WHO: COVID boosters should start with most vulnerable
The World Health Organization says that coronavirus vaccine boosters should now now be offered to people, starting with the most vulnerable, in a move away from its previous insistence that boosters were unnecessary for healthy adults and an acknowledgment that the vaccine supply is improving globally.
WHO: Omicron could spread faster but it's still not certain
The World Health Organization says early evidence suggests the omicron variant of the coronavirus may be spreading faster than the highly transmissible delta variant and brings with it less severe disease — although it’s too early to make firm conclusions.
WHO members eye pandemic preparation as new variant emerges
The World Health Organization is opening a long-planned special session of member states to discuss ways to strengthen the global fight against pandemics like the coronavirus, just as the worrying new omicron variant has sparked immediate concerns worldwide.
A year on, WHO still struggling to manage pandemic response
It also declined to publicly call out countries — particularly China — for mistakes that senior WHO officials grumbled about privately. Only when WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared a “pandemic” six weeks later, on March 11, 2020, did most governments take action, experts said. Ad“If WHO’s recommendations are not strong enough, we could see the pandemic go on much longer,” he said. With several licensed vaccines, WHO is now working to ensure that people in the world’s poorest countries receive doses through the COVAX initiative, which is aimed at ensuring poor countries get COVID-19 vaccines. AdIrwin Redlener of Columbia University said WHO should be more aggressive in instructing countries what to do, given the extremely unequal way COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed.
Countries urge drug companies to share COVID-19 vaccine know-how
But that knowledge belongs to the large pharmaceutical companies who have produced the first three vaccines authorized by countries including Britain, the European Union and the U.S. — Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca. AdThe deal-by-deal approach also means that some poorer countries end up paying more for the same vaccine than richer countries. AstraZeneca said the price of the vaccine will differ depending on local production costs and how much countries order. Pharmaceutical companies say instead of lifting IP restrictions, rich countries should simply give more vaccines to poorer countries through COVAX, the public-private initiative WHO helped create for more equitable vaccine distribution. “People are literally dying because we cannot agree on intellectual property rights,” said Mustaqeem De Gama, a South African diplomat involved in the WTO discussions.
Amid short supplies, vaccine doses can be 6 weeks apart, WHO says
An employee of the Municipal Health Service GGD administers a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to a health care worker at a coronavirus vaccination facility in Houten, central Netherlands, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)GENEVA – World Health Organization experts on Friday issued recommendations that the interval between administration of two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against the coronavirus can be extended to up to six weeks. It said an interval of 21 to 28 days between the doses is recommended. The agency also said it also does not recommend COVID-19 vaccination of travelers unless they face high risks or qualify as priority cases. It also cited a lack of evidence about whether vaccination reduces the risk of transmission of the virus to other people.
EXPLAINER: Scientists trying to understand new virus variant
Scientists say there is reason for concern and more to learn but that the new variants should not cause alarm. Worry has been growing since before Christmas, when Britain’s prime minister said the coronavirus variant seemed to spread more easily than earlier ones and was moving rapidly through England. A: New variants have been seen almost since the virus was first detected in China nearly a year ago. Scientists are still working to confirm whether the variant in England spreads more easily, but they are finding some evidence that it does. A: Scientists believe current vaccines will still be effective against the variant, but they are working to confirm that.
Lesson not learned: Europe unprepared as 2nd virus wave hits
Europes second wave of coronavirus infections has struck well before flu season even started. Spain this week declared a state of emergency for Madrid amid increasing tensions between local and national authorities over virus containment measures. “I have to say clearly that the situation is not good," the Czech interior minister, Jan Hamacek, acknowledged this week. “We are in the fall wave without having resolved the summer wave,” she told an online forum this week. Half of Campania’s 100 ICU virus beds are now in use.
WHO experts to visit China as part of COVID-19 investigation
BEIJING Two World Health Organization experts will spend the next two days in the Chinese capital to lay the groundwork for a larger mission to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 120 nations called for an investigation into the origins of the virus at the World Health Assembly in May. China has insisted that WHO lead the investigation and for it to wait until the pandemic is brought under control. The last WHO coronavirus-specific mission to China was in February, after which the teams leader, Canadian doctor Bruce Aylward, praised Chinas containment efforts and information-sharing. An Associated Press investigation showed that In January, WHO officials were privately frustrated over the lack of transparency and access in China, according to internal audio recordings.
World Health Organization weighs in on facts, myths about COVID-19
There is a lot of information coming out each day about the novel coronavirus COVID-19, but amid the pandemic, there are also a lot of myths. The World Health Organization is setting straight some invalid things you might have seen or heard about COVID-19. There are no specific medicines to prevent or treat the COVID-19 virus. COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in hot and humid climates. This specific virus, because it’s so new and different, will need its own vaccine.
What does COVID-19 stand for, anyway? A complete coronavirus glossary
Does anyone else feel like we’re in the midst of some pretty unsettling times? Even if you’re trying to keep a level head about where things stand with the coronavirus pandemic, it’s easy to turn on the TV or open social media and start to feel pretty overwhelmed, pretty quickly. For some, you can’t go out to eat, you’re now working from home and your kids aren’t even going to school. And with that, we thought we’d provide the following playbook. Yes, there is some science jargon involved here, but we tried to break it down for you in a way that’s easy to read and digestible.