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

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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

Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 13th Apr 2021

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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

Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 12th Apr 2021

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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

Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 9th Apr 2021

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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

Maintaining Services - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 8th Apr 2021

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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

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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

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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.”
25th Feb 2021 - The Times

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Madrid’s vaccination plan for teachers and over-80s mired in confusion

Healthcare centers in Madrid are facing a frenetic countdown to begin vaccinating 130,000 people aged over 80. This next phase of the ongoing Covid-19 inoculation program is due to start on Thursday, but professionals from the sector who will have to administer the injections did not get any details of the operation until yesterday. The situation was mired in confusion on Monday thanks to contradictory statements made by the regional government, which first stated that the campaign would begin next week before rectifying and setting the start date for tomorrow. Workers from the sector voiced their complaints on Tuesday about the lack of planning.
24th Feb 2021 - El País

More than half a million have received coronavirus vaccine in NI

More than half a million people have received a Covid-19 vaccine in Northern Ireland. Those aged over 65 and the clinically vulnerable are among those being booked in for jabs. Health minister Robin Swann said it was a landmark moment. Mr Swann announced on Tuesday the first confirmed cases of the South African variant of Covid-19 in the region. He said three cases of the variant had been confirmed.
24th Feb 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

Covid-19: Africa vaccine rollout off to a slow start

Africa has now recorded over 100,000 Covid-19 deaths and there is growing concern over delays in rolling out vaccination programmes. Some countries such as South Africa and Zimbabwe have begun vaccination programmes, but many others will have to wait until later in the year for stocks to arrive. The first vaccines distributed under the Covax programme have now arrived in Ghana.
24th Feb 2021 - BBC News

150,000 more people with learning disabilities prioritised for COVID-19 vaccine

Everyone on GP practice learning disability registers - around 300,000 people in England - will now be added to JCVI cohort 6 - the group GP-led vaccination sites are currently focusing on. Cohort 6 covers patients aged 16-64 with underlying health conditions - including patients with 'a severe and profound learning disability' or severe mental illness. Around half of patients on GP learning disability registers fall outside the original definition of cohort 6 - but these patients will now also be offered vaccination as part of this group.
24th Feb 2021 - GP online

Malaysia rolls out Covid-19 vaccinations under state of emergency

Malaysia is set to roll out its Covid-19 vaccination programme on Wednesday as its prime minister faces accusations of exploiting the pandemic to seek a state of emergency and cling on to power. Malaysia’s king last month declared the nationwide state of emergency, the country’s first since deadly race riots in 1969, at the behest of the government of Muhyiddin Yassin, the prime minister. The monarch said the order, which will run until August, was necessary to fight the pandemic, but it followed the loss of Muhyiddin’s thin parliamentary majority after two members of his coalition defected.
24th Feb 2021 - Financial Times

India turns to private sector to boost sluggish Covid-19 vaccine drive

I first arrived in India in the mid-1990s at the tail-end of its socialist-style “Licence Raj”. New Delhi was relaxing control over the country’s economic life, but basic amenities — long the monopoly of the state providers — were still in short supply.
24th Feb 2021 - The Financial Times

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Sanofi to provide manufacturing support to Johnson & Johnson for their COVID-19 vaccine to help address global supply demands

Sanofi has entered into an agreement with Janssen Pharmaceutical NV and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., two of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, under which Sanofi will support manufacturing of Janssen´s COVID-19 vaccine in order to address the COVID-19 pandemic and supply needs. Janssen has submitted an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requesting Emergency Use Authorization for its single-dose Janssen COVID-19 vaccine candidate and an application for conditional marketing authorisation to the European Medicines Agency.
23rd Feb 2021 - PharmiWeb

Portugal's COVID-19 nightmare eases but end of lockdown still out of sight

Health experts warned that lifting the lockdown too soon could lead to a rise in cases caused by the variant initially discovered in Britain, currently responsible for almost half of the country’s cases. Another surge would be catastrophic for a fragile health system. Germany sent on Tuesday a replacement team of military doctors and nurses to take over from the first deployment sent three weeks ago to prop up Lisbon’s underresourced hospitals.
23rd Feb 2021 - Reuters

More German state workers to get AstraZeneca jab as doses go begging

The German government is reworking its strategy to vaccinate the nation against COVID-19 as its campaign, which has faltered due to a lack of supply, also faces public resistance to the shot from AstraZeneca Plc. As schools and kindergartens start to reopen from a lockdown imposed in November, federal and state health ministers on Monday reworked vaccination rules so that teachers will now get priority access to the AstraZeneca vaccine. “Children, the young, and their parents are especially affected by lockdown,” they said in a document seen by Reuters. “Since it can be hard to ensure social distancing with young children, teachers must be protected in another way.”
23rd Feb 2021 - Reuters

Executives with Pfizer, Moderna say they're ramping up vaccine supplies

Executives with Pfizer and Moderna said the companies are ramping up their supply of coronavirus vaccines, with shipments expected to double and possibly triple in the coming weeks, in congressional testimony Tuesday. In a prepared statement before a House subcommittee Tuesday, John Young, Pfizer's chief business officer, is expected to say the company plans to increase its delivery capacity of 4 million to 5 million doses a week to more than 13 million by mid-March. Richard Nettles, the vice president of medical affairs at Johnson & Johnson, said the company plans to have enough of their single-dose Covid-19 vaccine for 20 million Americans by the end of March.
23rd Feb 2021 - Yahoo News

States rush to catch up on delayed vaccines, expand access

A giant vaccination center is opening in Houston to administer 126,000 coronavirus doses in the next three weeks. Nevada health officials are working overtime to distribute delayed shots. And Rhode Island is rescheduling appointments after a vaccine shipment failed to arrive as scheduled earlier in the week. From coast to coast, states were scrambling Tuesday to catch up on vaccinations a week after winter storms battered a large swath of the U.S. and led to clinic closures, canceled appointments and shipment backlogs nationwide. But limited supply of the two approved COVID-19 vaccines hampered the pace of vaccinations even before extreme weather delayed the delivery of about 6 million doses.
23rd Feb 2021 - The Associated Press

Exclusive: AstraZeneca to miss second-quarter EU vaccine supply target by half - EU official

AstraZeneca Plc has told the European Union it expects to deliver less than half the COVID-19 vaccines it was contracted to supply in the second quarter, an EU official told Reuters on Tuesday. Contacted by Reuters, AstraZeneca did not deny what the official said, but a statement late in the day said the company was striving to increase productivity to deliver the promised 180 million doses. The expected shortfall, which has not previously been reported, follows a big reduction in supplies in the first quarter and could hit the EU’s ability to meet its target of vaccinating 70% of adults by summer.
23rd Feb 2021 - Reuters

Pharmacists say 'pooling' Covid vaccines could save thousands of doses

As millions of people across the U.S. line up for their coronavirus vaccination shots, health officials are struggling to meet the surging demand, the result of short supplies. Some pharmacists say a simple solution could get thousands more people vaccinated each week, but the FDA is standing in the way. It's called "pooling" — and it's not a new concept. Pharmacists have been doing it for years with everything from flu vaccines to some chemotherapy medications to antibiotics. It involves taking what's left over in a drug vial and combining it with what's left in another vial to create a full dose.
23rd Feb 2021 - NBC News

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Pfizer set to double weekly production of coronavirus vaccine

Pfizer expects to roughly double the number of coronavirus vaccine doses it makes per week for use in the U.S, CEO Albert Bourla said Friday at an event with President Joe Biden held at the company's plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The boost in production should take effect in the next "couple weeks," Bourla said, noting the drugmaker currently manufactures about 5 million doses each week. Pfizer has supplied approximately 40 million doses to the U.S. government through February 17, some 29 million of which have been administered since the vaccine's emergency authorization last December. Pfizer's stepped-up manufacturing is a result of improvements the company's made in reducing by half the time it takes to make and do quality checks on each vaccine lot. The pharma is also expanding its production network, tapping a site in Kansas to aid in the fill and finish of vaccine vials.
23rd Feb 2021 - BioPharma Dive

Coronavirus vaccine rollout begins in Western Australia with two hotel quarantine nurses

Two hotel quarantine nurses have become the first people in Western Australia to be given the COVID-19 vaccine. Four thousand five hundred doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine arrived at Perth Airport yesterday and were stored overnight in a Perth Children's Hospital (PCH) pharmacy freezer at minus 80 degrees Celsius. It is the first COVID vaccine approved for use in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
22nd Feb 2021 - ABC.Net.au

U.S. administers 64.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines - CDC

The United States has administered 64,177,474 doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of Monday morning and delivered 75,205,940 doses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The tally of vaccine doses are for both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, vaccines as of 6:00 a.m. ET on Monday, the agency said. According to the tally posted on Feb. 21, the agency had administered 63,090,634 doses of the vaccines, and distributed 75,204,965 doses.
22nd Feb 2021 - Reuters

More than 100,000 Covid-19 vaccines to be administered this week

In Ireland, more than 100,000 doses of Covid-19 are set to be administered this week, as supplies of the vaccine are to be ramped up over the coming weeks. Health Service Executive (HSE) boss Paul Reid said the light is “beginning to emerge” as the State scales up its vaccine programme. The CEO of the HSE said that it delivered some 40,000 to 45,000 doses every week, but that increased to 80,000 vaccines last week. He said that 13,500 of those vaccines went to people aged over 85, while 25,000 were delivered to healthcare workers and 40,000 to residents and staff in long-term residential facilities.
22nd Feb 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

Superdrug launches £120 COVID-19 PCR saliva testing service

In the UK, Superdrug has become the first high street pharmacy chain to offer a saliva-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for COVID-19, at the price of £120. The saliva-based PCR test is designed to be less intrusive than the standard method of using a swab to retrieve a sample from the back of the patient's nose or throat. It is available in all 200 Superdrug branches across the country and via the multiple’s website, it announced last week
22nd Feb 2021 - Chemist+Druggist

UK shopper numbers rise for fifth straight week despite lockdown

The number of people heading out to shops across Britain increased by 6.8% last week versus the previous week, a fifth straight week of uplift despite the national lockdown, market researcher Springboard said on Monday. It said shopper numbers, or footfall, in the week to Feb. 20 was up 10.5% in high streets, 4.5% in shopping centres and 1.2% in retail parks. “You could be fooled into thinking that last week was a normal (school) half term week rather than the eighth week of a national lockdown, as footfall continued to rise for the fifth consecutive week,” said Springboard director Diane Wehrle.
22nd Feb 2021 - Reuters

After Pfizer deal, Sanofi offers a hand to Johnson & Johnson for COVID-19 vaccine production

Sanofi hasn't abandoned its COVID-19 vaccine hopes despite a setback in the high-stakes race, but as it moves two different shots forward, it's also pitching in to make doses for its usual rivals. The drugmaker on Monday inked a manufacturing tie-up with Johnson & Johnson to help produce that company’s vaccine in Europe. The deal follows a separate agreement for Sanofi to turn out 100 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for Europe this year. When J&J's one-dose-and-done vaccine scores an authorization, Sanofi will give the company access to its plant in Marcy l’Etoile, France. Workers there will formulate the J&J vaccine and fill vials, and the site will turn out around 12 million doses per month, Sanofi said. The deal “demonstrates Sanofi’s ongoing commitment to the collective effort to ending this crisis as quickly as possible,” CEO Paul Hudson said in a statement.
22nd Feb 2021 - FiercePharma

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Continent’s medics boycott Oxford jab as Europe talks down efficacy

Europe’s faltering immunisation programme has been hit by a boycott of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine by medical staff concerned about its side effects and doubtful of its efficacy against new variants of Covid-19. Health workers in France and elsewhere in the EU are declining the Anglo-Swedish vaccine, increasingly portrayed in European media as a cheap and inferior alternative to the mRNA jabs made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
22nd Feb 2021 - The Times

Covid-19: Health chiefs say NI vaccine programme on target

Northern Ireland's Covid-19 vaccine programme is "ahead of schedule," health officials have said, after Boris Johnson announced new UK-wide targets. Earlier, the prime minister said all UK adults should be offered a first dose of vaccine by the end of July. The previous target was September for first dose completion, but the PM has now said it should "go further and faster" to help ease lockdown rules. Stormont's Department of Health said its plans were dependent on supply.
21st Feb 2021 - BBC News

Over 200 million coronavirus vaccines administered worldwide

Thus far, 92% of doses have been administered in high-income countries or the wealthiest of countries placed by the World Bank in the medium-development bracket. Together, they account for a mere 53% of the world’s population. Among the 29 least developed countries, only Guinea and Rwanda have begun to vaccinate their people.
20th Feb 2021 - The Brussels Times

How To Register For The Coronavirus Vaccine In Your State

The process to sign up for COVID-19 vaccines varies by place so NPR created a tool to help you understand how things work in your state and connect you with local resources.
20th Feb 2021 - NPR

Biden’s First Month of Covid-19 Response Marked by Larger Federal Role

In his first month in office, President Biden has positioned the federal government squarely at the front of the battle against Covid-19, tapping the military to staff mass-vaccination centers, joining with state and local officials to accelerate the pace of vaccinations, and requiring masks on buses, planes and federal property. But Mr. Biden’s efforts to use his bully pulpit to pressure states to take actions the federal government doesn’t control—such as keeping mask mandates in place—have had mixed results, and many school districts across the country are still grappling with how and when to return to in-person instruction.
20th Feb 2021 - Wall Street Journal

Covid-19: Number of coronavirus-related deaths falls for third week

The weekly number of Covid-19 related deaths registered in Northern Ireland has fallen for a third week. The NI Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) said the virus was mentioned on the death certificates of 99 people, in the week to Friday 12 February. That is 27 fewer than the previous week, bringing the agency's total to 2,673. The Department of Health's total for the same date, based on a positive test result being recorded, was 1,985.
20th Feb 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19: More than 17 million people have received first jab - as deaths surpass 120,000

More than 17 million people in the UK have now received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while the number of deaths has surpassed 120,000. Another 445 people have died within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test, according to the latest government figures, taking the total to 120,365. The deaths included a 16-year-old with no known underlying health conditions. Where patients were aged 16 to 100, all except four - aged between 16 and 68 - were known to have had underlying health conditions.
20th Feb 2021 - Sky News

COVID: Schools and outdoor mixing could be first areas where lockdown will be eased

The prime minister is still aiming to reopen all schools in England next month despite concerns from teachers and scientists. Ahead of an announcement about easing coronavirus lockdown on Monday, Downing Street refused to be drawn on specific reports that more extensive outdoor socialising could be allowed by Easter, including suggestions that two households will be allowed to meet outside. Schools and outdoor mixing are likely to be the first areas where rules will be relaxed.
20th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Coronavirus: Infections in Germany stagnate at high level

Amid repeated calls for the government to lift the lockdown, Spahn urged the public to remain cautious, adding that the coronavirus "doesn't just give up." "There are rising demands to end the lockdown and this is possible, but we need to be careful in order not to jeopardize our achievements," Spahn said on Friday. The RKI reported on Friday a slight drop in COVID-19 infections over seven days, with 56.8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 57.1 the day before, according to the German Press Agency (DPA). Germany's federal government aims for a level of infections below 50. States cas move towards easing the lockdown when the level remains under 35.
20th Feb 2021 - DW (English)

Australia's travel bubble with New Zealand to restart as Victoria records no new Covid cases

Australia’s coronavirus travel bubble with New Zealand will recommence on Sunday, the Department of Health has announced. In a statement issued on Saturday afternoon, the department said “green zone” flights from New Zealand could resume at 12.01am on Sunday, subject to some conditions. “The AHPPC monitors the situation in many locations and will continue to advise on a range of decisions in the interest of the health of all Australians,” said the chief medical officer, Prof Paul Kelly. “These decisions are not easy and we do not take them lightly – and all AHPPC members appreciate the ongoing patience and flexibility of Australians and New Zealanders, including those in the tourism and travel industry."
20th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

Covid-19: Which countries in Africa are administering vaccines?

Africa has now recorded more than 100,000 deaths from coronavirus, and there's been concern over the delay in rolling out Covid-19 vaccinations there. There has been global competition to get hold of vaccines, and African countries have generally not been as successful as richer countries in securing supplies. "It is deeply unjust that the most vulnerable Africans are forced to wait for vaccines while lower-risk groups in rich countries are made safe," says Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization regional director for Africa. France President Emmanuel Macron has proposed that rich countries in Europe and the US share their vaccines with Africa.
20th Feb 2021 - BBC News

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Pfizer coronavirus vaccines to arrive in Perth this weekend with high-risk workers a priority for initial 5,000 doses

Western Australia is set to receive its first 5,000 doses of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine this weekend. WA Premier Mark McGowan said quarantine and international border workers would be among the first West Australians to be eligible for the vaccine. "Our quarantine hotel workers, including hotel staff, cleaners, police, security and clinical staff working in our quarantine facilities are at higher risk of contracting the virus, so it makes sense that they are prioritised," he said. "That goes for particular staff at our airports and ports, particularly those who board and spend time on overseas vessels."
18th Feb 2021 - ABC.Net.au

Zimbabwe starts COVID-19 vaccinations, vice-president gets first shot

Zimbabwe kicked-off its COVID-19 vaccination programme on Thursday after receiving a donation of 200,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from China earlier in the week. Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, who doubles as the country’s health minister, was the first to receive the jab, at Harare’s Wilkins Hospital. Zimbabwe aims to vaccinate around 60,000 healthcare and other frontline workers in the first round of vaccinations. The elderly and those with chronic conditions will follow.
18th Feb 2021 - Reuters

These Doctors Want to Pick Their Covid-19 Vaccine, Fearing Reactions, Lower Efficacy

Health-worker unions in Europe say thousands of their members refuse to take one of the three Covid-19 vaccines available in the region because of concerns over efficacy and reports of side effects, the latest setback for the continent’s slow vaccine rollout. Organizations representing health professionals across Europe said this week that doctors and nurses shouldn’t be forced to take the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca PLC because it was shown to offer less robust protection against Covid-19 than the other two currently authorized in the European Union. They also expressed concern over reports that the AstraZeneca vaccine appeared to cause stronger reactions in recipients.
18th Feb 2021 - Wall Street Journal

Victoria's statewide lockdown ends. Data can tell us what to do next time

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced today the state’s five-day circuit-breaker lockdown would end at midnight tonight. The state’s health department reported zero new cases overnight from nearly 40,000 tests — the highest number of daily tests recorded in Victoria since the start of the pandemic. Andrews said a five-day lockdown is “infinitely better” than taking a chance and ending up with a five-week lockdown or worse. But in truth, we don’t know for sure what that chance is. The fact Victoria uses comprehensive “contacts of contacts” tracing means we have rich data to explore how testing and tracing would stand up under more dire transmission scenarios involving the UK variant and a multi-case seeding event.
18th Feb 2021 - The Conversation AU

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Covid-19: NI vaccination programme extended to carers

Northern Ireland's Covid-19 vaccination programme has been extended to include carers and more people with underlying health conditions. The vaccine rollout will be divided between GP practices and the seven regional vaccination centres. Northern Ireland's vaccine rollout is running weeks ahead of schedule, Health Minister Robin Swann has said. On Wednesday, the Department of Health recorded six more Covid-19 related deaths, taking its death toll to 2,015.
17th Feb 2021 - BBC News

German vaccination programme accelerating, but variants raise stakes: minister

Germany is set to speed up its vaccination programme, but even with declining case numbers the rapid spread of more infectious variants of the coronavirus means nobody should drop their guard, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Wednesday. Spahn told a news conference that Germany would have received a total of 10 million vaccine doses by the end of next week. Some 4 million people, mostly carers and care home residents, have so far been vaccinated. He added that a government programme to offer everyone free, rapid antigen coronavirus tests from March, financed from the public purse, would also help slow the spread of the virus. The German government has faced criticism for its relatively slow pace of vaccinations, and business is increasingly impatient for an easing of the lockdown, now in its fourth month, especially with case numbers drifting downwards. While vaccination was voluntary, Spahn urged the public to take up the offer of a jab: "If you wait, you risk serious illness," he said.
17th Feb 2021 - TheChronicleHerald.ca

Boris told not to lift lockdown quickly as NHS at capacity ‘for six more weeks’

The NHS is expected to remain at full capacity for at least another six weeks, warned a leading health official who urged the prime minister not to ease lockdown yet. Chief Executive of NHS Providers,
17th Feb 2021 - Metro

Scottish pupils to begin returning to school from Monday

Pupils in Scotland will begin returning to schools from Monday, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said, but the move would mean wider COVID-19 lockdown restrictions may have to stay in place longer. Sturgeon announced that a phased return would go ahead as previously planned with some age groups allowed to return next week, and others dependent on the success of that move and data on overall infection rates. “We are very deliberately choosing to use the very limited headroom we have right now to get at least some children back to school, because children’s education and wellbeing is such an overriding priority,” she told the Scottish parliament on Tuesday.
17th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Johnson & Johnson has only a few million COVID vaccine doses in stock as likely launch nears

Johnson & Johnson has only a few million doses of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine in its inventory even as likely U.S. regulatory authorization is only a few weeks away, White House officials said on Wednesday. J&J remains committed to providing 100 million doses by June but deliveries are likely to be “back-end loaded” as J&J works with the U.S. government to boost supply, Jeffrey Zients, the White House’s COVID-19 response coordinator, said during a press call. “Across the last few weeks we’ve learned that there is not a big inventory of Johnson and Johnson. There’s a few million doses that we’ll start with,” Zients said.
17th Feb 2021 - Reuters

In Naples, Muslim families struggle to bury coronavirus victims

When Ahmed Aden Mohamed brought his mother, Zahra Gassim Alio, to the hospital with knee pain, he never imagined that it would be the last time he saw her alive. After a series of complications, Alio was exposed to the coronavirus and she died soon after. When he went to the hospital to collect her body, Mohamed realised how complicated it would be to lay her to rest. Since his city of Naples, in southern Italy, did not have a Muslim cemetery, he was faced with a difficult decision: have his mother’s body cremated, which is forbidden in Islam, or bury her in one of the two closest Muslim cemeteries, both of which are about 150km (93 miles) away. The lack of a Muslim cemetery in Naples, Italy’s third-largest city, and one with a fast-growing Muslim community, has been a challenge for many families for several years. But the coronavirus pandemic has made things even harder.
17th Feb 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Brazil’s coronavirus vaccine rollout beset by supply problems

Authorities in Rio de Janeiro and several other Brazilian cities have said they would pause some coronavirus jabs because of a shortage of vaccines, as supply bottlenecks threaten to slow the inoculation programme in Latin America’s largest nation. A number of municipalities including Rio, home to 6.7m people, have in recent days paused first injections — or said they intend to — because of a lack of supply, with priority given to those waiting for a second shot. Salvador, home to almost 3m residents, has suspended first vaccine doses for health workers and the elderly. “We are waiting for a new delivery from the federal government so we can proceed with the vaccination schedule in our city,” Bruno Reis, Salvador’s mayor, tweeted this week.
17th Feb 2021 - Financial Times

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GPs could offer common asthma drug as early Covid-19 intervention

A common asthma drug, Budesonide, which could be given by GP surgeries as an early community intervention, has been found to reduce Covid-19 symptoms. In a small trial at the University of Oxford, the steroid inhaler was given seven days after the onset of Covid-19 symptoms and appeared to significantly reduce the need for critical care. The researchers also reported persistent symptoms, seen after 28 days, were reduced with the asthma drug. The study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, involved 146 people who had tested positive for Covid-19, half of whom were given 800 mg of Budesonide twice a day and the other half received the usual care.
16th Feb 2021 - Pulse Today

COVID-19 vaccine priority groups expanded as 1.7m added to shielding list

In England, more than 800,000 extra patients will be prioritised for COVID-19 vaccination after a major expansion of the shielding list based on data from a risk assessment tool. Around 1.7m additional patients have been identified as being at increased risk from COVID-19 based on a combination of factors including age, ethnicity, BMI and medical conditions or treatments. Of these, around 820,000 are outside the over-70 age group already offered a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine by the NHS and will now be prioritised for a jab. These patients have been identified through a population risk assessment by NHS Digital, based on a risk prediction tool called 'QCovid', developed by the University of Oxford and thought to be the world's only reliable COVID-19 risk prediction model.
16th Feb 2021 - GP online

COVID-19: Phased return of schools in Scotland to begin on Monday, Nicola Sturgeon announces

The phased return of pupils to classrooms in Scotland will begin on Monday, the first minister has confirmed. Nicola Sturgeon revealed the news in a statement to the Scottish parliament, as she said the country's lockdown would continue until "at least" the beginning of March and "possibly for a further period beyond that". She told MSPs the shutdown was working - with fewer COVID-19 patients in hospital and intensive care - but cautioned that "even a slight" easing of restrictions could see cases "start rising rapidly again".
16th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Lebanon begins vaccinations with sceptics a major hurdle

Lebanon’s COVID-19 vaccination roll-out has begun, but there remain concerns the most vulnerable people in the country may be left out of the campaign or excluded altogether. Regardless of nationality or legal status, anyone living in Lebanon is supposed to be covered under its vaccination campaign, including refugees and migrant labourers, who count for about 1.5 million of the estimated six million people living here. As Lebanon began COVID-19 vaccinations on Sunday, concerns about whether its notoriously corrupt government could handle the process fairly and competently were also out in the open.
16th Feb 2021 - AlJazeera

Syringe shortage hampers Japan’s COVID-19 vaccination drive

Fears are growing in Japan – where an inoculation drive against COVID-19 will begin on Wednesday – that millions of doses of Pfizer vaccine could be wasted because of a shortage of special syringes that maximise the number of shots from each vial. The government has made urgent requests, but manufacturers are struggling to ramp up production fast enough, creating the latest headache for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who suffers from weak public support.
16th Feb 2021 - AlJazeera

Initial sky-high UK in-hospital COVID death rate fell sharply

The in-hospital death rate among adult COVID-19 patients in England early in the pandemic was 31% but declined significantly over time, with older age, male sex, low socioeconomic status, Asian or mixed ethnicity, and underlying conditions signaling poor outcomes, according to a retrospective, observational study published yesterday in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. A team led by a researcher from University College London used the National Health Service Hospital Episode Statistics administrative dataset to estimate in-hospital deaths and contributing factors among 91,541 COVID-19 patients at 500 hospitals from Mar 1 to May 31, 2020.
16th Feb 2021 - CIDRAP

U.K. inspects AstraZeneca vaccine partner's India manufacturing, setting stage for supply boost

AstraZeneca set up a globetrotting supply network for its COVID-19 vaccine to deliver doses around the world, but it hasn't tapped regional producers to ease delivery shortfalls elsewhere. But that could change—and soon. British regulators are inspecting one of the drugmaker's biggest production partners, Serum Institute of India, which signed on to manufacture AstraZeneca's shot for its home country and other global markets. Sources close to the matter told Reuters about the manufacturing audit. A green light from the U.K.'s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) could clear the way for AstraZeneca to import the India-made shots to the U.K. and EU, which has struggled to beef up vaccine supplies after AZ said it would cut first-quarter deliveries last month.
16th Feb 2021 - FiercePharma

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Mexico begins vaccinating elderly against COVID-19

Mexico began vaccinating senior citizens in more than 300 municipalities across the country on Monday, after receiving approximately 870,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The effort was largely concentrated in remote rural communities, but hundreds of people over the age of 60 also lined up before dawn in a few far-flung corners of the sprawling capital, Mexico City, for the chance to get vaccinated. Officials encouraged people to not come all at once, but with shots distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, the demand was immediate. The government has designated 1,000 vaccination sites, including schools and health centres, mostly in the country’s poorest communities.
16th Feb 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Syringe shortage hampers Japan's COVID-19 vaccination roll out

Japan is scrambling to secure special syringes to maximise the number of COVID-19 vaccine shots used from each vial, but manufacturers are struggling to ramp up production quickly, raising fears that millions of doses could go waste. Japan, with a population of 126 million, last month signed a contract with Pfizer Inc to procure 144 million doses of its vaccine, or enough for 72 million people, with the vaccination campaign set to start on Wednesday. One vial is meant for six shots, Pfizer says, but it takes special syringes that retain a low volume of solution after an injection to extract six doses, while only five shots can be taken with standard syringes that the government has stored up in preparation for the inoculation drive.
16th Feb 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Pfizer coronavirus vaccine doses arrives in Australia, ahead of first jabs next week

