Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 18th Oct 2021

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Will New Covid Treatments Be as Elusive for Poor Countries as Vaccines?

Nearly a year after the first Covid-19 vaccination campaigns began, the vast majority of the shots have gone to people in wealthy nations, with no clear path toward resolving the disparity. News this month that an antiviral medication had proved effective against the coronavirus in a large clinical trial has brought new hope of a turning point in the pandemic: a not-too-distant future when a simple pill could keep infected people from dying or falling severely ill. The drug, molnupiravir, made by Merck, is easy to distribute and can be taken at home. The trial results showed it halved the risk of hospitalization and death among high-risk people early in their infections.
17th Oct 2021 - The New York Times

Fourteen U.S. state attorneys general press Facebook on vaccine disinformation

The attorneys general of 14 U.S. states sent a letter to Facebook Inc (FB.O) Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg asking if the top disseminators of vaccine disinformation on the platform received special treatment from the company. The line of inquiry was generated after Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen used internal documents to disclose that the social media platform has built a system that exempts high-profile users from some or all of its rules. In the letter, which was sent on Wednesday, the 14 Democratic attorneys general said they are "extremely concerned" with recent reports that Facebook maintained lists of members who have received special treatment, and want to know if the "Disinformation Dozen" were part of those lists.
16th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Second J&J COVID shot gets expert backing; FDA looking at lowering age for Pfizer booster

Outside advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday unanimously recommended the agency authorize a second shot of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine for all recipients of the one-dose inoculation. The agency is also considering lowering the recommended age for booster shots of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to people as young as 40, FDA official Dr. Peter Marks told the advisory panel. The FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee backed the shots for all J&J recipients aged 18 and older at least two months after their first dose.
15th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Biden Administration Renews Support for the WTO

During a speech in Geneva, Katherine Tai, the U.S. trade representative, affirmed the Biden administration’s commitment to supporting the World Trade Organization but said the intergovernmental organization needed reform.
14th Oct 2021 - The New York Times

Expert panel recommends approving Covaxin for kids

The central drug regulator’s expert panel has recommended granting marketing authorisation with certain conditions to Bharat Biotech's Covaxin for restricted emergency use in children and adolescents in the age group of 2 to 18 years old.
13th Oct 2021 - Times of India

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 15th Oct 2021

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Moderna Booster Shot Backed by FDA Advisory Panel

Vaccine experts advising the Food and Drug Administration voted 19 to 0 Thursday to recommend authorization of an extra dose of Moderna Inc.’s MRNA 3.23% Covid-19 shot, a key step in making booster doses available to millions more people. A vaccine-advisory panel voted in favor of giving a Moderna booster shot at least six months after the second dose, to adults 65 years and older, as well as adults under 65 who are at high risk of severe Covid-19 or serious complications because of their jobs, living conditions or underlying medical conditions.
14th Oct 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

U.S. donates 17 million J&J doses to African Union

President Joe Biden told visiting Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday that the United States will make a one-time donation of more than 17 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the African Union, the White House said. The meeting with Kenyatta at the White House marked Biden's first as president with an African leader. Kenya holds the rotating presidency of the U.N. Security Council this month. The United States and Kenya have long cooperated on economic and security initiatives including counterterrorism.
14th Oct 2021 - Reuters

France donates COVID-19 vaccine to Nigeria under COVAX scheme

Nigeria has received 501,600 doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine from the French government through the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility, a senior health official said on Thursday. Faisal Shuaib, head of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, said the country also received 434,400 doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccine from the African Union. Both supplies were received last week, Shuaib said, adding that more were expected through the COVAX facility and the African Union.
14th Oct 2021 - Reuters

U.S. to ship 2.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Pakistan

The U.S. government will ship 2.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Pakistan on Thursday, bringing the total number of doses sent to the South Asian country to about 18.3 million, more than any other country, a White House official said. The latest shipments of the vaccine lots made by Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech are due to arrive on Saturday via the COVAX distribution program, said the official, who asked to remain unidentified.
14th Oct 2021 - Reuters

EU starts real-time review of AstraZeneca COVID-19 antibody cocktail

Europe's drug regulator said on Thursday it had started a real-time review of AstraZeneca's antibody-based COVID-19 therapy, the first protective shot other than vaccines against coronavirus. The decision by the human medicines committee of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to begin the rolling review was based on early results from clinical studies, the regulator said. It did not say when a conclusion was expected. The move to start a real-time review, so called because data is evaluated as it is made available, came roughly a week after the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker sought emergency approval from U.S. authorities.
14th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 14th Oct 2021

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Biden's vaccine mandate for companies nears as proposed rule sent to White House

The U.S. Labor Department on Tuesday submitted to the White House the initial text of President Joe Biden's plan to require private-sector workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or get tested regularly. The department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration submitted the proposed rule for review. Some details could change, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters. The move indicates the proposed standard could be released soon. The mandate will apply to businesses with 100 or more employees and will be implemented under a federal rule-making mechanism known as an emergency temporary standard. It would affect roughly 80 million workers nationwide.
13th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Florida fines key county $3.5 million for mandating vaccines

Florida has issued its first fine to a county it says violated a new state law banning coronavirus vaccine mandates and for firing 14 workers who failed to get the shots. The Florida Department of Health on Tuesday issued the $3.5 million fine for Leon County, home to the state capital, saying the municipality violated Florida’s “vaccine passport” law, which prohibits businesses and governments from requiring people to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. “These are people that, presumably, have been serving throughout this whole time and now all of a sudden they’re basically getting kicked to the curb,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference in St. Pete Beach.
13th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

BRIEF—Russia recommends RA drug olokizumab for COVID-19 of any severity

The Russian Ministry of Health has issued the 12th version of the Temporary guidelines for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19. This time the expert analysis resulted in a significant expansion of olokizumab usage in clinical practice. Olokizumab is the first in Russia novel genetically engineered biological drug developed by R-Pharm, one of the country’s leading biotechs. In the new document, olokizumab is additionally included in treatment regimens for mild and critical COVID-19 patients in hospital setting.
13th Oct 2021 - The Pharma Letter

Panama approves Pfizer COVID-19 booster for high-risk people

Panama has approved a booster dose of Pfizer Inc's (PFE.N) COVID-19 vaccine for high-risk people, including healthcare workers, bedridden patients, nursing home residents and people over 55, health officials said on Tuesday. The Central American country has reported 469,440 COVID-19 infections since the start of the pandemic and 7,275 deaths. More than 5.5 million vaccine doses have been administered since January, covering most of the eligible population. "We have decided to begin the process of applying a booster shot to the population with the Pfizer vaccine, starting tomorrow in public and private hospitals," Health Minister Luis Sucre said.
13th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Russia, EU to discuss terms for recognising COVID-19 vaccine certificates -Ifax

Russia and the EU will discuss terms for the mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccine certificates for their respective shots at talks, the Interfax news agency cited Russia's health ministry as saying on Wednesday. The EU's ambassador to Moscow last week said Russia has repeatedly delayed inspections by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) necessary for the certification of its Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine in the European Union
13th Oct 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Minister apologises for 'hurt and distress' suffered by bereaved families in wake of damning report on pandemic handling

A minister has apologised for the "hurt and distress" suffered by families who have lost loved ones to coronavirus, the day after a colleague refused 11 times to say sorry for the government's handling of the pandemic. "The prime minister apologised earlier this year for all the hurt and distress all those families have suffered and I share that and of course I offer that as well," Conservative Party chair Oliver Dowden told Kay Burley.
13th Oct 2021 - Sky News

US to reopen land borders in November for fully vaccinated

Beleaguered business owners and families separated by COVID-19 restrictions rejoiced Wednesday after the U.S. said it will reopen its land borders to nonessential travel next month, ending a 19-month freeze. Travel across land borders from Canada and Mexico has been largely restricted to workers whose jobs are deemed essential. New rules will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the U.S. regardless of the reason starting in early November, when a similar easing of restrictions is set for air travel. By mid-January, even essential travelers seeking to enter the U.S., such as truck drivers, will need to be fully vaccinated. Shopping malls and big box retailers in U.S. border towns whose parking spaces had been filled by cars with Mexican license plates were hit hard by travel restrictions.
13th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 13th Oct 2021

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Covid: UK's early response worst public health failure ever, MPs say

The UK's failure to do more to stop Covid spreading early in the pandemic was one of the country's worst public health failures, a report by MPs says. The government approach - backed by its scientists - was to try to manage the situation and in effect achieve herd immunity by infection, it said. This led to a delay in introducing the first lockdown, costing thousands of lives, the MPs found. But their report highlighted successes too, including the vaccination rollout. It described the approach to vaccination - from the research and development through to the rollout of the jabs - as "one of the most effective initiatives in UK history".
12th Oct 2021 - BBC News

Moderna's search for African site set to intensify - chairman

Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa could be potential locations for Moderna's planned vaccine factory in Africa, the U.S. drugmaker's co-founder and chairman said as it steps up its search for a site on the continent. Moderna said last week it would build a plant in Africa to produce up to 500 million doses of vaccines a year, including its COVID-19 shot, as pressure grows on pharmaceutical companies to manufacture drugs in lower-income countries.
12th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Moderna, J&J push for COVID-19 vaccine boosters ahead of FDA meeting

Scientists at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday that Moderna Inc had not met all of the agency's criteria to support use of booster doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, possibly because the efficacy of the shot's first two doses has remained strong. FDA staff said in documents that data for Moderna's vaccine showed that a booster does increase protective antibodies, but the difference in antibody levels before and after the shot was not wide enough, particularly in those whose levels had remained high.
12th Oct 2021 - Reuters

S.Korea to donate 1.1 mln doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Vietnam, 470,000 doses to Thailand

South Korea will donate 1.1 mln doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to Vietnam and 470,000 doses to Thailand, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said on Tuesday. The donations come as South Korea has administered nearly 80% of its 52 million population with at least one dose of a vaccine, KDCA said
12th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott bans COVID-19 vaccine mandates by private businesses

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order to prohibit any entity, including private business, from enforcing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on workers and called on state lawmakers to pass a similar ban into law. The move comes as the Biden administration is set to issue rules requiring employers with more than 100 workers to be vaccinated or test weekly for the coronavirus. Several major companies, including Texas-based American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, have said they would abide by the federal mandate.
12th Oct 2021 - NPR

COVID-19: Minister refuses to apologise for government's pandemic handling as report says errors 'cost thousands of lives'

A minister has refused to apologise 11 times for the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, after a highly-critical report by MPs said thousands of lives were lost due to delays and mistakes by both ministers and their scientific advisers. "We followed, throughout, the scientific advice. We got the vaccine deployed extremely quickly, we protected our NHS from the surge of cases," Cabinet Office minister Stephen Barclay told Sky News' Kay Burley when she asked if the government would apologise.
12th Oct 2021 - Sky News

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 12th Oct 2021

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Covid response ‘one of UK’s worst ever public health failures’

Britain’s early handling of the coronavirus pandemic was one of the worst public health failures in UK history, with ministers and scientists taking a “fatalistic” approach that exacerbated the death toll, a landmark inquiry has found. “Groupthink”, evidence of British exceptionalism and a deliberately “slow and gradualist” approach meant the UK fared “significantly worse” than other countries, according to the 151-page “Coronavirus: lessons learned to date” report led by two former Conservative ministers. The crisis exposed “major deficiencies in the machinery of government”, with public bodies unable to share vital information and scientific advice impaired by a lack of transparency, input from international experts and meaningful challenge. Despite being one of the first countries to develop a test for Covid in January 2020, the UK “squandered” its lead and “converted it into one of permanent crisis”. The consequences were profound, the report says. “For a country with a world-class expertise in data analysis, to face the biggest health crisis in 100 years with virtually no data to analyse was an almost unimaginable setback.”
12th Oct 2021 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: Moderna has no plans to share its Covid-19 vaccine recipe

Moderna has no plans to share the recipe for its Covid-19 vaccine because executives have concluded that scaling up the company’s own production is the best way to increase the global supply, the company’s chairman said Monday. In an interview with Associated Press, Noubar Afeyan also reiterated a pledge Moderna made a year ago not to enforce patent infringement on anyone else making a coronavirus vaccine during the pandemic. “We didn’t have to do that,” Afeyan said. “We think that was the responsible thing to do.” He added: “We want that to be helping the world.” The United Nations health agency has pressed US-based Moderna to share its vaccine formula. Afeyan said the company analysed whether it would be better to share the messenger RNA technology and determined that it could expand production and deliver billions of additional doses in 2022.
11th Oct 2021 - South China Morning Post

