Three U.S. studies show that a third dose of an mRNA vaccine is key to fighting the Omicron coronavirus variant, providing 90% protection against hospitalization due to COVID-19, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on January 21.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and White House chief medical advisor, said they expect the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will authorize the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children under the age of 5 years in the next month.

While wealthier countries have come a long way to boosting their populations with an extra shot of COVID-19 vaccines to protect against Omicron, studies in Israel are evaluating whether a fourth dose of an mRNA vaccine offers additional protection. Although the data is still early, research suggests that it might not. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Jan. 14 revised the CDC’s guidance for Americans on wearing masks to protect against COVID-19, recommending donning “the most protective mask you can” while stopping short of advocating nationwide usage of N95 respirators.

Two doses of the Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE COVID-19 vaccine are highly protective against a rare but often serious condition in children that causes organ inflammation weeks after COVID-19 infections, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report said on January 7.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has not yet seen a signal that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is more severe in young children despite an increase of the hospitalizations, the agency’s director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a press conference on January 7.

The newly discovered COVID-19 variant, dubbed IHU (also known as B.1.640.2), is the latest in a long string of variants as the SARS-CoV-2 virus inches closer to either becoming endemic or burning itself out.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on January 5 the agency expanded the eligibility of Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE’s booster doses to those 12 to 15 years old.

The American Medical Association (AMA) on January 5 criticized the government’s guidelines on quarantine and isolation in the United States, saying the guidance was “confusing” and risked further spread of COVID-19.

The Biden administration is finalizing contracts for 500 million rapid COVID-19 tests that it plans to distribute for free to Americans who request them, spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on January 4.