Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 23rd Jul 2021

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Thailand to join COVAX, acknowledging low vaccine supply

The head of Thailand’s National Vaccine Institute apologized Wednesday for the country’s slow and inadequate rollout of coronavirus vaccines, promising it will join the U.N.-backed COVAX program to receive supplies from its pool of donated vaccines next year. Thailand is battling a punishing coronavirus surge that is pushing new cases and deaths to record highs nearly every day. There is fear that the numbers will get much worse because the government failed to secure significant vaccine supplies in advance of the onslaught.
22nd Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Covid-19: Health minister urges caution over easing restrictions

The health minister has advised the executive that Covid-19 restrictions in Northern Ireland should not be eased next week due to an increase in cases, BBC News NI understands. Ministers are currently meeting to decide whether some restrictions should be lifted.
22nd Jul 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19 hospital admissions in England highest since end of February

The number of hospital admissions in England of people with Covid-19 has climbed to its highest level for nearly five months. A total of 752 admissions were reported on July 19, NHS England figures show. This is up 21 per cent on the previous week, and is the highest daily number since February 25, according to analysis by the PA news agency. The total includes 197 admissions in north-east England and Yorkshire: up 40 per cent week-on-week and the highest daily number for this part of England since February 18. North-west England recorded 141 admissions on July 19: up 44 per cent week-on-week and the highest since February 23.
22nd Jul 2021 - Evening Standard

Toyota halts factories in Thailand as COVID hits supply chain

Japanese auto group Toyota Motor has halted operations at its three factories in Thailand as the country's delta-variant COVID epidemic disrupts the supply of key automobile parts. The closures underline how the pandemic is still putting the automobile supply chain under strain. The stoppage started from Wednesday (July 21) and will last at least until July 28, Nikkei has learned. Toyota said it will "assess the situation and decide" whether to resume operations from July 29.
22nd Jul 2021 - Nikkei Asian Review

Tokyo new virus cases near 2,000 a day before Olympics open

Tokyo hit another six-month high in new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, one day before the Olympics begin, as worries grow of a worsening of infections during the Games. Thursday’s 1,979 new cases are the highest since 2,044 were recorded on Jan. 15. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who is determined to hold the Olympics, placed Tokyo under a state of emergency on July 12, but daily cases have sharply increased since then.
22nd Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Death rates soar in Southeast Asia as virus wave spreads

Indonesia has converted nearly its entire oxygen production to medical use just to meet the demand from COVID-19 patients struggling to breathe. Overflowing hospitals in Malaysia had to resort to treating patients on the floor. And in Myanmar’s largest city, graveyard workers have been laboring day and night to keep up with the grim demand for new cremations and burials. Images of bodies burning in open-air pyres during the peak of the pandemic in India horrified the world in May, but in the last two weeks the three Southeast Asian nations have now all surpassed India’s peak per capita death rate as a new coronavirus wave, fueled by the virulent delta variant, tightens its grip on the region.
22nd Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 22nd Jul 2021

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Novartis set to deliver 50 mln CureVac COVID-19 vaccines this year

Novartis is still helping CureVac make COVID-19 vaccines and could expand its capacity to assist other vaccine manufacturers as well, finance chief Harry Kirsch told reporters on Wednesday. "We have started the production as planned. We are planning to deliver 50 million doses this year," Kirsch said of the CureVac deal when asked whether it could instead make its capacity free for others after CureVac said last month its COVID-19 jab was only 48% effective. Swiss drugmaker Novartis also assists Pfizer and BioNTech in making COVID-19 vaccines and can ramp up output for them or others if needed, he said.
21st Jul 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Over-18s can now register for Covid-19 mRna vaccine

All adults aged 18 and over can now register for a Covid-19 mRna vaccine from this morning. Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said on Tuesday that registration for the Pfizer and Moderna jabs for anyone over 18 is happening now “because our vaccination programme is ahead of schedule and continues to perform really well”. Almost 5.3 million Covid-19 vaccines have been administered to date, with more than 79 per cent of the adult population partially vaccinated and over 65 per cent fully vaccinated, HSE chief executive Paul Reid said on Wednesday.
21st Jul 2021 - The Irish Times

Coronavirus Australia: How young Australians in WA are getting Pfizer jab without making appointment

Western Australians turning up without appointment are getting Covid jab. Those not eligible to book under current rollout trying luck in vaccine lottery. WA Health confirmed spare jabs administered to those without appointments. Those who try their luck must be willing to wait in queue until end the day. Spare jabs remaining at mass vaccination centres would otherwise go to waste
21st Jul 2021 - Daily Mail

States are sitting on millions of surplus Covid-19 vaccine doses

Millions of unused Covid-19 vaccines are set to go to waste as demand dwindles across the United States and doses likely expire this summer, according to public health officials. Several state health departments told STAT they have repeatedly asked the federal government to redistribute their supply to other countries, many of which are facing a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Officials in Washington have rejected those requests, citing legal and logistical challenges. “We’re drowning in this stuff,” said Robert Ator, a retired colonel in the Arkansas Air National Guard who is leading that state’s Covid-19 vaccine distribution drive. “It’s starting to get a bit silly and we want to make sure we’re being good stewards.”
21st Jul 2021 - STAT News

Vietnam produces first batch of Russian COVID-19 vaccine

Vietnam has produced the first test batch of Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19, Russia's RDIF sovereign wealth fund and Vietnamese pharmaceutical firm Vabiotech said on Wednesday, as the Southeast Asian country battles its worst outbreak so far. The first validation samples taken from the batch will be shipped to the Gamaleya Center in Russia for quality control checks, the fund and the company said in a joint statement.
21st Jul 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: Businesses forced to close as staff are told to isolate

With most lockdown measures lifted in England, businesses might finally be expecting things to be returning to normal. But many have had to temporarily close after their staff were either "pinged" and told to isolate by the NHS Covid-19 Test and Trace app or contacted by NHS Test and Trace directly. How do owners feel about this latest blow to their livelihoods?
21st Jul 2021 - BBC News

Turkey's virus cases nearly twice the low touched in early July

Turkey's daily coronavirus cases rose to 8,780 on Tuesday, nearly double a low water mark touched earlier this month, while 46 new related deaths were logged, according to the government tally. Infections remain well down from a wave in April-May when new COVID-19 cases peaked above 60,000. They fell to 4,418 on July 4 in the wake of a stringent lockdown that ended in mid-May.
21st Jul 2021 - Reuters

Pfizer-BioNTech to produce COVID-19 jabs with S African company

Pfizer and BioNTech have said they struck a deal with South Africa-based company Biovac for the production of COVID-19 vaccines for the African Union (AU). In a statement published on Wednesday, the two companies said Cape Town-based Biovac will complete the last step in the manufacturing process, known as “fill and finish”, of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine.
21st Jul 2021 - AlJazeera

Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Jul 2021

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Vaccinating children in Australia would help protect against Covid but high-risk groups first, experts say

Public health experts say vaccinating children against Covid-19 will be important for protecting Australians against the Delta variant, but that high-risk populations must take priority. On Monday, the New South Wales government indicated the state would consider vaccinating young people as part of its efforts to control the current Delta outbreak. “I think there will be a key role for vaccinating children,” the NSW chief health officer, Dr Kerry Chant, said at the daily press conference. “It is pleasing to see in some countries overseas that we have vaccines that are licensed for use in children.”
21st Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Researchers: Virus surge a 'raging forest fire' in Arkansas

Public health researchers on Tuesday called the rapid rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Arkansas a “raging forest fire,” and the state’s top health official warned that he expects significant outbreaks in schools. The model by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health projected a daily average of 1,039 new cases over the next week. The model also predicted an average increase of 169 new cases per day in children under the age of 17. Arkansas leads the country in new cases per capita, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University researchers. The state also has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with only 35% of the population fully vaccinated.
21st Jul 2021 - Associated Press

Two Fox News hosts urge viewers to get vaccinated despite anti-jab rhetoric from colleagues

While Fox News has come under fire for some of its on-air personalities undermining the US effort to get Americans vaccinated against the coronavirus, two of its anchors recently urged viewers to go and take the shot. Monday on Fox's morning show "Fox & Friends," host Steve Doocy discussed the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which is almost entirely concentrated among unvaccinated Americans. The direct encouragement for viewers to take the shot stands in stark contrast to the views expressed by the network's popular pundits, specifically Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham.
20th Jul 2021 - The Independent

Canada to open border to fully vaccinated U.S. citizens on Aug. 9

Canada on Monday said it will begin to ease pandemic restrictions at the U.S.-Canada border next month, allowing U.S. citizens and permanent residents living in the United States who are fully vaccinated with Canadian-authorized vaccines to enter for nonessential travel without quarantining. The decision, which takes effect Aug. 9, follows months of criticism from U.S. lawmakers across the political spectrum, business groups and some travelers over what they said was an overly cautious approach to lifting curbs that have split families, battered the tourism sector and upended life in close-knit border communities.
20th Jul 2021 - The Washington Post

A million children in England out of school last week because of Covid-19

More than one million children in England were out of school last week for reasons relating to Covid-19, official figures show. About one in seven (14.3 per cent) state school pupils did not attend on July 15 — the highest number since classes returned in March. This includes approximately 934,000 children self-isolating due to a possible contact with an infected person, 47,000 pupils with a confirmed case of Covid-19, and 34,000 with a suspected case. A further 35,000 pupils were off as a result of school closures due to the coronavirus, according to Department for Education (DfE) statistics.
20th Jul 2021 - The Times

Covid-19 restrictions on family hospital visits persist, despite concern

Even as most businesses in the U.S. have been removing Covid mask mandates and social distancing policies, one major exception continues to be hospitals, which have been more cautious in lifting restrictions. At the start of the pandemic, in the face of a new virus and the many unknowns that came with it, hospitals rushed to implement rules to keep patients as well as hospital staff safe, including barring visitors from entering altogether. Now, with the nature of the pandemic changing in the U.S. and increasing vaccination rates among the general population, patients and many physicians say the more restrictive ongoing limits, like only allowing one visitor, are no longer justified and may actually be harming patients’ mental health and leading to worse outcomes.
20th Jul 2021 - STAT News

Circumventing Covid-19 with better ventilation and air quality

Gathering outdoors has provided people a safer alternative to meeting inside during the Covid-19 pandemic. But for those who spend their days in crowded indoor spaces — workers in office buildings and industrial facilities, students in schools, and the like — how can their indoor environments be made more similar to the outdoors? With better air quality and ventilation. Yet federal regulations are insufficient for improving indoor ventilation and few states are moving to improve it. We examined the Covid-19 US State Policy database and found that only Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington have explicit occupational safety and health standards to promote better air and/or ventilation quality.
20th Jul 2021 - STAT News

Kazakhstan considers producing second Russian vaccine locally

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev ordered his cabinet on Monday to look into the possibility of importing and locally producing the Russian-developed Sputnik Light vaccine, his office said. The Central Asian nation already produces the Sputnik V vaccine, developed earlier, at a local plant in addition to importing it from Russia.
20th Jul 2021 - Reuters

‘The hospitals are very near to not coping’: UK health workers speak out

n Monday, for the first time since the early days of the vaccination programme in the UK, new Covid cases outnumbered the number of daily doses administered. As England lifts most restrictions, six healthcare workers from paramedics to paediatricians speak about what the reality is like amid rising coronavirus infections.
20th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

NHS summer crisis deepens as Covid surge leads to cancelled operations and ambulance ‘black alert’

Hospitals and ambulance services are in a deepening crisis caused by the surge in infections as the removal of Covid-19 rules coincides with added pressure from the heatwave and the return of thousands of workers to offices.More than half of staff at one NHS trust are absent because of Covid-19 isolation rules, forcing operations to be cancelled, while the number of Covid patients in England has leapt by one-third in the past week. The chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, told a Downing Street press conference that he expected the NHS to see 1,000 patients a day being admitted to hospital soon.
20th Jul 2021 - The Independent

NHS reliant on exploitative Malaysian factories for PPE, expert says

The NHS is wholly reliant on the Malaysian glove-manufacturing industry, where the exploitation and degradation of migrant workers is “endemic”, a leading expert has warned.
20th Jul 2021 - The Independent

Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 20th Jul 2021

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More than 80% of the crew aboard a South Korean destroyer have tested positive for Covid-19

South Korea's military has recorded in biggest cluster of Covid-19 infections to date, with more than 80% of personnel aboard a navy destroyer on anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden testing positive. While the 247 cases are not directly linked to new domestic infections, with the destroyer Munmu the Great having left South Korea to start its mission in February, the surge comes as the country battles its worst-ever outbreak of Covid-19 cases at home, with another 1,252 new infections reported for Sunday.
19th Jul 2021 - CNN

UK runs out of Covid-19 lateral flow tests

Britons across the country were left unable to order Covid-19 lateral flow tests today after a 'temporary glitch' on the Government's website. Members of the public attempting to order free supplies of the at-home kits through the government portal were today told that 'no more tests can be ordered' and they should instead 'come back tomorrow'. The Department of Health and Social Care has now insisted that people can still order a lateral flow test and that the 'temporary technical glitch' with their site has now been rectified.
19th Jul 2021 - MSN.com

Cuba, gripped by unrest, battles highest COVID caseload in the Americas

Cuba, which kept coronavirus infections low last year, now has the highest rate of contagion per capita in Latin America. That has strained its healthcare sector and helped stoke rare protests that have roiled the Communist-run island. The Caribbean nation of 11 million people reported nearly 4,000 confirmed cases per million residents over the last week, nine times more than the world average and more than any other country in the Americas for its size.
19th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Many ICU staff have experienced mental health disorders in COVID-19 pandemic

In a study of 515 healthcare staff working in intensive care units (ICUs) in seven countries, the researchers found that 48 percent of participants had mental health problems - depression, insomnia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The team also found a 40 per cent increase in these conditions for those who spent more than six hours in personal protective equipment (PPE), compared to those who didn’t. The study, led by researchers at Imperial College London, is published in the British Journal of Nursing and is the first to evaluate ICU workers’ mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. In line with the UK Government’s report on burnout in NHS staff published in June 2021, the researchers suggest that the high level of mental health disorders found among the ICU staff surveyed should inform local and national wellbeing policies.
19th Jul 2021 - Imperial College London

Fox Rails Against Vaccine Passports, Uses Vaccine Passports

Tucker Carlson and other Fox hosts have railed, on-air, against the idea of so-called “vaccine passports” but never told their audience that Fox uses one of Its own
19th Jul 2021 - Rolling Stone

Spain's COVID infections rise, but Brits still flock to its beaches

Spain reported a new jump in its COVID-19 infection rate on Monday, with 61,628 cases registered since Friday, just as fully vaccinated British holidaymakers flocked to its beaches, giving hope to the hard-hit tourism sector. Since July 8, when Britain announced the lifting of a 10-day quarantine for returning vaccinated tourists from July 19, flight bookings to Spain have increased four-fold even though they remain far below 2019 levels, an airlines industry group said.
19th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 19th Jul 2021

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Doctors and health officials say their latest Covid-19 hospital patients are unvaccinated and increasingly younger

Covid-19 is putting younger, healthy and mostly unvaccinated people in hospitals at higher rates as cases continue to climb in much of the US, health experts say. Over the past week, 48 states saw an increase in Covid-19 cases, with 30 reporting a more than 50% increase, data from Johns Hopkins University shows. Low vaccination rates in some areas and increased spread of the more contagious Delta variant are making an already deadly virus even worse, especially for younger, healthy people, Dr. Catherine O'Neal, an infectious disease specialist at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, told CNN's Erin Burnett on Friday.
18th Jul 2021 - CNN

Indonesia reports record number of doctor deaths from COVID-19 in July

Deaths of doctors from COVID-19 in Indonesia rose sharply in the first half of July, according to the profession's association, as the Delta variant of the coronavirus fuelled a surge in infections across the country.
18th Jul 2021 - Reuters

South Africa footballers test positive for Covid-19 in Tokyo Olympic Village

Team GB’s preparations for the Olympics have been plunged into chaos after six athletes and two staff members from the athletics squad were forced to self-isolate after coming into close contact with a member of the public who had Covid-19 on their flight to Tokyo. The news, which broke late on Sunday afternoon in Yokohama after the athletes had finished training for the day, stunned officials who immediately rushed to ensure that the athletes and staff members were confined to their rooms.
18th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Covid cases could hit 100,000 ‘in two weeks’ with lockdown needed ‘by September’

The UK’s third wave of coronavirus could last well into the autumn, one of the government’s scientific advisers has warned. Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), suggested the current wave ‘will be quite long and drawn out’ after lockdown is lifted in England next week. The so-called ‘freedom day’ on Monday will see the majority of the remaining legal restrictions dropped, meaning the end of social distancing measures, the return of large-scale events and workers beginning to head back into the office.
18th Jul 2021 - Metro

‘Covid cases are up – 6,000 miles from Paris.’ France baffled by UK quarantine change

The government was embroiled in a rancorous diplomatic standoff with France on Saturday night after its surprise decision to continue imposing a 10-day quarantine on fully vaccinated people returning from the country. French officials seemed baffled by the move, suspecting UK ministers may have based it on rising cases on the French island of Reunion – nearly 6,000 miles from Paris. On Friday, the government announced the end of quarantine for vaccinated British residents returning from countries on the “amber” list, but said this would not apply to France because of the Beta variant, first identified in South Africa.
18th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Children's viruses that disappeared during pandemic lockdowns are back, doctors say

As children emerge from their homes after COVID-19-related lockdowns, common viruses that all but disappeared during the pandemic are re-emerging too, doctors say. "This time of year in pediatric hospitals, it's usually quiet," said Dr. Fatima Kakkar, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at CHU Sainte-Justine in Montreal. "But now we're seeing a surge of respiratory infections." The level of non-COVID illnesses is what Kakkar usually sees in the fall, she said, when children are out and about in daycares or schools.
17th Jul 2021 - CBC.ca

Rising COVID-19 cases in Australia's Victoria state raise prospect of longer lockdown

Sydney logs 111 new cases, one death. Construction sites, non-essential retail shut down. 600,000 residents banned from leaving neighbourhood for work. Victoria records 19 new cases. Sydney has battled Delta variant since June
17th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 battle 'on a knife edge' in Scotland

Scotland’s battle against coronavirus is on a knife edge, with hospital cases falling for the first time in weeks. There were 532 patients being treated for coronavirus yesterday, 11 fewer than on Thursday, but forecasters have warned that another surge in cases could be on the horizon. The Scottish government’s forecasters said: “Based on the increase in cases in the last few weeks, [pressures on] hospital beds and intensive care units are projected to rise — for how long this continues is uncertain.” The present rate of admissions is already above forecasters’ “worst-case scenario”, which predicted that cases would plateau below 500 cases by mid-July. The recent decline in cases offers hope that the battle against the third wave is back on track. Hospital cases are forecast to fall to about 400 by the end of July under the best-case scenario, or rise above 800 under the worst.
16th Jul 2021 - The Times

African countries to receive first U.S. donated COVID-19 vaccines in days - Gavi

49 African countries to receive 25 mln COVID-19 vaccine doses. First deliveries soon to Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Ethiopia. Africa recorded a 43% jump in COVID-19 deaths last week
16th Jul 2021 - Reuters

As Delta drives COVID surge, vaccines, strategies under scrutiny

Malaysia’s health ministry has announced that it will stop using the COVID-19 vaccine produced by China’s Sinovac once its supplies end, while other Southeast Asian countries have said they are looking to mix and match the Chinese-made shots with those from western manufacturers amid a surge in cases driven by the highly-transmissible Delta variant. Malaysian Health Minister Adham Baba announced on Thursday that about half its 16 million doses of Sinovac have already been distributed and the remainder will be used to cover second doses.
16th Jul 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Half of U.S. States Ended Federal Covid-Related Jobless Benefits Early. Here Is How They Compare With the Other Half.

The number of Americans filing applications for jobless benefits continues to decline to the lowest levels since the economy shut down last year, though claims are still elevated compared with pre-pandemic levels. As many return to work, the amount of federal Covid-era benefits that unemployed people are receiving has splintered from one state to the next. In response to the catastrophic effect that pandemic lockdowns had on the U.S. job market, the federal government created programs in the past year that expanded the pool of unemployed workers eligible for benefits, extended the length of time Americans can receive payments and enhanced weekly payments, most recently by $300 a person. The federally funded programs are scheduled to expire in early September, but states have the option to opt out before then, and roughly half already have on some level. Governors in those states have argued that expanded benefits have contributed to labor shortages as the economy reopens.
16th Jul 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Bangladesh plans to vaccinate Rohingya against COVID: Official

Bangladesh plans to start rolling out inoculations against COVID-19 for the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya living in crowded refugee camps next month, says a senior official. “Subject to availability of the doses, we will begin administering the jabs among Rohingya anytime in August,” Shah Rezwan Hayat, chief of Bangladesh’s Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission, told DPA news agency on Friday.
16th Jul 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 16th Jul 2021

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Graphs show surge in cases among men in their twenties... and spike coincides with Euro 2020

Professor Chris Whitty warned England could be plunged into another lockdown amid a surge in cases. Public Health England data showed 10,267 more young men than women caught the virus last week. King's College London scientists estimated 33,118 people were catching the virus every day last week. For comparison, they said 33,723 people were getting infected every day during the previous spell
15th Jul 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid-19 cases are surging in 46 states. In one hot spot, hospitalized patients are younger than ever, doctor says

"In recent weeks, we've been seeing a much younger population," he said. "We're seeing a lot of people in their 30s, 40s, early 50s. We're seeing some teenagers and some pediatric patients as well." In St. Louis County, officials said the rate of new cases jumped by 63% over the past two weeks. "A tidal wave is coming towards our unvaccinated populations," County Executive Sam Page said. "This variant is spreading quickly, and this variant has the ability to devastate those in its wake. And that is why it is so critical to get vaccinated now."
15th Jul 2021 - CNN

Trafford health bosses worried as Covid-19 infection rate higher than it’s ever been

Trafford’s health bosses have voiced their concerns about restrictions fully lifting across the UK on Monday after the borough’s infection rate soared to higher than it’s ever been before. The borough’s infection rate has more than doubled in just a two week period and those in charge are calling for caution; for people to continue wearing face masks in public places and maintaining social distancing.
15th Jul 2021 - Manchester Evening News

Australian government scales back supply projections for AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine

The government has quietly scaled down projections of how many AstraZeneca doses will be available in Australia in the coming weeks, while downplaying a huge gap between the amount being locally produced and original Covid-19 vaccine supply targets. Last month, under significant pressure over the vaccine rollout, the federal government released a planning document estimating how many doses would be distributed over the rest of 2021. The document, titled Covid Vaccination Allocations Horizons, estimated the commonwealth would distribute between 2.2m and 2.6m AstraZeneca doses a week to the states, general practitioners and the aged care and disability sector in July and August.
15th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Official: Nearly 70% of medical workers in Moscow vaccinated

The majority of medical workers, teachers and social workers in Moscow have been vaccinated against the coronavirus a month after authorities in the Russian capital mandated the shots for many of those employed in health care, education, retail, public transport and hospitality and services sector. Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rakova said Wednesday that nearly 70% of medical workers, 66% of those working in Moscow education facilities and 76% of social workers have been vaccinated. Her statement came a day before the Thursday deadline authorities set for eligible companies and institutions a month ago to ensure that 60% of their staff receive at least one vaccine shot.
15th Jul 2021 - Associated Press

Vaccine deliveries rising as delta virus variant slams Asia

As many Asian countries battle their worst surge of COVID-19 infections, the slow flow of vaccine doses from around the world is finally picking up speed, giving hope that inoculation rates can increase and help blunt the effect of the rapidly spreading delta variant. With many vaccine pledges still unfulfilled and rates of infection spiking across multiple countries, however, experts say more needs to be done to help nations struggling with the overflow of patients and shortages of oxygen and other critical supplies.
15th Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Athlete, Olympic workers test positive for COVID as opening nears

A foreign athlete and five Olympic workers in Japan have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Tokyo 2020 organisers. The cases, announced on Thursday, marked the latest infections to emerge among people involved with the Summer Games, which are due to begin next week, and have raised new concerns about the spread of coronavirus at the global sporting event.
15th Jul 2021 - AlJazeera

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China to start giving COVID-19 shots to teenagers this month

Several areas in China will start vaccinating teenagers this month against COVID-19, state media and local authorities said, as the country steps up its inoculation campaign.
14th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Covid: Low uptake of jab causing 'crisis' at NHS trust

A health boss says his hospitals are in "the teeth of a growing local crisis" over low uptake of the Covid jab. Richard Beeken, chief executive at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, said it had 60 coronavirus inpatients, eight of whom were "critically unwell". In a letter to staff, he said it was vital people had the vaccination to boost their protection. But following 600 calls to under-40s to encourage jabs, he said, fewer than 10 agreed to appointments. Mr Beeken wrote that intensive care units were full and urgent cancer surgery was "under threat" due to Covid pressures faced by the trust.
14th Jul 2021 - BBC News

Netherlands sees Covid cases rise 500% in a week

There was a 500 per cent increase in new coronavirus cases in the Netherlands in the week to Tuesday and the reproduction rate or R number now stands at 2.17 and rising – its highest since the pandemic began. Days after acting prime minister Mark Rutte apologised for relaxing restrictions too quickly, the head of the Centre for Infectious Disease Control, Dr Aura Timen, briefed MPs that the current wave was directly linked to the most recent easing on June 26th.
14th Jul 2021 - Irish Times

Nearly 3000 confined to cabins after COVID-19 case on Singapore cruise

Infection confirmed in a passenger on 'cruise to nowhere.' Nearly 3,000 passengers, crew on Genting Cruise Lines ship. Ashore, Singapore marks highest new COVID tally in months
14th Jul 2021 - Reuters

US COVID-19 cases rising again, doubling over three weeks

The COVID-19 curve in the U.S. is rising again after months of decline, with the number of new cases per day doubling over the past three weeks, driven by the fast-spreading delta variant, lagging vaccination rates and Fourth of July gatherings. Confirmed infections climbed to an average of about 23,600 a day on Monday, up from 11,300 on June 23, according to Johns Hopkins University data. And all but two states — Maine and South Dakota — reported that case numbers have gone up over the past two weeks. “It is certainly no coincidence that we are looking at exactly the time that we would expect cases to be occurring after the July Fourth weekend,” said Dr. Bill Powderly, co-director of the infectious-disease division at Washington University’s School of Medicine in St. Louis.
14th Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

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Long Lines Form for Russia's Third Coronavirus Vaccine in Moscow

Long lines formed outside Moscow vaccination sites over the weekend as demand for Russia’s third registered coronavirus jab outstripped supply and caused yet another shortage of the jab. Videos published to social media showed Muscovites lining up outside a dozen vaccination sites where authorities had shipped around 850 doses of CoviVac each. Moscow City Hall, which had previously suspended CoviVac vaccinations due to shortages on June 22 and June 28, announced that it ran out of doses on Sunday.
13th Jul 2021 - The Moscow Times

Serbia to become first country in Europe to produce China-developed COVID-19 vaccine

Serbia will become the first country in Europe to produce China-developed inactivated COVID-19 vaccines as the country has reached an agreement with Sinopharm, the Chinese company announced Tuesday. The production line in Serbia will be able to deliver about three million doses of vaccines per month and is set to produce 10 million doses of Sinopharm's inactivated vaccine, according to the announcement. The first batch of the doses will be provided to the local Serbian market to help the country fight against the epidemic, according to the announcement.
13th Jul 2021 - Global Times

COVID-19: Why no one should feel especially comfortable with this genuine new wave of infections

Every other time COVID-19 infection rates were as high as this, and heading up at the rate they are now, this government, tried to put the epidemiological brakes on, but this time it's different, as lockdown easing will go ahead as planned.
13th Jul 2021 - Sky News

Experts warn Jersey Covid cases could reach 500 per day by next week

Stage 7 of Jersey's reconnection plan will not go ahead as scheduled for 15 July, working from home is to return and masks are advised once again. The announcement has been made following a sharp rise in the number of Covid cases in the island. Experts are warning case numbers could reach 500 per day by this time next week. At a press conference this afternoon (13 July) officials announced their objective is to slow the rate of infection and reduce levels of isolation, which is impacting on individuals, and consequently businesses are having to close.
13th Jul 2021 - ITV News

UK megalab opens to process hundreds of thousands of Covid tests and identify new variants

The UK’s first testing megalab - which will process hundreds of thousands of Covid-19 samples every day - has opened as the “centrepiece” of the country’s future test and trace infrastructure, the government has said. The new Rosalind Franklin laboratory in Royal Leamington Spa will play a role in responding to new Covid variants of concern and future disease threats as part of plans to prevent another national lockdown. The facility is named after the British scientist who played a key role in the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA and in pioneering the use of X-ray diffraction.
13th Jul 2021 - The Independent

Brits will need annual Covid vaccine booster as new variants emerge, experts warn

Millions of vulnerable Brits will likely need a Covid booster jab every year and it could be given at the same time as an annual flu shot, say experts. About 32 million people in England could receive their third coronavirus jabs from September in the next stage of the biggest vaccination programme in UK history. A British clinical trial - the first of its kind in the world - was launched to find out whether boosters are safe and effective in extending immune protection against coronavirus, and which vaccines could be used for third jabs.
13th Jul 2021 - The Mirror

Delta surge ‘could leave hundreds of thousands with long Covid’

The decision to lift England’s remaining Covid restrictions next Monday – even as cases of the Delta variant surge around the country – is expected to turbocharge the epidemic and push the nation into what one leading scientist called “uncharted territory” in terms of the numbers of people left suffering from long Covid. Ministers have been told to expect at least one to two million coronavirus infections in the coming weeks. And while the mass rollout of vaccines – which started with elderly and vulnerable people – will dramatically reduce the proportion who are hospitalised and die, the wave may leave hundreds of thousands of younger people with long-term health problems, researchers have said.
13th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

New COVID-19 cases up 94 percent in two weeks

The average number of new daily COVID-19 cases has increased 94 percent over the past two weeks, according to data from The New York Times, as worries over outbreaks climb nationwide. The U.S. recorded a seven-day average of more than 23,000 daily cases on Monday, almost doubling from the average two weeks ago, as less than half of the total population is fully vaccinated. Monday’s count of 32,105 newly confirmed cases pushed the seven-day average up from its Sunday level of more than 19,000 new cases — a 60 percent increase from two weeks prior.
13th Jul 2021 - The Hill

In first, Thailand to mix Sinovac, AstraZeneca vaccine doses

Thailand used Sinovac vaccine for frontliners. AstraZeneca vaccine available since June. Delta variant on increase in Thailand. New curbs imposed around capital
12th Jul 2021 - Reuters

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Coronavirus in Australia: AstraZeneca vaccine offered to over-40s in New South Wales

Sydney contradicted previous official health advice today by saying they would offer the AstraZeneca vaccine to younger people as new daily cases of the highly infectious Delta variant soared to more than 100. While the national government continues to recommend that the locally-produced AstraZeneca vaccine be restricted to people aged over 60 because of blood clotting fears, health chiefs in New South Wales said its mass vaccination centres would offer it to anybody over 40. It is a departure from national health guidelines which have recommended heavy restrictions on the use of AstraZeneca, despite severe shortages of alternative vaccines such as Pfizer.
12th Jul 2021 - The Times

Canada to reach 55M vaccine doses by week's end, catching up to U.S. on second doses

Canada is expecting vaccine shipments to keep rolling in this week as the country inches closer to matching the percentage of people in the United States fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The federal government expects another 1.4 million doses of the shot from Pfizer-BioNTech to arrive in the next seven days. It also plans to distribute the 1.5 million doses from Moderna that came in last Friday.
12th Jul 2021 - CTV News

Desperate Myanmar residents queue for oxygen as COVID-19 cases surge

There is enough oxygen - army chief. Myanmar sees record deaths, cases Suu Kyi worried about outbreak. Myanmar's military authorities pledged on Monday to ramp up oxygen supplies to help treat COVID-19 patients, as residents described their struggle to secure supplies to save loved-ones from a record-setting wave of infections.
12th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Spain's coronavirus infections keep rising, regions impose restrictions

Spain's two-week COVID-19 contagion rate kept rising on Monday, reaching 368 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, officials said, more than tripling in two weeks as infections have soared especially among young people. Health emergency chief Fernando Simon said the pace of increase had reduced in recent days as officials believe the latest wave is nearing its peak. He praised new restrictions announced in the hard-hit Mediterranean regions of Catalonia and Valencia.
12th Jul 2021 - Reuters

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Tokyo 2020 CEO says Tokyo Olympics will create model for pandemic Games

The Tokyo Olympics will provide a model for hosting the Games during a pandemic after rising COVID-19 infections forced organisers to ban spectators at most events, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said on Sunday. "This will be the first Olympics held during a pandemic, and Tokyo will provide a model for how that is done," Muto said on a political debate program aired by public broadcaster NHK. Athletes will not have to compete in completely empty venues because Olympic officials and journalists will be there, he added.
11th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Public alarm grows at Boris Johnson’s plan for Covid ‘freedom day’

Boris Johnson faces a growing revolt over plans to end most Covid restrictions on 19 July – including the mandatory wearing of face masks on public transport and in hospitals – as half of the public now say they want “freedom day” to be delayed. Last night, as doctors and other NHS workers demanded that mask-wearing continue in hospitals, regional political leaders broke ranks, saying they would override the national government on the issue and strongly advise people to continue wearing masks on public transport.
10th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Unvaccinated hospitalized patients say they regret not getting the shot

"It is heart-wrenching to see unvaccinated individuals come into the hospital with regret," said Dare, an infectious diseases physician. They are patients who, "if they could do it all over again, would have had the vaccine in a second." Arkansas has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with less than 35 percent of adults having been fully vaccinated. Now, the state's low vaccine uptake has crashed headlong into the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus, leaving some hospital systems once again teetering on the brink of collapse more than a year into the pandemic.
9th Jul 2021 - NBC News

Britain should NOT return to normal on July 19 because NHS backlog combined with third wave is putting doctors under pressure and the 'pandemic is far from over' says medical chief

The government hopes Covid passports will encourage vaccine-shy young people to get jabbed. By September, all adults over 18 should have been offered both vaccine doses, allowing for the passports. Patrons will need to show proof of either two vaccine doses or a recent negative test under the proposals
9th Jul 2021 - Daily Mail

U.S. Covid-19 Hospitalizations Rise as Delta Variant Spreads

Hospitalizations related to Covid-19 are rising in the U.S. after a long decline, federal data showed, providing evidence of the human toll the Delta virus variant is taking on unvaccinated Americans. Just under 2,000 new patients were admitted to hospitals each day over the week ending July 5, a 6.8% increase over admissions during the previous week and an 88% decrease over a seven-day average of 16,492 patients admitted daily in early January, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New cases are up too, to a seven-day daily average of 13,859 on July 6, about an 11% increase over the previous seven-day average, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Thursday at a White House briefing.
8th Jul 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

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Delta variant is 'Covid-19 on steroids,' expert says, with cases increasing in nearly half of US states

Twenty-four states have seen an uptick of at least 10% in Covid-19 cases over the past week, Johns Hopkins University data shows, as health experts and the federal government keep pressing for more people to get vaccinated. The rapid spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus has only ratcheted up the pressure. That variant, first identified in India, accounted for 51.7% of all new Covid-19 infections in the country over the two weeks that ended Saturday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated.
8th Jul 2021 - CNN

Indonesia's surge in COVID-19 cases spreads to coal mining areas

Indonesia's biggest coal-producing province of East Kalimantan has recorded a spike in coronavirus cases, with miners among those infected, but so far there has been no disruption to coal operations, a local official said. The Southeast Asian country is the world's biggest thermal coal exporter and has been riding a boom in prices powered by strong demand from countries such as China, South Korea and Japan.
8th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Australia's slow vaccination, locked borders eclipse early virus success

Last year, when much of the world was in coronavirus lockdown, Australia was successfully hosting international cricket matches and tennis tournaments in front of packed crowds in a show of what post-pandemic life could look like. But in recent weeks, new virus outbreaks, a chaotic vaccine rollout and a tightening of already strict curbs on international travel have rapidly reversed those fortunes. As crowds in London watch Wimbledon and the Euro Cup football finals, Australians confront new disappointments, with the Melbourne Formula 1 Grand Prix cancelled and holiday plans scuppered. Unlike last year, business and consumer tolerance for the restrictions and uncertainty is quickly evaporating as Australians witness other countries reopen
8th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Delta COVID variant surges in Asia, casts shadow on Olympics

Indonesia's daily COVID-19 cases jumped to a new record level today, with Thailand and South Korea also reporting record highs. Rising virus activity has also forced Japanese officials to order a state of emergency for the Tokyo area and a spectator ban for Olympic events. Meanwhile, the world's death total from the virus topped 4 million today, with just over one-third of all fatalities from three countries: the United States, Brazil, and India. Global cases topped 185 million, rising to 185,350,264, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.
8th Jul 2021 - CIDRAP

Australia says Pfizer to expand COVID-19 vaccine supply amid Sydney outbreak

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday said Pfizer will increase COVID-19 vaccine delivery to about one million doses a week from July 19, more than tripling shipments, as Sydney battles its worst outbreak of this year. As many as 4.5 million Pfizer Inc doses that were expected to arrive in September will become available next month, Morrison said.
8th Jul 2021 - Reuters

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COVID infections imperil Indonesia's vaccinated health workers, and hospitals

Indonesian pulmonologist Erlina Burhan is exasperated after another long shift in a jam-packed hospital missing 200 staff infected by the coronavirus despite being vaccinated just months ago. "It's crazy, really crazy," she tells Reuters. "More patients but less staff. This is ridiculous." About 95% health workers have been fully vaccinated, overwhelmingly with China's Sinovac, said the Indonesian Hospitals Association (IHA).
7th Jul 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: PM heading for showdown with MPs amid predictions millions of Britons could get coronavirus this summer

Boris Johnson is heading for a COVID showdown with MPs amid a backlash over a six-week wait for the ending of self-isolation rules. Conservative MPs and business leaders have reacted furiously after Health Secretary Sajid Javid said children and fully vaccinated adults will have to follow current self-isolation rules until 16 August. This means they will have to stay at home for 10 days if they come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.
7th Jul 2021 - Sky News

Germany Renews Vaccine Plea as Europe Struggles to Contain Delta

Germany’s health minister stepped up his plea for as many people as possible to get a Covid-19 shot amid signs the vaccination drive across Europe is losing steam. Jens Spahn made the call on Wednesday as the spread of the delta variant threatens to spark a new wave of virus infections throughout the European Union. There are signs that other countries, including France, Italy, Switzerland and Austria, are also struggling to maintain the pace of shots. The slowdown suggests a growing risk that developed countries, including the U.S., could fall short of the vaccination rates needed to achieve herd immunity. The situation is being made worse because the delta strain is more transmissable than previous versions of the coronavirus.
7th Jul 2021 - Bloomberg

Singapore omits Sinovac shots from COVID-19 vaccination tally

People who received Sinovac Biotech shots are excluded from Singapore's count of total vaccinations against COVID-19, officials in the city state said, citing inadequate efficacy data for the Chinese-made vaccine, especially against the contagious Delta variant. "We don't really have a medical or scientific basis or have the data now to establish how effective Sinovac is in terms of infection and severe illnesses on Delta," health minister Ong Ye Kung said
7th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Desperate Indonesians search for oxygen as virus cases soar

With his aunt gasping for breath at home from her COVID-19 infection, 17-year-old Ridho Milhasan took matters into his own hands Wednesday and went to find her some oxygen. After his uncle scrounged an empty tank from a friend, Milhasan found an oxygen filling station in southern Jakarta, waited in the long line of others also in desperate need, and emerged triumphantly after three hours with the supply he needed. “My aunt badly needed this oxygen,” he said before strapping the oxygen container to his small scooter. “This pandemic is getting dire.”
7th Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Bangladesh hits record COVID cases amid fears of oxygen crisis

The country reports 11,525 cases, the highest in a day since the pandemic started, as authorities fear a shortage of medical oxygen could worsen the crisis.
7th Jul 2021 - AlJazeera

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Israel to ship 700K Pfizer doses to South Korea in swap deal

Israel is sending 700,000 coronavirus vaccine doses to South Korea in exchange for a future shipment of vaccines from South Korea to Israel. Under the deal, Israel will transfer the Pfizer vaccines to South Korea in an effort to inoculate more of the Asian nation’s citizens this month. South Korea will send the same number of doses to Israel as early as September, the officials added. “This is a win-win deal,” Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in his statement. The agreement will “reduce the holes” in the vaccine’s availability. Jung Eun-kyeong, South Korea’s top infectious disease expert, confirmed the deal. She said the Seoul government will continue to pursue swap deals with other countries.
6th Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Covid bubbles to be axed in England's schools

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said the system of sending "bubbles" of children home after a positive case would cease at the end of summer term. The bubble system had been necessary to limit virus spread but was now causing disruption to pupils' lives, he said. Teaching unions warned against easing rules as cases are still rising. The changes to schools guidance will take effect at the same time as the country eases restrictions and moves to stage four. This is expected to be on 19 July - with confirmation of this due next Monday.
6th Jul 2021 - BBC News

Morepen Laboratories produces test batch of Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF, Russia's sovereign wealth fund), and Morepen Laboratories, one of the leading manufacturers of pharmaceutical products in India, today announced the production of the test batch of the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in an exclusive facility in state of Himachal Pradesh. The first batch will be shipped to the Gamaleya Center for the quality control. RDIF and Morepen Laboratories signed a cooperation agreement in June 2021 and are actively implementing the technology transfer.
6th Jul 2021 - Business Standard

COVID-19: Londoners who get first vaccine jab can win Euro 2020 final tickets, says mayor Sadiq Khan

Londoners are being offered the chance to win tickets to the Euro 2020 final if they sign up for their first COVID jab. The city's mayor, Sadiq Khan, is putting up one pair of tickets for Sunday's final at Wembley, as well as 50 pairs for the fan zone in Trafalgar Square. To be eligible, people need to show proof they have been to a walk-in vaccination centre for their first dose, or have booked an appointment.
6th Jul 2021 - Sky News

Crackdown on ‘vaccine sommeliers’ as Covid pandemic grips Brazil

Cities across Brazil are clamping down on “vaccine sommeliers” who seek to cherrypick their Covid shots despite the devastating epidemic still gripping Latin America’s largest nation. More than half a million Brazilians have lost their lives to an outbreak the country’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, stands accused of ruinously mishandling. Yet some citizens have shown themselves to be perplexingly selective about which brand of vaccine they receive. “We’re pioneering a new occupation here in Brazil: the vaccine sommeliers,” Rio’s mayor, Eduardo Paes, complained last month amid mounting reports about over-picky residents turning down certain vaccines at health posts.
6th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Indonesia copes with oxygen shortages as COVID cases quadruple

Indonesia is struggling with one of Asia’s worst coronavirus outbreaks as new cases more than quadrupled in a month, prompting a critical shortage of oxygen in several areas. At least 33 people died at a hospital in Yogyakarta when its supply ran out over the weekend and the government on Monday asked oxygen producers to send all their supplies to hospitals and clinics.
6th Jul 2021 - Al Jazeera English

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Morocco's Sothema to produce China's Sinopharm vaccine

Moroccan pharmaceutical firm Sothema will soon start production of 5 million doses a month of China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine in the North African country, state news agency MAP reported on Monday. The announcement was made at a ceremony chaired by King Mohammed VI during which the Moroccan government, Sinopharm and Sothema, whose formal name is Société Thérapeutique Marocaine, also signed deals to produce the vaccine in Morocco, which has a population of about 36 million.
5th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Indonesia seeks more oxygen for COVID-19 sick amid shortage

Parts of Indonesia lack oxygen supplies as the number of critically ill COVID-19 patients who need it increases, the nation's pandemic response leader said Monday, after dozens of sick people died at a public hospital that ran out of its central supply. “Due to an increase of three to four times the amount (of oxygen) needed, the distribution has been hampered,” said Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the coordinating maritime affairs and investment minister. The government is asking oxygen producers to dedicate their full supply to medical needs and will import it if needed, Pandjaitan said at the virtual news conference.
5th Jul 2021 - The Independent

'Call of duty': Indonesian bikers brave COVID-19 surge to escort ambulances

Indonesian volunteer biker Sebastian Dwiyantoro and his team have been particularly busy helping ambulances navigate heavy traffic in Jakarta's satellite city of Depok to get COVID-19 patients to hospital as infections soar in the country. The volunteers ride motorbikes in front of the ambulances, the deafening noise of the sirens behind them, freeing up space and stopping other cars to make way for ambulances carrying the sick to medical facilities or corpses to graveyards. Indonesia has been reporting more than 20,000 new cases and over 400 deaths per day over the past week as the spread of the more contagious Delta variant accelerated infections and strained the country's healthcare sector
5th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Vaccination for people aged 18-34 opens at more than 800 pharmacies

Vaccinations against Covid-19 for people aged between 18 and 34 begin on Monday in Ireland, as more than 800 pharmacies across the country begin administering the one-shot Janssen/Johnson & Johnson jab. The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) recently changed its advice to allow people aged under 40 to receive the J&J and AstraZeneca shots as the State seeks to widen the vaccine rollout amid concern about the spread of the Delta variant. The news comes as the limit is removed on the number of people who can visit a private home together if they are all fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 in the previous 9 months.
5th Jul 2021 - Irish Times

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The UK's preparing to administer COVID vaccine booster shots, and Australia is set to follow suit

The UK has become the first nation in the world to plan a third round of COVID-19 vaccinations for vulnerable Britons, with a booster program that would shore up resistance to the virus ahead of winter. Preparations to roll out the vaccine to elderly populations from September are awaiting final medical advice, but the move marks a step in the global vaccine race as the UK turns its attention towards providing ongoing resistance to COVID-19 and new variants.
4th Jul 2021 - ABC News

Covid wards in the D.C. area are almost empty. Doctors credit the coronavirus vaccine.