Religious Exemptions to Vaccine Mandates Tested in New York Case

Thousands of New York healthcare workers are in limbo as a federal judge considers whether the state’s vaccination mandate must accommodate requests for religious exemptions, in a case that could guide similar policies in other states. As written, New York’s vaccine mandate applies to all people who work in hospitals and nursing homes, and doesn’t allow healthcare employees to opt out with weekly testing. Starting last week, people were forced to choose between getting the shot and keeping their jobs. There were provisions for medical exemptions but not exemptions based on religious beliefs. Thousands of healthcare workers who refused vaccinations lost their jobs around the state when the mandate took effect, prompting hospitals to cancel elective surgeries and close operating rooms and outpatient clinics. Many nursing homes have stopped admitting new patients.
11th Oct 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Merck seeks first U.S. authorization for COVID-19 pill

Merck & Co Inc said on Monday it has applied for U.S. emergency use authorization for its drug to treat mild-to-moderate patients of COVID-19, putting it on course to become the first oral antiviral medication for the disease. An authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration could help change clinical management of COVID-19 as the pill can be taken at home. The treatment, molnupiravir, cut the rate of hospitalization and death by 50% in a trial of mild-to-moderately ill patients who had at least one risk factor for the disease, according to data released earlier this month.
11th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 11th Oct 2021

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Latvia Declares Three-Month Covid State of Emergency

The Latvian government declared a three-month state of emergency after coronavirus infections hit a record and hospitalizations rose, the country’s public broadcaster reported. The state of emergency will start on Oct. 11, and will mandate vaccinations for public sector workers, restrictions on retail and bars and push more people to work from home. Latvia recorded a record 1,752 new Covid cases on Thursday, with more than 700 in the hospital.
9th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Iceland Joins Nordic Peers in Halting Moderna Covid Vaccinations

Iceland is joining its Nordic peers in halting inoculations with Moderna Inc.’s Spikevax shot on concern over side effects. The Moderna jab, which has mostly been used in Iceland for second doses, won’t be used until more information over its safety has been collected, the chief epidemiologist said on Friday. Sweden, Denmark and Finland have this week suspended the jabs for younger people because of the risk of heart inflammation as a potential side effect. Norway said men under 30 should consider choosing the Pfizer Inc.’s and BioNTech SE’s rival vaccine, and the other Nordic nations also recommended that as an alternative. Both vaccinations use messenger RNA technology to prompt an immune reaction.
9th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Brazil has lined up 350 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for 2022, Health Minster says

Brazil's Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga said on Friday the country has already acquired, or is in advanced talks to secure, around 350 million vaccine doses for 2022. Queiroga said that although Sinovac's Coronavac vaccine was not currently part of plans for the national campaign next year, it could be incorporated if it receives full approval from Brazil's health regulator.
9th Oct 2021 - Reuters

India set to reopen for foreign travellers from 15 October

India will reopen to tourism from October 15, the government said, after more than a year of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. Foreign nationals will be able to apply for a visa for the first time since March 2020, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government imposed a strict lockdown in response to the pandemic. “After considering various inputs, the MHA (home ministry) has decided to begin granting fresh Tourist Visas for foreigners coming to India through chartered flights with effect from 15 October, 2021,” the home ministry said in a statement on 7 October. It added that foreigners traveling to India via commercial flights will be able to enter on fresh tourist visas starting November 15, 2021. The home ministry has said all COVID-19 protocols “should be adhered to
9th Oct 2021 - Travel Daily Media

U.S. will accept WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines for international visitors

The United States will accept the use by international visitors of COVID-19 vaccines authorized by U.S. regulators or the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said late on Friday. On Sept. 20, the White House announced the United States in November would lift travel restrictions on air travelers from 33 countries including China, India, Brazil and most of Europe who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. It did not specify then which vaccines would be accepted. A CDC spokeswoman told Reuters Friday, "Six vaccines that are FDA authorized/approved or listed for emergency use by WHO will meet the criteria for travel to the U.S."
9th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 8th Oct 2021

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Italy loosens COVID-19 restrictions on leisure activities

Italy increased the maximum attendance capacity allowed at cultural and sporting venues on Thursday, continuing its progressive easing of COVID-19 curbs for those who can show documents of immunity from the disease.
7th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Pfizer Asks F.D.A. to Authorize Its Covid-19 Vaccine for Children 5 to 11

Pfizer and BioNTech said on Thursday morning that they had asked federal regulators to authorize emergency use of their coronavirus vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, a move that could help protect more than 28 million people in the United States. The companies have said they were submitting data supporting the change to the Food and Drug Administration. The agency has promised to move quickly on the request and has tentatively scheduled a meeting on Oct. 26 to consider it. A ruling is expected between Halloween and Thanksgiving. “With new cases in children in the U.S. continuing to be at a high level, this submission is an important step in our ongoing effort against Covid-19,” Pfizer said on Thursday.
7th Oct 2021 - The New York Times

WHO Wants Less Talk, More Action From Rich Nations on Doses

The World Health Organization called on countries with high vaccination rates to swap their places in line and prioritize the delivery of Covid-19 shots to lower-income nations. The WHO set out a strategy for countries to follow to reach a goal to inoculate 40% of the population in every nation in the world by the end of the year, and 70% by mid-2022. The health body urged countries with high vaccine coverage to change their vaccine delivery schedules for the coming months to make room for Covax, which will ensure countries in need can receive doses and catch up. Manufacturers should be transparent on total monthly production and schedules for supplies to Covax.
7th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Germany recommends booster shots for over 70s

Germany's vaccination authority, STIKO, recommended COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for people older than 70 on Thursday. All residents of care homes, as well as workers who come into direct contact with them, should also be offered a third vaccine dose, the body said. The same was also recommended for medical workers in direct contact with patients. STIKO gave its recommendation on the grounds that vaccine protection "declines over time, particularly in terms of preventing asymptomatic and mild infections." Previously booster shots had only be recommended in Germany for people with a weakened immune system.
7th Oct 2021 - DW (English)

Malaysia buys 150000 courses of Merck's COVID-19 pill

Malaysia has struck a deal with U.S. drugmaker Merck & Co to buy 150,000 courses of its experimental antiviral pill, the health ministry said on Thursday, joining other Asian countries in a rush to secure supplies. Molnupiravir, which would be the first oral antiviral medication for COVID-19 if it gets regulatory approval, could halve the chances of dying or being hospitalised for those most at risk of contracting severe COVID-19, clinical data has shown. The data sparked large demand for the drug in Asia, with South Korea, Singapore and Australia announcing similar deals to buy the Merck pill this week. Taiwan and Thailand are also in talks to buy it.
7th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Finland joins Sweden and Denmark in limiting Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

Finland on Thursday paused the use of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for younger males due to reports of a rare cardiovascular side effect, joining Sweden and Denmark in limiting its use. Mika Salminen, director of the Finnish health institute, said Finland would instead give Pfizer's vaccine to men born in 1991 and later. Finland offers shots to people aged 12 and over. "A Nordic study involving Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark found that men under the age of 30 who received Moderna Spikevax had a slightly higher risk than others of developing myocarditis," he said.
7th Oct 2021 - Reuters

The WHO has started shipping COVID-19 medical supplies to North Korea

The World Health Organization has started shipping COVID-19 medical supplies into North Korea, a possible sign that the North is easing one of the world's strictest pandemic border closures to receive outside help. WHO said in a weekly monitoring report that it has started the shipment of essential COVID-19 medical supplies through the Chinese port of Dalian for "strategic stockpiling and further dispatch" to North Korea. Edwin Salvador, WHO's representative to North Korea, said in an email to the Associated Press Thursday that some items, including emergency health kits and medicine, have reached the North Korean port of Nampo after North Korean authorities allowed the WHO and other U.N. agencies to send supplies that had been stuck in Dalian.
7th Oct 2021 - NPR

Decline in global COVID-19 cases, deaths continues

Continuing a trend that began in August, global COVID-19 cases and deaths declined again last week, with activity decreasing in most regions except Europe, where infection levels stayed the same, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday in its latest weekly snapshot of the pandemic. Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD, the WHO's technical lead for COVID-19, said on Twitter that hard work is paying off, and vaccinations are significantly cutting hospitalizations and deaths. She added, however, that vaccine equity is desperately needed, and the world is not out of the woods yet.
6th Oct 2021 - CIDRAP

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 7th Oct 2021

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Biden to Spend $1 Billion to Boost Supply of Rapid Covid Tests

The White House on Wednesday announced a billion-dollar investment in at-home rapid coronavirus tests that it said would help quadruple their availability by later this year. By December, 200 million rapid tests will be available to Americans each month, with tens of millions more arriving on the market in the coming weeks, Jeffrey D. Zients, the White House’s Covid-19 coordinator, said at a news conference. Mr. Zients also said the administration would double the number of sites in the federal government’s free pharmacy testing program, to 20,000. The changes reflect the administration’s growing emphasis on at-home testing as a tool for slowing the spread of Covid-19.
6th Oct 2021 - The New York Times

China Is Last Holdout on Covid-Zero Strategy

For much of the pandemic, a group of places in the Asia-Pacific brought infections to zero, becoming virus-free havens in a world ravaged by the pathogen. Now, with the rise of the delta variant and the proliferation of vaccines, only one is still holding fast to that goal of eliminating Covid-19: China. With New Zealand preparing to shift away from the zero-tolerance strategy, China’s isolation is complete, raising the stakes on how long it can stick to a playbook that requires closed borders, abrupt lockdowns, and repeated disruption of social and economic activity. One by one, Covid Zero places like Singapore and Australia have decided that the approach is unsustainable, pivoting instead to vaccination to protect people from serious illness and death while easing off on attempts to control the number of infections.
6th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Sweden pauses use of Moderna COVID vaccine, cites rare side effects

Sweden will pause the use of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for people born 1991 and later after reports of possible rare side effects, such as myocarditis, the Swedish health agency said on Wednesday. "The Swedish Public Health Agency has decided to suspend the use of Moderna's vaccine Spikevax, for everyone born 1991 and later, for precautionary reasons," it said in a statement. "The cause is signals of an increased risk of side effects such as myocarditis and pericarditis. However, the risk of being affected is very small," it said.
6th Oct 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Hearings resume on Ohio House anti-vaccine mandate bill

The right of individuals to decline the coronavirus vaccine and the right of businesses to require it as a condition of employment are at the center of debate over proposed House Republican legislation limiting employers’ ability to mandate COVID-19 vaccination. Lawmakers on Wednesday began additional hearings on the bill after a failed effort last week to fast-track a full House vote on the legislation. All major business and health care organizations oppose the legislation that would allow public and private sector employees to seek exemptions from employer-mandated coronavirus vaccines. The hearing is meant to explore “the line between personal freedom and company rights to mandate your vaccination in terms of employment,” said House Commerce and Labor Chairman Dick Stein, a Norwalk Republican.
6th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

Merck says deal signed with Singapore on COVID-19 antiviral pill

Merck announced on Wednesday a supply and purchase agreement that will provide Singapore with access to its experimental oral COVID-19 antiviral drug, the latest Asian country to try to snap up supplies. Molnupiravir is designed to introduce errors into the genetic code of the virus and would be the first oral antiviral medication for COVID-19. Merck is seeking approval by the United States Food and Drug Administration for the pill.Singapore's health ministry did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation of the Merck agreement.
6th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Kazakhstan to buy 4 mln doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

Kazakhstan has signed a deal to buy about 4 million doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, healthcare minister Alexei Tsoi said. The Central Asian nation's government has said it will offer the Pfizer shots, at least initially, only to children aged 12 and older, and to pregnant women.
6th Oct 2021 - Reuters

UAE authorises Sputnik Light COVID-19 vaccine -Russia's RDIF

The United Arab Emirates has authorised the Russia-developed one-shot Sputnik Light as both a standalone COVID-19 vaccine and a booster shot, Russia's sovereign fund RDIF said on Wednesday.
6th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 6th Oct 2021

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AstraZeneca Submits Preventive Covid-19 Treatment for FDA Authorization

The company asked U.S. regulators for emergency-use authorization for an antibody drug that earlier this year showed strong efficacy in preventing symptomatic Covid-19, offering a potential alternative in evading the disease.
5th Oct 2021 - Wall Street Journal

Spain approves COVID booster shot for over 70s

Spain on Tuesday approved administering of third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are based on the same messenger RNA technology, for people aged 70 or over, the health ministry said. Spain has fully vaccinated around 78% of its population, and authorised the booster shot from six months after people receive their second jab, the ministry said in a statement. The campaign to administer the boosters will begin at the end of October. The country had already authorised booster shots for cancer patients, nursing home residents and other vulnerable groups.
5th Oct 2021 - Reuters

