Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world

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The emergence of the Omicron variant is bringing new urgency to global vaccination efforts.

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why it matters: New forms can emerge anywhere, and spread everywhere. Getting doses for developing countries – and getting those doses into people’s arms – is essential, and that effort is lagging so far.

What are they saying: Gavi CEO Seth Berkeley said, “We will only stop variants from emerging if we are able to protect all of the world’s population, not just the wealthy parts. Working together to ensure the world has equitable access to vaccines.” Is required.” Vaccine Coalition.

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But, but, but: Some countries – including South Africa, where scientists first identified the Omron variant – have adequate doses but are facing distribution challenges, said Scott Gottlieb, who was an FDA commissioner under the Trump administration and is on Pfizer’s board. .

  • “South Africa has asked J&K and Pfizer — the two countries that are distributing vaccines there — to throttle shipments or stop shipments because they have an excess of vaccines,” Gottlieb said. CBS News’ “Face the Nation.” “Of the 30 million doses Pfizer sent to South Africa, only 19 million have been used to date.”

what to watch: Health officials around the world are still racing to find out whether the Omicron variant makes people sick, whether it is more contagious than earlier COVID strains, and whether it evades protection from vaccines.

  • Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” that US officials will meet with South African allies to try to determine the seriousness of such cases.
  • The world’s leading manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines, including Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, said they are working to make their shots Omicron-friendly, CNBC told,
  • Moderna’s chief medical officer, Paul Burton, told the BBC: “We need to be aware of the ability of existing vaccines to provide protection over the next few weeks.”Andrew Marr Show,
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