Just six months ago, the covid-19 unit at Sibley Memorial Hospital was full and doctors at the Northwest D.C. hospital were grappling with a winter surge in pandemic patients. Today, the 25-bed ward is empty, said Michael Lee, the hospitalist medical director. There have been virtually no covid-19 patients for four weeks. It’s a trend that doctors say they are seeing across the D.C. region as vaccinations have led to increased immunity, sending hospitalizations and deaths plunging.
3rd Jul 2021 - The Washington Post

Indonesia triples oxygen supplies as Covid-19 outbreak worsens

Indonesia is tripling its oxygen supplies to hospitals as data suggests the Delta variant of coronavirus is now driving the country’s worsening outbreak, accounting for more than 60% of recent cases. Indonesia’s health minister, Budi Gunadi Sadikin, told the Guardian that three-quarters of the national oxygen production used for industry would be redeployed to hospitals for the next two weeks. “We learned from India to make sure the supply is there,” he said.
3rd Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Putin's 'Lockdown Lite' as Moscow Stops Millions From Dining Out

As the Covid-19 pandemic rears up again in Russia, President Vladimir Putin is following Israel’s example as Moscow stops millions of residents from entering bars and restaurants without proof of vaccination or recovery from the illness. But mindful of hostility to the vaccines in Russia ahead of key elections, he’s steering away from making the shots mandatory nationwide. “Damn!” swore a 26-year-old who gave his name as Nikolai, as staff refused him entry to a bar in downtown Moscow, on a recent evening. In the end he got a beer and sat sullenly in the rain at the venue’s outside tables. City authorities have allowed summer terraces to accept all customers, but only until July 12.
3rd Jul 2021 - Bloomberg

Moscow Tightens the Clamp on Russia’s Millions of Covid-19 Vaccine Holdouts

Russia is adopting increasingly coercive measures to convince Russians to be vaccinated, as authorities try to reboot a flailing vaccination campaign and race to beat back a surge in Covid-19 cases caused by the more infectious Delta variant. Local authorities in some areas of Russia have made vaccination compulsory for service-sector employees, meaning that millions of workers, ranging from hairdressers to bank tellers, face the threat of unpaid leave if they don’t get inoculated. Restaurants and shops could be closed for months if they don’t have 60% vaccinated staff by mid-July. And as of late June, only the inoculated, those who have recovered in the past six months or who have a negative test can enter Moscow restaurants and coffee shops.
3rd Jul 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

15 million people in the U.S. have missed their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine, CDC says

Nearly 15 million people — or more than one in 10 of those eligible in the United States — have missed their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC data shows that as of June 16, nearly 11 percent of people who had sufficient time to get the second dose missed their ideal window. The number has increased from 8 percent earlier in the year, but CDC spokesperson Kate Fowlie said the rise was “not unexpected.”
2nd Jul 2021 - The Washington Post

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Bolivian hospital connects COVID-19 patients and loved ones with virtual visits

Ruth Lagos has come to the Cotahuma Municipal Hospital in the highland Bolivian city of La Paz for a "virtual" visit with her mother and father who are being treated for COVID-19. Not allowed to see them in person, and like many Bolivians not having enough internet bandwidth at home, Lagos is taking advantage of an innovative new idea: a video call booth at the hospital's entrance, which connects patients inside with their loved ones.
1st Jul 2021 - Reuters

S.African medics threaten court action as staff shortages hit COVID response

The South African Medical Association threatened on Thursday to take the government to court because scores of new junior doctors cannot find placements despite staff shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic. SAMA said it was "scandalous" that, during a third wave of infections, 228 medical interns who graduated in March and April were waiting for the government to place them at public hospitals to complete their training.
1st Jul 2021 - Reuters

Moscow begins booster vaccine campaign as Russia's COVID-19 cases surge

Health clinics in Moscow will begin offering booster vaccine shots against COVID-19 on Thursday, the city's mayor said, as Russian officials scramble to contain a surge in cases blamed on the highly infectious Delta variant. The health ministry issued new regulations for the national inoculation program on Wednesday, recommending clinics begin administering booster doses to people vaccinated six months ago or more, making Russia one of the first countries globally to begin re-vaccination. The health ministry said campaign was an emergency measure as coronavirus cases in Russia rise sharply and vaccination rates remain low.
1st Jul 2021 - MSN

NHS GPs giving second Covid jabs just three weeks apart

Hundreds of GPs are administering second Covid jabs just three weeks after the first in defiance of NHS advice, triggering a rebuke from the UK’s vaccines authority. The rollout of second doses up to nine weeks earlier than official guidance has prompted concern over a postcode lottery in access to protection against coronavirus. GP vaccinators, high street pharmacies and some mass vaccination centres and pop-up jab clinics in different parts of England have taken the decision to offer second doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab after three weeks and of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine after four weeks. Doctors say their unofficial and “pragmatic” policy of shorter gaps between doses is boosting the immunisation drive ahead of what has been dubbed “Freedom Day” on 19 July and ensures vaccines are not wasted, especially amid the spread of the Delta variant.
1st Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Euro soccer tournament under fire for helping spread COVID-19

The Euro 2020 soccer tournament was on Thursday blamed for a surge in coronavirus cases as fans have flocked to stadiums, bars and spectator zones across Europe to watch the action while the pandemic still raged. Germany's interior minister called European soccer's governing body UEFA "utterly irresponsible" for allowing big crowds at the tournament. The World Health Organization (WHO) said the mixing of crowds in Euro 2020 host cities, travel and easing of social restrictions had driven up the number of new cases rose by 10%.
1st Jul 2021 - Reuters

California virus cases rising as delta variant spreads

California broadly reopened its economy barely two weeks ago and since then an especially contagious coronavirus variant has spread among the unvaccinated, a development that has health officials on edge and already has prompted Los Angeles County to strongly recommend everyone resume wearing masks inside. The nation’s most populous state is averaging close to 1,000 additional cases reported daily, an increase of about 17% in the last 14 days. Officials expected an increase when capacity limits were lifted for businesses and most mask restrictions and social distancing requirements were eliminated for vaccinated people. But public health officials raised concern this week with the more transmissible delta variant spreading among the unvaccinated, who comprise the vast majority of new infections. LA County, where a quarter of the state’s nearly 40 million people live, recommended Monday that vaccinated residents resume wearing face coverings indoors after detecting that about half of all cases were the delta variant.
1st Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Israel scrambles to curb jump in COVID infections

Authorities are racing to vaccinate children and are considering tighter travel restrictions at the country’s main airport. The Health Ministry on Thursday reported 307 new cases on Wednesday, the highest in nearly three months and a rise from 293 newly-diagnosed cases a day earlier. The health ministry reportedly expects those numbers to jump in coming days, raising concerns that Israel is plunging back toward a crisis. In recent months, Israel has reopened businesses, schools and event venues, lifting nearly all restrictions after it inoculated some 85% of the adult population. It’s now seen as an early-warning system of sorts for other nations. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday announced a drive to inoculate thousands of children by mid-month.
1st Jul 2021 - Associated Press

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Covid-19: GP staff have faced threats and abuse during vaccination programme, poll finds

Over half (52%) of GP practice staff have received threats of physical abuse while working on the covid-19 vaccination programme, a survey has found. The poll of 222 GP practice staff by the Medical Protection Society (MPS) also found that over half (53%) of staff said that their surgery or vaccination centre had been defaced by anti-vaccination material. The survey included GPs, nurses, and practice managers at surgeries in the UK. One respondent said, “Staff of all disciplines are leaving the profession in droves because of the behaviour of the public creating unbearable working situations. Morale is the lowest I have ever known, anyone near retirement is retiring early.” Another said, “Abuse—especially written and posted in the prescription box on the gate—has resulted in staff being very concerned for their safety at the surgery.”
30th Jun 2021 - The BMJ

England aims to lift restrictions in schools in final stage of lockdown easing, minister says

British education minister Gavin Williamson on Wednesday said he expects to be able to end the restrictions and bubble system in England's schools when other freedoms are regained in the last step out of lockdown, scheduled for July 19. The current system can result in entire classes of pupils being asked to self isolate if one of their classmates tests positive for COVID-19. "What I want to see is these restrictions, including bubbles removed as quickly as possible, along with wider restrictions in society," Williamson told lawmakers.
30th Jun 2021 - Reuters

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Mexico suggests tweaked border restrictions with U.S. as vaccinations advance

Mexico's foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Tuesday the Mexican government had suggested to U.S. counterparts that travel restrictions on their shared border should change as vaccination programs advance. Restrictions on non-essential travel over the U.S.-Mexico border were first imposed in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and have been extended in 30-day increments.
29th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Royal Caribbean cruises out of Florida to require unvaccinated passengers buy travel insurance

Royal Caribbean cruises departing from Florida are requiring unvaccinated passengers above the age of 12 to buy travel insurance for medical and travel costs that could occur if they get COVID-19. The company announced on Tuesday unvaccinated passengers must get $25,000 in medical expense insurance and $50,000 insurance for quarantine and medical evacuation costs. The insurance is required for cruises that leave from Florida from Aug. 1 to Dec. 31. The policy will not apply to people who booked their cruises between March 19 and Monday.
29th Jun 2021 - The Hill

Israel may have to throw away nearly 1 million COVID vaccines

In Israel, the Health Ministry will destroy at least 800,000 expiring coronavirus vaccine doses if no buyers are found for them in the next two weeks, according to a report Monday. The doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccines, set to expire at the end of July, are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the Kan public broadcaster. Israel’s search for a taker for the shots come as many countries are expanding their vaccination drives to combat the fast-spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus, which has sent case numbers in some places soaring.
29th Jun 2021 - The Times of Israel

Sanofi to invest 400 million euros in a mRNA vaccines facility

Sanofi will invest about 400 million euros ($476 million) annually in research and development of next-generation vaccines using mRNA technologies, which proved their efficiency in the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 jabs. Sanofi added on Tuesday that its "mRNA Center of Excellence" will bring together around 400 employees based at existing sites close to Lyon in southern France and in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is expected to produce a minimum of six clinical candidates by 2025. "During the COVID-19 pandemic, mRNA technologies demonstrated potential to deliver new vaccines faster than ever before", said Jean-Francois Toussaint, global head of R&D at Sanofi Pasteur, the company's vaccines division.
29th Jun 2021 - Reuters

As infections rise, Cuban doctors fan out to encourage COVID jabs

There is a health clinic on every corner in Havana, each with a family doctor and nurse. Over the last weeks, these health workers have been out visiting their patients in the Cuban capital, from the solares – warren-like buildings where whole families live in single rooms – to smarter apartments in crumbling art deco buildings where memories of wealth still show in grand windows looking out over the Florida Straits. They have been telling residents the coronavirus vaccine has arrived and giving out appointments for jabs. This scene has been repeated across the city, and – so long as there are enough syringes to administer doses – will soon be repeated across the country.
29th Jun 2021 - AlJazeera

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Vaccination rules begin at Moscow restaurants

Restaurants and cafes in Moscow on Monday began requesting that patrons provide proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test as the Russian capital faces a surge of new infections. According to a decision by city authorities last week, all Moscow restaurants, cafes and bars must only admit customers who have been vaccinated, have recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months or can provide a negative coronavirus test from the previous 72 hours. As proof of vaccination for entering a restaurant, customers must visit a government website and get a QR code, a digital pattern designed to be read by a scanner
28th Jun 2021 - The Associated Press

Hong Kong bans flights from ‘high risk’ UK to curb virus

Hong Kong will ban all passenger flights from the UK starting Thursday as it seeks to curb the spread of new variants of the coronavirus. In a Hong Kong government statement on Monday, the UK was classified as “extremely high risk“ because of the “recent rebound of the epidemic situation in the UK and the widespread Delta variant virus strain there”.
28th Jun 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Anatomy of a health conundrum: The racial gap in vaccinations

The United States is awash in coronavirus vaccines, with free beer, plane tickets and million-dollar prizes dangled as inducements to persuade the reluctant to get a shot. Philadelphia is doling out $400,000 in giveaways. Despite that, a racial divide persists in the nation’s vaccination campaign, with federal figures showing counties with higher percentages of Black residents having some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. An examination of city and federal vaccination data and interviews with more than 20 researchers, doctors, health officials and residents in the nation’s sixth-largest city opens a window onto the missteps and misunderstandings, the legacy and loss that have fostered the disproportionate pain of death and disease in communities of color. Coronavirus immunizations are the latest iteration of the pandemic’s unequal burden.
28th Jun 2021 - The Washington Post

Hong Kong to ban passenger flights from UK to curb virus

Hong Kong says it will ban all passenger flights from the U.K. starting Thursday as it seeks to curb the spread of new variants of the coronavirus. It said in a statement Monday that the U.K. has been classified as “extremely high risk“ because of the “recent rebound of the epidemic situation in the U.K. and the widespread delta variant virus strain there.” Under the classification, people who have stayed in the U.K. for more than two hours will be restricted from boarding passenger flights to Hong Kong.
28th Jun 2021 - Associated Press

Amid COVID dip, Pakistan to ease some flight restrictions

With active cases of the coronavirus continuing to drop in Pakistan, authorities say they have decided to ease incoming flight restrictions from several countries, including all the European countries, Canada, China and Malaysia. Direct flights from these countries will be allowed to operate at 40 percent of their full schedule of flights, a government document said, with the new regulations coming into effect on July 1.
28th Jun 2021 - AlJazeera

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As variant rises, vaccine plan targets 'movable middle'

Thrown off-stride to reach its COVID-19 vaccination goal, the Biden administration is sending A-list officials across the country, devising ads for niche markets and enlisting community organizers to persuade unvaccinated people to get a shot. The strategy has the trappings of a political campaign, complete with data crunching to identify groups that can be won over. But the message is about public health, not ideology. The focus is a group health officials term the “movable middle” — some 55 million unvaccinated adults seen as persuadable, many of them under 30.
27th Jun 2021 - Associated Press

India set to shift T20 World Cup to UAE due to pandemic - sources

This year's Twenty20 World Cup is set to be shifted to the United Arab Emirates due to the COVID-19 situation in India, Indian cricket board sources told Reuters on Saturday. The pandemic swept the world's second-most populous nation last year, resulting in a lengthy shutdown. Infections have rocketed again in another wave this year as the country scrambles to curb a more transmissible variant of the virus, hitting plans to ease lockdown measures.
27th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Leeds waits for vaccine as Covid rates go sky-high in student areas

Heading back to their student halls with a bottle of wine, 19-year-olds Roz Monaghan and Mackenzie Bradley-Wilkinson are feeling tense. The pair live in the Hyde Park area of Leeds, where Covid-19 rates are the highest in the country, more than 10 times the average. A combination of a majority-unvaccinated population, a return to face-to-face teaching, good weather and the end of exams has sent Covid rates in Leeds’s student area sky-high. While the UK average is 105 cases per 100,000 people, the case rate in the Hyde Park ward is a huge 1,547 per 100,000 people and it is rising rapidly. In neighbouring Hyde Park Corner and Woodhouse Cliff, there are 1,044 cases per 100,000 people.
27th Jun 2021 - The Guardian

Germany expects faster Moderna COVID-19 vaccine deliveries

Germany expects drugmaker Moderna Inc to deliver COVID-19 vaccines faster than expected, helping it ramp up vaccinations in coming months, the health ministry said on Sunday. Moderna will increase its deliveries to 1.33 million doses a week in July from 733,000 previously expected, raising the figure to 2.57 million a week in August and 2.95 million a week in September, the ministry said. Moderna said last week it hopes to be able to deliver the COVID-19 vaccines it has promised to Germany more quickly than originally planned, without giving figures.
27th Jun 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Another 175000 Janssen Covid vaccine doses to be offered in the coming weeks

An additional 175,000 doses of the Janssen Vaccine will be made available to the Netherlands residents in the coming weeks, the Health Ministry announced. An initial batch of 200,000 doses was already offered from Wednesday, marking the first time the Dutch were able to express their preference for their choice of a Covid-19 jab. The Janssen Vaccine was highly sought after by many people this week as it only requires one shot for maximum protection. The Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines require two doses for a person to be considered fully vaccinated, unless they have tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection in the past. "With summer just around the corner, the interest in the Janssen vaccine is enormous," Health Minister Hugo de Jonge wrote on Twitter. "That is why it is great that an additional 175,000 doses will become available in the coming weeks with an extra delivery. A safe and effective vaccine of which one shot is sufficient."
26th Jun 2021 - NL Times

Amid high vaccine hesitancy, PCMC to launch vaccination drive in Khandevasti slum on Monday

Khandevasti, which has nearly 3,000 residents, is one of the four big slum clusters in Savale’s ward where vaccination penetration has been low. Only around 750 people have been vaccinated so far as vaccine hesitancy runs high. “Unfortunately, vaccine hesitancy is high in the slums. Rumours of people dying because of the vaccine prevents many from approaching the vaccination centres,” said Savale. This situation stems from people preferring to believe in local myths and godmen rather than doctors or staff of the civic body, she said.
26th Jun 2021 - The Indian Express

'Grab a jab' vaccine drive underway across England as cases continue to rise

Hundreds of walk-in vaccination sites including stadiums and shopping centres will be open in England this weekend in a drive to have people jabbed as Covid-19 cases continue to rise. NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said the country was in a “race to the finish line” in its vaccination programme as summer freedoms loom. The “grab a jab” campaign comes as the UK recorded a further 15,810 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases as of 9am on Friday – up 50% on the 10,476 new cases reported a week earlier.
25th Jun 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

More UK Covid-19 patients are requiring oxygen and intensive care, doctors reveal

Although hospitalisations have crept up slowly in recent weeks, medical experts are warning that patients in intensive care are becoming sicker when they come into hospital with Covid symptoms.
25th Jun 2021 - Daily Mail

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UN-backed program trims forecast to supply COVID-19 vaccine

A public health group that manages the U.N.-backed program to ship COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries is paring back its supply forecast for this year by more than 100 million doses, largely because a key Indian manufacturer has focused on needs at home. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, says it now projects that the COVAX program can supply just under 1.9 billion doses this year -- including about 1.2 billion provided for free to 92 poor countries -- down from original targets of more than 2 billion doses. The shortfall comes because the Serum Institute of India -- a pivotal producer of vaccines for COVAX -- has reverted supplies to needy people in India, as its government scrambled to fight a spike in infections. So far, COVAX has only distributed about 90 million doses, far short of its original plans.
24th Jun 2021 - The Associated Press

Russia's new COVID-19 cases surge to highest since January

Russia's holiday resort region on the Black Sea told tourists on Thursday it would not let them visit later this summer without a COVID-19 vaccination, part of a government campaign to speed up the inoculation drive amid a wave of infections. The number of confirmed nationwide cases surged to 20,182 on Thursday, the most confirmed in a single day since Jan. 24. Both Moscow and St Petersburg recorded their most coronavirus-related deaths in a single day since the pandemic began
24th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: School proms hit by continuing lockdown restrictions

Fiona Drake, who runs Cinderella Ball Gowns and Beauty in nearby Histon, has had a similar experience. "We had hundreds of dresses sitting in our store - with no events to go to," she says. Remembering the pre-prom excitement of early 2020 - before the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK with its full force - her shop was full of girls ordering dresses for their summer leaving parties, she says. "We put the dresses on order, paid for them, and then no-one wanted them. "It was a bit of a nightmare for us, really." This year, however, she says she was excited to hear proms were starting up again, before the delay to lifting lockdown was announced. While most proms have been rescheduled, she says, some have been cancelled.
24th Jun 2021 - BBC News

Britain wants to allow travel again but is wary -minister

PM says double vaccine shot process can open up travel. Transport minister to set out green list countries. Anger rises over travel restrictions. Germany's Merkel: Europe should quarantine Britons.
24th Jun 2021 - Reuters UK

Hong Kong bans passenger flights from Indonesia over COVID-19 fears

Hong Kong will ban passenger flights from Indonesia from Friday, deeming the country's arrivals "extremely high risk" for the coronavirus. The Hong Kong government said late on Wednesday it was suspending flights after the number of imported COVID-19 cases from Indonesia crossed thresholds set by the global financial hub. Hong Kong has already banned arrivals from India, Nepal, Pakistan and the Philippines, using a flight suspension rule triggered when there are five or more passengers who test positive for one of the variant COVID-19 cases on arrival, or 10 or more passengers found to have any strain of the disease while in quarantine
24th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Another NHS Trust issues black alert

Another hospital in England has been forced to declare a “black alert” after more than 300 patients descended on its Emergency Department (ED), allegedly causing wait times of up to seven hours. An email sent to staff at Derriford Hospital, in Plymouth, this morning warned that Tuesday had been a “busy evening, with 305 attendances and 109 ambulances in ED yesterday”. The internal message, seen by The Independent, said the hospital was operating above its capacity – at “101.5 per cent occupancy in medicine, and 96 per cent overall” – meaning there were not enough beds on wards to admit some A&E patients to.
24th Jun 2021 - The Independent

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More than 150 Houston hospital workers resign or are fired for refusing to have Covid-19 vaccine

More than 150 employees at a Houston hospital resigned or were fired Tuesday after they refused to follow a hospital policy requiring they get vaccinated against Covid-19. A spokesperson for the hospital, Houston Methodist Baytown, said that among 200 employees who were told they needed to be vaccinated by June 7 or face a two-week suspension, 153 either resigned or were terminated. The departures came after a judge dismissed an employee lawsuit over the vaccine requirement.
23rd Jun 2021 - Daily Mail

WHO cites concerns about Russian Sputnik V plant, which says issues resolved

The World Health Organization said its review of how Russia produces the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine had found some issues with the filling of vials at one plant, which said it had since addressed all of the WHO's concerns. The Sputnik V shot, widely used in Russia and approved for use in over 60 countries, is undergoing a review by the WHO and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Their approval could open up new markets for the shot, especially in Europe.
23rd Jun 2021 - Reuters

Novartis aims to bottle more than 50 mln doses of BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in 2021

Novartis aims to help manufacture more than 50 million doses of BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine in 2021 at its Stein, Switzerland fill-and-finish facility, the Swiss drugmaker said, after the European Union's drug regulator approved the bottling plant.
23rd Jun 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Machine that can 'sniff out' coronavirus particles in the air goes on trial in North East

A revolutionary new system which can detect COVID-19 particles in the air is being trialled in the North East. Its developers say it could help provide early warning of the spread of COVID-19 or other viruses, enabling a more rapid response to potential outbreaks. Two units, which are about the size of an office printer, are now in situ at Teesside International Airport and at a primary school.
23rd Jun 2021 - Sky News

NHS alarm over rise in number of UK Covid patients on ventilators

NHS bosses have sounded the alarm over the number of people on ventilators in hospital in the UK, which has risen over the past week. The deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, said the number of Covid patients in hospital on ventilation beds had increased by 41% in the last week to 227, which she said was a strong indication Covid was having an impact on health services. Cordery told BBC Breakfast: “Trusts on the frontline are really coming under huge pressure ... they have plans in place to tackle the backlog, but with more Covid cases and demand for emergency care going up, that’s really challenging.”
23rd Jun 2021 - The Guardian

Israel faces fresh Covid surge and calls for teens to be jabbed as even fully vaccinated catch Delta

Israel recorded 125 new cases on Monday - the most cases per day since April New cases come as Israel rolled back nearly all of its coronavirus restrictions Nearly a third of the new cases recorded in the past week have been found in vaccinated people, with many of the new infections being the delta variant More than 55 percent of Israel's population - some 5.2 million people - have received both doses of the vaccine
22nd Jun 2021 - Daily Mail

Michigan confirms 25 cases of COVID-19's highly contagious delta variant

The news is good when it comes to coronavirus in Michigan and most of the U.S. — as case rates continue to fall, the percentage of positive tests drops to the lowest point since the start of the pandemic and hospitalizations and deaths from the virus dwindle. The country is headed for a "bright summer. Prayerfully, a summer of joy," President Joe Biden said at a Friday news conference. But he said he is still concerned about people who haven't been vaccinated and their risk as a more contagious — and potentially more deadly — variant gains a bigger foothold in the U.S. Called the delta variant, this strain originated in India and swept through that nation in April and May, causing a massive surge in cases and thousands of deaths. Since then, it has spread to more than 80 countries, including the U.S., and pushed the United Kingdom to extend coronavirus restrictions as case rates climbed.
22nd Jun 2021 - Detroit Free Press on MSN.com

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Wembley to have crowd of 60000 for Euro semis and final - UK govt

Crowd capacity at Wembley Stadium will be increased to more than 60,000 fans for the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020, the British government said on Tuesday. The new levels mean the stadium will be at 75% capacity for the final three games, which conclude with the final on July 11. All ticket holders will need to have either a negative COVID-19 test or proof of full vaccination - two doses received 14 days before the fixture. The announcement came after Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi called on Monday for the final to be moved from England due to rising COVID-19 cases in the country
22nd Jun 2021 - Reuters

Eating Disorders Surged Among Adolescents in Pandemic

Experts across the country who treat eating disorders in adolescents and young adults say they are seeing unprecedented demand for treatment that arose during the pandemic. Inpatient units have doubled or tripled capacity, wait lists for residential programs and outpatient services are months long, and the patients coming in are sicker than ever. Experts say they have seen the biggest increase during the past year in anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder where people deprive themselves of food. Other disorders being seen include bulimia nervosa, where people binge on food and then try to get rid of it with laxatives or vomiting, and binge-eating disorder, where people consume excessive amounts of food in a short period.
22nd Jun 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Almost 900 Secret Service employees were infected with COVID

Roughly 900 U.S. Secret Service employees tested positive for the coronavirus, according to government records obtained by a government watchdog group. Secret Service records show that 881 people on the agency payroll were diagnosed with COVID-19 between March 1, 2020 and March 9, 2021, according to documents obtained by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. More than 11% of Secret Service employees were infected. Secret Service spokesperson Justine Whelan said COVID testing of employees was pro-active with more than 25,000 tests being administered.
22nd Jun 2021 - The Associated Press

Israel Sees Highest COVID Daily Infections in Two Months as Delta Variant Spreads

The highest daily coronavirus infection rate in two months was registered in Israel on Monday, with 125 people testing positive after local outbreaks of the delta variant had been reported across the country. The director-general of the Health Ministry, Chezy Levy, told Israeli television that about 70 per cent of the new infections were with the Delta variant. He also noted that half of those infected were children, and that a third of those infected had been vaccinated.
22nd Jun 2021 - Haaretz

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Authorities say doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are set to 'ramp up' from August

The coordinator of Australia's COVID-19 vaccine rollout says supplies are being "carefully managed" ahead of a major ramping up of doses from August. Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is quarantining at The Lodge in Canberra following an overseas trip, met via teleconference with state and territory leaders on Monday to discuss the rollout. Premiers have been critical of a shortage of supplies. Lieutenant General John Frewen, who is in charge of logistics for the vaccine rollout and briefed the national cabinet, told reporters the premiers had now been given a detailed breakdown of what supplies they can expect, including dose number forecasts.
21st Jun 2021 - SBS News

Moderna set to expand Covid-19 vaccine production

Moderna Inc is adding two new production lines at its coronavirus vaccine manufacturing plant, as it prepares to ramp up booster shot production. The US biotech firm’s plans will increase overall production capacity at its Massachusetts plant by 50 per cent, the Wall Street Journal first reported. The move indicates that Moderna expects the market for Covid-19 vaccines to endure as lockdown restrictions ease but strains of the virus remain in countries around the world.
21st Jun 2021 - City A.M.

Repeat Coronavirus Vaccination Needed After 6 Months, Russian Health Minister Says

Russians who were vaccinated against the coronavirus over six months ago should revaccinate themselves for extra protection as the country grapples with the third wave of the pandemic, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said Monday. Moscow, the epicenter of the pandemic in Russia, reported its highest-ever number of Covid-19 cases in a single day this weekend as the fast-spreading Delta variant first detected in India accounts for 90% of all infections in the capital. The variant is more resistant to Covid-19 antibodies which gradually decline after one is vaccinated or recovers from the virus.
21st Jun 2021 - The Moscow Times

US extends Covid-19 travel restrictions with Canada and Mexico

The United States has extended Covid-19 restrictions on non-essential travel at land and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico until July 21, according to a tweet from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Sunday. "To reduce the spread of #COVID19, the United States is extending restrictions on non-essential travel at our land and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico through July 21, while ensuring access for essential trade & travel," DHS wrote.
21st Jun 2021 - CNN

Portugal speeds up vaccination as COVID-19 infections rise

As the Delta coronavirus variant continues to spread, Portuguese authorities are scrambling to bring a worrying spike in cases under control and said they would accelerate vaccinations and increase testing. Just over 25% of the population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in Portugal, a country of 10 million that faced its toughest battle against the virus in January. Most of those fully vaccinated are older or more vulnerable but a recent rise in cases around the populous Lisbon area led authorities to speed up the vaccination campaign, especially among younger people.
21st Jun 2021 - Reuters

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S.Korea to mix-and-match COVID-19 vaccine doses for 760000 people

Some 760,000 South Koreans who have received a first dose of AstraZeneca Plc's COVID-19 vaccine will be offered Pfizer Inc's vaccine as a second shot due to shipment delays by global vaccine sharing scheme COVAX, the government said. Several countries, including Canada and Spain, have already approved such dose-mixing mainly due to concerns about rare and potentially fatal blood clots linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
19th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Argentine lab makes first half million doses of Russian COVID-19 vaccine

Argentine laboratory Richmond said on Friday that it had produced almost half a million doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus, the first made in the country. The vaccines await approval from the National Administration of Medicines, Food and Medical Technology (ANMAT) and Russia's Gamaleya Institute for their release, Richmond said in a tweet. "We appreciate the hard work it took our staff to achieve this first objective, and continue with our commitment to have local vaccine production," it said.
19th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Afghanistan running out of oxygen as COVID surge worsens

Afghanistan’s is racing to ramp up supplies of oxygen as a deadly third surge of COVID-19 worsens, a senior health official told The Associated Press in an interview Saturday. The government is installing oxygen supply plants in 10 provinces where up to 65% of those tested in some areas are COVID positive, health ministry spokesman Ghulam Dastigir Nazari said. By WHO recommendations, anything higher than 5% shows officials aren’t testing widely enough, allowing the virus to spread unchecked. Afghanistan carries out barely 4,000 tests a day and often much less. Afghanistan’s 24-hour infection count has also continued its upward climb from 1,500 at the end of May when the health ministry was already calling the surge “a crisis,” to more than 2,300 this week. Since the pandemic outbreak, Afghanistan is reporting 101,906 positive cases and 4,122 deaths. But those figures are likely a massive undercount, registering only deaths in hospitals — not the far greater numbers who die at home.
19th Jun 2021 - Associated Press

Palestinian Authority calls off vaccine exchange with Israel

The Palestinian Authority announced it has cancelled an agreement with Israeli regarding the exchange of Pfizer vaccines, saying the doses are set to expire soon. Palestinian officials had come under heavy criticism on social media after the agreement was announced, with many accusing them of accepting subpar vaccines and suggesting they might not be effective.
19th Jun 2021 - Al Jazeera English

South Africa deploys army medics to COVID-hit Gauteng province

South Africa is deploying army medical personnel to its commercial hub and most populous province to help health workers battle a surge in coronavirus, the government said on Friday. South Africa, the worst-hit country in the continent, has entered a third COVID wave, with new daily cases doubling over the past two weeks.
19th Jun 2021 - Al Jazeera English

In 2nd school outbreak, 44 kids catch COVID — apparently the Delta variant

At least 44 kids at a middle school in northern Israel have tested positive for coronavirus, local authorities announced Saturday, in the second such outbreak at an Israeli school this week. The town of Binyamina-Giv’at Ada’s said the vast majority of those infected were in seventh and eighth grade.According to Kan news, initial tests indicate the outbreaks there and in Modiin earlier in the week were all of the Delta variant first identified in India, which is more contagious than other variants and may be better able to bypass vaccines. The report said several adults who were infected in the school outbreaks were vaccinated.
19th Jun 2021 - The Times of Israel

Poorer US counties have lower COVID-19 vaccine uptake

A study yesterday in Vaccine reveals socioeconomic disparities in county-level COVID-19 vaccine uptake, with a 32% lower vaccination rate in the most disadvantaged areas. In the study, researchers from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock used the COVID-19 Community Vulnerability Index (CCVI) and seven theme scores to identify links between socioeconomic vulnerability and adult vaccination rates in 2,415 counties up to May 25, 2021. To track vaccination rates, they used the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID Data Tracker. Two age-groups were considered: 18 years and older and 65 and older.
18th Jun 2021 - CIRAP

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Denmark will offer Covid-19 vaccine to all children aged between 12 and 15 to boost overall immunity ahead of winter

Denmark will offer Covid-19 vaccines for children aged 12-15 after the adult population has been inoculated to boost its overall immunity against the virus ahead of the winter, health authorities announced on Thursday. Initially, offer Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine will be made available for 12-15 year-olds as it is the only vaccine approved by the EU's drug regulator for use in adolescents, the Danish Health Authority said in a statement. The EU regulator expects to announce a decision on the use of Moderna's shot in adolescents sometime next month.
17th Jun 2021 - Yahoo News UK

COVID-19: All over-18s in England able to book vaccine from Friday as Whitty warns of 'surprises' ahead

England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has warned COVID-19 "has not thrown its last surprise at us and there will be several more over the next period". Speaking at the NHS Confed Conference, he said he is anticipating case rates will continue to go up in the next few weeks due to Delta being "significantly more transmissible" than Alpha. He said: "In terms of the medium term, my expectation is that we will get a further winter surge, late autumn/winter surge.
17th Jun 2021 - Sky News

Hundreds of Indonesian doctors contract Covid-19 despite Sinovac vaccination

More than 350 Indonesian doctors have contracted Covid-19 despite being vaccinated with Sinovac and dozens have been hospitalised, officials said, as concerns rise about the efficacy of some vaccines against more virulent virus strains. Most of the doctors were asymptomatic and self-isolating at home, said Badai Ismoyo, head of the Kudus district health office in Central Java, but dozens were in hospital with high fevers and declining oxygen saturation levels. Kudus is battling an outbreak believed to be driven by the more transmissible Delta variant which has pushed bed occupancy rates above 90 per cent in the district.
17th Jun 2021 - The Independent

England invites all adults to get their COVID-19 vaccines

The health service in England will open up COVID-19 vaccinations to everyone aged over 18 on Friday, a big step towards the government's target of giving every adult who wants a vaccine a first shot in the next month. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday pushed back the full re-opening of England from lockdown until July 19 because of a rise in cases, but also accelerated his vaccination plans, pledging to give every adult a first dose by the same date.
17th Jun 2021 - Reuters

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Turkey surpasses 35M coronavirus vaccine shots administered

Turkey has administered over 35.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine doses since it launched a mass vaccination campaign in mid-January, according to official figures released on Tuesday. More than 21.7 million people have received their first doses, while over 13.9 million have been fully vaccinated, said the Health Ministry count. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca also said in a tweet that over 1.2 million vaccine doses were administered in a single day, indicating another record in the country's mass vaccination campaign. The country currently uses China’s CoronaVac and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in its campaign.
16th Jun 2021 - Daily Sabah