The first doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine have touched down in Australia as preparations continue for the first stage of the national rollout, Health Minister Greg Hunt says. People will begin receiving the vaccine from Monday, February 22, with more than 142,000 doses arriving in Sydney from Europe just after midday on Monday. "They will now be subject to security, quality assurance, in particular to ensure that temperature maintenance has been preserved throughout the course of the flight, to ensure the integrity of the doses, and to ensure there has been no damage," Mr Hunt said. Mr Hunt said the doses would be split up among the states based on their populations, and more information would be released later this week.
15th Feb 2021 - ABC.Net.au

Phoenix is paying its employees to get COVID-19 vaccine. Other cities and employers offer incentives, too

Phoenix is paying its employees $75 if they get vaccinated for COVID-19. Other cities in the Phoenix area are rewarding their employees for receiving the vaccine, as well, either by giving them a discount on their health insurance or giving them wellness points that could add up to a discount on their insurance. The city programs come as many large private-sector employers announce they are doing the same. Dollar General, Kroger, McDonald’s and Olive Garden are paying their employees either a flat rate or a certain number hours of pay to get the vaccine.
15th Feb 2021 - USA Today

Covid-19: Special school teachers 'forgotten' in vaccine rollout

In Northern Ireland, it is an "insult" that the Stormont executive did not vote to vaccinate all special school staff, according to the National Association of Headteachers. A special school teacher has also told BBC News NI she felt "outrage, disappointment, fear and frustration" at the decision. Special schools in Northern Ireland have been open for all pupils since the start of January. Only a limited number of staff are to be given priority for vaccination. That will include some of those working in the direct care of clinically vulnerable children. Education Minister Peter Weir claimed the NI Executive had been "reluctant" to hold a vote on a plan to vaccinate all special school staff.
15th Feb 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19: Vaccine programme moves to phase two after 15 million receive first coronavirus jab

Letters are being sent to those aged over 65 and the clinically vulnerable to invite them to receive the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccine. It comes a day after the UK reached the target of giving at least one dose of the vaccine to 15 million people - the majority of them most at risk from the disease. This means that the first four priority groups - those aged over 70 and the clinically extremely vulnerable - have all been invited to receive the first dose of the vaccine.
15th Feb 2021 - Sky News

PoliticsNow: Health Minister Greg Hunt says 4 million vaccine jabs to be done by early April

Health Minister Greg Hunt says 4 million vaccinations will be administered by early April. It comes amid news that the first shipment of Pfizer vaccines have landed in Australia, while Scott Morrison told parliament that the first vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been filled in a Melbourne facility today. Premier Daniel Andrews says he ‘can’t say’ when the statewide lockdown will end as Victoria recorded just one new local case of COVID-19 today.
15th Feb 2021 - The Australian

When will lockdown end? How restrictions will be lifted in three stages, with pubs possibly open by Easter

In England, the Government has developed a plan for leaving lockdown that could see pubs and restaurants open by Easter. A senior official told i that Boris Johnson’s road map out of lockdown will begin with the reopening of schools, already scheduled for 8 March. Non-essential retail will follow, and finally hospitality. When these reopen will depend on how the return of pupils affects the virus’ reproduction rate, known as the R number. On Friday that figure fell below one for the first time since July.
15th Feb 2021 - MSN.com

COVID-19 vaccine in high demand across US, but supply limited

Across the U.S., states are expanding vaccination criteria and opening mass COVID-19 vaccination sites to an eager population. But, as the New York Times reports, few states claim they have enough vaccine supply to meet demand. The CDC COVID Data Tracker shows that 70,057,800 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered in the United States, and 52,884,356 have been administered. That translates to roughly 12% of the US population having had at least the first dose in a two-dose series of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.
15th Feb 2021 - CIDRAP

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Israel plans to reopen restaurants in March, restart tourism with Cyprus

Israel plans to reopen restaurants around March 9 and restart tourism with Cyprus as part of a gradual return to normality thanks to a COVID-19 vaccination campaign, officials said on Sunday. With more than 41% of Israelis having received at least one shot of Pfizer Inc’s vaccine, Israel has said it will partially reopen hotels and gyms on Feb. 23 to those fully inoculated or deemed immune after recovering from COVID-19. To gain entry, these beneficiaries would have to present a “Green Pass”, displayed on a Health Ministry app linked to their medical files. The app’s rollout is due this week.
14th Feb 2021 - Reuters

French hospitals to move into crisis mode from Thursday: newspaper

France’s Health Ministry has asked regional health agencies and hospitals to enter “crisis organisation” to prepare for a possible surge in coronavirus cases as a result of highly contagious variants, Le Journal Du Dimanche reported. The move, which would echo measures taken in March and November when France went into lockdown, involves increasing the number of hospital beds available, delaying non-urgent surgery and mobilising all medical staff resources. “This crisis organisation must be implemented in each region, regardless of the level of hospital stress and must be operational from Thursday Feb. 18,” the DGS health authority said
14th Feb 2021 - Reuters

AstraZeneca teams with IDT Biologika to speed coronavirus vaccine output in EU

AstraZeneca is teaming up with German CDMO IDT Biologika to quickly speed output of finished COVID-19 vaccine doses. And their pact doesn't stop with this pandemic. To address Europe's "immediate vaccination needs during the pandemic," the companies agreed to work together to speed output of finished AZ doses by the second quarter of this year, AstraZeneca said Wednesday. Their newly expanded deal has a broader goal as well—helping secure "Europe’s future vaccine supply independence" through combined investments in new capacity at IDT Biologika's Dessau, Germany, manufacturing site.
13th Feb 2021 - FiercePharma

Some foreign nationals are getting coronavirus vaccines in the United States

One of Mexico’s best-known TV hosts sat in a car, masked, looking straight ahead while a needle was plunged into his bare upper arm. Juan Jose “Pepillo” Origel was the latest Mexican national to get the coronavirus vaccine — by coming to the United States. “Vaccinated! Thank you #USA how sad that my country didn’t provide me with this security!!!” the 72-year-old star tweeted in Spanish on Jan. 23, along with a photo of his inoculation in the parking lot of the Miami zoo. Mexican social media users immediately savaged Origel, protesting that his ability to fly to the United States for the vaccine crystallized their nation’s vast inequities. About the same time, Florida health leaders, concerned that out-of-state residents and foreign nationals were flying in for precious doses of scarce coronavirus vaccine, moved to restrict access to people who live in the state full- or part-time.
13th Feb 2021 - The Washington Post

How India is delivering the coronavirus vaccine to its remotest villages

Vast distances, guerrilla warfare and vaccine hesitancy are just some of the hurdles India must overcome to vaccinate its 1.4 billion people against the coronavirus. Devjyot Ghoshal and Danish Siddiqui follow a feat of co-ordination as a vaccine makes a 1,700km journey to a rural health worker
13th Feb 2021 - The Independent

After failing to deliver, AstraZeneca rethinks EU coronavirus vaccine supply chain

AstraZeneca is scrambling to find more manufacturers to produce its coronavirus vaccine in Europe after the drugmaker’s bet on a limited number of sites fell short. By the end of January, only one continental plant — located in Seneffe in Belgium — was authorized to manufacture the drug substance for the vaccine coveted by governments across Europe, alongside two sites in the U.K. and U.S. After announcing the company would be unable to deliver nearly two-thirds of the 100 million doses it promised the EU by the end of March, AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot initially pointed the finger at the Belgian plant, now owned by U.S. company Thermo Fisher Scientific.
13th Feb 2021 - POLITICO.eu

Pentagon approves 20 more COVID-19 vaccination teams

The Pentagon has approved the deployment of 20 more military vaccination teams that will be prepared to go out to communities around the country putting the department on pace to deploy as many as 19,000 troops if the 100 planned teams are realized. The troop number is almost double what federal authorities initially thought would be needed. Chief Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Friday that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's latest approval brings the number of COVID-19 vaccination teams so far authorized to 25, with a total of roughly 4,700 service members. He said the teams, which largely involve active duty forces, are being approved in a phased approach, based on the needs of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
13th Feb 2021 - The Independent

New ‘do not resuscitate’ orders imposed on Covid-19 patients with learning difficulties

People with learning disabilities have been given do not resuscitate orders during the second wave of the pandemic, in spite of widespread condemnation of the practice last year and an urgent investigation by the care watchdog. Mencap said it had received reports in January from people with learning disabilities that they had been told they would not be resuscitated if they were taken ill with Covid-19. The Care Quality Commission said in December that inappropriate Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) notices had caused potentially avoidable deaths last year
13th Feb 2021 - The Guardian on MSN.com

Covid-19 pandemic: Warning vaccine roll-out risks prolonging crisis

The Covid-19 pandemic is unlikely to end unless poorer countries can access vaccines, scientists writing in medical journal the Lancet have warned. Unprecedented numbers of doses are needed, the article says, but poorer countries lack funds and richer countries have snapped up supplies. The experts want to see production ramped up and doses priced affordably. It is the latest warning that so-called "vaccine nationalism" is putting lives at risk. At last year's UN General Assembly, Secretary-General António Guterres called the practice - when countries sign deals to inoculate their own populations ahead of others - "unfair" and "self-defeating".
13th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19: C.D.C. Urges Reopening of Schools With New Guidelines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday urged that K-12 schools be reopened and offered a comprehensive science-based plan for doing so speedily, an effort to resolve an urgent debate roiling in communities across the nation. The new guidelines highlight the growing body of evidence that schools can openly safely if they put in effect layered mitigation measures. The agency said that even when students lived in communities with high transmission rates, elementary students could receive at least some in-person instruction safely — a finding echoed by an independent survey of 175 pediatric disease experts conducted by The Times. Middle and high school students, the agency said, could attend school safely at most lower levels of community transmission — or even at higher levels, if schools put into effect weekly testing of staff and students to identify asymptomatic infections.
12th Feb 2021 - The New York Times

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Churches pair up with clinics to deliver coronavirus vaccine to those who need it most

Pastor Joseph Daniels folded his 6-foot-3-inch frame into the mobile coronavirus vaccine clinic outside Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church in Southeast Washington on Wednesday and joked that he was no fan of needles. Before he knew it, a nurse wearing a face shield, a mask and gloves was applying a bandage to his upper arm. “Oh, okay,” he said. “That was easy.” Daniels was one of a handful of pastors, along with their spouses, who received a vaccination Wednesday morning as part of the city’s pilot program staging clinics at churches, part of an effort to combat vaccine hesitancy and improve access to the shots in hard-hit neighborhoods where vaccination rates are low
11th Feb 2021 - The Washington Post

AstraZeneca Plans to Double Covid-19 Vaccine Output

AstraZeneca PLC said it was fixing problems with the manufacturing of its Covid-19 vaccine and expects to roughly double monthly production to 200 million doses by April, as it seeks to move past a rocky start to the shot’s rollout. The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker reported strong full-year earnings and forecast increased 2021 earnings growth. The forecast doesn’t factor in sales of the pandemic vaccine it developed alongside the University of Oxford.
11th Feb 2021 - Wall Street Journal

Over 100,000 people from Mumbai got Covid-19 vaccine shots

After vaccinating 5,707 beneficiaries on the 20th day of the vaccination drive, Mumbai crossed the milestone of 100,000 beneficiaries on Thursday. A total of 1,01,364 beneficiaries have been vaccinated in Mumbai since January 16, when the vaccination drive began. Of these, 85,034 are healthcare workers (HCWs) and 16,330 are frontline workers (FLWs). On Thursday, the turnout was 61%, but the average turnout over the past 20 days is over 70%.
11th Feb 2021 - Hindustan Times

Covid: Prisoners like 'caged animals' in lockdown jails

Prisoners in England's jails have been locked in their cells for more than 90% of the day to keep them safe from Covid-19, the prisons watchdog says. And the extra restrictions, which began in March, have led to a decline in their mental and physical health and a rise in drug taking and self-harm. "It's being imprisoned while you're in prison," one inmate told inspectors. Predictions up to 2,000 inmates would die in the pandemic in England and Wales without action have been avoided.
11th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Germany to reinstate border controls over virus variant

The German government decided Thursday to temporarily reinstate border controls along its southeastern frontier after designating the Czech Republic and parts of Austria as “mutation areas" due to their high number of variant coronavirus cases, German news agency dpa reported. The temporary border controls and certain entry restrictions will start Sunday at midnight, dpa reported. Travelers coming from certain areas of Austria or the Czech Republic will have to provide proof of a negative coronavirus test in order to enter Germany a requirement that will present a hurdle for thousands of cross-border workers. It was not clear for how long the border controls would last.
11th Feb 2021 - The Independent

NHS workforce ‘on its knees’ – without ‘recuperation’ burnt-out staff will leave, warn leaders

The Government is being urged to have an “honest” conversation with the public. The sustained and constant pressure of the pandemic has left the NHS workforce “on its knees” and burnt-out staff will look to leave unless action is taken, warn senior NHS leaders. In a letter sent to the Prime Minister on Monday by the NHS Confederation, senior leaders from all parts of the NHS have issued several stark warnings alongside calling for a period of “recuperation” before returning to normal operations. With around 4.46 million patients awaiting routine surgery and up to 20% of the UK population needing mental health support, the Government is being urged to be “honest” about what the NHS can realistically deliver in the coming months to years.
11th Feb 2021 - Nursing Notes

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Barack Obama makes direct appeal to Black Americans to get coronavirus vaccine

Former President Barack Obama took to Twitter Tuesday to urge Americans - especially Black Americans - to get the coronavirus vaccine as soon as they are eligible. Mr Obama addressed misinformation about the vaccine, and asked Americans to trust the science behind the drugs. "There is a lot of disinformation out there, but here’s the truth: You should get a Covid vaccine as soon as it's available to you. It could save your life—or a loved one’s," Mr Obama wrote on the tweet. His tweet included a link to a New York Times opinion piece that included 60 Black health experts warning Americans about vaccine disinformation and the importance of the drugs in the fight against the coronavirus.
10th Feb 2021 - The Independent

NHS plans for annual coronavirus vaccinations

The NHS is planning a mass campaign of booster jabs against new variants of coronavirus as early as the autumn, in what the vaccines minister suggested would become an annual effort to prevent Covid-19 as the virus keeps mutating. High-street pharmacists and retired doctors who were not enlisted in the first phase of the vaccination programme could be involved in the effort to protect the UK against new strains, according to people familiar with the logistics. Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines minister, told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that the government was expecting annual inoculations to take place every autumn in much the same way as flu prevention, adding: “Where you look at what variant of virus is spreading around the world, you rapidly produce a variant of vaccine, and then begin to vaccinate and protect the nation.”
10th Feb 2021 - Financial Times

Teva Is in Discussions to Help Make Covid-19 Vaccines, CEO Says

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. is in talks with Covid-19 vaccine makers about helping to produce and distribute shots as demand rises for immunizations. The generic drug giant is offering to dedicate its manufacturing capacity in the U.S., Europe and beyond to aid with mass-immunization efforts geared at combating the pandemic, Chief Executive Officer Kare Schultz said Wednesday. “We have a large, worldwide network of manufacturing capabilities,” from creating underlying drug substances to putting solutions into sterile vials, known as the fill-finish process, he said in an interview. “There are a limited number of facilities that can do this kind of manufacturing, and it takes time to build them.”
10th Feb 2021 - Bloomberg on MSN.com

Covid-19: Care homes 'given only 10% of required PPE', and pubs plead for opening date

Care home staff were not given personal protective equipment (PPE) early in the pandemic because the government prioritised the NHS, MPs have said. The Commons Public Accounts Committee said care homes received only a fraction of the PPE needed. Between March and July 2020, the Department of Health and Social Care provided NHS trusts with 1.9 billion items of PPE, the equivalent to 80% of estimated need. The adult social care sector was given 331 million items - just 10% of its need. At the same time, about 25,000 patients were discharged to care homes from hospitals without being tested for Covid-19. Last month, our political editor Laura Kuenssberg interviewed a care home owner who said Covid "hit the home like a missile" last year.
10th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Schools are safe to reopen next month if rest of country remains locked down, say scientists

A “cautious” reopening of schools from March 8 can be done without sparking another wave of Covid-19, researchers said today. The findings raise hope that Boris Johnson will be able to proceed with an easing of the lockdown from next month. The Prime Minister is due to set out his roadmap on February 22, with the reopening of schools said to be a priority. Experts from University College London, Oxford university and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine say there is “tentative evidence” that it will be safe to start reopening schools, with the best option being to start with primary schools and secondary pupils in exam years.
10th Feb 2021 - Evening Standard

AstraZeneca agrees German manufacturing deal to fill vaccine gap

AstraZeneca has enlisted German drug manufacturer IDT Biologika to help boost production of its Covid-19 vaccine and tackle supply shortages in Europe. Relations between the EU and AstraZeneca deteriorated after the pharma group announced last month that it would fall far short on its promise to deliver the bloc at least 100m doses of the vaccine, developed with Oxford university, in the first quarter. AstraZeneca has since revised its first-quarter delivery forecast up from 31m to 40m doses, and announced that it would expand manufacturing capacity in Europe.
10th Feb 2021 - Financial Times

BioNTech gets rolling with mRNA production at former Novartis site in Marburg

BioNTech, under pressure with its COVID-19 vaccine partner Pfizer to manufacture as many doses as possible this year, has started production at a former Novartis site it acquired in Germany. The drugmaker has started making messenger RNA at the site, kicking off the manufacturing process for its Pfizer-partnered COVID-19 vaccine. BioNTech expects to produce up to 250 million doses of its vaccine there in the first half of 2021, and up to 750 million doses annually when the site is fully online. The first vaccines produced there will be ready in early April, BioNTech said.
10th Feb 2021 - FiercePharma

Japan to discard millions of Pfizer vaccine doses because it has wrong syringes

Millions of people in Japan will not receive Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine as planned due to a shortage of specialist syringes – an oversight that could frustrate the country’s inoculation programme. Standard syringes in use in Japan are unable to extract the sixth and final dose from each vial manufactured by the US drugmaker, according to the health minister, Norihisa Tamura. Japan has secured 144m shots of the Pfizer vaccine – enough for 72 million people – on the assumption that each vial contained six doses.
10th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

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Uber and Walgreens team up to offer free rides and access to the COVID-19 vaccine for underserved communities

Uber and Walgreens are teaming up to distribute the vaccine to underserved communities by offering free rides and education to the communities who haven't received their share of doses, the companies said in a joint statement on Tuesday. As COVID-19 vaccines become widely available at retail pharmacies across the country starting February 11, the two companies partnered up to help "drive equitable access" to the shots as health organizations point to a disparity in who is receiving the majority of doses. Walgreens President John Standley said the companies are each using their expertise to "take bold action to address vaccine access and hesitancy among those hit hardest by the pandemic."
9th Feb 2021 - MSN.com

India says J&J interested in making COVID-19 vaccine in country

Johnson & Johnson is interested in manufacturing its COVID-19 vaccine in India, a government official told a news conference on Tuesday. India also currently has no concern over the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine that is being used in the country’s massive inoculation campaign, Vinod Kumar Paul said.
9th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Japan Keeps Its Covid Fight Simple With a Rule Starting at Dinnertime

Call it the Zen art of lockdowns. In the fight to suppress Covid-19, Japan has found success by stripping down its policy to one simple measure: closing restaurants and bars at 8 p.m. When the government declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and other urban areas on Jan. 7, it changed little, except to urge places that serve food and drinks to close by 8 p.m. Most complied in exchange for support that includes payments of about $600 a day. Infections since then have fallen by more than two-thirds nationwide, even though other daily activities such as shopping and commuting have continued. The government hopes to lift the state of emergency by March 7. “In consultation with experts, we carefully crafted a policy centered on reducing the hours of restaurants and bars,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Feb. 2.
9th Feb 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

After Outbreak, Trains Start Running Again in North China City as Lockdown Loosens

Travel curbs on Shijiazhuang, the capital of North China’s Hebei province and center of a recent flare-up of Covid-19, were eased on Monday, with trains to and from the city resuming after a 34-day suspension. However, travel by highway and air remains banned. Operators of the city’s highways said business will “be resumed in an orderly manner” without giving a specific timeline, while intercity bus services will also stay suspended.
9th Feb 2021 - Caixin Global

Austrian hairdressers reopen but COVID-19 rules ruffle some

Austrian hairdressers reopened for the first time in more than six weeks on Monday as a national lockdown loosened, but new rules including a coronavirus test requirement for customers ruffled some. Despite stubbornly high infection numbers, the conservative-led government let schools and non-essential shops reopen on Monday, arguing that the economic and social toll of lockdown would otherwise be too great. With the lockdown loosening came new rules aimed at slowing the spread of the virus. Shops can only have one customer for every 20 square metres of floor space at a time. For hairdressers it is half that, but customers must show a negative coronavirus test no more than 48 hours old.
9th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Texas, California see large drop in COVID-19 cases

Texas and California, two of the states hardest hit by COVID-19 since Thanksgiving, have reached new milestones indicating that the spread of infections is slowing. The number of new daily coronavirus cases in California fell to just over 10,000 yesterday, down from 50,000 a month ago, according to KQED. Gov. Gavin Newsom also reported a 25% decline in COVID-19 patients in intensive care units. "Everything that should be up is up, and everything that should be down is down," Newsom said during remarks given yesterday at San Diego Petco Park, which will be the state's first mass vaccine "super station."
9th Feb 2021 - CIDRAP

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Confusion and chaos: Inside the vaccine rollout in D.C., Maryland and Virginia

The first precious boxloads of the frozen elixir arrived in December, bearing great promise for curtailing the pandemic that has paralyzed the region and the world. Nurses and firefighters got injections on live TV. Some of them cried. Watching at home, many hopeful people cried, too. But in the weeks that followed, that hope was mixed with frustration, then anger, as it became clear that getting the potentially lifesaving vaccine would not be easy — not nationally, and not in the District, Maryland and Virginia.
8th Feb 2021 - The Washington Post

López Obrador’s pandemic optimism falls flat after he catches Covid-19

On his first day in isolation after contracting Covid-19, Mexico’s president Andrés Manuel López Obrador had a call with Vladimir Putin. Whereas his first call with President Joe Biden, three days earlier, had been “friendly and respectful”, López Obrador gushed about the “genuine affection” from the Russian president as Mexico prepared to receive 24m doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. Foreign diplomacy does not usually interest López Obrador, but this time it was urgent: Mexico, one of the world’s worst-hit countries, faced a three-week halt in vaccines from BioNTech/Pfizer and needed more fast.
8th Feb 2021 - Financial Times

'I've Never Seen Such Sadness': Doctors' Burden Of Watching Daily Tragedies, Then Going Home To Lockdown

Usually we would go home from an awful shift and maybe have a drink or a meal with a friend, maybe go to the gym, maybe play some music and laugh. And then we are recharged and ready for when we go back to our next shift and we are able to deal with all the awfulness again.
8th Feb 2021 - Huffington Post UK

What recovery? Clothes retailers cut orders while factories fight to survive

Clothes retailers in Europe and America sit on excess inventory and cut back on spring orders. Sourcing agents face late payments. Garment factories in Bangladesh are on the rack. The global apparel industry, reeling from a punishing 2020, is seeing its hopes of recovery punctured by a new wave of COVID-19 lockdowns and patchy national vaccine rollouts. The pain is consequently flowing to  major garment manufacturing centres like Bangladesh, whose economies rely on textile exports. Factories are struggling to stay open.
8th Feb 2021 - Reuters

US administers more than 4 million Covid vaccines to most vulnerable: ‘We are on the path to protection’

The United States has administered more than 4.7 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to 3.8 million of its most vulnerable people in an effort to decrease hospitalisations and deaths caused by the novel virus. "Those who are dying in large numbers last year are now on the path to protection," said Andy Slavitt, Joe Biden's senior coronavirus adviser, during the White House Covid response team press briefing on Monday. People living in long-term care facilities, alongside healthcare workers, were prioritised above all others in the country to receive a Covid-19 vaccine. This was after the country witnessed deadly spreads of the novel virus within these facilities last year.
8th Feb 2021 - The Independent

Pfizer expects to cut COVID-19 vaccine production time by close to 50% as production ramps up, efficiencies increase

Pfizer expects to nearly cut in half the amount of time it takes to produce a batch of COVID-19 vaccine from 110 days to an average of 60 as it makes the process more efficient and production is built out, the company told USA TODAY. As the nation revs up its vaccination programs, the increase could help relieve bottlenecks caused by vaccine shortages. "We call this 'Project Light Speed,' and it's called that for a reason," said Chaz Calitri, Pfizer's vice president for operations for sterile injectables, who runs the company's plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan. "Just in the last month we've doubled output."
8th Feb 2021 - USA Today on MSN.com

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Pfizer expects to cut COVID-19 vaccine production time by close to 50% as production ramps up, efficiencies increase

Pfizer expects to nearly cut in half the amount of time it takes to produce a batch of COVID-19 vaccine from 110 days to an average of 60 as it makes the process more efficient and production is built out, the company told USA TODAY. As the nation revs up its vaccination programs, the increase could help relieve bottlenecks caused by vaccine shortages. "We call this 'Project Light Speed,' and it's called that for a reason," said Chaz Calitri, Pfizer's vice president for operations for sterile injectables, who runs the company's plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan. "Just in the last month we've doubled output."
7th Feb 2021 - USA TODAY on MSN.com

Covid-19 Vaccine Promises Fall Short for Many Doctors, Elderly in Europe

Eugenio Del Rio, a 77-year-old writer, leaves his Madrid apartment only to shop for food and take an occasional stroll as he awaits his turn to get the coronavirus vaccine. The wait is getting longer and longer. So long, in fact, that he has come to realize a book he is writing, about the cultural factors that pushed some youth to oppose the Franco regime, might be published before the country is through the pandemic. “I hope to be vaccinated in April, but even if that happens it will be ages before we return to normal life because so many people will still need to be vaccinated,” said Mr. Del Rio.
7th Feb 2021 - Wall Street Journal

Covid-19: Extra testing opens in Bristol and South Gloucestershire

Additional testing to track and suppress the spread of a Covid-19 variant has been rolled out in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. People who do not have symptoms but live in 24 postcode areas are "strongly encouraged" to get tested. Additional testing has been introduced in Worcestershire and Sefton after the South Africa variant was found. Bristol City Council's director of public health said people should follow existing health advice.
7th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Scotland hits coronavirus vaccine milestone as more than three quarters of a million receive first dose

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has hailed the "enormous efforts" of coronavirus vaccinators as the number of Scots to have been given their first injection passed three quarters of a million. Figures published by the Scottish Government showed that by Saturday morning, 786,427 people had now had their first jab - with 10,332 having received both doses of the vaccine. The figures were revealed as it was announced there had been a further 48 deaths among those who had tested positive for the virus in the past 28 days - taking the total number of deaths under this measurement to 6,431. In addition, a further 895 cases of Covid-19 have been reported in the past 24 hours - 5.9% of all those tested.
6th Feb 2021 - Daily Record

The Latest: Sri Lankan officials say vaccinations advancing

Sri Lankan health officials said on Saturday that more than half of the health workers and frontline military and police officers have so far been vaccinated against COVID-19. Sri Lanka last week began inoculating it’s frontline health workers, military troops and police officers against COVID-19 amid warnings that the sector faces a collapse with a number of health staff being infected with the new coronavirus. The ministry had planned to first vaccinate 150,000 health workers and selected 115,000 military and police personnel. By Saturday, 156,310 had been given with COVISHIELD vaccine. India had donated 500,000 does of Oxford-AstraZenica vaccine also known as the COVISHIELD which is the only vaccine approved by the regulatory body in Sri Lanka. Health ministry says Sri Lanka has ordered 18 millions doses of COVISHIELD vaccines and also had asked to allocate 2 million doses of Pfizer-BioNtech. Besides, China has promised to provide 300,000 shots of Sinopharm vaccine this month.
5th Feb 2021 - The Associated Press

Covid: All over-50s in UK to be offered vaccine by May

All adults aged 50 and over should have been offered a coronavirus vaccine by May, Downing Street has confirmed. Previously ministers had said it was their "ambition" to vaccinate the first nine priority groups by the spring.
5th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Moderna sets sights on $200M vaccine factory in Seoul: report

With supply contracts for 50 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in Japan and 40 million in South Korea, Moderna has already made a push into the Asian market. Now, it's laying out plans for a factory all its own in the region. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based drugmaker is in talks with the South Korean government to invest $200 million into a vaccine production plant in the country, Park Young-sun, a former government minister involved in the plans, told the Asia Business Daily, Reuters reports. Moderna is eager to push into the region, she added.
5th Feb 2021 - FiercePharma