New Zealand to phase out zero-covid strategy, Jacinda Ardern says

After months of back-and-forth between virus-free life and lockdowns, New Zealand will phase out its pursuit of zero covid-19 cases and instead rely on vaccines to allow the country to live with the coronavirus. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that New Zealand will transition from relying on harsh restrictions, instead using vaccines and “everyday public health measures” to keep residents safe. She added that the change was one “we were always going to make over time.” But the delta variant, Ardern said, had “accelerated” this transition. New Zealand’s admission that it cannot fully eliminate the virus and must instead learn to live with it marks a dramatic shift from the strategy it had employed throughout the pandemic
5th Oct 2021 - The Washington Post

Johnson & Johnson seeks emergency authorization from FDA for coronavirus booster shot

Johnson & Johnson asked the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday to grant emergency use authorization for a booster dose of its single-shot coronavirus vaccine. The action is part of an effort by Biden administration officials to provide increased protection against covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, which has claimed more than 700,000 lives in the United States. Johnson & Johnson “is asking the FDA to look at our data and agree with us that we have enough data to support a boost” for people 18 and older, said Mathai Mammen, global head of research and development for the Janssen Pharmaceuticals division of Johnson & Johnson.
5th Oct 2021 - The Washington Post

Australia to buy experimental Covid-19 drug - Morrison

Australia is to purchase 300,000 courses of Merck & Co's experimental antiviral pill, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. The announcement came as Victoria logged the highest number of daily Covid-19 infections of any state in the country since the pandemic began. Molnupiravir, which would be the first oral antiviral medication for Covid-19 if it gets regulatory approval, could halve the chances of dying or being hospitalised for people most at risk of contracting severe Covid-19, according to experts.
5th Oct 2021 - RTE.ie

EU regulator OKs Pfizer vaccine booster for 18 and older

The European Union’s drug regulator gave its backing Monday to administering booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people 18 and older. The European Medicines Agency said the booster doses “may be considered at least 6 months after the second dose for people aged 18 years and older.” The agency’s human medicines committee issued the recommendation after studying data for the Pfizer vaccine that showed a rise in antibody levels following boosters given around 6 months after the second dose in people from 18 to 55 years old. The agency also said it supports giving a third dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna vaccine to people with severely weakened immune systems at least 28 days after their second shot.
5th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 5th Oct 2021

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GSK to supply 10000 doses of COVID-19 drug to Canada

London-based drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline PLC said on Monday it signed a deal to supply 10,000 doses of its COVID-19 monoclonal antibody therapy to the Canadian government. "With the emergence of variants of concern across the country, in particular the Delta variant, new therapies like sotrovimab are important to treating the disease in its early stages," said Ranya El Masri, head of government affairs and market access for GSK Canada. The drug, sotrovimab, developed in partnership with Vir Biotechnology Inc was approved by Canada in July to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 patients, above 12 years of age, who are at high risk for progressing to hospitalization or death.
4th Oct 2021 - Reuters

EU regulator backs Pfizer vaccine booster for all adults after 6 months

Europe’s drugs regulator on Monday advised that healthy adults can receive a third, booster dose of the BioNTech/Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine six months after the second dose. The European Medicines Agency’s medicines committee said the recommendation was based on data from a study of 18 to 55-year-olds, showing an increase in antibodies after a third shot. Data has shown that immunity wanes with the vaccines currently in use, and appears to wane more quickly with the BioNTech/Pfizer jab. The EMA also said that people with severely weakened immune systems may be given a booster dose of either the BioNTech/Pfizer or Moderna jabs just 28 days after their second dose. While there is no direct evidence linking antibody levels to stronger protection in those with weakened immune systems, “it is expected that the extra dose would increase protection at least in some patients,” the EMA said.
4th Oct 2021 - POLITICO Europe

Global trade is accelerating, but poorer countries need vaccines to keep up, the W.T.O. says.

Global trade recovered from its pandemic lows faster than anticipated in the first half of 2021 and is set to grow more quickly than expected next year, lifting global growth forecasts, the World Trade Organization said Monday. The W.T.O. now forecasts global merchandise trade to grow 10.8 percent in 2021, up from the 8 percent it forecast in March, as the flow of goods recovers from last year’s slump. Global trade is expected to rise 4.7 percent in 2022 as the growth rate approaches its prepandemic trend, the W.T.O. said. That trade growth has not been equal as a result of the pandemic, the group said, with developing regions in particular lagging behind because of lower vaccination rates, and supply chain disruptions continuing to weigh on trade in some areas.
4th Oct 2021 - The New York Times

Covid-19 Treatment News: What Drugs, Medicines Are Available for Coronavirus?

In the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, vaccines have emerged as the weapon of choice. Prevention of disease is always preferable to treatment, and in this case, vaccines have proven far more targeted and effective than the few Covid therapies that have emerged so far. Several, including some that received emergency-use authorization from regulators, have lost favor or been discarded as the struggle goes on to understand the coronavirus that causes Covid and how it impacts cells, tissues and ultimately the human body. While the list of disappointments is long, some treatments have been shown to work, although more research is needed to provide effective therapy for severely ill patients.
4th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Pfizer, Moderna Boosters Win EU Approval for Vulnerable

A European Union advisory committee endorsed extra shots of Pfizer Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine for all adults, as well as extra doses of Moderna Inc.’s for those with severely weakened immune systems. Those ages 18 and older can get a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine, developed with BioNTech SE, at least six months after their second shot, the European Medicines Agency said in a statement Monday. For the immunocompromised, extra doses of Pfizer or Moderna can be given at least 28 days after the second. The recommendation on the Pfizer shot is slightly broader than in the U.S., where it’s been recommended for those ages 65 or older, those in long-term health-care facilities and those ages 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions. “Studies showed that an extra dose of these vaccines increased the ability to produce antibodies against the virus that causes Covid-19 in organ transplant patients with weakened immune systems,” the EMA said. “It is expected that the extra dose would increase protection at least in some patients.”
4th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Thailand joins Asian nations in rush to buy Merck's COVID-19 pill

Thailand's government is in talks with Merck & Co (MRK.N) to buy 200,000 courses of its experimental antiviral pill for COVID-19 treatment, the latest Asian nation to scramble for supplies of the drug after lagging behind Western countries for vaccines. Somsak Akksilp, director-general of the Department of Medical Services, told Reuters that Thailand is currently working on a purchasing agreement for the antiviral drug, known as molnupiravir. South Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia said they are alsoin talks to buy the potential treatment, while the Philippines, which is running a trial on the pill, said it hopes its domestic study would allow access to the treatment.
4th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Johnson & Johnson to Seek F.D.A. Authorization for Booster Shot

Johnson & Johnson is planning to ask federal regulators early this week to authorize a booster shot of its coronavirus vaccine, according to officials familiar with the company’s plans. The firm is the last of the three federally authorized vaccine providers to call for extra injections, amid mounting evidence that at least the elderly and other high-risk groups need more protection. Federal officials have become increasingly worried that the more than 15 million Americans who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine face too much risk of severe Covid-19. The Food and Drug Administration on Friday scheduled a meeting on Oct. 15 of its expert advisory committee to discuss whether to grant emergency use authorization of a booster shot of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. That is part of a broader effort by the government to shore up the protection provided by all three vaccines. Regulators last month authorized a booster shot for many recipients of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine and are contemplating doing the same this month for recipients of Moderna’s.
4th Oct 2021 - The New York Times

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 4th Oct 2021

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California to require COVID-19 vaccines for schoolchildren

California will become the first U.S. state to mandate statewide COVID-19 vaccinations for schoolchildren, Governor Gavin Newsom said on Friday as a Reuters tally showed the United States topping 700,000 coronavirus deaths. “The state already requires that students are vaccinated against viruses that cause measles, mumps, and rubella – there’s no reason why we wouldn’t do the same for COVID-19," the Democratic governor said at a news conference.
1st Oct 2021 - Reuters

In a first, COVAX to send COVID shots only to least covered nations

A global scheme designed to ensure fair access to COVID-19 vaccines will this month for the first time distribute shots only to countries with the lowest levels of coverage, the World Health Organization said. Co-led by the WHO, COVAX has since January largely allocated doses proportionally among its 140-plus beneficiary states according to population size. This made some richer nations that had already secured vaccines through separate deals with pharmaceutical firms eligible for COVAX doses alongside countries with no supplies at all
1st Oct 2021 - Reuters

Japan's Takeda says 'human error' caused contamination of Moderna vaccines

Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd said on Friday that "human error" caused metal contaminants to get into Moderna Inc COVID-19 vaccine doses, leading to a recall. Takeda, which imports and distributes the vaccine in Japan, and Moderna said in a new report that a Spanish manufacturer discovered contaminants in some vials in July, but supplies from the same production were allowed to be shipped to Japan. Japanese authorities in August suspended the use of three batches of Moderna shots containing 1.63 million doses after being notified of the contamination.
1st Oct 2021 - Reuters

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Vaccine apartheid: The Global South fights back

Could the rich world’s obscene selfishness on vaccine equality ultimately help bring about a fairer economy? If we fight for it. When diplomats start speaking like campaigners, you know geopolitics is starting to shift. This week United Nations chief Antonio Guterres lectured world leaders on the disgraceful state of vaccine inequality, calling it “a moral indictment of the state of our world. It is an obscenity.” A fortnight earlier, World Health Organization head Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the press: “I will not stay silent when the companies and countries that control the global supply of vaccines think the world’s poor should be satisfied with leftovers.”
30th Sep 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Western Coronavirus Vaccines May Be Coming to Russia

Russian residents may soon be able to receive vaccines not recognized by the government, the Kommersant business daily reported, citing a Health Ministry proposal put up for public discussion. The move to relax import rules could potentially allow Russians to have Western coronavirus jabs like Pfizer and Moderna, as well as Chinese vaccines like Sinopharm and Sinovac. The Health Ministry proposed Tuesday to grant the Moscow International Medical Cluster (MIMC) project the right to import vaccines and drugs not registered in Russia. MIMC operates in Moscow City Hall’s Skolkovo Innovation Center, which works under a special legal regime that gives it preferential access to drugs registered in OECD member-states, even if they are not registered in Russia.
30th Sep 2021 - The Moscow Times

Beijing 2022 presents COVID-19 protocol to IOC

International spectators will be barred from the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics, while all the Games' participants are encouraged to be fully vaccinated, according to Beijing 2022's COVID-19-prevention policies. The Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee on Wednesday presented its key COVID-19 countermeasures for the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) during an IOC executive board meeting chaired by President Thomas Bach, in the presence of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons, outlining its principles regarding key policies, including vaccination, Games-time closed-loop management, spectators and ticketing. All athletes and Games participants who are fully vaccinated will enter the closed-loop management system, or known as "bio-secure bubbles", upon arrival, according to a press release from Beijing 2022. Games participants who are not fully vaccinated will have to enter a 21-day quarantine upon arrival in Beijing.
30th Sep 2021 - China Daily

EU wants to extend looser state aid rules for virus-hit companies to mid-2022

The European Commission on Thursday proposed extending looser state aid rules for virus-hit companies for six months to June 2022 in a bid to slowly wean them off the billions of euros provided by governments across the European Union. The EU executive, tasked with ensuring a level playing field in the 27-country bloc, also proposed two new measures to encourage investment support and solvency support for a limited time to help Europe rebound from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The so-called Temporary Framework, adopted in March last year and due to expire at the end of this year, has allowed EU countries to pump in more than 3 trillion euros to thousands of companies across the bloc.
30th Sep 2021 - Reuters

PAHO says it is buying more COVID vaccines for Americas

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has said it is pushing to secure additional COVID-19 vaccines for residents of the Americas amid huge discrepancies in vaccination rates between countries in the region. PAHO, the Americas branch of the World Health Organization (WHO), announced on Wednesday that it had reached an agreement with Chinese vaccine maker Sinovac to buy 8.5 million vaccine doses for 2021 and another 80 million doses next year.
29th Sep 2021 - AlJazeera

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PAHO says in advanced talks to buy more COVID vaccines

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday it is in advanced talks with vaccine makers to buy additional COVID-19 shots for its member states to complement bilateral deals, donations, and doses they are receiving via the COVAX mechanism. PAHO has reached an agreement with Chinese vaccine maker Sinovac, and is expecting to sign new accords soon to buy vaccines with emergency use listing approval from other suppliers for 2021 and 2022, PAHO Director Carissa Etienne said.
29th Sep 2021 - Reuters