Hospitals told to brace for double wave of Covid and child infections

An internal NHS email seen by Channel 4 News shows how hospitals are being told to prepare for a third Covid-19 wave at the same time as a spike in serious infections among very young children. The email, sent by a London NHS trust to clinical staff, says “national guidance on planning” has been issued telling hospitals to expect 50 per cent of the Covid cases seen in the first wave of the pandemic. At the same time the third wave of severe Covid cases is likely to peak in hospitals, in early August, NHS leaders are also predicting a national wave of Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV infections.
16th Jun 2021 - Channel 4

European Union administers over 300 million coronavirus vaccines

The European Union (EU) has administered more than 300 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Tuesday. "We have passed 300 million vaccinations in the EU. Every day, we get closer to our goal: to have enough doses delivered to vaccinate 70 per cent of adults in the EU next month," she tweeted. As of Monday, 53.3 per cent of the EU adults had received at least one dose, and 353 million doses had been delivered to the 27-state bloc, reports Xinhua news agency. "By now, almost a third of all adults in the EU are fully vaccinated," European Commission deputy chief spokesperson Dana Spinant said
15th Jun 2021 - Business Standard

COVID-19: NHS England to launch Long COVID services for children

The NHS is launching Long COVID services for children, as concerns grow about the number of young people experiencing long-term symptoms. Fifteen paediatric hubs will be created in England, drawing together experts on symptoms such as respiratory problems and fatigue. They will treat young people, advise family doctors or other carers, or refer patients to other specialist services and clinics. More than one million people have reported suffering symptoms for weeks or even months after being infected with the virus and it is expected that hundreds of thousands of these need support.
15th Jun 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19: GPs to contact over-40s who have not taken vaccine

GP practices in Northern Ireland are to begin contacting patients who have not come forward for vaccines. The groups being targeted include people over 40 and patients prioritised for the vaccine because of clinical risk factors. They will be contacted by telephone, text or letter by GP practices and encouraged to consider vaccination. Pop-up vaccination clinics will also be visiting different parts of Northern Ireland in the coming weeks. The Department of Health said it would help address potential barriers to vaccination such as mobility, accessibility and language.
15th Jun 2021 - BBC News

COVID Delta variant represents 2-4% of French cases -minister Veran

The Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus first found in India - which experts estimate to be more infectious than other variants - currently represents 2-4% of confirmed COVID cases in France, said French health minister Olivier Veran on Tuesday. Veran added this meant France was registering between 50-150 cases a day of the COVID-19 Delta variant, which highlighted the importance of sanitary protocol measures and vaccinations to keep the virus at bay. "We are in the process of crushing the virus and crushing the pandemic, and we must in no way let the Indian variant get the upper hand so that it leads to another wave of the pandemic," Veran told reporters at a Paris vaccination centre.
15th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Ongoing COVID surges in multiple regions keep nations on edge

Cases in Africa are up for the fifth week a row, the World Health Organization (WHO) African regional office said today in its weekly outbreaks and health emergencies report. Overall, the region's cases increased 36.3% over the previous week. South Africa reported more than half of last week's cases, and other hot spots include Zambia, Uganda, Namibia, and Kenya. Twenty countries reported rises in cases, with increases of 50% or more in 10 of them. In a related development, Democratic Republic of the Congo President Felix Tshisekedi today announced new measures to limit gatherings to help the country slow its third COVID surge, according to Reuters. Tshisekedi told reporters last week that hospitals in Kinshasa were overwhelmed.
15th Jun 2021 - CIDRAP

Troubled J&J vaccine manufacturer Emergent promises to fix plant

Emergent BioSolutions Inc. is promising the Food and Drug Administration a series of fixes in response to an inspection that led to a halt in production at a company facility that had been making Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine. The contract manufacturer said in a letter to the FDA dated April 30 that it would strengthen its biowaste handling processes, put in place new requirements for wearing protective gowns and deliver training to facility personnel, among other steps to ensure the quality of the vaccine, after agency inspectors cited myriad problems in a report earlier that month.
14th Jun 2021 - AlJazeera

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Covid hospital cases 'would match first peak' if June 21 Freedom Day went ahead

England faced a wave of Covid hospital cases as high as the first peak if Boris Johnson went ahead with the June 21 'Freedom Day', government advisors believe. The Prime Minister was forced to delay the easing of lockdown until July 19 after the Delta variant, said to be between 40% and 80% more transmissible than the Kent strain, had spread rapidly. Now, new modelling by the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M) - a SAGE subgroup - has revealed just how risky scrapping all social distancing could have been. Among the experts' worst case scenarios was that hospitalisations would reach around the peak of the first wave, when there were more than 3,000 new UK patients per day, compared to under 200 a day now.
14th Jun 2021 - The Mirror

J&J will export more COVID-19 vaccines to South Africa beyond 300,000 doses already promised - Aspen CEO

Johnson & Johnson will be exporting more ready-to-administer doses to the South African government beyond the 300,000 that was been announced by the local drug regulator on Sunday, CEO of Aspen Pharmacare said on Monday. Aspen is the local manufacturer of J&J's COVID-19 vaccine.
14th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Coronavirus infections dropping where people are vaccinated, rising where they are not, Post analysis finds

States with higher vaccination rates now have markedly fewer coronavirus cases, as infections are dropping in places where most residents have been immunized and are rising in many places people have not, a Washington Post analysis has found. States with lower vaccination also have significantly higher hospitalization rates, The Post found. Poorly vaccinated communities have not been reporting catastrophic conditions. Instead, they are usually seeing new infections holding steady or increasing without overwhelming local hospitals. As recently as 10 days ago, vaccination rates did not predict a difference in coronavirus cases, but immunization rates have diverged, and case counts in the highly vaccinated states are dropping quickly.
14th Jun 2021 - The Washington Post

America’s broken PPE supply chain must be fixed now

Almost everyone knows by now that the U.S. was ill-prepared to combat Covid-19. But few realize that the structural problems in the supply chain that plagued the government’s response haven’t been fixed. It’s crucial to address these vulnerabilities now. There’s no telling when the inevitable next health crisis will hit. Consider the government’s disastrous distribution of emergency medical supplies. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is in charge of the Strategic National Stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N95 respirators, gloves, gowns, and face shields, along with ventilators and certain pharmaceuticals, such as antibiotics and antitoxins.
14th Jun 2021 - STAT News

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Moscow residents to have paid leave to curb COVID-19 surge

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced on Saturday that workers in the Russian capital will have paid leave next week in a bid to contain the rapid spread of COVID-19. Sobyanin said in his blog that he has signed a decree designating June 15-19 as non-working days with salaries staying intact, after the city saw a sharp increase in new COVID-19 infections. The mayor said the paid leave applies to enterprises and organizations of all forms of ownership, except for critically important industries. As Saturday to Monday are Russia Day holidays, the "long weekend" in Moscow will last a total of nine days from June 12 to 20, during which catering and entertainment facilities are ordered to be closed from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.
12th Jun 2021 - Xinhua

EMA Approves New Manufacturing Site for Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced on June 11, 2021 that its committee for human medicines (CHMP) has approved Recipharm’s Monts, France facility for the production of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine finished product. Several other sites were given a positive opinion by CHMP for batch control/testing. The new site follows two other sites approved by CHMP in June for the manufacture of API and finished product intermediates in the United States. “Together, these changes are expected to allow the production of an additional one to two million vials of ready-to-use vaccine for the European Union market every month. This will increase the supply of the vaccine in the European Union,” the agency stated in a press release.
11th Jun 2021 - BioPharm International

The FDA is forcing Johnson & Johnson to throw out millions of doses of its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine produced at a troubled plant in Baltimore

The Food and Drug and Administration (FDA) is forcing Johnson & Johnson to throw out millions of doses of its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine produced at a troubled plant in Baltimore due to contamination concerns. According to The New York Times, 60 million doses were unusable. Another 10 million doses from the plant will be allowed to be distributed but with a warning that the FDA cannot guarantee they were produced using good manufacturing practices, according to the Times. In a statement, the FDA confirmed that it has now authorized two batches of the vaccine. Federal officials "determined several other batches are not suitable for use, but additional batches are still under review and the agency will keep the public informed as those reviews are completed," the agency said.
11th Jun 2021 - The Hill

Southern states have a ‘real vulnerability’ to Delta Covid variant this summer, warns Dr. Peter Hotez

Dr. Peter Hotez warned that Southern U.S. states could feel the impact of the highly transmissible Delta Covid variant as early as this summer, due in part to low vaccination rates. “Here in the South, particularly in Louisiana, Mississippi, we’re seeing really low vaccination rates. And less than 10% of adolescents are vaccinated in many of these southern states, so we have a real vulnerability here,” Hotez said. Just around 30% of the population in many Southeastern states is fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
11th Jun 2021 - CNBC on MSN.com

If you have long Covid, as I did, don’t give up hope. Recovery is possible

I learned that my Covid-19 infection had probably induced a physiological stress response that put my brain in a state of high activation and had an immediate effect on my hormone, heart, gastrointestinal and immune systems. When I got sick, the brain shut me down with fatigue, as it should do, until I recovered. My nervous system scanned for alarm signals, described by the Oslo-based physician Vegard Wyller as “false fatigue alarms”, and after a time, classical conditioning (learned by association) caused the “kickback” symptoms in response to these signals. Finding an explanation, understanding it and accepting it helped me. I am not saying that it will definitely help others suffering from the post-Covid-19 syndrome, but it might
10th Jun 2021 - The Guardian

Virtually all hospitalized Covid patients have one thing in common: They're unvaccinated

There are only three Covid-19 patients at Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital at North Shore University Hospital, on Long Island, New York — a far cry from when the hospital, which is part of Northwell Health, had as many as 600 patients during the peak of the pandemic. All three patients, who are in the intensive care unit, have one thing in common, said Dr. Hugh Cassiere, director of the hospital's critical care services: They're unvaccinated.
9th Jun 2021 - NBC News

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Covid-19: France reopens restaurants and welcomes back British tourists

Paris waiters smiled and there was a spring in the step of commuters flocking back to offices in France today as near-normal life resumed under bright sunshine after months of restrictions. President Macron voiced “lucid optimism” for the country as restaurants and cafés opened to customers indoors for the first time in seven months, the curfew was pushed back from 9pm to 11pm and the country’s borders were opened to visitors — including those from Britain — without the need to prove a family emergency or a compelling business reason. “Life will resume across our territory,” Macron said. “We are going to reacquaint ourselves with part of our culture, of our art of living.”
10th Jun 2021 - The Times

NHS told to identify patients actually sick from Covid-19 separately to those testing positive

Hospitals have been told to change the way they collect data on patients infected with coronavirus to differentiate between those actually sick with symptoms and those who test positive while seeking treatment for something else. The move would reduce the overall number of patients in hospital for coronavirus as until now data from hospitals has included all patients who tested positive for Covid-19, regardless of whether they had symptoms or not. NHS England has instructed hospitals to make the change to the daily flow of data sent by NHS trusts and told The Independent that the move was being done to help analyse the effect of the vaccine programme and whether it was successfully reducing Covid-19 sickness.
10th Jun 2021 - The Independent

AstraZeneca says working with Southeast Asian nations on vaccine deliveries

AstraZeneca says it is working closely with Southeast Asia governments to ensure its COVID-19 vaccine is supplied "as quickly as possible", after reported delays in deliveries of orders from a Thai plant owned by the country's powerful king.
10th Jun 2021 - Reuters

As more kids go down the ‘deep, dark tunnel’ of long Covid, doctors still can’t predict who is at risk

At 14 years old, Kate Dardis knows what pain feels like and how to work through it. An accomplished gymnast accustomed to training four hours a day, she has met a competitor this year that she can’t beat with exercise or sheer willpower — yet. Rarely sick before a stomachache kept her home from school for three days in October, the Bloomington, Ill., eighth-grader was hit by a headache in January that still hasn’t loosened its grip. Her heart races. Her body aches. She gets winded climbing stairs and feels dizzy when she changes position. Concentrating on schoolwork is difficult remotely and exhausting in person. Kate learned last month from a team of doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital that she is suffering from the post-Covid syndrome better known as long Covid. Her Covid-19 test was negative last fall after some teammates and coaches at her gym tested positive, but in February an antibody test ordered by her pediatrician confirmed she had been infected with Covid-19.
10th Jun 2021 - STAT News

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Hospital suspends 178 health care workers for failing to get COVID vaccine

As of Tuesday, 178 health care workers employed by a Houston-based hospital system are on a two-week unpaid suspension after failing to meet the hospital system’s mandate to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Monday, June 7. Houston Methodist CEO Marc Boom announced the mandate in April, telling hospital staffers that if they failed to get vaccinated, they would be fired. The 178 suspended employees now have the two unpaid weeks to become fully vaccinated before termination. They can do so by getting the one-shot COVID-19 vaccine by Johnson & Johnson or a second dose of either of the two mRNA vaccines. Boom noted in a letter to employees sent Tuesday that 27 of the 178 suspended employees have received one dose of vaccine.
9th Jun 2021 - Ars Technica

Teenagers in vulnerable health will get coronavirus vaccine, minister says

In the Netherlands, teenagers who fall into medical at-risk groups because they have heart problems or are obese for example, will be invited to get vaccinated against coronavirus, health minister Hugo de Jonge said on Wednesday. The national health council Gezondheidsraad has recommended that children with vulnerable health conditions should be given the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine which has been cleared for use among the under-18s. ‘Vaccinating these children will deliver both direct and indirect health benefits,’ the health council said. Family doctors will also be able to use their discretion to decide if other children should also be vaccinated
9th Jun 2021 - DutchNews.nl

China builds new plant for IMBCAMS COVID-19 vaccine -state media

China is building a new COVID-19 vaccine factory that is capable of boosting annual production of a shot developed by a medical research institute to between 500 million and 1 billion doses, state-backed media said on Wednesday. The vaccine, developed by the Institute of Medical Biology of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (IMBCAMS), is one of seven shots approved for use in China. It was not immediately clear how many doses of the vaccine are currently produced and supplied for China's inoculation campaign.
9th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Dozens of hospitals hit 'dangerous' bed occupancy levels as NHS bosses warn any spike in Covid patients could scupper efforts to tackle record waiting list of 4.9million

Dozens of hospitals in England hit dangerous bed occupancy levels at the end of May even though Covid had fizzled out, official figures show. MailOnline's analysis of the latest NHS data showed 21 trusts had more than 95 per cent of beds filled in the final week of May. One board in London — North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust — had almost every single bed occupied for the whole week. More than a third — 50 out of 130 trusts in England — had over 92 per cent of beds occupied by patients, a level which NHS chiefs say should not be exceeded because it can make hospitals unsafe. Experts fear the rapid spread of the Indian variant will start to ramp up pressure across the NHS in the coming weeks, despite the massive vaccine roll-out which has got first doses to more than three in four adults.
9th Jun 2021 - MSN.com

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Taiwan’s Covid-19 outbreak spreads to chip companies

The spread of Covid-19 into Taiwan’s electronics factories is threatening to delay semiconductor shipments, according to companies and analysts, raising the prospect of renewed disruption to an industry gripped by a global shortage. The country, viewed as a linchpin in the world’s chip supply chain, is suffering from its first large coronavirus outbreak. It has come against a backdrop of escalating warnings about the depth of the semiconductor shortage, which has hit everything from cars to consumer electronics.
8th Jun 2021 - The Financial Times

Carnival to require first passengers to have COVID-19 vaccines when its cruises restart in July

Carnival Cruise Line will require passengers on its first sailings in July out of Galveston, Texas, to be vaccinated for COVID-19. If the policy remains in effect for Carnival's upcoming sailings out Port Canaveral and other Florida ports, it would put the cruise giant at odds with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The governor opposes the system of requiring so-called "vaccine passports," and has filed legal action against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention related to the federal agency's requirements for a return to sailing.
8th Jun 2021 - Florida Today

Thailand begins mass Covid-19 vaccine rollout using shots made by royal-owned company

Thailand began its mass Covid vaccination program Monday, following criticism of delays and concerns over health authorities relying on AstraZeneca shots produced by a company owned by the country's king. The Southeast Asian nation is battling a third coronavirus wave with the highest number of daily cases and deaths reported since the start of the pandemic, raising public concerns of adequate access to vaccines. On Tuesday, Thailand reported 2,662 new Covid-19 cases and 28 deaths, according to its Covid-19 task force (CCSA). Thailand plans to administer 6 million shots in June using the AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines
8th Jun 2021 - CNN

NHS and social care staff burnout at an emergency level - report

NHS and care staff in England are so burnt out that it has become an "emergency" and risks the future of the health service, MPs have warned. A highly critical report said workers were exhausted and overstretched because of staff shortages. It said the problems existed before the pandemic - although coronavirus has worsened the pressures. Doctors' and nursing unions welcomed the report, saying it highlighted the stress and anxiety facing staff. It has already been well documented that the NHS is short of staff.
8th Jun 2021 - BBC News

US COVID cases drop another 30% as Africa surge continues

With the introduction of three effective COVID-19 vaccines, daily COVID-19 case rates, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to rapidly decline across the country, and new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that vaccines have been particularly beneficial for older Americans. During a White House briefing today, the last briefing run by COVID-19 pandemic response coordinator Andy Slavitt, who announced he was stepping down from his position today, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, said for the second week in a row, daily case averages dropped by 30%, with a 7-day average of 13,277 cases
8th Jun 2021 - CIDRAP

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WHO's Tedros hopes African COVID vaccine sites to near production by end-2021

World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday he hopes African COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing sites will be identified and some even close to producing by the end of 2021, in the race to deliver more shots to the continent. While Tedros did not provide specifics on which country, Reuters has reported that Senegal could begin producing COVID-19 vaccines next year under an agreement with Belgian biotech group Univercells aimed at boosting Africa's drug-manufacturing ambitions.
7th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Norway shortens interval between COVID-19 vaccine doses

Norway will shorten the interval between COVID-19 vaccine doses to nine weeks from the current 12 weeks, thus speeding up the inoculation process, the health ministry said on Monday. "We'll have ample supply of vaccines in the time ahead," Health Minister Bent Hoeie said in a statement. Norway uses vaccines made by Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) as well as the Pfizer/BioNTech (PFE.N) partnership, each requiring two injections. "Reducing the dose interval is part of the Institute of Public Health's strategy to ensure that the population is fully vaccinated as quickly as possible," the ministry said
7th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Indonesia reinforces hospitals amid worrying COVID-19 surge in some areas

Indonesian authorities have drafted in more doctors and nurses to two areas on the islands of Java and Madura after hospitals there approached full capacity amid a spike in coronavirus cases, the country's health minister said on Monday. Health experts and officials are worried about the risk of a broader spike in virus cases fuelled by variants and a jump in travel last month as many in the world's biggest Muslim-majority country travelled back to hometowns for holidays after Ramadan.
7th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Covid chaos at airports in rush to flee Portugal before it leaves green list

Thousands of British holidaymakers in Portugal face chaos at airports and Covid testing sites as they rush to return before quarantine rules change tomorrow. The government abruptly announced that Portugal would be moved from the green list of approved travel destinations to the amber list last Thursday. Passengers have until 4am tomorrow morning to return or they must quarantine for ten days. Anyone flying home must have proof of a negative Covid test taken no more than three days before their departure or face a £500 fine, but testing centres in Portugal were overwhelmed by the sudden demand.
7th Jun 2021 - The Times

First Slovaks get Sputnik V shots after months of wrangling

Slovakia became the European Union's second country to start inoculating people with the Russian-made Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine on Monday, after months of rows over the shot that has yet to be approved by European regulators. Then-Prime Minister Igor Matovic bought Sputnik V in March, saying it would speed up vaccination efforts. The country of 5.5 million bought 200,000 doses and intended to buy 2 million. The launch of vaccinations was delayed, however, amid a political crisis that erupted because Matovic had done the deal without consulting his coalition partners, who opposed using the vaccine before it had EU approval
7th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Thais debut locally made AstraZeneca but supplies are tight

Health authorities in Thailand began their much-anticipated mass rollout of locally produced AstraZeneca vaccines on Monday, but it appeared that supplies were falling short of demand from patients who had scheduled vaccinations for this week. Hospitals in various parts of the country have been posting notices for several days that some scheduled appointments would be delayed, adding to existing public skepticism about how many doses Siam Bioscience would be able to produce each month. The government has said it will produce 6 million doses in June, then 10 million doses each month from July to November, and 5 million doses in December.
7th Jun 2021 - Associated Press

Egypt to start local production of Sinovac vaccine mid-June- minister

Egypt received 500,000 doses of China's Sinovac coronavirus vaccine on monday, airport sources said, as the health ministry said local production of the Chinese vaccine will start in mid-June. Egypt received raw materials for the production of two million Sinovac doses in May, after signing an agreement to produce the vaccine locally and distribute it in Egypt and other African countries. The first vials are due to be produced on June 15 and up to six weeks will be needed for checks before they are put to use in vaccination centres, Health Minister Hala Zayed told the private MBC Masr TV channel late on Sunday.
7th Jun 2021 - Reuters

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Nearly 400,000 people still have long Covid a year after initial infection, new stats show

The number of people suffering from symptoms of long Covid more than a year after their initial coronavirus infection has jumped to almost 400,000. New data from the Office for National Statistics based on a survey of patients found the numbers of patients with persistent symptoms after 12 months jumped from 70,000 in March to 376,000 in May. Overall, the ONS said an estimated one million people had self-reported signs of long Covid which last for more than four weeks.
4th Jun 2021 - The Independent

NHS says it can’t provide extra Covid vaccines in Blackburn despite infection rate

The NHS cannot provide thousands of extra doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Blackburn with Darwen borough, despite it having the highest infection rate in the UK and a death rate almost a third higher than the national average. The local MP said it “beggared belief” that Blackburn’s repeated pleas to continue surge vaccinations had been knocked back, arguing the move will place the NHS under “overwhelming and unnecessary pressure”. Correspondence seen by the Guardian shows Blackburn’s director of public health warning the NHS that not providing additional doses would lead to avoidable deaths and the NHS being swamped within four weeks, calling it “unfair, unjust and avoidable”. In mid-May 19,500 extra doses were sent to Blackburn and surrounding areas to distribute by 30 May after an outbreak of the Delta variant of Covid, which originated in India.
4th Jun 2021 - The Guardian

Double jab cuts risk of hospitalisation with Indian Covid by 93% to almost nothing but un-vaccinated are MORE at risk than in previous waves: Freedom Day dilemma as cases in England spike 76% to 86,000 and R rate rises to between 1 and 1.2

Pfizer vaccine produces fewer antibody levels Indian variant than those against previously circulating strains. Joint study also suggests levels of antibodies are lower with increasing age, and that levels decline over time. Researchers say this provides extra evidence in support of plans to deliver a vaccine booster in the autumn. But it could also fuel concern that the Pfizer vaccine is less effective in preventing serious illness with Delta. It comes as PHE said the Indian variant appears more likely to put people in hospital than other strains
3rd Jun 2021 - Daily Mail

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AstraZeneca in talks to shift COVID-19 vaccine production to Catalent factory

AstraZeneca Plc is in talks with the U.S. government to shift production of its COVID-19 vaccine from a troubled Baltimore plant to a factory owned by Catalent Inc, the New York Times reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The British drugmaker has been on the lookout for an alternative production site since the U.S. government stopped it from using Emergent BioSolutions Inc's Baltimore plant after workers accidentally contaminated a batch of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine with ingredients from AstraZeneca's that was also being produced at the time.
3rd Jun 2021 - Reuters

Nimble Irish restaurants head back to basics as epic lockdown ends

In October 2019, shortly after opening, chef Jordan Bailey's Aimsir restaurant in County Kildare won two Michelin stars. Ten months later he was selling lobster rolls and lamb kebabs from a camper van. Having been closed entirely to guests - like the rest of a hospitality industry emerging from Ireland's third COVID-19 lockdown - for all but four of the past 15 months, he had to innovate to survive. "It really kicked in a few weeks into lockdown when things were getting worse and worse and worse, that's when it got really scary and forced us to start thinking how can we keep Aimsir going?" said Bailey.
3rd Jun 2021 - Reuters

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Millions of vaccines to be produced at major new Liverpool site

The national effort to get flu shots in the arms of vulnerable Brits has received a massive boost after the largest vaccine manufacturing site of its type in the UK started work in Liverpool. Although there has understandably been intense focus on the roll out of the coronavirus vaccine, the annual flu vaccination programme is also vitally important to easing winter pressures on the NHS. The high-speed syringe filling and packing facility in Renaissance Way, Speke, operated by pharmaceutical firm Seqirus, will produce more than 50 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine each year, with the ability to increase production to 200 million doses in the event of an influenza pandemic. The site now has a high-speed fill-and-finish facility, which enables start-to-finish onshore manufacturing, where previously the vaccine would be sent abroad to be put into syringes and packed, reports Business Live.
2nd Jun 2021 - Liverpool Echo

Moderna to double EU vaccine manufacturing with new Dutch site

Moderna will start producing a retooled version of its coronavirus vaccine in the Netherlands, doubling the company's expected EU production, the company announced today. The new contract, inked with the subcontractor Lonza, will allow Moderna to make approximately 300 million doses a year starting at the end of 2021. The Dutch site, in addition to a drug-substance site run by Rovi in Spain, will allow Moderna to make 600 million doses a year in the EU. Currently, the American company doesn't make any drug substance in the EU. Instead, it has outsourced its vaccine substance production to Lonza's site in Switzerland to supply the EU, U.K. and Canada. But production issues there forced the company to cut projected deliveries to the U.K. and Canada earlier this year.
2nd Jun 2021 - POLITICO Europe

Moderna plans mix of COVID-19 vaccine doses with new Lonza deal

Moderna is gearing up to halve the dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, the U.S. drugmaker said on Wednesday, so that it can also be used to combat variants and inoculate children. It has agreed a deal with Swiss-based drugmaker Lonza which said a new drug substance production line in Geleen, Netherlands, will have capacity to make ingredients for up to 300 million doses annually at 50 micrograms per dose. "We're assuming that as of 2022, we are going to have a mix of dose levels on the market," a spokeswoman for Moderna said, following the announcement of Lonza's new production.
2nd Jun 2021 - Reuters

UK rights watchdog endorses compulsory Covid jabs for care home staff

The prospect of care home workers being required to get vaccinated against Covid-19 has moved a step closer, with a crucial endorsement from the UK’s human rights watchdog. Ministers are considering changing the law to make vaccination a condition of deployment for people in some professions that come into regular close contact with elderly and vulnerable people at high risk from the coronavirus. In a report to the government seen by the Guardian, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) admitted that making vaccines compulsory for care home staff would be a “significant departure from current public health policy”. But they judged that ministers were “right to prioritise protection of the right to life for residents and staff” and said it would be reasonable for care home workers to need a jab “in order to work directly with older and disabled people, subject to some important safeguards”.
2nd Jun 2021 - The Guardian

AstraZeneca starts deliveries of Thailand-made vaccines

AstraZeneca’s partner in Thailand on Wednesday began its first deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines after concerns they were behind on their production schedules for the country and parts of Southeast Asia. Siam Bioscience said the first locally produced AstraZeneca doses were delivered to Thailand’s Ministry of Health ahead of the June 7 start of the country’s official mass vaccination program. It did not say how many were delivered. AstraZeneca signed with Siam Bioscience last year to be its vaccine production and distribution center in Southeast Asia. It said that the vaccines would be ready for export to other Southeast Asian countries in July. As part of the plan, AstraZeneca has to deliver 6 million doses to Thailand in June, and 10 million doses monthly from July to November, with a final 5 million doses in December.
2nd Jun 2021 - The Associated Press

On a roll, Moderna taps Thermo Fisher for fill-finish duties and Lonza for booster shot manufacturing

The globe has come to depend on Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, sending the biotech racing to expand its mRNA manufacturing capacity. In the next step of its effort to meet lofty supply expectations, Moderna is leveraging its relationships with two CDMO powerhouses to help. Moderna has tasked Thermo Fisher Scientific with fill-finish, labeling and packaging duties for its mRNA vaccine at Thermo Fisher’s commercial manufacturing site in Greenville, North Carolina, the company said in a Tuesday statement. The latest agreement will “support the production of hundreds of millions of doses,” and production is set to begin in the third quarter this year, the biotech said. Moderna already has a standing relationship with Thermo Fisher, which has supplied the drugmaker with raw materials for its COVID-19 vaccine, said Juan Andres, Moderna’s chief technical operations and quality officer.
2nd Jun 2021 - FiercePharma

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People in Wales to be offered third Covid 'booster' jab as part of trial

People in one part of Wales are set to take part in a new clinical trial to receive a third 'booster' coronavirus vaccine. Volunteers who are over the age of 30, have already had both Covid jabs and live within a 50-mile radius of Wrexham are needed for the world-first research study. The COV-Boost study, which is being run at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, is taking place at 18 sites in the UK and will involve 2,886 volunteers. The trial is looking at seven different Covid-19 vaccines as potential boosters given at least 10 to 12 weeks after their second dose. Volunteers could receive a different brand to the one they were originally vaccinated with.
1st Jun 2021 - Wales Online

Covid-19: Irish pharmacies to administer vaccines in June

Pharmacies in the Republic of Ireland are to play a role in Covid-19 vaccinations from early June, the Irish health minister has said. Stephen Donnelly told the Seanad (Irish parliament) the move would be "particularly important in areas further away from vaccination centres". Mr Donnelly said people aged 40 to 44 will be able to register for their jabs from Wednesday, RTÉ reports. A total of 2.7m jabs have now been administered in the Republic. That means that half of the adult population has now had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
1st Jun 2021 - BBC News

Moderna partners with Thermo Fisher to scale up COVID-19 vaccine production

Moderna Inc said on Tuesday it had entered into an agreement with Thermo Fisher Scientific for manufacturing and packaging its COVID-19 vaccine, as the U.S. vaccine maker looks to scale up production. Under the terms, Moderna said Thermo Fisher's commercial manufacturing site in Greenville, North Carolina will be used to provide fill/finish manufacturing services and supply packaging for hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine. "The addition of Thermo Fisher to our network will support our efforts to scale up our manufacturing ability," Moderna's chief technical operations and quality officer, Juan Andres, said in a statement.
1st Jun 2021 - Reuters

Brazil vaccination pace slows as production issues halt second doses

A decrease in local COVID-19 vaccine production has slowed the pace of Brazil's inoculation drive and contributed to a growing number of people not taking their second doses, according to the latest data from the Fiocruz biomedical institute.
1st Jun 2021 - Reuters

Australian court upholds ban on most international travel

An Australian court on Tuesday rejected a challenge to the federal government’s draconian power to prevent most citizens from leaving the country so that they don’t bring COVID-19 home. Australia is alone among developed democracies in preventing its citizens and permanent residents from leaving the country except in “exceptional circumstances” where they can demonstrate a “compelling reason.” Most Australians have been stranded in their island nation since March 2020 under a government emergency order made under the powerful Biosecurity Act. Libertarian group LibertyWorks argued before the full bench of the Federal Court in early May that Health Minister Greg Hunt did not have the power to legally enforce the travel ban that has prevented thousands of Australians from attending weddings and funerals, caring for dying relatives and meeting newborn babies.
1st Jun 2021 - The Associated Press

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CDC approves first cruise ship to sail with paying passengers in June

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday gave the green light to a Celebrity Cruises ship to be the first to sail with paying passengers next month. Starting on June 26, the Celebrity Edge will embark on the first revenue cruise since the COVID-19 pandemic first crippled the cruise industry in March 2020. The seven-night trip will launch from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and be led by Cpt. Kate McCue, who was the first American female captain, the company announced. The Celebrity Edge will have a fully vaccinated crew and require U.S. guests aged 16 and older to be fully vaccinated. In August, the ship will extend that requirement to U.S. guests aged 12 and older.
29th May 2021 - The Hill

COVID-19: Hundreds head to London's Chinatown as vaccine bus offers appointment-free jabs

Hundreds of people headed to London's Chinatown on Thursday after an advert promised a COVID-19 vaccination without an appointment and with no ID checks. Footage showed crowds of people gathered after an official advert posted on the Chinese Information and Advice Centre website said jabs would be offered on a "vaccine bus". Similar strategies are being used around the UK in areas where take-up has been low.
28th May 2021 - Sky News

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Covid: Wales' mass vaccination centres 'safe and efficient'

Vaccine centres in Wales have provided a "safe and efficient" environment for the roll-out of Covid-19 jabs, an inspection report has found. Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) visited eight mass vaccination centres to check safety standards. It found "dedicated, hard-working staff" and only asked for minor improvements in some areas. The watchdog's report comes as the number of people to have had a dose of the jab in Wales surpassed two million. This month, Wales has also become the best in the world, for sizeable countries, for the percentage of first doses given to its total population.
27th May 2021 - BBC News

Thai princess allows new vaccine imports as slow rollout prompts anger

The Thai king’s sister has approved coronavirus vaccine imports by an institution she sponsors, bypassing the government as it deals with surging infections and growing public anger over a slow and chaotic rollout. The secretary-general of the Chulabhorn Royal Academy wrote on Facebook that the “alternative vaccines” would supplement the government campaign until it could meet the country’s needs. The government has long insisted it must handle all vaccine imports and next month starts its mass immunisation drive, which relies heavily on AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured locally by a company owned by the king.
27th May 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Another coronavirus vaccine set to enter production within weeks - and UK has 60m doses ordered

Production of the coronavirus vaccine developed by French firm Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will begin within weeks, the firms have said. The two companies are currently in Phase 3 of their trials, which will see 35,000 adult volunteers receive their coronavirus jab across the US, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. They will test for effectiveness against the original form of COVID-19 that swept across the world after emerging in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 - and also the variant first detected in South Africa. "Manufacturing will begin in the coming weeks to enable rapid access to the vaccine should it be approved," a joint statement from Sanofi and GSK said. The Sanofi-GSK vaccine could be given the green light by drugs regulators in the final three months of this year if the Phase 3 trials are successful.
27th May 2021 - Sky News

India scraps local trials for COVID shots, says Pfizer vaccine could arrive by July

India scrapped local trials for “well-established” foreign coronavirus vaccines on Thursday as it tries to accelerate its vaccination rollout, with a government official saying Pfizer shots could arrive by July. India pledged last month to fast-track imports, but its insistence on local trials and a dispute over indemnity stalled discussions with Pfizer. “The provision has now been further amended to waive the trial requirement altogether for the well-established vaccines manufactured in other countries,” the government said in a statement.
27th May 2021 - Reuters India

Ten states reach 70% COVID-19 vaccination goal

So far ten states have reached President Biden's Jul 4 goal of vaccinating 70% of eligible residents against COVID-19, according to White House COVID-19 response coordinator Andy Slavitt. Pennsylvania joined Vermont, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and New Mexico as the tenth state to reach the 70% goal of having citizens with at least one dose of vaccine. Slavitt tweeted that another 10 states are above 65% coverage. In total, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID Data Tracker shows 359,849,035 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered in the US, and 289,212,304 have been administered, with 131,850,089 Americans fully vaccinated.
27th May 2021 - CIDRAP

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Department for Education was ‘unprepared’ for Covid-19 challenges, parliamentary committee finds

The Department for Education (DfE) “had no plan” and was unprepared for the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, a parliamentary committee has found. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said that children had “very unequal experiences” during the end of the last academic year, as it explored the DfE’s response to Covid-19 in England’s first lockdown.
26th May 2021 - The Independent

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Quebec to move up appointments for second COVID-19 vaccine doses

Quebecers will soon be able to change their appointments online for their second COVID-19 dose to an earlier date as the province’s vaccination rollout has exceeded the government’s own expectations, the Montreal Gazette has learned. Quebec is poised to vaccinate at least 80 per cent of the adult population with one dose by June 24, which would mean going beyond the initial goal by more than five per cent. And with nearly 48,000 Pfizer-BioNTech doses expected early this week, the provincial government has decided to modify the Clic Santé online portal to permit Quebecers to move up appointments for a second dose, a high-ranking source confirmed.
26th May 2021 - Montreal Gazette

More than 77,000 NHS staff in England have caught Covid, shows research

At least 77,000 hospital staff in England caught coronavirus during the pandemic, while there were nearly a quarter of a million absences for Covid-related reasons, Guardian research has revealed. However, the true totals are likely to be much higher, because out of the 142 acute and specialist trusts in England sent freedom of information requests, only 55% (78) provided figures on staff who were infected, while 60% (85) gave data on time off for sick leave related to the virus. The responses, which cover the year following 1 March 2020, offer the first official data on Covid’s impact on frontline workers who risked their own health while caring for the more than 400,000 patients who have ended up seriously ill in hospital.
25th May 2021 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: India, world’s largest jab maker, has to ask overseas for vaccines

India’s race to vaccinate its population has slowed to a standstill as the world’s largest manufacturer of jabs is forced to ask overseas suppliers for doses. The number of people jabbed each day has decreased by almost two thirds while states have been told to arrange their own supplies by Delhi. Local officials says vaccines are running out and second doses of jabs cannot be arrange. Despite warnings that India needs to vaccinate 10 million people a day to tackle surging cases and deaths, the numbers inoculated have decreased from about three million a day a few weeks ago to a million on Monday. About 10 per cent of Indians have had a single jab.
25th May 2021 - The Times

Hong Kong could soon throw away millions of unused vaccine doses

Hong Kong may soon have to throw away millions of coronavirus vaccine doses because they are approaching their expiry date and not enough people have signed up for the jabs, an official has warned. Hong Kong is one of the few places in the world fortunate enough to have secured more than enough doses to inoculate its entire population of 7.5 million people. But swirling distrust of the government as it stamps out dissent – combined with online misinformation and a lack of urgency in the comparatively virus-free city – has led to entrenched vaccine hesitancy and a dismal inoculation drive.
25th May 2021 - AlJazeera

America’s largest school systems announce full-time return to in-person learning this fall

The two largest school systems in the United States will fully reopen for in-person learning this fall, officials announced Monday, a major step in the country’s pandemic recovery. The public school districts in New York City and Los Angeles — which together educate more than 1.6 million students — became the latest to announce their planned transitions away from virtual learning, which will also allow parents who have been supervising their children’s online classes to go back to work. New York City will eliminate its remote-learning option and all students and adults will have to wear masks, unless guidance from federal health officials changes. In Los Angeles, school district leaders said they expect most students, teachers and staff to be present every day, but an online option will be available.
25th May 2021 - The Washington Post

UAE opens regional COVID-19 vaccination site for Chinese nationals

The United Arab Emirates will offer China's Sinopharm (1099.HK) vaccine to Chinese nationals visiting the regional tourism and business hub, the first non-residents to be eligible for the country's vaccination campaign against COVID-19. Chinese nationals over the age of 16 holding a short-term visa can receive two doses of Sinopharm in Dubai, the state news agency WAM said earlier this week, under an agreement between the UAE and China to launch a regional vaccination site. The UAE led Phase III clinical trials of the vaccine produced by China's state-owned drugmaker Sinopharm and has started manufacturing it under a joint venture between Sinopharm and Abu Dhabi-based technology company Group 42.
25th May 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 hospital admissions 'triple' in Indian variant hotspot

Covid-19 hospitalisations have reportedly tripled in an Indian variant hotspot within the last three weeks. Hospital admissions have TRIPLED in Bolton within 21 days. 43 Covid patients have been hospitalised and are in the town’s NHS trust. On May 10, that figure was 12. Yesterday, business owners in the town blamed families failing to self isolate on returning from India for the rise. Mohammed Khan, owner of a travel agency in the Greater Manchester town, told MailOnline : "It’s very selfish. "People just think about themselves and their own pleasure.
25th May 2021 - Birmingham Live

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Vaccine deliveries poised to slow this week with Canada expecting 600K Pfizer doses

Canada is set for a relatively quiet few days on the COVID-19 vaccine front with only about 600,000 Pfizer-BioNTech doses set to arrive this week. The two pharmaceutical firms were originally scheduled to deliver two million shots in the next seven days, but shipped 1.4 million of those doses last week instead in anticipation of the May long weekend. Pfizer and BioNTech have been consistently delivering doses even as other vaccine makers have struggled to keep their shipments flowing. They're set to increase their weekly deliveries to 2.4 million doses starting in June.
24th May 2021 - CTV News

Singapore airport tightens measures after COVID-19 outbreak

Singapore's airport said on Monday it was stepping up measures to keep out the coronavirus, including further segregating arrivals and about 14,000 workers into different risk zones, after it became the country's largest active COVID-19 cluster. The Changi airport cluster, which involves over 100 cases, may have initially spread through a worker who helped an infected family arriving in the country, according to authorities. Some of the cases included the B.1.617 variant first detected in India.
24th May 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Boris Johnson's review of social distancing rules set to be delayed by Indian variant

