in Tiananmen Square, on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, when he reiterated China’s claim to Taiwan, a self-ruled island democracy. President Biden has mentioned four times that the United States is prepared to help Taiwan resist aggression. Each time his aides have walked back his comments somewhat, however, emphasizing that the United States retains a policy of “strategic ambiguity” regarding its support for the island.

Even a vague mention by Mr. Xi at the party congress of a timeline for trying to bring Taiwan under the mainland’s political control could damage financial confidence in both Taiwan and the mainland.

The most important task of the ruling elite at the congress is to confirm the party’s leadership.

Particularly important to business is who in the lineup will become the new premier. The premier leads the cabinet but not the military, which is directly under Mr. Xi. The position oversees the finance ministry, commerce ministry and other government agencies that make many crucial decisions affecting banks, insurers and other businesses. Whoever is chosen will not be announced until a separate session of the National People’s Congress next March, but the day after the congress formally ends, members of the new Politburo Standing Committee — the highest body of political power in China — will walk on a stage in order of rank. The order in which the new leadership team walks may make clear who will become premier next year.

a leading hub of entrepreneurship and foreign investment in China. Neither has given many clues about their economic thinking since taking posts in Beijing. Mr. Wang had more of a reputation for pursuing free-market policies while in Guangdong.

Mr. Hu is seen as having a stronger political base than Mr. Wang because he is still young enough, 59, to be a potential successor to Mr. Xi. That political strength could give him the clout to push back a little against Mr. Xi’s recent tendency to lean in favor of greater government and Communist Party control of the private sector.

Precisely because Mr. Hu is young enough to be a possible successor, however, many businesspeople and experts think Mr. Xi is more likely to choose Mr. Wang or a dark horse candidate who poses no potential political threat to him.

In any case, the power of the premier has diminished as Mr. Xi has created a series of Communist Party commissions to draft policies for ministries, including a commission that dictates many financial policies.

What do you think? Let us know:


>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

STD, STI Cases Rise Each Year. Why Isn’t The U.S. Making Any Progress?

The pandemic might have made rising STD/STI numbers even worse. Health officials have urged action, but prevention efforts have stalled for years.

Public health has been top of mind for many the last couple of years, but there’s a public health problem that has largely flown under the radar: a growing rate of sexually transmitted diseases and infections.

The number of STD and STI cases among Americans have been rising steadily each year since 2014. Even the pandemic, which trapped millions inside their homes, didn’t really make a dent in those numbers, and it might have made it worse.

These rising numbers have led many health officials to raise an alarm and urge action. Many experts believe one of the causes behind this problem is the lack of knowledge about the basic principles of safe sex, typically taught in sex education classes.

In fact, a Centers for Disease Control survey from 2019 showed that nearly 46% of sexually-active high school students did not use a condom the last time they had sex. That’s a huge problem considering the fact that out of all new STDs reported to the CDC each year, half were among young people aged 15 to 24.

The numbers show there were 2.4 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in 2020, which is the most recent year of data.

Chlamydia is currently the most common STD in the U.S., with 1.6 million cases reported to the CDC that year. While its numbers saw a slight drop from 2016, the CDC notes that the drops are probably not really because of an actual drop in infections. Since chlamydia is usually asymptomatic, case rates are heavily influenced by screening coverage, which the pandemic worsened.

Although overall cases of STDs and STIs fell in the pandemic’s early months, the CDC acknowledges that’s likely due to the reduced frequency of in-person health care services, resulting in fewer screenings. STD test and lab supply shortages, the diversion of health workers to pandemic response teams, and lapses in health insurance due to unemployment also contributed. Plus, the pandemic came after years of cuts to public health funding.

As anticipated by many experts, numbers picked up again at the end of 2020, with other diseases like gonorrhea and syphilis surpassing 2019 levels, according to CDC data. Preliminary data from 2021 shows there were more than 2.5 million reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in that year, meaning STDs and STIs continued to increase during the second year of the pandemic too, with no signs of slowing.

The CDC says it’s likely, “…we may never know the full impact of the pandemic on STDs. What is clear, however, is the state of STDs did not improve in the United States. Prevention and control efforts remain as important as ever.”

But, the country’s prevention and control methods need work. Comprehensive sex ed programs would be a start on prevention among the most commonly affected age group, but robust public testing and information campaigns could help all Americans. Public health funding, however, has faced slashes for years, taking a toll on STD screening and prevention efforts.