EU to decide on Pfizer booster on Oct. 4 - document

The EU's drugs regulator will decide on Monday whether to approve Pfizer's COVID-19 booster vaccine, but it is unlikely to give precise guidance on who should receive it, according to an internal document and two officials. If the European Medicines Agency (EMA) gives its backing for the jab, the 27-member block would join the United States, Britain and Israel which have already received the green light to deploy boosters, even though there is no consensus among scientists that they are necessary.
29th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Swiss buy 150,000 doses of J&J COVID-19 vaccine

Switzerland has agreed to buy 150,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines. from Johnson & Johnson that will arrive this week and be distributed to regional authorities next week, the government said on Wednesday. Switzerland has relied so far on vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna using new mRNA technology but also considered standard vector jabs from Johnson & Johnson to help persuade more people to get immunized. “People aged 12 and over are still recommended to be vaccinated primarily with an mRNA vaccine, as this offers a very high level of protection and is very safe,” the Federal Office of Public Health said.
29th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Brazil hospital chain hid Covid-19 deaths, whistleblowers' lawyer tells Senate

A Brazilian hospital chain gave unproven Covid-19 treatments to patients without their knowledge, a lawyer for a group of whistleblowing doctors alleged to the country's parliamentary inquiry on the pandemic on Tuesday. At least nine patients at hospitals operated by Prevent Senior died of Covid-19 while they were unwittingly receiving the experimental treatments, said Bruna Morato, representing 12 anonymous doctors who worked for the health care provider. The company, which also offers private health insurance, has denied all allegations. Morato alleged that Prevent Senior hospitals were used as "laboratories" for studies with so-called "Covid kit," containing drugs that have been proven ineffective for the treatment of Covid-19, such as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine. These studies were allegedly conducted between March and April of 2020. Patients and relatives were not made aware those drugs were being administered, and Prevent Senior doctors were pressured internally to prescribe and distribute such drugs, Morato also claimed. "Very vulnerable elderly patients were told there was a good treatment, but they did not know they were being used as guinea pigs," she said.
29th Sep 2021 - CNN

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Yemen uses UN speech to call for more COVID-19 vaccines

The top diplomat of Yemen s internationally recognized government said Monday his conflict-torn country needs millions more coronavirus vaccines to ensure some of the world's poorest are not left behind. In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak said the roughly 1 million doses Yemen was given are not enough to vaccinate even the most vulnerable portions of its population. Yemen has a long way to go toward vaccinating the majority of its some 30 million people, most of whom are facing multiple humanitarian crises, including poverty, hunger and poor access to adequately run hospitals. Yemen’s government has received just roughly 500,000 doses so far this year through the COVAX initiative, and the rest through direct donations from other countries. “These amounts are still not enough to cover the targeted groups,” Bin Mubarak said. “We hope that the donating countries will contribute to increasing the number of vaccines so that no one is left behind.”
28th Sep 2021 - The Independent

Pfizer/BioNTech submit initial data on Covid-19 vaccine for people ages 5 to 11 to FDA, but aren't seeking EUA yet

Pfizer and BioNTech said Tuesday they have submitted Covid-19 vaccine data on children ages 5 to 11 to the US Food and Drug Administration for initial review, but are not yet seeking emergency use authorization. A formal submission to request EUA for the vaccine is expected to follow in the coming weeks, the companies said in a statement. Submissions to the European Medicines Agency and other regulatory authorities are also planned, they said. This is the first submission of data to the FDA for a Covid-19 vaccine for younger children. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is approved for people age 16 and older and has an EUA for people ages 12 to 15.
28th Sep 2021 - CNN

Cuba begins commercial exports of its COVID-19 vaccines

Cuba has begun commercial exports of its homegrown COVID-19 vaccines, sending shipments of the three-dose Abdala vaccine to Vietnam and Venezuela. Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel announced the arrival of vaccines in Vietnam on his Twitter feed on Sunday. The official Cubadebate news website said the shipment included 900,000 doses bought by Hanoi and 150,000 more donated by Cuba. Vietnam’s President Nguyen Xuan Phuc visited Cuba last week and toured the laboratory that produces the vaccine, announcing an agreement to buy at least five million doses. As two of the last five Communist countries in the world, Cuba and Vietnam have maintained longstanding ties.
28th Sep 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Ireland to donate 335,500 doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Uganda

Ireland is to donate 335,500 doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Uganda, it has been announced. This donation is in addition to the one million Covid-19 vaccines that Ireland has already committed to donate via Covax, which aims to guarantee fair and equitable vaccine access for every country in the world. Along with this donation of vaccines to Uganda, Ireland is also donating all of the consumables needed to support the administration of 335,500 doses (plus a consumables contingency).
28th Sep 2021 - The Journal

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 28th Sep 2021

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Party of Covid vaccine sceptics wins seats in Austria’s regional parliament

A newly created party of Covid-19 vaccine sceptics has been elected to one of Austria’s largest regional parliaments after a shock election result in which it swept up protest votes from across the political spectrum. Pollsters had expected Menschen-Freiheit-Grundrechte [People, Freedom, Rights] to fall short of the 4 per cent threshold needed to enter the Upper Austrian state parliament. But on Sunday the party overtook the liberals, scooping up 6.4 per cent of the vote to win three seats in the Landtag.
28th Sep 2021 - Financial Times

How France Overcame Covid-19 Vaccine Hesitancy

The French have long been wary of vaccines, but a mixture of mandates and inducements encouraged millions to get the shot as the Delta variant spread.
27th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

EU Commission proposes extending vaccine export-control scheme

The European Commission has proposed extending the period of its scheme for monitoring and potentially limiting exports of COVID-19 vaccines from the bloc, a European Commission spokesperson told Reuters on Monday. If not prolonged, the scheme would expire this week. It is unclear whether the 27 EU states will support the proposal, which requires a qualified majority to be adopted. "Discussions are ongoing with member states, so we cannot comment further," the spokesperson said. If extended, the scheme would remain in place until the end of the year.
27th Sep 2021 - Reuters

New York may tap National Guard to replace unvaccinated healthcare workers

New York Governor Kathy Hochul is considering employing the National Guard and out-of-state medical workers to fill hospital staffing shortages with tens of thousands of workers possibly losing their jobs for not meeting a Monday deadline for mandated COVID-19 vaccination. The plan, outlined in a statement from Hochul on Saturday, would allow her to declare a state of emergency to increase the supply of healthcare workers to include licensed professionals from other states and countries as well as retired nurses.
27th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Tanzania to receive 2 million doses of coronavirus vaccine from China

The government yesterday said two million doses of Sinopharm vaccine from China is expected to arrive in the country as the number of vaccinated Tanzanians reached 400,000 off from the million doses initially received. The government spokserson, Mr Gerson Msigwa said yesterday that unlike the Johnson & Johnson doses that are injected once a year, Tanzanians will have to be inoculated twice a year with the Sinopharm doses.
27th Sep 2021 - GhanaWeb

Japan approves GSK's Sotrovimab COVID-19 antibody treatment

Japan has approved GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology's Sotrovimab as an antibody treatment for coronavirus, Health Minister Norihisa Tamura said on Monday. The antibody treatment is for mild to moderate COVID-19 cases which do not require oxygen supplementation, GSK said when it applied for fast-track approval this month.
27th Sep 2021 - Reuters

WHO backs Regeneron drug for COVID-19, urges action on price

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has added the Regeneron antibody drug cocktail – casirivimab and imdevimab – to its list of treatments for people with COVID-19, urging the manufacturer to reduce the price and ensure equitable distribution. Clinical studies showed the drug combination was effective in patients who were not severely ill but at high risk of being admitted to hospital with COVID-19, or those with severe cases of the disease and no existing antibodies, the WHO said in a statement on Friday.
24th Sep 2021 - AlJazeera

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 27th Sep 2021

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Cuba kicks off COVID-19 vaccine exports with shipment to Vietnam

Cuba said on Saturday it had exported its three-shot Abdala coronavirus vaccine for the first time, sending an initial shipment to Vietnam as part of a contract to supply five million doses to the Southeast Asian country. Scientists in the Communist-run island have developed three home-grown vaccines against COVID-19, all of which are waiting to receive official recognition from the World Health Organization.
26th Sep 2021 - Reuters

This country claims it hasn't had a single Covid-19 case. Activists say that's a lie

Turkmenistan, a former Soviet republic home to nearly 6 million people, is one of at least five countries that have not reported any coronavirus cases, according to a review of data collected by Johns Hopkins University and the World Health Organization. Three of those are isolated islands in the Pacific and the fourth is North Korea, a tightly-controlled hermit state. Turkmenistan's repressive President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, who has ruled since 2006, has dismissed reports of Covid-19 in the country as "fake" and told the United Nations in an address Tuesday that the response to the pandemic shouldn't be "politicized." But independent organizations and journalists and activists outside Turkmenistan say there's evidence the country is battling a third wave which is overwhelming hospitals and killing dozens of people -- and warn the President is playing down the threat of the deadly virus in a bid to maintain his public image.
25th Sep 2021 - CNN

India tells Quad will allow export of 8 mln Indo-Pacific vaccine doses

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told fellow leaders of the Quad partnership on Friday India will allow the export of 8 million COVID-19 vaccines by end of October in line with a deal reached by the grouping of Australia, India, Japan and the United States in March, India's foreign secretary said on Friday.
24th Sep 2021 - Reuters

C.D.C. Chief Overrules Agency Panel and Endorses Pfizer Boosters for Frontline Workers

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday overruled a recommendation by an agency advisory panel that had refused to endorse booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine for frontline workers. It was a highly unusual move for the director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, but aligned C.D.C. policy with the Food and Drug Administration’s endorsements over her own agency’s advisers. The C.D.C.’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Thursday recommended the boosters for a wide range of Americans, including tens of millions of older adults and younger people at high risk for the disease. But they excluded health care workers, teachers and others whose jobs put them at risk. That put their recommendations at odds with the F.D.A.’s authorization of booster shots for all adults with a high occupational risk.
24th Sep 2021 - The New York Times

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 24th Sep 2021

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Novavax applies to WHO for emergency listing of COVID-19 vaccine

Novavax and its partner Serum Institute of India have applied to the World Health Organization for an emergency use listing of Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine, potentially clearing the way for the shot to ship to many poorer countries, the company said on Thursday. Novavax has been prioritizing regulatory submissions to low- and middle-income countries after falling behind in the race for authorization in the United States and Europe, which have already vaccinated most of their residents.
23rd Sep 2021 - Reuters

Coronavirus Vaccine Inequity a Focus at UN General Assembly

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, Chad’s President Mahamat Idriss Deby and Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni are set to address the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday. Access to COVID-19 vaccines has been one of the major topics of the annual meeting in New York and is likely to be one of the most discussed again Thursday as leaders from African nations make up a large portion of the day’s list of speakers. While some countries such as the United States have had vaccine doses widely available to their populations for months, other countries have struggled to access COVID-19 vaccine supplies.
23rd Sep 2021 - Voice of America

FDA authorizes Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine booster for older Americans and those at high risk of illness

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized a Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus booster shot for people 65 and older and adults at risk of severe illness, an effort to bolster protection for the most vulnerable Americans against the highly transmissible delta variant of the virus. In addition to older Americans, boosters should be made available to people 18 through 64 years of age at high risk of severe illness from the coronavirus and those “whose frequent institutional or occupational exposure” to the virus puts them at high risk of serious complications from the disease caused by the virus, the agency said.
23rd Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

New Zealand's Ardern says lockdowns can end with high vaccine uptake

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday the country should aim for a 90%-plus rate of inoculation, and could drop strict coronavirus lockdown measures once enough people were vaccinated.
23rd Sep 2021 - Reuters

U.K. Eases Covid Travel Rules for COP26 Climate Conference

The U.K. has relaxed Covid-related travel restrictions for people attending the international climate conference in Glasgow that’s now less than six weeks away. Minister-level officials from so-called red list countries, along with two staffers, won’t be required to spend time in quarantine when they arrive for the COP26 conference, according to updated travel requirements. That’s a change from an earlier stance that required visitors from the high risk, red-list countries to spend five days in isolation.
23rd Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

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U.K. Faces Backlash Over Selective Vaccine Policy at Border

The U.K. government is facing a rising backlash over its refusal to recognize visitors as vaccinated unless they received their shots in a handful of select countries. Under travel rules unveiled last week, fully dosed arrivals from nations such as the U.S., Israel and Australia will be allowed to enter England without quarantine starting Oct. 4. But vaccinated people from vast swathes of the world still face tougher restrictions, including a 10-day home isolation period. The measure applies even if the visitor has had a vaccine approved and used in the U.K., such as the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE version or the shot produced by AstraZeneca Plc and Oxford University. It doesn’t matter whether the country is on the “red list” of those facing additional restrictions on entry or not
22nd Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Argentina talks up 'last stage' of pandemic as controls loosened