The public will likely have to wait longer for details of the government's review of social distancing rules and its proposals for COVID certification due to the growth in cases of the Indian variant. Downing Street signalled Boris Johnson would wait longer to unveil the plans, despite the prime minister having previously promised to provide details by the end of this month. Mr Johnson's official spokesman on Monday said the review of social distancing rules would be published "as soon as possible based on the latest data, which will help inform us what measures we can take around certification".
24th May 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19: Scientists urge final push for NI reopening

One final push is required by the public to ensure Northern Ireland's reopening is a success, a group of scientists has said. The Independent Scientific Advocacy Group (ISAG) is a multidisciplinary group of scientists, academics and researchers based across the UK. It said people's actions could determine the future, especially for the hospitality sector which has "borne the brunt" of the economic damage. Dr Andrew Kunzmann, an epidemiologist at Queen's University Belfast, told BBC News NI that the simplest of steps could make a big difference in the recovery roadmap, including continuing to meet up outdoors to socialise when possible.
24th May 2021 - BBC News

Canada to deploy healthcare resources to help Manitoba combat COVID-19

The government of Canada said it was preparing to deploy a number of healthcare resources for the province of Manitoba that is reeling under a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. This comes after Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister last week said he had asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to supply critical care nurses, respiratory therapists and contact tracers to battle the raging health crisis in the province.
24th May 2021 - Reuters

Moderna taps Samsung for fill-finish duties on 'hundreds of millions' of COVID-19 vaccine doses

As Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine rolls out across the globe, the mRNA specialist has continued to bolster its production network. With a deal unveiled over the weekend, it's now bringing a Korean manufacturing heavyweight into the fold. Moderna has tapped Samsung Biologics for large-scale, commercial fill-finish duties on its mRNA-based vaccine, the companies said Saturday. Once the deal closes, tech transfer will kick off "immediately" at Samsung's facilities in Incheon, South Korea, where the CDMO plans to leverage a finishing, labeling and packaging line to crank out "hundreds of millions" of vaccine doses for countries other than the United States.
24th May 2021 - Fierce Pharma

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Australia Can Get Enough Pfizer Doses by End-2021: Sun-Herald

Australia’s government is promising enough Pfizer Inc. vaccines to have all Australians vaccinated by the end of 2021, the Sun-Herald newspaper reported. Two million Pfizer doses are expected to be available in Australia each week from the beginning of October, which would mean all who are keen can get their two shots by the end of the year, the paper said, citing the Australian Medical Association. Health Minister Greg Hunt told the paper that 4.5 million Pfizer doses will arrive by the end of June, and there will be 7 million doses expected in both the third and fourth quarters. He added that people should not delay getting their shots as there are AstraZeneca Plc vaccines available now for Australians above 50.
23rd May 2021 - Bloomberg

Moderna, Novavax to produce more COVID-19 vaccines in S.Korea

Moderna Inc and Novavax Inc entered into a deal with the South Korean government to manufacture their COVID-19 vaccines, as the country has been under pressure to secure more and faster deliveries of U.S.-made vaccines. Saturday's agreements with the U.S. drugmakers came a day after U.S. President Joe Biden said that he and South Korean President Moon Jae-in had agreed on a comprehensive partnership on COVID-19 vaccines and that the United States would provide vaccinations for 550,000 South Korean soldiers
23rd May 2021 - Reuters

Covid Vaccination Campaign Off To Strong Start Among Young Teens, With Almost 2 Million Getting Jab

Since federal regulators began allowing younger teenagers to receive Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine last week, about 1.87 million Americans ages 12 to 15 have already gotten at least their first shot, as U.S. vaccination efforts pivot from higher-risk groups to adolescents and hesitant adults.
22nd May 2021 - Forbes

Covid: Scotland and Wales send urgent supplies to India

Life-saving medical equipment has been flown to India from Scotland and Wales to help the country deal with its Covid-19 crisis. The Scottish government provided 100 oxygen concentrators and 40 Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) ventilators which arrived on Friday. The Welsh government sent 638 oxygen concentrators and 351 ventilators which arrived earlier this week. The operation is being funded by the Foreign Office. The devices can be used in hospitals, intensive care wards or other locations and are ideally suited to treat Covid-19 patients when there are constraints on the medical gas infrastructure supply.
21st May 2021 - BBC News

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Northern Ireland coronavirus vaccine programme further extended to under 30s

In Northern Ireland, Covid-19 vaccines are to be offered to those aged 25 to 29 from today. Stormont Health Minister Robin Swann said this will be “welcome news” for people in the age group and is a further testament to the success of the local vaccination programme. “Vaccination is vital in helping us move through this pandemic and there is no doubt that there are people in Northern Ireland alive today because they have been vaccinated,” he said. The announcement comes as the Executive meets today to rubber-stamp more softening of curbs— including around indoor hospitality and indoor visits.
20th May 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

Third coronavirus vaccine dose for thousands in autumn booster trial

A trial into the use of a third booster dose against the coronavirus is to begin, with thousands of volunteers receiving one of the seven different vaccines bought by the UK. Scientists said the data would help government advisers decide how to proceed with planned autumn vaccinations for the most vulnerable. The trial, involving 2,886 patients, will look at the effects of boosters in those who have received two doses of either the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech jabs. Until now, people have been given the same vaccine for both doses. The purpose of the trial — announced by Matt Hancock, the health secretary, at a Downing Street press conference — is to test the effects of a third dose and see whether mixing vaccines at this stage will work.
20th May 2021 - The Times

India battles rash of "black fungus" cases hitting COVID-19 patients

India has ordered tighter surveillance of a rare fungal disease hitting COVID-19 patients, officials said on Thursday, piling pressure on hospitals struggling with the world's highest number of daily infections of the novel coronavirus. Mucormycosis, or "black fungus" usually infects people whose immune system has been compromised, causing blackening or discolouration over the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, breathing difficulties and coughing blood.
20th May 2021 - Reuters India

Essex GPs deliver COVID-19 jabs from custom-built van to boost uptake

GPs in Essex are going the extra mile to boost COVID-19 vaccine uptake in their area by using a custom-built van to travel to vulnerable patients. Working closely with local community leaders, the ‘Essex vax van’ is being used to bring clinics to people who may also face barriers to accessing traditional health services, including black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities and the homeless. Equipped with its own temperature control fridge, as well as Wi-Fi capabilities, the van - accompanied by two supporting vehicles - allows for the safe transportation and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine.
20th May 2021 - GP online

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Rwanda halts coronavirus vaccination because of vaccine shortage

Rwanda halted coronavirus vaccination because of delays in deliveries that have created a vaccine shortage, an official said. Director-General of the Rwanda Biomedical Centre Sabin Nsanzimana said the number vaccinated in Rwanda is still low. Rwanda wants to vaccinate 30% of the population by the end of 2021 and 60% by the end of 2022. About 350,400 people have received jabs as of Tuesday, representing just 5% of the population. Nsanzimana said 500,000 doses of the vaccine Rwanda procured from India have yet to arrive, following a health crisis that affected vaccine supplies to developing countries.
19th May 2021 - Anadolu Agency

Scheme to give students coronavirus vaccine scrapped within hours

A scheme offering students in Bournemouth the chance to get a coronavirus vaccine has been withdrawn, just hours into the first day. Long queues formed outside the Bournemouth International Centre as university students lined up to receive their jab. It is after Bournemouth University was advised by health officials that there was surplus capacity to start offering the vaccine out to students. However Dorset HealthCare, which is running the vaccination sessions at the venue, says it had been overwhelmed with the response and had to withdraw the scheme 'until further notice'.
19th May 2021 - ITV News

Covid-19 vaccines: Why some African states can't use their vaccines

Despite many African countries struggling to obtain enough Covid-19 vaccines, some have thousands of expired doses which they have been unable to use. Some countries are now destroying these vaccines, in line with the latest World Health Organization (WHO) advice. Many countries failed to prepare adequately before receiving the vaccines, Phionah Atuhebwe, from the WHO in Africa, says. "That is one of the reasons we are seeing the slow pace of rollout," she says. And some countries also faced financial challenges. Africa Centres for Disease Control head John Nkengasong says countries need more support to increase the numbers of health workers and obtain supplies, such as personal protective equipment.
19th May 2021 - BBC News

Thailand starts COVID-19 vaccinations for monks at risk

Thailand began vaccinating Buddhist monks against the coronavirus this week, hoping to build up their protection to enable them to safely perform their spiritual duties. About 500 monks were inoculated in the capital, Bangkok, on Tuesday and Wednesday, to allow them to receive daily alms and do merit-making activities, as Thailand battles its third and most potent wave of infections. "These activities are putting them at risk where they can come into contact with an infected person," said Montchai Chumnumnavin of Bangkok's Priest Hospital, a medical facility exclusively for monks, where the vaccines were administered.
19th May 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: Poor links between NHS and social care weakened England's response, says NAO

Pre-pandemic issues such as severe budget cuts to local government and poor integration between the NHS and social care weakened England’s ability to respond to covid-19, the public spending watchdog has said. The National Audit Office (NAO) assessed the government’s response to the pandemic and also found many issues with transparency around personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts, provision of PPE for the social care sector when compared with the health sector, and inconsistencies between what providers and frontline staff were reporting in terms of having protective equipment. Responding to the findings, the NHS Confederation’s chief executive, Danny Mortimer, said, “This report re-emphasises the long term issues that severely weakened the foundations of health and care, which meant the country was not better prepared to deal with the pandemic and its fallout . .
19th May 2021 - The BMJ

Pfizer to begin manufacturing Covid-19 vaccine components in Ireland by end of the year

Ireland will begin to produce key Covid-19 vaccine components later this year, with Pfizer announcing that they will be investing in their west Dublin plant. The pharmaceutical giant made the announcement today, saying that they would be investing $40 million in upgrading their Grange Castle plant. In a statement, Pfizer said that they have made several enhancements to the vaccine supply chain since they began rolling out their mRNA vaccine in late December. “As such, Pfizer is now bringing on additional European-based facility to be a part of the global Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine supply chain network and Grange Castle (Ireland) will contribute to the worldwide supply of the vaccine,” they said in a statement.
19th May 2021 - The journal.ie

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All people who refused coronavirus vaccine to be offered second chance

All people who fail to turn up for their first coronavirus vaccination appointment will receive a second invitation to be vaccinated at the end of the campaign in Belgium, the Vaccination Task Force announced on Tuesday. Both doubters and those who initially refused the vaccine will get a second chance, Gudrun Briat, spokesperson for the task force said during a press conference held by health institute Sciensano and the National Crisis Centre.
18th May 2021 - The Brussels Times

Clinic helps long-haul patients in London's "COVID triangle"

When the coronavirus tore through their London neighborhoods in early 2020, they all got sick. More than a year later, they are still struggling. “It’s like a rollercoaster,” said Miller, a previously fit, gym-loving 57-year-old who is coping with leg and joint pain, headaches and breathlessness. “There are times that I see light at the end of the tunnel. I feel like I’m taking one step forward, and then all of a sudden — bang — I’m ill again and I take two steps back.” Even as London looks to life after lockdown, thousands of people are still grappling with long-term physical and mental effects of the virus. Help is coming through “long COVID” clinics, where medics, patients — and Britain’s overstretched health system — are confronting the virus’s enduring effects.
18th May 2021 - The Associated Press

Brazil to receive ingredients from China for more COVID vaccines

Brazil has announced it will receive enough coronavirus vaccine ingredients from China to produce as many as 25 million doses of the AstraZeneca and Sinovac jabs, as the South American nation continues to struggle to vaccinate its population. Rodrigo Cruz, executive secretary of the Brazilian Health Ministry, said the Fiocruz medical research institute would receive two lots of AstraZeneca jab ingredients on Saturday.
17th May 2021 - AlJazeera

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More Victorians eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine from today

Victoria has begun accelerating its vaccine rollout, opening a new mass vaccination hub as more Victorians are eligible to receive the jab from today. About 400,000 Victorians under the age of 50, who fall into select priority groups, are now eligible to get the Pfizer jab. The priority groups include carers of people aged over 70 or who have specific medical conditions; disability workers and carers; adults with specific health or mental health conditions; and high-risk workers such as emergency/defence personnel and meat processing workers.
17th May 2021 - 9News

Ontario expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to everyone 18 and up, starting Tuesday

The Ontario government says it will expand COVID-19 vaccination eligibility to everyone 18 and older — almost a week ahead of schedule — starting Tuesday, May 18 at 8 a.m. The acceleration for age eligibility was due to a large supply of vaccines scheduled to arrive in Canada this week. “This high number of doses is due to an early delivery of the week of May 24 shipment, to accommodate the long weekend, and is an opportunity for the province to offer an appointment to receive the vaccine to more Ontarians ahead of schedule,” officials said in a press release
17th May 2021 - Global News

Indonesia is preparing for spike in COVID-19 cases after Idul Fitri: Health minister

The Indonesian government is preparing for a spike in COVID-19 cases after an annual exodus of thousands of people to their hometowns for Idul Fitri and tourists sites being packed with visitors over the past few days, said Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin on Monday (May 17). Speaking at a joint press conference with the coordinating minister for economic affairs and the head of the disaster agency, Mr Sadikin noted that there was an increase in COVID-19 cases after the previous holidays. The increase in cases following public holidays was between 30 per cent to 90 per cent. Thus, the government has prepared extra beds for COVID-19 patients this time, said the health minister.
17th May 2021 - CNA

Glasgow may be facing weeks more of tougher lockdown to stem Indian variant

Glasgow may be facing weeks more of tougher lockdown restrictions to tackle the spread of the Covid Indian variant, Scotland's national clinical director has warned ahead of lockdown being eased on Monday across most of the rest of the country. Jason Leitch said existing restrictions “may well” last longer than a week and the situation remained "fragile" as case rates continue to climb. He said Nicola Sturgeon's decision to keep Glasgow in Level 3 - only three days after stating it would go to Level 2 - was made due to past experience where delaying moves to halt the spread of Covid-19 “rarely works”. The latest weekly average Covid rate in the city is 94.5 cases per 100,000 people, nearly double the Level 2 benchmark of 50.
17th May 2021 - The Daily Telegraph on MSN.com

Under-40s could get AstraZeneca vaccine after all: Plan to offer alternative Covid jab could be reversed amid fears over Indian variant

The decision to offer under-40s an alternative jab to AstraZeneca could be reversed in light of the Indian variant, it emerged yesterday. Last month the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation decided those aged under 30 should get a different jab due to the slightly higher risk of a rare blood clot. This advice was later extended to those aged between 30 and 39 'if available and if it does not cause delays in having the vaccine'. But yesterday, for the first time, experts said this rule could be reversed to help speed up the rollout and protect more people against the Indian variant.
17th May 2021 - Daily Mail

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COVID-19: Local lockdowns can't be ruled out to curb spread of Indian variant in places like Bolton and Blackburn

In England, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has not ruled out imposing local lockdown restrictions in places worst affected by the Indian variant of coronavirus. In Bolton, where a number of people have ended up in hospitals with the Indian variant, the "vast majority" of those patients had been eligible for a COVID jab but not yet had one, Mr Hancock said.
16th May 2021 - Sky News

Australia sticks by plan to re-open border in mid-2022

Australia is sticking to plans to start re-opening to the rest of the world only from the middle of next year, officials said on Sunday, resisting mounting pressure to end the closure of international borders. In March 2020, Australia closed its borders to non-nationals and non-residents and has since been allowing only limited international arrivals, mainly citizens returning from abroad. "All the way through we will be guided by the medical advice," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at a televised briefing. "We will be guided by the economic advice."
16th May 2021 - Reuters

All over-50s to get second dose of Covid-19 vaccine early in bid to prevent deadly wave due to Indian variant

In England, everyone over 50 or with a pre-existing health condition should now get a second dose of the coronavirus vaccine eight weeks after their first in order to boost their protection against Covid-19 in light of the growing Indian variant. The independent regulator has recommended the change in strategy in order to reduce the number of people who are vulnerable to serious illness if the spread of the new strain leads to a spike in infections. Ministers are confident the new approach can be delivered without slowing down the rollout of first doses to the under-40s, because most people waiting for a second dose have received Oxford/AstraZeneca whereas younger cohorts will be given Pfizer or Moderna instead.
15th May 2021 - iNews.co.uk

Japanese gov't to boost domestic coronavirus vaccine development as 'national strategy'

The Japanese government is quickly crafting a new strategy to boost development of domestic coronavirus vaccines, the Mainichi Shimbun learned on May 13. The government has created a framework for the new strategy to boost coronavirus vaccine development and a production system, based on lessons learned from delays in developing domestic vaccines. Setting the development of domestic vaccines as a "national strategy to tackle on a long-term and continuous basis," the government intends to incorporate items such as forming and funding a research and development hub to boost vaccine development with new technologies, arranging a clinical trial environment and revising the pharmaceutical approval system.
15th May 2021 - The Mainichi

'I'm finally here': Greece formally opens to tourists

Greece formally opened to visitors on Saturday, kicking off a summer season it hopes will resurrect its vital tourism industry battered by the coronavirus pandemic. After months of lockdown restrictions, Greece also opened its museums this week, including the Acropolis museum, home to renowned sculptures from Greek antiquity. "I feel really alive and good because it has been such a hard and long year because of COVID," said Victoria Sanchez, a 22-year-old student on holiday from the Czech Republic.
15th May 2021 - Reuters

India's Cipla says supply of COVID-19 drug remdesivir catching up with demand

India's Cipla said on Saturday that its manufacturing of the COVID-19 remdesivir drug was beginning to catch up with demand after the company sought to boost production amid a massive second wave of coronavirus infections in the country. Backorders and complaints over low supply started moderating in the second week of May, the drugmaker said, after it began ramping up production of the antiviral drug last month. Hospitals have faced shortages of the drug, which is being widely used and was sold in April for over 10 times its listed price in the black market.
15th May 2021 - Reuters

India's Dr. Reddy's to get 36 mln doses of Sputnik V vaccine in next few months

Indian drugmaker Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd said on Friday it expects to get 36 million doses of Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine in the next couple of months under its contract with Russia's sovereign wealth fund. India's catastrophic second wave of the pandemic has led to huge demand for vaccines, which in turn has left the country, the world's biggest vaccine producer, low on stocks
14th May 2021 - Reuters

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Brazil to pause production of AstraZeneca vaccine due to lack of ingredients

Brazil's Fiocruz biomedical institute said on Thursday it would interrupt production of the AstraZeneca AZN.L vaccine for certain days next week due to a lack of ingredients, until new supplies arrive on May 22. Fiocruz, a government-backed center in Rio de Janeiro, said on Twitter that production based on current supplies would allow it to continue delivering vaccines through the first week of June, with additional supplies to sustain production beyond that.
14th May 2021 - Nasdaq

Coronavirus: Over-50s and vulnerable in Indian variant hotspots will get second jabs rushed through

Older people living in areas of high infection to be offered second dose of the vaccine early to protect them. The JCVI also been asked to examine the case for 'targeted vaccinations' of all over-17s in the worst-hit areas. Surge testing for the new coronavirus variant will also be deployed in areas where it is now spreading rapidly. Boris Johnson said he was 'anxious' about variant and refused to rule out local lockdowns to try to contain it. Government sources played down the risk that outbreaks of the 'variant of concern' could derail June 21 plans
13th May 2021 - Daily Mail

LA Times owner offers $210million to create new Covid vaccines in South Africa

A US billionaire has announced he will offer 3bn South African rand (£152m) to South Africa, where he was born, to help create coronavirus vaccines. The New York Times reports that Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong, who owns The Los Angeles Times, said on Wednesday that his business and philanthropic foundation would donate the money. The money will be used to send the technology for producing vaccines and biological therapies to get ahead of the pandemic and make shots that will combat the new variants of the disease. “Our goal and our commitment is to come back to South Africa and transfer this kind of technology,” Dr Soon-Shiong reportedly said at an international meeting on the equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines. Referring to South Africa, he said, “Not only do we have the science, we have the human capital and the capacity and the desire.”
13th May 2021 - The Independent

Biotech company pushing to begin Australian production of mRNA coronavirus vaccines

An international biotech company says it could manufacture mRNA COVID-19 vaccines — including Pfizer's — in Australia, but would need support and investment from the federal government. BioCina last year purchased Pfizer's former manufacturing plant at Thebarton in Adelaide's west and said it had the capability to develop key ingredients for coranavirus vaccines. "We already have a really good facility in Thebarton that is commercially approved to manufacture microbial products," BioCina's chief executive Ian Wisenberg told ABC Radio Adelaide.
13th May 2021 - ABC News

Indian states turn to anti-parasitic drug to fight COVID-19 against WHO advice

At least two Indian states have said they plan to dose their populations with the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin to protect against severe COVID-19 infections as their hospitals are overrun with patients in critical condition. The move by the coastal state of Goa and northern state of Uttarakhand, come despite the World Health Organization and others warning against such measures. "The current evidence on the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients is inconclusive," WHO said in a statement in late March. "Until more data is available, WHO recommends that the drug only be used within clinical trials."
13th May 2021 - Reuters India

Kids 12 and up are eligible for COVID vaccine in Virginia

Children ages 12 to 15 were expected to start getting the coronavirus vaccine in Virginia on Thursday, with state health officials stressing that inoculating that age group will help prevent the overall spread of the disease in the state. Many adolescents who contract the disease are far less likely to get severely ill. But they can still pass on the virus, particularly if they’re not showing symptoms, Virginia State Vaccination Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula said during a news conference.
13th May 2021 - Associated Press

Indian variant hotspots will RUSH through second doses for over-50s and vulnerable people as Boris admits he's 'anxious' over 100% increase in some areas and national infection rate creeps up

Older people living in areas of high infection to be offered second dose of the vaccine early to protect them. The JCVI also been asked to examine the case for 'targeted vaccinations' of all over-17s in the worst-hit areas. Surge testing for the new coronavirus variant will also be deployed in areas where it is now spreading rapidly. Boris Johnson said he was 'anxious' about variant and refused to rule out local lockdowns to try to contain it. Government sources played down the risk that outbreaks of the 'variant of concern' could derail June 21 plans
13th May 2021 - Daily Mail

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Moderna says it has signed deal with Australia to supply 25m doses of Covid vaccine

Australians will have another vaccine option after the pharmaceutical company Moderna announced it has signed a deal with the federal government to provide 25m doses of its mRNA-based vaccine to the nation. The announcement was made overnight in a press release and has not yet been formally endorsed by the federal government. It is also subject to regulatory approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, but Moderna says it will lodge a submission shortly. The company says 10m doses could arrive in Australia by the end of the year and a further 15m would arrive in 2022.
12th May 2021 - The Guardian

EU plays catch-up on vaccines and hails its export programme

My Covid-19 vaccine moment came suddenly — and sooner than I had expected. On Friday April 30, Brussels authorities opened online bookings to my age group. The following Tuesday I went for my first shot at a military hospital on the Belgian capital’s outskirts. After months of reporting on the EU immunisation drive, it felt odd finally to be living it. My visit highlights how the 27-member bloc’s inoculation campaign has stepped up a gear after initially falling well behind the UK and US. “It was all very theoretical for such a long period of time,” says Alastair Rabagliati, another just-jabbed British resident of Brussels who, like me, was born in 1974. “I was expecting to be on the waiting list for a while — yet suddenly I was making an appointment for a slot three days later.”
12th May 2021 - Financial Times

Hospitals in tourist-haven Costa Rica in 'serious' phase as Covid-19 cases surge

Hospitals in the Central American nation of Costa Rica are running out of space for COVID-19 patients amid a new wave of infections, the president of the national doctors' union said on Tuesday. The sharp rise in coronavirus infections has led to calls for a fresh lockdown by doctors, potentially dealing another blow to businesses, especially in the tourism sector, which were hoping for an influx of American and European tourists.
12th May 2021 - Reuters

Emotional 'First Aid Kit' Gives Tips for Doctors on COVID Front Line

Retired GP Dr Lesley Morrison is offering emotional coping tips to help clinicians on the COVID-19 front line in her new book The Wellbeing Toolkit for Doctors that's being published next month. Dr Morrison says she's been thinking of writing it for years, based on her experiences as a GP in Hackney, London, the Scottish Borders, and as a tutor at Edinburgh University. The project was accelerated by her knowledge of the struggles doctors were facing on the COVID front line. "There are times when you may feel overwhelmed, when it seems that you're unable to do anything useful to help the person sitting in front of you," Dr Morrison acknowledges. "But there are nearly always ways in which you can reclaim some control."
11th May 2021 - Medscape

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Coronavirus vaccine: Government-recommended 6 steps to monitor and report the vaccine side effects

While the second wave of coronavirus has hit the country badly, India is currently in the third phase of the vaccination. The government has recently permitted people above the age of 18 to get vaccinated as well. While the vaccination drive is going on in full swing, people are still hesitant to get vaccinated as several people are experiencing side effects like fever, headaches after getting vaccinated. To clarify more on the side effects of the vaccine and how there is nothing to be afraid of, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has listed six steps that can be used to monitor and report the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine. As per the guidelines, the step 1 to step 3 is to be followed before the vaccination while step 5 to step 6 should be taken care of after getting the vaccination dose.
11th May 2021 - Times of India

Edinburgh patients waiting 14 weeks for coronavirus vaccine amid warning over stocks

Some patients in Edinburgh are waiting up to 14 weeks to receive the second dose of their coronavirus vaccine, despite official Scottish Government guidance. Almost three million Scots have had their first jab of either the Pfizer, Moderna or Oxford/AstraZeneca inoculations against COVID-19. However, those waiting on the final jab have been subjected to delays due to clinics either being full or access to certain vaccine stock being unavailable. The Scottish Government’s vaccine deployment plan, published in January, stated the rollout was “predicated on ensuring everyone that receives the first dose will be able to receive their second dose in 12 weeks from the first dose.”
11th May 2021 - Edinburgh Live

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In about a dozen countries, not even health care workers can get COVID-19 vaccines

There are nearly a dozen countries that have yet to receive a single COVID-19 vaccine dose, including Chad, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Eritrea, and Tanzania. "Delays and shortages of vaccine supplies are driving African countries to slip further behind the rest of the world in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, and the continent now accounts for only 1 percent of the vaccines administered worldwide," the World Health Organization said last week.
10th May 2021 - Yahoo News UK

Health board offers last minute coronavirus vaccine appointments for people as young as 18

A Welsh health board is offering last minute appointments for the coronavirus vaccine to people as young as 18. Cardiff and Vale University Health Board shared an update at 5.30pm on Sunday offering first dose appointments for adults of all ages on Sunday and Monday. It wrote on Twitter: "We still have available slots for adults aged 18+ to receive their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination today (Sunday) and tomorrow (Monday). " The update was the second time in the day that the health board offered a last minute appointments for the coronavirus vaccine after sharing a similar appeal earlier in the afternoon.
10th May 2021 - Wales Online

Egypt's Eva Pharma to export COVID-19 drug remdesivir to India

Egypt's Eva Pharma on Monday signed an agreement to provide India with 300,000 doses of remdesivir, used in the treatment of COVID-19, the company said in a statement. The agreement, which was signed at the Indian embassy in Cairo, is aimed at helping India combat a surge in infections which has overwhelmed the health system and held close to record daily highs on Monday. Eva Pharma, a generic drugmaker established in 1997, said in June 2020 it had received a licence from Gilead Sciences Inc to make remdesivir in Egypt and distribute it in 127 countries. The drug targets moderate to severe cases of COVID-19 in intensive care who require oxygen.
10th May 2021 - YAHOO!News

BioNTech committed to deliver 1.8 bln doses of COVID-19 vaccine this year

BioNTech SE said on Monday that its order backlog for delivery of COVID-19 vaccines this year together with partner Pfizer Inc had grown to 1.8 billion doses, underscoring its role as a major global supplier of immunization shots. That was up from 1.4 billion doses announced in March. Based on these delivery contracts, the company said it expects about 12.4 billion euros ($15.1 billion) in revenue from the vaccine this year, including sales, milestone payments from partners and a share of gross profit in the partners’ territories, up from a previous forecast of 9.8 billion euros.
10th May 2021 - Reuters

Australia's New South Wales reports zero COVID-19 cases, fears remain over missing link

Australia's New South Wales (NSW) state reported zero COVID-19 cases for a fourth straight day on Monday, but concerns about new infections remained as the missing link in a case that has reinstated restrictions continued to elude officials. Australia's most populous state on Sunday extended social distancing curbs in Sydney by a week after authorities could not find a transmission path between an infected overseas traveller and a resident in his 50s who tested positive last week
10th May 2021 - Reuters

Eli Lilly signs deals to boost supply of COVID-19 treatment in India

Eli Lilly and Co said on Monday it had signed licensing agreements with three Indian generic drugmakers to expand the availability of its arthritis drug baricitinib in the country for treating COVID-19 patients. The agreements will bolster India's arsenal of drugs to battle its catastrophic second wave of the pandemic, which has led to an acute shortage of coronavirus medicines including remdesivir and tocilizumab.
10th May 2021 - Reuters

India turns to ex-army medics as COVID surge sparks calls for lockdown

India will recruit hundreds of former army medics to support its overwhelmed healthcare system, the defence ministry said on Sunday, as the country grapples with record COVID-19 infections and deaths amid calls for a complete nationwide lockdown. Some 400 medical officers are expected to serve on contract for a maximum of 11 months, the ministry said in a press release, adding that other defence doctors had also been contacted for online consultations.
10th May 2021 - Reuters India

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Hoping to lure back tourists, Greece reopens beaches after lockdown

With widely spaced sun loungers and regular disinfections, Greece reopened its organised beaches on Saturday as the popular Mediterranean holiday destination eases COVID-19 curbs in preparation for the return of foreign visitors next week. Tourism accounts for about a fifth of Greece's economy and jobs, and - after the worst year on record for the industry last year - the country can ill afford another lost summer.
8th May 2021 - Reuters

4th wave of COVID-19 likely if Canada reopens too fast — and seasonal return may be inevitable

As Canada beats back its third coronavirus wave, experts warn a fourth one could strike at any time if restrictions are lifted too quickly — but there's hope that could be prevented with more vaccinations and careful reopening. The potential for a fourth surge of cases comes as multiple provinces struggle to get case counts back down after the gruelling third wave started in March. In recent weeks, B.C. hit record-high intensive care admissions, Alberta reported the highest case rate in Canada, and Ontario has been struggling to boost hospital capacity amid an overwhelming level of COVID-19 admissions by transferring patients across the province, halting non-emergency procedures, and bringing in medical teams from the Canadian Armed Forces. But that is starting to turn.
9th May 2021 - CBC.ca

Covid-19 vaccines: Why some African states have leftover doses

Malawi has been left with 16,400 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, while South Sudan has 59,000 - all now past their expiry date, 13 April. Both countries say they have decided to destroy these consignments, donated via the African Union, despite the World Health Organization (WHO) asking for them to be kept while it investigates whether the expiry date can be safely extended.
8th May 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19: Cargo plane leaves NI with medical aid for India

Britain will allow international travel to resume from May 17 but is limiting the number of destinations open for quarantine-free holidays to just 12 countries as it cautiously emerges from lockdown restrictions. Countries including Portugal and Israel made a green list of countries for low risk travel for people from England, transport minister Grant Shapps said on Friday. The most popular destinations such as France, Spain and Greece did not make the list.
8th May 2021 - BBC News

States plan to lift remaining COVID-19 restrictions

Across the US this week, governors are announcing plans to lift remaining COVID-19 restrictions and have made promises of a normal summer. Relying on metrics that predict high vaccine uptake, Tim Walz, governor of Minnesota, said his state would end existing mask mandates by Jul 1 or earlier if 70% of Minnesotans ages 16 and older had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. On May 28, Walz said all remaining restrictions on businesses and social gatherings will end. "Let's just go get it done and end this thing," said Walz at a press conference yesterday, referring to his challenge to vaccinate 70% of the state's population.
7th May 2021 - CIDRAP

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Nurses report 'not feeling safe to share concerns or needs' during Covid-19

Almost a third of female nurses have not felt safe sharing their personal concerns or needs around the impact of Covid-19 with their manager since the crisis began, a new survey has shown. In addition, the majority of female nurses feel working during the pandemic has had a negative impact on both their mental and physical wellbeing. The results come as part of a report published by the NHS Confederation’s Health and Care Women Leaders Network earlier this week, which explored the impact of the pandemic on female health and care workers.
6th May 2021 - Nursing Times

Thailand says foreigners to get COVID-19 vaccines amid access concern

Thailand confirmed that it plans to include 3 million foreigners living in the country in its mass vaccination programme to protect the entire population, amid concerns over the scope of vaccine access. "Anybody living in Thailand, whether they be Thai or foreign, if they want they vaccine, they can get it," head of the disease control department, Opas Kankawinpong told a briefing. The government has repeatedly said foreigners would be offered vaccines. But concerns among expatriates have been raised in recent weeks, with some venting frustrations on social media about a lack of public information, problems registering or confusion over private vaccine availability.
6th May 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 booster could be given with flu jab in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, public health officials are hopeful a campaign for Covid-19 booster vaccines will be combined with the regular winter flu jab programme. A Stormont committee was told combining the two campaigns would be more effective. The head of NI's vaccination campaign, Patricia Donnelly, said guidance would come from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
6th May 2021 - BBC News

TUI lures UK holidaymakers with cheap COVID-19 tests ahead of travel restart

Holiday company TUI launched a 20 pound ($28) testing package for its UK customers on Thursday, as Britain prepares to allow travel again from May 17 but with strict testing requirements. Airlines and travel companies have complained that Britain's requirement for arrivals from low-risk countries to have two COVID-19 tests, one before arriving in the UK and one after arriving, will make holidays too expensive for many people. TUI hopes to attract bookings from customers wary about testing costs by offering testing packages starting at 20 pounds, much cheaper than the current cost for a single test which can be up to 100 pounds.
6th May 2021 - Reuters UK

UK diners return as more restaurants reopen

British restaurants saw more diners on May 1 than the week before as hospitality businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland partly reopened after months of coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Britain's Office for National Statistics said seated diner reservations on May 1 were 71% of their level on the equivalent Saturday two years ago, up from 62% a week ago when restaurants in England were open. Spending on credit and debit cards in the week to April 29 was 99% of its level in February 2020, little changed from the week before, according to CHAPS payment data provided by the Bank of England.
6th May 2021 - Reuters

Serbians queue to get COVID-19 vaccine and with it a shopping voucher

Dozens of people gathered at a major mall in Belgrade on Thursday hoping to be among the first to get a COVID-19 vaccine and with it a shopping voucher, in the latest initiative by authorities to encourage more Serbians to get inoculated. Since last December, Serbia has vaccinated 29.81% of its population of around 7 million with at least one dose. The government now wants to accelerate the programme, including drop-in vaccination centres and facilities in shopping malls. "People should be responsible ... and seize the opportunity (to have a vaccine) ... as we reach out to them," said doctor Zoran Vekic, who coordinated Thursday's event.
6th May 2021 - Reuters

India’s gov’t eases hospital oxygen shortage as demand jumps

Under order by the Supreme Court, India’s government on Thursday agreed to provide more medical oxygen to hospitals in the capital city of New Delhi, potentially easing a 2-week-old shortage that worsened the country’s exploding coronavirus crisis. Government officials also denied reports that they have been slow in distributing life-saving medical supplies donated from abroad. The government raised the oxygen supply to 730 tons from 490 tons per day in New Delhi as ordered by the Supreme Court. The court intervened after 12 COVID-19 patients, including a doctor, died last week at New Delhi’s Batra Hospital when it ran out of medical oxygen for 80 minutes. On Wednesday night, 11 other COVID-19 patients died when pressure in an oxygen supply line stopped working at a government medical college hospital in Chengalpet in southern India, possibly because of a faulty valve, The Times of India newspaper reported.
6th May 2021 - The Associated Press

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HSE staff who refuse Covid-19 vaccines may be redeployed under new proposals

Healthcare staff who refuse to be vaccinated face redeployment under proposals being examined by the Health Service Executive. Staff who fail to confirm they are vaccinated could be moved out of patient contact depending on the outcome of a risk assessment, under proposals being finalised. Healthcare workers who are not vaccinated could escape being redeployed if they cannot be replaced due to staff shortages or specialised qualifications, but there are no plans to make Covid-19 vaccines mandatory for healthcare staff. Last month, the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) proposed a phased approach to healthcare workers who opt not to take the Covid-19 vaccine, starting with the provision of information, one-to-one conversations, testing and additional PPE.
5th May 2021 - The Irish Times

Egypt to close stores, restaurants early for 2 weeks to curb COVID-19

The closing hours of Egyptian stores, malls and restaurants will be brought forward to 9pm (1900 GMT) to help contain the coronavirus for two weeks from Thursday, straddling the last days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and Eid celebrations, the prime minister said on Wednesday. Large gatherings and concerts will be banned over the same period and beaches and parks will be shut between May 12-16, Mostafa Madbouly said.
5th May 2021 - National Post

Australia's most populous state reports first COVID-19 case in more than a month

Australia's most populous state reported its first locally acquired coronavirus infection in more than a month on Wednesday, with health authorities working to track down the source and the variant involved. The first local infection in southeastern New South Wales since March 31 strengthens prospects for a resumption of social distancing curbs, many of which had been eased as cases dwindled. Although Australia has largely eradicated COVID-19, a man in his 50s with no known links to hotels used to quarantine people who have arrived from overseas tested positive on Tuesday, the state's health ministry said in a statement.
5th May 2021 - Reuters

COVID’s US toll projected to drop sharply by the end of July

Teams of experts are projecting COVID-19′s toll on the U.S. will fall sharply by the end of July, according to research released by the government Wednesday. But they also warn that a “substantial increase” in hospitalizations and deaths is possible if unvaccinated people do not follow basic precautions such as wearing a mask and keeping their distance from others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention paper included projections from six research groups. Their assignment was to predict the course of the U.S. epidemic between now and September under different scenarios, depending on how the vaccination drive proceeds and how people behave. Mainly, it’s good news. Even under scenarios involving disappointing vaccination rates, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are expected to drop dramatically by the end of July and continue to fall afterward.
5th May 2021 - The Associated Press

Eli Lilly faces employee complaints, FDA troubles at factory making COVID-19 drug: report

Quality control problems have already plagued one COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer in Baltimore, Maryland. Now, it appears they’re threatening to trip up a major pandemic therapeutic supplier as well. Eli Lilly employees have accused an executive at the drugmaker’s Branchburg, New Jersey, manufacturing site of altering FDA-required documents in an effort to downplay serious quality control problems, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing internal complaint documents and a source familiar with the matter. The complaint, dated April 8, said the executive tasked with quality controls rewrote findings from Lilly’s technical experts at the facility, which produces doses of the company’s COVID-19 antibody treatment bamlanivimab, in order to make them look more favorable, according to the report.
5th May 2021 - Fierce Pharma

Red Cross sounds alarm over Nepal's COVID-19 crisis

As neighboring India's massive surge continues, health groups warn of a similar situation evolving in Nepal, where the military is adding hospital beds and COVID-19 outbreaks have reached some Mount Everest base camps. The World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday in its weekly snapshot of the pandemic that Nepal's cases last week rose by a staggering 137%. Meanwhile, officials warned that parts of the Americas are still in the thick of the pandemic, with severe cases trending younger.
5th May 2021 - CIDRAP

Iraq pushes vaccine rollout amid widespread apathy, distrust

Iraq’s vaccine roll-out had been faltering for weeks. Apathy, fear and rumors kept many from getting vaccinated despite a serious surge in coronavirus infections and calls by the government for people to register for shots. It took a populist Shiite cleric’s public endorsement of vaccinations — and images of him getting the shot last week — to turn things around. Hundreds of followers of Muqtada al-Sadr are now heading to clinics to follow his example, underscoring the power of sectarian loyalties in Iraq and deep mistrust of the state. “I was against the idea of being vaccinated. I was afraid, I didn’t believe in it,” said Manhil Alshabli, a 30-year-old Iraqi from the holy city of Najaf. “But all this has changed now.” “Seeing him getting the vaccine has motivated me,” said Alshabli, speaking by phone from Najaf where he and many other al-Sadr loyalists got their shots, Alshabli compared it to soldiers being energized when they see their leader on the front line.
5th May 2021 - AlJazeera

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Turkey still sees 30 mln tourists in 2021 if lockdown succeeds

Turkey will still expect to welcome 30 million arrivals this year, twice the number last year, if daily coronavirus cases fall below 5,000 after a lockdown ends on May 17, Tourism and Culture Minister Mehmet Ersoy said on Monday. "Turkey took much more drastic measures. We are already seeing that the number of cases is going down much faster in the last week. If our guess proves to be correct, the number of cases will go below 5000 by May 17," he said in a statement to Reuters. "As of June 1, we will open the tourist season and if we can reduce the number of daily cases below 5,000, we maintain our target of 30 million tourists this year," Ersoy added.
4th May 2021 - Reuters

Moderna plans major expansion at Massachusetts manufacturing site to help boost COVID-19 vaccine supply

With plans to boost COVID-19 vaccine production into the billions of doses next year, Moderna is making major renovations at its Massachusetts manufacturing site that will more than double its size. The mRNA developer on Tuesday said it plans to renovate its manufacturing site in Norwood, Massachusetts, from “a production and lab space to an industrial technology center.” That means expanding the facility, from 300,000 square feet to roughly 650,000 square feet through the acquisition of another building located on the same campus. The expansion will boost Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine production capacity at the facility by 50%. That increased output is expected to come into play in late 2021 and early 2022, Moderna said. The latest renovations are part of the reasoning why Moderna recently accelerated its vaccine supply forecasts. The biotech announced late last week that it now expects to produce 800 million to 1 billion doses of its mRNA vaccine this year, with plans to grow production to 3 billion doses by 2022.
4th May 2021 - FiercePharma

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Thousands of doctors planning to leave the NHS citing pandemic stress and burnout

Thousands of doctors are planning to leave the NHS in the coming year, exhausted by the coronavirus pandemic. A survey by the British Medical Association found that half of doctors plan to work fewer hours, one in four were more likely to take a career break and 21% were considering leaving the NHS for a different career. The tracker survey was responded to by 2,099 people. Many blamed their workload, including an inability to take breaks, and almost 40% said they did not have anywhere at work where they could relax safely with colleagues. An acute speciality doctor who outlined their workload told the BMA: "My own mental and physical health will have to become a priority at some point."
3rd May 2021 - Sky News

Taiwan's first batch of COVID-19 aid leaves for India

Taiwan's first batch of aid to India to help it fight a surging increase in COVID-19 infections left for New Delhi on Sunday, consisting of 150 oxygen concentrators and 500 oxygen cylinders, Taiwan's Foreign Ministry said. Countries around the world have been rushing to help India alleviate the crisis. India recorded more than 400,000 new COVID-19 cases for the first time on Saturday as it battles a devastating second wave
2nd May 2021 - Reuters India

Nepal Runs Out of Hospital Beds as India's Outbreak Spills Over

The coronavirus outbreak in India has spilled across the border into Nepal, where health officials have warned that hospital beds are unavailable, vaccines are running short and the number of new infections is rising faster than overwhelmed clinics can record them. The situation is so dire in Nepal that the Health Ministry in the Himalayan nation issued a statement on Friday in which, in effect, it threw up its hands. “Since coronavirus cases have spiked beyond the capacity of the health system and hospitals have run out of beds, the situation is unmanageable,” the ministry said after the government recorded 5,657 new infections on Friday, the highest daily total since October.
2nd May 2021 - The New York Times

Australia in talks with French biotech firm over potential new COVID-19 vaccine

The Australian Government is in talks with a French biotech firm over the potential to import another COVID-19 vaccine to our shores. The shot, manufactured by 'specialty vaccine company' Valneva – based in Saint- Herblain, western France – uses similar techniques to those involved in the flu and Polio vaccines and is currently in its advanced stages of development. The product uses technology involving an inactivated version of the virus that has been killed to stimulate an immune response without creating infection.
1st May 2021 - 9News

India's Serum Institute plans to start vaccine production outside India

The Serum Institute of India, which manufactures the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, is planning to start vaccine production in other countries as it struggles to meet supply commitments, its chief executive officer told The Times. "There's going to be an announcement in the next few days," Adar Poonawalla was quoted as saying by the newspaper in an interview published on Friday. Poonawalla said last week that the Serum Institute would be able to raise its monthly output to 100 million doses by July, later than a previous timeline of end-May. Several states in India have run out of vaccines against COVID-19
1st May 2021 - Reuters

Canada receives J&J's COVID-19 vaccine from plant where FDA halted production

Canada's drug regulator said on Friday that doses of Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ.N) COVID-19 vaccine recently delivered to the country were produced at a Baltimore plant where the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) halted production. Health Canada said in a statement that it will hold the vaccine doses until it is satisfied they meet its standards, and is consulting with J&J and the FDA. The first shipment of 300,000 J&J vaccine doses arrived in Canada earlier this week. The FDA halted production of the vaccines at a U.S. manufacturing plant owned by Emergent BioSolutions (EBS.N) earlier this month as it investigates an error that led to millions of doses being ruined in March
1st May 2021 - Reuters

US faces COVID-19 vaccine surplus as demand slows

Philadelphia is experiencing a surplus scare. With thousands of coronavirus vaccine doses expiring on Thursday, the city is scrambling to ship them to other distribution sites so it won't be forced to discard them. "The city has a lot of vaccines in cold storage that do have to get used in a very short timeline," said Charlie Elison, a FEMA spokesperson. Philadelphia officials are hoping to vaccinate more people by keeping sites open later to attract walk-ups for those who don't have an appointment. Meanwhile, more shots are sitting unused across the country. For the first time since March 22, the U.S. is averaging less than 2.5 million vaccinations a day. Vaccinations are down nearly 25% after peaking on April 11.
30th Apr 2021 - MSN NOW

COVID-19: Which coronavirus variants have been recorded in the UK?

