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Britain’s health minister on Thursday pledged to cut waiting times for doctors’ appointments and launched a fund to support social care, in a plan that drew criticism for not doing enough to solve a staffing crisis in the National Health Service (NHS).

The proportion of Britain’s workforce too sick to work has jumped to its highest since 2005, which economists say is likely due to a mix of long COVID and greater difficulty in accessing health care since the start of the pandemic.

Britain’s medicines regulator on Friday approved Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine for children aged between 12 and 17 years.

The United Kingdom’s COVID booster campaign is set to kick off this September, after the country became the first in the world to approve an Omicron-adapted shot.

The polio virus was present in wastewater in a New York City suburb a month before health officials there announced a confirmed case of the disease last month, state health officials said on Monday, urging residents to be sure they have been vaccinated.

British health agencies have secured funding to develop a standardized approach to test the performance of vaccines being used or in development against monkeypox, days after the World Health Organization (WHO) labeled the growing outbreak a global health emergency.

The recent rise in cases of acute hepatitis among children is likely linked to a common childhood virus, two independent studies from British researchers have suggested.

Britain’s state-run National Health Service (NHS) is facing its worst ever staffing crisis with thousands of vacancies and the government has no credible strategy to address the problem, a committee of lawmakers said in a report published on Monday.

The Omicron variant of coronavirus is less likely to cause long COVID than previous variants, according to the first peer-reviewed study of its kind from the United Kingdom.