one week post-vaccination, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced, per Reuters.

The Israeli government on Tuesday released the preliminary results of the trial, which .give insight to how an additional booster may help offset the impact of the hyper-contagious omicron variant, reports The Washington Post.

Bennett said the preliminary results showed “a very high likelihood that the fourth dose will protect vaccinated people to a great degree against infection to some degree and against severe symptoms,” according to the Post.

Bennett said at Sheba Medical Center, “A week into the fourth dose, we know to a higher degree of certainty that the fourth dose is safe,” adding, “The second piece of news: We know that a week after administration of a fourth dose, we see a five-fold increase in the number of antibodies in the vaccinated person. This most likely means a significant increase against infection and… hospitalization and [severe] symptoms,” reports Reuters.

Side effects reported from the vaccine were similar to those of the second and third shots. Recipients reported fever, fatigue, and headaches, notes Reuters.

A separate group is set to receive Moderna’s vaccine—after initially having gotten three Pfizer-BioNTech shots—for their fourth dose this week and data from that group will soon follow up with the question of a potential superior immune response by mixing-and-matching vaccinations, a Sheba Medical Center spokesman states, according to the Post.

The Israeli government announced on Sunday that Israel will offer a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose to health care workers and individuals 60 years old and older in an effort to bolster protection amid the omicron wave of the pandemic.

Eligible individuals can receive the fourth jab if they received their previous dose at least four months ago.

Bennett called on all eligible individuals to get the second booster before praising his country for being a leader in vaccination efforts.

“Israel will once again be pioneering the global vaccination effort. Omicron is not delta — it’s a different ballgame altogether. We must keep our eye on the ball, act swiftly and decisively if we want to continue engaging and working with an open country as much as possible throughout this pandemic,” Bennett said.

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Biden eases omicron alarm, urges vaccinations

© AP-Carolyn Kaster

President Biden on Tuesday sought to tamp down worries about the omicron coronavirus variant, underscoring that COVID-19 vaccines protect against severe illness from the virus.

Speaking before a briefing with his COVID-19 advisers at the White House, Biden said that the U.S. has the tools to protect Americans from severe illness from the virus.

“If you are vaccinated and boosted you are highly protected,” Biden said, noting that those who are vaccinated can still contract COVID-19 but are unlikely to become seriously ill.

“Be concerned about omicron but don’t be alarmed. But if you’re unvaccinated, you have some reason to be alarmed,” he said.

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Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Wednesday morning.

1. Call to remove travel test rules

As the prime minister hopes England can “ride out” the Omicron wave of coronavirus without introducing further restrictions, travel firms are calling for all remaining measures in their sector to be lifted. Airlines claim passenger testing’s having no real impact and those tests have held the industry back. The government says all measures remain under review and Boris Johnson will be meeting with his cabinet later. In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is due to update Holyrood – a cabinet meeting before the session is expected to discuss whether to reduce the self-isolation period.

Women at airportImage source, Getty Images
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2. Djokovic vaccine exemption fury

There’s been an angry backlash in Australia over tennis star Novak Djokovic’s exemption from vaccination rules. The Australian Open defending champion’s vaccination status is unknown, but said last year: “Personally I am opposed to vaccination and I wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel.” The player hasn’t been given special treatment, organisers say, but despite that there’s been criticism directed towards officials, politicians and Djokovic himself. Here’s the full story.

Novak Djokovic kisses a trophy he was awarded for winning last year's Australian Open titleImage source, Reuters
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3. President Macron’s pressure on unvaccinated

“I really want to hassle them, and we will continue to do this – to the end,”- French President Emmanuel Macron says warns he plans to make life difficult for unvaccinated people in the country. His comments came as a bill, which would bar the unvaccinated from much of public life, was delayed by opposition MPs. Mr Macron’s political opponents say the language he used is not fitting for a president.

French President Emmanuel MacronImage source, Getty Images
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4. US teacher arrest

A school teacher’s been arrested for allegedly giving a Covid vaccine to a student who reportedly wanted the jab. New York biology teacher Laura Russo gave the dose at her home despite having no legal authorisation to give jabs, or consent from the boy’s parents, police say. If convicted the 54-year-old, who was arrested on New Year’s Eve, could face four years in prison.

The teacher jabbing the pupilImage source, CBS
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5. Covid curfew

As India braces itself for a third wave of coronavirus and its largest cities see a surge in cases, state governments are re-imposing restrictions. In the capital Delhi a weekend curfew’s been put in place, banning all non-essential activity between Friday night and Monday morning.

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SWEDEN NEW RECORD

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WHO sees more evidence that Omicron causes milder symptoms

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WORLD STATS

Coronavirus Cases:

295,640,740

Deaths:

5,474,760

Recovered:

256,193,200
Highlighted in green
= all cases have recovered from the infection
Highlighted in grey
= all cases have had an outcome (there are no active cases)

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