Two new coronavirus variants have been identified in the UK - both were first reported in India. The two new variants are under investigation and not classed as "of concern". They share the same lineage - a fingerprint of genetic mutations - as the existing Indian variant known as B.1.617. Public Health England said it has found 202 cases of one of the variants and five cases of the other and they are "geographically dispersed in England". In all, there are four variants of concern known to be in the UK, including those first identified in Kent, Manaus (Brazil) and South Africa. And there are nine other variants under investigation.
30th Apr 2021 - Sky News

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Moderna plans to produce up to 3bn COVID-19 vaccine doses in 2022

Moderna said it would produce as many as 3 billion doses of its Covid-19 vaccine next year as it makes new investments to bolster output at several factories in the US and Europe. The biotech company said it would increase supply by 50 per cent at its Norwood, Massachusetts, plant, which makes much of the vaccine substance used in shots for the US market. The investments would also enable partner Lonza Group, which is making supply for foreign markets, to double its output at a factory in Switzerland that makes vaccine substance. Vaccine output at third factory in Spain operated by another partner, Laboratorios Farmaceuticos Rovi, would also more than double under the plan. The increased production from the company-owned and partner factories is expected to ramp up in late 2021 and early 2022, Moderna said.
29th Apr 2021 - The Irish Times

Egypt en route to coronavirus vaccine production

Officially, Egypt will locally produce China’s Sinovac and Russian Sputnik V vaccines and is planning to secure millions of doses annually as part of the state’s industry localization plan. Egypt already got over 1.5 million coronavirus vaccine doses and has contracted to get millions others from China and through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX). However, the preventive health officials in the country know that these vaccines, especially the Chinese, is likely a short-term vaccine, and therefore citizens may have to take the vaccine several times over the life course.
29th Apr 2021 - Egypt Today

Covid-19: US will send 60 million AstraZeneca doses abroad as domestic demand falls

The Biden administration has announced that the US will send as many as 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to countries in need—effectively conceding that the vaccine, developed at Oxford University, UK, will never be offered to the US public. “We do not need to use AstraZeneca in our fight against covid,” the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, told reporters. The administration has been under international pressure to do more for poor countries, but it is bound by an election promise to not make any US vaccination wait because of aid given abroad. The AstraZeneca vaccine became an obvious candidate for foreign donations as it became clear that offering it to the US population would lead to higher rates of vaccine refusal.
29th Apr 2021 - The BMJ

British workers move off furlough as economy reopens

British employees returned to work and shoppers stepped up spending on clothes and furniture after lockdown restrictions eased across most of the country earlier this month, official figures showed on Thursday. The proportion of employees on furlough between April 5 and April 18 dropped to 13%, down from 17% in the previous two-week period, according to a survey of businesses conducted by the Office for National Statistics. Shops selling 'non-essential' goods reopened in England and Wales on April 12, and English pubs and restaurants were able to serve customers outdoors. COVID restrictions are also easing this month in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
29th Apr 2021 - Reuters UK

Why is India facing a deadly crunch of oxygen amid COVID surge?

A devastating surge in coronavirus infections has exposed India’s dilapidated health infrastructure and a chronic shortage of oxygen – a key treatment for seriously ill COVID-19 patients. Dire oxygen shortages as India battles a ferocious new wave means boom times for profit gougers, although some young volunteers are doing their best to help people on social media. Oxygen therapy is crucial for severe COVID-19 patients with hypoxaemia – when oxygen levels in the blood are too low. “Some clinical studies show that up to a quarter of hospitalised (COVID-19) patients require oxygen therapy and upwards to two-thirds of those in intensive care units,” community health specialist Rajib Dasgupta told the AFP news agency. “This is why it is imperative to fix oxygen-supply systems in hospital settings as this is a disease that affects lungs primarily.”
29th Apr 2021 - AlJazeera

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U.S. to send more than $100 mln in COVID supplies to India

The United States is sending supplies worth more than $100 million to India to help it fight a surge of COVID-19 cases, the White House said in a statement on Wednesday. The supplies, which will begin arriving on Thursday and continue into next week, include 1,000 oxygen cylinders, 15 million N95 masks and 1 million rapid diagnostic tests, the statement said. The United States also has redirected its own order of AstraZeneca (AZN.L) manufacturing supplies to India, which will allow it to make over 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, according to the White House.
29th Apr 2021 - Reuters

Wales on track to vaccinate all eligible adults by end of July with boosters planned in the autumn

The doctor in charge of the vaccine programme in Wales is confident that the target of having all eligible adults vaccinated by the end of July is on track. Dr Gill Richardson has revealed that 90% of people over the age of 60 in Wales have been vaccinated, 95% of over 80s and 70% of people aged between 40 to 49 have been vaccinated - some of the best rates in the UK. "A lot of people are just relieved to be having their vaccine, and are just really looking forward to the younger people getting theirs," she told BBC Radio Wales. "We do know that there will be that little bit of extra effort to catch everybody, but the fact that we have already had 70% of 40 to 49 age group having their first vaccine is a great commendation for Wales. "We are well on track to meet the target of getting the whole of the adult population by the end of July."
28th Apr 2021 - Wales Online

Universities order students to get coronavirus vaccine to return to classes in the fall

In the US, a growing number of state universities are following their private counterparts in requiring all students returning to classes and campuses this fall to be vaccinated against coronavirus. In a bid to return to normality after months of online learning, at least 80 universities have said that all students must get a jab before they return to class. Among those making the requirements are Ivy League schools Brown, Cornell and Stanford, California's two state university systems, as well as several universities in New York, Massachusetts, Maryland and New Jersey.
28th Apr 2021 - Daily Mail

Britain to send three container-sized oxygen factories to India

Britain will send three container-sized oxygen factories to India to help hospitals cope with soaring cases of COVID-19, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Wednesday.
28th Apr 2021 - Reuters India

Lonza taps temporary workers from Nestlé in COVID shot production push: report

The Herculean push to produce enough COVID-19 vaccines for the world's population has led to some unexpected partnerships. Now, one contract manufacturer is tapping a local food giant for help. Lonza is recruiting temporary workers from Nestlé to help fill vacancies at its Swiss vaccine plant, where the CDMO is cranking out ingredients for Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, Reuters reports, citing Swiss broadcaster RTS. Lonza, for its part, isn't commenting on the matter, a spokeswoman told Fierce Pharma via email. The move, reportedly facilitated by the Swiss government, comes shortly after Moderna blamed projected delivery cutbacks in "a number of countries" on deficits of “human and material resources” in its European supply chain. Lonza itself has struggled to recruit enough specialized personnel for its vaccine production push, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said last week at a summit on pandemic vaccine scale-up.
28th Apr 2021 - FiercePharma

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Denmark to produce COVID-19 vaccines in 2022, PM says

Denmark aims to start producing coronavirus vaccines in 2022, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said, adding that a tender would be made public in a few weeks. "As everyone can see, read, feel and hear, we need more vaccines," Frederiksen told the business daily Borsen late on Monday. "That is why we need to set up production." The vaccines will be produced by private companies, she said.
27th Apr 2021 - Reuters

Amid green shoots, Chile keeps borders closed but eases capital's lockdowns

Chilean authorities announced that they would extend the closure of the country’s borders for another 30 days as hospitals remain near-full and COVID-19 cases high despite a gradual improvement in recent weeks. Health Minister Enrique Paris said seven and 14-day averages each showed a 7% decrease in confirmed cases and COVID-19 positivity test rates were down. On Monday, 6,078 new infections were identified, compared to a record high of 9,171 cases on April 9. “The health situation is showing some signs of improvement. We are seeing changes but that doesn’t mean we can stop fighting,” Paris said. Chile is running one of the world’s fastest vaccination campaigns, with half of its target population already inoculated with one shot and 38.8% with two
27th Apr 2021 - Reuters

Nestle staff sought to help Lonza production for Moderna vaccine -Swiss TV

Drugmaker Lonza Group under pressure to find workers to help speed production of Moderna Inc's COVID-19 vaccine, is recruiting temporary employees from food giant Nestle to staff Swiss plants making ingredients for the shot, state broadcaster RTS said on Tuesday, citing sources. Moderna last week blamed projected second-quarter delays in shipments of its vaccine to countries including Britain and Canada on production bottlenecks. read more Switzerland's Lonza is the key supplier of ingredients needed to produce the messenger RNA vaccine.
27th Apr 2021 - Reuters

Pharma Gilead, Merck step in to help India's drug manufacturers fight surging COVID-19 outbreak

India is in the midst of one of the world’s grimmest COVID-19 outbreaks so far, but for weeks the country has struggled to meet local demand for life-saving drugs and vaccines. Now, drugmakers reliant on India for their own production needs are stepping in to help. Gilead Sciences on Monday said it would help local manufacturers boost production of its COVID-19 antiviral drug remdesivir, marketed as Veklury. The drug is authorized in India for hospitalized adults and children with severe disease. Seven companies in India already produce the drug, but they're not able to keep up with demand amid the crisis. Gilead plans to donate at least 450,000 vials of remdesivir “to help ease the immediate need for treatment.” Supplies of remdesivir in India have been so tight a thriving black market has cropped up.
27th Apr 2021 - FiercePharma

Counties with Oregon's biggest cities moved to extreme risk

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Tuesday rising COVID-19 hospitalizations threaten to overwhelm doctors, and she is moving 15 counties into the extreme risk category, which imposes restrictions that include banning indoor restaurant dining. Some of the state’s biggest cities, including Portland, Salem, Bend and Eugene, are in the counties that will be in the most dire category, effective Friday. “If we don’t act now, doctors, nurses, hospitals, and other health care providers in Oregon will be stretched to their limits treating severe cases of COVID-19,” Brown said in a statement. The move comes, ironically, as the supply of vaccines is exceeding demand. “There are appointments available right now all across the state,” Brown said.
27th Apr 2021 - Associated Press

‘Cannon fodder’: Medical students in India feel betrayed

Since the beginning of the week, Dr. Siddharth Tara, a postgraduate medical student at New Delhi’s government-run Hindu Rao Hospital, has had a fever and persistent headache. He took a COVID-19 test, but the results have been delayed as the country’s health system implodes. His hospital, overburdened and understaffed, wants him to keep working until the testing laboratory confirms he has COVID-19. On Tuesday, India reported 323,144 new infections for a total of more than 17.6 million cases, behind only the United States. India’s Health Ministry also reported another 2,771 deaths in the past 24 hours, with 115 Indians succumbing to the disease every hour. Experts say those figures are likely an undercount. “I am not able to breathe. In fact, I’m more symptomatic than my patients. So how can they make me work?” asked Tara.
27th Apr 2021 - The Associated Press

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Sanofi to aid Moderna on final steps in manufacturing coronavirus vaccine

French drugmaker Sanofi will help Moderna fill and finish vials of its coronavirus vaccine, announcing Monday an agreement with the Massachusetts biotech to manufacture up to 200 million doses of the shot at a plant in New Jersey. Fill and finish describes the final steps of the production process, in which the vaccine product is siphoned into individual vials, capped and labeled for distribution. The deal with Sanofi should help Moderna expand capacity through the later stages of manufacturing, but the larger drugmaker won't help with earlier steps of making raw materials or vaccine product. Moderna has contracted with the U.S. government to supply 300 million doses by the end of July, 117 million of which had been delivered through April 12. The company operates a separate supply chain for manufacturing abroad and expects to make between 700 million and 1 billion doses globally this year.
26th Apr 2021 - BioPharma Dive

Covid-19: Vaccine rollout in England extends to 44-year-olds

About half a million more people in England are being invited to book their Covid-19 jab from Monday, as the vaccine rollout opens to 44-year-olds. Two-thirds of the previous age group - 45 to 49-year-olds - have received their first dose. The NHS said it would set out when 40 to 43-year-olds would be able to book appointments "in the coming days", and as supply allows. It comes as a TV advert is launched to encourage under-50s to get vaccinated. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the "great news" at being able to open up jabs to 44-year-olds came after "a huge few days for vaccinations".
26th Apr 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19 in India: Patients struggle at home as hospitals choke

As hospitals in Delhi and many other cities run out of beds, people have been forced to find ways to get treatment for sick patients at home. Many have turned to the black market, where prices of essential medicines, oxygen cylinders and concentrators have skyrocketed and questionable drugs are now proliferating. On Monday, India recorded a new global high for daily coronavirus cases for a fifth straight day at 352, 991. Anshu Priya could not get a hospital bed in Delhi or its suburb of Noida for her father-in-law and as his condition continued to deteriorate. She spent most of Sunday looking for an oxygen cylinder but her search was futile. So she finally turned to the black market. She paid a hefty amount - 50,000 rupees ($670; £480) - to procure a cylinder that normally costs 6,000 rupees. With her mother-in-law also struggling to breathe, Anshu knew she may not be able to find or afford another cylinder on the black market.
26th Apr 2021 - BBC News

French restaurants to reopen in staggered manner - Macron

French restaurants will reopen in a staggered fashion and on a regional basis, depending on the extent to which the COVID-19 epidemic is brought under control, President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday.
26th Apr 2021 - Reuters

French primary pupils return to school despite high COVID numbers

France sent primary and nursery pupils back to school on Monday, the first phase of reopening after a three-week COVID-19 lockdown, even as daily new infections remained stubbornly high. President Emmanuel Macron said a return to school would help fight social inequality, allowing parents who struggle to pay for childcare to get back to work, but trade unions warned that new infections would lead to a "torrent" of classroom closures.
26th Apr 2021 - Reuters

Canada sending military, Red Cross to help COVID-hit Ontario

Canada’s federal government has said it will send military and Red Cross medical teams to the province of Ontario, which earlier on Monday asked for help to respond to a surge in coronavirus hospitalisations. Canadian Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair said on Twitter that Ottawa had approved Ontario’s request and the military would be providing “medical + civilian human health resources within medical care facilities” in the province, as well as logistical and administrative support.
26th Apr 2021 - AlJazeera

Virus surge in crowded Gaza threatens to overwhelm hospitals

More than a year into the coronavirus pandemic, some of the worst fears are coming true in the crowded Gaza Strip: A sudden surge in infections and deaths is threatening to overwhelm hospitals weakened by years of conflict and border closures. Gaza’s main treatment center for COVID-19 patients warns that oxygen supplies are dwindling fast. In another hospital, coronavirus patients are packed three to a room. For months, Gaza’s Hamas rulers seemed to have a handle on containing the pandemic. But their decision to lift most movement restrictions in February — coupled with the spread of a more aggressive virus variant and lack of vaccines — has led to a fierce second surge. At the same time, many of Gaza’s more than 2 million people ignore safety precautions, especially during the current fasting month of Ramadan. In the daytime, markets teem with shoppers buying goods for iftar, the meal breaking the fast after sundown. Few wear masks properly, if at all. “Corona is not a game,” said Yasmin Ali, 32, whose 64-year-old mother died of the virus last week. “It will take the lives of many people if they don’t protect themselves in the first place.”
26th Apr 2021 - The Associated Press

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India virus patients suffocate amid oxygen shortage in surge

Indian authorities scrambled Saturday to get oxygen tanks to hospitals where COVID-19 patients were suffocating amid the world’s worst coronavirus surge, as the government came under increasing criticism for what doctors said was its negligence in the face of a foreseeable public health disaster. For the third day in a row, India set a global daily record of new infections. The 346,786 confirmed cases over the past day brought India’s total to more than 16 million, behind only the United States. The Health Ministry reported another 2,624 deaths in the past 24 hours, pushing India’s COVID-19 fatalities to 189,544. Experts say even those figures are likely an undercount.
24th Apr 2021 - The Associated Press

Europe reopens but virus patients still overwhelm ICU teams

Cradling the head of the deeply sedated COVID-19 patient like a precious jewel in his hands, Dr. Alexy Tran Dinh steered his intensive-care nurses through the delicate process of rolling the woman off her stomach and onto her back, guiding the team like a dance instructor. They moved only on Tran Dinh’s count, in unison and with extreme care, because the unconscious patient could die within minutes should they inadvertently rip the breathing tube from her mouth. “One, two and three — onto the side,” the doctor instructed. His next order quickly followed: “Onto the back.” “Perfect,” he concluded when the move was done.
24th Apr 2021 - The Associated Press

US drop in vaccine demand has some places turning down doses

Louisiana has stopped asking the federal government for its full allotment of COVID-19 vaccine. About three-quarters of Kansas counties have turned down new shipments of the vaccine at least once over the past month. And in Mississippi, officials asked the federal government to ship vials in smaller packages so they don’t go to waste. As the supply of coronavirus vaccine doses in the U.S. outpaces demand, some places around the country are finding there’s such little interest in the shots, they need to turn down shipments. “It is kind of stalling. Some people just don’t want it,” said Stacey Hileman, a nurse with the health department in rural Kansas’ Decatur County, where less than a third of the county’s 2,900 residents have received at least one vaccine dose.
24th Apr 2021 - The Associated Press

Oxygen packing plant in Brazil hit by explosion

An industrial plant dedicated to oxygen packing in the city of Fortaleza, in Brazil's northeastern region, exploded on Saturday, leaving four people injured, local media reported. Industrial gas maker White Martins, owner of the plant, said in a statement that production of oxygen in the region has not been affected, as the unit was dedicated to packing the gas. The company, which is investigating the causes for the incident, said it is looking for alternative places to fill the oxygen cylinders.
24th Apr 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Indian doctors forced to beg for oxygen as hospitals buckle under record coronavirus surge

The Indian health system is buckling under the strain of an ever-worsening coronavirus pandemic - with hospitals now being forced to beg for oxygen. The government is putting oxygen tankers on special express trains across the country to help save COVID-19 patients who are struggling to breathe. India, a country of nearly 1.4 billion people, has confirmed 16 million coronavirus cases - second only to the United States.
23rd Apr 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19: Delhi hospitals run out of oxygen supplies

At least two hospitals in the Indian capital of Delhi are running out of oxygen, amid a healthcare crisis gripping several states. A number of people have died while waiting for oxygen supplies, and the majority of intensive care beds in Delhi hospitals are full. India is in the grips of a second wave of Covid infections. It has close to 16 million confirmed infections and registered a record number of cases on Thursday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due to hold meetings with the chief ministers of affected states and oxygen manufacturers on Friday. In a tweet labelled "SOS" sent out on Friday morning, Max Healthcare said it had been waiting for expected fresh supplies for more than seven hours at two hospitals. It has 700 patients admitted at the two facilities.
23rd Apr 2021 - BBC News

Weekly Covid infections drop by a fifth despite easing of lockdown

Coronavirus infections fell by a fifth last week, even though the UK took one of its biggest steps out of lockdown yet. Hospitality venues and non-essential shops were allowed to open on April 12. Since then, Brits have flocked to restaurants and bars and enjoyed their new freedoms to meet friends in groups of six or between two households. Despite this, coronavirus cases have dropped to below 100,000 for the first time since the week ending on September 10. Some 90,000 people in England had the virus in the week to April 16 – down a fifth from the 112,600 cases the week before, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS)
23rd Apr 2021 - Metro

Brazil’s ‘rapid and violent’ Covid variant devastates Latin America

As a coronavirus variant traced to the Brazilian Amazon marauded through Peru’s coastal capital last month, Rommel Heredia raced to his local hospital to seek help for his brother, mother and father. “I said goodbye and promised I’d come back to take them home,” said the 47-year-old PE teacher, his voice muffled by two black masks pulled tightly over his face. Heredia was unable to fulfil his pledge. Three days later, his 52-year-old brother, Juan Carlos, died as he waited for a bed in intensive care at the Rebagliati public hospital in Lima. The next day he lost his 80-year-old mother, Vilma, who suffered a fatal brain inflammation doctors blamed on Covid-19. Four days later his father, Jorge, passed away.
23rd Apr 2021 - The Guardian

AstraZeneca vaccines sent to Mexico from Baltimore plant safe - deputy health minister

Millions of doses of AstraZeneca's (AZN.L) COVID-19 vaccine manufactured at a U.S. plant that had a contamination issue and then shipped to Mexico are safe and have been approved by two regulators, Mexico's deputy health minister said on Friday. The doses were sent to Mexico as part of an agreement with the administration of President Joe Biden for 2.7 million shots of AstraZeneca's vaccine to help supplement Mexico's vaccination campaign amid global delays and shortages. "They were produced in the Baltimore plant," Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez Gatell wrote on Twitter. "The product is safe and of quality, it was evaluated by the FDA and (health regulator) COFEPRIS."
23rd Apr 2021 - Reuters

French oxygen giant diverts supply to India’s slammed hospitals

French gas giant Air Liquide SA is diverting oxygen supplies for industrial clients in India to hospitals as the country is overwhelmed by a surge in Covid-19 patients. Air Liquide is sending most of its liquid oxygen output to the health-care sector and is looking to import additional supplies from the Middle East, Executive Vice-President Francois Jackow said Friday. Demand for medical oxygen in India has soared roughly 10-fold, or by more than 50% of the country’s total production capacity, he said.
23rd Apr 2021 - Aljazeera.com

The next big COVID-19 bottleneck? A shortage of trained vaccine workers, experts say

COVID-19 has put global manufacturing supply chains through the wringer: First, there were fears of a glass vial shortage; then, concerns cropped up about hold ups on plastic bags used to grow vaccine cells. Now, executives at a suite of COVID-19 heavyweights are raising flags about another pandemic resource in scarcity: people. When Moderna last week revealed that its COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to countries like the U.K. and Canada would come in light, the mRNA player blamed the squeeze on limited “human and material resources." During a Friday summit on the pandemic vaccine scale-up, the biotech's CEO Stéphane Bancel offered some additional context: “The bottleneck right now is people.” While Moderna handles the bulk of its manufacturing work in the U.S., the company's European supply chain depends upon Swiss CDMO Lonza, which has struggled to hire on enough specialized personnel for its vaccine production push, the chief executive said.
23rd Apr 2021 - Fierce Pharma

EU states begin using single-dose J&J Covid vaccine

EU member states are starting to administer Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine after Europe’s drug regulator this week backed the single-dose shot, with several expected to impose age restrictions, as with the AstraZeneca jab. Spain’s regional health authorities began using the shot on Thursday for people aged 70 to 79, two days after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced a possible link to a rare clotting disorder but stressed the shot’s benefits outweighed the risks. Nearly 150,000 doses arrived in Spain last week but were stored in a warehouse as the vaccine’s barely-begun European rollout was paused while agencies reviewed eight cases of the rare brain blood clots, with a low blood platelet count, in the US.
22nd Apr 2021 - The Guardian

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Greece to start J&J coronavirus vaccinations on May 5

Greece plans to start the rollout of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine on May 5 after Europe's drug regulator backed its use, health authorities said on Wednesday. "We expect decisions by the CDC and FDA on Friday and then by our national committee on vaccinations in the following days. Vaccinations will begin on May 5," said Marios Themistocleous, secretary general in charge of vaccinations. Greece had been expected to start J&J (JNJ.N) vaccinations on Monday before questions emerged over reports of very rare blood clotting disorders associated with the vaccine. "Vaccines are the solution to this huge health crisis, that is the way to get our lives back," said Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias.
22nd Apr 2021 - Reuters

People as young as 18 will soon be getting their coronavirus vaccines in Swansea

People as young as 18 could soon be called for their coronavirus vaccine, Swansea Bay University Health Board has announced. The health board has re-opened its vaccination reserve list for those aged 18 to 29, and for those in older age groups, as part of its "leave no-one behind" campaign. The healthcare provider said it is particularly focusing on those aged 18-29 as new safety guidance states under 30s should be offered an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. "In our case we want to target any appointment slots which come up at short notice for Pfizer vaccine initially at this age group," a statement read.
22nd Apr 2021 - Wales Online

Gaza gravediggers and medics stretched as COVID spikes during Ramadan

The sick and dying are rapidly pushing Gaza's hospitals close to capacity amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in the impoverished Palestinian territory, health officials said.
22nd Apr 2021 - Reuters

Slovakia to open restaurant terraces, gyms in further lockdown easing

Slovakia will allow restaurant terraces and gyms to open from next Monday in a further step of easing coronavirus restrictions, the government said on Wednesday. The country of 5.5 million has slowed the spread of COVID-19 infections in recent weeks amid tough restrictions after the latest wave of the pandemic hit it and central European neighbours hard in the past months. The latest easing adds to the re-opening of shops, hotels, hair salons, churches, libraries, pools and zoos that already happened this week. But capacity limits will remain, and customers or visitors have to show a negative COVID-19 test in most cases.
22nd Apr 2021 - Reuters

Norway to lend unused AstraZeneca vaccine doses to Sweden, Iceland

Norway will lend 216,000 doses of the AstraZeneca (AZN.L) COVID-19 vaccine it has in stock to Sweden and Iceland, the country’s health ministry said on Thursday, enabling the two Nordic neighbours to speed up their inoculation campaigns. Norway on March 11 suspended the rollout of the vaccine after a small number of younger people were hospitalised for a combination of blood clots, bleeding and a low count of platelets, some of whom later died. Sweden and Iceland will be able to receive the doses from Norway for as long as the AstraZeneca vaccine rollout is suspended.
22nd Apr 2021 - Reuters

New Delhi Hospital Rushes to Court to Get Critical Oxygen Supply

New Delhi’s largest hospital chain operator had to knock on the door of the city state’s high court Wednesday night after 1,400 Covid-19 patients across the Indian capital were put at risk due to “dangerously low” levels of oxygen supply. Two back-to-back emergency hearings ended late Wednesday night after an oxygen tanker finally left for one branch of the Max Hospital, which had over 250 Covid-19 patients in a critical state and the lowest level of crucial oxygen. The Delhi High Court’s two-judge panel headed by Justice Vipin Sanghi expressed “shock and dismay” over the government’s neglect and directed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration to “beg, borrow, steal” but ensure adequate oxygen supply for hospitals.
22nd Apr 2021 - Bloomberg

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EU countries ready to start using J&J shot as deliveries resume

European countries prepared on Wednesday to start using Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine and speed up their vaccination campaigns after Europe’s drug regulator backed the shot and deliveries started trickling in after a week-long pause. Germany's health ministry said it would start deliveries to federal states for use in vaccination centres shortly, and that family doctors should resume the use of the vaccine as of Wednesday, while France will receive the vaccine from week after next. The Netherlands planned to start using it next week.
22nd Apr 2021 - Reuters

How South Korea turbocharged specialty syringe production for COVID-19 vaccines

Under fire in local media for not doing enough to secure COVID-19 vaccines, South Korea's government had been reviewing options to accelerate shipments and gain more supply. Engineering a jump in LDS syringe output was an opportunity to be seized, it concluded. The niche products were suddenly in huge demand globally after it became apparent they could be used to squeeze out a sixth dose from vials of Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and BioNTech's (22UAy.DE) newly approved COVID-19 vaccine compared to five doses with a standard syringe. "It had come to our attention that Pfizer was looking for LDS syringes...using LDS syringes automatically boosts vaccine volume by 20%," Park told Reuters.
22nd Apr 2021 - Reuters

Pregnant women may get Covid-19 vaccine priority to prevent complications

Experts are considering whether pregnant women should be prioritised for Covid-19 vaccines to avoid complications before they give birth. Three pregnant women were treated in intensive care in recent weeks after becoming unwell with the virus. Karina Butler, chairwoman of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac), said yesterday: “It’s not so much that they require a specific prioritisation as such, but if pregnancy is time limited it may be a thing that they may need to be facilitated in some way.” She said that vaccinating women before they gave birth was “under active review at the moment” and that a recommendation would be coming shortly.
21st Apr 2021 - The Times

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines could be produced in Melbourne as government announces $50m funding

Coronavirus vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna could be produced in Australia for the first time as the Victorian Government invests $50 million into the domestic manufacturing of mRNA vaccine technology. The state government will work closely with the Commonwealth and world-leading experts to develop the first mRNA manufacturing facility in the Southern Hemisphere, which would be based in Melbourne. In a statement, the government said mRNA vaccines, such as Pfizer and Moderna, were a "promising alternative" to traditional vaccines because of their high efficacy, capacity for rapid development, low-cost manufacture and safe administration.
21st Apr 2021 - 9News.com.au

Oxygen supply disruption kills 22 COVID-19 patients in India

Twenty-two COVID-19 patients on ventilators died in a hospital in western India on Wednesday when their oxygen supply was interrupted by a leak in a supply line, officials said. Suraj Mandhar, the district collector, said the supply of oxygen has since resumed to other patients. Fire officer Sanjay Bairagi said the leak was halted by the fire service within 15 minutes, but there was supply disruption in the Zakir Hussain Hospital in Nashik, a city in Maharashtra state that is the worst hit by the latest surge in coronavirus cases in the country.
21st Apr 2021 - ABCNews

Treating COVID-19 at home could soon be a reality in the U.K. as government steps up efforts

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that he is launching a new antivirals task force that will “supercharge” the search for at-home treatments designed to “stop COVID-19 in its tracks” and speed up recovery time. It is hoped at least two effective treatments, either in a tablet or capsule form, will be made available for people who have tested for positive for COVID-19, or have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, later this year.
21st Apr 2021 - MSN.com

Syria’s Idlib region to receive first batch of COVID-19 vaccines

A first batch of COVID-19 vaccine doses was expected to arrive on Wednesday in war-torn northwestern Syria, where millions of people live in dire humanitarian conditions, a United Nations official said. The 53,800 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were dispatched to the rebel-dominated region as part of the Covax facility, which ensures the world’s poorest economies get access to jabs for free. The delivery will be the first to Syria as part of the Covax programme, which has already sent vaccine doses to more than 100 different territories worldwide.
21st Apr 2021 - AlJazeera

Pfizer Identifies Fake Covid-19 Shots Abroad as Criminals Exploit Vaccine Demand

Pfizer says it has identified in Mexico and Poland the first confirmed instances of counterfeit versions of the Covid-19 vaccine it developed with BioNTech SE, the latest attempt by criminals trying to exploit the world-wide vaccination campaign. Vials seized by authorities in separate investigations were tested by the company and confirmed to contain bogus vaccine. The vials recovered in Mexico also had fraudulent labeling, while a substance inside vials in Poland was likely an antiwrinkle treatment, Pfizer said. About 80 people at a clinic in Mexico received a fake vaccine going for about $1,000 a dose, though they don’t appear to have been physically harmed. The vials, found in beach-style beer coolers, had different lot numbers than those sent to the state, and a wrong expiration date, said Dr. Manuel de la O Cavazos, the health secretary of Nuevo León state.
21st Apr 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

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India suffers worst day for COVID-19 deaths, hospitals overwhelmed

Authorities said hospitals in the Indian capital of Delhi would start running out of medical oxygen by Wednesday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the country faced a coronavirus "storm" overwhelming its health system. Major government hospitals in the city of 20 million people had between eight and 24 hours' worth of oxygen while some private ones had enough for just four to five hours, said Delhi's deputy chief minister, Manish Sisodia. "If we don't get enough supplies by tomorrow morning, it will be a disaster," he said, calling for urgent help from the federal government.
20th Apr 2021 - Reuters India

UNICEF says AstraZeneca supply problems outside India resolved

Problems that have delayed AstraZeneca (AZN.L) supplies to the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility have been resolved, UNICEF told Reuters on Tuesday, saying it should receive 65 million doses by end-May from manufacturers outside India. The rollout of COVID vaccines has been disrupted by supply shortfalls in many countries, aggravated by a temporary hold on exports of the inoculation made by the Serum Institute of India (SII) as the country battles to contain a surge in infections. "The initial challenges related to release of vaccines due to ramping up a new supply chain and production across different continents have now been resolved," the U.N. agency responsible for distributing vaccines through the programme told Reuters in an email.
20th Apr 2021 - Reuters India

Pennsylvania, New Jersey emerge as COVID-19 hot spots

Pennsylvania and New Jersey now trail only Michigan as epicenters of COVID-19 activity as the nation sees a wave of activity in the midst of a major push to vaccinate all citizens ages 16 and older by May 31. If accomplished, the May 31 deadline would see Americans enjoying a somewhat normal Fourth of July, officials say. In Pennsylvania, cases are rising. The state averaged more than 5,000 cases a day over the past week, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Neighboring New Jersey reported a case spike in March, but case counts in that state have since declined. New Jersey averaged more than 3,200 over the past week.
20th Apr 2021 - CIDRAP

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Slovakia opens shops and services as lockdown eases

Slovaks lined up at malls, returned to hair salons and visited libraries on Monday for the first time in months as the central European nation opened shops and services in a limited capacity as part of an easing of coronavirus restrictions. The nation of 5.5 million, which is emerging from its worst wave of the pandemic, also opened churches, libraries, pools, zoos and some shops while it seeks to kick-start its vaccination program. Hotels also opened their doors for limited numbers of guests but restaurants remain closed for indoor dining. Outdoor trips away from people’s home districts are also now allowed.
19th Apr 2021 - Reuters

Greece opens to tourists, anxious to move on from crisis season

Greece began opening to tourists on Monday with few bookings but hopes for a better season to help make up for a 2020 devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. On Rhodes island, where most visitors are from abroad, hoteliers are scrubbing, polishing and painting in anticipation of a make-or-break year. "We're preparing the hotel in order to start as soon as the government gives us the green light," said George Tselios, general manager of Sun Beach Hotel, whose customers are from Scandinavia, Germany, Austria and Britain. Greece will formally open on May 14 but starting Monday, tourists from the European Union, the United States, Britain, Serbia, Israel and the United Arab Emirates will not quarantine if they are vaccinated or test negative for COVID-19.
19th Apr 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: More than 10m in UK now had second vaccine jab as pace of rollout quickens

More than half of those deemed to be most at risk from COVID-19, who are being prioritised by ministers, have received both jabs.
19th Apr 2021 - Sky News

Australia looks to speed up COVID-19 vaccine rollout to over-50s

Australia plans to accelerate the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to people over 50 after advising under-50s not to get the AstraZeneca jab due to blood clot concerns, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday. State leaders agreed to bring forward vaccinating over-50s, going beyond frontline workers, the elderly, the disabled and people with underlying medical conditions, at a national cabinet meeting, with formal approval due on Thursday, Morrison said in a statement. They also agreed to set up mass inoculation sites as vaccine supplies increase.
19th Apr 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 vaccine bookings to open for 35-39 age group

Vaccine appointments for a limited number of people aged between 35 and 39-years-old are being made available from Monday. The Department of Health said it is the latest phase of the vaccine roll out. It said bookings will open to the entire 35-39 age group by the end of April. The slots are mainly for the SSE Arena vaccine centre in Belfast and can be booked on a first come first served basis from 14:00 BST. Appointments in community pharmacies will be made available to 35-39 year olds later this month depending on vaccine supplies. Patricia Donnelly, who heads up Northern Ireland's vaccine programme, told the BBC's Evening Extra programme that vaccine wastage across Northern Ireland is less than 1%.
19th Apr 2021 - BBC News

US warns against travel to 80% of world due to coronavirus

The State Department on Monday urged Americans reconsider any international travel they may have planned and said it would issue specific warnings not to visit roughly 80% of the world’s countries due to risks from the coronavirus pandemic. The United States hasn’t had a global advisory warning against international travel since August, when guidance was revoked by the Trump administration. The advice issued by the department isn’t a formal global advisory. Instead, it says the State Department will start using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards as it prepares health and safety guidelines for individual countries. Because of those standards, about 80% of countries will be classified as “Level 4” or “do not travel.”
19th Apr 2021 - The Associated Press

