(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
COVID-19 vaccines may be less effective against Omicron – WHO
Preliminary evidence indicates that COVID-19 vaccines may be less effective against infection and transmission linked to the Omicron coronavirus variant, which also carries a higher risk of reinfection, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.
The WHO, in its weekly epidemiological update, said that more data was needed to better understand the extent to which Omicron may evade immunity derived from either vaccines or previous infection.
EU regulator backs J&J booster dose for adults
The European Union’s drug regulator on Wednesday recommended that a booster dose of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 shot may be given at least two months after a first dose in people aged 18 years and older, as the bloc battles surging infections.
The European Medicines Agency said its recommendation to allow J&J booster doses follows data that showed the additional shot led to a rise in antibodies against the COVID-causing SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
Germany’s vaccine deliveries to drop sharply in Q1
COVID-19 vaccine deliveries into Germany will drop sharply in the first quarter of next year, the health ministry said on Wednesday, denying a report that the shortfall would reach 60 million doses.
The shortfall, which threatens to undermine the country’s attempt to control a rapidly spreading fourth wave of infections, covers first, second and boosters shots.
German police said on Wednesday they had uncovered a plot by anti-vaccination activists in Saxony to murder the eastern German state’s premier, adding to concerns about increasingly violent protests over plans for mandatory vaccinations.
Poland’s daily COVID death toll hits fourth wave record
Poland’s daily death toll from COVID-19 during the fourth wave of the pandemic has climbed to a record 669, the health ministry said on Wednesday, as the country battles high infection rates with tighter restrictions.
“This is the effect of these last weeks, when the number of cases has accumulated. They are mainly unvaccinated people,” government spokesman Piotr Muller told private broadcaster Radio Zet earlier.
S.Korea considers tightening COVID-19 rules
South Korea warned on Wednesday it may reinstate stricter social distancing curbs as it posted a new record daily coronavirus tally due to a persistent spike in breakthrough infections among those vaccinated and serious cases.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency posted 7,850 cases for Tuesday, with the number of patients in serious condition also reaching a fresh high at 964.
Australia re-opens borders to non-citizens
Australia on Wednesday reopened borders to vaccinated skilled migrants and foreign students after a nearly two-year ban on their entry, in a bid to boost an economy hit by stop-start lockdowns.
The emergence of the Omicron variant forced officials to delay the reopening of international travel by two weeks after health officials sought a pause to get more information.
Sanofi, GSK delay data on vaccine booster candidate
Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline said on Wednesday they expected data from late-stage clinical trials of the booster dose of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate in the first quarter, instead of this year, another delay for the potential shot.
(Compiled by Linda Noakes; editing by Barbara Lewis)