‘Like going to war’: Life and death on a Covid intensive care ward

On the intensive care ward of Northwick Park Hospital in north London, physiotherapist Mirko Vracar stands among dozens of coronavirus patients, surrounded by a cacophony of beeping alarms and hissing machinery. The patients lie comatose, ventilators breathing for them, while doctors and nurses speak in urgent, hushed tones, their voices muffled behind masks. For Mirko, redeployed to help the overstretched staff, the work is difficult and the stakes could not be higher. Since Christmas he has spent five days a week on these wards, working in a team that “prones” these patients – moving them on to their fronts so their Covid-ravaged lungs can breathe a little easier. They do this as many as 25 times a shift.
5th Feb 2021 - The Independent

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Outrage as 'people jump queue for a coronavirus vaccine' after being sent NHS link

Non-priority groups including Public Health England workers and friends of NHS staff have been jumping the queue for the coronavirus vaccine jab. Over a hundred members of PHE staff at Porton Down, Wiltshire, have had the treatment, even though they are not in an of the qualifying categories. The director at the facility insisted they were spare doses that would have gone to waste if they had not been used - but would not comment on the total
4th Feb 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid: UK 'past the peak' but levels 'forbiddingly' too high to relax lockdown

It is too soon to imagine the relaxation of lockdown restrictions in England, with infection levels of coronavirus "still forbiddingly high", the prime minister has said, though the UK is thought to be "past the peak". Boris Johnson said the UK's Covid vaccination programme has provided "some signs of hope", with 10 million people having received their first jab, but he warned the NHS is still "under huge pressure". The PM said his plan remains to set out a plan, on February 22, for an exit out of lockdown but the "level of infection is still forbiddingly high for us to imagine relaxation of currently guidelines".
4th Feb 2021 - ITV News

Restaurants face 'wave of bankruptcies' after lockdowns

The food services sector has been hit hard by the Coronavirus pandemic, but governments are struggling to find ways to reopen safely. On Monday, Italy eased restrictions in sixteen regions, allowing restaurants and museums to reopen after months of closure. But the country remains an exception in Europe. In Brussels, the streets of the normally lively city centre have been eerily empty for more than three months now. To make matters worse, the sector has had to adjust to wildly zig-zagging policy decisions over the past year that have varied enormously between different countries.
4th Feb 2021 - EURACTIV

The Health 202: How West Virginia beat other states in administering coronavirus vaccines

The Biden administration will start shipping extra coronavirus vaccine doses straight to pharmacies, hoping to speed the process of getting shots into arms. But in West Virginia — which has administered the vaccines faster than any other state except Alaska — officials lament that the new allocations will not be going directly to the state to distribute. “We’re appreciative of any help we’re given, but we would appreciate it more if we would get it delivered to us and in our system,” James Hoyer, the director of the Joint Interagency Task Force for Vaccines in West Virginia, said yesterday.
4th Feb 2021 - Washington Post

COVID-19 challenges continue across US

As the United States continues to roll out doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, states continue to struggle with how best to reach the elderly and minorities, groups at greater risk for severe COVID-19. In Mississippi, 38% of state residents are black—the highest in the nation—but only 17% of the state's vaccine recipients have identified as black. An NBC News analysis on that state shows several barriers to accessing the vaccine: Many residents live far from a drive-thru vaccination site and lack access to a car. Similarly, announcements made about open vaccination slots and registration times are missed by people without reliable internet access.
4th Feb 2021 - CIDRAP

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New U.S. transportation chief optimistic about future of travel despite COVID-19

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Wednesday he was “deeply optimistic” about the future of travel despite the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on airlines, airports, transit systems and road use. The pandemic has sent tens of millions of workers home for months, slashed tourism and business travel demand and placed significant burdens on transportation services to deliver packages, vaccines and other critical goods. Much of the nation’s travel sector is again asking Congress for a new round of emergency funding. “We will break new ground in ensuring that our economy recovers and rebuilds, in rising to the climate challenge, and in making sure transportation is an engine for equity in this country,” said Buttigieg, who was sworn in Wednesday, in an email to staff.
4th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Vaccination sites opening in hard-hit California communities to tackle COVID disparities

New vaccination centers are due to open this month in the heart of two California communities especially hard hit by the coronavirus, as state and federal officials try to tackle racial and economic disparities hindering U.S. immunization efforts. Joint plans to launch the two sites on Feb. 16, at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum in Oakland and the California State University campus in east Los Angeles, were detailed separately on Wednesday by Governor Gavin Newsom and the Biden administration’s COVID-19 response coordinator, Jeff Zients.
4th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Slow COVID-19 vaccine rollout expected in war- ravaged Syria

The success of the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in war-ravaged Syria depends on their availability and distribution and may initially cover only 3% of the population, a World Health Organization official said Tuesday. Akjemal Magtymova, WHO's representative in Syria, said the country is eligible to receive vaccines for free through the global COVAX effort aimed at helping lower-income countries obtain the shots. But Magtymova couldn't say when the first shipment would arrive, how many vaccines were expected, or how they would be rolled out in a divided country still at war. The COVAX rollout is expected to begin in April. Magtymova spoke to The Associated Press in the capital Damascus amid concerns over the equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines across the country, where the health care sector has been devastated by a decade of war and remains divided into three rival parts.
3rd Feb 2021 - The Independent

Some U.S. pharmacies to begin getting direct shipments of coronavirus vaccine

Several thousand pharmacies across the United States will start to receive direct shipments of coronavirus vaccine next week in the first phase of a strategy intended to simplify the ability to get shots, White House officials said Tuesday. Jeff Zients, coordinator of the White House’s covid-19 response, said the 1 million doses that will be sent to pharmacies starting Feb. 11 come on top of a modest increase in vaccine allocations to states that is beginning this week. And to help states cope with financial burdens created by the pandemic, Zients said, the government will reimburse them retroactively for emergency expenses associated with fighting the public health crisis, including the purchase of masks and gloves, and the mobilization of the National Guard.
3rd Feb 2021 - The Washington Post

MP encourages city's Black community to get covid jab

A Merseyside MP has visited a health centre to encourage the city's Black community to take up the offer of a coronavirus vaccine. Liverpool Riverside MP Kim Johnson visited Princes Park Health Centre, which recently began its Covid-19 vaccination programme. Ms Johnson, along with Dr Katy Gardner, Cllr Steve Munby and Cate Murphy, a member of the MP's team, were given a full tour of the centre. Ms Johnson said: "We were blown away by the dedication and expertise of all the staff, including Dr David Lewis, Fiona Lemmens, Michelle Fairhurst and the fantastic team of medical students. "While I welcome the development, the delay has been frustrating.
3rd Feb 2021 - Liverpool Echo

Coronavirus: German medics fly in to aid Portugal's hospital emergency

The sight of a German military plane touching down in Lisbon on Wednesday, carrying intensive care specialists and ventilators to help save lives in Portugal's embattled hospitals, recalls the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic in Europe. Last spring, when Italy was overwhelmed by the first wave of infections, it was helped out by several other European countries taking in patients - even if many Italians felt it was too little, too late. Now, almost a year on, it is Portugal's turn. The country's national health service is overwhelmed. There's a shortage of beds and specialist nurses, and in one hospital last week, potentially life-threatening problems in an overburdened oxygen system.
3rd Feb 2021 - BBC News

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Hundreds queue in rain as Covid doorstep tests for 'worrying' South Africa strain start

Hundreds of people have queued for coronavirus tests in the rain in areas of England where officials fear the South African variant is spreading. The Government has ordered urgent testing in eight postcode areas where the mutation has been detected. Even people with no symptoms are being urged to get tested. Around 80,000 residents in parts of London, Kent, Surrey, Hertfordshire, West Midlands, and Merseyside are caught up in the 'surge' testing blitz. Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the door-to-door testing plan in a Downing Street press conference on Monday night. Officials are in a bid to track down "every single case" of the mutant South African strain to prevent it spreading further.
3rd Feb 2021 - Mirror Online

Farmers sue state over COVID-19 rules for migrant workers

Two farm groups are suing the state of Washington for failing to revise emergency regulations that seek to protect migrant farmworkers from the COVID-19 virus. The groups filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Yakima County Superior Court. It seeks to invalidate the recently renewed rules as arbitrary, capricious and not feasible. “We’re disappointed we had to take this step, but our farms are on the line and we had no other choice,” said John Stuhlmiller, chief executive officer of the Washington Farm Bureau. The state Department of Health renewed the emergency rules, first adopted last spring, for the third time on Jan. 8. In addition, Gov. Jay Inslee last month rejected the two groups’ request to repeal and revise the rules.
2nd Feb 2021 - Associated Press

Emergency UK funding failing to reach Covid-hit companies

Small businesses are missing out on millions of pounds of emergency grants promised by the UK government as long ago as November, sparking warnings that many will not survive unless access to this cash is unlocked. Councils have been struggling to distribute the money, including a share of £12bn worth of support first offered last year according to the Local Government Association, due to the volume of paperwork and changes to lockdown regulations. There have been 10 different tranches of funding to sustain small businesses without the cash reserves or covenants of larger companies through local tier restrictions established in October and the one month lockdown for England that ran from November 5. The schemes also cover support for different regional restrictions in December and the current lockdown in England, which is expected to run until at least February 22.
2nd Feb 2021 - Financial Times

Spain’s bars and restaurants confront their darkest hour

Spain’s hospitality sector, which is taking the brunt of the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, now faces its toughest months since the country emerged from its first state of alarm in June. Between the start of the summer and the third wave of the pandemic, there were certain restrictions in place, but the vast majority of establishments were still able to stay open. Now, with the post-Christmas surge in Covid-19 cases filling hospitals’ intensive care units, the authorities have once again been obliged to crack down. “The sector is in ruins, we are closed in half of Spain,” notes José Luis Yzuel, president of the hospitality business association Hostelería de España.
2nd Feb 2021 - EL PAÍS in English

Moderna Could Boost Vaccine Supply by Adding Doses to Vials

U.S. regulators could decide within a few weeks whether to allow Moderna, the developer of one of the two federally authorized Covid-19 vaccines, to increase the number of doses in its vials — which could accelerate the nation’s vaccination rate. Moderna is hoping to raise the number of doses in its vials to as many as 15 from the current 10 doses. The proposal reflects the fact that the company has been ramping up production of its vaccine to the point where the final manufacturing stage, when it is bottled, capped and labeled, has emerged as a roadblock to expanding its distribution. If the change does go through, it could be hugely welcome news in the campaign to curb a pandemic that has killed more than 440,000 people in the United States alone. In a statement late Monday, Ray Jordan, a Moderna spokesman, said the constraint on dosage per vial was limiting Moderna’s output.
2nd Feb 2021 - The New York Times

WHO team visits animal disease center in Wuhan, China

Further details of the visit were not announced in what has been a tightly controlled trip, with the media only able to glimpse the team coming and going from its hotel and site visits. The team members wore full protective gear during Tuesday’s visit. It’s not clear if they wore similar full-body suits at the research institutes, hospitals and markets they visited on previous days. Outside their hotel and en route to and from visits, the experts have worn masks and professional or business casual attire. Intense negotiations preceded the WHO visit to Wuhan, where the first COVID-19 cases were detected in late 2019. China has maintained strict controls on access to information about the virus, possibly to avoid blame for alleged missteps in its early response to the outbreak. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the Chinese government had provided significant support and assistance to the WHO team, responding to criticism that China has not revealed much about what the researchers are being allowed to do.
2nd Feb 2021 - The Associated Press

Austria to loosen lockdown, allowing shops and schools to reopen

Austria will loosen its coronavirus lockdown next week, switching to a nighttime curfew from all-day restrictions on movement and letting non-essential shops and schools reopen. The conservative-led government announced the move despite coronavirus infections staying higher than it would like, citing the social toll of continuing the country’s third lockdown, which began on Dec. 26. “Epidemiologically the issue is clear. The safest course would be to remain in lockdown,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told a news conference after discussions with scientific experts, influential provincial governors and opposition parties.
2nd Feb 2021 - Reuters

Germany looking to accelerate sluggish distribution of vaccines

Chancellor Angela Merkel and German state governors were planning to talk with representatives of the pharmaceutical industry on ways to beef up the country's sluggish vaccination campaign. Monday's videoconference, which also will involve the European Union's Executive Commission, comes as finger-pointing in the bloc's most populous country mounts over who is to blame for the slow vaccine rollout. By Friday, 1.85 million people had received a first vaccine dose in Germany, a country of 83 million, and more than 461,000 had a second dose.
1st Feb 2021 - heraldscotland.com

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Thousands in England to be tested in 'sprint' to halt South African Covid variant

Tens of thousands of people will be tested in a door-to-door “two-week sprint” to halt the spread of the South African coronavirus variant as cases were found across England. Squads of health officials, firefighters and volunteers have been established to deliver and collect PCR test kits door-to-door and mobile testing units will be sent to each area. Wastewater could also be tested to determined the prevalence of the strain. The new South Africa variant, which is more transmissible than the original virus, appears to show a slightly “diminished” response to vaccines, and may eventually require a booster shot, Public Health England (PHE) said.
2nd Feb 2021 - The Guardian

Moderna proposes filling vials with additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Moderna Inc said on Monday it is proposing filling vials with additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to ease a crunch in manufacturing as the company approaches the manufacturing of almost a million doses a day. “The company is proposing filling vials with additional doses of vaccine, up to 15 doses versus the current 10 doses,” Moderna said in an emailed statement. “Moderna would need to have further discussions with the FDA to assure the agency’s comfort with this approach before implementing,” the company said, referring to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
2nd Feb 2021 - Reuters

Bayer agrees to help CureVac produce coronavirus vaccine

German drug conglomerate Bayer will help CureVac manufacture tens of millions more doses of the biotech's experimental coronavirus vaccine beginning as soon as the end of this year, company executives said in a Monday briefing with the German health minister. Bayer and CureVac are already co-developing the vaccine, with the large pharma providing support for clinical testing and regulatory discussions in other countries. Now, after discussions with the German government, Bayer has also agreed to make 160 million doses of CureVac's shot in 2022 CureVac recently began a Phase 2/3 study testing whether its vaccine prevents COVID-19. The company aims to enroll into the trial some 36,000 volunteers in Europe and South America. Early results could be available by the end of March, CureVac's CFO Pierre Kemula recently told BioPharma Dive.
1st Feb 2021 - BioPharma Dive

Critically-ill Covid-19 patients being sent to Bristol from Birmingham amid 'extreme' ICU pressure

A hospital in Bristol is taking critically ill coronavirus patients from as far away as Birmingham. Southmead Hospital is stepping in amid "extreme" pressure on intensive care units (ICUs) elsewhere, BristolLive has reported. The hospital in north Bristol is taking about five coronavirus -positive patients from other regions each week. And that number is expected to rise, according to a hospital chief. North Bristol NHS Trust's chief operating officer, Karen Brown, said: "We've had patients transferred to us from Kent and also Birmingham as well."
1st Feb 2021 - Birmingham Live

French police block passengers as new Covid rules kick in

French border police turned away some passengers bound for non-EU destinations Monday as new rules came into force banning flights to and from countries outside the bloc. Prime Minister Jean Castex announced the measure Friday as part of new efforts to contain Covid-19 infections and avoid another nationwide lockdown. Travellers must also present proof of a recent negative Covid test. Only urgent reasons for travel are accepted and border police require written proof before allowing passengers to board, as Toure, a Malian national, found out when he tried to leave France for Bamako without the necessary document. "I said that my mother, whom I hadn't seen in a while, was ill but they told me I needed proof," Toure, who withheld his last name, told AFP at Paris's main airport Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle.
1st Feb 2021 - Yahoo News Australia

Routine vaccinations in India disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic

In less than three months from its detection, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) a pandemic. COVID-19’s causative agent, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is highly infective. To date, over 103 million cases have been reported, with over 2.23 million deaths. At various points in the pandemic’s trajectory, the rapid spread of COVID-19 across many parts of the world have forced numerous nations into a string of lockdowns. In India, lockdown measures have resulted in major disruptions to essential health services, including routine immunization drives for children. Such interruptions during previous epidemics have led to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, amplifying morbidity and mortality.
1st Feb 2021 - News-Medical.Net

Covid-19 update: No new cases in community or at border

In New Zealand, there have been no new cases of Covid-19 in the community or managed isolation reported today, Covid-19 Response minister Chris Hipkins says. No new community cases were reported in New Zealand on Sunday, following last week's three confirmed border-related infections. One new case was confirmed in managed isolation.
1st Feb 2021 - RNZ

Americans scramble for appointments for second COVID-19 vaccine dose

As more Americans ready for their second COVID-19 vaccine shot, some patients are falling through the cracks of an increasingly complex web of providers and appointment systems. While many people are getting their required second doses, the process is taking a toll on some of the most vulnerable - older adults who in many cases rely on family members or friends to navigate complex sign-up systems and inconvenient locations. Available vaccines need to be given as two separate doses weeks apart, and confusion is further taxing an already challenged health care system. Houston’s health department on Friday told those seeking a second dose to be patient, saying the volume of calls was creating long wait times at its call center.
1st Feb 2021 - Reuters

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First batch of coronavirus vaccines due to arrive in South Africa

South Africa, the continent’s worst COVID-hit country, is due to receive its first batch of coronavirus vaccines on Monday. Initially scheduled for the end of January, the first one million shots of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine produced in India will be used to inoculate healthcare workers over the next three months. The second batch of 500,000 jabs is scheduled to arrive later in February. Despite criticism from opposition parties and medical experts that the procurement process of the vaccine has taken too long, Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize has called the arrival of the vaccines from the Serum Institute of India “a massive achievement of unprecedented proportions”. Once the consignment has undergone quality checks, which are going to take between 10 and 14 days, the country will begin its long-awaited, three-phase immunisation campaign. Following the inoculation of front-line healthcare workers, other high-risk groups such as the elderly, people with comorbidities and essential workers such as minibus drivers, police and teachers are going to receive their shot. The third phase targets everyone else above the age of 18.
1st Feb 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Israel to give some coronavirus vaccines to Palestinians

Israel has agreed to transfer 5,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine to the Palestinians to immunize front-line medical workers Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz s office announced Sunday. It was the first time that Israel has confirmed the transfer of vaccines to the Palestinians, who lag far behind Israel's aggressive vaccination campaign and have not yet received any vaccines. The World Health Organization has raised concerns about the disparity between Israel and Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, and international human rights groups and U.N. experts have said Israel is responsible for the well being of Palestinians in these areas.
31st Jan 2021 - The Independent

Pakistan battles tsunami of Covid-19 patients with few vaccines in sight

Keeping vigil outside the hospital ward in Karachi, Daniyal Ameen watched his father breathing through a ventilator via a live video link from the intensive care unit (ICU). He came every day to see his father, 73-year-old Muhammad Ameen, as he spent weeks on oxygen battling Covid-19. The video link was set up at the private South City Hospital in Karachi to enable relatives to feel closer to their loved ones in the ICU, as visits inside that facility are prohibited. The screen is the closest Ameen has come to seeing his father for about 18 months. The 33-year-old flew back to Pakistan from his home in Melbourne, Australia, when his dad was hospitalized. "Seeing him on a screen like that was pretty traumatizing for me," said Ameen. "We told him that yes, I am here, and I want to see him healthy and smiling back again." But Ameen's father didn't survive. Instead, he became one of thousands of Pakistanis to die from the virus.
31st Jan 2021 - CNN

When Covid-19 vaccines are about to expire, health care workers must scramble to make sure they are used

Mechanical breakdowns. Bad weather. Expiration deadlines. The earliest phases of Covid-19 vaccine distribution in some instances have left doctors, nurses, and health officials scrambling to inoculate Americans. In the worst cases, valuable doses have been wasted or thrown out. However, quick thinking by practitioners mixed with a bit of luck have found them administering vaccines in unique circumstances. On Thursday night, after a freezer containing vaccine doses malfunctioned in Seattle, a nearby hospital had less than nine hours to administer more than 800 vaccinations before they spoiled. Vaccines from Pfizer-BioTech and Moderna require certain low temperatures for storage and have a limited shelf life when exposed to room temperature.
30th Jan 2021 - CNN on MSN.com

Failed freezer forced overnight dash to give out more than 1,600 doses of coronavirus vaccine

The last shots were given at about 3.45am, out on the street, with literally no time to spare. All night, staff and volunteers with Seattle's Swedish Health Services had been rushing to administer hundreds of doses of the coronavirus vaccine set to expire early in the morning after a freezer malfunction. Finally, they had only a few dozen shots left and about 15 minutes to get them into people's arms. "We were literally like . . .who can get people here? People started texting and calling and we were just counting down," said Kevin Brooks, the chief operating officer of Swedish, who helped coordinate everything at their clinic at Seattle University. "Thirty-seven. Thirty-five. Thirty-three . . . People were showing up and running down the hall."
30th Jan 2021 - The Independent

Bolivian doctors demand lockdown as COVID surge threatens health service 'collapse'

Bolivian doctors are demanding a nationwide lockdown and threatening to stop taking in new patients as a surge in COVID-19 cases, which they say is killing an average of one medic per day, strains hospitals to breaking point. New daily coronavirus infections in the Andean country, which received its first batch of Russian Sputnik V vaccines on Thursday, hit a single-day record of 2,866 this week and deaths attributed to the epidemic climbed above 10,000. “At the rate we are going, there will be a total collapse,” said Ricardo Landivar, a director of the La Paz Medical College. “... We are going to have patients dying in the streets without being able to be treated by medical staff.”
30th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Canadian airlines to cancel Mexico, Caribbean flights amid vaccine shortfall

Canada’s major airlines have agreed to suspend all flights to Mexico and the Caribbean for three months starting on Sunday as the country’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout suffered another setback, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday. All airline passengers arriving from abroad will also be required to take a mandatory COVID-19 test at the airport and wait in a hotel for up to three days at their own expense until the results arrive, Trudeau said. “Now is just not the time to be flying,” the prime minister told reporters. Trudeau also said Moderna Inc’s next delivery would be almost a quarter smaller than expected.
29th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Novartis pitches in to help produce Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

Only a day after Novartis said it was looking at offering its manufacturing network to the global COVID-19 fight, the company is joining forces with Pfizer and BioNTech to help produce mRNA vaccines. It's the latest example of an unlikely Big Pharma partnership spurred by the urgent need to defeat the pandemic. Novartis inked an initial agreement with BioNTech to allow the mRNA biotech use of Novartis' facility in Stein, Switzerland. The production will start in the second quarter, and the partners expect dose deliveries to begin in the third quarter. The Pfizer/BioNTech shot is one of only a few that have been approved in countries around the world, and in the early stages of the rollout, demand has greatly outstripped supply. Pfizer and BioNTech have been working to scale up their manufacturing network to deliver 2 billion doses this year, but the effort led to a temporary supply disruption in Europe earlier this month.
29th Jan 2021 - Fierce Pharma

Portugal airlifts COVID patients to Madeira as hospitals near capacity

Ambulances under police escort rushed three intensive-care patients from overstretched Lisbon hospitals to a military base on Friday to be airlifted to the island of Madeira. As the number of patients in Portugal’s intensive care units hit record levels, the regional government in Madeira said it had 157 beds to spare and could take people in even though it is also experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases. Portugal’s hospital system is creaking under the pressure of the world’s worst surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths per capita, blamed on a relaxation of rules around Christmas and the rapid spread of the coronavirus variant first detected in Britain.
29th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Public back teachers getting half-term Covid jabs to re-open schools again

The public supports our bid to prioritise teachers for the Covid-19 vaccine in Phase 2 of the rollout, a poll revealed. Teachers topped the poll, which asked who should be next after the most vulnerable. Pressure is growing on Boris Johnson to get school staff vaccinated. In a poll by Ipsos MORI, 46% said school and nursery staff should come before healthy 60 to 69-year-olds, ahead of 42% for emergency service workers. Labour wants school staff vaccinated in the February half term to make it safer if pupils start to back from March 8. Keir Starmer said it was vital to avoid staff being off sick or isolating due to Covid-19. He said: “It’s likely to go back to the disruption we have in September and October.
29th Jan 2021 - Mirror Online

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UK travellers to be questioned at border on reasons for going abroad

UK travellers will be interrogated at the border on their reasons for going abroad, Boris Johnson has said, as he confirmed that British citizens returning from high-risk countries must quarantine in hotels at their own expense. The government is facing criticism from the Scottish and Welsh governments, as well as scientists, for rejecting a more comprehensive hotel quarantine system. They are warning that it could allow as yet unknown new variants to slip through the gaps. Speaking in the Commons, Johnson said no one should be travelling except for a narrow range of reasons. “I want to make clear that under the stay-at-home regulations it is illegal to leave home to travel abroad for leisure purposes and we will enforce this at ports and airports by asking people why they are leaving and instructing them to return home if they do not have a valid reason to travel,” he said.
29th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Behind AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 Vaccine Stumble

The setbacks, which come on the eve of a decision from regulators whether to recommend the shot for use in Europe, suggest AstraZeneca is falling behind in the vaccine arms race. The company has relatively little experience in vaccines, a tricky, typically low-margin niche in the global pharmaceuticals industry. The manufacturing process the company uses, piggybacking on a chimpanzee cold virus, can be more difficult to quickly scale up than the one employed by Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc., both of which use a new genetic technology. The company has also proved maladroit politically. After learning of the glitches early this month, AstraZeneca deployed engineers to troubleshoot but didn’t warn European officials, hoping the company could fix the problems to minimize the dent in production, according to a person familiar with the matter. Lower output of raw vaccine substance had first been spotted in December, but worsened in January, with the clock ticking. When production didn’t improve, AstraZeneca’s bad news hit like a bombshell. Now it is grappling with a political backlash just when the pandemic seems to be entering a more dangerous phase.
29th Jan 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Health workers, stuck in the snow, administer coronavirus vaccine to stranded drivers

Unlike many who have to drive miles to get a Covid-19 vaccine, some travelers in southwestern Oregon had the vaccine come to them Tuesday under treacherous weather conditions. Josephine County Public Health workers were returning from a mass vaccination clinic at Illinois Valley High School in Cave Junction when about 20 members of the group got stranded in a snowstorm at Hayes Hill, the agency said. They had with them six leftover doses of the vaccine. To keep those doses from going unused before expiring, the workers went from car to car to offer people the chance to get a shot, the health department said. An ambulance was waiting nearby in case any recipients had an adverse reaction
28th Jan 2021 - CNN

Matt Hancock names Bristol one of the best areas in UK for Covid-19 vaccine rollout

Bristol and its surrounding areas have been named as one of the best performing parts of the UK for rolling out the Covid-19 vaccinations, according to Health Secretary Matt Hancock. The "fantastic efforts" of the vaccination teams were praised in a letter to a North Somerset MP Liam Fox. More than 80% of care home residents in the area covered by the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire NHS clinical commissioning group (CCG) had received the vaccine, making it one of the “highest performing” parts of the country. In the letter, Matt Hancock said the success in Bristol and its surrounding areas was down to the “tireless” efforts of everyone involved in rolling out the vaccine. He praised the “incredible” community spirit that has contributed to the success.
28th Jan 2021 - ITV

Scramble for specialty syringes as Pfizer, feds look to extract 6th vaccine doses

Syringe makers are scrambling to meet demand for so-called low dead space syringes as Pfizer and the U.S. look to squeeze out extra vaccine doses. The specialty needles are needed to eke out a sixth shot in Pfizer and BioNTech's Comirnaty prepared five-dose glass vials. Physicians and pharmacists discovered the potential extra dose after they began vaccinating patients. But initial enthusiasm has been dampened by the requirement of the now-scarce specialty needles to extract the last bit from each vial. Syringe maker Becton Dickinson contracted with the U.S. government to supply needles for COVID vaccinations without knowing about the niche need. The manufacturer confirmed to Fierce Pharma that its U.S. government contract includes a limited supply of the specialty needles. A spokesman told Reuters that Becton Dickinson is on target to provide 286 million syringes for use with COVID-19 vaccines, a figure that only includes about 40 million low dead space syringes.
28th Jan 2021 - FiercePharma

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Philadelphia let ‘college kids’ distribute vaccines. The result was a ‘disaster,’ volunteers say.