India to allow COVID-19 vaccines for all adults as cases surge

India will let all citizens over 18 have COVID-19 vaccinations from May 1, the government said on Monday, as the health system creaked under the weight of record-high cases and the capital region of New Delhi ordered a lockdown. Facing growing criticism over its handling of the second wave of the pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration said vaccine manufacturers would have to supply 50% of doses to the federal government and the rest to state governments and the open market at a pre-declared price.
19th Apr 2021 - Reuters India

Bitter experience helps French ICUs crest latest virus wave

While mechanical ventilation is unavoidable for some covid-19 patients, it’s a step taken less systematically now than at the start of the pandemic. The shift to less-invasive breathing treatments also is helping French ICUs stave off collapse under a renewed crush of coronavirus cases. Super-charged by a more contagious virus variant that first ravaged neighboring Britain, the third infection wave in France has pushed the country’s COVID-19-related death toll past 100,000 people. Hospitals across the country are grappling again with the macabre mathematics of making space for thousands of critically sick patients.
19th Apr 2021 - Associated Press

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Cambodia uses wedding halls for COVID patients as cases surge

Cambodia began setting up thousands of hospital beds in two wedding party halls on Sunday to cope with an influx of COVID-19 patients in a country that up until recently had largely managed to contain infections. Cambodia also reported a daily record 618 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, its health ministry said, in a spike in infections following an outbreak first detected in late February. The new numbers took the overall tally to 6,389. Cambodia until recently had one of the world's lowest numbers of infections. It has reported 43 deaths, all in the past two months.
19th Apr 2021 - Reuters

Half of US adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot

Half of all adults in the U.S. have received at least one COVID-19 shot, the government announced Sunday, marking another milestone in the nation’s largest-ever vaccination campaign but leaving more work to do to convince skeptical Americans to roll up their sleeves. Almost 130 million people 18 or older have received at least one dose of a vaccine, or 50.4% of the total adult population, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Almost 84 million adults, or about 32.5% of the population, have been fully vaccinated. The U.S. cleared the 50% mark just a day after the reported global death toll from the coronavirus topped a staggering 3 million, according to totals compiled by Johns Hopkins University, though the actual number is believed to be significantly higher.
18th Apr 2021 - The Associated Press

'Dire need of beds, oxygen': India's capital under siege from COVID-19

India’s capital New Delhi recorded 25,500 coronavirus cases in a 24-hour period, with about one in three people tested returning a positive result, its chief minister said, urging the federal government to provide more hospital beds to tackle the crisis. Less than 100 critical care beds were available in the city of more than 20 million people, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Sunday, as social media was flooded with people complaining about lack of beds, oxygen cylinders and drugs. "The bigger worry is that in last 24 hours positivity rate has increased to around 30% from 24% ... The cases are rising very rapidly. The beds are filling fast," Kejriwal told a news briefing.
18th Apr 2021 - Reuters India

UK delivers more than 600,000 vaccines in 24 hours

More than 600,000 first and second doses of coronavirus vaccine were administered in Britain in the space of 24 hours, according to data released on Saturday. Official figures showed that 119,306 first doses were given on Friday, and 485,421 second doses. The data also showed a further 35 people had died from the virus within 28 days of a positive test, and 2,206 people had tested positive. In the last seven days, daily deaths were down 29% from the previous week, while cases were down 6.5%.
17th Apr 2021 - Reuters UK

Pfizer halts corona vaccine shipments to Israel after failure to pay

Pfizer has halted shipments of coronavirus vaccines to Israel in outrage over the country failing to transfer payment for the last 2.5 million doses it supplied to the country, The Jerusalem Post has learned. Senior officials at Pfizer have said they are concerned that the government-in-transition will not pay up and the company does not want to be taken advantage of. They said that they do not understand how such a situation can occur in an organized country.
17th Apr 2021 - The Jerusalem Post

India: Oxygen shortage in Maharashtra as COVID cases soar

As Maharashtra, India’s richest state, grapples with ferociously rising COVID-19 cases, patients such as Pawar are struggling to find hospital beds and oxygen support. The state’s daily oxygen usage has touched 1,500 metric tonnes, according to Health Minister Rajesh Tope. This is much more than its daily production of 1,250 tonnes. While other states are contributing to plug the shortfall, transportation by road takes time. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has now requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to deploy the National Disaster Management Authority to airlift oxygen for rapid movement.
17th Apr 2021 - Al Jazeera English

‘Staff have been treated like cannon fodder’: NHS bosses issue stark warning on future of health service

Hundreds of senior NHS managers have voiced their fears for the future of the health service amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis without a significant pay rise to help retain staff on the front line. A survey of more than 800 senior NHS managers has revealed the extreme pressure some have been working under, with many working 20 or more hours of unpaid extra hours each week. More than 90 per cent backed a significant pay rise for NHS staff to try and head off a feared exodus of nurses, doctors and other staff leaving the NHS after the pandemic. This would help shore up the service as it faces the daunting task of tackling record waiting lists now totalling 4.7 million patients.
17th Apr 2021 - The Independent

Alaska to offer tourists COVID-19 vaccines starting June 1

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said Friday that COVID-19 vaccines would be made available at key airports in the state starting June 1, in unveiling plans aimed at bolstering the state’s pandemic-battered tourist industry. Dunleavy, a Republican, outlined plans for a national marketing campaign aimed at luring tourists using federal aid money and said the vaccine offering is “probably another good reason to come to the state of Alaska in the summer.” Dunleavy and other state leaders have been pushing to allow large cruise ships to return to Alaska after COVID-19 restrictions kept them away last year, hitting hard businesses and communities, particularly in southeast Alaska, that rely heavily on summer tourism.
16th Apr 2021 - Associated Press

India pledges massive boost in vaccine output as COVID-19 cases surge

India pledged on Friday to raise monthly production of its own COVID-19 vaccine about tenfold to nearly 100 million doses by September, as immunisations have slowed in the country despite a surge in new infections. After donating and selling tens of millions vaccine doses abroad, India has suddenly found itself short of Covaxin, its only domestically made shot. The government is now trying to raise production at manufacturer Bharat Biotech, and fast-track imports of other vaccines.
16th Apr 2021 - Reuters India

England's COVID-19 epidemic estimated to be shrinking more quickly - health ministry

The COVID-19 epidemic in England is estimated to be shrinking more quickly compared to last week, the health ministry said on Friday, adding that the closely watch reproduction "R" number might also be lower. The daily growth rate of COVID-19 infections was estimated between -6% and -1%, down from -4% and 0% last week. The estimated range for the R number was 0.7 to 1.0, meaning on average, every 10 people infected will infect between 7 and 10 other people. Last week it was estimated at 0.8 to 1.0
16th Apr 2021 - Reuters UK

Pregnant women in UK told to have Pfizer or Moderna vaccines

Pregnant women in Britain should get a COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer (PFE.N) or Moderna (MRNA.O) because there is more real-world data to show they are safe, the British public body that advises on vaccinations said on Friday. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation(JCVI) said around 90,000 pregnant women had been vaccinated in the United States, mainly with the two American vaccines, without any safety concerns being raised. "Based on these data, the JCVI advises that it is preferable for pregnant women in the UK to be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines where available," it said. "There is no evidence to suggest that other vaccines are unsafe for pregnant women, but more research is needed."
16th Apr 2021 - Reuters UK

Thailand to close schools, bars after surge in COVID-19 cases

Thailand will close close schools, bars and massage parlours, as well as ban alcohol sales in restaurants, for at least two weeks starting from Sunday after a jump in COVID-19 cases, a senior official said. Activities involving more than 50 people will also be prohibited, Thailand's coronavirus taskforce spokesman, Taweesin Wisanuyothin, said, adding that 18 provinces including Bangkok had been labelled as red zones with the rest of the country categorised as orange zones.
16th Apr 2021 - Reuters

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Hospitals run short of beds as Asia's COVID-19 cases surge

India and Thailand reported record daily coronavirus cases on Thursday, as a new wave of infections, combined with a shortage of hospital beds and vaccines, threatens to slow Asia's recovery from the pandemic. India breached 200,000 daily infections for the first time on Thursday and the financial hub of Mumbai entered a lockdown, as many hospitals reported shortages of beds and oxygen supplies. "The situation is horrible. We are a 900-bed hospital, but there are about 60 patients waiting and we don't have space for them," said Avinash Gawande, an official at the Government Medical College and Hospital in Nagpur, a commercial hub in Maharashtra.
15th Apr 2021 - Reuters

Shortage of intubation drugs threatens Brazil health sector

Reports are emerging of Brazilian health workers forced to intubate patients without the aid of sedatives, after weeks of warnings that hospitals and state governments risked running out of critical medicines. One doctor at the Albert Schweitzer municipal hospital in Rio de Janeiro told the Associated Press that for days health workers diluted sedatives to make their stock last longer. Once it ran out, nurses and doctors had to begin using neuromuscular blockers and tying patients to their beds, the doctor said. “You relax the muscles and do the procedure easily, but we don’t have sedation,” said the doctor, who agreed to discuss the sensitive situation only if not quoted by name. “Some try to talk, resist. They’re conscious.”
15th Apr 2021 - Associated Press

Patchy deliveries, limited access disrupt jab drive across Africa

Many people in African countries who have received their first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine do not know when they will get the second one due to delivery delays, according to the continent’s top public health official. “We cannot predict when the second doses will come and that is not good for our vaccination programme,” John Nkengasong, the head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), told reporters on Thursday. Africa lags behind most other regions in COVID-19 vaccinations, with just under 14 million doses of mostly AstraZeneca vaccines having been administered on the continent of 1.3 billion.
15th Apr 2021 - AlJazeera

Brazil in talks to import emergency COVID-19 medications amid shortages

Brazil is negotiating with other countries, including Spain, to receive emergency medications needed for intubated COVID-19 patients, Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga said on Thursday. Brazilian hospitals are running low on sedatives, and reports have emerged this week of the seriously ill being tied down and intubated without effective sedatives.
15th Apr 2021 - Reuters

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COVID-19: Most European countries should be on 'green' travel list next month, says easyJet boss

Easyjet's boss said he expected popular destinations such as Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal to be on the government's "green" list when foreign travel resumes next month. Foreign holidays will be subject to a traffic light system if they resume as hoped on 17 May, with some experts expecting the lowest-risk list of countries could be limited to the likes of Iceland, Malta and Israel. But easyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said he expected all major European nations would be among "green" destinations meaning travellers will not need to self-isolate on their return.
14th Apr 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19 cases in healthcare staff fell dramatically after vaccines – Government

The percentage of positive cases of Covid-19 among healthcare workers has fallen dramatically since the State’s vaccination programme began, the Government has said. The figure has fallen from 10 per cent of all cases in December, down to just two per cent in the latest 14-day report. A senior official at the Department of an Taoiseach Elizabeth Canavan told a media briefing on Covid-19 at Government Buildings that other metrics also showed a positive downward trend.
14th Apr 2021 - The Irish Times

Sweden pauses plans for J&J COVID-19 vaccinations, awaits review

Sweden's Health Agency said on Wednesday it would pause plans to start vaccinations using Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine following reports of rare blood clots similar to those reported for the AstraZeneca shot. The Health Agency said in a statement it would not start the vaccinations and await the findings of a review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The vaccine has not yet been used in Sweden though a first batch of 31,000 doses has arrived in the country.
14th Apr 2021 - Yahoo

France says to administer J&J COVID-19 vaccine as planned, Spanish, Dutch wait

France will use Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine as planned despite its suspension in the United States, a government spokesman said on Wednesday, adding France had received a first shipment of 200,000 doses. "The doses, which arrived earlier this week, are being shipped to city general practitioners and to chemists," government spokesman Gabriel Attal told reporters. France expects to receive 600,000 doses of the J&J vaccine by the end of the month, according to health ministry data.
14th Apr 2021 - Yahoo

Australia returns to 'war footing' amid COVID-19 vaccine turmoil

Australia’s national cabinet will begin meeting twice a week from Monday, marking a return to a “war footing” in the country’s battle against the coronavirus pandemic amid turmoil in its national vaccination programme. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday the return to more frequent meetings of the group of federal and state government leaders was necessary to address “serious challenges” caused by patchy international vaccine supplies and changing medical advice. “This is a complex task and there are problems with the programme that we need to solve to ensure more Australians can be vaccinated safely and more quickly,” Morrison said in a statement.
14th Apr 2021 - Reuters Australia

Europe scrambles as J&J vaccine delay deals another blow

European countries diverged Wednesday on whether they would push ahead with giving their residents Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine after reports of very rare blood clots in a handful of recipients in the United States. While some European Union members put the vaccine on hold as recommended by the American company, Poland, France and Hungary said they would go ahead and administer the doses that had arrived as the EU’s 27 nations face continuing pressure to speed up their immunization drives. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, distributed in Europe by its subsidiary Janssen, is a key part of Europe’s vaccination campaign, which has been criticized as sluggish. Of the four vaccines currently approved for use in the EU, J&J’s is the only one that requires a single dose to be fully effective. That makes it ideal for hard-to-reach, vulnerable groups, such as those who are homeless or migrant workers.
14th Apr 2021 - The Associated Press

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NHS patients to receive the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine from today, NHS says

NHS patients in England are to receive the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine from today, officials have confirmed. Professor Stephen Powis, medical director for NHS England, said the move “marks another milestone” in the Covid-19 vaccination programme. It is the third vaccine to be added to the NHS “armoury”, alongside the Covid-19 vaccines from Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer. The news comes as the Government confirmed that it has met its target of offering a Covid-19 vaccine to the highest priority groups by mid-April – those over the age of 50 and people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.
13th Apr 2021 - Swindon Advertiser

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J&J begins COVID-19 vaccine supplies to EU, 50 million doses expected in second quarter: lawmaker

Johnson & Johnson on Monday began delivering its COVID-19 single-dose vaccine to EU countries, European Union officials and the company said. The company had initially planned to start its deliveries at the beginning of April, but delayed the rollout due to production issues. "The first doses are leaving warehouses for member states today," a European Commission spokesman told a news conference on Monday. "Johnson & Johnson begins vaccine shipments to the EU today. Very good news," said Peter Liese, an EU lawmaker from the same party as German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
12th Apr 2021 - Yahoo News UK

Under-50s to be called up for Covid-19 vaccines in England as Moderna jab arrives to boost national rollout

Under-50s in England will be called up for Covid-19 vaccines as soon as Tuesday as the Government prepares to declare victory in its aim to protect all vulnerable people by mid-April. The Moderna vaccine is also likely to become available in England this week for the first time, after being rolled out in Scotland and Wales last week. More than 32m people have had their first dose of a jab – more than the estimated number who were due to be included in phase one of the vaccine rollout, which covers everyone aged 50 or over, health and care workers and people with an underlying condition which makes them more vulnerable to Covid-19.
12th Apr 2021 - iNews

South Korea to resume wider use of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, exclude people under 30

South Korean authorities said on Sunday they will move ahead with a coronavirus vaccination drive this week, after deciding to continue using AstraZeneca PLC’s vaccine for all eligible people 30 years old or over. South Korea on Wednesday suspended providing the AstraZeneca shot to people under 60 as Europe reviewed cases of blood clotting in adults. People under 30 will still be excluded from the vaccinations resuming on Monday because the benefits of the shot do not outweigh the risks for that age group, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said in a statement.
12th Apr 2021 - Reuters

Lockdown restrictions ease as vaccine for under 50s could begin soon

Pub gardens and restaurants with outdoor dining have opened as further lockdown restrictions were eased on Monday. From April 12 shops, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries, gyms and outdoor hospitality venues such as beer gardens were allowed to reopen. Most outdoor attractions, such as zoos and theme parks, can reopen, and funerals can continue with up to 30 people, and the numbers able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise from six to 15. It comes as vaccines for under 50s in England could begin imminently as the deadline to offer the jab to highest risk group approaches.
12th Apr 2021 - Evening Standard

Walgreens Expands Covid-19 Vaccines To 49 States

Walgreens has expanded its Covid-19 vaccination efforts to more than 7,000 stores in 49 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. The expansion announced Monday comes as the Biden administration ramps up the number of doses sent to states while increasing The government said last week that Covid certificates “could play a role in reducing social-distancing requirements”. Any final decision is months off, so pubs and restaurants will initially open with distancing rules in place such as people from different groups staying at least one metre apart. Polling by YouGov last week found that 61 per cent said they backed certificates being introduced if it allowed
12th Apr 2021 - Forbes

Spain will use Janssen Covid-19 vaccine for the 70-79 age group

Spain will be receiving its first shipment of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccines “first thing on Wednesday,” Health Minister Carolina Darias announced today. The government is expecting to get 300,000 doses of the one-shot treatment, making it the equivalent of twice as many doses of the other Covid-19 vaccines currently used in Spain: Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca. Darias also stated on Monday that the first group in line for the vaccine will be people between 70 and 79 years of age. According to the latest Health Ministry report, 13.3% of the population in the 70-to-79 age bracket has had at least one dose of the three vaccines now being used in Spain. But changing criteria over the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine have created a paradoxical situation.
12th Apr 2021 - EL PAÍS in English

Spain's Rovi to make ingredients for Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine

Contract drugmaker Rovi is to make active ingredients for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, extending an existing agreement to bottle the vaccine using ingredients brought in from Switzerland.
12th Apr 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Hundreds of thousands of shuttered sites reopening across England as lockdown eases

All across England shutters are rattling open, beer is foaming into pint glasses and tills are ringing. For the first time in months, many businesses that have been shut are able - subject to a variety of restrictions - to serve their customers again. From the snip-snip of hair salons to the splash of swimming pools hundreds of thousands of venues that have stood silent are welcoming people back.
12th Apr 2021 - Sky News

Venezuela to produce Cuban COVID vaccine: Maduro

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro says the country has signed a deal to produce two million doses per month of a Cuban coronavirus vaccine, adding that his government also managed to secure funds to fully pay for COVID jabs via COVAX, a global sharing mechanism. “We’ve signed an agreement to produce in our laboratories… two million vaccines a month of the Abdala vaccine… for August, September, approximately,” Maduro said on Sunday in a television address, referring to one the four vaccines that are being developed by Cuba.
12th Apr 2021 - AlJazeera

With variants spreading, Eli Lilly cuts solo COVID-19 antibody out of its U.S. supply deal

After lab testing found Eli Lilly's solo COVID-19 antibody couldn't match its combo against emerging coronavirus variants, the feds stopped using it in several states where one variant was running rampant. Now, Lilly has stopped supplying bamlanivimab as a solo therapy to the U.S. completely. Under a revised supply deal with the government, Lilly's combo therapy—which pairs bamlanivimab with another new antibody, etesevimab—will be the only option on tap. The modified agreement will cancel the 350,865 doses of bamlanivimab that were supposed to be delivered by the end of March, Lilly said.
12th Apr 2021 - FiercePharma

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Thailand's capital plans 10,000 field-hospital beds as COVID-19 spikes

Thailand plans to install 10,000 field-hospital beds in Bangkok, a health official said on Saturday, as the country strains to cope with a third wave of COVID-19 infections. At least a dozen hospitals in the capital said they had stopped testing for the coronavirus as of Friday due to a lack of kits or capacity. Hospitals are reluctant to test because they must admit people if they test positive, authorities say. “We aim to increase (field) hospital beds to 10,000 in no time, which should give the public confidence that we can still contain this round of outbreak,” Suksan Kittisupakorn, director-general of Thailand’s Medical Service Department, told reporters.
10th Apr 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Twice-weekly lateral flow coronavirus tests now available for free in England

Everyone in England can now get twice-weekly COVID tests for free under a new effort to keep the journey out of lockdown on track. Ministers hope regular use of the rapid lateral flow tests will become a habit and help keep cases low as the economy reopens. The tests will be available from locations such as pharmacies, workplaces and community spaces - and can also be ordered for home delivery.
10th Apr 2021 - Sky News

Airlines warn the cost of Covid tests will stop people going abroad

Airlines have called for the competition watchdog to investigate the price of Covid tests for travel, with the travel industry warning that the PCR tests required by government will in effect block most international holidays this year. Global airline body Iata called on the UK Competition and Markets Authority to launch an inquiry, as separate research showed that travelers had to pay twice as much for PCR tests in the UK as they do in much of Europe. The report from the government’s ‘global travel taskforce’ published on Friday said travel could be opened up from 17 May but that individuals would require three PCR tests to holiday even in the safest, “green-light” states – leading to immediate warnings that the cost would prohibit most people from going abroad.
9th Apr 2021 - The Guardian

A&E ‘swamped’ with patients seeking help for mild Covid jab side-effects

People who have had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine are seeking help at A&E despite having only mild side-effects such as headaches, in the wake of the controversy over whether the jab causes blood clots. Emergency medicine doctors in England told the Health Service Journal that a growing but unspecified number of people who were anxious after having the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab were coming to A&E units, some apparently after being advised to do so by a GP. Dr Katherine Henderson, the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, confirmed the trend to the Guardian.
9th Apr 2021 - The Guardian

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U.S. to ship 85% fewer J&J vaccine doses to states next week

The U.S. government will allocate nearly 85% fewer Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses to states next week, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), due to uneven production related in part to problems at a Baltimore manufacturing plant. Allocations will fall to 785,500 doses from 4.95 million doses this week. The data does not include a federal retail pharmacy program. An official from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), who did not wish to be named, told Reuters that J&J released about 1.5 million doses to the U.S. government this week, compared with about 11 million doses last week. The allocation and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is handled by the federal government.
8th Apr 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: More than 700,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine 'flown from UK to Australia' - report

More than 700,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine have been flown from the UK to Australia, it has been reported. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a batch of 300,000 UK-manufactured doses of the COVID jab landed at Sydney Airport on 28 February. And another large batch is said to have arrived on an Emirates passenger plane in March. The newspaper said the revelation dispelled previously widespread assumptions that Australia's vaccine shipments were coming from the EU.
8th Apr 2021 - Sky News

African Union drops plans to buy Covid-19 vaccines from the Serum Institute of India

The African Union (AU) has today dropped plans to secure Covid-19 vaccines from the Serum Institute of India. Instead the AU is exploring purchasing jabs from US firm Johnson & Johnson, said the head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
8th Apr 2021 - MSN

Moderna coronavirus vaccine could be offered in Northern Ireland within 14 days

A third coronavirus vaccine could be available to people across Northern Ireland in the coming weeks. The US-developed, two-shot jab from Moderna, is said to be 94.1% effective against coronavirus based on evidence from clinical trials. Currently, NI vaccinators are administering the Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs to those eligible for a vaccine. A Department of Health spokesperson told us: "Northern Ireland is primarily using AstraZeneca in the vaccination programme however Pfizer continues to be used for first and second doses at some centres. All vaccines are effective in the fight against Covid-19 and the public are urged to get their vaccine when they are eligible to do so."
8th Apr 2021 - Belfast Live

Bhutan vaccinates 60% of population against COVID in record time

Bhutan on Wednesday said it had given about 60 percent of its entire population a first jab against COVID-19 since the Himalayan kingdom started an ambitious vaccination drive nine days ago. The tiny nation wedged between India and China told AFP news agency that 470,000 people out of 770,000 in total had been administered the first shot of a two-dose regime of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine donated by India.
8th Apr 2021 - AlJazeera

New York to offer COVID aid to immigrants excluded earlier

In the largest program of its kind, New York lawmakers have created a $2.1 billion fund to aid workers who lost jobs or income during the coronavirus pandemic but were excluded from other government relief programs because of their immigration status. The fund, which passed this week as part of the state budget, will give payments of up to $15,600 to workers who were living in the country illegally and weren’t eligible for federal stimulus checks, unemployment aid, or other benefits. As many as 300,000 workers might benefit, according to some estimates. Other states have offered aid to unauthorized workers, but nothing on this scale. California’s relief fund offers cash payments of up to $500.
8th Apr 2021 - The Associated Press

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Covid-19: Vaccine supply to increase to 3.9m doses by end of June

The Department of Health has said that it expected to receive 3.9 million Covid-19 vaccine doses in the next three months, in a significant increase of supply. In figures to be published on Wednesday afternoon, the department has outlined its projected deliveries for the next three months, a period which is expected to see a dramatic increase in the number of vaccines administered. The department said however that the numbers are contingent on suppliers fulfilling their commitments – something that has repeatedly not happened with the Astrazeneca vaccine. Sources said that the Government’s pledge will remain to administer three million shots by the end of June, though if the programme accelerates as planned, there will be scope to administer significantly more doses.
7th Apr 2021 - The Irish Times

Covid-19: First Moderna vaccines given in UK

Under-30s are to be offered an alternative Covid jab to the AstraZeneca vaccine, the UK's vaccine advisory body says. Advice for younger people is changing after an investigation into cases of blood clots in people who have had the jab. The vaccination programme has been "a most enormous success" but needs a "course correction", Prof Jonathan Van-Tam says. The blood clots are extremely rare, MHRA chief Dr June Raine says
7th Apr 2021 - BBC News

European countries may have to mix COVID-19 shots amid AstraZeneca crisis

Several European countries are considering mixing up COVID-19 vaccines for citizens who received a first dose of AstraZeneca's shot, an unprecedented move that highlights challenges for governments struggling to tame fresh rises in infections. Vaccination programmes have been upset after a small number of reports that recipients of the AstraZeneca inoculation have suffered extremely rare blood clots, leading some countries worldwide to suspend its use out of caution. A senior official for the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said in an interview published on Tuesday there was a link between the vaccine and rare blood clots in the brain but the possible causes were still unknown.
7th Apr 2021 - MSN

Small Businesses Incentivize Employees To Get Covid-19 Vaccine To Reignite U.S. Economy

Just over a year into the pandemic, small businesses are still struggling to regain their footing. Just last week, the Senate offered a helping hand, voting to extend the $718 billion Paycheck Protection Program until May 31. And as vaccination rates rise and Covid-19 restrictions ease, a return to normalcy seems within reach. Before that can happen, though, small business owners will need to overcome another obstacle: getting their employees vaccinated. Many seem to be tackling it head on. According to a recent survey of more than 3,300 small business owners by Reimagine Main Street, in partnership with the U.S. Black Chambers and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, 64% of respondents say it’s very important that their employees get vaccinated. Moreover, 63% are willing to encourage and incentivize employees to get their shots. Close to half (45%) plan to motivate their workers to do so by giving them paid time off—for AAPI employers, that number is 53%.
7th Apr 2021 - Forbes

COVID-19: 'Another key milestone' as Moderna vaccine rollout begins in the UK

A 24-year-old carer has become the first person in the UK to receive the Moderna vaccine as it becomes the latest jab used in the country's vaccination programme. Elle Taylor, from Ammanford in Wales, who is an unpaid carer for her 82-year-old grandmother, received the vaccine this morning. "I'm very excited and very happy," she said. "I'm an unpaid carer for my grandmother so it is very important to me that I get it, so I can care for her properly and safely.
7th Apr 2021 - Sky News

India Covid-19: 'No end in sight' as doctors battle second wave

It was the middle of January when Dr Lancelot Pinto realised he would be able to spend some quality time with his family after nearly a year. The pulmonologist had spent most of 2020 battling successive surges in Covid-19 cases at his hospital in Mumbai city. But by January this year daily infections across India had fallen to less than 20,000 from a peak of over 90,000 in September, and he could "see some light at the end of the tunnel". The situation took a turn for the worse in March as cases started to rise sharply. On 4 April, India breached the 100,000 daily caseload mark for the first time since the pandemic began. More than half of those cases were confirmed in Maharashtra, which has India's largest city, Mumbai, as its capital. Now Dr Pinto's phone is ringing every few minutes, mostly from desperate families looking to find a bed for Covid patients. "We are already overrun. All Covid-19 beds in my hospitals are full," he says.
7th Apr 2021 - BBC News

Spain’s Covid-19 vaccination drive maintains pace despite Easter break

The regions are administering nearly all the doses that have arrived, meaning speeding up the rollout will depend on the production capacity of pharmaceutical companies. Spain’s regions managed to administer nearly 1.3 million Covid-19 vaccines between March 30 and Tuesday, according to the Health Ministry. That figure is similar to that of the seven previous days, when 1.25 million shots were injected, which suggests that the campaign was not slowed down by the Easter break. But this pace will not be enough to hit the central government’s targets: the current speed is equivalent to 600,000 people a week, while 1.4 million will be necessary if 70% of the adult population is to be vaccinated by September
7th Apr 2021 - EL PAÍS in English

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COVID-19: Vaccine rollout to be 'considerably slower' until end of July, government advisers say

England's vaccine rollout will be "considerably slower" until the end of July and could drop to 2.5 million doses a week, the government's scientific advisers have said. Previous modelling for SAGE said the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses was predicted to reach up to 3.9 million doses a week. But in the latest paper, published on Monday, scientists expect to deliver 2.7 million doses per week in England until the end of July and 2 million after that date.
6th Apr 2021 - Sky News

Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine Production to Double at Contract Manufacturer Catalent

Contract drug manufacturer Catalent Inc. is expanding its U.S. production of the Covid-19 vaccine from Moderna Inc., a development that could ensure the U.S. has ample supply as it ramps up vaccinations. Catalent has reached an agreement with Moderna that will increase the speed of vaccine output at the contract manufacturer’s Bloomington, Ind., plant this month to about 400 vials a minute, according to people familiar with the matter. Catalent will shift manufacturing of the shot to one faster production line from two slower ones. New doses will be ready for shipping starting next month, the people said, and the upgraded plant will be able fill an additional 80 million vials a year.
6th Apr 2021 - Wall Street Journal

Greece looks to ease pressure with cautious shops reopening

Greece allowed shops to reopen under controlled conditions on Monday, despite heavy pressure on its health services, as the government responded to growing public fatigue after months of coronavirus lockdown. Last week the government announced the easing of some restrictions, allowing small retail shops selling non-essential goods to reopen, under so-called click-away and click-in-shopping modes. Under the rules, consumers must make appointments and comply with a three-hour limit for shopping, and retailers cannot allow in more than one customer per 25 square metres.
6th Apr 2021 - Reuters

Moderna vaccine begins UK rollout in Wales

The Moderna vaccine will be rolled out for the first time in the UK to residents in west Wales from Wednesday, Matt Hancock, the health secretary, has announced. The UK government has ordered 17m doses of the Moderna vaccine, which will be the third to be administered in the UK, since the rollout began in December last year. The vaccine was first approved by the medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, in January. The announcement follows growing concern surrounding the possible link between the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and rare blood clots. “I’m delighted we can start the UK rollout of the Moderna vaccine in west Wales today,” Hancock said. “The UK government has secured vaccines on behalf of the entire nation and the vaccination programme has shown our country working together at its best.”
6th Apr 2021 - Financial Times

As states expand vaccines, prisoners still lack access

This week, Florida expanded eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines to all residents 16 and older. But across the state, more than 70,000 people still don’t have access to the vaccine. Those men and women are Florida state prisoners. More than half the country has opened up vaccine eligibility, vastly expanding the ability for most Americans to get the shots, whatever their age or medical conditions. But inside prisons, it’s a different story: Prisoners, not free to seek out vaccines, still lack access on the whole. Nationwide, less than 20% of state and federal prisoners have been vaccinated, according to data collected by The Marshall Project and The Associated Press. In some states, prisoners and advocates have resorted to lawsuits to get access. And even when they are eligible, they aren’t receiving important education about the vaccine.
6th Apr 2021 - The Asssociated Press

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England to open shops, gyms and outdoor pubs, PM Johnson says

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday a planned reopening of the economy would take place next week, with the opening of all shops, gyms, hairdressers and outdoor hospitality areas in England. With the vaccine programme rolling out rapidly across the UK and infection numbers falling, Johnson said England would proceed to Stage 2 of his roadmap out of lockdown from April 12. Johnson said he would go to the pub himself for a pint. People should continue to work from home when they could and minimise domestic travel, the government said. It also confirmed that the government was looking at a COVID-status certification system, or vaccine passport, to help reopen larger events.
5th Apr 2021 - Reuters

Covid in Scotland: Hairdressers and homeware shops reopen

Hairdressers, homeware shops and garden centres are reopening in Scotland as Covid restrictions on the economy have eased. Non-essential click-and-collect services are also allowed to resume. They are the latest lockdown measures to be relaxed after the Scottish government lifted its "stay at home" rule on Friday. Other businesses reopening include key cutting, mobility equipment, baby equipment and electrical repairs. Deputy First Minister John Swinney urged people to remember the virus is still circulating and to continue following the rules.
5th Apr 2021 - BBC News

Teesside firm that will produce Novavax coronavirus vaccine in new £7.9 million partnership

The company making the new Novavax coronavirus vaccine on Teesside has signed a partnership worth nearly £8 million to improve the development of medicines for a range of diseases. Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, which is producing doses of the Covid jab at its facilities in Billingham, will partner with the universities of Edinburgh, Manchester and York to boost the development of biological drugs used to treat conditions such as cancer, haemophilia and arthritis. The £7.9 million collaboration, announced today by business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, will involve 'state of the art tools and synthetic biology' to refine the production of biological drugs from cells and increase their cost-effectiveness.
3rd Apr 2021 - Teesside Live

California to allow indoor gatherings as virus cases plummet

California on Friday cleared the way for people to attend indoor concerts, theater performances and NBA games for the first time in more than a year as the rate of people testing positive for the coronavirus in the state nears a record low. State officials won’t require testing or proof of vaccination for some of those events, but they do limit the number of people allowed to attend. Events that do require testing and vaccinations will be allowed to have more paying customers than those that don’t. Only people who live in California can attend these live performances.
3rd Apr 2021 - The Associated Press

Turkey begins administering Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 shots

Turkey has so far delivered nearly 16.6 million doses of the vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech, including two shots each for about 7.1 million people and one shot each so far for about 2.4 million people. The rollout has so far included those over 60 years of age, health personnel and other priority groups. A total of 2.8 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine have arrived in Turkey, with that number expected to reach 4.5 million in the coming days, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Wednesday.
3rd Apr 2021 - Reuters

U.S. stops AstraZeneca vaccine production at Baltimore plant

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration on Saturday stopped a Baltimore manufacturing plant that ruined 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine from making another vaccine developed by AstraZeneca, the New York Times reported on Saturday. The administration has put Johnson & Johnson in charge of the troubled manufacturing plant, the report said. The U.S. Health and Human Services’ extraordinary step will render the Emergent BioSolutions facility solely devoted to making the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, and is meant to avoid future mix-ups, according to the report, which cites two senior federal health officials.
2nd Apr 2021 - Reuters

Sinovac aims to pump out 2B COVID-19 vaccine doses a year, courtesy of third production line

As COVID-19 vaccines rack up authorizations and roll out across the globe, the manufacturing push has taken center stage. Now, one of the key players supplying shots to China and other countries is touting a major production boost. China's Sinovac Biotech has built capacity to crank out 2 billion doses of its COVID-19 vaccine CoronaVac per year, thanks to a third production line that's now operational and completing commercial runs, the company said Thursday. Sinovac says it has delivered some 200 million doses of its vaccine to more than 20 countries. The company estimates more than 100 million doses have been administered in vaccination campaigns around the world. The shot boasts an emergency authorization or conditional marketing approval in more than 30 countries, including Turkey, Mexico and Indonesia, Sinovac says. China approved the vaccine for use in the general public on February 6,
2nd Apr 2021 - FiercePharma

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NI Covid-19 vaccine extended to those aged 45-49

Northern Ireland’s Covid-19 vaccination programme has been extended to the next age group. People in the 45-49 age bracket can now book to have their jab at a vaccination centre or participating community pharmacy. Those eligible for vaccination also have the option of waiting for their GP to contact them to arrange their jab. The 45-49 age bracket is defined as everyone born between 01/04/1971 and 31/03/1976. Health Minister Robin Swann said: "I would encourage everyone who is eligible to get the jab as soon as possible. "I have something of an interest to declare with today’s announcement as I fall into the 45-49 age group. "I am looking forward to getting my jab very shortly."
31st Mar 2021 - Belfast Live

Amid AstraZeneca setback, Germany banks on homegrown vaccine

As Germany ponders how to accelerate its sluggish coronavirus vaccination campaign after yet another hitch involving the AstraZeneca shot, a production facility in the historic pharmaceutical center of Marburg may hold part of the answer to reliable supply in the months and years ahead. BioNTech, the German company that developed the first widely used vaccine together with U.S. partner Pfizer, is busily starting up a production facility that it says can produce up to a billion doses this year alone. That estimate was raised from the original hopes for 700 million.
31st Mar 2021 - The Associated Press

Governments, Sanofi unveil nearly $1B for vaccine-manufacturing site

Three levels of government unveiled funding for a nearly $1 billion expansion of drug-maker Sanofi’s vaccine manufacturing facility in Toronto to support future domestic production of influenza and coronavirus vaccines. The funding, announced at a joint news conference Wednesday, will allow French pharmaceutical company Sanofi S.A. to build an “end-to-end bulk vaccine manufacturing facility” at the firm’s North York campus in Toronto, Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne said. The project, which is expected to be fully operational by 2026, is meant to prepare Canada for vaccine self-sufficiency during future pandemics. When complete, it will enable “state-of-the-art” product formulation, filling, inspection and packaging of vaccines. “This project of nearly $1 billion is one of the largest-ever bio-manufacturing investments that has been (made) in Canadian history,” Champagne said.
31st Mar 2021 - iPolitics

Some Johnson & Johnson Covid Vaccine Doses Delayed in US by Factory Mix-Up

Workers at a Baltimore plant manufacturing two coronavirus vaccines accidentally conflated the vaccines’ ingredients several weeks ago, ruining about 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine and forcing regulators to delay authorization of the plant’s production lines. The plant is run by Emergent BioSolutions, a manufacturing partner to both Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca. Federal officials attributed the mistake to human error. The mixup has halted future shipments of Johnson & Johnson doses in the United States while the Food and Drug Administration investigates. Johnson & Johnson has moved to strengthen its control over Emergent BioSolutions’ work to avoid further quality lapses.
31st Mar 2021 - The New York Times

Hungarian journalists accuse gov’t of censoring COVID reporting

Hungarian journalists have accused the government of putting lives at risk by barring the media from covering the full extent of what is now the world’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreak. In an open letter published by most of the country’s independent news outlets on Wednesday, reporters said they had been blocked from hospitals and barred from speaking to medics, making it impossible to alert the public to the crisis.
31st Mar 2021 - AlJazeera

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COVID-19: Up to 60m vaccine doses to be manufactured at Barnard Castle, Boris Johnson says

Up to 60 million doses of COVID vaccine will be manufactured at Barnard Castle in the North East, Boris Johnson has announced. The prime minister revealed that the Novavax jab - which has yet to be approved - will undergo its "fill and finish" stage at a GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) facility. Part of the vaccine is already being produced in the North East, at a Fujifilm site in Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees, as it awaits approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
30th Mar 2021 - Sky News

To broaden vaccine access, Maryland turns to doctors’ offices

After months of waiting, primary care doctors in Maryland are receiving small batches of coronavirus vaccines to administer to patients — part of the state’s latest effort to broaden vaccine access and reach minority communities struggling to navigate complex registration systems. Maryland on Friday concluded a pilot program that distributed vaccine doses to 37 primary care practices, most of which serve primarily Black or Latino patients. The pilot was a success, said Howard Haft, director of the Maryland Primary Care Program, and starting this week, the program will become a “full-fledged” part of the state’s vaccine infrastructure, with doses going out to 90 of 400 enrolled practices.
30th Mar 2021 - The Washington Post

BioNTech increases Covid vaccine production target to 2.5bn doses

BioNTech and Pfizer plan to manufacture an additional 500m doses of their Covid-19 vaccine this year, bringing their production target to 2.5bn shots. The German biotechnology group said in its annual earnings report on Tuesday that increased output was possible thanks to optimised production processes and an expansion of its manufacturing and supply network. “We have increased our supply target for 2021 to 2.5bn doses,” said Ugur Sahin, chief executive. “This will require further process improvements and further expansion of our supplier and [marketing] network, but we believe we are on track to achieve this.”
30th Mar 2021 - The Financial Times

GSK to help manufacture 60m doses of Novavax Covid vaccine in UK

British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline will be part of the manufacturing process for up to 60m doses of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by US rival Novavax in an agreement set to boost UK production of coronavirus jabs. The vaccine has yet to receive the green light from UK regulators, but is expected to be submitted for approval over the next three months after showing strong efficacy in a recent late-stage trial, including against the more transmissible B.1.1.7 variant circulating in the UK. Under an agreement in principle with Novavax and the UK government’s Vaccines Taskforce, GSK will “fill and finish” 60m doses of the vaccine, preparing the vials and packaging the finished doses for distribution, the company said.
30th Mar 2021 - Financial Times

