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World: European countries seek more COVID booster shots, vaccinations for children

NYC Health Officials Urge COVID Boosters for Everyone Amid Statewide Spike in Cases

  NYC Health Officials Urge COVID Boosters for Everyone Amid Statewide Spike in Cases As of Sunday, New York state has averaged 5,282 new COVID-19 cases per day over the past seven days. Infections have increased 40% since Halloween.The number of people testing positive each day statewide has increased 40 percent since Halloween. As of Sunday, New York was averaging 5,282 new cases per day over the past seven days, according to the Associated Press.

(Reuters) - European countries such as France expanded COVID-19 booster vaccinations and started plans to get shots to children as young as five on Thursday as the continent battles a surge in coronavirus cases and worries grow about the economic fallout.

FILE PHOTO: Police check COVID-19 measures in Dresden © Reuters/MATTHIAS RIETSCHEL FILE PHOTO: Police check COVID-19 measures in Dresden Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Lisbon © Reuters/PEDRO NUNES Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Lisbon

Europe is at the heart of the latest COVID-19 wave, reporting a million new infections roughly every two days and currently accounting for nearly two thirds of new infections worldwide.

West Virginia Becomes Fourth State to Allow All Adults to Get COVID Booster Shots

  West Virginia Becomes Fourth State to Allow All Adults to Get COVID Booster Shots The state joins California, Colorado and New Mexico, which all enacted new policies in the hopes of curbing surges caused by end-of-year holiday gatherings. © Chris Jackson/AP Photo West Virginia has joined the number of states allowing coronavirus booster shots for all adults. West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice celebrates his reelection at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., on Nov. 3, 2020.

Germany crossed the threshold of 100,000 COVID-19-related deaths on Thursday, with a total of 100,119 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases. The number of new daily cases hit a new record of 75,961.

Data from Germany showed the surge in infections is weighing on consumer morale in Europe's largest economy, dampening business prospects in the Christmas shopping season.

The European Commission proposed on Thursday that EU residents will need to have booster shots if they want to travel to another country in the bloc next summer free of tests or quarantines.

In France, authorities announced that booster shots would be made available to everyone aged over 18, rather than just the over-65s and those with underlying health issues.

State officials from California to Maine are already giving out Covid boosters to all adults

  State officials from California to Maine are already giving out Covid boosters to all adults New York and Rhode Island are asking adults in high-transmission areas to get boosted, while New Jersey and Minnesota are planning to expand eligibility.Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Mexico, Vermont and West Virginia are promoting the widespread rollout of boosters for any fully vaccinated adult. New York and Rhode Island are asking adults in elevated-exposure areas to get boosted, while New Jersey and Minnesota are planning to expand eligibility in the days ahead. California's also asking medical providers not to turn away any adults who request a booster.

Many countries are rolling out or increasing the use of booster shots https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/countries-weigh-need-booster-covid-19-shots-2021-09-24, although the World Health Organization wants the most vulnerable people worldwide to be fully vaccinated first.

COVID-19 test in Nice © Reuters/ERIC GAILLARD COVID-19 test in Nice

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on Wednesday recommended https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/eus-health-agency-says-vaccine-boosters-should-be-considered-all-adults-2021-11-24 vaccine boosters for all adults, with priority for those over 40.

In Africa, where just 6.6% of the population of 1.2 billion is fully vaccinated, many countries are struggling with the logistics of accelerating their inoculation campaigns as deliveries of vaccines finally pick up, the head of Africa's disease control body said on Thursday.

All American adults now eligible for coronavirus booster shots

  All American adults now eligible for coronavirus booster shots Booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines are now available to anyone in the U.S. over the age of 18, after Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky signed off on the recommendations of an agency advisory panel.Effective immediately, tens of millions of people who are at least six months past their last Pfizer or Moderna shot are eligible for a booster dose. Friday's action represents the culmination of a long-running debate among experts over who should be eligible for booster shots and belatedly delivers on President Biden's promise of widespread boosters for all adults by September.

VACCINATIONS FOR YOUNG CHILDREN

There is a growing push in some countries for vaccinating young children.

The EU's medicines watchdog on Thursday approved use of Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine in 5- to 11-year-olds at a lower dose, after authorising it for children as young as 12 in May. The European Commission will issue a final decision, which is expected on Friday.

Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic were preparing to inoculate younger children following the European Medicines Agency's approval, although deliveries of the lower doses are not due until Dec. 20.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Lisbon © Reuters/PEDRO NUNES Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Lisbon

In France, where the number of infections is doubling every 11 days, Health Minister Olivier Veran said he would ask health regulators to examine whether 5- to 11-year-olds should be able to get vaccinated.

STRICTER CURBS

Many European countries are toughening curbs.

Slovakia went into a two-week lockdown on Thursday, following neighbouring Austria that began a lockdown on Monday, as the country with one of the EU's lowest vaccination rates reported a critical situation in hospitals and new infections that topped global tables.

Should you get a booster shot? Experts say it's time

  Should you get a booster shot? Experts say it's time The question has been hotly debated for months but over the last week, a larger pro-booster consensus has formed. According to an October survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4 in 10 vaccinated adults were unsure if they qualified for a booster. So far, just 32 million Americans have received a booster, or around 18% of the more than 182 million adults who are fully vaccinated.

Authorities ordered all but essential shops and services closed and banned people from travelling outside their districts unless going to work, school, or a doctor. Gatherings of more than six people were banned.

French authorities said rules on wearing face masks will be tightened and checks on health passes used for entry to public places will be increased. But officials said there was no need to follow European countries that have reimposed lockdowns.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Lisbon © Reuters/PEDRO NUNES Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Lisbon

In Germany, Greens co-leader Annalena Baerbock said the new government, comprising the Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Free Democrats (FDP), had set itself 10 days to decide if further restrictions are needed.

Much of Germany has already introduced rules to restrict access to indoor activities to people who have been vaccinated or have recovered.

In the Netherlands, the number of coronavirus patients in hospital has hit levels not seen since early May, and experts have warned that hospitals will reach full capacity in little more than a week if the virus is not contained.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Lisbon © Reuters/PEDRO NUNES Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Lisbon

National broadcaster NOS reported on Thursday the Dutch government's leading Outbreak Management Team has advised the closure of restaurants, bars, and non-essential stores by 5 p.m. as part of a new package of lockdown measures, but the government was not due to make a decision until Friday.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Madeline Chambers, Emma Thomasson, Radovan Stoklasa, Gergely Szakacs, Anthony Deutsch and Reuters bureaus, Writing by Frances Kerry; Editing by Josephine Mason and Angus MacSwan)

Japan starts booster COVID vaccinations amid omicron scare .
TOKYO (AP) — Japan on Wednesday started offering coronavirus vaccine booster shots to health care workers amid growing concerns over a new variant of the virus that has already been detected in the country. Japan's initial vaccination drive kicked off in mid-February and some medical workers who received jabs more than nine months ago are now eager to get additional protection ahead of a possible next wave of infections — especially after the new variant known as omicron, which was first reported in South Africa last week, was found in Japan on Tuesday.

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