Argentina unveiled plans to ease coronavirus pandemic restrictions, including loosening strict border controls, allowing more commercial activities and getting rid of the mandatory wearing of face masks outdoors. Health Minister Carla Vizzotti said the easing of rules would allow more economic, industrial and commercial activities in closed places, while borders would gradually reopen from this month, with all tourists allowed back in from November. "We are in a very positive moment, we know that the pandemic has not ended, we have to maintain care," Vizzotti said in a news conference in Buenos Aires. "We are moving toward the full recovery of activities."
22nd Sep 2021 - Reuters

U.N. Climate Summit Attendees Push U.K. for Vaccines

Known as COP26, the climate summit will be one of the largest in-person international gatherings since the start of the pandemic. The British government says it’s on track to provide promised shots for attendees,
22nd Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Under pressure, U.S. donates half billion more COVID-19 vaccine doses to world

The United States promised to buy 500 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses to donate to other countries as it comes under increasing pressure to share its supply with the rest of the world. President Joe Biden made the announcement during a virtual summit aimed at boosting global vaccination rates against the coronavirus and rallying world leaders to do more. "To beat the pandemic here we need to beat it everywhere," Biden said as he kicked off the summit, which included leaders from Britain, Canada, Indonesia and South Africa as well as World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
22nd Sep 2021 - Reuters

Global coronavirus vaccine inequity is 'an obscenity', UN chief says

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has reprimanded the world for the inequitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, describing it as an "obscenity" and giving the globe an "F in ethics". Addressing the annual UN gathering of world leaders in New York, Mr Guterres said images from some parts of the world of expired and unused vaccines in rubbish told "the tale of our times" - with the majority of the wealthier world immunised while more than 90 per cent of Africa has not even received one dose. "This is a moral indictment of the state of our world. It is an obscenity. We passed the science test. But we are getting an F in ethics," Mr Guterres told the UN General Assembly.
22nd Sep 2021 - SBS News

Covishield: UK recognises Covid jab after India outcry

The UK government has amended its foreign travel guidance to clarify that the Indian-made version of the AstraZeneca vaccine is an approved jab. But it is not clear whether people from India can travel to the UK without having to self-isolate for 10 days. The UK's refusal to recognise Covishield had triggered a firestorm of protests in India. With more than 721 million doses administered so far, Covishield is India's primary vaccine. On Tuesday, India described the rule as "discriminatory" and asked the UK to stop requiring fully-vaccinated Indians to self-isolate on arrival. At present, India is not listed as a country where people are recognised as fully vaccinated even if they've had both doses of an approved jab.
22nd Sep 2021 - BBC News

New Zealand says it may not get to zero COVID-19 cases again

Its biggest city Auckland is still in lockdown with a small number of new cases being reported everyday. "We may not get back to zero but the important thing is we are going to keep finding any infections and basically continue to contact trace, test and isolate people so that we stop the virus circulating in the community... that's the aim," Ashley Bloomfield, the director general of health told Radio New Zealand. Bloomfield said the aim now was to try and get on top of the outbreak while also ramping up vaccination rates.
22nd Sep 2021 - Reuters

Amnesty blames top COVID jab makers for vaccine inequality

Six top manufacturers of the COVID-19 vaccine “are fuelling an unprecedented human rights crisis through their refusal to waive intellectual property rights and share vaccine technology”, Amnesty International said in a report. In the report titled “A Double Dose of Inequality”, the rights group denounced AstraZeneca, BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Novavax and Pfizer for “wheeling and dealing in favour of wealthy states”. “Vaccinating the world is our only pathway out of this crisis,” said Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International’s secretary general. “It should be time to hail these companies, who created vaccines so quickly, as heroes. But instead, to their shame and our collective grief, Big Pharma’s intentional blocking of knowledge transfer and their  wheeling and dealing in favour of wealthy states has brewed an utterly predictable and utterly devastating vaccine scarcity for so many others.”
22nd Sep 2021 - AlJazeera

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Covid: US opens up to fully vaccinated travellers

The US is easing its coronavirus travel restrictions, reopening to passengers from the UK, EU and other nations. From November, foreign travellers will be allowed to fly into the US if they are fully vaccinated, and undergo testing and contact tracing. The US has had tough restrictions on travel in place since early last year. The move answers a major demand from European allies, and means that families and friends separated by the restrictions can be reunited.
21st Sep 2021 - BBC News

John Nkengasong, of the Africa C.D.C., Will Lead PEPFAR

The Biden administration plans to nominate John Nkengasong, a virologist and director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to lead the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, according to several sources familiar with the matter. President Biden is expected to make the announcement in the coming days. PEPFAR is a $7 billion operation that funds and sets goals for AIDS care in many nations, most of them in Africa. Dr. Nkengasong, who was born in Cameroon, is the first person of African origin to head the program, which is housed in the Department of State.
21st Sep 2021 - The New York Times

India says it will resume Covid-19 vaccine exports next month

India will resume exports of Covid-19 vaccines in the October quarter, prioritizing the global vaccine-sharing platform COVAX and neighboring countries first as supplies rise, the country's health minister said on Monday. India, the world's biggest maker of vaccines, stopped exports of Covid shots in April to focus on inoculating its own population as infections exploded. The country's monthly vaccine output has since more than doubled and is set to quadruple to over 300 million doses next month, minister Mansukh Mandaviya said, adding that only excess supplies would be exported. Total production could top 1 billion in the last three months of the year as new vaccines from companies such as Biological E are likely to be approved, he added.
21st Sep 2021 - CNN

Brazil and Argentina tapped to make mRNA vaccines in Latin America

The Pan American Health Organization has selected two biomedical centers in Argentina and Brazil as regional hubs to develop and produce mRNA-based vaccines to fight COVID-19 in Latin America, the regional health agency said on Tuesday. The idea is to tap existing manufacturing capacities to help transfer vaccine technology developed by Moderna in the United States to a region badly hit by the coronavirus and still without access to enough vaccines.
21st Sep 2021 - Reuters

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India to Resume Covid-19 Vaccine Exports to Developing Nations

India will resume exports of Covid-19 vaccines starting next month, government officials said Monday, in a move likely to aid developing nations that have struggled to vaccinate their populations after New Delhi restricted shipments amid resurgence of cases at home. The exports would be a mix of donations and commercial deals, and would include shipments to Covax, a World Health Organization-supported facility aimed at getting vaccines to developing countries. India has been a major supplier to Covax. When it resumes exporting, India will accord priority to neighboring countries, Africa, and Latin America, according to an Indian government official familiar with the plan. The official declined to detail how many vaccines India plans to export. India exported 66 million doses to 95 countries before temporarily restricting the shipments in early April to help ease supply shortages as Covid-19 cases rose rapidly in the country last spring.
20th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

U.S. to Require Most Foreign Travelers Be Vaccinated for Entry

The U.S. will soon allow entry to most foreign air travelers as long as they’re fully vaccinated against Covid-19 -- while adding a testing requirement for unvaccinated Americans and barring entry for foreigners who haven’t gotten shots. The measures announced Monday by the White House are the most sweeping change to U.S. travel policies in months, and widen the gap in rules between vaccinated people -- who will see restrictions relaxed -- and the unvaccinated. The new rules will replace existing bans on foreigners’ travel to the U.S. from certain regions, including Europe.
20th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Coronavirus digest: Germany to offer vaccines to children in 2022

German Health Minister Jens Spahn said that a vaccine for children under 12 will likely be available from the first quarter of 2022. Spahn also expects approval for a vaccine for youth to go through by the beginning of next year. "I am assuming that the approval for a vaccine for children under 12 years of age will come in the first quarter of 2022," Spahn told Funke media group. "Then we could protect the younger ones even better." "A recommendation from the Standing Committee on Vaccination [STIKO] will also come a little later in this case," he added. BioNTech, for example, announced a few days ago that it would apply for approval of its coronavirus vaccine for children between the ages of five and eleven in the coming weeks.
20th Sep 2021 - DW (English)

US Lifts Ban For Fully Vaccinated Travellers From UK And Europe

The White House is to lift the US travel Covid ban and allow fully vaccinated arrivals from the UK and Europe to enter the country from early November. Other countries including Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland and South Africa will also be included in the new policy. Passengers will not need to quarantine upon arrival but will need to prove they were vaccinated before boarding a flight and provide a negative Covid test which was taken within the last three days.
20th Sep 2021 - Huffington Post

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Vietnam approves Abdala vaccine as president visits Cuba

Vietnam has approved Cuba's Abdala vaccine for use against the new coronavirus, the government said, as the Southeast Asian country is battling its worst outbreak. Abdala becomes the eighth COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Vietnam, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the region, with only 6.3% of its 98 million people having received at least two shots. The announcement came hours after President Nguyen Xuan Phuc left Hanoi for an official visit to Havana.
18th Sep 2021 - Reuters

U.S. to buy hundreds of millions more doses of Pfizer vaccine to donate to the world

The Biden administration is buying hundreds of millions more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to donate to the world, according to two people familiar with the deal, as the United States looks to increase efforts to share vaccine with the global population. The administration is expected to purchase 500 million doses, but the terms are not finalized, said the people with knowledge of the deal, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the donation. The announcement of the purchase is slated for early next week and timed to coincide with the U.N. General Assembly meeting.
18th Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

Robin Swann facing legal action over bid to give Covid-19 vaccine to Northern Ireland children

Northern Ireland’s Health Minister is facing a High Court battle over plans to vaccinate children between the ages of 12 and 15. A pre-action letter has been sent to the Department of Health asking Robin Swann to reconsider his decision to extend Northern Ireland’s Covid vaccination programme to the age cohort. The legal action raises concerns about the decision coming after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) refused to approve the universal vaccination of healthy children. The letter argues that, if the programme is rolled out to children in Northern Ireland, they should only receive the vaccination with parental consent.
18th Sep 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

South Korea approves Celltrion's COVID-19 treatment for use

South Korea approved Celltrion's antibody COVID-19 treatment for infected adults in high-risk groups or those with severe symptoms. Phase III clinical trials showed that the treatment significantly reduced deterioration of COVID-19 symptoms to severe levels and shortened recovery, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said in a statement. The treatment lowered the rate of high-risk patients developing severe symptoms by 72% and shortened recovery by 4.12 days, the ministry said.
17th Sep 2021 - Reuters

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IMF, World Bank urge more COVID-19 vaccination doses to go to poor countries

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and other multilateral-organization leaders on Thursday urged countries with high COVID-19 vaccination rates to boost efforts to send doses to low- and middle-income countries. Georgieva and the heads of the World Bank Group, World Health Organization and World Trade Organization expressed concern in a joint statement that it would not be possible to vaccinate at least 40% of the population in all countries by the end of 2021 without urgent action.
17th Sep 2021 - Reuters UK

EU launches health crisis body to prepare for future pandemic

The European Commission launched on Thursday a health crisis body that will coordinate EU spending of almost 30 billion euros ($35.3 billion) to prepare for a future pandemic. The new health emergency preparedness and response authority (HERA) will assess potential health threats, promote research, ensure the availability of critical production and help build stockpiles. If a new health crisis struck, it would activate emergency funding and help coordinate monitoring, procurement and purchase of medical equipment or treatments.
16th Sep 2021 - Reuters

WHO Suspends Sputnik V Approval Process Over Manufacturing Breaches

The World Health Organization (WHO) has suspended its approval process for Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, pending a fresh inspection of at least one Russian factory manufacturing the shot. Speaking at a press briefing of the Pan American Health Organization, a regional branch of the WHO, Assistant Director Jarbas Barbosa said Russia’s bid for emergency authorization had been put on hold after a number of manufacturing infringements were uncovered during a WHO inspection in Russia in May.
16th Sep 2021 - The Moscow Times

Indonesia aims to become a global vaccine manufacturing hub

Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said the country is well placed to join South. Africa in being one of the WHO’s vaccine ‘technology transfer hubs.’ He said Indonesian pharmaceutical companies are also in talks with vaccine manufacturers and developers
16th Sep 2021 - South China Morning Post

US to buy additional doses of Lilly’s Covid-19 antibody therapies

The US Government is to purchase additional doses of Eli Lilly’s neutralising antibody therapies authorised for emergency use to treat Covid-19. As per the deal, Lilly will deliver 388,000 doses of etesevimab to complement doses of bamlanivimab already purchased by the US government.
16th Sep 2021 - Pharmaceutical Technology

