From NYT:

In Israel, people over 60 and medical workers will receive fourth vaccine doses.

”…Israel was one of the first nations to return its society to a semblance of normality after rolling out a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine far faster than most other countries…In Israel, people over 60 and medical workers will receive fourth vaccine doses…. Israel is at the beginning of a fifth virus wave, and has called on people in the country to vaccinate themselves and their children, to work from home and to increase their wearing of masks…”

Holiday traveling and Omicron: Here are some strategies for staying safe.

”…So what can travelers do?…Get a booster. Only one in six Americans have received a booster… Fully vaccinated people without a booster are at least twice as likely to test positive as those who received a booster…Test as close to the gathering as possible….Consider the worst-case scenario. When deciding what is responsible in terms of holiday travel think… about “moral injury” and asking whether you are mentally prepared for the consequences if you infect a vulnerable person.”

Biden’s plan to fight omicron: 5 things to know

1. The Biden administration is preparing to distribute 500 million free at-home COVID-19 testing kits to Americans, according to The New York Times. The federal government plans to create a website where people can request the tests, which won’t be available until January, according to the Times.

2. The federal government will set up new COVID-19 testing sites. The first site will open in New York City this week, according to The Wall Street Journal. Several new sites will open across the U.S. before Dec. 25, according to the Times.

3. The Biden administration will continue to invoke the Defense Protection Act to accelerate production of COVID-19 tests, according to the Journal.

4. The president will announce Dec. 21 that he is directing 1,000 military medical professionals to support overburdened hospitals, according to NBC News. The military medical personnel will be sent to hospitals in January and February as needed, according to the Journal.

5. President Biden will direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assess hospitals’ needs. If a hospital reaches capacity, FEMA will deploy medical teams and ambulances to transport patients to other facilities, according to the Journal.


CDC: Omicron now accounts for 73% of US cases; 1st US death reported

Omicron infections no less severe than delta, early study suggests

COVID-19 vaccine strategies must focus on severe disease and global equity

J. Harris: This article has something for everybody including those who prefer”herd immunity.” Age, state of health, vaccine availablity, types of variants, and other factors are discussed in this GLOBAL strategic planning article. These folks are concerned that poor countries have access to vaccine and medical help.)

In contrast to viruses such as measles, with obligate viraemic spread, infection with seasonal coronaviruses or other common respiratory viruses is not associated with durable immunity to reinfection:

”In 2022, we [WHO] argue that COVID-19 [GLOBAL] vaccine strategies must remain focused on severe disease, and that global equity in achieving high adult coverage (ie, for those aged 18 years and older) of at least one dose is key to minimising severe COVID-19…As for previous variants of concern, disease severity can be anticipated to be greatest in infection-naive, unvaccinated people, with substantial preservation of protection against severe disease in the vaccinated… According to in-vitro data from synthetic polymutant spike-protein pseudoviruses containing 20 or more mutations, vaccine boosting of infection-derived immunity might provide the strongest protection against strains like omicron… If omicron has similar characteristics to delta specifically of decreased vaccine effectiveness against infection and transmission,…[effectiveness} which wanes over time…this feature will similarly reduce the potential for indirect effects of vaccine strategies…”

Global COVID-19 vaccine strategies in 2022

COVID-19 vaccine strategies should continue to prioritise prevention of severe disease

Variants of concern such as delta and potentially omicron render strategies aimed at SARS-CoV-2 transmission unlikely to have more than a short-term effect on preventing severe COVID-19

  • In countries with a high prevalence of previous infection and a low proportion of the population being older than 60 years prioritising delivery of the first dose will have the greatest effect on preventing severe COVID-19
  • In countries with a low prevalence of previous infection and a high proportion of the population being older than 60 years, protection against severe disease in adults requires at least two doses
  • In people who are severely immunocompromised or older than 60 years, evidence supports booster doses of mRNA or adenoviral vector vaccines to prevent severe disease; booster doses for all adults could compromise timely global availability of first doses



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