Philadelphia is home to some of the most venerated medical institutions in the country. Yet when it came time to set up the city’s first and largest coronavirus mass vaccination site, officials turned to the start-up Philly Fighting COVID, a self-described “group of college kids” with minimal health-care experience. Chaos ensued. Seniors were left in tears after finding that appointments they’d made through a bungled sign-up form wouldn’t be honored. The group switched to a for-profit model without publicizing the change and added a privacy policy that would allow it to sell users’ personal data. One volunteer alleged that the 22-year-old CEO had pocketed vaccine doses. Another described a “free-for-all” where unsupervised 18- and 19-year-olds vaccinated one another and posed for photos.
27th Jan 2021 - The Washington Post

Madrid region to halt new vaccinations as supplies run out

Supplies of coronavirus vaccines have become so scarce that the Madrid region of Spain will stop all new jabs for at least 10 days, a top official said on Wednesday, as Catalonia complained its supply was also running out. Madrid’s move appears to be the first such pause in the EU, highlighting the bloc’s mounting problems with distributing the vaccine. Ignacio Aguado, the deputy head of Madrid’s regional government, said shortages of both the BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna vaccines — the only ones so far approved by the EU — meant it was impossible at “the current pace” to meet national and European targets of vaccinating 70 per cent of the population by the end of June. Instead, “we would take until 2023 to arrive at this level”, he added.
27th Jan 2021 - Financial Times

South Korea willing to share COVID-19 vaccines with North, PM says

South Korea is willing to share excess COVID-19 vaccines with North Korea as part of an overall effort to resume relations with its nuclear-armed neighbor, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said on Wednesday.
27th Jan 2021 - UPI.com

Malta tightens restaurant closing times to curb COVID-19 infections

Malta on Wednesday cancelled carnival events and imposed an 11 p.m. closing time on restaurants to contain the spread of COVID-19, although Prime Minister Robert Abela said there would be no lockdown or curfew. Abela said a surge of cases in January had been the result of gatherings over Christmas and the New Year. “February is a particular time with many enjoying carnival and mid-term holidays. We are asking people to be responsible and businesses to make some sacrifices,” Abela said. Police and other law enforcement officers will have a stronger presence in the streets and crack down on large gatherings in rented premises.
27th Jan 2021 - Reuters

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People 75 and older can sign up for coronavirus vaccine beginning Wednesday

Massachusetts embarks on the next stage of its COVID-19 vaccination program on Wednesday, extending eligibility to people 75 and older, the population most devastated by the coronavirus, amid frustration over the pace and priority of distribution. As the Biden administration announced plans to buy 200 million more doses of the vaccine and increase weekly shipments to states, Massachusetts officials said residents 75 and over could now register for appointments at scores of immunization sites across the state. The first shots for this age cohort, approximately 450,000 people, will begin Monday. “By the end of this week, we will have 103 vaccination sites open to the public with the ability to administer about 240,000 doses each week,” Governor Charlie Baker said Tuesday in his State of the Commonwealth address. “And by mid-February, we will have 165 public sites, including seven mass vaccination sites, and all together, we will have the capacity to administer approximately 305,000 doses every week.
26th Jan 2021 - The Boston Globe

Covid-19: Plans to vaccinate all over-65s by end of February

The Department of Health has said it plans to vaccinate everyone aged over 65 in Northern Ireland by the end of February. Both GP practices and regional vaccination centres will be used to vaccinate members of the public from prioritised groups. People aged between 65 and 69 in NI are to be vaccinated at their local vaccination centre. Until now only health care workers have been vaccinated at these locations. As of Monday, 159,642 people in Northern Ireland had received a first coronavirus vaccine dose. On Tuesday, the Department of Health daily figures reported an additional 16 Covid-19 related deaths and 550 new cases, bringing the total number of positive tests to 101,291.
26th Jan 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19: School closures having 'calamitous' impact on kids and parents

Keeping schools closed is having a "calamitous" impact on children, some of the UK's top paediatricians have warned as they called for teachers to be prioritised for a vaccine. The group said they were witnessing an "acute and rapid increase in mental health and safeguarding cases", with parents suffering breakdowns and other psychological stress due to home-schooling. Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi insisted it was the government's "absolute priority" to re-open schools. Experts - from Imperial College London, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Trust and the Royal Brompton Hospital - added that vaccinating school staff "offers protection to one of our most important key-worker groups" and also protects children.
26th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Delaying the second Covid dose in the UK is controversial, but it's the right decision

A recent YouGov poll shows that the British are among the most willing in the world to take the Covid-19 vaccine. This is good news. But there are still questions about the vaccines and the way they’re being deployed, especially after the government decided to spread out the time between the two doses from three weeks to 12 weeks. The confusion is understandable, as we are in a developing situation. Clear messages about why tough decisions are made can get lost in the noise. First, it is absolutely clear that the two Covid-19 vaccines that are being deployed in the UK will save lives. Moreover, they will reduce the burden on hospitals. The Pfizer data, measured from day 14 post-vaccination, showed only one severe case of Covid-19 in 21,000 vaccinated people. The AstraZeneca data showed no hospitalisations or severe disease in 6,000 vaccinated trial participants. The caveat to this was that there were a small number of cases in the first two months after the first vaccine dose. This brings me to an important point.
26th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

California ends wide lockdown as Covid hospital strain eases

California lifted blanket "stay-at-home" orders across the US state Monday, paving the way for activities including outdoor dining to return even in worst-hit regions as the pandemic's strain on hospitals begins to ease. The western state has suffered one of the nation's worst winter Covid spikes, with hospital intensive care units overwhelmed, ambulances backed up for hours at a time, and cases more than doubling since December to over three million. The "stay-at-home" measures were ordered for some 20 million people in southern and central California since December 3, but public health director Tomas Aragon said the state was now "turning a critical corner."
26th Jan 2021 - FRANCE 24

The help firms will get if there is another Covid lockdown

In New Zealand, most businesses would dread going into another Covid lockdown, but the Government has planned ahead what financial support would be available if the worst happens. Finance Minister Grant Robertson set out the assistance that would be offered “next time around” before Christmas. And while wage subsidies would again do the heavy lifting when it came to propping up the economy, some of the help would be new.
26th Jan 2021 - Stuff.co.nz

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Covid: Ministers urged to intervene as mass outbreak at DVLA offices in Swansea branded a ‘scandal’

Ministers have been urged to intervene after a mass outbreak at the DVLA’s offices in Wales, by a union declaring the government agency’s response a “scandal”. More than 350 employees at the UK vehicle licensing agency’s contact centre in Swansea tested positive in the four months to December, bringing the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to above 500. Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething is among several senior politicians to say he is “concerned about anecdotal reports” emerging from the offices – with the BBC and The Observer reporting that some symptomatic employees had been encouraged to return to work, amid an alleged “culture of fear”.
25th Jan 2021 - The Independent

Covid and Economy: UK Restaurants, Bars, Small Business Teetering in Lockdown

The U.K.’s third major lockdown to control the coronavirus could be the final straw for thousands of businesses struggling to pay rent and taxes with little or no money coming in the door. “It is costing us thousands of pounds a week, even being shut, and we have zero income,” said Andrew Wong, owner of the upmarket Chinese restaurant A. Wong in London’s fashionable Pimlico neighborhood. “I think all the time about shutting down and walking away, though I’m not going to do it.” While the economy appears to be adapting better to virus curbs -- gross domestic product shrank 2.6% in November versus 19% in April -- the same can’t be said about company finances. One lobby group estimates 250,000 small firms are at risk of going bust. Almost 10,000 pubs and restaurants licensed to serve alcohol closed permanently last year, according to consultants CGA and AlixPartners.
25th Jan 2021 - Bloomberg

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Coronavirus: Vaccine rationed to north amid national supply issues, reports say

Vaccine supplies sent to the North East and Yorkshire are to be rationed because the region is ahead of others in getting the coronavirus jab out, it has been reported. Deliveries to GP practices in the area – one of seven English NHS regions – will be halved from 200,000 doses to 100,000 next week, according to the Health Service Journal. It comes amid growing controversy that many over 80s in the south have still not been called for their innoculation, while GPs in the North East and Yorkshire are already starting to move onto lower age brackets. It is not clear if supplies will also be slashed to the patch’s hospitals and mass vaccination hubs – such as the Centre for Life in Newcastle – but, given it is GP practices that administer the majority of jabs, the known reduction will come as a major blow.
23rd Jan 2021 - The Independent

Covid vaccine: 'Over my dead body are we wasting a drop of this'

There was nervous anticipation at Saxonbury House surgery as doctors and staff prepared for their first coronavirus vaccination clinic last weekend. The seven surgeries that combined for the vaccination programme on the Sussex High Weald had been cautious, waiting for the national roll-out to be well under way before joining “wave six”. Then last Friday afternoon, the eve of their local V Day, months of careful planning were thrown up in the air. The white refrigerated van carrying their vaccines arrived as scheduled at Saxonbury House, Crowborough, around 2pm. The driver carefully unloaded the consignment and drove off. Mistakenly, however, he left two boxes of Pfizer vaccine rather than the one that had been promised and planned for.
23rd Jan 2021 - The Times

Israel begins to give Covid jabs to teenagers

Over 2.5 million of Israel's nine-million-population have had first vaccine dose. The country's campaign is currently leading the global vaccination drive. Teenagers aged 16-18 are now being given the first dose, starting on Saturday Wednesday saw the country recorded its highest number of Covid-19 cases and deaths in a single day, with 10,213 cases and 101 deaths
23rd Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine unit struggles to add new hires as holiday nears

A Beijing unit of Sinovac Biotech manufacturing a COVID-19 vaccine said it is facing difficulties in finding staff to expand production because of surging local infections and the imminent Lunar New Year holiday. Eleven people living in the Daxing district of the capital, Beijing, where Sinovac Life Science is based, were confirmed as COVID-19 patients between Sunday and Wednesday, forcing authorities to seal up some residential compounds and launch a mass testing scheme. “Many people dare not go to Daxing district to apply for jobs, nor do people outside Beijing dare to come to the city to work,” said Ma Hongbo, recruitment manager of Sinovac Life Science, in an article published by the Beijing Talent Market News, backed by the city’s human resources authority.
22nd Jan 2021 - Reuters

Huge fire breaks out at Indian Covid vaccine maker contracted to produce Oxford jab

A huge fire has broken out at a plant being built in the world’s biggest vaccine maker, but it will not affect production of coronavirus vaccines, a source close to the firm said. The Serum Institute of India (SII), has been contracted to manufacture one billion vaccine doses developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca for India and many other low- and middle-income countries.
22nd Jan 2021 - Evening Standard

West Virginia touts COVID-19 vaccination success story as national rollout sputters

Even as President Joe Biden laments the nation’s sluggish COVID-19 immunization launch for a pace he calls “dismal,” West Virginia is touting its relative success in making the most of vaccine supplies it has received so far. Fewer than half of the nearly 38 million vaccine doses shipped to date by the federal government have actually made it into the arms of Americans, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Thursday. Some individual states have lagged behind with just a third or 40% of their vaccine allotments being administered as of Thursday, marking the one-year anniversary of the first locally transmitted COVID-19 case documented in the United States.
21st Jan 2021 - Reuters

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U.K. Hospitals Struggle to Cope With a New Coronavirus Variant

As a new and more contagious variant of the coronavirus pounds Britain’s overstretched National Health Service, health care workers say the government’s failure to anticipate a wintertime crush of infections has left them resorting to ever more desperate measures. Hundreds of soldiers have been dispatched to move patients and equipment around London hospitals. Organ transplant centers have stopped performing urgent operations. Doctors have trimmed back the level of oxygen being given to patients to save overloaded pipes.
22nd Jan 2021 - The New York Times

11,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to arrive in Estonia next week

Based on the data of the Ministry of Social Affairs, in total 10,950 doses of both Pfizer/BioNtech and Moderna vaccines, should arrive in Estonia next week. Ministry of Social Affairs' media advisor Eva Lehtla told ERR that on Monday (January 25), 9,750 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will arrive in Estonia and 1,200 doses of Moderna vaccine. Lehtla said the first Moderna doses arrived last week and there were also 1,200 of them. While AstraZeneca's vaccine had not been approved yet, Lehtla said, according to the current information, the European Medicines Agency should give its evaluation of the vaccine by January 29.
21st Jan 2021 - ERR News

Israel coronavirus cases soar even as it pushes on with vaccine drive

Coronavirus infections in Israel are soaring among those yet to be vaccinated, straining hospitals and forcing the government to extend a strict lockdown even as the country continues its breakneck vaccination drive.
21st Jan 2021 - The Financial Times

Covid-19 vaccine batch testing speeds up, giving more proof ministers can’t blame all hold-ups on supply chain

Britain’s medical regulators have managed to speed up the process of approving individual batches of the Covid-19 vaccine with not a single batch failing the test, i can reveal. Ministers have repeatedly said that supply of jabs is the current “rate-limiting factor” in the vaccine roll-out – meaning that supply is the one issue which dictates the maximum pace at which the NHS can administer doses, rather than staffing or logistics. They specifically pointed to batch approvals as one of the major hold-ups. The National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC), part of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), is responsible for testing the Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines which are provided in batches of up to half a million doses each. This process initially took as long as three weeks per batch but has been streamlined to four days.
21st Jan 2021 - i on MSN.com

All overweight D.C. residents will get priority for the coronavirus vaccine. Experts are skeptical.

The District plans to give priority for coronavirus vaccines to the broadest possible swath of people with preexisting health conditions — a decision that will make hundreds of thousands eligible for scarce doses of the vaccine and that some public health experts say might not make medical sense. The plan, the details of which were confirmed by vaccine director Ankoor Shah, would offer vaccines to people whose weight and medical history would not qualify them for early access to the vaccine in almost any state in the country. D.C. Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt told members of the D.C. Council last week that she decided to open up vaccine access, possibly as soon as February, to such a large group in the hope of quickly vaccinating anyone who might suffer the worst outcomes if they contract the virus.
21st Jan 2021 - Washington Post

Scotland considers streamlining Covid-19 vaccine delivery for GPs

Calls from Scottish GPs for the coronavirus vaccine distribution process to be streamlined are to be considered by ministers, amid fears supplies are not getting to surgeries quickly enough. The British Medical Association (BMA) is pressing the Scottish Government to allow GPs to order their supplies directly, claiming the current system is too bureaucratic. It has asked Professor Alison Strath, the interim Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, to consider reforming the process so doctors can bypass health boards when ordering vaccines.
21st Jan 2021 - iNews

Spain’s Covid immunization drive dogged by line-jumping politicians and other irregularities

Concern is rising in Spain over the number of individuals who have jumped the line to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. The list includes several mayors, a regional health chief and family members of medical workers. In these cases, the vaccine was administered even though the person did not belong to the first priority group of the ongoing campaign: residents and staff of care homes, other healthcare workers and people with serious disabilities. In some instances, this was due to a misunderstanding, and in others, the individuals jumped the line “to build confidence” in the vaccine or because there were “leftover doses.”
21st Jan 2021 - EL PAÍS in English

Coronavirus vaccine tracker: How many Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19?

Nearly a year into the coronavirus pandemic, Canada has launched the largest mass vaccination program in its history. And Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised that every Canadian — nearly 40 million people across 10 provinces and three territories — who wants to be inoculated against COVID-19 will be able to do so by September 2021. To keep track of it all, Global News has launched this project to keep track of: How many Canadians have been vaccinated each day How many people in each province have been vaccinated How Canada’s vaccination efforts compare with the rest of the world
21st Jan 2021 - Global News

'Five dead' in devastating fire at world’s biggest coronavirus vaccine facility

As many as five people have been killed in a fire at the site of the world's largest coronavirus vaccine manufacturer, according to reports. Plumes of smoke could be seen rising from the Serum Institute of India (SII) today. Millions of doses of the Covidshield vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, are being produced at the plant. Initial reports suggested that there had been no casualties but Adar Poonawalla, SII's CEO, confirmed there had been "some loss of life" in a statement. He said: "Upon further investigation we have learnt that there has unfortunately been some loss of life at the incident.
21st Jan 2021 - Mirror Online

Jumping Covid-19 vaccine queue is 'morally reprehensible' says top NHS doctor

It is "morally reprehensible" to try to jump the queue for the Covid-19 vaccine, a senior NHS director has said. Brits have reportedly been securing appointments for coronavirus vaccinations through links to the NHS booking system shared on WhatsApp and social media. The Evening Standard found people had secured jabs through the loophole which should go to the elderly and vulnerable. And today Dr Vin Diwakar, NHS England regional medical director for London said they were denying vulnerable people a "life-saving vaccine". He told a Downing Street press conference: "People are being called in priority order so that we can vaccinate those most at risk of serious illness first. “That is why I was horrified to hear reports that some unscrupulous people have used links shared with them to try and falsely book a vaccination appointment.
21st Jan 2021 - The Mirror

Australia posts zero virus cases; state premier calls for 'Pacific bubble'

Australia recorded a fourth day of zero coronavirus cases on Thursday, prompting the chief of the country's most populous state to call for a special travel "bubble" with Pacific island nations. New South Wales has reined in an outbreak in mid-December that prompted a strict lockdown in Sydney's Northern Beaches, while broader social distancing rules and mandatory mask wearing were imposed for the rest of the city. Signaling those restrictions were set to be eased next week, Premier Gladys Berejiklien told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper the federal government should consider establishing a travel arrangement with the Pacific. "There is no reason why we shouldn't aim to travel to New Zealand or some of the Pacific Islands well within the next 12 months," Berejiklian said. The comments come after Australia's chief medical officer Paul Kelly cautioned about restarting international travel, given the country was in an "envious position" compared to most of the world.
21st Jan 2021 - Japan Today

Covid-19: Two weeks' notice for England's school return and warning over infection levels

Parents will know a fortnight in advance when their children will return to schools in England, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson says. Telling BBC Breakfast he wants pupils back in classrooms at "the earliest possible opportunity", he says he's "not able to exactly say" when schools will reopen but the "key criteria" will be whether pressure on the NHS was lifting
21st Jan 2021 - BBC News

Air New Zealand's first quarantine-free flight lands in Auckland

The first quarantine-free flight in 10 months has landed in Auckland with friends and family ready to greet passengers from the Cook Islands with an emotional welcome. The Air New Zealand flight landed at Auckland Airport shortly after 11am with a small gathering of family and friends waiting in the arrivals area.
21st Jan 2021 - The New Zealand Herald

Covid-19 vaccine supply is running low. Here’s how Biden hopes to fix that

The Biden administration is willing to consider almost anything to boost the nation’s dwindling supply of Covid-19 vaccines. A new strategy document released Thursday, totaling nearly 200 pages, offers the first clear list of the options President Biden has before him, though it doesn’t specifically say he’ll actually take all of the steps. On the list are some controversial ideas, like cutting the amount of vaccine being administered to each American. He’s also made it clear he wants to utilize the Defense Production Act to ramp up production of key supplies, and some more straightforward options like buying more doses.
21st Jan 2021 - STAT News

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Glass maker Schott predicts enough vials to go around for COVID-19 vaccines

Germany’s unlisted Schott AG, the world’s biggest supplier of speciality glass for medical bottles and syringes, said on Wednesday it did not see any shortage of vials for bottling COVID-19 vaccines. Drugmakers last year warned of limited supplies of vials to bottle future COVID-19 vaccines, but Schott said at the time that their rush to secure supplies early risked making matters worse. Schott, whose founder Otto Schott invented heavy-duty borosilicate glass in the 1890s, delivered 110 million vials for COVID-19 vaccines during the second half of last year and was now scheduled to clear an order backlog of 600 million vials for that purpose well into 2022.
20th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Fury as coronavirus vaccine IT loophole 'allows people to jump the queue

Links to Swiftqueue website meant to allow over-70s and NHS staff book jabs But they have reportedly been shared on social media and Whatsapp People using them not asked for proof of eligibility when making appointments
20th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Saga requires all cruise customers to have Covid vaccine

Saga, the travel group targeting the over-50s, has become the first holiday business to insist that all of its customers must be vaccinated against coronavirus before they embark on its cruises. The company, whose customers are primarily in the UK, said on Wednesday that it had told holidaymakers they must be fully inoculated against the virus at least 14 days before travelling and take a pre-departure Covid-19 test. The requirement means customers must have had two doses of vaccine.
20th Jan 2021 - Financial Times

Covid-19 vaccines diverted to areas lagging behind as overall numbers of vaccinations fall

Vaccine doses are to be diverted into areas falling behind with the coronavirus inoculation drive amid concerns over differing levels of vaccination across England. As the Government fended off accusations of a “postcode lottery” in the programme, new vaccination figures suggested it was falling behind its pledge to supply the jabs to 14.6 million people in the most vulnerable groups by 15 February.
20th Jan 2021 - iNews

COVID-19: 'Public health emergency unfolding' in prisons as coronavirus cases soar

The new coronavirus strain and a rapidly rising number of infections in prisons across England and Wales is a "public health emergency unfolding before our eyes," the shadow justice secretary has warned. Labour MP David Lammy said it was vital that ministers "act urgently" to prevent the virus from spreading further in jails - or risk preventable deaths. "We're not condemning our prisoners to death in this country, but for some prisoners, that's what it means," said Mr Lammy.
20th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Small UK businesses are ‘running out of cash’, chancellor warned

"I suppose the technical phrase is we’re screwed,” said Ruari McCulloch, owner of Pinstripes & Peonies, a high-end London florist, which counts several London department stores and the Paris Air Show among its clients. Mr McCulloch is one of the many small business owners facing the toughest few months yet of the pandemic, starved of income for much of the past year as the UK approaches the anniversary of the first national coronavirus lockdown in March. Cash levels are depleted and debt loads have risen fast for companies with high fixed costs but zero revenues, leading to urgent calls from the UK’s business lobby groups, including the CBI and the British Chambers of Commerce, for immediate and sustained financial support from the chancellor Rishi Sunak.
20th Jan 2021 - Financial Times

London Schools Could Re-Open First After UK Lockdown, Official Says

The U.K. reported its highest daily death toll since the Covid-19 pandemic began, as data suggested one in eight people in England have had the disease. A further 1,610 people in the U.K. died within 28 days of a positive test, according to government figures released Tuesday -- taking the total number of deaths to more than 90,000. Covid-19 related deaths will “continue for some time throughout this second wave,” Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, said in a statement. “Whilst there are some early signs that show our sacrifices are working, we must continue to strictly abide by the measures in place.”
20th Jan 2021 - Bloomberg

France faces tough COVID month, with ski lifts and restaurants set to stay shut

A more infectious coronavirus variant is expected to spread rapidly through France in the coming month, hospital chiefs said on Wednesday, raising fears of another lockdown as hopes faded that ski lifts and restaurants could reopen soon.
20th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Coronavirus: Vaccinators could lose their licences for giving second doses prematurely

Hospitals say they have been told they could lose their licence to deliver coronavirus vaccines if they give second doses to anyone before 12 weeks have passed since their first jab. In a message sent to vaccinators at the University Hospital Southampton Foundation Trust and seen by The Independent, staff were told the hospital’s chief executive had been given a “crystal clear” instruction that no second doses should be given to anyone before 12-week mark. There is mounting criticism of the delays in giving frontline NHS staff a second dose of the vaccine amid concerns that these could leave them more at risk. Emerging data from Israel suggested on Wednesday that the effectiveness of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine could be as low as 33 per cent after only the first dose.
20th Jan 2021 - The Independent

New York City reschedules 23,000 vaccination appointments due to supply issues

Tens of thousands of New Yorkers had their coronavirus vaccine appointments rescheduled this week due to a lack of supply, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said Wednesday. According to the mayor, a delay in the delivery of Moderna's vaccine contributed to the supply issues, which puts the city's goal of 1 million vaccinations by the end of the month in jeopardy. "We've had to tell 23,000 New Yorkers who had an appointment this week that they will not be able to get that appointment for lack of supply," de Blasio said during a news conference.
20th Jan 2021 - The Hill

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Moderna says possible allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccine under investigation

Moderna Inc said on Tuesday it had received a report from California’s health department that several people at a center in San Diego were treated for possible allergic reactions to its COVID-19 vaccine from a particular batch. The company’s comments come after California’s top epidemiologist on Sunday issued a statement recommending providers pause vaccination from lot no. 41L20A due to possible allergic reactions that are under investigation. "A higher-than-usual number of possible allergic reactions were reported with a specific lot of Moderna vaccine administered at one community vaccination clinic. Fewer than 10 individuals required medical attention over the span of 24 hours," the epidemiologist said in a statement here. The vaccine maker said it was unaware of comparable cases of adverse events from other vaccination centers which may have administered vaccines from the same lot or from other lots of its vaccine.
19th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Ireland’s first Covid-19 vaccine recipient receives second dose

The first person in Ireland to receive the Covid-19 vaccine has been given her second dose today. Dublin woman Annie Lynch (79) received the first round of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in St James’s Hospital on December 29, making her the first person in the country to be given the Covid-19 jab outside of clinical trials. The mother of three, who has 10 grandchildren, returned to St James Hospital to receive her second round of the vaccine.
19th Jan 2021 - Independent.ie

Coronavirus: India to provide vaccines to six countries from Wednesday

India will provide coronavirus vaccines made in the country to six nations - Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles - from Wednesday, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. Vaccines will be sent to Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius as well, once necessary regulatory clearances are received, the ministry added. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it was a matter of honour and that vaccines will be sent to more countries. “India is deeply honoured to be a long-trusted partner in meeting the healthcare needs of the global community,” he tweeted. “Supplies of Covid vaccines to several countries will commence tomorrow, and more will follow in the days ahead.”
19th Jan 2021 - Scroll

More than 45,000 people in Florida are overdue for their second coronavirus vaccine dose

Of the 1.03 million people in Florida who have received at least one shot of the coronavirus vaccine, 45,056 are overdue for their second dose. Florida's Department of Health has refused to answer questions about whether officials are concerned and reasons for why people have missed their second jab. Health experts say some might be worried about the side effects of getting the second dose, which is known to be stronger than the first. In a statement on Thursday, Gov Ron DeSantis urged Floridians being vaccinated to not forego their second shot
19th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid in Scotland: Concerns about vaccine supply amid GP frustration

Opposition parties have voiced concerns about vaccine supplies after "frustrated" GPs said they were still waiting for deliveries. At Holyrood on Tuesday, the first minister was pressed on why the rollout was going "so slowly" and on whether there was a problem with distribution. Dr Andrew Buist, of BMA Scotland, told the BBC that patients were getting anxious and practices could not plan. Nicola Sturgeon said there were ongoing challenges but targets would be met. Dr Buist claimed that as of Monday, the Scottish government had taken receipt of more than 700,000 vaccines - but only used 264,991.
19th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Covid vaccine: New York to run out of doses by Thursday, warns mayor

New York City could run out of Covid-19 vaccine doses by Thursday, warned Mayor Bill de Blasio, which could force the city to cancel vaccination appointments. “We will have literally nothing left to give as of Friday,” Mr de Blasio said. “What does that mean? It means that if we do not get more vaccine quickly, a new supply of vaccine, we will have to cancel appointments and no longer give shots after Thursday for the reminder of the week at a lot of our sites.” The warning came during the mayor’s coronavirus press briefing on Tuesday morning.
19th Jan 2021 - The Independent

Hospitals in Japan close to collapse as serious Covid cases soar

Hospitals in Covid-hit regions of Japan are on the brink of collapse, medical experts have warned, as the country battles a third wave of infections that has caused record numbers of people to fall seriously ill. Japan reported more than 4,900 coronavirus infections on Monday, with serious cases rising to a record high of 973, local media reported. Although Japan has avoided the huge caseloads and death tolls seen in some other countries, infections have doubled over the past six weeks to about 338,000, according to the public broadcaster NHK, with 4,623 deaths. The increase, coupled with the discovery of the first recorded community transmissions of a fast-spreading strain of Covid-19 initially identified in Britain, is adding to pressure on the prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, to move quickly to protect stretched medical services.
19th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

COVID-19: Schools might not all reopen at the same time across England, suggests Dr Jenny Harries

Schools might not all reopen at the same time across England as lockdown restrictions are eased, MPs have been told. Dr Jenny Harries, one of England's deputy chief medical officers, said there was "likely" to be regional differences in COVID measures once the national shutdown ends.
19th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Hospitals in Americas, Europe under growing strain of COVID-19

The world added more than 2 million new COVID-19 cases in the past 3 days, with health systems coming under pressure in the Americas and in more European countries and China reporting another pocket of local spread, triggering more strong measures. Over the past week, the World Health Organization (WHO) Americas region reported 2.5 million cases, making up more than half of the global total, Carissa Etienne, MBBS, MSc, who directs the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), said today at a briefing. She added that over the past week, 42,000 more people in the region died from their infections.
19th Jan 2021 - CIDRAP