Asia supercharges vaccination efforts after slow start, U.S. lags

Several Asian nations are quickly ramping up vaccination campaigns from shaky starts to combat growing COVID-19 infections, as supply shipments roll in and people overcome hesitancy in hopes of easing curbs and freeing up travel. Japan and South Korea have passed the United States in terms of those who have received at least one dose and are fast catching up with the second. And Australia, which is targeting high vaccination rates in its drive to escape lockdowns and re-open borders, has given 56% of people at least one shot as infections peak.
16th Sep 2021 - Reuters

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Dutch PM Rutte: Netherlands to ease COVID-19 restrictions

The Dutch government on Tuesday announced they are easing COVID-19 restrictions and will introduce a "corona" pass showing proof of vaccination to go to bars, restaurants, clubs or cultural events. Prime Minister Mark Rutte said most social distancing requirements will be dropped from Sept. 25.
15th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Single-Dose Sputnik Light Approved For Phase 3 Bridging Trials In India

The single-dose COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik Light received approval from the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) today to conduct phase 3 bridging trials in India.Last year, Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy's Laboratories had partnered with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) to conduct phase 3 trials of the vaccine. After the company submitted safety, immunogenicity and efficacy data, the SEC granted permission for conducting the trials in India, a statement by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation said.
15th Sep 2021 - NDTV

U.S. buys additional doses of Eli Lilly, Regeneron COVID-19 therapy

Eli Lilly and Company said on Wednesday the U.S. government bought 388,000 additional doses of its COVID-19 antibody therapy, as infections surge due to the fast-spreading Delta variant. The news comes after Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc said late on Tuesday the U.S. government was buying 1.4 million additional doses of its COVID-19 antibody cocktail, REGEN-COV.
15th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: Government lays out its “plan B” to protect NHS this winter

Ministers will reintroduce a range of precautionary measures against covid-19 this autumn and winter if a further surge in cases threatens to overwhelm the NHS. The government’s plan,1 published on 14 September, sets out what it calls a “plan B for England” that it will initiate if data suggest the NHS is likely to come under unsustainable pressure during the coming months. Measures would include introducing mandatory vaccine certification in specific settings, bringing back the legal requirement to wear face coverings in some settings, and advising people to work from home if they are able to. The government said it was committed to taking “whatever action is necessary” to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed but said stricter economic and social restrictions such as lockdowns would only be considered as “a last resort.”
15th Sep 2021 - The BMJ

EU pledges 200 million vaccine doses to low-income nations

The European Union’s top official said Wednesday that ramping up COVID-19 vaccinations around the world was the bloc’s No. 1 priority right now and committed another 200 million vaccine doses to Africa and low-income nations. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen used her State of the European Union speech on Wednesday to announce the new donation that will be fully delivered by the middle of next year and comes on top of 250 million vaccine doses already pledged.
15th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

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How Science in India Became a 'Political Weapon' Under Modi

The forecast was mathematically based, government-approved and deeply, tragically wrong. In September 2020, eight months before a deadly Covid-19 second wave struck India, government-appointed scientists downplayed the possibility of a new outbreak. Previous infections and early lockdown efforts had tamed the spread, the scientists wrote in a study that was widely covered by the Indian news media after it was released last year. The results dovetailed neatly with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two main goals: restart India’s stricken economy and kick off campaigning for his party in state elections that coming spring.
14th Sep 2021 - The New York Times

England Unveils Winter Covid Strategy

Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain announced a plan on Tuesday to offer all those age 50 and older a booster vaccine as part of a winter coronavirus strategy — plunging Britain into a growing debate over whether lower-income countries should get shots first. The prime minister is taking the step to try to prevent a new surge in cases from overwhelming the National Health Service, and to avoid another lockdown in a country wearied by the pandemic and earlier measures that included some of the strictest restrictions in the world.
14th Sep 2021 - The New York Times

WHO Says India May Resume Covid-19 Vaccines to Africa This Year

The World Health Organization said talks are underway with India for a resumption of Covid-19 vaccine exports to African countries following a pause during a deadly wave of infections earlier this year. “Be assured the conversation is ongoing, be assured that supply will restart this year,” Bruce Aylward, a senior WHO official, said at a briefing Tuesday. “We are hoping we can get assurance it can start even faster than later this year and in the coming weeks.”
14th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Covid: Sajid Javid unveils winter plan to tackle coronavirus

The health secretary has unveiled the government's plan for tackling Covid during autumn and winter in England. Sajid Javid said it included offering booster jabs to those most at risk from the virus and maximising uptake among those who have not yet had the vaccine. Ministers have also prepared a "Plan B" if measures are needed to prevent "unsustainable pressure" on the NHS. This could include compulsory face coverings in certain settings and asking people to work from home. But "more harmful economic and social restrictions would only be considered as a last resort", the government's winter plan says.
14th Sep 2021 - BBC News

Biden gathers support for global pandemic summit

Yesterday, President Biden invited world leaders to a virtual summit on ending the pandemic, with a goal of vaccinating at least 70% of the world by next September, according to the Washington Post. At a World Health Organization (WHO) briefing today, health officials—including several from African groups—welcomed the partnership, but said there are urgent steps countries can take now to free up more vaccine doses for countries that don't have enough access.
14th Sep 2021 - CIDRAP

U.S. to buy 1.4 mln additional doses of Regeneron's COVID-19 therapy

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc said on Tuesday the U.S. government will buy 1.4 million additional doses of its COVID-19 antibody cocktail, REGEN-COV. The cocktail, a combination of antibodies casirivimab and imdevimab, was authorized in November for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
14th Sep 2021 - Reuters

WHO-backed vaccine hub for Africa to copy Moderna COVID-19 shot

Efforts to develop an African base for COVID-19 vaccine production will focus on trying to replicate Moderna’s shot, but a lack of progress in talks with the US company mean the project will take time, a senior World Health Organization (WHO) official has said. The drive to produce vaccines in Africa is designed to help more developing countries access COVID-19 shots after rich nations bought up most of this year’s supply.
14th Sep 2021 - AlJazeera

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UK PM Johnson to set out COVID-19 booster strategy under winter plan

Britain will roll out COVID-19 booster shots for the most vulnerable and elderly as part of his coronavirus strategy for the winter months. Johnson's government has already indicated it will scrap plans for vaccine passports to be required to get into nightclubs, end some of its emergency COVID powers and use lockdowns only as a last resort.
14th Sep 2021 - Reuters UK

UK Canceling $1.7 Billion Vaccine Contract With Valneva Is a Bizarre Rug-Pull

The U.K. had poured millions of pounds into Valneva’s Scottish factory, secured an extra 40 million vaccine doses on top of the 60 million it had already agreed to buy, and boasted about the vaccine’s potential as a booster in the autumn. The fact that Valneva was headquartered in France, whose vaccine rollout was off to a dire start and where zero doses had been procured, was the ultimate punchline. Now the U.K. seems to have shot itself in the foot, rather than in the arm. The government is abruptly canceling its supply contract, having found Valneva in breach of its obligations without specifying how — something Valneva is contesting, though without giving more details.
13th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Republican backlash against Biden’s Covid vaccine mandate grows

The political sparring match over Joe Biden’s new vaccine mandate continued on Sunday with one Republican governor blasting the measure as “counterproductive” and the White House insisting it was necessary to end the coronavirus pandemic.
13th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

Iraq receives over 100,000 coronavirus vaccine doses

Iraq has received a donation of more than 100,000 AstraZeneca doses against Covid-19 from Italy via vaccine-sharing facility Covax. More than four million people in Iraq, or around 10 percent of its 40 million inhabitants, have received at least one coronavirus vaccine jab, according to the health ministry. Healthcare workers say they are battling not just the coronavirus but also widespread scepticism over vaccines, as a result of misinformation and public mistrust in the state.
13th Sep 2021 - FRANCE 24

Covid-19: Work-from-home guidance and face masks could be brought back in winter

Guidance to work from home and the mandatory use of face masks are likely to be retained as options in the Covid winter plan due to be set out by Boris Johnson. The Prime Minister will tell the nation on Tuesday how the country can learn to live with the virus, underlining how vaccinations will be a central part of the response to coronavirus in the coming months. Covid laws that are no longer required will be ditched and plans for vaccine passports for nightclubs and other large crowd venues have been shelved. The travel traffic lights system is also expected to be scrapped and PCR tests will no longer be required for fully vaccinated travellers.
13th Sep 2021 - Evening Standard

UK scraps Covid-19 vaccine deal with French firm Valneva

French vaccine maker Valneva says the UK government has scrapped a deal for its Covid-19 vaccine. The UK had about 100 million doses on order, after it increased its request by 40 million in February. The firm said that the UK government served notice over allegations of a breach of the agreement, which it "strenuously denies". The government said the decision would have no impact on vaccine supply in the UK. "The comments from the company will not have any impact on our vaccine supply and did not form any part of our vaccine rollout in autumn and winter," a spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
13th Sep 2021 - BBC News

Pfizer Supplies Jordan, Lebanon With Covid Vaccines for Refugees

Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE are donating hundreds of thousands of Covid-19 vaccine doses to Jordan and Lebanon as a part of a broader push to aid refugees during the pandemic. On Monday, 100,000 doses of the companies’ coronavirus vaccine arrived at the coastal Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport. There, the donated doses are being loaded into UPS trucks and delivered to nearby warehouses at the Rafic Hariri Hospital, the largest Lebanese public hospital located on the outskirts of Beirut.
13th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

UK OKs vaccines for 12 year olds, aims to avoid lockdowns

Britain decided Monday to follow other countries in offering coronavirus vaccines to children 12 and up, as the government gambled that expanded vaccination and mild tweaks to social behavior can avert the need for lockdowns in the winter. Vaccinations for children and booster shots for at-risk adults are expected to be part of a “tool kit” to control COVID-19 infections this fall and winter that Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to announce Tuesday. On Monday, the chief medical officers of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland recommended that children ages 12 to 15 be given a single dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, despite the government’s vaccine advisors saying this month that the step would have only marginal health benefits.
13th Sep 2021 - Associated Press

Australia buys additional 1 mln doses of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine

Australia has purchased an additional 1 million doses of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine from the European Union, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, as the country accelerates its inoculation programme to fight record high infections. The purchase is a boost for Australia's A$2 trillion ($1.5 trillion) economy, which is at risk of slipping into its second recession in as many years as a result of lockdowns of the country's two most populous cities, Sydney and Melbourne
12th Sep 2021 - Reuters

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Israel Is Preparing for Possible Fourth Covid Vaccine Dose

Israel is making preparations to ensure it has sufficient vaccine supply in case a fourth round of Covid-19 shots is needed, the country’s top health official said on Sunday. “We don’t know when it will happen; I hope very much that it won’t be within six months, like this time, and that the third dose will last for longer,” Health Ministry Director General Nachman Ash said in an interview with Radio 103FM. Israel, which has mainly used the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE vaccine, has so far inoculated about 2.8 million people with a third dose after beginning a drive to administer booster shots in August. Health officials have said the effects of the initial Covid-19 shots weaken five months after inoculation, making boosters necessary.
12th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Oxford Covid jab faces effectively being withdrawn from Britain's vaccine rollout

Research suggests combining two different vaccines provides better protection Medical regulator ruled AstraZeneca cannot be used for third doses in this way Majority of third doses given out this autumn and winter are likely to be Pfizer
11th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Brazil Moves Away from Chinese Covid-19 Vaccine

Brazil, a major buyer of China’s CoronaVac shot and a poster child for Beijing’s efforts at vaccine diplomacy, is making a speedy retreat from the Covid-19 vaccine as concerns grow over its efficacy against the Delta variant and other vaccines become more readily available. Brazil’s federal government has halted negotiations over additional doses of Sinovac’s vaccine, CoronaVac, spokespeople for the government and its local producer, the Butantan Institute, told The Wall Street Journal. The government has also said it won’t recommend use of CoronaVac for a third booster shot.
11th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Opinion | Biden's Vaccine Mandate, Enforced By OSHA, is a Big Mistake

There’s one person that President Biden desperately needs to consult about his new federal vaccine mandate: President-elect Biden. In December 2020, as the prospect of imminent mass vaccination against Covid-19 was finally becoming a reality, Mr. Biden leveled with the American people: He said he would not force anyone to get the jab. “No, I don’t think it should be mandatory,” he told reporters. “I wouldn’t demand it be mandatory.” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, recently reiterated Mr. Biden’s position. “That’s not the role of the federal government,” she declared on July 23, referring to the idea of a government mandate. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the same thing a week later: “There will be no nationwide mandate.”
11th Sep 2021 - The New York Times

S.Africa's regulator approves Pfizer COVID-19 shot for children 12 and up

South Africa's health regulator has approved Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for use by children aged 12 and older, paving the way for the government to offer vaccinations to teenagers. The South African Health Products Authority (SAPHRA) said the decision came after a review of updated safety and efficacy information submitted in March this year. After a bumpy start, South Africa's vaccination campaign has ramped up in recent months with a solid supply of shots secured and just over 12% of its more than 60 million people vaccinated. That puts the country well ahead of others on the continent.
11th Sep 2021 - Reuters

3M, Qiagen to comply with Biden's COVID-19 vaccination, test mandate

3M Co, the biggest U.S. producer of N95 masks, and German genetic testing specialist Qiagen said separately on Friday that they will comply with the Biden administration's new COVID-19 vaccination and testing mandate for workplaces. "We strongly support all initiatives aiming to increase vaccination rates especially at the workplace," Qiagen told Reuters in an email.
11th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Pfizer to seek approval for vaccine in children 5 and over

Pfizer and BioNTech announced this week that it will soon seek approval from global regulators for use of its coronavirus vaccine in children ages 5 and over. The vaccine makers said in an interview published on Friday that they are looking to produce smaller doses of the vaccine for younger children. “We will be presenting the results from our study on five- to 11-year-olds to authorities around the world in the coming weeks,” Ozlem Tureci, the co-founder of BioNTech and its chief medical officer, told German news outlet Der Spiegel.
11th Sep 2021 - The Hill

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Covax, a global program to distribute Covid vaccines, cuts its 2021 forecast for available doses by a quarter.

