A heath worker administers a dose of COVID-19 vaccine for a recipient at a vaccination clinic in Toronto, Canada, on April 4, 2022. (ZOU ZHENG / XINHUA)

MOGADISHU / LAGOS / OTTAWA / LOS ANGELES – Health Canada on Thursday authorized an adapted version of the Moderna Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine that targets the Omicron BA.4/BA.5 subvariants.
Health Canada approved the bivalent vaccine for use as a booster dose in individuals 18 years of age or older, saying that clinical trial results showed it triggers a strong immune response against both Omicron (BA.4/BA.5) and the original SARS-CoV-2 virus strains.
This adapted vaccine has a similar safety profile to the previously approved Moderna Spikevax boosters, with the same mild adverse reactions that resolved quickly, Health Canada said.

ALSO READ: Canada confirms 21,810 new COVID-19 cases in one week


Health authorities in Nigeria have called on Nigerians to get COVID-19 vaccines to strengthen their immunity as there is a high risk of a further outbreak.

Speaking at a one-day evaluation meeting for the COVID-19 vaccination exercise in Abuja late on Wednesday, Faisal Shuaib, head of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), said the virus was still very much in circulation.

Shuaib said the country's target is to ensure that 70 percent of the targeted population gets vaccinated before December 2022.


US drugmaker Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech SE have started an early-stage study to evaluate a combination vaccine targeting COVID-19 and influenza, the companies said on Thursday.

US drugmaker Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech SE have started an early-stage study to evaluate a combination vaccine targeting COVID-19 and influenza, the companies said on Thursday

The single-dose vaccine candidate is a combination of Pfizer's mRNA-based flu shot and the companies' Omicron-tailored COVID-19 booster shot.

The early-stage study, which is being sponsored by BioNTech, aims to evaluate the combination shot's safety, tolerability and immunogenicity, or the ability to generate immune response.

The trial is being conducted in the United States and the companies aim to enroll 180 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 64. The first participant in the study was dosed earlier this week.

READ MORE: 1.4m Canadian adults report prolonged COVID-19 symptoms

Rivals Moderna Inc and Novavax Inc are also developing combination vaccines targeting both COVID-19 and influenza.

Somalia's Ministry of Health has relaxed the country's COVID-19-related restrictions for both domestic and international travel amid a drop in the number of cases across the world.

The Minister of Health and Human Services Ali Haji Adan said that passengers traveling from a foreign country to Somalia no longer require to show a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery before they board their flight and on arrival.

"International travelers traveling abroad are required to abide by the COVID-19-related travel and health requirements of the destination country," he said in a statement issued in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia on Wednesday evening.

The minister said the measures were taken due to the continuing fall of COVID-19 cases around the world along with the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination programs underway in Somalia.

ALSO READ: COVID-19: New Omicron subvariants found in India

Test tubes are seen in front of displayed Pfizer and Biontech logos in this illustration taken, May 21, 2021. (DADO RUVIC / REUTERS)

United States

The western US state of California may be in for a three-headed Cerberus of respiratory illnesses this winter as the flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19 collide, said a report of CalMatters, a nonprofit and nonpartisan news website.

Orange County in Southern California declared a local public health emergency on Monday over RSV, a common cause of pneumonia in babies that has contributed to a record number of pediatric hospitalizations and daily emergency room visits in the county.

Hospitals have relied on provisions of the emergency order to better accommodate patients during surges.