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COVID-19

U.S. rolls out COVID-19 vaccine for young children, ending long wait for some parents

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(Last Updated On: November 4, 2021)

Seven-year-old Gael Coreas stuck out his left arm fearlessly to receive his first COVID-19 shot at a health clinic in the nation’s capital on Wednesday, wincing briefly as cameras flashed to capture the moment, Reuters reported.

Coreas was in the first cohort of young children to be inoculated as the United States on Wednesday began administering the COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 5 to 11, the latest group to become eligible for the shots that provide protection against the illness to recipients and those around them.

“We are very excited,” Coreas’ mother Alma Benavides, a 37-year-old small business owner, said at Mary Center’s in Washington. “We waited a long time and it’s very special for me.”

According to the report on Tuesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the Pfizer Inc(PFE.N)/BioNTech SE shot for broad use in that age group, four days after it was authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Only a limited amount of the initial 15 million shots being distributed will be available on Wednesday.
They are expected to be more widely accessible at pediatrician’s offices, children’s hospitals and pharmacies next week.

Maria Stout brought her daughters Celeste, 9, and Victoria, 11, to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego for their first COVID-19 shots on Wednesday morning, after a friend told her the hospital’s website had open appointments.

Stout passed along the tip to other parents, some of whom were unable to book appointments, “so it was very fortunate that my friend shared that information with me early,” she said.

The big national pharmacy chains, Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA.O), CVS Health (CVS.N) and Rite Aid (RAD.N) are among those offering appointments for this weekend, Reuters reported.

“We have had significant demand and scheduling already,” CVS Chief Executive Karen Lynch said in an interview on Wednesday. CVS expects to have 2,500 stores administering pediatric shots beginning this weekend.

According to Reuters while about 58% of Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, some 28 million children under 12 have not been eligible until now.

The 10-microgram shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine authorized for school-age kids – a third the strength given to adolescents and adults – offers protection from the Delta variant of the virus that has led to thousands of pediatric hospitalizations.

COVID-19

India sees surge in new COVID-19 infections

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(Last Updated On: June 23, 2022)

India’s ministry of health on Thursday reported they have seen a surge in COVID-19 cases in the country in the past 24 hours.

According to the health ministry, 13,313 new cases were recorded in the last 24 hours, compared to 12,249 cases on Wednesday.

According to the Ministry, 10,972 people have recovered from the infection which took the total number of recoveries to over 42 million.

With the recorded cases, India’s active caseload now stands at 83,990.

The ministry also said 38 people have died in the last 24 hours due to the infection, taking the total number of deaths to 524,941.

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COVID-19

Research finds women more likely than men to suffer from long COVID

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(Last Updated On: June 22, 2022)

Women are far more likely than men to suffer from long COVID, a review, published Tuesday in the journal Current Medical Research and Opinion, stated.

The study led by Shirley Sylvester, senior medical director for women’s health at Johnson & Johnson in New Brunswick, New Jersey in the US included 1.3 million patients, and found women were 22 percent more likely to develop persistent symptoms after a COVID-19 infection than men.

For women, lingering symptoms after a COVID-19 infection included fatigue; ear, nose and throat issues; as well as mood disorders like depression. They also had respiratory symptoms, and neurological, skin, gastrointestinal and rheumatic disorders.

In contrast, men with long COVID were more likely to have endocrine disorders, including diabetes and kidney issues, the study found.

The study also found that patients with diabetes may be up to four times more likely to develop long COVID.

The researchers noted that differences in how men’s and women’s immune systems function could be an important factor.

According to Sylvester and her team, the Omicron variant was less likely than Delta to cause long COVID.

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COVID-19

G20 targets raising $1.5 billion for global pandemic fund, says host Indonesia

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(Last Updated On: June 20, 2022)

The Group of 20 (G20) major economies aims to raise $1.5 billion this year for a fund set up to better prepare for future pandemics, the health minister of current G20 president Indonesia said on Friday.

G20 countries have provisionally agreed to set up a multi-billion dollar fund that health officials have said will finance efforts like surveillance, research, and better access to vaccination for lower-to-middle income countries, among others. 

Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said in an interview the United States, European Union, Indonesia, Singapore and Germany have pledged about $1.1 billion to the fund so far.

“If we can get by the end of this year $1.5 billion of fresh funding, we will be very, very happy,” he told Reuters, adding he hopes the group can raise another $1.5 billion next year.

Indonesia will host the G20 leaders summit in Bali in November.

The World Bank, which will house the fund, and the World Health Organization (WHO), which is advising on the facility, estimated in a report that the annual funding gap for pandemic preparedness is $10.5 billion.

Budi said he will start discussing contributions to the fund with countries like Japan and Britain at a G20 health ministers meeting in Indonesia next week.

“Pandemic is a war, and we have to be ready with enough money when war happens,” he said.

The United States and Indonesia have been pushing for the establishment of the fund to help the world be better prepared to tackle future pandemics, but the WHO has been concerned the fund could undermine its own efforts and those of other global health mechanisms.

But Budi said the WHO will play “a leadership role” in identifying which countries would need the fund or provide other countermeasures.

The World Bank has said the fund is expected to be operational this year, and Budi said the structure for the fund could be established in a few months’ time.

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