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The risk of death, hospitalization and serious health issues from COVID-19 jumps significantly with reinfection compared with a first bout with the virus, regardless of vaccination status, a study published on Thursday suggests.

An official at the European Union’s drugs regulator said on Tuesday the COVID-19 pandemic was not over, contradicting U.S. President Joe Biden, and that a planned vaccination campaign in the region during the cold season was key to fighting it.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has suggested that the isolated country could begin COVID-19 vaccinations in November, state media reported on Friday.

Germany can next week start using COVID-19 vaccines which have been adapted for the Omicron variant and got approval for use in the European Union on Thursday, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said.

European nations must accelerate vaccine uptake and bring back mask wearing to tackle a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by an Omicron offshoot and avoid stricter measures later in the year, a senior World Health Organization official said on Tuesday.

As COVID-19 dies down in headlines, re-infection worries are stepping in to remind people of the risks of contracting the highly infectious virus. Numerous studies, reinforced with clinical and statistical data, are pointing to the possibility that re-infection effects could stick around for the long haul and cause more damage than the initial infection.

The United States has already delivered more than 4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5 years old to sites that will administer the shots, a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spokesperson said on Thursday.

People infected with the earliest version of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, first identified in South Africa in November, may be vulnerable to reinfection with later versions of Omicron even if they have been vaccinated and boosted, new findings suggest.

People who were infected with an earlier version of the coronavirus and received three doses of an mRNA vaccine – such as the Pfizer/BioNTech shot – appear to be best protected against symptomatic infection by the Omicron variant, according to a large study. Additionally, COVID-19-related neurological symptoms – such as memory and concentration issues – can last half a year or more in some patients, according to a small study.

COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy appears to lower newborns’ risk of coronavirus infection, according to a study conducted in Norway. Additionally, the risk of developing long COVID after infection with the coronavirus is lower for vaccinated people than for the unvaccinated, but not by much, according to a large study from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.