“Public funding cuts will prevent the public health system, the safety net, of being able to track down people’s partners so that your index patient doesn’t get reinfected because their partner was also treated appropriately,” said Dr. Anna Maya Powell, co-director of the Johns Hopkins HIV Women’s Program. “It’s easy to say, ‘People should take personal responsibility and come in for care,’ but I think the picture is a lot more complex than that.”

Only 2.5% of all health spending in the U.S. — which is about $3.8 trillion — is spent on public health and prevention programs. Last year, the Biden administration did announce a $1.13 billion investment to strengthen the disease intervention specialists (DIS) workforce at the CDC, but much of that funding seems to be for the agency’s pandemic response. 

Still, there’s reason for some optimism: There has been progress on STDs and STIs since the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and 90s. The STI spread rapidly in the country then, especially among certain groups, like men who have sex with other men. 

Years of public information campaigns and research into treatment brought numbers down through the early 2000s and to a stable level by 2013. More recent figures may seem to hint at further progress on the overall HIV cases during the early pandemic, but those figures are also misleading because of the sharp drop in testing.

Plus, many experts have criticized the focus of historic HIV treatment and prevention efforts as largely being focused on treating rich, white, gay men and transgender groups, leaving out many lower-income Americans, people of color and women.

Women in general face a greater burden when it comes to sexual health. Many studies have established that women have a higher biological risk for contracting many STIs and HIV than men, with a higher probability of transmission from men to women.

“Women tend to be more asymptomatic for a lot of a lot of the conditions we’re talking about,” Dr. Powell said. “Not having symptoms maybe gives people a false sense of security, and then they don’t come in to get the routine screening that they might have otherwise if things were open and accessible.”

Black women in particular suffer higher numbers of both HIV and other STDs like herpes, and many experts say public prevention efforts have failed to address these groups adequately. Overall, inconsistencies in access to health care and prevention programs across different demographics throughout the country have affected our national battle against STDs and STIs. 

“We have had data that shows consistently what we need to be doing in the sexually transmitted infections, those cases in reproductive health,” said Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis, director of health for the city of St. Louis, Missouri. “We need to make sure that those policies are as standardized as possible so that they’re easily implementable and therefore easy to track data, data that then feeds back into the funding.”



>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

U.S. May Expand Monkeypox Vaccine Eligibility To Men With HIV

By Associated Press
September 9, 2022

Currently, CDC recommends the vaccine to people who are a close contact of someone who has monkeypox or who believes they were exposed to the virus.

U.S. officials are considering broadening recommendations for who gets vaccinated against monkeypox, possibly to include many men with HIV or those recently diagnosed with other sexually transmitted diseases.

Driving the discussion is a study released Thursday showing that a higher-than-expected share of monkeypox infections are in people with other sexually transmitted infections.

Dr. John T. Brooks, chief medical officer for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s monkeypox outbreak response, said the report represents a “call to action.”

Brooks told The Associated Press on Thursday that he expected vaccine recommendations to expand and that “the White House, together with CDC, are working on a plan for what that will look like.”

Currently, the CDC recommends the vaccine to people who are a close contact of someone who has monkeypox; people who know a sexual partner was diagnosed in the past two weeks; and gay or bisexual men who had multiple sexual partners in the last two weeks in an area with known virus spread.

Shots are also recommended for health care workers at high risk of exposure.

The vast majority of monkeypox cases are in men who have sex with men who reported close contact with an infected person during sex. But the new CDC report suggested infections in people with HIV and other STDs may be a bigger issue than previously realized.

The report looked at about 2,000 monkeypox cases from four states and four cities from mid-May to late July.

It found 38% of those with monkeypox infections had been diagnosed with HIV, far higher than their share of the population among men who have sex with men.

The study also found that 41% of monkeypox patients had been diagnosed with an STD in the preceding year. And about 10% of those patients had been diagnosed with three or more different STDs in the prior year.

There were racial differences. More than 60% of Black Americans with monkeypox had HIV, compared with 41% of Hispanic people, 28% of White people and 22% of Asian Americans.

Jason Farley, an infectious disease expert at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, said men of color who have sex with men should be at the front of the line for monkeypox vaccine doses. Within those racial and ethnic groups, the next priority should be anyone living with HIV or was recently diagnosed with a STD, he said.

The study has several limitations, including that the data may not be nationally representative, the authors said.

