The Daily Dose: WHO not pleased with booster shot plans; Space transportation getting crowded.

With sentiment among many public health officials leaning toward giving COVID-19 booster shots, especially for vulnerable populations, not everyone is pleased by the news. The World Health Organization has come out strongly opposed to those plans. Per Nature, “Israel has announced plans to begin giving booster shots to older adults next week, in the hope of increasing their protection against COVID-19 — and a number of other wealthy countries are considering the same. But global-health researchers warn that this strategy could set back efforts to end the pandemic. Each booster, they say, represents a vaccine dose that could instead go to low- and middle-income countries, where most citizens have no protection at all, and where dangerous coronavirus variants could emerge as cases surge.” The organization maintains that the shots would be more useful if given to low- and lower-middle-income countries. Roughly 3.5 billion people haven’t had a single shot. As long as large populations of individuals remain susceptible, the chances of new, potentially more dangerous, variants evolving increases.

While we’re on the topic of people not having access to COVID-19 vaccines, the most vulnerable populations continue to be at risk. In particular,refugees are being passed over. Per the Associated Press, “Over 160 countries included refugees in their plans, but these have been upended by supply shortages. According to the WHO, some 85% of vaccines have been administered by rich countries. In contrast, 85% of the world’s 26 million refugees live in developing countries struggling to vaccinate even the most vulnerable, according to the U.N. refugee agency.” The dangers of new variants evolving among non-vaccinated populations was stated above and applies here.

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Deadly wildfires are a global phenomenon thanks to drier summers in some places. The latest conflagrations are occurring in Eastern Europe. Per Al-Jazeera, “The death toll from six straight days of wildfires in Turkey has risen to eight, while in neighbouring Greece, firefighters attempted to contain a blaze that has destroyed houses and hospitalised more than a dozen people. The Turkish fires have been fuelled by a southern European heatwave fed by hot air from North Africa, which has also seen blazes grip other parts of the Mediterranean in recent days.”

Boeing is set to join SpaceX and Roscosmos in shuttling astronauts back and forth between Earth and the International Space Station. Per, “Once Starliner is certified to carry humans, NASA will have two different spacecraft at their disposal to ferry astronauts to and from the space station. The agency envisions a future where the agency’s astronauts and those of its international partners all utilize the various types of spacecraft capable of reaching the orbiting laboratory. Nelson applauded the relationship between NASA and its Russian counterpart, Roscosmos, during his visit to Kennedy Space Center. ‘Terrestrially, we have enormous tensions with Russia,’ Nelson said. ‘In space, we have cooperation.’” Peaceful cooperation and co-existence is possible when the will is there. Why does it only happen at the edge of space?

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

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