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US shipping nine million coronavirus vaccines to Africa -- WH

WASHINGTON, Dec 3 (KUNA) -- The US is shipping Friday 11 million COVID-19 vaccines worldwide, of which nine million are shipping to Africa, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients announced.
"Just today we are shipping 11 million doses in one day," Zients said during a briefing. "Of the 11 million, nine million are shipping to Africa, bringing our total doses donated to Africa to 100 million." "We're also continuing to work with partners around the world to turn those vaccines into vaccinations," he noted.
On the Omicron coronavirus variant, Zients stressed "we are actively monitoring the new variant, addressing the questions that have been raised about transmissibility, severity and vaccine effectiveness, and as we learn more about the variant over the coming days on all of these fronts, decisions on changes to travel policy will be based upon the advice, as they always are, of our health and medical experts." "We'll continue to rely on their expertise regarding how we make sure that we keep the American people safe, and that will directly impact the duration of these travel restrictions," he added.
For her part, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Dr. Rochelle Walensky said, "We are prepared and ready to rapidly recognize the omicron variant." "We are equipped and prepared to fight the omicron variant head on. We're actively taking steps to stay ahead of omicron," she remarked.
"Across the country, public health departments are looking at sequence data and travel histories and epidemiologic indicators and diagnostic data to identify possible cases of omicron." "I want to take a moment to emphasize the importance of staying vigilant," she stressed. "There are still a lot to learn about omicron," she added. Meanwhile, the health authorities in Nebraska announced that six cases of the Omicron variant have been detected in the state.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) said in a statement, "The first case was likely exposed during international travel to Nigeria, returned on November 23rd, and became symptomatic on November 24th." "The five remaining cases were likely exposed through household contact with the first case." "Only one of the six cases were vaccinated. None have required hospitalization," the statement added. (end) si.gb