Virus: Chileans without booster shots to face mobility curbs

In this file photo taken on Jan 26, 2022, a health worker takes a nasal sample from a woman for a PCR test for the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19 in Santiago. (JAVIER TORRES / AFP)

LOS ANGELES / ADDIS ABABA / NEW YORK / MEXICO CITY / SANTIAGO – Chileans without two booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine will be unable to renew their mobility passes starting next month, the government announced Tuesday.

Chile has so far administered more than 53.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines

"As of June 1, mobility passes will begin to be blocked for people who do not have their fourth dose or second booster and six months or more have passed since their last vaccination," Undersecretary of Public Health Cristobal Cuadrado said at a press conference.

Officials are taking "all the measures so that increases in cases are kept under control, for which the vaccine, handwashing, the use of a face mask and physical distance are essential," Cuadrado added.

According to the latest data from the health ministry, more than a million people in the South American country do not have a valid mobility pass because they have not gotten a first booster shot.

The pass allows holders to attend mass gatherings, meetings in enclosed places, and travel between regions, among other things.

Chile has so far administered more than 53.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

Workers wearing personal protective equipment sanitizes the dugouts during half-time of the Group A Africa Cup of Nations 2021 football match between Ethiopia and Cape Verde at Stade d'Olembé in Yaounde on Jan 9, 2022.
(KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP)

Africa

Earlier start dates and rapid scale-up of COVID-19 vaccination delivered greater health benefits in terms of hospitalizations and deaths averted, and were more cost-effective in Africa, a newly published study by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has disclosed.

The newly released study incorporated the results of a 27-country analysis on the health and economic impact of COVID-19 vaccination.

The analysis finds that the scale-up speed, a focus on at-risk populations and the choice of COVID-19 vaccine brands are critical to structuring successful programs in the African context.

The benefits of COVID-19 vaccines vary widely depending on the pace of roll-out, the population targeted, and the type of vaccines used in the campaigns, the research found.

The analysis also drew on research from Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia and South Africa.

Mexico

The spread of COVID-19 in Mexico reached "minimal activity" last week, Undersecretary of Prevention and Health Promotion Hugo Lopez-Gatell said Tuesday.

The official noted that deaths due to the virus went down to one for the first week in May, from six recorded last month.

"The COVID-19 epidemic continues to be stable, with minimal activity," Lopez-Gatell told reporters.

There were 370 infections between May 1 and 7, compared to 623 registered during the week of April 3 to 9, he said.

Hospital occupancy for COVID-19 patients was 2 percent, according to official statistics, while some hospitals no longer had any pandemic patients, Lopez-Gatell pointed out.

As of Monday, Mexico had accumulated 5,745,228 COVID-19 cases and 324,463 deaths. 

In this file photo taken on Aug 28, 2021, a volunteer administers her COVID-19 vaccine at the City of Brownsville's Department of Public Health's popup COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Brownsville, Texas. (DENISE CATHEY / THE BROWNSVILLE HERALD VIA AP)

US

Gun homicide rate in the United States rose sharply during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new research released on Tuesday.

Firearms were involved in 79 percent of all homicides and 53 percent of all suicides in 2020, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  wrote in the "Vital Signs" analysis.

There has been a historic increase of 35 percent in the firearm homicide rate in the United States, resulting in the highest firearm homicide rate in more than 25 years, against the backdrop of the public health crisis.