Biggest share of Indian-made vaccines for UN drive stays in India

India itself has received more than one-third of the nearly 28 million Indian-made AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses delivered so far by the global programme for poor countries, according to data from UNICEF and a source. The revelation that most of the doses India supplied to the COVAX programme never actually left the country could add to criticism of India and COVAX after New Delhi decided this month to delay big exports of vaccines that poor countries around the world had been counting on.
30th Mar 2021 - AlJazeera

Hospitals in Ecuador's capital overwhelmed by COVID-19 infections, doctors say

Ecuador’s health system is under severe strain from a spike in coronavirus infections, doctors in the country’s capital said on Tuesday, adding that some Quito hospitals are working above capacity to treat COVID-19 patients. Ecuador’s suffered a brutal outbreak of coronavirus in early 2020, primarily in the largest city of Guayaquil. Authorities controlled the situation after several months, but in recent weeks have seen cases jump in cities around the country. “The saturation of the health system is not only in Quito but at the national level,” Dr. Victor Alvarez, president of the doctors association of the state of Pichincha, where Quito is located, told reporters. “Seeing images of patients lying on the ground, or perhaps on a military mattress, receiving oxygen in emergency units, that’s sad.”
30th Mar 2021 - Reuters

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Plea from doctors as Paris hospitals overrun with Covid patients

Hospitals in the Paris region are so overwhelmed by Covid-19 patients they will soon have to select those most deserving of intensive care, doctors say. Forty-one heads of intensive care, crisis units and other services involved in the pandemic issued the warning in an open letter in the Journal du Dimanche as President Macron continued to reject calls from health professionals and the opposition for tougher measures to curb a raging third wave. Hospital resources are unable to keep pace with the pressure of new patients and within a fortnight will have to resort to “disaster medicine” practised in national emergencies as the peak approaches, the doctors wrote. “We already know that our capacity to offer care will be overwhelmed.
29th Mar 2021 - The Times

COVID-19: UK hits 30 million first coronavirus vaccine doses - 57% of all adults

More than 30 million people in the UK have now had a first COVID vaccine dose. Government figures show 30,151,287 have had a first dose - around 57% of all UK adults - after 650,000 were administered on Saturday. A total of 3,527,481 people have had two doses - 6% of adults. Ministers remain confident that all over-50s will have been offered a first dose by 15 April. The government aims to offer all adults a jab by the end of July.
29th Mar 2021 - Sky News

Moderna says shipped 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to United States

(Reuters) - Moderna Inc said on Monday it has shipped 100 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to the United States, of which 88 million have been delivered to date in the first quarter of 2021. The company expects to meet its promise of delivering the ...
29th Mar 2021 - Yahoo

Vaccination rates for over-70s ‘markedly lower’ amongst certain groups – ONS

Older people from black African backgrounds are more than seven times as likely as white British people to have not received a coronavirus vaccine, official analysis suggests. Vaccination rates in England up to March 11 were markedly lower in the over-70s who identify as black African and black Caribbean Muslim and disabled, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). It is the first time the ONS has published analysis on vaccination rates in older people broken down by age, sex, ethnicity, religious affiliation, disability and deprivation.
29th Mar 2021 - Evening Standard

Covid: Wales will prioritise second jabs in vaccine supply slowdown

Second Covid vaccine doses will be prioritised during the expected supply slowdown of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab, Wales' chief pharmacist has said. Covid vaccine supplies are set to be delayed by in April and Wales expects to have 250,000 fewer Oxford-AstraZeneca jab doses. Andrew Evans said Wales' overall position was good with more than 13% of the population fully vaccinated. Mr Evans said the shipping delay will not affect Wales hitting its targets. He said Wales aims to vaccinate its priority groups by mid-April and offer all adults a jab by the end of July.
29th Mar 2021 - BBC News

Russia Trumpets Coronavirus Vaccine Exports, While Quietly Importing Doses

Russia has lauded with much fanfare the arrival of its homegrown vaccine, Sputnik V, in Latin America and Africa, and even in some countries in Europe, calling it a solution to shortages around the world. It has been less vocal, though, about one country that is also importing the vaccine: Russia. The Russian government has contracted out the manufacture of Sputnik V to a South Korean company that has already sent the vaccine to Russia, and plans to do the same with a company from India. While the scale of the imports is impossible to gauge because of nondisclosure agreements, they undermine some of the narrative Russia has proudly presented about its role in the pandemic as an exporter of vaccines to needy countries.
29th Mar 2021 - The New York Times

Family doctors advocate for more coronavirus vaccines, say it will reduce hesitancy

Family doctors play a big role in reducing coronavirus vaccine hesitancy, especially for those who are used to being vaccinated there, said Dr. Pamela Rockwell. Rockwell, who has practiced for more than 20 years, said family physicians are already answering patient questions about the coronavirus vaccine and are ready to help. “Whether I’m doing virtual medicine now or in person medicine, I am able to answer their questions and there hasn’t been a single patient that has not been sort of convinced,” said Rockwell, who currently practices through the University of Michigan health system. According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 75% of people would be very likely to get the coronavirus vaccine from their doctor and 38% chose this as their most preferred vaccination site
29th Mar 2021 - mlive.com

Serbia vaccinates thousands of foreigners against COVID-19

Serbia has vaccinated thousands of citizens from neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Croatia against COVID-19 during the weekend. On Saturday, 9,600 vaccinations were administered to foreigners from the region in the capital Belgrade, Nikola Nikodijevic, the president of Belgrade city council, told Serbian cable TV Vesti.
29th Mar 2021 - AlJazeera

Hungary first in European Union for vaccinations, and deaths

Hungary has vaccinated more of its population than any other country in the European Union, according to figures from an EU agency, but it continues to be one of the world’s worst in the number of COVID-19 deaths per capita. The Central European country has given at least a first dose of a vaccine to 21.6% of its population, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, just ahead of the small island nation of Malta and surpassing the 27-member bloc’s average of 12.3%. But Hungary’s high vaccination rate, a product of a procurement strategy that secured doses from China and Russia in addition to those provided by the EU, has been unable to slow a surge in the pandemic that has given it the highest two-week mortality rate per capita in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.
29th Mar 2021 - The Associated Press

UAE to manufacture Chinese COVID vaccine in Abu Dhabi

A new factory in Abu Dhabi will start manufacturing Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine later this year. The production will be under a joint venture between the Chinese pharmaceutical giant and Abu Dhabi-based technology company Group 42 (G42).
29th Mar 2021 - AlJazeera

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COVID-19: Second doses are 'protected' for when UK's vaccine supply falls in April, NHS England says

The UK has enough vaccine supplies to ensure that Britons can receive their second doses without disruption, NHS England's medical director for primary care has said. Weeks after the health service warned that the country will face a "significant reduction" in the availability of coronavirus jabs next month, Dr Nikki Kanani said: "The supply over April is slower, but we know that we will keep going. "We've got enough vaccine to give people the second doses, those second doses are protected, and we've got enough vaccine to protect those in the priority cohorts."
28th Mar 2021 - Sky News

Foreigners flock to Serbia to get coronavirus vaccine shots

Thousands of vaccine-seekers from countries neighboring Serbia have flocked to Belgrade after Serbian authorities offered free coronavirus jabs to foreigners who showed up over the weekend
28th Mar 2021 - ABC News

France sees further rise in coronavirus patients in intensive care

The number of patients with coronavirus in French intensive care units rose on Saturday to a new high for this year, increasing the pressure to impose new restrictions that President Emmanuel Macron says will probably be needed. France had 4,791 ICU patients being treated for COVID-19, up from 4,766 on Friday, health ministry data showed. The numbers are approaching a peak recorded in mid-November during the second wave of the virus, although last spring, when France imposed its first lockdown, saw a peak of more than 7,000. Doctors say intensive care units in the worst-hit regions could become overwhelmed.
28th Mar 2021 - Reuters

Over-70s likely to get coronavirus vaccine booster shots from September to protect against variants

The Government has confirmed i‘s report that over-70s are set to receive booster shots from September, in a bid to protect them against new variants of Covid-19. Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said confirmed plans for the future of the vaccine rollout, the first booster doses would go to the top four priority groups, including care home staff, NHS workers and the clinically extremely vulnerable. Speaking to The Telegraph, he suggested booster shots would likely begin in September, adding that the Government is expecting up to eight different jabs to be available by the autumn, including one protecting against three different variants in a single dose.
27th Mar 2021 - iNews

De Croo counting on share of Pfizer's early delivery coronavirus vaccines

Belgium should receive a share of the ten million coronavirus vaccines which Pfizer has promised to deliver to the European Union by this summer, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said Thursday evening after a European Council meeting. Last week, the European Commission agreed that the company will deliver 10 million doses, which were originally expected to be given to EU member states in November, by the summer. “The consensus is that these doses will be distributed in solidarity, to find a solution to the difference in delivery speed, which means Belgium will also be able to benefit from this,” De Croo said after the video conference.
26th Mar 2021 - The Brussels Times

Frustrated EU leaders pass vaccine fight to ambassadors

Suddenly, the EU’s top diplomats — the Committee of Permanent Representatives — look more like the Committee of Pro-Rata Referees. After EU heads of state and government spent hours arguing during a video summit on Thursday about how to divvy up an extra load of 10 million coronavirus vaccine doses, they gave up and asked diplomats to settle the matter. The decision to seek arbitration among the ambassadors came after Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz virtually sabotaged the meeting by insisting that his country receive extra doses, even though European Commission data shows Austria faring relatively well among EU nations in terms of vaccine supplies. There's also the issue that all EU countries, Austria included, had previously agreed to a pro-rata formula that gives each member state an equal chance to purchase their fair share of shots.
26th Mar 2021 - POLITICO.eu

COVID-19 prevalence in England no longer falling, UK's ONS says

The prevalence of COVID-19 infections in England is no longer falling and has levelled off at an estimated 1 in 340 people, Britain's Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Friday, a possible side-effect of England's emergence from full lockdown. "In England, the percentage of people testing positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) is likely to have levelled off in the week ending 20 March 2021," the ONS said. The estimate of prevalence at 1 in 340 people was unchanged on the previous week. It is the first time prevalence has not fallen in the closely watched estimate of community infections since late January. England's third national lockdown was introduced on January 5.
26th Mar 2021 - Yahoo Finance

More than 30 states expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility

With national vaccinations ramping up to more than 2.5 million people per day, at least 34 states have made all adults eligible to receive one of three approved COVID-19 vaccines—or plan to by mid-April— as the United States continues to race to vaccinate as many people as possible while variant cases continue to rise. "It's clear, there is a case for optimism; but there is not a case for relaxation," said Jeff Zients, coordinator of the White House's COVID-19 response, today during a White House press briefing. California is the largest state to announce a change in eligibility: On Apr 1 all residents 50 and older will be eligible, and all residents 16 and older will be able to get a vaccine on Apr 15. On Mar 29, Texas will open up its vaccination to all residents.
26th Mar 2021 - CIDRAP

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As some states open Covid-19 vaccines to all, many others are still weeks away. Here's a timeline.

John McGee, 21, told CNN on Tuesday that he was mindlessly scrolling through Twitter last Monday when he saw Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves' post: "Starting tomorrow, ALL new appointments will be open to ALL Mississippians. Get your shot friends - and let's get back to normal!" Mississippi is 1 of 5 states that have expanded coronavirus vaccine eligibility to anyone 16 and older, and a CNN analysis finds that at least 20 more plan to open up to people 16 and older by the end of April. Alaska was the first state in the US to stop prioritizing certain groups for Covid-19 vaccines and open vaccination appointments to everyone 16 and older who lives or works in the state.
25th Mar 2021 - CNN

More than 700,000 get first Covid-19 vaccine jab in Northern Ireland

More than 700,000 people in Northern Ireland have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccines, the North’s health department reported on Thursday. The department reported that so far 703,334 have got their first jab of vaccine with 104,907 having got their second dose. The department says it is on target to have vaccinated the entire Northern Ireland adult population of 1.4 million people by July.
25th Mar 2021 - The Irish Times

Covid-19: Over-50s urged to book jabs before vaccine supplies dip

The Covid-19 vaccination programme has saved more than 6,000 lives, an analysis by Public Health England says. Most would have been among the over-80s and some among people in their 70s, estimates up to the end of February suggest. It comes as people in England aged over 50 and in at-risk categories are being urged to book their Covid jabs before Monday, when slots are set to dry up. The NHS said appointments should be arranged by 29 March.
25th Mar 2021 - BBC

New Jersey’s vaccine rollout is mostly working. In Pennsylvania, it’s more complicated.

Plenty of Pennsylvanians have gotten covid-19 shots — the state ranks above average in percentage of residents with first doses — and many New Jerseyans by turn have been frustrated by the process. But by most measures, New Jersey is ahead of its neighbor when it comes to delivering vaccinations. New Jersey has a phone hotline for people without internet access; Pennsylvania has a website with limited utility that offers only information and no appointments. New Jersey has had mass vaccination sites for months; Pennsylvania is only now planning them.
25th Mar 2021 - The Philadelphia Inquirer

Why Supply Isn’t the Only Thing Stymying Europe’s Coronavirus Vaccine Rollout

The mayor of Cremona, one of the northern Italian towns first hammered by the coronavirus during the pandemic’s initial explosion in Europe, received a call over the weekend that the local vaccination center was empty. The region’s booking system had failed to set up appointments with older residents, leaving more than 500 doses of vaccine at risk of going to waste. “There was staff, there were also vaccines, but there were no people,” said the mayor, Gianluca Galimberti, adding that the situation had been bad for weeks. Similar scenarios are playing out throughout the country, as the authorities struggle to get vaccines to older and vulnerable Italians who most need them.
25th Mar 2021 - The New York Times

Half of Israelis fully vaccinated as Palestinians lag

More than half of Israel’s 9.2 million people have received both doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19, the health ministry has said. Yet vaccination is far slower in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA), which has relied on donations and limited supplies from Israel. The 5.5 million Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank and blockaded Gaza Strip have received only about 120,000 vaccines so far. With more than 4.6 million residents vaccinated, Israel continues its world-beating campaign that sent infection rates plummeting and allowed for some limited loosening of restrictions. But it has come under international criticism for not doing more to enable Palestinian vaccination
25th Mar 2021 - AlJazeera

Novavax delays EU vaccine supply deal amid production problems - source

Novavax is delaying signing a contract to supply its COVID-19 vaccine to the European Union, an EU official involved in the talks told Reuters, as the U.S. biotech company warned it was struggling to source some raw materials. Prolonging the talks might further complicate the EU’s vaccination plans as the bloc had planned to sign a deal early this year for at least 100 million doses of Novavax’s vaccine, with an option for another 100 million. The EU official, who asked not to named as the talks are confidential, said the company had postponed signing a deal for weeks, citing legal issues in meetings with the bloc’s vaccine negotiators. “They are slowing down the process of finishing the contract,” the official, who attended the meetings, told Reuters.
25th Mar 2021 - Reuters

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‘Brazil is suffocating’: COVID surge creates severe oxygen crisis

Earlier this year, the jungle city of Manaus sent shockwaves across the globe when hospitals ran out of oxygen with lethal consequences – turning the city into the world’s COVID-19 epicentre. Two months on, Brazil’s COVID catastrophe has never been worse. Now, with new coronavirus variants and a series of grim records of deaths and infections, there are fears that a lack of oxygen supplies seen in Manaus, the Amazonas state capital, could unfold elsewhere.
25th Mar 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Half of adults in Scotland to have first dose of Covid-19 vaccine by end of day

More half of adults in Scotland will have received a first dose of coronavirus vaccinate by the end of Wednesday, Nicola Sturgeon has announced. The First Minister also confirmed the Scottish Government is on course to have offered a first dose to all adults by the end of July, supplies permitting. As she announced three deaths of coronavirus patients and 692 new cases have been recorded in Scotland in the past 24 hours, she said the Scottish Government is also set to have offered a first vaccine jag to to all the JCVI priority groups by mid-April.
24th Mar 2021 - Evening Standard

Coronavirus: NI 'a month ahead' of Ireland on vaccines

Northern Ireland is about a month ahead of the Republic of Ireland's Covid-19 vaccination programme, according to the taoiseach (Irish prime minister). Micheál Martin said it did not make much sense to talk about north-south vaccination alignment because NI was part of the UK programme while Ireland was part of the EU's. Alignment would be ideal, he said, but "we're not in that situation". An alignment on mandatory quarantines, however, would be "useful", he added.
24th Mar 2021 - BBC News

Covid: Cornwall vaccine centres to close ahead of supply shortage

Two vaccination centres in Cornwall will temporarily close next month following delays importing the coronavirus vaccine into the UK. NHS Kernow confirmed there will be a pause to vaccine appointments at Stithians and Wadebridge. The two centres will be affected during the first half of April, although exact dates have not officially been given. The government said it is sending the available doses to areas which have "further to go" in the vaccine rollout. In a letter to local health organisations last week, the NHS warned of a "significant reduction in the weekly supply" of coronavirus vaccines in England in April.
24th Mar 2021 - BBC News

China triples output of COVID-19 vaccines from early Feb - Xinhua

China's daily output of COVID-19 vaccines has reached about 5 million doses, more than tripling the 1.5 million-dose daily production rate on Feb. 1, official media said on Wednesday. China has supplied more than 100 million doses domestically, the Xinhua news agency said on its social media page, citing Xiao Yaqing, the minister of industry and information technology. A total of 82.85 million vaccine doses were given by Tuesday, China's National Health Commission said on Wednesday. That compares with 74.96 million administered as of the end of Saturday, indicating a significant acceleration of the vaccination drive.
24th Mar 2021 - Yahoo! Finance

Cuba will administer Covid-19 experimental vaccines to nearly all Havana residents

Cuba will administer experimental Covid-19 shots to nearly the entire population of the capital Havana by May as health authorities carry out massive interventional studies and late stage trials, officials said on Tuesday. Cuba, which has a long history of developing and exporting vaccines, this month began late phase trials of two of its five experimental shots, Soberana 2 and Abdala, which will be Latin America’s first homegrown COVID-19 vaccines if they prove successful. Authorities could seek approval for emergency use of Abdala and Soberana 2, which both target the spike protein of the novel coronavirus, in June
24th Mar 2021 - NBC News

Covid-19: Community pharmacists on front line during pandemic

As the effects of the pandemic began to be felt, and lockdown became a reality, the 528-strong community pharmacy network in Northern Ireland found itself on its own frontline. "We were really the most accessible health professional in the community," said Anita Gribbin, a community pharmacist in Toome, County Antrim. "You nearly don't remember it now, it is like a blur. "And I hasten to add, this wasn't just me, this was every community pharmacy. "You just had to think on your feet - you made changes, we had to make changes in here with regard to social distance. "Obviously masks came in, and we actually all kitted out in scrubs at that stage."
24th Mar 2021 - BBC News

Syria provides Lebanon oxygen supplies amid dire shortages

War-torn Syria promised oxygen supplies to neighbouring Lebanon as both countries struggle with unprecedented economic woes and a surge of coronavirus infections. “We will supply Lebanon with 75 tonnes of oxygen in instalments of 25 tonnes a day for a period of three days,” Health Minister Hasan al-Ghabbash told reporters after a meeting with his Lebanese counterpart on Wednesday.
24th Mar 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Central Europe’s hospitals slammed, can’t treat all in need

Poland recorded its highest daily number of new coronavirus infections Wednesday as hospitals buckle under a new surge. Hungary has the highest per capita death rate in the world. And Romanian doctors are working around the clock and having to decide who does — and doesn’t — get a bed in an intensive care unit. The coronavirus pandemic is unleashing enormous suffering as infection rates rise across central Europe even as the Czech Republic and Slovakia — recently among the worst-hit areas in the world — are finally seeing some improvements following tight lockdowns.
24th Mar 2021 - The Associated Press

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J&J plant authorization clears way for big boost in U.S. COVID-19 shots

A large plant being used to manufacture Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine was cleared by U.S. regulators on Tuesday, setting the stage for the weekly U.S. supply to surge more then 20 percent. About 27 million COVID-19 vaccine doses will be allocated to U.S. states and other localities this week, including 4 million from J&J, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters. That is the largest allocation yet, up from 22 million last week. Earlier, the Indiana plant at which Catalent Inc is helping to manufacture the J&J vaccine received U.S. regulatory authorization, the companies said.
24th Mar 2021 - Reuters

Demand for Healthcare Workers Rises During Covid-19 Pandemic

As the pandemic wore on, some New Yorkers reinvented themselves as entrepreneurs, artisans or online instructors teaching everything from yoga to Yiddish. Then there’s 27-year-old Chime Dolka. She, too, launched a new career—as a nurse’s aide in a Brooklyn nursing home. Resting in the park last week following a long shift tending patients while wearing enough PPE to defend a medieval warrior, Ms. Dolka said she’s fulfilling a dream. “There is one thing I really want to do, that I want to accomplish with my life,” she said. “Be a good nurse.” People like Ms. Dolka are hard to find these days. The 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds—the education and job-placement arm of the city’s big healthcare workers’ union—says job orders for certified nursing assistants rose 25%, last year, to 1,000. And as some nursing homes became hot spots for Covid-19 outbreaks, the positions got harder to fill.
23rd Mar 2021 - Wall Street Journal

Covid-19: Birmingham GPs told to postpone vaccinating under 50s

GPs in Birmingham who had offered Covid-19 jabs to some under-50s have been told to cancel the appointments. Some patients aged in their 40s got text messages at the weekend telling them vaccinations had been postponed due to a "national shortfall". The UK will be affected by a delay in a delivery from India, but on Friday a record number of Covid jabs were given. The NHS said some Birmingham bookings had been cancelled because those people were not in a currently eligible group.
23rd Mar 2021 - BBC News

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Covid-19: Primary pupils and years 12-14 return to school

In Northern Ireland, all primary school pupils and those in years 12 to 14 of post-primary returned to school on Monday. That follows a decision taken by the executive at its meeting on 16 March. Primary pupils in P4 to P7 join those in P1 to P3 who returned to school on 8 March. Pupils returning on Monday have not been in school since before Christmas, their second prolonged absence from the classroom in a year. They will attend school for at least a week before many schools begin Easter holidays.
22nd Mar 2021 - BBC News

German tourist industry warns of job losses from tighter pandemic lockdowns

The German tourist industry has warned of layoffs and bankruptices if authorities further tighten lockdowns meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus including by enforcing quarantine for those returning from holidays abroad. National and regional leaders meeting on Monday evening to decide the next round of measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic are mulling requiring quarantine for all returning travellers, not just those who were in high-risk areas.
22nd Mar 2021 - Reuters

New York lowers coronavirus vaccine eligibility age to 50

New York will join a handful of U.S. states that have lowered their eligibility age for coronavirus vaccines to 50, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday. The state, the country’s fourth most populous, had restricted eligibility to residents who are at least 60 years old, have pre-existing health conditions or are essential workers, especially those who come in contact with the public. “We are dropping the age and vaccinating more people,” Cuomo said at a church in Mount Vernon, New York, where he launched a campaign to encourage houses of worship to make themselves available as vaccination sites.
22nd Mar 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Taiwan kicks off COVID vaccination campaign with AstraZeneca jab

Taiwan’s Premier Su Tseng-chang received the AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot on Monday, having volunteered to be first in line to underscore government confidence in the vaccine’s safety as the island began its inoculation campaign. “I have just finished getting the injection, there is no pain at the injection site, and there is no soreness of the body,” Su told reporters at National Taiwan University Hospital in central Taipei
22nd Mar 2021 - AlJazeera

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Coronavirus vaccine rollout tipped to meet targets despite flooding, international supply issues

Federal health authorities say they are confident the next phase of Australia's COVID-19 vaccination program will meet its targets, despite international supply issues and weather-related delivery delays. Phase 1B of the program is due to start on Monday, with about 6 million Australians eligible to receive their first doses. Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd said the medical regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, expected to complete the approvals process for locally produced doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine "in the coming days"
21st Mar 2021 - ABC News

Coronavirus: The Indian factory making 6,000 syringes a minute

Rajiv Nath, who heads India's largest syringe factory, says he is turning down as many as 40 requests for syringes from across the world. Mr Nath's Hindustan Syringes & Medical Devices (HMD) is in huge demand now as countries try to ramp up vaccination against Covid-19. The factory is currently producing some four million syringes a day but Mr Nath says that's still not enough given that the world needs 10 billion syringes to vaccinate just 60% of its population. He hopes that better coordination between the WHO, governments and syringe makers will smooth the way going forward.
21st Mar 2021 - BBC News

Ontario COVID-19 vaccines expand to people 75 and older, 60 and older to begin at pharmacies with AstraZeneca

Ontario is expanding its booking system to make an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine to people who are 75 and older across the province, effective Monday, March 22. "The progress we are making on our Vaccine Distribution Plan demonstrates what can be done when we unleash the full potential of Team Ontario," a statement from Ontario Premier Doug Ford reads. "Thanks to the efforts of an army of frontline health care heroes and volunteers, we are getting needles in arms even faster than we had imagined. All we need now is a steady and reliable supply of vaccines from the Federal government to ensure anyone who wants one, gets one as soon as possible so we can all stay safe."
19th Mar 2021 - Yahoo

US coronavirus vaccine rollout becomes 'less messy'

In December, then President-elect Joe Biden set a goal of getting 100 million people vaccinated against Covid-19 in the first 100 days of his presidency. At this rate, it looks like US will hit that mark on Friday, which is day 58. "These milestones are significant accomplishments, but we have much more to do," Biden said Thursday. "That's just the floor. We will not stop until we beat this pandemic." The country still has a long way to go, but the vaccine rollout is looking a lot less chaotic. As of Thursday, about 12.3% of people are fully vaccinated in the US. That's a long way from herd immunity, where enough people have been vaccinated or had the disease to have immunity, if herd immunity is even achievable.
19th Mar 2021 - CNN

Many health-care workers have not gotten a coronavirus vaccine

Health-care workers were the first group in the United States to be offered coronavirus vaccinations. But three months into the effort, many remain unconvinced, unreached and unprotected. The lingering obstacles to vaccinating health-care workers foreshadow the challenge the United States will face as it expands the pool of people eligible and attempts to get the vast majority of the U.S. population vaccinated. According to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll, barely half of front-line health-care workers (52 percent) said they had received at least their first vaccine dose at the time they were surveyed. More than 1 in 3 said they were not confident vaccines were sufficiently tested for safety and effectiveness.
19th Mar 2021 - The Washington Post

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India coronavirus: Concerns mount over high levels of vaccine wastage

More than two million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have gone to waste during India’s national inoculation drive, leading some officials to call on the public to cherish the “elixir-like, precious commodity”. On Wednesday, Indian health officials highlighted that about 6.5 per cent of all doses delivered to the front line have been wasted. Concerns are such that prime minister Narendra Modi spoke out over the issue, demanding immediate steps to tackle the problem and stating that “we are denying somebody’s rights because of this wastage”.
18th Mar 2021 - The Independent

More dying of Covid-19 now in Europe than in first wave as UK variant takes hold

More people are dying of Covid-19 now in Europe than during March 2020, the World Health Organization has warned. The WHO's emergencies lead in Europe, Dr Catherine Smallwood, said she was "particularly worried" about the situation in the Balkans, the Baltic States and Central Europe, where hospitalisations and deaths are among the highest in the world. The numbers of new cases per million people are also rising so fast that in some countries - notably Estonia, Bosnia, Hungary and Poland - the graphs tracking the virus point almost vertically upwards. Experts said that the combination of the spread of the more transmissible UK variant coupled with slow government reactions, as well as a lack of vaccinations in some countries, could all be contributing to the spiking numbers and Europe's looming third wave.
18th Mar 2021 - The Daily Telegraph

U.S. to share 4 million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine with Mexico, Canada

The United States plans to send roughly 4 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine that it is not using to Mexico and Canada in loan deals with the two countries, yielding to requests to share vaccines with allies. Mexico will receive 2.5 million doses of the vaccine and Canada is to receive 1.5 million doses, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. “It is not fully finalized yet but it is our aim,” Psaki told a daily briefing. “Ensuring our neighbors can contain the virus is ... mission critical to ending the pandemic.” The Biden administration has come under pressure from countries around the world to share vaccines, particularly its stock of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which is authorized for use elsewhere but not yet in the United States.
18th Mar 2021 - Reuters

Brazil struggles with lack of ICU doctors as pandemic worsens

As Brazil’s coronavirus outbreak spirals out of control, the country is facing a dangerous new shortage, threatening to drive fatalities even higher: a lack of staff in intensive care units. ome medical professionals are burned out after months of grueling, soul-sapping work. Others are simply unable to keep up with the endless flow of critical COVID-19 patients pushing the country’s healthcare system to the brink. “Intensive care doctors are a commodity in short supply,” César Eduardo Fernandes, the president of the Brazilian Medical Association (AMB) told Reuters on Wednesday. “There’s no way to meet this brutal, catastrophic demand.”
18th Mar 2021 - Reuters

Taiwan clears AstraZeneca vaccine, shots might start on Monday

Taiwan has given regulatory approval to AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine and might start giving the first inoculations as early as Monday, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said. Taiwan’s first vaccines – 117,000 doses of the AstraZeneca shot – arrived on the island earlier this month.
18th Mar 2021 - Al Jazeera English

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All over-50s can now book coronavirus vaccine, says NHS

Everyone over the age of 50 can now book a coronavirus vaccination as the NHS widens eligibility amid an expected surge in supply of vaccine from this week. NHS England changed the eligibility on its main vaccination booking website on Wednesday morning, reducing the eligibility from 55 to anyone aged 50 or over. It means anyone over the age of 50 can go online and book themselves a vaccination, they do not need to wait to be contacted by their GP.
17th Mar 2021 - The Independent

Chile's red-hot inoculation drive reaches frozen continent of Antarctica

Chile’s blazing fast vaccination program has reached the icy shores of Antarctica, officials and researchers told Reuters on Wednesday, bringing a sense of relief to one of the most isolated and vulnerable outposts on Earth. The pandemic hit Antarctica in December, making it the last of the world’s continents to report an outbreak of COVID-19. Chilean health and army officials scrambled to clear out staff from a remote region with limited medical facilities. Marcela Andrade, an official with the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH), told Reuters by phone that air force personnel, followed by staff at the Profesor Julio Escudero research base, were inoculated on Sunday with vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd.
17th Mar 2021 - Reuters

Covid vaccines for England's under-50s delayed due to major shortage

People under the age of 50 may have to wait up to a month longer than planned for their Covid vaccination because of a major shortage of vaccines, NHS leaders have said. The unexpected delay was revealed in a letter to health service chiefs, who have been ordered to stop booking first-dose appointments for anyone under 50 for all of April. The letter from NHS England explained that the move was necessary because there would be a “significant reduction in weekly supply available from manufacturers beginning in the week commencing 29 March”.
17th Mar 2021 - The Guardian

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NHS staff who refuse Covid vaccine could be redeployed away from ‘exposure-prone’ settings

NHS hospitals in England could redeploy staff who refuse to get a coronavirus vaccine away from “exposure prone” settings, a new document suggests. The document published by NHS England on Friday, first reported by the Health Service Journal (HSJ), sets out how employers can ensure staff who have declined vaccination are safe at work. It explains that where staff have refused vaccination, effort should be taken to ensure they have the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and that they have had a mask fitting.
16th Mar 2021 - iNews

Further Covid-19 positives in GB team highlight concerns over Olympic travel

The Great Britain athletics team has been hit by nine positive Covid-19 tests, a week after being forced to isolate on their return from the European Indoor Championships in Torun, Poland because a staff member contracted the virus. With more athletes and staff due to be tested today, the situation is causing deep concern among the country’s athletics stars about the potential risks involved in travelling as a team to Tokyo this summer for the Olympic Games. With athletes due to be regularly tested upon arrival at the Olympic Village, another such outbreak could deny athletes the opportunity to compete.
16th Mar 2021 - The Times

Over-50s set to get call-up for Covid-19 vaccine as supply surge means half of adults will soon be jabbed

All remaining over-50s are set to be offered a Covid-19 vaccine in the coming days with a surge in supply meaning half of all adults will have had a jab by the end of the week. The number of doses being administered across the UK has begun to accelerate rapidly with as many as five million jabs likely to be given out this week – more than twice the rate seen in March so far. Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “We are expecting that, taking first and second doses together, there will be around 400,000 vaccinations done over the course of this week.” If the other nations of the UK accelerate their own programmes in line with Scotland’s, nearly five million jabs will be given out this week – taking the country past the symbolic milestone of giving a dose to half all those aged 18 or older.
16th Mar 2021 - iNews

Schools weighing whether to seat students closer together

New evidence that it may be safe for schools to seat students 3 feet apart — half of the previous recommended distance — could offer a way to return more of the nation’s children to classrooms with limited space. Even as more teachers receive vaccinations against COVID-19, social distancing guidelines have remained a major hurdle for districts across the U.S. Debate around the issue flared last week when a study suggested that masked students can be seated as close as 3 feet apart with no increased risk to them or teachers. Published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, the research looked at schools in Massachusetts, which has backed the 3-foot guideline for months. Illinois and Indiana are also allowing 3 feet of distance, and other states such as Oregon are considering doing the same. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now exploring the idea too.
16th Mar 2021 - Associated Press

Canada lags in vaccinations but expects to catch up quickly

Canada once was hailed as a success story in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, faring much better than the United States in deaths and infections because of how it approached lockdowns. But the trade-dependent nation has lagged on vaccinating its population because it lacks the ability to manufacture the vaccine and has had to rely on the global supply chain for the lifesaving shots, like many other countries. With no domestic supply, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government bet on seven different vaccines manufactured elsewhere and secured advance purchase agreements. Regulators have approved the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. While acquiring them has proven difficult, that gamble appears to be about to pay off.
16th Mar 2021 - Associated Press

Emergent, amid gung-ho COVID-19 production push, eyes upgrade to Canadian vaccine plant: report

Emergent BioSolutions quickly positioned itself as one of the manufacturers to beat in the U.S. fight against COVID-19. Now, the company's laying out plans to upgrade a vaccine facility in Winnipeg—with the help of the Canadian government. Emergent is in talks with Ottawa to fund an expansion of that plant, The Globe and Mail reports. The facility, which employs around 350, is equipped to handle the final manufacturing stages for mRNA, mammalian and microbial drugs—including mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines like those sold by Pfizer and Moderna. The CDMO's Winnipeg plant performs product formulation and fill-finish services, though it doesn't produce drug substance, the news outlet said. Emergent has already pledged current formulation and fill-finish capacity at the plant to local drugmaker Providence Therapeutics, plugging away on an mRNA-based vaccine.
16th Mar 2021 - FiercePharma

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US Prison Guards Refusing Vaccine Despite COVID-19 Outbreaks

In Massachusetts, more than half the people employed by the Department of Correction declined to be immunized. A statewide survey in California showed that half of all correction employees will wait to be vaccinated. In Rhode Island, prison staff have refused the vaccine at higher rates than the incarcerated, according to medical director Dr. Justin Berk. And in Iowa, early polling among employees showed a little more than half the staff said they’d get vaccinated. As states have begun COVID-19 inoculations at prisons across the country, corrections employees are refusing vaccines at alarming rates, causing some public health experts to worry about the prospect of controlling the pandemic both inside and outside. Infection rates in prisons are more than three times as high as in the general public. Prison staff helped accelerate outbreaks by refusing to wear masks, downplaying people’s symptoms, and haphazardly enforcing social distancing and hygiene protocols in confined, poorly ventilated spaces ripe for viral spread.
15th Mar 2021 - U.S. News & World Report

Montreal pharmacies to begin booking coronavirus vaccine appointments

Quebecers in the Montreal area should be able to book vaccine appointments at local pharmacies starting Monday as the province continues to expand its COVID-19 immunization campaign. Health Minister Christian Dubé announced earlier this month that some 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments through the province’s vaccine booking portal Monday, with shots to begin March 22. He said the program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses. The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious COVID-19 variants, such as the B.1.1.7 variant that was first identified in the United Kingdom.
15th Mar 2021 - Global News

France raises prospect of mandatory Covid-19 jabs for healthcare staff

The French government is making a last push to convince healthcare workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19, before deciding whether to make the jab mandatory to improve uptake. Olivier Veran, health minister, has written an open letter to healthcare workers urging them to get vaccinated “quickly” to protect “our collective security and the capacity of our health system”. Alain Fischer, an immunologist who advises the French government on the vaccine rollout, told the Senate last week that if the pace did not roughly double “in the next 15 days”, the state would have to discuss making the jab mandatory for workers in the sector.
15th Mar 2021 - The Financial Times

First Participants Dosed in Phase 1 Study Evaluating mRNA-1283, Moderna’s Next Generation COVID-19 Vaccine

Moderna a biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines, today announced that the first participants have been dosed in the Phase 1 study of mRNA-1283, the Company’s next generation COVID-19 vaccine candidate. "We are pleased to begin this Phase 1 study of our next generation COVID-19 vaccine candidate, mRNA-1283," said Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna. "Our investments in our mRNA platform have enabled us to develop this next generation vaccine candidate, which is a potential refrigerator-stable vaccine that could facilitate easier distribution and administration in a wider range of settings, including potentially for developing countries.
15th Mar 2021 - YAHOO!Finance

Coming week will see trickle of COVID-19 vaccine doses before ramp-up

The Public Health Agency of Canada is expecting a smaller-than-normal shipment of COVID-19 vaccines this week, with fewer than 445,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech shots scheduled for delivery over the next seven days. Yet that seeming trickle is set to explode into a full-blown flood starting the week of March 22 as the companies dramatically ramp up their deliveries and other pharmaceutical firms start making good on their own promised shipments. The Public Health Agency says this coming week will be the last in which Canada will receive fewer than 1 million doses over a seven-day period. Pfizer and BioNTech alone are on tap to deliver more than that each week for the foreseeable future.
15th Mar 2021 - CTV News

People aged 50 and over can book Covid-19 vaccinations

Those aged 50 and above can book their Covid-19 vaccination in Northern Ireland, the Department of Health said. People have the choice of being contacted by their GPs and receiving a jab, or booking themselves in at one of the seven regional centres, if they have not already been invited to receive the vaccine by their doctor. Vaccination centres are being migrated to AstraZeneca for first doses, to maximise use of available Covid-19 vaccine supplies
15th Mar 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

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Police blitz targets parties driving Brazil's deadly COVID-19 surge

Police broke up an illegal party with nearly 600 people in a windowless Sao Paulo nightclub in the early hours of Saturday, highlighting defiance of social distancing rules that has made the country’s outbreak the world’s deadliest at the moment. COVID-19 killed 12,000 Brazilians over the past week, more than any other country. With 275,000 lives lost in total, Brazil’s death toll lags only the United States, where the epidemic is slowing dramatically.
14th Mar 2021 - Reuters

UK could give 1 million Covid vaccine doses a day ‘within next few weeks’

Coronavirus vaccine stocks in the UK are expected to more than double, allowing for up to 1 million doses a day in the next few weeks, according to reports. All over-40s should have been offered their first vaccine by Easter, The Daily Telegraph reported on Saturday, citing government sources. The paper said a “bumper boost” to supplies will allow the vaccine rollout to expand rapidly next week.
13th Mar 2021 - The Independent

CVS expands its COVID-19 vaccine program to 29 states as more doses become available

It indicates a way to close an interaction, or dismiss a notification. Starting Saturday, eligible residents in another 12 states can begin booking COVID-19 vaccinations at CVS pharmacy. This week, the vaccines rolled out to CVS locations in Colorado ...
13th Mar 2021 - Business Insider

Buy one ticket, get a Covid jab free! Russian club Zenit St Petersburg launch extraordinary Covid-19 vaccination drive as they offer ALL supporters the chance to be inoculated ...