The United Nations-backed program to vaccinate the world against the coronavirus slashed its forecast for doses available in 2021 by roughly a quarter on Wednesday, another setback for an effort that has been hampered by production problems, export bans and vaccine hoarding by wealthy nations. Shortly after the forecast was released, the World Health Organization asked wealthy countries to hold off on administering booster shots for healthy patients until at least the end of the year as a way of enabling every country to vaccinate at least 40 percent of their populations. The organization had previously called for a booster shot moratorium until the end of September.
9th Sep 2021 - New York Times

China announces £22m emergency aid to Afghanistan, including 3 million Covid-19 vaccine doses

China has pledged emergency aid worth 200 million yuan (£22m) to Afghanistan, including three million doses of Covid-19 vaccines and food supplies. This was the first official aid announced for Afghanistan by China’s foreign minister Wang Yi at a meeting on Wednesday with his counterparts from Afghanistan’s neighbours,
9th Sep 2021 - The Independent

U.S. FDA declines emergency use approval for Humanigen's COVID-19 drug

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration declined Humanigen Inc's request for emergency use authorization (EUA) of its lenzilumab drug to treat newly hospitalized COVID-19 patients, the company said on Thursday. "In its letter, FDA stated that it was unable to conclude that the known and potential benefits of lenzilumab outweigh the known and potential risks of its use as a treatment for COVID-19," the company said in a statement.
9th Sep 2021 - Reuters

New Zealand buys Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines from Spain

Around a quarter of a million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine bought from Spain will arrive in New Zealand this week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday, boosting the country's inoculation programme. The doses will arrive in Auckland on Friday, Ardern said, adding to some 1.8 million doses being delivered directly from Pfizer throughout September.
9th Sep 2021 - Reuters

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Ireland to give COVID-19 vaccine booster shot to over-80s

Ireland will give COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to elderly people who were fully vaccinated at least six months ago, the health ministry said on Wednesday. People over the age of 80 and those over 65 living in long-term residential care facilities will receive a booster dose of a vaccine such as those made by Pfizer or Moderna, irrespective of what vaccine they received initially, the ministry said in a statement.
8th Sep 2021 - Reuters

WHO seeks COVID-19 vaccines for poor nations, 'not empty promises'

The World Health Organization on Wednesday said low-income countries were ready to run effective COVID-19 vaccination campaigns and it was now down to manufacturers and rich countries to deliver the pledged doses to ease global health inequalities. About 80% of the 5.5 billion vaccines doses that have been administered globally went to high and upper-middle income countries, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news briefing on Wednesday
8th Sep 2021 - Reuters

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South America's Least-Vaccinated Country Gets First Covax Shots

Venezuela received the first shipment of vaccines against Covid-19 purchased through the World Health Organization-sponsored Covax program after months of delays and payment issues hindered the country’s inoculation plan. The shipment of 693,600 Sinovac Biotech Ltd. shots arrived early Tuesday, the Pan American Health Organization said in statement on its website. The country is due to receive a total of 12 million doses through Covax, PAHO said. The first shipment was expected to arrive by the end of July but was delayed for reasons not publicly disclosed. In June, some government payments to Covax were temporarily blocked by banks, the government said at the time.
7th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Profitable Australian companies urged to repay government Covid support

Some of Australia’s biggest companies are under pressure to repay billions of dollars of Covid-19 support provided under a scheme after it emerged that they had made money during the pandemic. The A$98bn (US$73bn) JobKeeper programme was introduced to help companies retain staff during the country’s coronavirus-induced lockdowns. But Australia’s Parliamentary Budget Office in July released data showing that in its first three months of operation, about A$12.5bn went to businesses that were largely unaffected by the pandemic.
7th Sep 2021 - Financial Times

Indonesia approves J&J, Cansino COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use

Indonesia has approved the single-dose COVID-19 vaccines produced by Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, part of Johnson & Johnson, and China's CanSino Biological Inc for emergency use, the country's food and drug agency said in a statement on Tuesday.
7th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Malaysia will start treating Covid as 'endemic' around end-October, trade minister says

Malaysia will start treating Covid-19 as an endemic disease around the end of October, said International Trade and Industry Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali. More than 75% of Malaysia’s adult population is expected to be fully vaccinated by then, said Azmin. Malaysia’s Southeast Asian neighbors including Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines have also experienced a resurgence in Covid cases caused by the more transmissible delta variant.
7th Sep 2021 - CNBC

After Moderna contamination mess, Takeda strikes deal with Japan to supply Novavax COVID-19 vaccines

As Moderna faces questions about contaminants found in its COVID-19 vaccines in Japan, the company’s distribution partner in the country, Takeda, is moving forward on its plans with another COVID vaccine developer. On Monday, Takeda said the Japanese government has agreed to purchase 150 million doses of the Novavax shot that it will produce. Takeda and Novavax previously struck a licensing and production deal covering the country. The Novavax shot remains in development, and the partners aim to start the rollout in Japan early next year. The government's purchasing agreement is subject to regulatory approvals.
7th Sep 2021 - FiercePharma

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Government plans October firebreak lockdown if Covid hospital admissions remain high

The Government has drawn up plans for an October “firebreak” Covid lockdown should hospitalisations continue at their current level and threaten to overload the NHS, a senior Government scientist has told i. The member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said the UK is about to enter “an extended peak” of infections and hospitalisations, which are in danger of pushing the NHS beyond breaking point and could force the Government to re-introduce restrictions over the school half term period at the end of next month.
6th Sep 2021 - iNews

Chilean health regulator approves CoronaVac use among children over age 6

The Chilean health regulator on Monday approved the COVID-19 vaccine produced by China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd for use in children over 6 years of age, allowing more people to be included in the country's rapid inoculation campaign.
6th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Brazil suspends use of millions of doses of China's Sinovac coronavirus vaccine

Brazil’s health regulator suspended the use of just over 12.1 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine manufactured by China’s Sinovac after learning that vials containing the shots were filled at an unauthorized production base. The suspension is for 90 days as an investigation is carried out, said Anvisa, the regulator, which announced the decision in a statement Saturday. The Butantan Institute, a Sao Paulo biomedical center that has partnered with Sinovac to fill the vaccine for local usage, notified Anvisa about the irregularity the prior day, the agency said.
6th Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

Philippines plans new COVID-19 lockdown strategy to help economy

The Philippines will relax some COVID-19 restrictions in the Manila region from Wednesday and also intends to outline plans to shift to smaller, localised lockdowns to support the economy, the presidential spokesperson said. The moves come despite the Southeast Asian country reporting record infection numbers as it battles the Delta variant. The government believed localised COVID-19 restrictions would be more effective in controlling outbreaks without constraining mobility and business activity too much, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told a briefing.
6th Sep 2021 - Thomson Reuters Foundation

Europe Denmark cancels tender for domestic coronavirus vaccine production

Denmark has cancelled its previously announced plans for a public tender to establish a national COVID-19 vaccine production facility as it bets on a vaccine already under development by a Danish firm, the Business Ministry said on Monday. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced in April that Denmark aimed to produce COVID-19 mRNA-vaccines by 2022, and that a tendering process would be initiated within a few weeks.
6th Sep 2021 - Reuters

NHS ‘ready to go’ with Covid jab booster programme, says vaccines minister

The NHS’s vaccine booster programme is “ready to go” and only waiting for scientists to sign off on plans for third jabs, the vaccines minister has said. Speaking in the House of Commons, Nadhim Zahawi, said getting booster vaccines into people’s arms would be a major part of ending the pandemic for good.
6th Sep 2021 - The Independent

Rich countries to have 1.2bn surplus COVID vaccine doses

Wealthy countries could potentially have a surplus of more than one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses available by the end of the year that are not designated as donations to poorer nations, according to a new analysis. Vaccine stock in Western countries has reached 500 million doses this month, with 360 million not earmarked for donations, according to new research. By the end of the year, these countries will have a potential of 1.2 billion surplus vaccine shots, with the overwhelming majority – 1.06 billion – not marked for donations, it said.
5th Sep 2021 - AlJazeera

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Italy to Decide on Compulsory Vaccine This Month, Minister Says

Italy will decide by the end of September whether Covid-19 vaccines will become mandatory for all people aged 12 and over, according to a minister in Mario Draghi’s coalition. “If we will not have reached a vaccination level between 80% and 90% we will pass a law to impose the Covid-19 vaccine to all people against it,” Public Administration Minister Renato Brunetta said Sunday in an interview at the Ambrosetti Forum in Cernobbio, Italy. “We will decide by the end of the month.”
5th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Israel is planning to administer fourth Covid shot which could be adjusted to fight new variants as country battles wave of infections despite hugely successful vaccine roll-out

Israel is set to begin preparations to administer fourth doses of the coronavirus vaccines as the country deals with soaring cases despite its trail-blazing roll-out of jabs. The country's national coronavirus czar Salman Zarka said the country needs to prepare for a fourth injection, which could be modified to better protect against new variants of the virus. 'Given that that the virus is here and will continue to be here, we also need to prepare for a fourth injection,' he told Kan public radio. 'This is our life from now on, in waves.'
5th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

COVID-19: Ministers face difficult decision on whether to defy JCVI's finding on vaccinating children

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has resisted intense pressure from ministers by refusing to recommend coronavirus vaccines for 12 to 15-year-olds. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said parents would find it "deeply reassuring" if children were given jabs, and leaks from Whitehall insiders suggested the JCVI was ready to sign off on vaccines for teenagers as schools return in England. Yet although the vaccination programme has been expanded to cover more children with underlying health conditions, the JCVI has not approved vaccination for the entire age cohort
4th Sep 2021 - Sky News

White House Unveils $65 Billion Plan to Combat New Pandemics

The Biden administration unveiled a $65.3 billion plan to prepare for future pandemics threats, likening the ambitious proposal to the Apollo mission to the moon. The proposal announced Friday by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and National Security Council focuses on protecting the U.S. against potentially catastrophic biological threats, including those that are naturally occurring, accidental or deliberately set in motion by bad actors.
4th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Australian PM seeks quicker reopening after COVID-19 vaccine swap with Britain

Australia will receive an additional 4 million doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine this month after agreeing a swap deal with Britain, to help accelerate its vaccination programme amid a record surge in infections. The deal, announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, will double the availability of Pfizer vaccines this month, with the first shipment of vaccines from Britain expected to arrive over the weekend. Australia on Friday recorded its biggest one-day rise in COVID-19 infections, with 1,657 new cases and 13 deaths reported in the past 24 hours.
4th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Brazil's Bolsonaro signs law that could break COVID-19 vaccine patents

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday signed off on a law allowing for vaccine and medication patents to be broken in a public emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. But the right-wing leader vetoed the provisions that patent holders would need to transfer the knowledge and supply the raw materials needed to duplicate the vaccines and medications.
4th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Amid vaccine hoarding criticism, Biden admin plots $2.7 billion manufacturing push

It didn’t take long for the Biden administration to answer criticism that the United States wasn’t doing enough to ease the world’s COVID-19 vaccination shortfall. On Thursday, White House COVID response coordinator Jeff Zients revealed that the government has earmarked $2.7 billion to beef up vaccine manufacturing. Zients did not discuss details of the plan—such as which companies would receive the aid—but he did say that the funds will boost production of key supplies to produce the shots. Some of those materials include bioreactor bags, tubing, lipids, vials, needles and syringes, Bloomberg and The New York Times report, citing officials familiar with the plan.
3rd Sep 2021 - FiercePharma