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Five Countries, Five Experiences of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Adam Oliver, a professor at the London School of Economics, is one of many researchers who have tracked how different countries have responded to the pandemic. Oliver thinks that our usual back-of-the-envelope way of comparing countries, using a snapshot of covid cases and deaths, is of limited value. “We have to think about the non-health implications of pandemic response, too,” he told me. “Those are much more difficult to gauge at the moment. When you lock down businesses and citizens, there are many downstream consequences. There’s an economic impact. There’s social damage. There’s loss of freedom—which, especially in countries already bordering on authoritarianism, could be hard to roll back. If you consider these broader implications, I don’t think we’ll know the best path for years, if ever.” Oliver classifies pandemic responses into three broad, sometimes overlapping categories: the quick approach, the soft approach, and the hard approach.
18th Jan 2021 - The New Yorker

These Over-90s Are Still Waiting For The Vaccine. Here's Why

On Monday, the British government announced people aged over 70 and over and the clinically extremely vulnerable will begin receiving invitations for coronavirus vaccinations from this week. It came as officials announced more than 4m people in the UK have received the first dose of a vaccine. But HuffPost UK spoke to several people who said their elderly parents, all of whom were over the age of 90, had received no news regarding their vaccine appointments. One said hearing the latest announcement had only made things “even more frustrating” for their Lincolnshire-based mother, who is 94 and diabetic.
18th Jan 2021 - Huffington Post UK

More than 4 million Britons receive first COVID-19 vaccine dose

More than 4 million people have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Britain, according to official data on Monday which showed there had been a further 37,535 cases reported and 599 deaths within 28 days of a positive test. A total of 4,062,501 people have received their first shot Public Health England said as the government ramps up the vaccination programme.
18th Jan 2021 - MSN.com

Covid-19: Critical care wards full in hospitals across England

Ten hospital trusts across England consistently reported having no spare adult critical care beds in the most recent figures. It comes as hospital waiting times, coronavirus admissions and patients requiring intensive care are rising. England's 140 acute trusts had 5,503 adult critical care beds on 10 January, with 4,632 in use. NHS bosses have warned hospitals could "hit the limit" of their capacity this week. "I think, this next week, we will be at the limit of what we probably have the physical space and the people to safely do," Danny Mortimer, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said.
18th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Indian companies prepare to buy vaccines for employees

Several Indian companies are considering buying COVID-19 vaccines for their employees, once they become available commercially, just days after the government began a huge vaccination drive. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched what his government has described as the “world’s largest vaccination programme”. It aims to inoculate around 300 million people to curb the pandemic in India, which has reported the second highest number of coronavirus cases after the United States. India vaccinated 148,266 people on Monday, taking the total to 381,305, the health ministry said.
18th Jan 2021 - Reuters

S Korea leader urges businesses thriving in pandemic to share profits

South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in has called on companies prospering during the coronavirus pandemic to share their profits with struggling people and businesses, as fears rise over worsening economic inequality. The call from the leader of Asia’s fourth-biggest economy highlights the pressure on many world leaders amid surging stock and property prices coupled with rising unemployment and slow wage growth. “Whether it is called profit sharing, or whatever . . . I think it is the right way to go,” Mr Moon said at a rare press conference on Monday.
18th Jan 2021 - Financial Times

China reports more than 100 new COVID cases as New Year holiday exodus looms

China reported more than 100 new COVID-19 cases for the sixth consecutive day, with rising infections in the northeast fuelling concern of another wave when hundreds of millions of people travel for the Lunar New Year holiday. Tough new controls in the city of Gongzhuling in Jilin province, which has a population of about 1 million people, brings the total number of people under lockdown to more than 29 million. According to the Global Times newspaper, at least 11 regions in the provinces of Hebei, Heilongjiang and Jilin have imposed lockdowns and introduced extensive testing programmes. The National Health Commission reported 109 new COVID-19 cases for Sunday, unchanged from the day earlier. Of the 93 local infections, 54 were in Hebei, which surrounds Beijing.
18th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Brazil vaccinations start as country faces vaccine ingredient shortfall

Brazil kicked off a nationwide COVID-19 immunization program on Monday by distributing doses of a vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech following an emergency use authorization, although the pace of vaccination will depend on delayed imports. After weeks of setbacks, many Brazilians cheered the first wave of inoculations, from bustling clinics in Sao Paulo to a spectacular shot planned at the foot of the Christ Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro. The Health Ministry gave states the green light to start immunizing at 5 p.m. (2000 GMT). Although some began administering shots before that, the majority of Brazil’s 26 states had yet to receive vaccine shipments as of Monday evening, delaying the start of vaccinations for the elderly and frontline health workers.
18th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Portugal's health system on brink of collapse as COVID-19 cases surge

Portugal’s public health system is on the verge of collapsing as hospitals in the areas worst-affected by a worrying surge in coronavirus cases are quickly running out of intensive care beds to treat COVID-19 patients. “Our health system is under a situation of extreme pressure,” Health Minister Marta Temido told reporters on Sunday afternoon after a visit to a struggling hospital. “There is a limit and we are very close to it.”
17th Jan 2021 - Reuters

72 Australian Open tennis players in lockdown; reports of Novak Djokovic ideas for changes

The number of players in hard quarantine swelled to 72 ahead of the Australian Open after a fifth positive coronavirus test was returned from the charter flights bringing players, coaches, officials and media to Melbourne for the season-opening tennis major. That means they won’t be allowed to leave their hotel rooms or practice for 14 days, creating a two-speed preparation period for the tournament. Other players in less rigorous quarantine will be allowed to practice for five hours daily. Australian Open organizers confirmed late Sunday that the latest case involved a passenger on the flight from Doha, Qatar to Melbourne who was not a member of the playing contingent, But all 58 passengers, including the 25 players, now cannot leave their hotel rooms for 14 days.
18th Jan 2021 - NBC Sports

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GPs ‘forced to bin leftover vaccines’ amid struggle to book exact number of Covid vaccine recipients

In the UK, GPs are being forced to bin leftover vaccines rather than give patients second doses or use them on staff, according to reports. Local NHS leaders are said to have issued the vaccine disposal instructions to doctors organising clinics. The revelation comes as Pfizer said there would be a short delay to UK orders of its vaccine. GPs are struggling to book the exact number of appointments to match the doses of the vaccine which needs to kept at -70c, which adds another layer of difficulty.
17th Jan 2021 - Evening Standard

Covid-19: Critical care wards are full in hospitals across England

Ten hospital trusts across England reported having no spare critical care beds for most of last week. It comes as hospital waiting times, coronavirus admissions and patients requiring intensive care rises. Across all England's acute trusts the total number of critical care beds available is 5,503, with 4,632 in use on 10 January. NHS England has not yet commented. Last year, hospitals added 39% more beds for seriously ill patients. The latest figures from NHS England show the number of trusts who were, on average, at full capacity in adult critical care rose from four to ten in the week to 10 January.
17th Jan 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19: Some restrictions could go by March and vaccine should be offered to every adult by September

All UK adults should be offered the first dose of a COVID vaccine by September - with the hope some restrictions can be lifted by March, Dominic Raab has told Sky News. The foreign secretary said: "Our target is that by September to have offered all the adult population a first dose, if we can do it faster than that great but that's the roadmap." The target is more specific than the government's COVID-19 vaccine delivery plan, published a week ago, which said that level of protection should be provided "by the autumn".
17th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Greece starts COVID-19 vaccinations among the elderly

Greece kicked off COVID-19 vaccinations among the elderly on Saturday, after first inoculating tens of thousands of frontline workers to fight the spread of the coronavirus. More than 75,000 healthcare workers and nursing home residents and carers have received the shot of the vaccine produced by Pfizer/BioNTech since Greece rolled out the plan along with other EU countries last month.
17th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Reeling again from COVID-19, Amazonas gets respirators, oxygen from Brazil Air Force and Venezuela

The Brazilian jungle state of Amazonas received more emergency supplies of oxygen and respirators on Saturday, as the military and neighboring Venezuela scrambled to alleviate an unfolding humanitarian crisis caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Air Force also said it had evacuated 12 patients from hospitals in the state capital Manaus to the northern city of Sao Luis overnight, with hospitals at breaking point with no oxygen supplies and overflowing intensive care wards. Mass graves were dug in Manaus during the first wave of the pandemic last year. Harrowing scenes are again emerging in the second wave, of doctors and relatives running out of supplies and equipment while trying desperately to keep patients alive. Brazil’s Air Force said on Saturday a second flight had landed in Manaus with eight tanks of liquid oxygen, following an earlier emergency delivery of five tanks, and the Navy said in a statement that it is sending 40 respirators.
17th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Migrants forced to travel 85 miles for Home Office appointments as coronavirus cases soar

People are being forced to travel as far as 85 miles to attend Home Office appointments during the lockdown, prompting critics to claim the government is prioritising “distrust” of migrants over public health. Ministers are being urged to act after it emerged vulnerable asylum seekers and visa applicants have had to take long journeys on public transport in recent weeks in order to comply with Home Office rules. In March, substantive asylum interviews – during which the Home Office gathers information to determine whether someone should be granted asylum in the UK – were paused in response to the pandemic. Biometric appointments, where UK visa applicants submit their fingerprints as part of the application process, were also suspended during the first lockdown as visa application centres closed.
17th Jan 2021 - The Independent

More than 800 chain restaurants, bars and cafes close for good as Covid-19 lockdowns bite sector

More than 800 chain restaurants, bars and coffee shops have closed since the start of the Covid pandemic, research compiled for the Evening Standard has found. Covid has wrought havoc on cashflows of leisure sector operators as they have been repeatedly forced to close or only open under tough restrictions to ensure social distancing. Data compiled for the Evening Standard showed that when administrations and Company Voluntary Arrangements are included, chains with 6231 outlets have been affected. That compares with 593 closed during the two previous years, which included the one-off corporate shakeups at Patisserie Valerie and The Restaurant Group accounting for nearly 150 closures.
17th Jan 2021 - Evening Standard

India Kicks Off A Massive COVID-19 Vaccination Drive

Cheers erupted in hospital wards across India on Saturday as a first group of nurses and sanitation workers rolled up their sleeves and got vaccinated against COVID-19, at the start of what's likely to become the biggest national vaccination campaign in history. India aims to vaccinate 300 million people by July, though it could take an additional two or more years to inoculate all nearly 1.4 billion Indians. The shots are voluntary. Hospitals and clinics have been setting up and rehearsing for weeks. "A proud moment indeed! This is what we've been waiting for," Dr. R. Jayanthi, dean of the Omandurar Medical College in the southern city of Chennai, told local media moments after receiving her shot. "I'm truly a very privileged beneficiary today, and I'm feeling absolutely fine."
17th Jan 2021 - NPR

China builds hospital in 5 days as COVID-19 cases rise in Beijing

China on Saturday finished a five-day construction project on a 1,500-room hospital as clusters of COVID-19 spread in Beijing and the surrounding provinces. The state of play: The facility is the one of six hospitals with a total of 6,500 rooms in the works in Nangong, the Xinhua News Agency said Saturday per AP reporting. They are all expected to be completed next week. China reportedly put roughly 28 million people on lockdown this week in the the Hebei provincial capital of Shijiazhuang.
16th Jan 2021 - Axios

Coronavirus in London: 1,300-body mortuary opens

A temporary mortuary that can hold up to 1,300 bodies has been opened in Ruislip, west London, as the capital faces a growing coronavirus death toll. London recently exceeded 10,000 Covid-related deaths, a figure mayor Sadiq Khan described as "heartbreaking". Four temporary mortuary sites were set up in London during the first wave of coronavirus, but were put on standby. The use of the Ruislip site has been called "a visual, sobering reminder" of the continuing cost of the pandemic. Westminster City Council chief executive Stuart Love, who is leading the London-wide response, added: "We want to give people hope but we are not there yet. "From my point of view, we have built this really hoping it doesn't get used to its capacity.
16th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Aviation industry risks collapse without 'urgent' support following travel curbs

The aviation industry risks collapse without “urgent” government support, industry groups have warned following the latest travel curbs. From Monday all travel corridors to the UK will be scrapped to prevent any further spread of the new strains of coronavirus.
16th Jan 2021 - City A.M.

Italy suspends flights from Brazil in response to new coronavirus variant

Italy is suspending flights from Brazil, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Saturday, in response to a new coronavirus variant. Anyone who has transited Brazil in the last 14 days is also prohibited from entering Italy, he said on Facebook, while people arriving in Italy from Brazil will be required to take a test for the virus. "It is critical for our scientists to study the new strain. In the meantime, we are taking a very cautious approach", he said. Such rules will remain in place until Jan. 31, the order issued on Saturday by the health minister showed.
16th Jan 2021 - Yahoo News

Spain rejects virus confinement as most of Europe stays home

While most of Europe kicked off 2021 with earlier curfews or stay-at-home orders, authorities in Spain insist the new coronavirus variant causing havoc elsewhere is not to blame for a sharp resurgence of cases and that the country can avoid a full lockdown even as its hospitals fill up. The government has been tirelessly fending off drastic home confinement like the one that paralyzed the economy for nearly three months in the spring of 2020, the last time Spain could claim victory over the stubborn rising curve of cases. Infection rates ebbed in October but never completely flattened the surge from summer. Cases started climbing again before the end of the year. In the past month, 14-day rates more than doubled, from 188 cases per 100,000 residents on Dec. 10 to 522 per 100,000 on Thursday.
15th Jan 2021 - Associated Press

Coronavirus: Texas becomes first US state to administer 1m vaccine doses

Germany’s 2020 contraction shows economy in better shape than thought. Norwegian to abandon long-haul market as it fights for survival. France tightens Covid curfew and border controls.
15th Jan 2021 - MSN.com

Nigeria warns against fake COVID vaccines

Nigerian authorities have warned against fake coronavirus vaccines in the country where 10 million real doses of the shots are expected to arrive in March. “There are reports of fake vaccines in Nigeria,” Director General of Nigeria’s National Agency for Food Drug and Administration Control (NAFDAC) Mojisola Adeyeye said on Friday. “NAFDAC is pleading with the public to beware. No COVID vaccines have been approved by NAFDAC. Fake vaccines can cause COVID-like illnesses or other serious diseases that could kill.” Nigeria’s anticipated vaccines add to 100,000 expected doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine although it was not specified which type of jab would be used for the 10 million doses. It was also unclear whether the batch would be financed by the African Union (AU) or as part of COVAX, which links the World Health Organization (WHO) with private partners to work for pooled procurement and equitable distribution.
15th Jan 2021 - Al Jazeera English

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Quebec says some regions running out of COVID-19 vaccine, but new shipments coming

Quebec will wait up to 90 days before giving a COVID-19 vaccine booster to people who have received a first shot, Health Minister Christian Dube said Thursday. That delay goes far beyond the recommendation of vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna, which propose intervals of 21 and 28 days, respectively, and is more than double the 42-day maximum delay proposed by Canada’s national vaccine advisory committee. Dube told a news conference that the decision was made in order to vaccinate as many vulnerable people as possible and to reduce the pressure on the health system. “In our context, this is the best strategy, because we have to contend with (having) very few vaccines, and we’re in a race against the clock,” Dube told a news conference.
14th Jan 2021 - The Star

Number of London transport staff dying with Covid-19 increases to 60

The number of London transport staff dying with Covid has increased to 60, including 46 bus workers, it was revealed today. The figure, up three from earlier this week, came as Sadiq Khan and his Tory mayoral rival Shaun Bailey said London key workers most at risk of contracting Covid should be the next to be prioritised for vaccination. In separate interventions, the Mayor and Mr Bailey said the second phase of the rollout should focus on higher-risk essential workers such as police, teachers and transport staff once vulnerable elderly Londoners and health and care staff were inoculated. The total figure, up three from 57 revealed earlier this week, includes staff working for the private bus firms contracted by Transport for London to run the capital's buses, plus Tube and rail staff and TfL head office workers. The death toll includes 37 bus drivers and nine other bus workers, such as bus station staff.
14th Jan 2021 - Evening Standard

The Remaining COVID-19 Journey

I’m sure I wasn’t alone when I breathed a sigh of relief at the much ballyhooed arrival of COVID-19 vaccines at the end of 2020. We’re in the midst of a dark and grief-stricken pandemic winter, and the sooner the vaccine gets us to herd immunity—and, pray, a semblance of normalcy—the better. But the well-worn trope that life is a journey, and not a destination, has an epidemiological application as well. As of this writing, the U.S. just suffered a record-breaking day of thousands of fatalities caused by the novel coronavirus. So in the interim months while most Americans wait their chance to be vaccinated, our goal certainly must be to minimize deaths from COVID-19. In this issue’s cover story, Charles Schmidt takes a comprehensive look at the latest developments in clinical treatments for COVID-19 infection, many of which still need research to bolster their effectiveness
14th Jan 2021 - Scientific American

Covid: Infections levelling off in some areas - scientist

The coronavirus growth rate is slowing in the UK and the number of infections is starting to level off in some areas, a top scientist has said. Prof Neil Ferguson told the BBC that in some NHS regions there is a "sign of plateauing" in cases and hospital admissions. But he warned the overall death toll would exceed 100,000. On Wednesday, the UK saw its biggest daily death figure since the start of the pandemic, with 1,564 deaths. It has taken the total number of deaths by that measure to 84,767. There were also 47,525 new cases. It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the national lockdown measures were "starting to show signs of some effect", but it was early days and urged people to abide by the rules.
14th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19: High Street chemists start vaccinations in England

Some High Street pharmacies in England will start vaccinating people from priority groups on Thursday, with 200 providing jabs in the next two weeks. Six chemists in Halifax, Macclesfield, Widnes, Guildford, Edgware and Telford are the first to offer appointments to those invited by letter. But pharmacists say many more sites should be allowed to give the jab, not just the largest ones. More than 2.6 million people in the UK have now received their first dose. Across the UK, the target is to vaccinate 15 million people in the top four priority groups - care home residents and workers, NHS frontline staff, the over-70s and the extremely clinically vulnerable - by mid-February.
14th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19: Surge leaves key hospital services 'in crisis'

The surge in Covid hospital cases has left key hospital services in England in crisis, doctors are warning. NHS data showed A&Es were facing rising delays admitting extremely sick patients on to wards. Meanwhile, the total number of people facing year-long waits for routine treatments is now more than 100 times higher than it was before the pandemic. Cancer experts are also warning the disruption to their services was "terrifying" and would cost lives. Reports have emerged of hospitals cancelling urgent operations - London's King's College Hospital has stopped priority two treatments, which are those that need to be done within 28 days. And Birmingham's major hospital trust has temporarily suspended most liver transplants.
14th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Marketing Moderna hitches a ride with Uber to boost vaccine confidence—and, of course, drive access

COVID-19 vaccine maker Moderna is looking for a lift from Uber—a collaboration lift, that is. The two companies say they're planning to work together to promote vaccine confidence and ease access to coronavirus shots. Early ideas include promoting vaccine safety on the Uber network and through in-app messages as well as incorporating Uber rides into the vaccination scheduling process. While those details are still in the works, the appeal of Uber as a partner for Moderna is not only its nationwide network and connections but also the diversity of its 1.2 million drivers. “Uber has broad access across the United States—its ride-sharing platform is used by Americans everywhere, and its drivers represent a wide variety of the population," Michael Mullette, Moderna's vice president of commercial operations in North America, said. "There’s a great opportunity for us to think about educating the population about how do you get immunized … but also how do you access credible information about vaccines."
14th Jan 2021 - FiercePharma

GPs in England say inconsistent supply of Covid vaccine causing roll-out issues

Inconsistent vaccine supply is making it difficult for GPs in England to book patient appointments more than a few days in advance, experts have warned, as the prime minister admitted there were significant disparities in local immunisation rates. Doctors, NHS specialists and MPs told the Guardian that batches of the Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine frequently arrived with only a couple of days’ notice, requiring last-minute planning and creating uncertainty for patients. Insiders said the distribution system was operating on a “push model” meaning that doctors could not order the vaccine but simply had to be ready to be receive batches whenever the NHS was able to deliver them.
14th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Boots and Superdrug start dishing out Covid vaccines as six high street pharmacies are recruited and No10 says it's on track to do 3m jabs a week — but independent chemists fear UK will fail to hit target unless it uses 'many more, much sooner'

MailOnline revealed this week Boots in Halifax and Superdrug branch in Guildford would join vaccine effort. Chains are among six high street pharmacies across England to be converted into Covid hubs this morning. Calls for ministers to go further and use England's 11,500 pharmacies to deliver round-the-clock vaccinations
14th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

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U.S. Vaccine Shift Stirs New Unease as 128 Million Join Line

The U.S. government wants states to offer vaccines to millions more Americans as Covid-19 infections continue to soar, in a bid to bolster an immunization campaign that’s off to a rocky start. In recommending that states start immunizing all residents 65 and older, along with all those between 16 and 64 with medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to serious disease, U.S. health officials are clearing a path for about 128 million more Americans to be vaccinated.
13th Jan 2021 - Bloomberg

Less than half of people who have developed Covid-19 symptoms have requested a test - and over-60s are the worst at getting checked out

Just 43 per cent of people who develop Covid-19 symptoms are getting a test, according to shock new data. An ongoing UCL study has been tracking the social aspect of the pandemic and how the general public has been behaving and adhering to the ever-changing rules and guidance. It started in mid-March 2020 and regularly quizzes more than 70,000 Britons about their life in lockdown. Data shows a third of people requested a test every time they developed symptoms, one in ten got a test only on some of the occasions when they had symptoms and 57 per cent never requested a test despite having symptoms
13th Jan 2021 - MSN.com

US requires negative Covid-19 tests from all international travelers

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced it will start requiring all international travelers coming into the US to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter the country. Global testing requirements would be an expansion on a Trump administration policy barring UK travelers without a negative test from entry, which was announced on December 24. The new rule, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, will apply to Americans returning home from abroad, as well as visitors.
13th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Mental health of NHS staff placed under further strain as Covid hospitalisations continue to rise

Doctors and nurses treating coronavirus patients in overstretched hospitals are increasingly suffering from mental health issues, figures show – as health chiefs warn staff will be pushed to their limit over the next few weeks of the pandemic. The number of doctors seeking psychiatric help through the British Medical Association has doubled since the pandemic began, The Independent can reveal, while new research shows that nearly half of all NHS staff in intensive care units (ICUs) are likely to meet the threshold for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety or depression. And in a letter sent to doctors on Tuesday, the UK’s chief medical officers said that the weeks ahead “are likely to be among the most challenging of all our professional lives” and will push staff “to the limits of [their] physical and mental endurance”.
13th Jan 2021 - The Independent

Scotland's Covid lockdown tightened with click and collect and takeaway curbs

Shops in Scotland have been ordered to stop non-essential click-and-collect services and alcohol consumption is to be banned outdoors, in a further tightening of lockdown measures. Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister, said shops would be allowed to offer click and collect only for essential goods such as clothes, shoes, baby equipment, books and homeware from Saturday 16 January. Takeaway outlets will be banned from allowing customers into the building. “I must stress at the outset that the situation we face in relation to the virus remains very precarious and extremely serious,” she told MSPs. UK government ministers are considering restricting click and collect in England, and Matt Hancock, the health secretary, joined Sturgeon in welcoming John Lewis’s voluntary decision on Tuesday to suspend its collect services.
13th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

School key worker ‘lottery’ sees NHS staff miss out on lockdown classroom places as more children attend

One week after schools in England closed, key worker parents and NHS staff are missing out on face-to-face education places for their children, as schools attempt to adhere to broader key worker guidance while managing a problematic increase in attendance. Both teachers and parents told i that they were finding it increasingly difficult to manage demand for children to attend school. While schools in England closed for most pupils on Tuesday 5 January, as with the first lockdown they remain open for vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers, as well as for those children without digital devices or quiet spaces in their homes, and the children of EU transition workers.
13th Jan 2021 - iNews

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Retailers remove product limits on groceries after Brisbane lockdown ends

Retailers have removed product limits for popular grocery items in Brisbane after the end of its three-day lockdown. Shoppers descended on stores in large numbers on Friday after the Queensland government confirmed five local government areas would shut down for 72 hours to stop the spread of the UK strain of COVID-19. Punches were thrown and supermarkets stripped bare as residents defied advice to raid shelves and stock up on supplies. It prompted major retailers like Coles and Woolworths to reintroduce product limits on multiple items
12th Jan 2021 - The Australian

Asia Today: India starts shipping COVID-19 vaccine to cities

India has started shipping COVID-19 vaccines to multiple cities, four days ahead of a nationwide inoculation drive. The first consignment of vaccines developed by the Serum Institute of India left the city of Pune on Tuesday. The vaccines rolled out from Serum Institute of India’s facility in temperature-controlled trucks to the city’s airport, from where they were loaded into private air carriers for distribution all over the country. Civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri called the shipping of vaccines a “momentous mission.”
12th Jan 2021 - ABC News

UK retailers call for police help to enforce mask rules

British retailers called on the police to help enforce the wearing of masks to limit the spread of COVID-19, with one of the biggest supermarkets saying on Monday it would no longer allow entry to those flouting the rules. With infection numbers rising sharply the UK government has expressed concern about the spread of the virus in supermarkets, with people breaching rules by not wearing masks while shopping in them. Non-essential retail, restaurants and bars are shut across Britain, leading to a high level of demand for supermarkets and other food stores. “People have got to follow the guidance in supermarkets, people need to be keeping their distance, making sure that they’re wearing masks, doing the right thing,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters.
12th Jan 2021 - Reuters

ICE must provide Covid-19 vaccines to all detained migrants

After months of public health and political debates on vaccine prioritization for incarcerated populations, Covid-19 vaccination has begun in prisons and jails across the United States. Yet little is known about vaccination programs in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers. Some states have said they will vaccinate incarcerated populations in Phase 1b or 2 of the vaccines rollout, either alongside correctional officers or after they have been vaccinated. The Federal Bureau of Prisons first planned to prioritize correctional officers, in line with recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. But after pushback from public health experts highlighted the growing rates of Covid-19 among inmates, the Bureau of Prisons began vaccinating staff members and selected prisoners simultaneously.
12th Jan 2021 - STAT News

Mexico City restaurants open doors in defiance of COVID-19 ...

Several prominent restaurant chains and smaller eateries on Monday defied Mexico City's extension of a ban on dine-in service, in an act of civil disobedience against rules aimed at controlling a surge in COVID-19 cases. Fish restaurant Fisher's, steak house Sonora Grill and Potzollcalli, which sells a Mexican pork and corn soup, were among the outlets that flouted the ban. Between them, the three chains have dozens of outlets in the city area. Officials initially said a partial lockdown implemented on Dec. 19 would last until Jan. 11, but extended it after surging cases last week pushed hospitals to their limit. Hospitals in the capital are 89% full, the highest peak of the pandemic, according to city data. Nationwide, Mexico has surpassed 1.5 million cases and 130,000 deaths.
11th Jan 2021 - Thomson Reuters Foundation

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Covid vaccine: Wales has delivered 70,000 of 275,000 doses

Wales has received 275,000 doses of the two Covid-19 vaccines to deal with the pandemic. About 70,000 people received a first dose after the first month of the vaccine rollout. The Welsh Government confirmed it has had more than 250,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 25,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab. The health minister promised a "really significant step-up" in the roll-out after opponents criticised its speed. The Pfizer jabs were first administered in early December at seven sites across Wales as part of the UK-wide immunisation programme.
11th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Two million receive Covid-19 vaccination as Boris Johnson urges ‘maximum vigilance’

Almost two million people have been vaccinated against the coronavirus but the epidemic has never been so dangerous, according to England’s chief medical officer. Professor Chris Whitty warned people that there was a “very high chance” that someone with whom they have had unnecessary contact had Covid-19, adding: “This is the most dangerous time.” Boris Johnson has begged people to follow rules, particularly in supermarkets and at takeaway venues as part of a drive to counter faltering compliance and lockdown fatigue.
11th Jan 2021 - The Times

Travel body rejects compulsory COVID-19 shots, experts say herd immunity distant

The head of a global travel organisation on Monday opposed making COVID-19 vaccinations a requirement for travellers in the fight against the pandemic, despite scepticism about reaching herd immunity this year.
11th Jan 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Army to help ensure vaccines reach health authorities in Spain after worst snowfall in decades

Convoys containing food and the coronavirus vaccine are being sent by the Spanish government to reach areas cut off by record snowfall. Army emergency brigades have focused on clearing access to Madrid's main fresh food distribution centre and to hospitals as COVID-19 infections rise across Spain. Interior minister Fernando Grande-Markaska said the government will take extra steps to ensure that the country's weekly shipment of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, arriving on Monday, can be distributed to regional health authorities via police-escorted convoys.
11th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19: Birmingham mass vaccination centre opens

Health workers have been among the first to receive a Covid-19 jab at a mass vaccination centre. The site at Birmingham's Millennium Point is one of seven across England and will offer about 2,500 vaccinations a day when it is fully operational. It comes as England's chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty warns the coming weeks will be "the most dangerous time" of the pandemic. One of the first patients said she had been "so excited" to get the vaccine. Olga Leach-Walters is an endoscopy nurse at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
11th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Third of over 80s vaccinated as government to unveil COVID-19 vaccine deployment plan

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC on Sunday that around 2m doses of vaccine had now been delivered and that around a third of over 80s had received at least one dose. His comments came as the government prepared to set out its full COVID-19 vaccine deployment plan on 11 January, which Mr Hancock said would be the 'keystone of our exit out of the pandemic'. The government has already said it hopes to deliver 13.9m doses of COVID-19 vaccine UK-wide by mid February, covering the first four priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
11th Jan 2021 - GP online

Chicago Is Reopening Schools Against Fierce Resistance From Teachers

Across the country, many big cities like New York have struggled to resume even limited in-person instruction, while a number, including Los Angeles, have simply given up on the idea, choosing to stick with all-remote education into the spring. Few places have seen as much acrimony over the issue as Chicago, whose public school system is the nation’s third-largest. Now, with 6,000 prekindergarten and special education students preparing to return to the city’s public school buildings on Monday for the first time since March, a question looms: How many of their teachers will be there to greet them?
11th Jan 2021 - The New York Times

French resorts ask: will COVID write off whole ski season?

