• The US death toll from COVID-19 exceeds 800,000. During 2021, more than 450,000 people – a majority of whom were unvaccinated – died, despite vaccines becoming available at no charge. Source

• Researchers at the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong report that the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine is 32 times less effective against infection with the Omicron variant, after testing immune responses to it in blood samples from 10 people drawn a month after their second vaccine dose- when protection is at its height. Nonetheless, the vaccine remains likely to prevent severe illness and death from COVID-19. Source

• In Austria, where 69 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated, lockdown has ended – for vaccinated people. Those who refuse to be vaccinated will need a negative coronavirus test every two days to leave home only for work, essential shopping and exercise. Source

• Coronavirus cases in Russia surpass 10 million. Source

• As cases of Omicron soar in South Africa, the country’s fully vaccinated president, Cyril Ramaphosa tests positive for SARS-CoV-2. Source

• UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces that the country is accelerating its booster program, aiming to offer a third dose of coronavirus vaccine to all eligible adults by the end of 2021, saying “No one should be in any doubt: There is a tidal wave of Omicron coming…and I’m afraid it is now clear that two doses of vaccine are simply not enough to give the level of protection we all need.” Source

Return to the timeline