Brooks said the findings could lead to vaccines being recommended for people with recent STD infections, people with HIV, people taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medications to prevent HIV infection and, possibly, prostitutes.

Discussions of expanding eligibility will have to take into account supply of the two-dose vaccine. And any substantial expansion of monkeypox vaccination recommendations may also be subject to review by CDC’s outside vaccine advisers, health officials say.

Also on Thursday, the CDC sent a letter to state and local health departments that said federal funds for HIV and STD prevention can also now be used against monkeypox. Cases in the U.S. seem to be declining, officials say.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.



>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Pandemic Fatigue Could Cause Problems For Public Health

As most people get tired of dealing with the pandemic, experts worry Congress will too, which could affect vaccines, tests and other policies.

It’s been a long pandemic, and COVID still isn’t fully gone. Now, monkeypox and polio have entered the conversation.

Many are still trying to figure out what a degree of normalcy looks like, but as tired as people are, how much worse is it for the actual public health system?

It’s led to a whole array of challenges for public health, and that could have major consequences for an already weary U.S. health system.

While public health got a boost in funding during the heights of the pandemic, the Biden administration is already pulling back on funding for tests and vaccines because of a lack of funding from Congress.

It worries experts like Thoai Ngo, an epidemiologist working at the health justice research nonprofit the Population Council.

“My main worry right now is that because of how we operate, we will erode trust from people in public health institutions,” Ngo said. “We will make it harder for us to control and manage the current epidemics: COVID-19, monkeypox, polio and future epidemics.”

So, what does the U.S. public health picture look like with COVID now?

Federal officials in places like the White House and CDC celebrate the role vaccines have played in preventing severe disease and death. The numbers show they definitely have, with COVID deaths in the last few months largely staying at a low point that we only saw briefly last spring and summer.

The CDC has used this as the basis for its new guidance from mid-August, which do away with the recommendations to practice social distancing and to quarantine if exposed to COVID.

It’s that reduction in severe disease and death that has underpinned the rollback of universal mask mandates nationwide and vaccine mandates in many places. 

Dr. Shira Doron, a hospital epidemiologist at Tufts Medical Center, has helped advise officials in Massachusetts on COVID policies, including in schools. She welcomes some of the new policies that roll back restrictions now that ways to prevent severe outcomes are readily available.

“The fact that we have all of those layers now, vaccines, tests and treatments just puts us in a completely different place in terms of that risk of severe disease, which is what we care about, which is the only thing we can hear about because we just can’t prevent infection,” Dr. Doron said. “That infection is too contagious.”

But even with low death rates, the U.S. is still losing more than 500 people every day. That means the U.S. is still losing as many Americans from COVID-19 in two weeks as it lost from two decades of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For those who center their work on immunocompromised people, policies rooted in fatigue with the virus look like an admission that the virus has won.

“I just think that, particularly with the recent CDC guideline, it’s confirming to me that the Biden administration and our federal health officials have given up on controlling infections of COVID-19, and they left the vulnerable, the elderly, the immunocompromised, people with disability in the cold,” Ngo said.

Then there’s long COVID, which is more than just a few extra weeks of the sniffles.

It’s personal for Elizabeth Jacobs. She’s an epidemiologist at the University of Arizona who has two illnesses that suppress her immune system. 

“We’re seeing things like fatigue,” Jacobs said. “That is really hard to describe. I think that a lot of people use fatigue in the colloquial sense of, ‘I’m just tired.’ But for somebody like me who has genuine fatigue caused by autoimmune diseases, it’s not like that. It’s more like you have cement blocks tied to your legs and arms, and you just can’t really even move around a lot. You have trouble getting out of bed and even sitting up in front of a computer is really difficult.”

Beyond her concern about her own risk if she contracts COVID, Jacobs worries that a shift away from preventing infection could make it harder to solve other problems tied to it. 

“Is it that people are tired of mitigation with masking, or is it that we are tired of things like flight cancellations and supply chain issues and having our children out sick from school and needing to care for our loved ones and seeing our neighbors die?” Jacobs asked. “Because if it’s the latter that is causing fatigue in us, then that is not being caused by mitigation. It’s being caused by the lack of mitigations.”

Then, there’s monkeypox.

In short, public health officials at federal and local levels have said they believe the response started slower than it should have. Tests and vaccines have also been hard to come by, although there’s hope that new shipments in the coming months should make it easier to vaccinate people at risk.