Business owners at France's Chamonix ski resort, their earnings slashed because of the COVID-19 lockdown, are worried they might not be able to welcome back skiers at all before the snows melt and the season ends. French ski resorts were prevented from opening their cable cars and ski lifts at the start of the season, driving away the large portion of their visitors who come for downhill skiing. The French government had discussed the possibility of re-opening the ski lifts of Jan. 7, but last week it said that with virus cases still high, that would be premature. A decision is now due on Jan. 20, leaving little time before the season ends. "If we have to close to the end of season, that's going to cost us several billion euros," said Mathieu Dechavanne, Chairman and CEO of Compagnie du Mont-Blanc, which operates cable cars in the region. "The economic impact will be catastrophic."
11th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

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Second doses of first coronavirus vaccine happening now

As states try to broaden the reach of their coronavirus vaccination campaigns and navigate uncertain supply chains, many of the first people to receive their shots are just now completing the final act of immunity, the second dose, which boosts the efficacy of both available US vaccines to about 95 percent. Many health care workers and others at high risk who had the Pfizer shots in mid December lined up for their "booster" shot this week, due to be given 21 days after the initial dose.
9th Jan 2021 - NPR

Covid-19 outbreaks in care homes double in a fortnight as care sector is biggest source of infection clusters

The number of apparent Covid-19 outbreaks inside care homes has more than doubled in a fortnight with the care sector now the largest source of multi-infection incidents once again, according to official data. Public Health England figures show that in the week to 3 January, there were 749 “acute respiratory infection incidents” in care homes across the UK, up from 480 the week before and 364 in the week before that. The incidents are defined as two or more confirmed or suspected cases of a respiratory illness such as Covid-19 or flu, and a large majority were confirmed to involve Covid-19 through virus testing.
9th Jan 2021 - iNews

NHS England plans to vaccinate all frontline staff against COVID-19 in next few weeks

NHS England said on Friday it had made plans to vaccinate all frontline staff against COVID-19 in the next few weeks following the rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Nikita Kanani, the Nation Health Service medical director for primary care, said the vaccine will be administered to “all health and social care staff” by mid-February.
9th Jan 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19 In Butler County: Hospitals Adjusting On Fly After State Announces New Vaccine Distribution Plan

This is the fourth version of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan in Pennsylvania. While things change, local health systems are rolling with the punches. “Many people are ready, many people perceive their risk. They’ve been riding this out for a long time and have been careful for a long time,” said Dr. David Rottinghaus, the chief medical officer at Butler Health System. Dr. Rottinghaus said Butler Health System was tasked with vaccinating the county’s 1A Phase. “We distributed almost 1,000 in the last 3 days. We are pretty far down the road in tier 1A,” Rottinghaus said.
9th Jan 2021 - CBS Pittsburgh

Over 9 million COVID-19 vaccine shots given in China, health officials say

China has administered over 9 million shots of COVID-19 vaccine since Dec 15 to people deemed at high risk of contracting the disease, senior health officials said on Saturday. As vaccine production ramps up,
9th Jan 2021 - China Daily

DGCA issues guidelines for Airlines to transport COVID-19 vaccines

India's civil aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), has issued guidelines to airlines and other aircraft operators for transportation of Covid-19 vaccines. "All scheduled operators who have been currently authorized to carry dangerous goods may carry COVID19 vaccine packed in dry ice, meeting the regulatory requirements," DGCA said in a circular. "Non-scheduled operators, including aircraft engaged in general aviation, that are required to participate in the carriage of COVID 19 vaccines packed in dry ice shall seek specific approval before commencing such operations," it added. Covid-19 vaccination in India is expected to start in the next few days, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said yesterday, adding that the union government has requested the stakeholders in the process to help in its smooth rollout.
9th Jan 2021 - DD News

Coronavirus Vaccine Demand Has Health Officials Turning to Eventbrite

In the early stages of a global push to distribute the coronavirus vaccine to those who need it most — a process that has, so far, managed to be both hectic and slow — some health officials have turned to an unexpected tool: the ticketing website Eventbrite. Before the pandemic, the platform was a place to book tickets to performances, art shows or pub crawls. Now, public health officials are using it to schedule vaccination appointments. Mai Miller, 48, of Merritt Island, Fla., scoured Eventbrite last week in search of a slot for her mother. She scrolled through pages of dates and times, repeatedly refreshing the site and hunting for booking buttons that were blue, signaling availability. She found a few, but she couldn’t seem to click on them quickly enough. “It was just a scramble,” she said. “Like musical chairs with 20 chairs and 4,000 people.”
9th Jan 2021 - The New York Times

'Care needed' after getting Covid vaccine

People who have had Covid vaccines are being warned to still take care. Vaccination has been shown to prevent severe infection, so even if people do catch the virus, they would be protected from getting seriously ill. The call comes as an NHS nurse working for the Hywel Dda University Health Board area said she contracted Covid-19 while waiting for her second dose. The health board said while the vaccine "reduces your chance of suffering", "no vaccine is 100% effective". The Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, which started being rolled out in the UK last month, offers up to 95% protection against Covid-19 after a second dose.
9th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Some school staff will be prioritised for coronavirus vaccine

Special school staff, an those working in colleges providing intimate care, as well as at risk staff will be prioritised for the coronavirus vaccine along with care workers. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) which advises UK health departments on immunisation, agreed certain special school staff should be classed as care workers and that at risk school and college staff should also be prioritised. Headteachers, including Chris Britten, head of Ysgol y Deri special school in Penarth, have been pressing for school staff to be prioritised after health workers and vulnerable groups.
9th Jan 2021 - Wales Online

How Restaurants Have Weathered the Pandemic

Nearly 40,000 restaurants in the state have been shuttered since last year, with California leading in the number of restaurant closures in the nation, according to the latest figures released by Yelp. In every corner of the state, loan payouts have been exhausted and state unemployment programs are stymied by bureaucratic delays. A survey by the California Restaurant Association, the group that challenged Los Angeles’s outdoor dining ban in court, found that 60 percent of restaurants that received federal loans said they would most likely run out of money by the summer. It also estimated that since March, between 900,000 and one million restaurant workers have either been laid off or furloughed. The $900 billion stimulus package Congress passed in December would give struggling small businesses another chance to apply for loans.
8th Jan 2021 - The New York Times

North Wales Police Federation rep says officers should get Covid vaccine 'as a priority'

A North Wales Police Federation rep has said officers should get the Covid vaccine as a priority. More than 9,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Welsh Government to change the fact that police are not on the priority list to be immunised for Covid-19. Police forces across the UK are currently experiencing high sickness rates as officers face a greater risk of contracting the virus due to the public facing nature of their jobs. Mark Jones, general secretary of the North Wales Police Federation, said his colleagues had even been spat at by offenders, raising the potential for them to catch the coronavirus even further.
8th Jan 2021 - Deeside.com

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Rush to administer coronavirus vaccine to all hospital staff

Hospitals have been told by NHS England to immediately step up efforts to vaccinate all their staff.Yesterday GPs started administering the Oxford Astrazeneca vaccine to protect care home residents
8th Jan 2021 - The Times

Pharmacies set for role in Wales coronavirus vaccination plan

Pharmacies in Wales are set to become involved in the process of vaccinating people against coronavirus, with discussions going on over how that will happen, says Wales' Chief Medical Officer. Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, like its counterparts across Wales, has been checking the suitability of community and other venues across Gwent that might be suitable for use as mass vaccination centres, and GP surgeries will also play a central role. The challenge in Wales, as it is across the UK, is to provide sufficient vaccination sites to enable as many people in the priority groups to be vaccinated as quickly as possible - and Wales' CMO Dr Frank Atherton said all health boards in Wales are developing plans to "rapidly increase the vaccine coverage".
8th Jan 2021 - South Wales Argus

15,000 Covid-19 vaccines administered in Ireland

More than 15,000 people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in Ireland to date. The country’s health chief said a total of 35,000 people will have received the Pfizer BioNTech jab by the end of the week. Paul Reid described the State’s coronavirus vaccination programme as the “great light” and “great hope” as the country faces the weeks ahead. A total of 15,314 people have been given vaccinated since December 29. “It has given a great lift to the country and it has given a great inspirational lift to our healthcare workers,” he said.
7th Jan 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

Most vulnerable to get vaccine by mid-Feb as Covid deaths soar

The UK has recorded more than 1,000 new coronavirus deaths overnight for the second day in a row while hospital admissions have risen above the peak of the first wave, new figures show. Some 3,600 Covid-19 patients were admitted to hospital in the UK on January 3, the first time it has been higher than the peak of 3,565 recorded on April 1. It comes as London’s hospitals are on the verge of being overwhelmed as health bosses scramble to find more beds to deal with a surge in infections across the country. The sobering figures were published as Boris Johnson admitted that the UK roll-out of Covid vaccines is a “challenge on a scale like nothing we’ve seen before”.
7th Jan 2021 - Evening Standard

GPs struggling with Covid vaccine delivery timing uncertainties

GPs are having to do a ‘huge amount’ of cancellations and rebooking of Covid vaccine appointments amid last-minute changes to vaccine delivery times, regional GP leaders have claimed. LMC leaders said this was giving practices ‘a headache’ and called for some ‘assurance’ about ‘when vaccine will be supplied’. This week, GP sites in wave five of the rollout were expecting their first vaccine deliveries between Wednesday and Friday, while sites in wave six will be told today (Thursday 7 January) whether they have passed their ‘readiness assessment’ to commence vaccinations next week. Slides presented in an NHS England webinar for GPs on Tuesday evening said ‘site-specific delivery dates have been confirmed’.
7th Jan 2021 - Pulse

Nicola Sturgeon confirms covid vaccine to be rolled out to all over 80s in next four weeks

All over-80s in Scotland will receive their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine in the next four weeks, Nicola Sturgeon has announced. Speaking at today's daily briefing, the First Minister confirmed that 113,459 people have received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, with the Oxford/AstraZeneca inoculation being first used on Monday. She said: "I can confirm that this shows that by Sunday, the 30th of January, 113,459 individuals had received their first tools of the Pfizer Covid vaccine.
7th Jan 2021 - Glasgow Live

Hancock: 'We're working with Pfizer and AstraZeneca to increase Covid-19 vaccine supply'

Health Secretary Matt Hancock visited a GP surgery in London to promote the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines. Mr Hancock said they were working with the Pfizer and AstraZeneca to increase the supply.
7th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19: Vaccine rollout widens as hospital pressure rises

GPs in England are receiving doses of the Oxford Covid jab as medics warn about overstretched hospitals. The rollout of the Oxford vaccine is part of the NHS's biggest-ever effort and aims to offer jabs to 13 million by mid-February - including all over-80s. But Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted vaccine supply was a "rate-limiting" factor. Birmingham's NHS said there are enough supplies with more to come as politicians warned doses may run out. Some hospitals in England are at risk of becoming Covid-only sites, with rising admissions for the virus forcing trusts to cut back on other services.
7th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Ireland tightens lockdown as COVID-19 'tsunami' threatens hospitals

Ireland announced its strictest lockdown measures since early last year on Wednesday as a “tsunami” of infections caused by a new COVID-19 variant pushed hospitalisations to a record high and sparked fears the healthcare system could be overwhelmed. Ireland’s 14-day infection rate has quadrupled in the past 10 days to 819 cases per 100,000, fueled by a new more transmissible COVID-19 variant first identified in Britain and the relaxation of restrictions ahead of Christmas. Officials reported a record high of 7,836 cases on Wednesday. “Already exhausted healthcare workers now face a tsunami of infection even greater than the first wave,” Prime Minister Micheal Martin told a news conference announcing the new measures. “In addition we have a more infectious strain of the virus in our midst... which can rapidly lead to growth well beyond previous worst case scenarios.”
7th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

Covid vaccine: National vaccination booking system will be launched in the UK

A new national system allowing the public to book a Covid-19 vaccination will be launched in the UK to make it easier to roll out the immunisation programme, Boris Johnson has announced. The Prime Minister said during a press conference on Thursday that nearly 1.5 million people have now been vaccinated against coronavirus in the UK, including 1.26 million in England. The process of getting a vaccination will be made easier, he said, by the launch of the new national appointment booking service – but did not reveal any further details about how it would work.
7th Jan 2021 - iNews

Pharmacies to roll out Covid vaccine in ‘Herculean effort’ to immunise Britain

High street pharmacies will form a major part of the “Herculean effort” to vaccinate the nation against coronavirus, the vaccines tsar has announced. Nadhim Zahawi, the minister for Covid Vaccine Deployment, told BBC’s Today programme that community pharmacy networks will be “very much involved” in plans to vaccinate 13.4m Brits by mid-February. Current government plans will see vaccines given to GPs to be rolled out to the public, then national vaccination centres, and then distributed across local pharmacies, Zahawi announced. “The NHS has a very clear plan and I’m confident that we can meet it,” he said, adding that it would require a “Herculean effort” to roll out the jab to the most vulnerable in just seven weeks’ time. It comes after ministers were yesterday accused of ignoring an army of trained vaccinators at pharmacies. Simon Dukes, the chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Negotiating Services Committee, told the Telegraph the NHS was “scrabbling around” for vaccinators while trained medics in the pharmaceutical industry were ready to help.
7th Jan 2021 - City A.M.

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Around 50,000 receive first dose of Covid-19 vaccine in Northern Ireland

Around 50,000 people have received a first dose of coronavirus vaccine in Northern Ireland, Health Minister Robin Swann said. Nine in 10 care home residents have been inoculated. By January 18, more supplies are expected to be received from manufacturer AstraZeneca. Mr Swann urged the public to stay at home while the programme gathers steam. "This is a time to hunker down and weather the crisis," he said.
6th Jan 2021 - ITV News

As cases spike, Europe mulls delaying 2nd coronavirus vaccine shot

Faced with surging coronavirus cases, some European countries are considering whether to change tack and join the U.K. in vaccinating as many people as possible with just one dose rather than the two administered during clinical trials so far. This issue has been live since December 30, when the U.K. announced its decision to delay second doses by up to 12 weeks when it approved the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use. The switch also applied to the BioNTech/Pfizer jab. Just this week, Denmark announced its decision to delay the second dose of both the Pfizer and forthcoming Moderna jabs by up to six weeks. The German health ministry has also confirmed looking into widening vaccination coverage by similar delays between doses.
6th Jan 2021 - POLITICO.eu

Record-high COVID-19 hospitalizations strain southwestern Ontario health-care system

A southwestern Ontario hospital grappling with record-high COVID-19 admissions was cancelling surgeries and transferring patients to other facilities this week while another scrapped procedures to free up staff who could care for the gravely ill. The capacity crunch due to rising cases of the novel coronavirus had the head of a group representing Ontario’s hospitals warning that the acute-care system is more stretched than ever and the situation could get worse. The Windsor Regional Hospital cancelled all non-urgent, elective surgeries indefinitely and is preparing to send patients to hospitals near and far, hospital CEO David Musyj said Wednesday. Some acute-care patients are being transferred to the hospital in nearby Chatham-Kent, Ont., he said, while those with higher needs are being transferred to London, Ont.
6th Jan 2021 - The Star

U.S. sets COVID-19 hospitalization record as states work to ramp up vaccination efforts

More Americans were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Wednesday than at any time since the pandemic began, as total coronavirus infections crossed the 21 million mark, deaths soared across much of the United States and a historic vaccination effort lagged. U.S. COVID-19 hospitalizations reached a record 130,834 late on Tuesday, according to a Reuters tally of public health data, while 3,684 reported fatalities was the second-highest single-day death toll of the pandemic. That appalling toll meant that on Tuesday someone died from COVID-19 every 24 seconds in the United States. With total deaths surpassing 357,000, one in every 914 U.S. residents has died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to a Reuters analysis.
6th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

Swamped Hospitals Expose Depth of Britain’s Unfolding Crisis

If the British government’s goal throughout the coronavirus pandemic has been to protect the health service, the next few weeks will be the biggest challenge yet. After overtaking Italy again as the country with Europe’s highest death toll, the U.K. is at the epicenter of the continent’s struggle to contain Covid-19. Daily infections are at a record—one in 50 people in England now have the disease—while Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week shut schools and ordered the population to stay at home. Medical staff say they may be forced to turn people away from hospitals if the latest lockdown fails to curb quickly enough a new strain of the virus that emerged in southeast England last month.
6th Jan 2021 - Bloomberg

Covid Vaccine Rollouts in Europe Are Off to a Shaky Start

With a more contagious variant of the coronavirus forcing England to impose a strict new national lockdown and European nations extending restrictions in the face of rising cases, political leaders have promised that mass vaccinations will bring an end to the suffering. But in the race to beat the virus, the virus is still way out in front. There are shortages of needles in Italy, Greece and other countries. Spain has not trained enough nurses. France has only managed to vaccinate around 7,000 people. Poland’s program was rocked by scandal after it was revealed that celebrities were given preferential treatment. There are calls in Germany to take control over vaccine purchases from European Union authorities. Nearly every country in Europe has complained about burdensome paperwork.
6th Jan 2021 - The New York Times

Covid-19 pre-departure tests and more lockdowns: Additional measures rolled out to battle new variant

Since the new Covid-19 variant began spreading rapidly around the world, new measures have been rolled out to slow it down. The B.1.1.7 strain, which was first identified in the UK on September 20, is more transmissible than other coronavirus variants. According to Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield, it is roughly one-and-a-half times more infectious than earlier versions of the virus. The new variant has since been found in more than 30 countries, including New Zealand.
6th Jan 2021 - Stuff.co.nz

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What do we know about the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out in Scotland?

Vaccination of the public and vulnerable people from Covid-19 in Scotland is well underway, but information on when the Scottish Government expects vaccines to reach all of the population remains thin on the ground.
5th Jan 2021 - The Scotsman

Baker says 70,000 staff members at Mass. hospitals have received COVID-19 vaccine

Governor Charlie Baker said Tuesday that more than 70,000 “COVID-facing” staff members at Massachusetts hospitals have received the COVID-19 vaccine amid the ongoing distribution program that’s slated to expand to first responders on Jan.
5th Jan 2021 - The Boston Globe

COVID-19: More than a million have coronavirus in England, says PM - as variant is 'taking off' around UK

More than a million people in England are currently infected with coronavirus, the prime minister has said. Boris Johnson was speaking at a Downing Street news conference on the first full day of the nation's third lockdown, as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said one in 50 people in England have COVID-19. Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said it was "really quite a large number indeed" and warned the new variant is "taking off" in areas outside London and the South East.
5th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Elderly residents who waited overnight for Covid vaccine are turned away as Florida centre hits capacity

Distribution has stalled in places across the United States due to the limited number of coronavirus doses currently available, and it caused one Florida vaccine centre to close its doors once it reached capacity. On Monday, a vaccination centre at Daytona Stadium, in Daytona Beach, Florida, reached capacity for distributing the Moderna vaccine. It was announced that the centre would be open Monday, 4 July, and Tuesday, 5 July, on a first come, first serve basis to administer the coronavirus vaccine to those who qualified. About 2,000 doses were available.
5th Jan 2021 - The Independent

France cranks up vaccine rollout to deliver shots faster

France is stepping up its COVID-19 vaccine rollout by widening further its first target group to include more health workers and simplifying a cumbersome process to deliver jabs more quickly, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Tuesday. France’s inoculation campaign got off to a slow start, hampered in part by red tape and President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to tread warily in one of the most vaccine-sceptical countries in the world. But France has fallen behind neighbours such as Britain and Germany, and the president is now demanding the vaccination programme be expedited.
5th Jan 2021 - Reuters

France's go-slow coronavirus vaccination strategy backfires

France’s cautious approach to rolling out a coronavirus vaccination program appears to have backfired, leaving barely 500 people inoculated in the first week and rekindling anger over the government’s handling of the pandemic. Amid public outcry, the health minister vowed Monday to step up the pace, and made a belated public plea on behalf of the vaccine, saying it offers a “chance” for France and the world to vanquish a pandemic that has killed more than 1.8 million people. President Emmanuel Macron was holding a special meeting with top government officials Monday to address the vaccine strategy and other virus developments. The slow rollout of the vaccine made by Pfizer and the German firm BioNTech was blamed on mismanagement, staffing shortages during holiday vacations and a complex French consent policy designed to accommodate unusually broad vaccine skepticism among the French public.
5th Jan 2021 - The Associated Press

UK lockdowns force British Airways, easyJet to review flying plans

UK-based airlines British Airways and easyJet said they were reviewing their plans in response to new national COVID lockdowns, with reductions to already low levels of flying almost certain. Restrictions on travel due to the pandemic, and particularly a halt by some countries to passenger traffic from Britain due to an outbreak of a new variant of the coronavirus, means that there are only a fraction of flights currently operating. But the new lockdown in England stops most people from travelling abroad, making more cuts likely, and putting airline finances under renewed pressure as carriers had hoped for a recovery in travel by the spring. Goodbody analysts said the lockdown would wipe out income from the school half-term holiday in February, usually a strong travel period, and risked impacting bookings for Easter and summer.
5th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

China steps up COVID measures near Beijing as local infections rise

-Chinese authorities shut sections of highways running through Hebei province that surrounds Beijing on Wednesday and closed a key long distance bus terminal in the provincial capital Shijiazhuang in efforts to stave off another coronavirus wave. The province, which entered a “wartime mode” on Tuesday, accounted for 20 of the 23 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases reported in mainland China on Jan. 5, more than the total of 19 cases in the province in the three previous days. The total number of new mainland cases, including those originating from overseas, fell to 32 from 33 a day earlier. Hebei also accounted for 43 of the 64 new asymptomatic cases - patients who have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus but not yet showing symptoms of COVID-19.
5th Jan 2021 - Reuters

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First NHS staff in the region receive the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Frontline NHS staff in South Tyneside and Sunderland are among the first in the region to receive the newly approved Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. Tracy Barnett from the South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust’s Community Stroke Team was the very first to be vaccinated at South Tyneside District Hospital today.
4th Jan 2021 - ITV News

Moderna raises production goal of its coronavirus vaccine from 500 to 600 million by the end of 2021

On Monday, Moderna Inc said it will produce a minimum of 600 million coronavirus vaccine doses in 2021. This is 20% higher that the 500 million doses the firm said it would be able to manufacture by year's end. So far, Moderna has distributed 18 million doses of the 200 million it has promised the federal government. The vaccine rollout in the U.S. has been very slow, with just 4.2 million people receiving shots, short of the 20 million the Trump administration hoped for
4th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Houston's free COVID-19 vaccination clinic sees overwhelming public response

Houston's free COVID-19 vaccination clinic was met with overwhelming response. At least 1,000 people received the much-anticipated Moderna vaccine at Houston's first free public COVID-19 vaccination clinic,
4th Jan 2021 - San Francisco Chronicle

Covid-19: The areas in England seeing a surge in cases and hospital patient numbers

Covid-19 case rates are increasing in all parts of England and the prime minister has warned there is "no question" tougher measures are needed to control the virus. NHS hospitals are under increasing pressure with a rising number of coronavirus patients requiring care. Most areas around the country are reporting a record number of Covid-19 patients in hospital, beyond the peaks seen in April. Here's a rundown of the case rate in your area and the number of Covid patients in your local hospitals.
4th Jan 2021 - ITV News

NYC is only handing out COVID-19 vaccine shots during 'business hours'

Cuomo said on Monday that his state has administered almost 300,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses - or about 46 percent of its allocation - in the last three weeks The latest CDC data, however, shows that New York state has administered 236,941 of its 774,075 distributed doses. In New York City, 110,241 of 443,000 vaccine doses have been administered since vaccinations started three weeks ago Gov Andrew Cuomo on Monday said hospitals will be fined $100,000 if they fail to use up their dose allocations by the end of the week. Facilities now also must use up their vaccine allocations within seven days going forward or risk being allowed to receive any future doses. NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio said he expects the city to administer 400,000 doses per week by the end of the month with 250 new vaccine sites set to open. NYC Councilman Mark Levine has slammed the current rate of vaccine distribution, saying shots need to be handed out 24/7
4th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

US may cut Covid vaccine doses by half to speed up rollout

The federal government of US is thinking about reducing Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine dosages to half to some people in order to speed up the vaccine rollout amid concerns intensifying that the distribution drive is slower than expected. Moncef Slaoui, head of Operation Warp Speed, an initiative to accelerate coronavirus vaccine efforts, said Moderna vaccine’s single shot to people between the age group 18-55 gives “identical immune response” to the recommended two injections dose. He said that the officials are in discussion with Moderna and the Food and Drug Administration.
4th Jan 2021 - The Independent

Lockdown in Wales could remain in place until the end of January

A review of the Level 4 lockdown restrictions in Wales is due to be held this week, but First Minister Mark Drakeford has warned that there is not "much headroom for change". The restrictions, which has seen people being told to stay at home and avoid all but essential travel, have been in place since Sunday, December 20 and are reviewed every three weeks. All non-essential shops, gyms and hospitality were also told to close. Ministers are to review restrictions this Thursday ahead of an announcement on Friday, January 8. It is likely that not much will change, and with the next review not for another three weeks it means the lockdown could extend to the end of January. But Mark Drakeford said in a BBC interview that it was "very hard to see where the room for manoeuvre is at the moment" with the NHS "under huge pressure".
4th Jan 2021 - Wales Online

France ramps up Covid-19 vaccination programme as slow start sparks anger

France is overhauling its Covid-19 immunisation campaign after a cautious, phased strategy aimed at placating the world’s most vaccine-sceptical population fell flat in its first week. The country has only vaccinated some 350 people to date — compared with the UK’s 1m and Germany’s 238,000 — although the government has received 500,000 doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine and will get a similar amount each week in January. The situation is piling pressure on President Emmanuel Macron and risks sparking another political fight over how the government has managed the pandemic. Opposition politicians have criticised the government over how it bungled mask supplies and struggled to roll out mass testing last year.
4th Jan 2021 - Financial Times

Education unions call for ‘pause’ in school reopenings as councils defy government

Half a dozen unions representing teachers and support staff have called on the government to "pause" its "chaotic" reopening of schools, as councils across the country move to defy ministers. Local authorities in some areas of England say they will unilaterally keep their primary schools shut, ignoring orders from Whitehall on public health grounds. Conservative-controlled Essex is among local authorities to recommend the continued closure of its primary schools, despite government designs that some would reopen as planned on Monday.
4th Jan 2021 - The Independent

New death risks noted in nursing home residents with COVID-19

Older age, male sex, and physical and cognitive impairments were linked to higher death rates from any cause in 5,256 residents at 351 US nursing homes, according to a study published today in JAMA Internal Medicine. Led by researchers at Brown University, the cohort study involved mining the electronic health records, daily infection logs, and minimum data sets of resident assessments from a large chain of nursing homes in 25 states from Mar 16 to Sep 15, 2020. By 30 days after their first positive COVID-19 test result, 1,129 of the 5,256 residents (21%) had died from any cause.
4th Jan 2021 - CIDRAP

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Schools are safe, say PM Johnson as COVID-19 cases surge

