Health News Roundup: Israel broadens eligibility for fourth shot of COVID vaccine; Volunteers to catch COVID in the name of science and more

Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 27-01-2022 02:52 IST | Created: 27-01-2022 02:28 IST
Health News Roundup: Israel broadens eligibility for fourth shot of COVID vaccine; Volunteers to catch COVID in the name of science and more
Representative image Image Credit: ANI

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Wanted: Volunteers to catch COVID in the name of science

The world's first medical trial authorised to deliberately expose participants to the coronavirus is seeking more volunteers as it steps up efforts to help develop better vaccines. The Oxford University trial was launched last April, three months after Britain became the first country to approve what are known as challenge trials for humans involving COVID-19.

Israel broadens eligibility for fourth shot of COVID vaccine

Israel on Wednesday broadened eligibility for a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine to include adults under 60 with underlying medical conditions, their caretakers, and others over 18 at significant risk of exposure to the coronavirus. An official statement said the Health Ministry's director-general had approved the measure, which fell short of a recommendation on Tuesday by a ministry panel of experts to offer the so-called second booster shot to all adults.

Most U.S. local governments opt to join $26 billion opioid settlement

U.S. cities and counties have embraced a proposed settlement worth up to $26 billion resolving lawsuits alleging three large drug distributors and drugmaker Johnson & Johnson fueled the U.S. opioid epidemic, a lead negotiator of the deal said on Wednesday, increasing the odds that it will move forward. About 90% of local governments nationwide that were eligible to participate in the settlement with McKesson Corp, AmerisourceBergen Corp, Cardinal Health Inc and J&J had opted to do so by a Wednesday deadline, said Peter Mougey, a plaintiffs' lawyer involved in the negotiations.

S.Korea's daily COVID-19 cases surge as new testing scheme begins

South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases exceeded 13,000 for the first time on Wednesday, driven by the spread of the Omicron variant, as the government launched a new pilot testing scheme to meet skyrocketing demand. The record 13,012 cases for the previous 24-hour period came just a day after the tally first topped 8,000 despite the extension of tough social distancing rules.

Factbox-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania all hit their highest coronavirus infection rates of the pandemic, driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant, but were reluctant to impose sweeping curbs to limit the spread.


New York state mask mandate back in effect as judge grants stay in appeal

An appeals court judge on Tuesday granted a stay in an appeal over mask mandates in New York, keeping the rule in effect during the legal process, New York Attorney General Letitia James said. A day earlier, a judge had struck down the state's mask mandate, one week before it was due to expire. The state attorney general had filed a motion to stay the ruling in an attempt to put it on hold while the state filed a formal appeal.

COVID-19 cases at highest ever in Americas -regional health agency

New cases of COVID-19 in the Americas in the past week have been the highest since the pandemic began in 2020 and the very contagious Omicron variant has clearly become the predominant strain, the Pan American Health Organization said on Wednesday. There were more than 8 million new cases, 32% higher than the previous week, while fatalities throughout the region also increased by 37%, with 18,000 new deaths caused by COVID-19.

U.S. has sent 400 million COVID vaccine doses to 112 nations -White House

The United States has shipped 400 million COVID-19 vaccine doses as part of its earlier pledge to donate about 1.2 billion doses to low-income countries, the White House said on Wednesday. "Today, we will hit a major milestone in our global effort: 400 million vaccine doses shipped to 112 countries ... for free, no strings attached," White House COVID-19 Coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters at a briefing.

Pfizer, Moderna shots safe during in vitro fertilization; healthy gut bacteria may help prevent long COVID

The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that has yet to be certified by peer review. mRNA vaccines safe during in vitro fertilization

Some European states plan to ease COVID curbs, others seek to tighten

Denmark and Austria on Wednesday became the latest countries to ease COVID-19 restrictions, following similar moves by Britain, Ireland and the Netherlands, while other countries in Europe planned new measures to battle record numbers of infections. The European region as a whole no longer accounts for half or more than half of global deaths and infections according to Reuters COVID-19 data, but the numbers remain high, with particular concern in countries with lower vaccination rates.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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