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EU approves fifth COVID-19 vaccine – Report

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BELGIUM, KUWAIT, US, BELGIUM, KUWAIT: The European Union approved its fifth COVID-19 vaccine Monday, stepping up its battle against the Omicron virus variant as the WHO called for greater efforts to ensure the pandemic ends next year.

The EU’s authorisation of the jab from US firm Novavax, which uses a more conventional technology than other Covid vaccines, has raised hopes that people worried about getting vaccinated might now come forward.

It is the fifth vaccine approved in the bloc after shots from Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, and the EU has already signed a deal to buy up to 200 million doses of the two-shot Novavax vaccine.

EU Chief Ursula von der Leyen has warned that the Omicron variant could be dominant in Europe by mid-January.

“At a time where the Omicron variant is rapidly spreading… I am particularly pleased with today’s authorisation of the Novavax vaccine,” von der Leyen said in a statement.

But US President Joe Biden said Monday that he was not planning on “locking the country down”.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for nations to redouble efforts to help end the pandemic, calling for new year events to be cancelled because it was better to “celebrate later than to celebrate now and grieve later.

London on Monday announced it had cancelled a New Year’s Eve event in the central Trafalgar Square for 6,500 people.

Paris has already cancelled its new year celebrations and Germany is expected to roll out tight restrictions on private parties and close nightclubs.

“New Year’s Eve celebrations with a large number of people are unjustifiable in the current situation,” reads the draft document.

German Government advisers were already urging much tighter restrictions across the board, with experts in several countries warning repeatedly that vaccinations alone will not be enough to stop Omicron.

Morocco has announced a blanket ban on New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Meanwhile, Kuwait will require anyone who has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for nine months to get a booster shot, the Government Communication Centre tweeted today.

Meanwhile, The US’ State of Texas on Monday reported its first death related to the Omicron COVID-19 variant, a man who was unvaccinated, the Harris County health department said.

The victim, aged between 50-60 years old, was at higher risk of severe complications from COVID-19 as he was unvaccinated, the health department said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the fast-spreading Omicron variant is now the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the United States, health authorities reported Monday.

Omicron now accounts for 73.2 percent of new US cases over the past week ending Saturday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. In some regions of the country — the Pacific Northwest, South and parts of the Midwest — it already comprises more than 90 percent of new infections.


Wednesday, December 22, 2021 – 01:00

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