South Korea approves Pfizer vaccine for five-year-olds; UK emergency loan losses hit £16bn

Salvation. Tom Ambrose here and I’ll bring you all the latest Covid news over the next few hours.

First, the news that South Korean health authorities have approved Pfizer’s Covid vaccine for children aged 5-11expanding the country’s vaccination program in the face of a massive outbreak of Omicron.

Korea’s Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported a record 171,452 new virus cases on Wednesday, nearly 40 times more than in mid-January, when Omicron first emerged as the dominant strain. from the country. The 99 new deaths were the highest daily tally since Dec. 31, when the country grappled with a Delta-led surge that warped hospital systems.

More than 500 patients infected with the virus are now in serious or critical condition, up from around 200 in mid-February, the Associated Press reported.

In a long-awaited announcement, the Ministry of Medicines and Food Safety said it had approved the Pfizer vaccine as the country’s first vaccine to be used for children aged 5 to 11. The KDCA said it would announce a vaccine rollout plan for this age group in March.

The Pfizer vaccine is already being used for children ages 5 to 11 in more than 60 countries, including the United States and the European Union, the MDFS said in a statement. The vaccine will help protect young children against serious infections or illnesses amid Omicron’s rapid ramp-up in South Korea, he added.

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Medical workers take nasal swab samples from people at a makeshift testing site in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022. Photograph: Ahn Young-joon/AP

Teenagers and young children have been linked to an increasing number of infections in recent weeks, according to data from KDCA.

The country had previously approved vaccinations for people 12 and older. As of Wednesday, 86.4% of South Korea’s more than 51 million people have been vaccinated and nearly 60% have received boosters.

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