It sounds similar to some of the early missteps in addressing COVID-19, and that might not be a coincidence.

“The response to monkeypox, from what I can tell, is very much influenced by the law over the last two years of COVID, right?” said Jared Auclair, director of the biopharmaceutical analysis and training lab at Northeastern University. “People just don’t want to think about it and just don’t want to deal with it. Taking that mindset of slow rolling into a response because you are exhausted from COVID and don’t want to, you don’t want to have any repercussions like you’re being alarmist.”

The good news about vaccine demand outstripping supply is that there’s a high degree of interest from at-risk groups. Monkeypox is primarily affecting gay and bisexual men who have sex with men. 

“In general, that community has been very direct and forthcoming about wanting to take steps to to to protect itself and others,” said Jen Kates, director of the global health and HIV policy Program at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

While those affected by monkeypox aren’t putting aside getting their shots, pandemic fatigue is having a knock-on effect for other outbreaks.

“What has happened though is because of this pushback on the public health authorities putting in place requirements or guidance, there’s been an increasing move, as we’ve seen across the country, to attack, to sort of apply this to other public health interventions,” Kates said. “Well, we don’t want our children to be forced to have immunizations for schools, things like that, which is frankly very dangerous.”

So polio, diphtheria and all those other diseases many get vaccinated against without thinking about as a kid — if pandemic fatigue continues to translate to underfunding public health, all of those could also come back.

“The worst case scenario of that is that we get used to having those old diseases come back, that we have children dying of diphtheria, we have communities impacted by polio and… with limited resources,” said Amanda McClelland, senior vice president of the Prevent Epidemics Team at Resolve to Save Lives.

Even going back to COVID, the message from public health experts about how to keep things from getting much worse is to invest in the tools we need to keep risk low.

“I am not terribly concerned about pandemic fatigue when experienced by somebody with a fair amount of immunity, but I am concerned about Congress having pandemic fatigue,” Dr. Doron said. “I think that it is still really important that the government be focused on COVID-19, even though I don’t think every individual needs to be so focused on COVID-19 anymore because we can be pretty safe if the government continues to fund the things that are keeping us safe.”



>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Children, College Students Diagnosed With Monkeypox Raise Alarm

School-age children diagnosed with monkeypox are raising concern before the return to school, but officials say the spread of risk is still small.

Three children in Georgia elementary schools have been diagnosed with monkeypox, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Nationwide, the CDC reports 17 children ages 15 and under have been diagnosed with monkeypox in the U.S. However, health officials say the risk of monkeypox spreading in school-age children is small.

In New York City, health officials say parents and schools should be prepared with information about the virus, but they don’t think schools are a center of major transmission risk.

“I am taking precautions myself such as sanitizing, trying to stay out of large groups of people,” said Willa Coleman, freshman at the University of Kentucky.

Universities are also on alert against the spread of the virus.

“I think it’s important for college students to realize that the risk is low but not zero, and it’s largely dependent on your behavior and activities,” said Dr. Thomas Russo, chief of the division of infectious disease at the University of Buffalo.

At least five universities have confirmed cases of the virus among students: Washington, D.C. schools Georgetown University and George Washington University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Bucknell and West Chester Universities in Pennsylvania.

Monkeypox spreads through close, physical contact between people.

“You should be very suspicious of any fever, flu-like illness or rashes that you develop anywhere on your body, and get those investigated,” said Eric Cioe-Pena, director of global heath for Northwell Health.

Health experts hope to end the stigma in the gay community by emphasizing anyone can get infected.

“There’s nothing about monkeypox that makes it more likely to occur in men who have sex with men,” Cioe-Pena said. “It just happens to be circulating right now in a social circle of men who have sex with men because that’s where the index case started, and that’s just bad luck. So, there really is nothing about the lifestyles or habits of that community that make them more at risk.”

Overall though, the World Health Organization says the number of monkeypox cases globally has dropped by 21% in the last week, reversing a month-long trend of rising infections.



>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Why Do We Have An Appendix?

When it comes to flying under the radar, the appendix is in the running for the top spot. 

Sure, you know you have it.  

But what does it actually do? 

And why do we have one? 

Your appendix is the small tube attached to your large intestine. 

There’s a general agreement it might be a left-over organ that stuck around as humans evolved. 

It doesn’t get a lot of credit because you can have it removed it without a big fuss.  

But don’t discount it so easily. 

It could help with your digestion.  

