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Good morning, this is Kasmira, and today’s health news takes us to China, where World Health Organization officials have just arrived to start their probe into the origins of Covid-19. But a year on, what can they hope to find?

Next stop: Israel, which is vaccinating its population at a record rate. All eyes are now on what initial data will reveal about the impact of the campaign on infection rates.

And in a fight against another deadly disease, we’re covering the launch this week of a global Ebola vaccine stockpile.

photo journaliste

Kasmira Jefford


Today’s reason for hope

Photo article

Residents Ken Fishman, 81, left, and Esther Wallach, 82, hold hands as they wait in line for the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in Florida, US on 12 January (Credit: AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pfizer says its vaccine works against key mutation in contagious variants. It’s good news, but experts cautioned that the new variants from Britain and South Africa also carry other potentially dangerous mutations that have not yet been investigated.

New York Times (EN)

Global health news

🇨🇳 WHO team exploring the origins of Covid-19 finally arrived in China today after more than a year of negotiations. However, expectations for the mission should be set “very low”, one health expert has warned. The visit comes as China on Tuesday recorded its highest jump in daily cases since July.

Reuters (EN)

⚕️ Preparing for future Ebola outbreaks. UN agencies and partners have announced plans to create a stockpile of Ebola vaccines in the event of future outbreaks of the deadly disease. Some 500,000 vaccines will be stored in Basel ready for shipment to countries when needed.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

💉 Israel as the global guinea pig Racing ahead in a relentless vaccine campaign that has made it a global leader, researchers and policymakers elsewhere are also watching to see if the vaccines can really work their magic. Initial results coming out have good news and bad.

Health Policy Watch (EN)

Number of the day

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Making more Covid-19 vaccines. Pfizer and BioNTech said they will supply 700 million more doses of the Covid-19 vaccine than originally planned thanks to a new factory in Germany and a change in EU guidelines.

Financial Times (EN)

Here's what else is happening

Image of the day

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A journalist Swiss interior and health Minister Alain Berset, up, and Swiss President Guy Parmelin, left, speaking during a press conference on Wednesday, 13 January 13. (Keystone/Laurent Gillieron)

Switzerland announces tighter Covid-19 restrictions. Home-office working is now mandatory, non-essential shops will be shuttered once again, and restaurants as well as leisure facilities will stay closed for longer. These were some of the new measures announced by the Swiss Federal Council on Wednesday, amid concerns that the highly contagious Covid-19 variants could lead to a resurgence in cases.

Heidi.news (FR)

Next on the agenda

14 January | Rescuing the World Health Organization from itself? This discussion is part of a series of debates hosted by the Geneva Global Health Hub ahead of the 148th Session of the WHO Executive Board starting on 18 January.

Geneva Global Health Hub (EN)

14 January | Mitigation in the healthcare sector. Hosted by the Lancet Countdown and the Yale School of Public Health Center on Climate Change and Health, this webinar is aimed at physicians and other health professionals around the world.

Lancet Countdown (EN)

27 January - 4 February | 4th HIV Research for Prevention Conference (IAS). The four-day virtual conference will present the latest in biomedical HIV prevention research in the form of both live and taped presentations.


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