Zenit St Petersburg have made the Sputnik V vaccine available from Saturday Reigning Russian Premier League champions host Akhmat Grozny at home Fans can receive the Covid-19 jab at vaccination stations at the Gazprom Arena
13th Mar 2021 - Daily Mail

COVID-19: Nearly 50,000 businesses sign up to offer rapid coronavirus testing for their employees

Nearly 50,000 businesses have signed up for the government's free workplace COVID tests, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced. The government claims this is a vital step towards restoring normal life after the pandemic. Tests can give a result within 30 minutes - and NHS Test and Trace analysis suggests they have a specificity of at least 99.9%. Mr Hancock said: "We have built a huge asymptomatic testing system from scratch, which is an essential part of our plan to reopen cautiously.
13th Mar 2021 - Sky News

Rooting for the home team: British journalist weighs in on U.K. vs. U.S. vaccine response

In the international race for Covid-19 vaccinations, the U.K. was first to a key milestone. It was the first country to authorize a fully tested Covid-19 vaccine, the one from the partnership of Pfizer and BioNTech. And the country has also embraced a strategy of spacing out vaccine doses to begin immunizing as many people as quickly as possible. The U.K. has now given 34% of its population at least one dose, and about 2% have been fully vaccinated, according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker. The U.S. has given 18% of its population at least one shot, and less than 10% are fully vaccinated. To discuss who does it better, STAT spoke with Natasha Loder, health policy editor of The Economist and host of The Economist’s new podcast, The Jab.
12th Mar 2021 - STAT News

COVID-19 vaccine teams to go to 'maximum capacity' and double jab rate

Front line COVID-19 vaccination staff are on standby to go to "maximum capacity" and inoculate twice as many people from next week. The move to ramp up the rollout comes as supplies of coronavirus doses are due to "substantially increase". The rapid expansion will raise hopes the target to vaccinate all adults by the end of July could be brought forward.
12th Mar 2021 - Sky News

GPs to choose vaccination role in under 50s as COVID-19 jab supply to exceed 4m per week

GP practices in England have one week to choose whether to remain part of the COVID-19 vaccination programme beyond the first nine priority cohorts - as NHS England confirmed an acceleration in vaccine supply had been brought forward.
11th Mar 2021 - GP online

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Former U.S. presidents to urge Americans to get coronavirus vaccine in new ads

Former U.S. Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter will star in two new public service announcements (PSA) for the coronavirus vaccine alongside former First Ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton and Rosalynn Carter, the Ad Council announced on Thursday. “The science is clear. These vaccines will protect you and those you love from this dangerous and deadly disease,” said President Bush in one of the PSAs with Obama and Clinton, urging Americans to get vaccinated. “That’s the first step to ending the pandemic and moving our country forward,” said Obama.
11th Mar 2021 - Global News

Covid-19: Brazil experts issue warning as hospitals 'close to collapse'

Health systems in most of Brazil's largest cities are close to collapse because of Covid-19 cases, its leading health institute warns. More than 80% of intensive care unit beds are occupied in the capitals of 25 of Brazil's 27 states, Fiocruz said. Experts warn that the highly contagious variant in Brazil may have knock-on effects in the region and beyond. "Brazil is a threat to humanity," Fiocruz epidemiologist Jesem Orellana told the AFP news agency.
11th Mar 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19: NHS waits at record high as second wave hits care

The Covid surge in January hit key services including cancer and routine surgery, NHS England figures show. Less than half the expected number of operations were done, pushing the waiting list to a record-high of 4.6m. More than 300,000 of those have been waiting more than a year for treatment - compared to 1,600 before the pandemic began. Surgeons described it as a dire situation which would take a long time to turnaround.
11th Mar 2021 - BBC News

China risks COVID ‘immunity gap’ amid slow vaccine uptake

Only about 4 percent of China’s population was vaccinated against the coronavirus by the end of February but there appears to be little sense of urgency among most health officials or the public about it. The reported goal is to vaccinate 40 percent of the population by the end of July – which would mean vaccinating 560 million more people – and achieve possible herd immunity by the end of the year in time for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Reaching those targets will require an enormous government push but there are few signs of that happening. And the country’s success in controlling the virus has ironically reduced the incentive to get protected, resulting in an “immunity gap” that leaves China’s population at risk and necessitates continued strict border controls and localised lockdowns when outbreaks occur
11th Mar 2021 - AlJazeera

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Restaurants are big beneficiaries of COVID-19 relief bill

The bill calls for grants equal to the amount of restaurants’ revenue losses, up to a maximum of $10 million per company and $5 million per location. Eligible companies cannot own more than 20 locations, and they can’t be publicly traded. The bill sets aside $5 billion for the smallest restaurants, those whose annual revenue is $500,000 or less. Industry groups welcomed the grants. The National Restaurant Association, an industry organization, noted that the Senate added $3.6 billion to the $25 billion allocated in the original House bill. While the $28.6 billion in the bill was only about a tenth of the amount of money the industry has lost during the pandemic, the restaurant group sees it as a win. “It’s going to keep doors open. The smallest and hardest hit are going to get the help they’ve needed the most,” said Sean Kennedy, an executive vice president at the group.
11th Mar 2021 - Associated Press

Germany sees up to 10 million coronavirus vaccine doses per week in June

Germany expects up to 10 million doses of coronavirus vaccine per week in June, a government spokesman said on Wednesday, but not as soon as next month. “In this first quarter we will get the expected and agreed deliveries, even a little more. For the second quarter, the delivery volumes will then grow steadily and it is important to have realistic expectations,” said spokesman Steffen Seibert. “A figure of 10 million doses per week, which is sometimes discussed, is certainly not something we will reach in April, but rather in June,” he added.
10th Mar 2021 - Reuters

Pakistan begins vaccine campaign to protect over-60s from coronavirus

Pakistan has started vaccinating people who are 60 years old or above to protect them from Covid-19 amid a steady increase in cases and fatalities from the disease. Pakistan is currently using China’s Sinopharm vaccine, which was donated to it by Beijing last month. Pakistan hopes to start receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine this month under the World Health Organisation’s Covax Facility. Authorities say Pakistan will receive 17 million doses of coronavirus vaccines under the scheme from March to June
10th Mar 2021 - Daily Echo

COVID-19: Fears undocumented migrants in UK may shun coronavirus vaccine over data-sharing worries

An estimated 1.2 million undocumented migrants live in the UK, and many of them could be put off being vaccinated due to worries about the NHS passing on their details to the police. Their suspicions stem from a data-sharing policy between the NHS and the Home Office to establish if a visitor to the UK is chargeable for healthcare they receive. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) says it has made it clear to NHS trusts that patients undergoing vaccination, testing and treatment for coronavirus only are not subject to Home Office status checks. The 'Take The COVID-19 Vaccine' campaign is urging the government to create a public awareness initiative to highlight this. "The government's current policy is the right one," says campaign founder Kawsar Zaman. "But the practicalities of it don't work. There isn't a strategy in terms of a public information campaign to encourage them."
10th Mar 2021 - Sky News

Alaska Becomes First U.S. State to Open COVID-19 Vaccinations to Anyone Age 16 and Older

Alaska is leading the U.S. in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, with anyone age 16 or older that lives or works in the state now able to get vaccinated. "This historic step is yet another nationwide first for Alaska, but it should come as no surprise," Gov. Mike Dunleavy said in a statement on Tuesday. "Since day one, your response to the pandemic has been hands-down the best in the nation. I couldn't be prouder of Alaska's response." There are currently three COVID vaccines that have been FDA approved: Pfizer and Moderna, which each require two doses, and Johnson & Johnson, a single-dose vaccine that is currently being rolled out. Pfizer is available to anyone 16 and older in Alaska, while Moderna and J & J are available to anyone 18 and older in the state.
10th Mar 2021 - Yahoo News

We got rid of Covid-19 in the Faroe Islands through competence – and luck

The government decided early on that rather than influencing behaviour by making laws, we would instead issue recommendations, says Barour a Steig Nielsen, prime minister of the Faroe Islands. "In some ways, our response to Covid-19 followed the same map as other countries: testing, contact tracing, lockdowns, public health campaigns and a reorganisation of our health sector. But, in other respects, our approach was unique. Unlike most other governments, we decided early on that we wanted to influence the behaviour of our citizens by issuing recommendations – not by making laws."
10th Mar 2021 - The Guardian

Covid-19: False test results 'ruining' return to school

Children in England are being unfairly punished by the insistence they must abide by "incorrect" positive results from rapid Covid tests, experts say. Reports have emerged of pupils having to isolate after testing positive at school using the on-the-spot checks - only for a more reliable follow-up lab-based PCR test to find them negative. Parents said it was "ruining" the return to school. Rapid tests at home or in workplaces can be overruled by a lab test. But the government has insisted this cannot happen for tests done in school - although it has been unable to explain why.
10th Mar 2021 - BBC News

EU gets extra vaccine doses to tackle virus border clusters

The European Union’s executive arm has secured an agreement with Pfizer-BioNTech for an extra 4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to fight a worrying surge of coronavirus clusters that are prompting the bloc’s nations to impose border restrictions. The European Commission said Wednesday that the deal will help “tackle coronavirus hot spots” and facilitate free border movement. The extra doses, to be delivered in the next two weeks, come in addition to previously planned vaccine deliveries.
10th Mar 2021 - Associated Press

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Greece gives green light for tourists from May 14: Holiday hotspot will reopen to international visitors who are vaccinated or can show proof of a negative Covid test, minister says

Greece plan to reopen to Brits from mid-May if they have negative Covid test. Greece will reopen borders on May 14, three days before Brits can travel abroad. The Greek tourism minister also said tourists will be subject to random tests
9th Mar 2021 - Daily Mail

Legal action threat over decision not to give police vaccine priority

Police federation bosses are threatening legal action over the government's decision not to give vaccine priority to officers. The Greater Manchester Police Federation says 11.8 per cent of the workforce has tested positive for Covid-19 during the pandemic, compared with 6 per cent of the general UK population. The numbers demonstrate how officers are at more risk of getting coronavirus as a result of their job, the Fed argues. Now the GMP Fed has put out an explosive statement making clear the level of anger felt by staff over the decision. GMP Federation Health & Safety Lead Phil Thomasson says it is seeking legal advice over whether the Government is breaching its 'duty of care' to employees under Health and Safety legislation.
9th Mar 2021 - Manchester Evening News

Coronavirus vaccine opens to Manitobans 80 and over, First Nations 60 and over

Manitobans 80 years and over, and First Nations people 60 years and over, are now eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccines. Along with the new age eligibility, the province also says spouses and members of the same household who are eligible for shots can now schedule their vaccination appointments at the same time, provided both meet the current eligibility criteria.
9th Mar 2021 - Global News

Advocates Fight Covid-19 Vaccine Concerns Among Agricultural Workers

Community health workers are working across the U.S. to reach some of the millions of Latinos laboring on farms and in meatpacking and poultry plants, a group that is at once among the most vulnerable to Covid-19 and yet more reluctant than others to get vaccinated. The health workers are battling a deluge of vaccine misinformation spread among agricultural workers’ friends and family as well as in churches and on social media. The health workers point to Facebook , in particular, saying posts often discourage the shots by amplifying widespread distrust of immigration authorities or exploiting religious beliefs. The health workers’ efforts may be crucial to bringing a swift end to the pandemic, given the spread of the virus in this community. Scientists warn that any delay in vaccinations could give rise to variants that are more transmissible, lethal or resistant to existing vaccines. California has given priority to food and agricultural workers for early doses.
9th Mar 2021 - Wall Street Journal

COVID-19: NHS hoping to drive coronavirus vaccine uptake by sending text messages and reminders

The NHS is hoping to drive the uptake of coronavirus vaccines by sending people text messages and reminders. Texts will now be sent to 40,000 unpaid carers and almost 400,000 people aged 55 and over. The messages will include a weblink so the person can reserve an appointment at one of more than 300 vaccination centres or pharmacies across England. If the move proves successful, younger people can expect to receive texts ahead of official NHS letters landing on doormats.
9th Mar 2021 - Sky News

U.S. government to ship 18.5 million doses of COVID vaccine this week, White House says

The White House said on Tuesday that the government will distribute around 18.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines this week, fewer than last week because no new doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine are ready to be sent out. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a news briefing that the U.S. government plans to distribute 15.8 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccine to states, tribes and territories, along with 2.7 million doses going to pharmacies. Last week, the U.S. government distributed over 21 million doses of all three vaccines. That included over 3.5 million doses of the newly authorized J&J vaccine.
9th Mar 2021 - Reuters

Volunteers are key at vaccine sites. It pays off with a shot

When Seattle’s largest health care system got a mandate from Washington state to create a mass COVID-19 vaccination site, organizers knew that gathering enough volunteers would be almost as crucial as the vaccine itself. “We could not do this without volunteers,” said Renee Rassilyer-Bomers, chief quality officer for Swedish Health Services and head of its vaccination site at Seattle University. “The sheer volume and number of folks that we wanted to be able to serve and bring in requires … 320 individuals each day.” As states ramp up vaccination distribution in the fight against the coronavirus, volunteers are needed to do everything from direct traffic to check people in so vaccination sites run smoothly. In return for their work, they’re often given a shot. Many people who don’t yet qualify for a vaccine — including those who are young and healthy — have been volunteering in hopes of getting a dose they otherwise may not receive for months. Large vaccination clinics across the country have seen thousands trying to nab limited numbers of volunteer shifts.
9th Mar 2021 - Associated Press

Most adults in rich nations face long wait for vaccine, distributor warns

Kuehne+Nagel says production capacity is main limitation to supply of Covid-19 shots. Kuehne+Nagel is also distributing jabs for Covax, a programme backed by the World Health Organization that is providing vaccines free to dozens of developing countries. Kuehne+Nagel shipped the first batch of Covax vaccines — 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca shot — to Ghana in recent weeks. “I don’t want to talk about hearsay or the feedback we get, but I would not expect it to be realistic that more than 30-50 per cent of people [would be] vaccinated in the western world before summer next year,” Trefzger said. Two or three years was an “ambitious timeframe” to distribute doses to vaccinate a majority of those in poorer countries globally, he said.
7th Mar 2021 - Financial Times

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Covid-19: Vaccine offers for all those aged 56 or over

People aged 56 to 59 in England are being invited to book their coronavirus vaccine from this week. Letters for people in the age group, offering them the vaccine, started being delivered to homes on Saturday. It comes after eight in 10 people aged 65 to 69 have taken up the offer of a jab, NHS England said. But the Office for National Statistics (ONS ) has warned the UK is "not out of the woods yet". More than 18 million people in England have already had one dose of the vaccine - over a third of the entire adult population.
8th Mar 2021 - BBC News

Retired medics administer vaccine to ex-colleagues

In Bristol, England, two married doctors have come out of retirement to give their former colleagues coronavirus vaccinations. Emergency physician Dr Jason Kendall, 55, retired in July after 37 years and was given a hand clap guard of honour when he left Southmead Hospital. Palliative care lead Dr Clare Kendall, 56, retired from North Bristol NHS Trust in October 2019 after 38 years. "You cannot sit around and see your colleagues struggling to cope in this pandemic," she said.
8th Mar 2021 - BBC News

Serbia's nurses too busy to celebrate Women's Day as COVID-19 cases rise

Almost a year after they admitted Serbia’s first COVID-19 patient, women doctors and nurses at the Clinical Center hospital in the northern city of Novi Sad are still at the frontline in the fight against the disease. Instead of a traditional International Women’s Day party, a legacy from the decades of communist rule, they spent most of their working day on Monday treating severely ill people. The risk of catching the disease which has killed 150 doctors and nurses in Serbia is great and their work is physically and psychologically demanding. “Emotions are involved in treating patients, especially when they are fully conscious and scared,” nurse Maja Cvjetkovic told Reuters. “Sometimes we sing to them.”
8th Mar 2021 - Reuters

Moderna taps Baxter to support fill and finish of 60-90 million COVID-19 vaccine doses

Moderna's two-shot vaccine is one of the three COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use in the United States along with Pfizer/BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson's. Moderna, which expects to make 700 million to 1 billion doses of its vaccine this year, said in February that supply to the United States had lagged recently because of "short-term delays" in the final stages of production at its contractor Catalent Inc. The company had signed a pact with Catalent last year to help support filling and packaging vials with its vaccine.
8th Mar 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Local pharmacists step up in COVID-19 vaccination effort

In the U.S., local pharmacy owners are filling in the gaps as federal, state and county authorities across the country struggle to ramp up vaccinations vital to crushing the COVID-19 pandemic. In some small towns across the U.S., an independent pharmacy is the only local place where residents can get a COVID-19 vaccination. President Joe Biden recently celebrated the injection of the 50 millionth dose of COVID-19 vaccine since his inauguration. But the huge undertaking has been hampered by vaccine shortages and concerns whether marginalized communities are getting access to shots. The hope is that local pharmacies will now play a key role in getting more Americans inoculated
8th Mar 2021 - The Independent

France ramps up weekend COVID-19 vaccinations after slow start

Thousands of people across France flocked to vaccination centres on Sunday as the government stepped up inoculations against the coronavirus to ease the load on hospitals and stave off further restrictions. French authorities have come under criticism for the slow vaccination rollout, which has so far targeted the most vulnerable only. About 3.58 million people of France’s 67 million population have received a first jab compared to neighbouring Britain, which is nearing 23 million.
8th Mar 2021 - Reuters

English children head back to school after two months of home learning

Millions of English children and teenagers headed back to school on Monday for the first time in two months, having endured their second extended stretch of home learning because of a strict national lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19. The reopening of English schools to all pupils is the first step in a four-stage government plan to ease the lockdown while trying to prevent a new surge in infections after a devastating winter wave that severely strained hospitals. Since the start of the pandemic, Britain has recorded 124,500 deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test, the fifth highest official death toll in the world and the worst in Europe.
8th Mar 2021 - Reuters

Japan COVID-19 inoculations off to snail pace start due to vaccine, syringe shortages

Japan’s COVID-19 inoculation campaign is moving at a glacial pace, hampered by a lack of supply and a shortage of specialty syringes that underscore the enormous challenge it faces in its aim to vaccinate every adult by the year’s end. Since the campaign began three weeks ago, just under 46,500 doses had been administered to frontline medical workers as of Friday. At the current rate, it would take 126 years to vaccinate Japan’s population of 126 million. Supplies are, however, expected to increase in the coming months. By contrast, South Korea, which began its vaccinations a week later than Japan, had administered nearly seven times more shots as of Sunday. Unlike many other countries, Japan requires clinical trials for new medicines, including vaccines, to be conducted with Japanese patients, slowing down the approval process.
8th Mar 2021 - Reuters

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Asthmatic Scots eligible for Covid-19 vaccine being refused jag, charity warns

In Scotland, patients are being turned away because of the mistaken belief they are only eligible for the covid vaccine if they have recently been hospitalised due to their condition, Asthma UK said. The JCVI priority group six, which is currently being offered vaccines in Scotland, includes people with severe asthma along with those aged 16 to 64 with underlying health conditions. Severe asthma is defined as those who either require regular or repeated steroids to treat their condition, or who have previously been hospitalised. But Asthma UK said some patients had been turned away on the grounds that they have not been hospitalised recently.
7th Mar 2021 - The Scotsman

Fast-food workers in LA face unmasked customers and unsafe workplaces, and are punished for speaking up about COVID-19, a damning new report says

Fast-food workers in Los Angeles are facing unsafe conditions at work, and outbreaks among staff at restaurants are threatening the area's ability to recover from the pandemic, a new report says. Fast-food workers in LA County are "especially vulnerable" to COVID-19 community transmission, the report by UCLA and UC Berkeley found. They often face unmasked customers and unsafe workplaces, the groups said. Workers aren't protected when they speak up, and some are even punished, researchers wrote. And the demographics of the fast-food industry means that women and minority workers have been hardest hit.
7th Mar 2021 - MSN.com

'Not running away': Women fighting on Britain's COVID-19 front line

After a year that has shaken Britain’s National Health Service to its core, women working at a hospital in the East Lancashire NHS Trust in England’s north-west talk about what the coronavirus crisis has meant to them.
7th Mar 2021 - Reuters

Don’t let bureaucracy constrict the supply of Covid-19 vaccines

The U.S. has gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about Covid-19 over the past year. Similarly, over the past few weeks, the scientific community has published encouraging analyses about the vaccines that are playing a starring role in leading us out of this crisis. Mountains of real-world evidence are showing that the two mRNA vaccines authorized by the FDA — the first made by Pfizer and BioNTech, the other by Moderna, both of which are supposed to be administered as a two-dose regimen — will provide substantial protection against Covid-19 even after only one dose. Considering that nearly every state is facing shortfalls in the supply of Covid-19 vaccines, we believe this groundbreaking development can help remedy some of the vaccine supply issues the nation is facing. This new evidence indicates that the second doses currently administered to comply with the FDA’s emergency use authorizations could instead be used as initial first doses — essentially doubling the supply. Unfortunately, governors who would like to follow this new evidence and provide protection for more citizens have their hands tied by the emergency use authorizations.
7th Mar 2021 - STAT News

Hospitals offer holiday and bonuses to Covid-weary staff in England

Hospitals are helping staff recover from the Covid pandemic by giving them extra holiday, bonuses of up to £100, much better food while on duty – and even drama and poetry sessions. NHS trusts across England are also hiring psychologists, expanding childcare and overhauling rest areas as part of a drive to reward staff for their efforts and improve their working lives. The moves by hospitals to show their staff how much they appreciate them come amid the growing row over the government’s plan to restrict the NHS England workforce to a pay rise of just 1%, which critics have called “an insult” and “a slap in the face”.
7th Mar 2021 - The Guardian

Malawi receives first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX - Malawi

Malawi received COVID-19 vaccine doses shipped via the COVAX Facility, a partnership between CEPI, Gavi, UNICEF and WHO. This is a historic step towards the goal of COVAX to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally, in what will be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history. The delivery is part of a first wave of arrivals in Africa, and the first tranche of allocations for Malawi that will take place in the coming months and year through the COVAX Facility. The COVAX Facility shipped 360,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from Serum Institute of India from Mumbai, India, to Lilongwe, Malawi, arriving on the evening of 5 March. The arrival in Lilongwe marks a milestone for Malawi in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic which has claimed over 1000 lives and created a heavy burden on health facilities.
6th Mar 2021 - ReliefWeb

Countries urge drug companies to share vaccine know-how

In an industrial neighborhood on the outskirts of Bangladesh’s largest city lies a factory with gleaming new equipment imported from Germany, its immaculate hallways lined with hermetically sealed rooms. It is operating at just a quarter of its capacity. It is one of three factories that The Associated Press found on three continents whose owners say they could start producing hundreds of millions of COVID-19 vaccines on short notice if only they had the blueprints and technical know-how. But that knowledge belongs to the large pharmaceutical companies who have produced the first three vaccines authorized by countries including Britain, the European Union and the U.S. — Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca. The factories are all still awaiting responses
1st Mar 2021 - The Associated Press

Officials to explore COVID vaccine supply gaps, boosting production

Though deliveries of COVAX vaccine started at a brisk pace this week, with developed countries ramping up their programs, the demand far exceeds the supply, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today. At a briefing today, WHO officials said they and their partners will hold a global summit on Mar 8 and 9 to look at gaps in the supply chain and examine ways to boost production. Also, officials raised concerns about a COVID-19 surge in Brazil, where the P1 variant is dominant.
5th Mar 2021 - CIDRAP

U.S. focus on Pfizer production could delay manufacturing of other COVID-19 vaccines, Serum Institute CEO warns

The U.S.' move to lock up raw materials and supplies for Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine could spell trouble for manufacturers working on other shots around the globe. The world’s largest vaccine maker by volume, Serum Institute of India, sees bottlenecks ahead, thanks to a U.S. law blocking exports of certain materials needed to produce COVID-19 shots. The World Health Organization has also raised flags about a global shortage of raw materials used to turn out the pandemic vaccines, Bloomberg first reported. In January, the Biden Administration said it would leverage the "full power" of the Defense Production Act to free up supplies for the production of coronavirus shots, including Pfizer's BioNTech-partnered mRNA vaccine Comirnaty.
5th Mar 2021 - FiercePharma

Czechs seek help abroad to treat their COVID-19 patients

With hospitals in some parts of the Czech Republic filled up, the country has turned to Germany and other European countries with a request for help. The Czech Republic, one of the hardest-hit European Union countries, has been facing a surge of new cases attributed to a highly infectious coronavirus variant that is believed to originate in Britain. Interior Minister Jan Hamacek said on Wednesday neighboring Germany has offered dozens of beds in its hospitals to treat Czech COVID-19 patients. He said 19 of them were immediately ready. Hamacek said that Switzerland was another country ready to help with 20 beds in its hospitals while offering to take care of the transport of the patients.
3rd Mar 2021 - The Associated Press

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1 year of COVID-19: A doctor's perspective Medical News Today

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic. As we approach the 1-year mark, Medical News Today spoke with Dr. Leo Gurney, who works at Birmingham Women’s hospital in the United Kingdom, about his experience during the pandemic.
4th Mar 2021 - Medical News Today

First great apes at U.S. zoo receive COVID-19 vaccine made for animals

Orangutans and bonobos at the San Diego Zoo have received a coronavirus vaccine, Nat Geo has learned, after some zoo gorillas tested positive in January.
4th Mar 2021 - National Geographic UK

States navigate COVID-19 vaccine distribution

From California to New York, states are grappling with how best to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to the most vulnerable residents as quickly as possible. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered three mass vaccination sites to operate 24 hours per day, according to the New York Times. The state has 164,800 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to distribute this week. That vaccine will be distributed at the three 24-hour sites, which are located at Yankee Stadium, the Javits Center in Manhattan, and at the New York State Fairground in Syracuse until supplies are exhausted.
4th Mar 2021 - CIDRAP

CureVac, Novartis team up in latest pandemic vaccine manufacturing collaboration

CureVac has already attracted two Big Pharma partners for its COVID-19 vaccine work, and now Novartis is getting involved. Tübingen, Germany-based CureVac and Novartis have signed an initial manufacturing agreement that’s expected to boost the mRNA biotech’s overall vaccine capacity by 50 million doses in 2021 and 200 million doses in 2022. The partners are prepping for technology transfers and test runs, and deliveries from Novartis’ site in Kundl, Austria, are expected to start this summer. Under the deal, Novartis is expected to produce mRNA and bulk drug product for the vaccine. Novartis “is a pioneer and has decades of experience in pharmaceutical production of proteins and in more recent years of nucleic acids,” global head of technical operations Steffen Lang said in a statement. The company is building its mRNA capacity at its facility in Kundl to meet growing demand, he added.
4th Mar 2021 - FiercePharma

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COVAX COVID-19 Vaccinations Begin In Africa

Health care and frontline workers in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana are the first to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with vaccine doses shipped by the COVAX Facility. In total, COVAX aims to deliver 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021, including at least 1.3 billion to the 92 countries eligible for support through the COVAX Advanced Market Commitment (AMC), the mechanism to provide donor-funded vaccines to lower-income countries, including Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire.
3rd Mar 2021 - Forbes

Shortfall on Covid-19 vaccines to be made up in coming days – Taoiseach

The Taoiseach said the shortfall of Covid-19 vaccines last week will be made up in the coming days. The HSE missed its target of administering 100,000 doses of coronavirus. Figures published on Monday shows that 81,843 doses were administered last week, falling short of its 100,000 target. The HSE said it was told by AstraZeneca late last week that its deliveries were being deferred.
3rd Mar 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

Kenya hails first vaccines as 'bazookas' against COVID-19

Kenya received over a million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, while Rwanda said it was the first in Africa to secure shots from Pfizer, as efforts to inoculate the world’s poorest nations accelerated. Kenya’s batch, which arrived on a Qatar Airways passenger flight, is the first of an initial allocation of 3.56 million doses by the global COVAX facility. “We have received ... machine guns, bazookas, and tanks to fight this war against COVID-19,” Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe exulted as the doses arrived at Nairobi’s main airport
3rd Mar 2021 - Reuters

UK to receive 10 million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses from India's Serum Institute

The UK will receive 10 million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses made by the Serum Institute of India (SII), the UK government said on Tuesday. Reuters reported in February that Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) was auditing the manufacturing processes at SII to pave the way for the AstraZeneca vaccine to be shipped from there to the UK. The move is likely to stir concerns that wealthy Western countries are procuring vaccine doses at the expense of poor countries.
3rd Mar 2021 - Reuters

Blast strikes Dutch COVID-19 test centre; police call it an attack

A blast struck a coronavirus testing centre north of Amsterdam before sunrise on Wednesday, shattering windows but causing no injuries in what police called an intentional attack.
3rd Mar 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Police arrest 84 people as thousands of fake coronavirus vaccines seized in China and South Africa

Police have arrested 84 suspects and seized thousands of fake COVID-19 vaccines in raids in China and South Africa. It comes weeks after the head of Interpol warned that criminal networks would try to cash in on the global vaccination rollout. South African police seized 400 ampoules, providing 2,400 doses, of a fake vaccine in Germiston, Gauteng, along with a big supply of fake 3M brand masks. They arrested a Zambian national and three Chinese suspects.
3rd Mar 2021 - Sky News

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Amid a chaotic COVID-19 vaccine rollout, states find ways to connect shots with arms

States and counties are getting better at the nitty-gritty of what's required to get COVID-19 vaccine into arms, but distribution still varies because of the nation's fractured and underfunded health system. It's led to broad disparities in state vaccination rates. “This is really a function of the total chaos of 50 state health systems in an uncoordinated, unresponsive, underreported system to the federal government,” said Barry Bloom, an immunologist and former dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “Crazy as that may be, that’s the American way.”
2nd Mar 2021 - USA Today on MSN.com

With COVID vaccine maker pact, Biden vows wide vaccine access by May

Today President Joe Biden announced the partnership of two pharmaceutical giants—Johnson & Johnson and Merck—who will work together to increase the supply of Johnson & Johnson's single-dose COVID-19 vaccine, which received emergency use authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this past weekend. "This is the type of collaboration we saw during World War II," Biden said today during a formal announcement of the partnership.
2nd Mar 2021 - CIDRAP

Merck, Johnson & Johnson to strike 'wartime' COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing deal: WaPo

Merck & Co., a leading vaccine player worldwide, has been largely absent during the COVID-19 vaccine race. Not anymore: The drugmaker is set to partner with Johnson & Johnson to boost production of its newly authorized shot, The Washington Post reports. President Joe Biden is set to unveil the deal Tuesday, the newspaper reports. During the first days of his administration, officials realized J&J had fallen behind on production targets, so officials jumped in to coordinate a tie-up between the companies. Recognizing it's a "wartime effort," the companies agreed to join forces when they might otherwise be rivals, one unnamed official told the newspaper.
2nd Mar 2021 - FiercrPharma

Using a collective ‘virtuous cycle’ to break the pandemic

Medical schools teach students a four-part “virtuous cycle” in which one step positively reinforces the next: Assess the patient. Implement a therapeutic plan. Assess the patient’s response. Revise the therapeutic plan as needed. In an emergency department, this cycle can be completed in minutes. In the cancer clinic, it can take months. Mastering the virtuous cycle is understood to be a central measure of medical competence. Yet when the patient is not one person but an entire society, this cycle is fractured and ad hoc in ways that would make any patient demand a new doctor.
2nd Mar 2021 - Stat News

COVID-19: Italy closes schools in 'red zone' coronavirus areas amid concerning growth in new variants

Italy's government has ordered the closure of all schools in regions hardest hit by the coronavirus amid rising fears over new variants of the disease. Italy was one of the first countries in Europe to see COVID-19 on a large scale in February 2020, and it has registered nearly three million confirmed cases since then. It is now seeing around 15,000 new cases per day and the trend is rising, putting the health system under strain.
2nd Mar 2021 - Sky News

Thousands of Farmworkers Are Prioritized for the Coronavirus Vaccine

A landmark initiative in California is taking vaccines to the fields, targeting an immigrant work force that is at high risk for Covid-19. Many of the workers are undocumented, raising questions about whether they should have priority.
1st Mar 2021 - The New York Times

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Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine to start shipping soon, but early supply could be uneven

Health care providers will begin receiving the first 3.9 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s newly authorized Covid-19 vaccine as early as Tuesday morning, though supply will be uneven in the coming weeks, senior Biden administration officials said. The first shipments account for the entirety of J&J’s current inventory. Officials expect another 16 million doses to be available by the end of March, though J&J told the federal government that the doses will be delivered mostly toward the second half of the month. “We do not expect any additional deliveries next week and we expect deliveries to be uneven during the weeks of March. We’re getting doses out the door as soon as they’re available to ensure vaccines get into the arms as quickly as possible,” one senior administration official said.
28th Feb 2021 - Stat News

Nigeria begins registering residents for COVID-19 vaccinations

Nigeria launched on online registration portal for COVID-19 vaccinations, its primary healthcare agency said on Monday, the day before the first doses are expected to arrive for its 200 million people. Nigeria is expecting 3.92 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to land on Tuesday. It will be the third West African country to take delivery under the COVAX scheme, after Ghana and Ivory Coast.
1st Mar 2021 - MSN.com

Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 1st Mar 2021

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Two Pfizer coronavirus vaccine errors have put the rollout in the spotlight — but nurses explain the safeguards

When two aged care residents in Queensland were given a higher than recommended dose of the Pfizer vaccine, it was a nurse who sensed something wasn't quite right. "The safeguards that were put in place immediately kicked into action," Health Minister Greg Hunt told the waiting media, after it was revealed the employee who administered the vaccine had not completed the required vaccination training. While teething issues with the national rollout were to be expected, the incident has seen Healthcare Australia — the company responsible for the training — put on notice for potential termination, and its CEO, Jason Cartwright, stood aside. This has put the spotlight on the wider vaccination process, and those involved in administering the vials.
27th Feb 2021 - ABC News

State-backed Covid insurance may be lined up for festivals

Summer festivals could be back on after the government said that it was considering underwriting an insurance scheme so that they could go ahead. The Treasury has until now rejected calls to underwrite insurance for live music events despite pressure from the industry and Tory MPs.
27th Feb 2021 - The Times

Privacy faces risks in tech-infused post-Covid workplace

People returning to work following the long pandemic will find an array of tech-infused gadgetry to improve workplace safety but which could pose risks for long-term personal and medical privacy. Temperature checks, distance monitors, digital "passports," wellness surveys and robotic cleaning and disinfection systems are being deployed in many workplaces seeking to reopen. Tech giants and startups are offering solutions which include computer vision detection of vital signs to wearables which can offer early indications of the onset of Covid-19 and apps that keep track of health metrics.
27th Feb 2021 - Yahoo News

Shocking North-South Covid divide laid bare by full list showing cases in each area

A North-South divide has emerged as England prepares to emerge from its third lockdown. London and the South East, despite being crippled by the new Kent variant over Christmas, has seen cases plummet in recent weeks. Now nearly all of England's hotspots for Covid are in the North or the Midlands. Millions in the country are now being vaccinated although so far only people aged over 60 have been called forward. But cases are continuing to circulate, especially among younger age groups not yet protected. And the latest data shows the lockdown is struggling to contain stubbornly high infection rates in the Midlands and areas of the North.
27th Feb 2021 - Mirror Online

S. Korea allows workers to squeeze extra doses

South Korea’s Disease Control and Prevention Agency has allowed health workers to squeeze extra doses from vials of coronavirus vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and Pfizer. The decision on Saturday came after some health workers who were administering the AstraZeneca shots reported to authorities that they still saw additional doses left in the bottles that had each been used for 10 injections. KDCA official Jeong Gyeong-shil said skilled workers may be able to squeeze one or two extra doses from each vial if they use low dead-volume syringes designed to reduce wasted medications and vaccines.
27th Feb 2021 - The Associated Press

COVID-19: People in their 40s first for phase two of vaccine rollout - no priority for teachers and police

The next phase of COVID vaccinations will continue to prioritise people by age and not their occupation to avoid slowing down the rollout. People aged 40-49 will be the next in line to get a vaccine after all vulnerable groups and the over-50s are covered, the government said. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said this would provide "the greatest benefit in the shortest time". It added that prioritising occupational groups such as teachers and police could make the rollout more complex and could potentially slow the programme overall, leaving some vulnerable people at higher risk for longer.
26th Feb 2021 - Sky News

‘A living hell’: Inside US prisons during the COVID-19 pandemic

Imprisoned people “can’t see friends, and they can’t maintain consistent contact with supports, but they also can’t go to mental health programming,” said Stefen Short, the Supervising Attorney of the Prisoners’ Rights Project run by the New York-based Legal Aid Society. “Well then what’s available to this person? At the middle of a global pandemic, when everybody’s at heightened anxiety, our clients are getting absolutely no support.”
26th Feb 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 26th Feb 2021

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South Korea preps coronavirus vaccines after political scuffle over first shots

South Korean politicians won’t be the first in line when the county kicks off its coronavirus vaccination drive on Friday, despite calls from the opposition party for the president to roll up his sleeve and take a shot to reassure vaccine sceptics. Leading political figures spent the week trading rhetorical shots over who should be the first to take a literal jab, but in the end, health authorities said widespread acceptance of vaccines in South Korea means they would stick to plans to vaccinate healthcare workers and other at-risk individuals first. On Thursday, the first doses of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine were distributed to clinics in preparation for the initial inoculations.
25th Feb 2021 - Reuters

CVS Pharmacies Adds Coronavirus Vaccines at 40 California Locations, Including in San Diego County

CVS Pharmacies will continue its rollout of the coronavirus vaccine Thursday as it makes doses available at 40 more select CVS locations across California – including several in San Diego County. The company said approximately 49,140 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are being made available to distribute at these locations in California through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.
25th Feb 2021 - NBC San Diego

Coronavirus Vaccine Finder Aims to Help Americans Get Shots

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hoping to make it easier for Americans to find Covid-19 vaccines, is backing the test of a centralized online portal where the public can search for nearby vaccination locations with doses on hand. The website, called VaccineFinder, is run by Boston Children’s Hospital with the help of several collaborators. It grew out of the H1N1 flu pandemic of 2009 and has been used for years to coordinate the distribution of flu and childhood vaccines. It expanded on Wednesday to include the availability of coronavirus vaccines at more than 20,000 locations, concentrated in several states. If the program goes well, the website’s developers plan to expand it nationwide in coming weeks to include nearly all vaccine providers that agree to be featured.
25th Feb 2021 - The New York Times

UK Covid hospital deaths up 311 as cases plunge 78% since start of England's lockdown

The UK's coronavirus hospital death rate has risen by 311. England has recorded 254 further deaths, Wales 21, Scotland 31 and Northern Ireland, five. It marks a 75 drop on last week's figures - when 386 hospital deaths were recorded across the UK. Confirmed cases of coronavirus have plunged by more than 78% since the start of England's lockdown, new figures show today.
25th Feb 2021 - Mirror Online

COVID-19: Lockdown easing risks 'cold wave' hospital pressure as non-COVID patients return to A&E

Senior hospital staff have admitted the prime minister's roadmap out of lockdown is making them "a bit anxious and nervous". Doctors and nurses at Warrington Hospital have weathered the first and second wave of the pandemic and are now bracing themselves for the "cold wave". This is the winter surge of patients coming into their emergency department with seasonal respiratory illnesses. This year the cold wave came late, but the sharp spike in A&E attendances means it is here now.
25th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Travel restrictions have no end in sight as European leaders worry about new variants

Looking to holiday in Greece or Spain? You could be waiting some time. European leaders are expected to say on Thursday that all non-essential travel needs to remain restricted as the Covid health situation remains “serious” across the continent, according to a document seen by CNBC. The European Union’s 27 heads of state will gather virtually on Thursday afternoon to discuss the current state of the pandemic in the region. The EU is still one of the worst hit parts of the world by the coronavirus, with a number of nations still in lockdown or with strict social restrictions in place. At the same time, vaccination efforts have faced a bumpy start and some question whether the EU will reach its target of vaccinating 70% of its adult population by the summer.
25th Feb 2021 - CNBC

India’s health workers baulk at taking homegrown COVID vaccine

India is struggling to convince its healthcare and front-line workers to take a homegrown COVID-19 vaccine controversially approved without late-stage efficacy data, government data showed on Thursday, days ahead of a wider roll-out. The country has the world’s second-highest number of COVID-19 infections after the United States, with cases recently surging as mask-wearing declines and states have eased social distancing measures. A lack of confidence in a homegrown vaccine could prevent India from meeting its target of vaccinating 300 million of its 1.35 billion people by August.
25th Feb 2021 - AlJazeera

Vaccinate prisoners en masse, not police or teachers, JCVI tells ministers

Teachers, police and other key workers should not get priority for Covid jabs but prisoners can be vaccinated en masse, the government’s advisory body has concluded. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) handed final recommendations to ministers on Sunday advising that under-50s be vaccinated by age rather than occupation, and that people from ethnic minorities should not get priority, The Times understands. At least 150,000 more people with learning disabilities have been added to the present vaccine priority list, after concerns that too many with severe problems were being missed. Ministers are due to sign off the next phase of the vaccine programme imminently and are expected to follow the committee’s advice. On Monday Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines deployment minister, said: “We will absolutely follow what they recommend.”