In a 2007 study researchers from Duke University said it helps store good microbes or bacteria that help us digest food. 

These good bacteria leave our body sometimes from diseases; then our appendix releases more of them. 

Other research gives the appendix credit for strengthening our bodies immunity.  

The appendix has lymphoid cells which help the body fight off infections. 

Some research has shown that people without their appendix are more likely to have severe illnesses if they become infected with a germ known as clostridiom difficile. But in general doctors recommend getting rid of your appendix if it becomes diseased. 

There’s no 100% acceptance of exactly what role the appendix serves, but it’s likely not as useless as we may have been taught.  



>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

More Monkeypox Vaccines Will Be Made Available Ahead Of Pride Events

By Maura Sirianni
August 19, 2022

The U.S. is setting aside an extra 50,000 doses of monkeypox vaccines, specifically for large-scale pride events.

As monkeypox cases surge across the U.S., pressure is mounting on the White House and the CDC to distribute more vaccines. But in many cities, there is still a major shortage.

“States don’t really know when vaccines are coming; it’s kind of a day-to-day thing,” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious-disease expert at University of California San Francisco.

The Biden administration is now dividing up what were previously full doses in order to stretch the limited stockpile. Health care providers are also being encouraged to inject the vaccine just below the skin to stretch doses up to five times.

“Seeing a lot of people with sickness and suffering really makes me feel sad because, again, it’s something we have the tools to do, and it really shows us the importance of a system and a well-oiled machine,” Dr. Chin-Hong said.

It’s a distribution hurdle: With the COVID vaccines, the CDC’s detailed “VTrckS” system allows states to track and reorder vaccine supplies, but with monkeypox, the government is repurposing a shot originally designed for smallpox.

According to CDC data, the U.S. has the most infections of any country — nearly 14,000. About 98% of those cases are men, and about 93% were men who reported recent sexual contact with other men.

Officials announced an extra 50,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine are being set aside and shipped to various cities ahead of upcoming pride celebrations.

“This is a two-dose vaccine series, and receiving the vaccine at these events will not provide protection at the event itself,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC director. “We recognize that there are going to be some people who have traveled to large scale events and that they’re going to have to receive dose one of their vaccine at the event, and then they won’t necessarily receive dose two at their local jurisdiction, and we anticipate that.”

Health officials say the number of doses sent to each location will be based on event size and the number of health workers available to administer shots, as well as the number of attendees considered “high risk” for catching or spreading the disease.

For those living in major cities and are able to travel, one health expert says taking a drive 20 or 30 minutes outside the city may create more luck finding doses in less crowded areas.

In the meantime, the White House says it will continue to stretch a limited supply.



>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

EU Regulator OKs Plan To Increase Monkeypox Vaccine Supplies

By Associated Press
August 19, 2022

EU authorities could decide “as a temporary measure” to use smaller doses of the vaccine to protect vulnerable people during the ongoing outbreak.

A smaller dose of the monkeypox vaccine appears to still be effective and can be used to stretch the current supply by five times, the European Medicines Agency said Friday, echoing a recommendation made earlier this month by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The EU drug regulator said in a statement that injecting people with just one-fifth the regular dose of the smallpox vaccine made by Bavarian Nordic appeared to produce similar levels of antibodies against monkeypox as a full dose.

The approach calls for administering Bavarian Nordic’s vaccine with an injection just under the skin rather than into deeper tissue, a practice that may stimulate a better immune response. People still need to get two doses, about four weeks apart.

The EMA said national authorities could decide “as a temporary measure” to use smaller doses of the vaccine to protect vulnerable people during the ongoing monkeypox outbreak.

EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides said the decision would allow the vaccination of five times as many people with the continent’s current supply.

“This ensures greater access to vaccination for citizens at risk and healthcare workers,” she said in a statement.

Earlier this month, the U.S. FDA authorized a similar plan to extend the country’s monkeypox vaccine stocks. The technique has previously been used to stretch supplies of vaccines during other outbreaks, including yellow fever and polio.

The unusual recommendations from both regulators acknowledge the extremely limited global supplies of the Jynneos vaccine, originally developed against smallpox. Bavarian Nordic is the only company that makes it and it expects to have about 16 million doses available this year. On Thursday, the U.S. also announced a new agreement with a Michigan manufacturer to help speed production of 5.5 million vaccine vials recently ordered by the government.

The EMA authorized the vaccine in July based on experimental data that suggested it would work; the World Health Organization has estimated the shot is about 85% effective at preventing monkeypox.