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday tougher lockdown restrictions were probably on the way as COVID-19 cases keep rising, but that schools were safe and children should continue to attend where permitted. COVID-19 cases in Britain are at record levels and the increase in numbers is fuelled by a new and more transmissible variant of the virus. The government has cancelled the planned reopening of schools in and around London but teaching unions want wider closures.
4th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

Thailand bans food and magazines on domestic flights in bid to stop spread of coronavirus

Thailand has banned food and drink services and magazines on domestic flights. Airlines who do not follow the new regulations face a penalty from the regulator. It marks the second time the ban has come into force during the pandemic
2nd Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Pfizer and BioNTech to offer COVID vaccine to volunteers who got placebo

Pfizer Inc and its partner BioNTech Se plan to give volunteers who received a placebo in its COVID-19 vaccine trial an option to receive a first dose of the vaccine by March 1, 2021, while staying within the study. The trial's Vaccine Transition Option allows all participants aged 16 or older the choice to discover whether they were given the placebo, "and for participants who learn they received the placebo, to have the option to receive the investigational vaccine while staying in the study," the companies said on their website here for trial participants. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and a panel of its outside advisers have expressed concerns over Pfizer’s “unblinding” plan, saying it could make it harder to continue collecting data on safety and effectiveness needed to win full FDA approval of the vaccine.
2nd Jan 2021 - Reuters

Covid: All London primary schools to stay closed

All primary schools in London will remain closed for the start of the new term, the government has confirmed. London mayor Sadiq Khan said the government had "finally seen sense and U-turned" on its plan to allow pupils in some areas to return on Monday. Leaders of nine London local authorities had written to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson urging him to rethink the decision. Mr Williamson said the city-wide closures were "a last resort". The government said it had decided all primary schools in the capital would be required to provide remote learning after a further review of coronavirus transmission rates. Vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers will continue to attend school, the government said.
1st Jan 2021 - BBC News

AstraZeneca expects to supply two million doses of COVID-19 vaccine every week in UK - The Times

About two million doses of COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca are set to be supplied every week by the middle of January in the United Kingdom, The Times reported. AstraZeneca expects to supply two million doses of the vaccine in total by next week, the newspaper reported, citing an unnamed member of the Oxford-AstraZeneca team. “The plan is then to build it up fairly rapidly - by the third week of January we should get to two million a week,” the report added.
1st Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

Coronavirus in Ireland: Sluggish vaccine programme will hurt high street, sector warns

A retail group has expressed concern that a slow rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine in Ireland will lead to long-term closures for non-essential retail.Retail Excellence Ireland (REI), an industry group
31st Dec 2020 - The Times

Doctors can't get a Covid vaccine in Wales and say the health service is in danger of collapse

Frontline doctors and other healthcare professionals are still struggling to access the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine in Wales, it is claimed. Dr David Bailey, chairman of the British Medical Association's (BMA) Welsh Council, said the Welsh NHS was "in danger of collapse" due to soaring staff absence levels. He said it was "unacceptable" that frontline clinicians were still being exposed to the virus day in, day out without proper protection. His comments come following the announcement that the Oxford University AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use by the MHRA and will be rolled out in Wales from next week.
31st Dec 2020 - Wales Online

'Vaccine diplomacy' sees Egypt roll out Chinese coronavirus jab

When Egypt’s health ministry sent out an invitation to doctors to be vaccinated against Covid-19, they neglected to make clear it was a clinical trial. Instead, it assured them that two Covid-19 vaccines developed by China’s National Biotec Group, part of a state-owned conglomerate known as Sinopharm, had no side-effects and that “the minister of health was vaccinated today, and orders were issued to vaccinate all doctors and workers who wish to be vaccinated”. Many were sceptical. “When my colleagues and I got that message, none of us participated, as we cannot trust it,” said one worker at a state hospital, who said there was a “lack of credibility” in the government’s approach to the pandemic and the vaccines. The doctor, who cannot be named to protect their safety, described Egypt’s extensive publicity campaign around the vaccines, featuring a well-known actor driving to a sunlit clinic to get his jab, as “government propaganda intended to boost people’s morale”.
31st Dec 2020 - The Guardian

Some Doctors in Britain Plan to Defy Instructions to Delay Vaccine Booster Shots

Some family doctors in Britain said on Thursday that they would defy the government’s instructions to postpone patients’ appointments for a second dose of coronavirus vaccine, a signal of unease in the medical community over Britain’s new plan to delay second shots as a way of giving more people the partial protection of a single dose. British doctors, who have been instructed to begin rescheduling second-dose appointments that had been set for next week, said they were loath to ask older, vulnerable patients to wait an extra two months for their booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. They said those patients had been counting on having the full protection of two doses, had already arranged for caregivers to help them get to their doctors’ offices, and could ill afford to rely on a new and untested vaccination strategy.
31st Dec 2020 - The New York Times

Israel leads the world in vaccination drive with 7% getting a dose

Israel has already given a dose of the vaccine to 644,000 of its 8.7million people Bahrain is second in the per-capita table, followed by the UK, US and Canada UK today became the first in the world to approve the Oxford/AstraZeneca shot
30th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

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Care homes still waiting weeks for Covid vaccines - despite 'tsunami' of cases

Care homes are still waiting for coronavirus jabs, weeks after the Tories ­promised them. One boss warned they face a Covid “tsunami” as they battle the new virus variant. Raj Sehgal said: “We’ve had no vaccines at all.” And staff fear the growing crisis could leave them on their knees as they battle a worrying shortage of workers struck down by the virus. It comes as officials last night said approval of the Oxford vaccine was “imminent”, which would be a game-changer for care homes. Mr Sehgal, who runs homes in Norfolk, including Summerville House in Heacham, said he was still desperately waiting for jabs, despite those in care being identified as the most urgently in need of them.
30th Dec 2020 - Mirror Online

Covid vaccine uptake high despite concerns over hesitancy

Uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine has been high among those offered it, doctors say, despite fears that vaccine hesitancy could undermine efforts to control the pandemic. Experts have feared mass uptake of the jab could be jeopardised by widespread misinformation, concerns among the public about the speed at which the vaccine has been developed and approved, and lack of trust in vaccines and the pharmaceutical companies and governments calling for it. But for now, at least, it seems few are shying away from vaccination. “We’ve had reports from our members that despite inevitable teething problems – to be expected when delivering a completely new and complicated vaccine at scale and speed – the programme seems to be running well overall with very positive take-up rates, so far,” said Prof Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs and a practising GP in east London.
29th Dec 2020 - The Guardian

Covid-19: Health workers 'back in eye of storm', says NHS chief

Health workers are "back in the eye of the storm" as coronavirus cases continue to rise, NHS England's chief executive Simon Stevens has said. It has been the "toughest year" for the NHS, which has treated 200,000 severely ill Covid-19 patients, he added. Hospitals in England are currently treating more Covid patients than at the peak of the first wave in April. A government scientific adviser has warned national restrictions are needed to prevent a "catastrophe". On Monday, a record 41,385 new Covid cases were reported in the UK, though it is thought the infection rate was higher during spring when testing was much more limited.
29th Dec 2020 - BBC News

Covid patient numbers exceed April peak as Nightingale hospitals stand empty

There are now more coronavirus patients in England’s hospitals than there were during the peak of the first wave of the pandemic, new figures show. As of 8am on Monday, there were 20,426 patients in the country’s NHS hospitals compared to the 18,974 patients recorded on April 12, NHS England revealed. The sobering update comes after the UK recorded its highest daily number of Covid-19 cases to date, with 41,385 infections confirmed as of 9am on Monday, according to the Department of Health. Meanwhile, London’s Nightingale hospital has been stripped of its beds as medics warn there are not enough staff to run the facility, the Telegraph reported.
29th Dec 2020 - Evening Standard

Staggered school return to go ahead as planned in January despite new Covid strain fears - Michael Gove

The staggered reopening of schools in January is expected to go ahead as planned, Michael Gove said on Monday. The Cabinet Office minister confirmed that secondary school pupils in Years 11 and 13, as well as children of key workers, will return on January 4. All primary school children will also resume classes while other pupils will return a week later. Mr Gove told Sky News: "We always keep things under review but teachers and head teachers have been working incredibly hard over the Christmas period since schools broke up in order to prepare for a new testing regime — community testing — in order to make sure that children and all of us are safer.
29th Dec 2020 - Evening Standard

Moscow extends school holiday amid rise in coronavirus infections in Russia

Moscow will extend the school holiday by one week until Jan. 17 in hopes of stabilising the situation regarding new coronavirus infections and avoid new COVID-19-related restrictions, the Russian capital’s mayor said on Tuesday. Russia, which launched a voluntary vaccination programme with the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine earlier this month, has resisted imposing a strict lockdown as it did early this year, relying on targeted measures instead.
29th Dec 2020 - Reuters India

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Hospital Covid admissions are set to surge PAST first wave peak amid fears NHS is being 'overwhelmed' by highly infectious new strain - with ministers to decide in days if ...

The number of patients in hospital with the virus is likely to exceed the peak in the spring, with 21,286 coronavirus patients being treated on December 22. In comparison, the figure on April 12 was 21,
29th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

UK faces Covid third wave unless vaccination target is doubled, ministers warned

Britain must vaccinate two million people a week to avoid a third wave of the coronavirus outbreak, a new study claims. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) paper has issued ministers with the stark warning coming as hospital admissions surpassed the peak of the first wave of the pandemic. Around 200,000 people are being inoculated each week, which is expected to raise to one million by the middle of January, according to the Daily Telegraph. "The most stringent intervention scenario with tier 4 England-wide and schools closed during January and 2 million individuals vaccinated per week, is the only scenario we considered which reduces peak ICU burden below the levels seen during the first wave," the study said.
29th Dec 2020 - Mirror Online

Covid-19: Hospitals under pressure as coronavirus cases rise

England's "very high" Covid infection level is a "growing concern" as the NHS struggles to cope with rising patient numbers, a health official has said. On Monday, a record 41,385 Covid cases and 357 deaths were reported in the UK. NHS England said the number of people being treated for the virus in hospital is now 20,426, which is higher than the previous peak of about 19,000 in April. BBC health editor Hugh Pym said Monday's figure included some infections where reporting was delayed, but that officials did not deny there had been a significant increase in infections.
28th Dec 2020 - BBC News

'The beginning of the end': Europe rolls out vaccines to see off pandemic

Europe launched a mass COVID-19 vaccination drive on Sunday with pensioners and medics lining up to get the first shots to see off a pandemic that has crippled economies and claimed more than 1.7 million lives worldwide. “Thank God,” 96-year-old Araceli Hidalgo said as she became the first person in Spain to have a vaccine at her care home in Guadalajara, near the capital Madrid. “Let’s see if we can make this virus go away.” In Italy, the first country in Europe to record significant numbers of infections, 29-year-old nurse Claudia Alivernini was one of three medical staff at the head of the queue for the shot developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.
27th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Health officials brace for a surge in US Covid-19 cases after the holidays

With Christmas in the rear view mirror, public health experts are bracing for yet another surge in Covid-19 cases, similar to those seen after other US holidays in recent months. "We've just seen these amplification events, and that's what's happened at the end of this year in the US," said Erin Bromage, an associate professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. "We had Thanksgiving, we had Labor Day, we had Halloween, and each one of these events brought lots of people together and just gave the virus more fuel to move through the population," Bromage said. "Christmas is going to do a similar thing."
26th Dec 2020 - CNN

Moderna’s Coronavirus Vaccine Begins Arriving at Strained Hospitals Across the U.S.

Just one week after the first doses of a coronavirus vaccine were administered in the United States, a new batch of vaccines fanned out across the country on Monday, an urgently needed expansion of a vaccination effort that is expected to reach vulnerable populations and rural areas where hospitals are strained as soon as this week. The vaccine, from Moderna, comes as the virus continues to spread virtually unabated: hospitalizations are over 115,000 for the first time, according to the Covid Tracking Project. Parts of California are down to their last I.C.U. beds and almost one-fifth of U.S. hospitals with intensive care units reported that at least 95 percent of their I.C.U. beds were full in the week ending Dec. 17. Nationwide, 78 percent of I.C.U. beds were full on average.
25th Dec 2020 - The New York Times

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Singapore gets first batch of COVID-19 vaccines - DHL

Singapore received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines on Monday, said logistics firm DHL, which is involved in the transportation of the shots to the city-state from Belgium. DHL in a statement did not specify the size of the batch or name the vaccines being delivered, but Singapore last week said it had approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine, becoming the first Asian country to do so.
21st Dec 2020 - Reuters

Covid-19: Qatar and Oman to receive vaccine this week

Qatar's health ministry granted emergency use authorisation for the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech and is due to receive the first shipment on Monday, state media reported. A ministry statement said people aged 16 years and above would be eligible. Qatar has also signed an agreement with drugmaker Moderna Inc to buy its vaccine. Fellow Gulf Arab state Oman will receive its first Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shipment on Wednesday, a health ministry official said in remarks carried on a government Twitter account on Monday, adding the initial phase would cover 20 percent of the population.
21st Dec 2020 - Middle East Eye

U.S. loses one life every 33 seconds to COVID-19 in deadliest week so far

In the United States last week, someone died from COVID-19 every 33 seconds. The disease claimed more than 18,000 lives in the seven days ended Dec. 20, up 6.7% from the prior week to hit another record high, according to a Reuters analysis of state and county reports. Despite pleas by health officials not to travel during the end-year holiday season, 3.2 million people were screened at U.S. airports on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Health officials are worried that a surge in infections from holiday gatherings could overwhelm hospitals, some of which are already at capacity after Thanksgiving celebrations.
22nd Dec 2020 - Reuters

Covid UK: Give NHS staff the vaccine to open up abandoned Nightingales, say health chiefs

NHS staff must start receiving the coronavirus vaccine urgently because so many are off sick, hospital bosses in England have claimed amid fears there are not enough nurses and doctors to open the Nightingale sites. The temporary purpose-built hospitals constructed for £220million to help fight the Covid-19 crisis were hailed at the start of the pandemic as a solution to the growing crisis in hospital capacity across the country. But many are lying empty as doctors and nurses plead with their hospitals to vaccinate them after being told they must wait until early next year because they are a lower priority than the over-80s and those in care homes
21st Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

Covid: Vaccine clinics operating up to Christmas Eve

In Northern Ireland, vaccination clinics for health and social care workers in priority groups will be operating up to Christmas Eve. The chief medical officer urged those eligible to take up the vaccine offer. About 14,000 people have received the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine in Northern Ireland, including vaccinators, care home residents and care home staff. More vaccine doses arrived in recent days, but Dr Michael McBride said supplies were limited and people would be prioritised in the next few weeks. Staff have been instructed to wait until they are called.
21st Dec 2020 - BBC News

Fifty million people in U.S. to have first COVID-19 shot by end January - Azar

About 50 million people in the United States will have had the first of two COVID-19 shots needed for immunization by the end of January, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Monday. Azar was speaking at a press conference on the first day of shots of Moderna Inc.’s vaccine and the roll out of the Pfizer Inc-BioNTech SE vaccine to nursing homes.
21st Dec 2020 - Reuters

UK gives dark glimpse of pandemic’s next act

Despite the initial shock of Britain’s not-so-splendid isolation, the new strain could have some helpful domestic effects. The UK is now spared a five-day period over Christmas that could have exacerbated an already dangerous viral spread. It also acts as a handy stress test of how prepared Britons really are for tangible shortages of goods. Every day 5,000 trucks enter Britain from the continent via the Dover-Calais crossing. In the winter, they carry nearly all Britain’s fresh fruit and vegetables. Retailer J Sainsbury predicted shortages of items like lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower within days. If they happen, Prime Minister Boris Johnson may see the logic of agreeing a post-Brexit trade deal before his Dec. 31 deadline.
21st Dec 2020 - Reuters

Coronavirus: Royal Mail halts deliveries to Europe amid transport turmoil

Royal Mail has halted deliveries to Europe, except for the Republic of Ireland, due to a UK travel ban triggered by the discovery of a new faster spreading coronavirus strain. The company has also added Canada and Turkey to its "on suspension" list due to delays caused by "severely limited" air capacity. In addition, Royal Mail said it could not guarantee special delivery items posted on 23 December would arrive before Christmas due to tighter COVID-19 restrictions being introduced in England.
21st Dec 2020 - Sky News

UK business despairs at new lockdown restrictions

Business groups reacted with despair and anger this weekend as they called for urgent government support to help companies survive “the hammer blow” of UK prime minister Boris Johnson’s clampdown on pre-Christmas trading. A clutch of trade bodies issued pleas for further financial relief to help non-essential retail, leisure and entertainment businesses to cope with a shutdown in high-risk areas in south-east England during a crucial period for sales. The Welsh government also enforced a new national lockdown at the weekend. Specific demands include an extension of the rates holiday for a further 12 months from January, VAT relief and additional direct support for businesses forced to shut their doors.
20th Dec 2020 - Financial Times

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Pfizer says Covid-19 vaccine supply will continue into early 2021 after Jeremy Hunt suggested they will run out within weeks

Pfizer has responded to reports that its Covid-19 vaccine could run out after former health secretary Jeremy Hunt suggested they would run dry by February. The pharmaceutical giant said deliveries were “on track”. In a statement, Pfizer said: "The deliveries are on track and progressing according to our agreed schedule. "We can confirm, in accordance with the schedule, that there will be continued deliveries into the UK in early 2021, with shipments scheduled to arrive before March.” The statement came after Mr Hunt suggested the UK’s stocks were set to run out within weeks with no more supplies likely to arrive before March.
19th Dec 2020 - Evening Standard

U.S. COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan in focus as Moderna shots leave warehouses

The United States will recommend on Sunday who will be next in line to get inoculated as the distribution of the second approved coronavirus vaccine began with shipments of Moderna Inc's leaving warehouses for healthcare facilities across the country.
19th Dec 2020 - Reuters

Sydney virus cluster grows, border restrictions isolate city

The New South Wales premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has warned residents of greater Sydney to prepare for an increase in restrictions if the outbreak of Covid-19 expands beyond the northern beaches. Meanwhile travellers from NSW to Queensland will needed a border pass declaration from 1am Sunday and Western Australia announced it was reinstating its hard border with NSW. The Sydney to Hobart yacht race was cancelled after Tasmania also introduced border restrictions with Sydney.
19th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

COVID vaccine is bonanza for digital supply chain tracking industry

Logistical hurdles are a significant risk for efforts to rapidly distribute COVID-19 vaccines, but they have resulted in booming business for companies such as private California-based Cloudleaf, Germany’s SAP SE and others that sell technology for monitoring shipments from factory freezer to shot in the arm. Cloudleaf, backed by Intel Capital, the venture arm of chipmaker Intel Corp, uses sensors attached to material containers to track the location, temperature, humidity, vibration and acceleration. The sensors send data to the cloud, where an artificial intelligence algorithm can predict if action is needed to prevent a product from becoming exposed to temperatures outside the recommended range, known as excursions.
18th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

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States report confusion as feds reduce vaccine shipments, even as Pfizer says it has ‘millions’ of unclaimed doses

The changes prompted concern in health departments across the country about whether Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s vaccine accelerator, was capable of distributing doses quickly enough to meet the target of delivering first shots to 20 million people by year’s end. A senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal plans, said the revised estimates for next week were the result of states requesting an expedited timeline for locking in future shipments — from Friday to Tuesday — leaving less time for federal authorities to inspect and clear available supply.
18th Dec 2020 - The Washington Post

Pfizer Says No Vaccine Shipments Have Been Delayed

Pfizer Inc. pushed back on claims it is experiencing problems producing its Covid-19 vaccine, as the company and the federal government continued to try to reach a deal that would eventually double the number of doses available for the U.S.’s vast immunization effort. Moncef Slaoui, the chief scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed, said in an interview on Thursday that the U.S. is close to a deal for another 100 million doses of the vaccine Pfizer developed in partnership with BioNTech SE. Through the agreement, Pfizer would deliver the additional supply in the second quarter of 2021, Slaoui said.
17th Dec 2020 - Bloomberg

Covid: Sir Ian McKellen praises NHS after first dose of Pfizer vaccine

Sir Ian McKellen has praised the NHS saying he wants to "give them all a big hug" after having his first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. The 81-year old also urged others to get the Covid-19 jab if they could. "I would encourage everybody to do the sensible thing, not just for themselves but for everybody else because if you're virus-free that helps everybody else, doesn't it?"
17th Dec 2020 - ITV News

Storm may help U.S. Northeast contain coronavirus but could disrupt vaccine delivery

A winter storm piled historic amounts of snow onto parts of the U.S. Northeast on Thursday and wreaked havoc throughout the region, hobbling if not paralyzing travel as it moved up the coast and bore down on New England. The first major snowstorm of the season, which was expected to move out to sea by the end of Thursday, prompted officials to urge the region’s 50 million residents to stay home, a warning many had been routinely issuing anyway because of the pandemic. “Given the heavy (snow) and difficult travel conditions, drivers are encouraged to stay off the road if they can during the storm,” Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said on Twitter.
17th Dec 2020 - Reuters

Covid-19: 'Nightmare six weeks' ahead for NI health service

Paramedics from the Republic of Ireland's National Ambulance Service (NAS) will be working in Northern Ireland this weekend. It comes amid severe Covid-19 related pressures on the health service in NI. Hospitals have faced severe pressures over the past few days, with ambulances queuing outside hospitals. It is not the first time NAS ambulances have helped out in NI, they assisted during the first wave of the pandemic and also in 2019. Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said ambulance crews from the Republic of Ireland will "provide support" to the Northern Ireland Ambulance service (NIAS) over the weekend "due to the pressures being experienced".
17th Dec 2020 - BBC News

Germany facing lockdown to Easter with hospitals 'on brink of overload'

Germany’s Covid-19 death toll has risen by nearly 1,000 in a single day, leading to speculation that its lockdown could last until Easter. One of the country’s regional chief ministers has warned that for the first time the hospital system is “on the brink of overload” as the infection rate continues to rise and spare intensive care capacity dwindles. The World Health Organisation has advised Europeans to wear masks when meeting family and friends at Christmas. People should also meet outdoors whenever possible, it said. Yesterday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), which compiles the German government’s coronavirus statistics, reported 952 deaths within the past 24 hours, well above the previous daily record of 590 on Friday. It said that there were 27,728 new cases.
17th Dec 2020 - The Times

Ardern unveils New Zealand Covid vaccine deals as economy rebounds

New Zealand has ordered 15m courses of Covid-19 vaccine from four providers as the country approaches the end of 2020 on a promising note, with a recovering economy and plans to open numerous travel corridors in the new year. On Thursday, the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, confirmed the treatment would be free for everyone, with health workers and border officials prioritised. The vaccine will be made available in the second quarter of next year. Ardern said readiness for New Zealand’s “largest-ever immunisation programme” was progressing well, and the country had now pre-ordered vaccines from four providers: 750,000 courses from Pfizer, 5m from Janssen, 3.8m from Oxford/AstraZeneca and 5.36m from Novavax. One course refers to all the doses needed for one person.
17th Dec 2020 - The Guardian

NHS hospitals running out of beds as Covid cases continue to surge

Growing numbers of hospitals in England are running short of beds and having to divert patients elsewhere and cancel operations as the NHS struggles to cope with the resurgence of coronavirus, a Guardian analysis shows. According to the NHS figures, hospitals had to tell ambulance crews to divert patients elsewhere 44 times last week – the highest number for four years. With hospitals in London, Leicester and Northampton particularly hard hit, Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, warned: “It already feels like we’re in the grips of a really bad winter, and there’s a very long way to go.”
17th Dec 2020 - The Guardian

Palestinians left waiting as Israel is set to deploy vaccine

Israel will begin rolling out a major coronavirus vaccination campaign next week after the prime minister reached out personally to the head of a major drug company. Millions of Palestinians living under Israeli control will have to wait much longer. Worldwide, rich nations are snatching up scarce supplies of new vaccines as poor countries largely rely on a World Health Organization program that has yet to get off the ground. There are few places where the competition is playing out in closer proximity than in Israel and the territories it has occupied for more than half a century.
17th Dec 2020 - Washington Post

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Some vaccine doses kept too cold, Pfizer having manufacturing issues, U.S. officials say

The first days of Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout have seen unexpected hitches including some vaccines being stored at excessively cold temperatures and Pfizer reporting potential challenges in its vaccine production, U.S. officials said on a Wednesday press call. At least two trays of COVID-19 vaccine doses delivered in California needed to be replaced after their storage temperatures dipped below minus 80 Celsius (minus 112 Fahrenheit), U.S. Army General Gustave Perna said on the call. Pfizer’s vaccines, made with partner BioNTech SE, are supposed to be kept at around minus 70C. Officials are investigating whether storing the vaccines at excessively cold temperatures poses a safety or efficacy risk, he said. Pfizer also has reported some production issues, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said.
17th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Rollout of US COVID-19 vaccines is 'on track' to get 20 million Americans vaccinated this year

The U.S. has delivered coronavirus vaccines to all 50 states since Pfizer's shot was given emergency FDA approval on Friday. Doses have reached all 636 locations slated for the first wave of deliveries. Another 2 million doses of Pfizer's shot will be rolled out next week. If Moderna's shot is given emergency FDA approval this week, as expected, 5.9 million doses of its vaccine will ship out next week. Most states are vaccinating high-risk health care workers only, but Florida and West Virginia have started inoculating nursing home residents. The U.S. is negotiating with Pfizer for another 100 million doses of its vaccine but officials said the firm has been 'unable to specify' how many it can supply.
16th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

Prisoners have been excluded from Covid vaccine plans, and health experts are sounding the alarm

As coronavirus cases and related deaths surge, experts are questioning the ethics of how governments plan to distribute the first vaccines. Incarcerated individuals in the U.S. are almost four times more likely to become infected than people in the general population — and twice as likely to die, according to a study by a criminal justice group. “If the biggest hotspots for Covid are prisons, doesn’t it make sense to inoculate everyone from the guards to the prisoners?” said Ashish Prashar, a justice reform advocate at Publicis.
16th Dec 2020 - CNBC

Coronavirus vaccine: More than 18,000 Scots given first dose as weekly updates begin

More than 18,000 Scots have been given a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, it has been announced, in the first of what will be weekly updates on the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
16th Dec 2020 - The Scotsman

Coronavirus vaccine: 137,000 people in UK get COVID jab in first week

More than 137,000 people have received a coronavirus vaccine in the UK, it has been announced. Nadhim Zahawi, the minister responsible for the jab's deployment, tweeted that it was a "really good start". In seven days, he said the number of doses administered were: 108,000 in England - 7,897 in Wales - 4,000 in Northern Ireland - 18,000 in Scotland
16th Dec 2020 - Sky News

Covid-19 vaccines to start 'the same day' across EU

The EU's 27 member countries aim to start Covid-19 vaccinations on "the same day" in a sign of unity, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has said. Her statement to the European Parliament came as pressure mounted on the bloc to catch up with the United States and Britain, which have already started inoculating people with a vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech. "To get to the end of the pandemic, we will need up to 70% of the population vaccinated. This is a huge task, a big task. So let's start as soon as possible with the vaccination together, as 27, with a start at the same day," Ms von der Leyen told MEPs.
16th Dec 2020 - RTE.ie

Bed shortage looms as S.Korea reports record new coronavirus cases

South Korea reported a record daily rise in novel coronavirus cases on Wednesday and the prime minister issued an urgent call for more hospital beds to cope with the country’s worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic. Hospitals were at breaking point with only three critical care beds available in greater Seoul, an area with a population of almost 26 million people, officials said. “The top priority is securing more hospital beds,” Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun told a government meeting, according to a transcript. “Full administrative power should be mobilised so that no patient would wait for more than a day before being assigned to her bed.”
16th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

'On the brink': Covid pressure mounts at hospitals in Northern Ireland

When ambulances started queueing outside hospitals across Northern Ireland, revealing a health system overwhelmed by Covid-19, Sean Brophy was not surprised. Weeks earlier the 52-year-old hospital transport worker had himself been hospitalised with the virus and saw how even then the system was cracking under pressure. “When someone died or was discharged the bed was filled within an hour – they were already at capacity. Staff were brilliant but they looked as fatigued as those of us with Covid. It was just wrong. I could see where it was heading,” said Brophy.
16th Dec 2020 - The Guardian

Denmark to close shops and shopping malls during Christmas, Ekstra Bladet newspaper reports

Denmark will impose a hard lockdown over Christmas and the New Year to limit the spread of COVID-19, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Wednesday. Shopping malls will close starting Thursday, and other stores, with the exception of supermarkets and food shops, will close from Dec. 25. Students still in school will be sent home as of Monday. “Our healthcare system is under pressure,” Frederiksen said. “We have to act now.” Danish authorities expect the coming months to be the worst of the pandemic, she said.
16th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Amazon asks U.S. to include warehouse, grocery staff in vaccine rollout

Amazon.com Inc on Wednesday asked the U.S. government to prioritize essential workers including its warehouse, grocery store and data center staff for receipt of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a letter seen by Reuters. The request shows how the country’s second-biggest private employer, with 800,000 workers in the United States, considers the vaccine important to keeping its staff safe and its facilities open. The U.S. National Retail Federation made a similar request on the industry’s behalf Wednesday as well.
16th Dec 2020 - Reuters

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U.S. Government Begins Covid-19 Education Campaign

The U.S. government is hurrying to start a messaging campaign on social media, TV and radio this week to motivate the public to get inoculated with Covid-19 vaccines once supply increases and they become available, likely next year. The $250 million effort aims to increase vaccine acceptance by focusing on the science behind Covid-19 vaccines, including one from Pfizer and BioNTech. It is the government's second try after officials scrapped a previous one that sought to pair doctors with celebrities. Set to run through August, the aim is to appeal to ethnic and minority groups, older Americans and others who may be skeptical about taking the shots, said Mark Weber, deputy assistant secretary for public affairs at Health and Human Services
15th Dec 2020 - Wall Street Journal

Parisians enjoy taste of lockdown freedom ahead of Christmas, while hospitality workers protest bar and restaurant ban set to last until January 20

Parisians last night enjoyed a taste of lockdown freedom ahead of Christmas, while hospitality workers took to the streets in protest at a festive season ban. In a Christmas Village at Hotel de Ville in the heart of the French capital last night, masked revellers were seen enjoying fairground rides and market stalls. But while some enjoyed the festivities, just a short distance away, near the Arc de Triomphe, face mask-wearing police officers protested their working conditions. Hospitality workers also protested a possible ban on reopening bars and restaurants until January 20. It comes as France plans to ease measures from its second national lockdown today.
15th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

France's culture sector mobilises over continued closures as Covid-19 lockdown lifts

France emerges from its second Covid-19 lockdown on Tuesday. But with new daily coronavirus infections still high above the government's 5,000-a-day objective, the easing will not look like it did in May. An 8pm-to-6am curfew goes into effect, except for Christmas Eve, and cultural venues remain closed, sparking anger in the sector. As the second lockdown lifts, theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and sporting venues remain closed, at least until January 7 – after a holiday season that, while normally lucrative for the culture sector, has authorities concerned festive gatherings this year will spur further the spread of the novel coronavirus. French authorities justified keeping the venues shuttered in order to "avoid increasing public crowd flows, concentrations, and intermingling", but the decision has irked the culture sector in France after a difficult year.
15th Dec 2020 - FRANCE 24 English

Delivery Workers in South Korea Say They’re Dying of ‘Overwork’

At a logistics depot the size of an airplane hangar in southern Seoul, couriers recently held a ritual at the start of another grueling work day: They stood for a moment of silence to remember more than a dozen fellow couriers who they say died this year from overwork. “We won’t be surprised here if one of us drops dead, too,” said Choi Ji-na, one of the couriers. Ms. Choi, 43, and other delivery workers in South Korea say they feel lucky to have jobs amid growing unemployment, and that they are proud to play an essential role in keeping the country’s Covid-19 cases down by delivering record numbers of packages to customers who prefer to stay safe at home.
15th Dec 2020 - The New York Times

Europe wanted to keep schools open this winter. Coronavirus surges have disrupted those plans.

