• The Rural Health Policy Analysis at University of Iowa College of Public Health issues a report on metropolitan and nonmetropolitan incidence and mortality rates in the US as of 1 December, 2021. Incidence and mortality rates remain much higher in US nonmetropolitan counties than in metropolitan counties, with cumulative cases and deaths per 100,000 people reaching 16,377.40 and 287.55 versus 14,673.82 and 221.54 in nonmetropolitan and metropolitan areas, respectively. Source

• Moderna announces that it will supply 60 million additional doses of its coronavirus vaccine to the UK in 2022 and 2023. Source

• Ghana and Nigeria announce that they have found cases of the Omicron variant in travelers arriving from other African countries. Source

• Japan suspends all new reservations for incoming passenger flights as an emergency precaution against the Omicron variant. Source

• BioNTech’s chief exec Ugur Sahin says people who were fully vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine – and especially those that received boosters – would still be protected against severe COVID-19, hospitalization and death from Omicron, adding “We remain on track with our 100-day target, which means we should be able to deliver our first suitable vaccines to Omicron in March, subject to regulatory approval.” Source

• Canada announces a new travel rule to contain Omicron: all incoming passengers, except those from the US, will have to be tested for SARS-CoV-2 at the airport. Source

• In Germany, which is considering a vaccine mandate, hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. ICUs have had to accommodate 1,400 more beds over the past week, and health experts predict that the number of ICU patients will increase from the current 4,600 to 6,000 by Christmas. Source

• Moderna has failed to overturn key patents related to lipid nanoparticles used to deliver mRNA in its coronavirus vaccine; it lost a legal battle with Arbutus, a Pennsylvania Biotech which refused to grant a covenant not to sue Moderna – and could initiate legal action for patent infringement. Source

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