EScAPE Newsletter, Issue #45

Reports that are of interest for the week

CEOs and scientists on whether existing vaccines will work against Omicron
Experts are unsure whether the vaccines will work against the Omicron variant. Johnson and Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer report their research against the new variant, and most feel the vaccines will not be able to fight it effectively.

New masks advice: No child to be excluded from school ‘in first instance’
The Department of Education in Ireland is asking that schools reach out to parents before excluding children from in-person learning if they aren’t wearing masks. Their guidance says the parents of young students with difficulty breathing or similar medical conditions can come to an agreement with the school, so they don’t have to wear a mask for in-person learning.

U.S. plans to fast-track revamped Covid-19 vaccines
A study from South Africa suggests that even though Omicron is a fast-spreading variant, it causes less severe illness than other variants. Because of this, the Biden Administration plan on fast-tracking the “revamped” vaccine for this variant.

Omicron has fueled even more COVID-19 misinformation as scientists wait to learn more
Omicron has caused scientists to not only scramble for more information about the variant, but also to produce the correct information to the public. However, while the variant is being researched, misinformation is still being distributed to the public.

Sage scientists seek balanced UK response to Omicron concerns
SAGE is worried about the new variant in the UK. They feel that to continue to keep COVID-19 regulated, there needs to be a balance between social mixing and immunity. Even though people are getting vaccinated, they’re still getting together often, especially during the holiday season. This is causing the virus to spread more which is concerning with Omicron.

Booster dose and jabs for kids after scientific advice: Mansukh Mahdaviya
• The Union Health and Family Welfare Minister in New Delhi, Mansukh Mandaviya, reported that people should trust the science behind booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines and children’s vaccines. This article also provides more overall information about India’s recent COVID-19 numbers.

Omicron variant: All the mixed messaging on Covid Christmas guidance from Boris Johnson’s top team
In the UK, there has been a lot of mixed messaging from the Government regarding Covid rules for Christmas, because the government officials and scientists don’t agree. This article lists the information that has been given to the public just in the past week.

Vatican conference explores new technologies in a post-pandemic world
On December 9th, the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development will have a conference to discuss an ethical reflection on a post pandemic society, including the use of technology to distribute information during the pandemic.

Omicron bring COVID-19 vaccine inequity ‘home to roost’
Omicron has brought to fruition the effects that unequal access to vaccines will cause, which is the arrival of a new variant. The more vaccine desserts, the more variants will occur and the longer the pandemic will last.