Surging coronavirus outbreaks in a number of nations are forcing governments to close schools, despite initial promises to keep them open this winter. The latest country to change course is Germany, where most schools will move to distance learning Wednesday as part of tougher new lockdown rules. Widening outbreaks have also triggered the closure of schools in the Netherlands and in Asia, where the South Korean capital, Seoul, opted for similar measures this week.
15th Dec 2020 - Washington Post

Northern Ireland hospital treating patients in parked ambulances

Patients were being treated in the back of ambulances in a Northern Ireland hospital car park on Tuesday, a health official said, a day after a warning that COVID-19 was putting healthcare under “unbearable pressures”. The British-run region has been in and out of some form of lockdown since mid-October when it was one of Europe’s worst COVID-19 hotbeds. The most recent curbs were lifted last week, when all shops, restaurants and pubs serving food reopened.
15th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

California orders 5,000 body bags amid "most intense" coronavirus surge

California has ordered 5,000 body bags as the state undergoes its "most intense" COVID-19 surge to date, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday. Why it matters: California saw 32,326 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday and has reached a 14-day average positivity rate of 10.7%, its highest since the pandemic began. With daily COVID deaths four times higher than they were just a month ago, the state has placed 60 53-foot refrigerated storage units on standby and activated its coroner mutual aid and mass fatality program.
15th Dec 2020 - Axios

Dutch shopkeepers grapple with sudden Christmas lockdown

Shopkeepers in the Netherlands on Tuesday were grappling with the effects of a new lockdown, which meant they suddenly had to close their doors in what should have been the busiest and most lucrative part of the year. “Obviously it is a big loss, this time of year is extremely important to us”, said Robert Reuter, the owner of City Diamonds in the center of Amsterdam. “It is a very hard decision, it is bitter for us, but I think it is necessary.” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Monday night announced a tough second lockdown in the Netherlands, in a push to drive down the coronavirus infection rate, which has rapidly moved back to record levels in the past week.
15th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

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Nurse gets New York's first COVID-19 vaccine as U.S. rollout begins

A New York City intensive care unit nurse on Monday became the first person in the United States to receive a coronavirus vaccine, calling it a sign that “healing is coming,” as the nation’s COVID-19 death toll crossed a staggering 300,000 lives lost. Sandra Lindsay, who has treated some of the sickest COVID-19 patients for months, was inoculated at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in the New York City borough of Queens, an early epicenter of the country’s coronavirus outbreak, receiving applause on a livestream with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. “It didn’t feel any different from taking any other vaccine,” Lindsay said. “I feel hopeful today, relieved. I feel like healing is coming. I hope this marks the beginning of the end of a very painful time in our history. “I want to instill public confidence that the vaccine is safe,” she added.
14th Dec 2020 - Reuters

US set for first COVID-19 shots as shipments begin arriving

Hospital workers begin unloading precious frozen vials of COVID-19 vaccine Monday, with the first vaccinations against a scourge that has killed nearly 300,000 Americans expected later in the day. “It feels like the cavalry is arriving,” Robert C. Garrett, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health, said as New Jersey’s largest health network awaited delivery. Shots made by Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech are the first authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration -- beginning what will become the largest vaccination campaign in U.S. history. Several other countries also have OK'd the vaccine, including the U.K. which started vaccinating last week.
14th Dec 2020 - The Independent

Canada's first COVID-19 vaccinations set to start as soon as Monday

Canada kicked off its inoculation campaign against COVID-19 on Monday by injecting frontline healthcare workers and elderly nursing home residents, becoming just the third nation in the world to administer the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The first dose broadcast on live TV went to Anita Quidangen. The personal support worker at the Rekai Centre, a non-profit nursing home for the elderly in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, said she was “excited” to have been first in line. Healthcare workers in masks and white coats applauded after she was injected. “Today really we turn a corner,” said Dr. Kevin Smith, president and chief executive of the University Health Network’s Michener Institute, where the shot was administered.
14th Dec 2020 - Reuters

Covid-19: London mayor calls for schools to close early

London's mayor has urged the government to ask all secondary schools and colleges in the capital to shut early ahead of Christmas. In a letter to ministers, Sadiq Khan said he also wanted schools to reopen later in January amid "significant" Covid outbreaks in 10 to 19-year-olds. It comes as the BBC was told London was likely to move into tier three. Greenwich and Islington councils are the first in England to urge schools to switch this week to online learning. Council officials in Greenwich have advised schools to shut from the end of Monday, although some academies will remain open, while Islington schools have been asked to move online from the end of Tuesday.
14th Dec 2020 - BBC News

Germany calls on all to forgo Xmas shopping before lockdown

The German government called on citizens Monday to forgo Christmas shopping, two days before the country heads into a hard lockdown that will shut most stores tighten social distancing rules and close schools across the country. “I wish and I hope that people will only buy what they really need, like groceries,” Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said late Sunday. “The faster we get these infections under control, the better it is for everyone.” Chancellor Angela Merkel and the governors of Germany’s 16 states agreed Sunday to step up the country’s lockdown measures beginning Wednesday and running to Jan. 10 to stop the exponential rise of COVID-19 cases.
14th Dec 2020 - The Independent

UK pubs fear for future as £650m Covid losses forecast for December

Pubs expect December sales to be as much as 90% lower than last year, costing the industry £650m and fuelling concern that vast parts of the sector will disappear for good. December is typically the most lucrative month of the year for the UK’s ailing pub sector, accounting for as much as a quarter of annual profit, thanks to Christmas parties and New Year’s Eve festivities. However, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said its forecasts showed pubs would sell 270m fewer pints than usual over the period, with only one in five of the UK’s 47,200 pubs expected to be open. “I’d be stunned if sales across the industry were any better than 10% or 20% as good as last year,” said Chris Jowsey, the chief executive of Admiral Taverns, which has 1,000 pubs across the UK. “It’s not unusual for lots of pubs to make anywhere up to 25% of their profit in December. For a lot of smaller pubs it’s really important because it carries you through the lean months of January and February, so it’s a bit of a disaster.”
14th Dec 2020 - The Guardian

Australia's Shops See Year-End Spending Boom as Optimism Returns

Australia’s retailers are preparing for a late-December spending splurge that could fuel the kind of recovery on the year-end wishlist of Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe. Consumer confidence rose for a fourth straight month in December, climbing to a 10-year high. Lowe said just two months ago that greater confidence was the catalyst needed to prompt households to part with the extra savings they squirreled away during the lockdown.
14th Dec 2020 - Bloomberg

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South Korea begins anti-coronavirus period ahead of college entrance exam

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in warned on Sunday that COVID-19 restrictions may be raised to the highest level after a second day of record increases in cases as the country battles a harsh third wave of infection. Presiding over an emergency meeting at the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters for the first time since February, Moon urged vigilance and called for an all-out efforts to contain the virus. “Unless the outbreak can be contained now, it has come to the critical point of considering escalating social-distancing measures to the third level,” he said, referring to the tightest curbs under the country’s five-tier system.
13th Dec 2020 - Reuters

Historic journey: Pfizer prepares to deliver 6.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines

Three semi-trucks loaded with the U.S.'s first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine rolled out of the parking lot of the Pfizer manufacturing plant early Sunday morning, met with cheering crowds of local residents who said they were proud of their hometown's contribution to science, and helping to bring the end to the coronavirus pandemic. The caravan of FedEx, UPS and Boyle Transportation trucks — led and tailed by unmarked police cars — pulled out of the parking lot about 8:25 a.m., headed to airports and distribution centers on a historic journey. Millions of doses of the company's coronavirus vaccine were inside those trucks, and could be injected into the arms of the American people as early as Monday morning.
13th Dec 2020 - USA Today

Walgreens to hire 25,000 as part of plan to give COVID-19 vaccine to nursing home residents and staff

Walgreens expects to receive its first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine Dec. 21 and plans to inoculate nursing home residents and workers at more than 30,000 long-term care facilities nationwide. The company plans to hire about 25,000 people across the U.S., including up to 9,000 pharmacists and other health care workers, to administer the vaccine to long-term care facilities through a partnership with pharmacy service provider PharMerica, the companies said during a panel discussion Friday on the vaccine rollout.
12th Dec 2020 - Bangor Daily News

Dozens of GPs opt out of Pfizer vaccine rollout next week forcing 100,000 patients to get their jabs elsewhere due to 'concerns over heavy workloads'

Doctors told to prioritise those from ethnic minorities if they run shot of vaccine Several GPs in Manchester, Yorkshire, Sussex and Lincolnshire have opted out Some 280 of Primary Care Networks set to administer the vaccine next week Follows initial Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine roll-out in 70 hospital hubs last Tuesday
12th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

Engineers develop mini Covid vaccine factory that can create 30,000 doses a day

British engineers have invented a miniature Covid-19 vaccine factory that can make 30,000 doses a day. Experts at King’s College London designed it to manufacture vaccines such as the Pfizer/BioNTech inoculation. It could end the logistical problems of delivering the frozen vaccine from factories on the continent to UK communities. Plans are on track to submit the game-changing “factory in a box” technology for regulatory approval by as early as March. It is estimated that 60 of the devices could make enough doses to immunise the nation in a matter of weeks. The innovative machine was designed by Professor Makatsoris Harris.
12th Dec 2020 - Mirror Online

Nicola Sturgeon: Care homes with Covid-19 outbreaks must tell families of residents

There is a “big responsibility” on care home providers to ensure good communication with relatives, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said. Speaking at the coronavirus daily update on Friday, Ms Sturgeon said she would investigate the reported case of a woman who first found out about a Covid-19 outbreak at the care home of a relative in the North East through the media. It comes after investigations were launched by the Crown Office into outbreaks at two care homes in the North East.
11th Dec 2020 - The Scotsman

Brazil rolls out COVID-19 vaccination plan

The Brazilian government unveiled its long-awaited national vaccination plan against COVID-19 on Saturday with an initial goal of vaccinating 51 million people, or about one-fourth of the population,
12th Dec 2020 - Reuters on MSN.com

US offers to help increase production of Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine

The US government is offering to help increase production of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, as it tries to secure another 100m doses of the jab that regulators are reviewing. Operation Warp Speed, the government programme to accelerate the development of a vaccine, is trying to double its pre-order of doses, after soaring demand has led to a shortage, according to people familiar with the matter. Operation Warp Speed is trying to help Pfizer obtain more raw materials and equipment under the Defense Production Act to ensure it can produce the extra doses by June 2021, according to one of the people.
11th Dec 2020 - Financial Times

Ultra-cold freezing presents next challenge in Covid vaccine race

Demand for ultra-cold storage freezers has spiked as governments and manufacturers prepare to ship Covid-19 vaccines around the world and along the so-called last mile to those most vulnerable to the disease. Unique characteristics of the two leading Covid-19 vaccines mean they both have to be transported frozen. The shot developed by US biotech Moderna, currently under regulatory review in the US and the EU, can survive for six months at minus 20C, the temperature of a standard domestic freezer. The vaccine developed by Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech, approved for use in the UK this month, must, in contrast, be transported at minus 70C.
7th Dec 2020 - Financial Times

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California's hospitals are close to 'breaking point' as COVID-19 surges

Governor Gavin Newsom is now bringing in hundreds of hospital staff from outside the state and preparing to re-start emergency hospitals that were created but barely used when the coronavirus surged last spring to cope with the new surge. The seven-day rolling average for new cases in the county's most populous state has doubled over the past two weeks to 23,000 a day. During the summer surge, average infections in California peaked at 10,000 per day.
9th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail on MSN.com

Covid cases: Hospital admissions rise in most of England’s NHS regions despite lockdown, figures show

Admissions to hospital of patients with Covid-19 are rising in four out of seven NHS regions of England despite the month-long lockdown in November, official figures have shown. The increases are in London, east of England, south east and the Midlands, suggesting a third wave of the epidemic could be threatening the NHS just before the Christmas relaxation period.
9th Dec 2020 - iNews

Covid cases revealed for each London borough as millions urged to help keep capital out of Tier 3

Every single Londoner was today urged to join the battle to keep the city out of Tier 3 as official figures showed Covid-19 cases rising in more than two thirds of boroughs. MPs and Mayor Sadiq Khan called on millions of people across the capital to stick to social distancing, self-isolation, mask wearing and good hygiene rules and guidance to reverse the latest coronavirus surge. The number of confirmed cases is increasing across east London, apart from Redbridge which saw a very small decrease in the week to December 3, compared to the previous seven days.
9th Dec 2020 - Evening Standard

More afraid of hunger: COVID-19 rules causing many in Philippines to starve

Daniel Auminto lost his job and then his home when the coronavirus pandemic sent the Philippines into lockdown. Now he and his family live on the street, relying on food handouts to survive. Charities are struggling to meet the ever-growing demand for food as millions of families go hungry across the country. COVID-19 restrictions have crippled the economy and thrown many out of work. “I’ve never seen hunger at this level before,” said Jomar Fleras, executive director of Rise Against Hunger in the Philippines, which works with more than 40 partners to feed the poor.
9th Dec 2020 - The Japan Times

David Staples: Alberta's new measures can wipe out COVID but how far should we go?

The Alberta government is imposing the kind of severe lockdown measures that have worked to stop COVID-19 spread in places like Canada’s Maritime provinces, Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan, jurisdictions which in the past two weeks have had zero COVID-19 deaths. Compare that to Alberta and B.C., each with 35 deaths per million in the past two weeks, Quebec with 51 per million and Manitoba with 124 deaths per million, with all of those death rates trending up quickly.
9th Dec 2020 - Edmonton Journal

UK firms avoid hiring permanent staff in November lockdown

British employers recruited fewer permanent staff during an England-wide lockdown last month, and relied instead on temporary workers to plug the gap, a monthly survey of recruiters showed on Wednesday. The number of permanent staff recruited fell for a second month in a row in November and dropped by its most since July, when Britain had just emerged from its first coronavirus lockdown, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation said.
9th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Sri Lanka to cremate Muslim COVID-19 victims despite objections

Families have refused to claim the bodies in protest over the government’s policy of cremation, which is forbidden under Islamic law.
9th Dec 2020 - Al Jazeera English

White House task force: Vaccine may not reduce virus spread until late spring

The White House coronavirus task force this week warned governors that coronavirus vaccinations will not drive down the spread of COVID-19 until late spring, calling for states to emphasize the need for other mitigation measures. "The current vaccine implementation will not substantially reduce viral spread, hospitalizations, or fatalities until the 100 million Americans with comorbidities can be fully immunized, which will take until the late spring," the task force wrote in its weekly report to states, issued Tuesday and obtained by The Hill. "Behavioral change and aggressive mitigation policies are the only widespread prevention tools that we have to address this winter surge," the report adds.
9th Dec 2020 - The Hill

Pfizer's first shipment of its coronavirus vaccine will include 2.9 million doses upon FDA approval

Pfizer Inc's first shipment of its vaccine to the US will include 2.9 million doses and another shipment 21 days later with the same amount. The jabs will be going to 636 locations, mostly large health-care systems with enough storage capacity. Gen Gustave Perna said he has set aside a reserve of 500,000 doses from the total supply of 6.4 million available to the US. At an Operation Warp Speed briefing on Wednesday, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said he'd be willing to get vaccinated publicly The team said they have not considered who would receive the very first vaccine or where. The FDA will meet Thursday and Friday - and are expected to approve the vaccine by the end of the week
9th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

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UK retail sales growth slows as November lockdown hits non-food sales - BRC

British retail sales growth slowed in November when non-essential stores shut as part of a four-week lockdown in England, but online sales were able to fill more of the gap than in the first lockdown in March, industry data showed on Tuesday.
9th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Singapore 'cruise-to-nowhere' turns back after COVID-19 case aboard

A passenger aboard a Royal Caribbean ‘cruise-to-nowhere’ from Singapore has tested positive for COVID-19, forcing all guests to be quarantined in their cabins and the Quantum of the Seas ship to return to dock on Wednesday. Singapore has been piloting the trips, which are open only to residents, make no stops and sail in waters just off the city-state. There were around 2,000 passengers aboard at the time who have all been confined to their rooms. The global cruise industry has taken a major hit from the coronavirus pandemic, with some of the earliest big outbreaks found on cruise ships. In one case in February off the coast of Japan, passengers were stuck for weeks aboard the Diamond Princess with over 700 guests and crew infected.
9th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

U.K. Covid-19 Vaccine: What You Need to Know About the Immunization Campaign

The U.K. became the first Western country to start inoculating its population with a Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and Germany’s BioNTech SE . Maggie Keenan, 90 years old, received the first shot at a hospital in Coventry early Tuesday morning in a program that could provide a taste of the logistical challenges facing other countries, including the U.S., as they prepare to roll out their own large-scale vaccination plans.
8th Dec 2020 - Wall Street Journal

Covid19 vaccinations begin in Scotland today - everything you need to know

The first of the long-awaited vaccinations against Covid-19 will be issued on Tuesday at hospitals across Scotland. It's a landmark day in the global battle against coronavirus which has raged throughout 2020. While it's a welcome breakthrough, it will take several months at least for the vaccination to be rolled out across all age groups.
8th Dec 2020 - Daily Record

GPs to prioritise elderly BAME patients for first Covid-19 vaccine batch

GPs have been instructed to prioritise patients from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds in their first over-80s Covid-19 vaccination cohorts. Details outlined in a letter sent yesterday from NHS England advise that GP practices must select and contact priority vaccination patients by tomorrow (9 December). GP sites selected to begin vaccinations next week, of which there are expected to be around 280, will each receive one batch of 975 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. If a Primary Care Network (PCN) designated site has more than 975 patients over 80 years of age, they must prioritise based on comorbidities and ethnicity. GP surgeries will be responsible for generating patient lists based on this new priority cohort definition.
8th Dec 2020 - Pulse

GPs could deliver COVID-19 vaccine to care homes from next week

GP-led sites could deliver COVID-19 vaccinations to care home residents as soon as next week, LMCs believe, as NHS England's medical director confirmed rollout to this group would start before Christmas. Scottish health minister Jeane Freeman said last week that in Scotland, vaccination of care home residents - the group idenfied by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) as the top priority - would start from 14 December. The Westminster government has yet to confirm when vaccination of care home residents will start in England - but a senior GP involved in rolling out the COVID-19 vaccination campaign has told GPonline that GP-led vaccination sites in the first wave set to start from next week could administer some vaccines in care homes.
8th Dec 2020 - GP online

Californians endure another lockdown as COVID-19 patients overwhelm hospitals

Most Californians face heavy new restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, while New York’s governor threatened to ban indoor restaurant dining in New York City as the United States feared infections would continue skyrocketing. Restaurants in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area and the state’s agricultural San Joaquin Valley shut for all but takeout and delivery. Playgrounds closed, stores reduced capacity and hair salons and barbershops shuttered. The moves affected about three-quarters of the nearly 40 million people in America’s most-populous state. California Governor Gavin Newsom’s order allowed some schools to continue to hold classes.
8th Dec 2020 - Reuters

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COVID-19: V-Day is a 'key moment in our fight back against this terrible disease'

People in the UK will start being vaccinated today against COVID-19, on what's being dubbed V-Day. Fifty hospitals will administer the jab from early this morning. The vaccine, developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, has been distributed across the whole of the UK.
8th Dec 2020 - Sky News

Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout Faces Public Concerns Over Safety

Governments are accelerating toward approving the first vaccines to contain Covid-19, but public anxiety over the safety of the doses is threatening to undermine those efforts. A survey from the University of Hamburg showed the percentage of people hesitant or unwilling to get a Covid-19 vaccine ticking up in November to around 40% of respondents across seven European countries. An October poll by market researcher Ipsos found that nearly a third of Japanese and almost half of French respondents said they wouldn’t get inoculated for the coronavirus. One of the biggest factors behind the hesitancy is the very speed at which things have been moving.
7th Dec 2020 - Wall Street Journal

South Korea, Japan to deploy military to combat COVID-19

South Korea and Japan are deploying their militaries to assist healthcare workers in combatting COVID-19, with South Korean soldiers called in to expand coronavirus testing and tracing and Japanese military nurses tapped to fill a shortage of staff at hospitals in the hard-hit regions of Hokkaido and Osaka. Moon Jae-in, the president of South Korea, on Monday ordered the government to mobilise “every available” resource to track infections and to expand testing by deploying the military and more people from the public service, presidential Blue House spokesman Chung Man-ho told a briefing.
7th Dec 2020 - AlJazeera

Austrian shops open after 3 weeks as lockdown loosened

Austrians lined up to enter stores on Monday as the country relaxed its coronavirus lockdown, allowing nonessential shops to reopen after three weeks. But many restrictions remain in place, and the country’s leader advised people against all rushing to the shops at once. Tough lockdown measures took effect Nov. 17. The government decided last week that enough progress had been made in cutting coronavirus infections to relax some restrictions. Schools were reopened, except for older students, as were museums, libraries and some other businesses such as hairdressers. But restaurants remain closed for all but takeout and deliveries, as do bars, and hotels are only open to business travelers
7th Dec 2020 - Washington Times

Christmas market closed as shopping crowds spark concern in Nottingham and London

Christmas shoppers hit the high streets in droves on the first weekend since lockdown was lifted in England, sparking concerns over social distancing. Queues formed in London’s West End as crowds flooded Oxford Street and Regent Street on Saturday to make the most of non-essential shops reopening under the new tiered system. The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, was out in the West End on Saturday as a show of support for retailers, but he warned people to continue following coronavirus rules, with the majority of England under tier 2 or tier 3 restrictions, which limit social contact between households.
7th Dec 2020 - The Independent

As UK prepares to roll out COVID-19 vaccines, scepticism remains

A sizeable minority of people believe conspiracy theories about the coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccines, some experts have warned, just as countries prepare to launch mass inoculations to get the pandemic under control. Britain begins its vaccine programme this week and others are likely to follow soon, so governments are seeking to reassure people of vaccines’ safety and efficacy in order to get a critical mass to take them. In the United States, President-elect Joe Biden said he would have a coronavirus vaccine publicly to demonstrate its safety, and referred to people losing faith in the vaccine’s ability to work. “What we’re finding is, in the wake of the pandemic, that conspiracy beliefs may have gone mainstream, that they’re no longer confined to the fringes,” Daniel Freeman, Professor of Clinical Psychology at Oxford University, told Reuters.
7th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Greece to keep schools, restaurants shut until after Christmas

Greece said on Monday that it will not re-open schools, restaurants and courts until Jan. 7, effectively extending most of the restrictions the country imposed last month to contain the spread of coronavirus. Greece had to enforce a nationwide lockdown in November, its second this year, after an aggressive surge in COVID-19 cases. It has extended it twice since then, most recently until Dec. 14. In a televised briefing, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said the health system was still under enormous pressure and some restrictions should not be lifted until next month, including a night curfew and movement between regions.
7th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

England's malls attract Christmas shoppers after lockdown ends

Footfall across all retail destinations in England rose by 81% compared to the previous week after a second lockdown ended on Wednesday, allowing non-essential shops to begin trading again, Springboard said on Monday. Shopping centres saw the biggest boost, with a 121.3% rise from Wednesday, while high streets saw a 79.8% rise and numbers in retail parks were up 40.7%, Springboard said.
7th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK

Navajo Nation implements another three-week lockdown as ICUs reach capacity amid coronavirus surge

The Navajo Nation has extended its lockdown for three more weeks to try to slow the growth of Covid-19 cases in the community that has already filled nearly all of their ICUs to capacity. "We are near a point where our health care providers are going to have to make very difficult decisions in terms of providing medical treatment to COVID-19 patients with very limited resources such as hospital beds, oxygen resources, medical personnel, and little to no options to transport patients to other regional hospitals because they are also near full capacity," Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez warned in a statement issued Sunday. A public health order issued by the Nation said it is "experiencing an alarming rise in positive COVID-19 cases and uncontrolled spread in 75 communities across the Navajo Nation."
7th Dec 2020 - CNN

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Military planes could fly-in Covid-19 vaccine amid fears of post-Brexit delays

Military planes could fly-in the Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine amid fears of post-Brexit delays at Britain's ports. The majority of doses for Pfizer's vaccine, which offers up to six months of immunity to the coronavirus, are being produced in the town of Puurs, Belgium. But as the Government tries to roll-out its vaccination scheme, the Department for Health and Social Care has had talks with the Ministry of Justice to ensure the doses can arrive on time.
6th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

Coronavirus: NHS to begin vaccine rollout this week

The coronavirus vaccine is the "beginning of the end" of the epidemic in the UK, Prof Stephen Powis has said, as vaccinations begin on Tuesday. But the NHS England medical director warned the distribution of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine would be a "marathon not a sprint". It will take "many months" to vaccinate everybody who needs it, he said. Frontline health staff, those over 80, and care home workers will be first to get the Covid-19 vaccine. In England, 50 hospitals have been initially chosen to serve as hubs for administering the vaccine.
6th Dec 2020 - BBC News

Victoria eases Covid restrictions again as it reaches 37 days without a case