Globally, there are more than 40,000 cases of monkeypox, of which about half are in Europe. Earlier this week, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said there has been a 20% increase in cases reported in the last two weeks and that nearly all infections have been reported in men who are gay, bisexual or have sex with other men.

Tedros said WHO was in talks with vaccine manufacturers and countries to see if any might be willing to share doses. Africa has reported the highest number of suspected monkeypox deaths and although the disease has been endemic in parts of central and west Africa for decades, it has only a small supply of vaccines being used as part of a research study.

About 98% of monkeypox cases beyond Africa have been reported in men who are gay, bisexual or have sex with other men. WHO said there is no sign of sustained transmission beyond men who have sex with men, although a small number of women and children have also been sickened by the disease.

Monkeypox spreads when people have close, physical contact with an infected person’s lesions, their clothing or bedsheets. Most people recover without needing treatment, but the lesions can be extremely painful and more severe cases can result in complications including brain inflammation and death.

In the U.K., which at one point had the biggest outbreak outside Africa, officials said earlier this week they have seen signs the outbreak is slowing down.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.



>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

WHO: World Coronavirus Cases Fall 24%, Deaths Rise In Asia

By Associated Press
August 19, 2022

The U.N. health agency said there were 5.4 million new COVID-19 cases reported last week, a decline of 24% from the previous week.

New coronavirus cases reported globally dropped nearly a quarter in the last week while deaths fell 6% but were still higher in parts of Asia, according to a report Thursday on the pandemic by the World Health Organization.

The U.N. health agency said there were 5.4 million new COVID-19 cases reported last week, a decline of 24% from the previous week. Infections fell everywhere in the world, including by nearly 40% in Africa and Europe and by a third in the Middle East. COVID deaths rose in the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia by 31% and 12% respectively, but fell or remained stable everywhere else.

At a press briefing Wednesday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said reported coronavirus deaths over the past month have surged 35%, and noted there had been 15,000 deaths in the past week.

“15,000 deaths a week is completely unacceptable, when we have all the tools to prevent infections and save lives,” Tedros said. He said the number of virus sequences shared every week has plummeted 90%, making it extremely difficult for scientists to monitor how COVID-19 might be mutating.

“But none of us is helpless,” Tedros said. “Please get vaccinated if you are not, and if you need a booster, get one.”

On Thursday, WHO’s vaccine advisory group recommended for the first time that people most vulnerable to COVID-19, including older people, those with underlying health conditions and health workers, get a second booster shot. Numerous other health agencies and countries made the same recommendation months ago.

The expert group also said it had evaluated data from the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for younger people and said children and teenagers were in the lowest priority group for vaccination, since they are far less likely to get severe disease.

Joachim Hombach, who sits on WHO’s vaccine expert group, said it was also uncertain whether the experts would endorse widespread boosters for the general population or new combination vaccines that target the Omicron variant.

“We need to see what the data will tell us and we need to see actually (what) will be the advantage of these vaccines that comprise an (Omicron) strain,” he said.

Dr. Alejandro Cravioto, the expert group’s chair, said that unless vaccines were proven to stop transmission, their widespread use would be “a waste of the vaccine and a waste of time.”

Earlier this week, British authorities authorized an updated version of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine that targets Omicron and the U.K. government announced it would be offered to people over 50 beginning next month.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.



>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Monkeypox Can Spread To Pet Dogs, Doctors Report

By Associated Press
August 17, 2022

Pets that come in close contact with a symptomatic person should be kept at home and away from other animals and people for 21 days.

Health officials are warning people who are infected with monkeypox to stay away from household pets, since the animals could be at risk of catching the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for months has had the advice in place as monkeypox spreads in the U.S. But it gained new attention after a report from France, published last week in the medical journal Lancet, about an Italian greyhound that caught the virus.

The dog belongs to a couple who said they sleep alongside the animal. The two men were infected with monkeypox after having sex with other partners and wound up with lesions and other symptoms. The greyhound later developed lesions and was diagnosed with the virus.

Monkeypox infections have been detected in rodents and other wild animals, which can spread the virus to humans. But the authors called it the first report of monkeypox infection in a domesticated animal like a dog or cat.

Pets that come in close contact with a symptomatic person should be kept at home and away from other animals and people for 21 days after the most recent contact, the CDC advises.

 Additional reporting by The Associated Press.



>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<