Your Friday briefing: Boosters and vaccine equity

We cover WHO’s concerns about vaccine shortages and tensions between Ukraine and Russia. Will the boosters worsen the vaccine defic...


We cover WHO’s concerns about vaccine shortages and tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

As rich countries step up recall campaigns to confront the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, the World Health Organization fears that vaccine equity could be further compromised.

“The large-scale administration of booster doses risks exacerbating inequalities in access to vaccines,” Alejandro Cravioto, a WHO immunization officer, told reporters on Thursday.

The rate of reminders administered daily exceeds the first hits in the world.

Most current infections, which are still predominantly caused by the Delta variant, affect unvaccinated people, the WHO said, meaning the priority should be getting those without protection vaccinated.

In some countries with low vaccination rates, procurement is only part of the story. New York Times data analysis highlights countries with infrastructure problems and level of public willingness to get vaccinated may constitute more important obstacles than the supply.

Ukrainian generals say that if Russia invaded, they need military aid from the West.

New tanks, armored vehicles and ships were delivered to frontline units fighting Russian forces and Kremlin-backed separatists. But that would not be enough to repel the substantive Russian assault that Ukrainian and Western officials fear Moscow is preparing.

Intelligence says there is no indication the Kremlin has decided whether it will.

Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed concerns about the build-up of troops at the border during a video call with President Biden Tuesday, and he blamed the United States and NATO for their support for Ukraine. Biden has ruled out sending US forces to Ukraine to deter Russia. He met with the Ukrainian president on Thursday.

Details: U.S. intelligence officials discovered that Russia had made plans to an offensive involving 175,000 soldiers. Ukraine has only slightly more troops in its army as a whole. He is surpassed on land, at sea and in the air.

Political dynamics: NATO promised Ukraine full membership in 2008, but without explaining how or when. Putin sees this promise as a permanent threat in Russia.


After a year of sustained protests that forced the government to overturn deeply unpopular farm laws, Indian farmers said they were end their action.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi stunned the nation last month when he announced his government would repeal three laws that were passed in September 2020. Parliament last week approved the repeal without debate.

The protesting farmers had other demands. On Thursday, they said Modi’s government had agreed to discuss and resolve key issues, including a national law guaranteeing minimum prices for crops and the withdrawal of tens of thousands of charges against protesting farmers.

Quote: “It’s a total victory,” said Ramandeep Singh Mann, an engineer turned farmer rights activist. At the same time, he admitted, there was a lot to be resolved. “In every move you don’t get everything,” he said.

Big picture: Indian farmers staged what may have been the biggest protest in recorded history, according to Slate, when 250 million people participated in a 24-hour strike and tens of thousands marched to New Delhi. here is how Indian farmers pushed back Modi.

Asia Pacific

In Pittsburgh, Memphis and Los Angeles, huge billboards have popped up stating: “Birds are not real.” On Instagram and TikTok, Birds Aren’t Real accounts have amassed hundreds of thousands of followers. The 23-year-old creator of this viral movement knows this is not true. The effort is really to poke fun at the depths of the disinformation.

The assault on the best lists in December can be overwhelming. Think of this as a guide for guides.

For music nerds, Pitchfork unveiled his annual list of the best songs. It pairs well with the Times wide range selection of the best albums of the year. Each of our pop music critics made lists, and two albums overlapped on each one: Tyler, “Call Me if You Get Lost” from the creator and “Sour” by Olivia Rodrigo.

In the Book Review’s 10 Best Fiction and Non-Fiction Titles, there are rumors about race in America and intergenerational sagas. Do you want art? Of the many ambitious exhibitions of the year, two cohesive themes were the African American South and climate change. In New York’s Madison Square Park, Maya Lin’s “Ghost Forest” contrasted the park’s greenery with a grove of dead and environmentally damaged Atlantic white cedars. Teenagers reuse wood to make boats.

Another recurring theme was feedback from experiences in person: The fall theatrical season was “as exciting as a child’s first fireworks display,” writes Jesse Green, and the ritual of watching movies on the big screen made even the most mediocre movies glorious, writes Manohla Dargis in his list of the best films.

There was also great tv. Many of our critics’ picks covered topics such as class conflict and pandemics. A personal favorite: “Reservation dogs” a curvy, at times surreal, comedy about four teenagers desperate to escape their Oklahoma reservation. It’s full of details “that can only come from loving the thing you want to leave,” writes James Poniewozik.

Find all the Times the best lists of 2021 here.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Your Friday briefing: Boosters and vaccine equity
Your Friday briefing: Boosters and vaccine equity
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