AstraZeneca reaches settlement with EU on COVID-19 vaccine delivery

Settlement brings doses delivered to 300 million as agreed. Agreement will also end pending litigation in Brussels. Capped rebates on vaccine will apply if doses are delayed. Doses will go to EU-laggards in uptake ranking, COVAX facility
3rd Sep 2021 - Reuters

Australia approves highly effective Moderna Covid-19 jab for children aged 12 to 17

Australia's medical regulator approves American Moderna jab for all over 12s Medical regulator boss said the jab was 98% effective against severe disease One million doses will arrive in September and 10million by the end of the year In 2022 Australia will receive 15 million of Moderna's 'updated' variant boosters The move helps nation reach 70 per cent vaccination rate to end lockdowns
3rd Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Moderna seeks EU authorization for COVID-19 vaccine booster dose

Moderna Inc said on Friday it had asked the EU drugs regulator for conditional approval of a booster shot of its COVID-19 vaccine at a 50 microgram dose.
3rd Sep 2021 - Reuters

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 3rd Sep 2021

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EU to Return Millions of Doses of J&J’s Covid-19 Vaccine Imported From Africa

The European Union will return to Africa millions of doses of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine that it received from a plant in South Africa, following criticism by health activists that the bloc was taking away shots from a continent that has the lowest immunization rate in the world. Strive Masiyiwa, who heads the African Union’s Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, said the decision to return the shots produced at Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd. was made at a meeting between European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa last week. As part of the deal, the EU will also not take doses from the Aspen plant it was expecting in September, Mr. Masiyiwa said.
2nd Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

FDA Weighing Dose of Moderna Covid-19 Booster

The Food and Drug Administration is considering whether to authorize a lower dose of Moderna Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine for boosters than the dose given in the first two shots, people familiar with the deliberations said. Moderna said Wednesday it is asking the FDA to authorize a 50 microgram dose, half the dosage of the first two shots. Some in the government are leaning toward authorizing the 100 microgram dose, the people said, because of concerns a lower-dose booster might not offer a durable enough boost to counter fast-changing variants of Covid-19.
2nd Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

EU Authorities Steer Away From Wide Use of Covid Booster Shots

European Union health authorities said there’s no urgent need for widespread use of Covid-19 vaccine booster shots, though people with weakened immune systems should be offered a third dose. The priority now should be to vaccinate the roughly one-third of Europe’s adults who aren’t fully inoculated, the European Medicines Agency said on Thursday, citing a report by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. Older and frail people, particularly those in care homes, could also be given an extra dose, the agency said.
2nd Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Kosovo to destroy 133,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines

The Kosovo government decided to destroy 133,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines over their expired date of use as the country faces a sharp rise in the coronavirus death rate. The vaccines that will be destroyed were part of a donation from Norway with August 31 seen as an expiration date. The decision to destroy vaccines triggered criticism, with some people calling for the resignation of the health minister on the health ministry's Facebook page.
2nd Sep 2021 - MSN.com

Sputnik Adrift: Lessons From Russia's Covid-19 Vaccine Stumble

Russia claimed victory in the Covid-19 vaccine race a year ago, but is still waiting to reap the glory. At home, hesitancy means only about one in four Russians is fully inoculated and the pace of vaccination has slowed even as deaths hover around daily records. Abroad, production hiccups have hampered deliveries to countries such as Argentina. Over the entire enterprise hangs a long list of unanswered questions. There’s still time for Moscow to secure a measure of success and help a vaccine-starved, variant-afflicted world as well. Every shot is needed. But first the Kremlin needs to recognize the benefits of vaccine glasnost.
2nd Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

North Korea rejects offer of nearly 3 million Sinovac COVID-19 shots

North Korea has rejected roughly three million COVID-19 vaccine doses of China's Sinovac, saying they should be sent to severely affected countries, the UNICEF said. The isolated country's public ministry pointed to the limited global supply for vaccines and continuing virus surges elsewhere, according to the UN children's agency that manages the supply for the COVAX scheme for lower-income nations. So far, North Korea has not reported any COVID-19 cases and has imposed strict anti-virus measures, including border closures and domestic travel curbs.
2nd Sep 2021 - Reuters

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Covid-19: Irish Cabinet agrees to end most restrictions by 22 October

The Irish Cabinet has agreed on a plan that would effectively end most Covid-19 restrictions by 22 October. The cabinet said the easing of rules is dependent on 90% of adults being vaccinated and Covid-19 cases remaining manageable. From 6 September, large crowds will be allowed to gather for religious ceremonies. Places of worship and outdoor sporting venues will also be allowed to hold 50% capacity from that date.
1st Sep 2021 - BBC News

WHO Chief, Germany's Merkel Open Global Pandemic Hub in Berlin

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Wednesday officially opened the international Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence in Berlin — a center designed to pool the world’s resources to fight future global health emergencies. The hub, originally announced in May, will be a collection agency for health data from around the world. Equipped with a supercomputer, it will collect, analyze and disseminate information from international governments, and academic and private sector institutions.
1st Sep 2021 - Voice of America

North Korea turns down Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine doses

North Korea has rejected roughly three million COVID-19 vaccine doses developed by China's Sinovac Biotech , saying the shots should be sent to harder-hit countries, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday,
1st Sep 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

US Sending Millions of COVID-19 Vaccine Doses to Pakistan

As Pakistan deals with a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant, the United States will begin moving 4 million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to the country on Thursday, a White House spokesperson told VOA. The 4,149,990 doses, sent through COVAX, the global vaccine-sharing initiative co-led by Gavi (the Vaccine Alliance), the WHO (World Health Organization) and CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness), are in addition to the more than 9.2 million doses of Moderna and Pfizer vaccine already donated to Pakistan since June.
1st Sep 2021 - Voice of America

Moderna to recall COVID-19 doses in Japan after stainless steel contaminants found

Moderna Inc and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd on Wednesday said they are working with Japanese authorities to recall three batches of COVID-19 vaccine after an investigation found stainless steel contaminants in some vials. Japanese authorities had suspended use of these batches of Moderna shots containing 1.63 million doses last week after being notified of the contamination issue.
1st Sep 2021 - Reuters

Portugal lifts COVID-19 travel ban on tourists from Brazil

Portugal said on Wednesday it would allow entry for tourists from Brazil, nearly 18 months after it imposed a ban on non-essential travel from the Portuguese-speaking South American nation to stem the spread of coronavirus. Although Brazilians, who make up Portugal's biggest expatriate community, were allowed access for reasons such as work, family or health, the lifting of the tourism ban has been long-awaited.
1st Sep 2021 - Reuters

U.K. Plans to Give Third Vaccine Dose to Vulnerable People

The U.K. is set to offer a third dose of Covid vaccines to people 12 and older with severely weakened immune systems following a recommendation from a committee that advises the government. The extra doses should be given to people with leukemia, advanced HIV, recent organ transplants and others who were significantly immunosuppressed at the time of their first or second shot, according to a statement Wednesday from Public Health England. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is still deliberating on the potential benefits of boosters for the wider population and awaiting further evidence to make a decision, health authorities said.
1st Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

EU health body says no urgent need for vaccine boosters

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said on Wednesday there was no urgent need for booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the fully vaccinated, citing data on the effectiveness of shots. The comments follow a similar statement from the European Medicines Agency last month that more data was needed on the duration of protection after full inoculation to recommend using booster shots.
1st Sep 2021 - Reuters

German firms seek details of employees’ vaccine status

The German government is looking into whether it could temporarily ease data privacy rules to allow companies to find out whether their employees are vaccinated against COVID-19, ministers said on Wednesday. Many countries are making vaccination mandatory for healthcare staff and public sector workers and some companies – particularly in the United States – have started demanding that employees are inoculated
1st Sep 2021 - AlJazeera

Wealthy nations far short of COVID vaccine donation target

Two people who led an independent review of the world's response to COVID-19 raised deep concerns today about the slow pace of vaccine donations by high-income countries to lower-income countries. In other developments, the World Health Organization (WHO) today released a list of 24 new tools—such solar-powered oxygen concentrators—that can help battle current and future pandemic threats.
31st Aug 2021 - CIDRAP

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 1st Sep 2021

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Mauritius Reaches 60% Vaccination Goal a Month Ahead of Schedule

Mauritius vaccinated 60% of its population a month ahead of target and now plans to halve the number of days tourists will need to isolate on the island nation after arrival. The “milestone comes ahead of two major steps to reduce restrictions on inbound international travel,” the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority said in an emailed statement Tuesday. Inoculated tourists will have to spend seven days in a a so-called resort bubble hotel from Wednesday, down from 14 days now, before they can travel freely. From Oct. 1, they will be free to explore the Indian Ocean Island nation without restrictions. That’s provided they submit a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before arrival, the agency said.
31st Aug 2021 - Bloomberg

France aims to give third COVID-19 vaccine shot to 18 million by early 2022

France aims to have administered a third shot of a COVID-19 vaccine to some 18 million people by early 2022, a health ministry official said on Tuesday. Last week, France's top health advisory body (HAS) recommended a booster shot for those aged 65 and over and for those with existing medical conditions that put them at risk. "Those eligible for a booster shot have been able to make appointments since Monday this week. We see this as a genuine health requirement to extend protection, as some studies demonstrate," the official said.
31st Aug 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Another 1M Moderna coronavirus vaccine doses halted in Japan as officials probe 2 deaths

Manufacturing issues and safety concerns have unraveled the best-laid plans for COVID-19 vaccine makers AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. Now, it’s Moderna facing serious questions about its vaccine after two people in Japan died after receiving the shot from a contaminated batch. No link between the vaccine and the fatalities has been established, Moderna said in a joint statement with its Japanese COVID-19 vaccine distribution partner Takeda. But over the weekend, another one million doses of the vaccine were suspended over concerns of possible contamination found in two additional vaccine lots.
31st Aug 2021 - FiercePharma

Thai prime minister faces no-confidence debate over Covid-19 handling

Thai legislators have commenced a no-confidence debate targeting prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and five of his cabinet members, as the opposition claims the government bungled its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. The debate is scheduled to last four days, with voting by the lower house set for Saturday. Organisers of ongoing anti-government street protests have vowed to step up their own separate efforts during the debate to force Mr Prayuth out of office
31st Aug 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

Covid-19: Economy minister calls for plans to end restrictions

The Stormont executive must now "set out a path" for ending Covid-19 restrictions in Northern Ireland, the economy minister has said. First Minister Paul Givan previously said he wanted all regulations lifted by the end of September. Gordon Lyons, Mr Givan's DUP colleague, "absolutely" supports that view. BBC News NI understands Wednesday's Executive meeting to discuss restrictions has been cancelled after Michelle O'Neill contracted Covid-19.
31st Aug 2021 - BBC News

Australia in vaccine swap pact with Singapore as COVID-19 cases surge

Australia will receive 500,000 doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine from Singapore this week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday, after Canberra agreed a swap deal in a bid to curtail surging coronavirus infections. The agreement, which will see Australia return the same amount of Pfizer vaccine doses to Singapore in December, will allow Canberra to accelerate its vaccination programme as daily cases near record levels for the country.
31st Aug 2021 - Reuters

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 31st Aug 2021

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Indonesia schools start cautious reopening after devastating virus wave

Indonesia's capital Jakarta reopened 600 of its schools on Monday as coronavirus restrictions eased, though a teacher federation urged caution and warned of clusters in classrooms caused by the highly transmissible Delta variant. Jakarta's infection rate has dropped, authorities said, from a peak last month that saw Indonesia become Asia's coronavirus epicentre, with more than 4 million cases and 131,000 fatalities overall.
30th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Czechs to offer booster vaccine shot to all after eight months

The Czech government will offer a booster COVID-19 vaccine shot from Sept. 20 to any previously vaccinated person, Health Minister Adam Vojtech said on Monday.
30th Aug 2021 - Reuters

EU countries drop U.S. from safe travel list

European Union governments agreed on Monday to remove the United States from the EU's safe travel list, meaning U.S. visitors and those from five other countries are likely to face tighter controls, such as COVID-19 tests and quarantines. Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and North Macedonia have also been taken off. The list seeks to unify travel rules across the bloc, although it does not bind individual EU nations, which are free to determine their own border policies.
30th Aug 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Third coronavirus vaccines aren't 'luxury boosters' taken from people without their first, WHO Europe boss says

Third coronavirus vaccines are not "luxury boosters" making vaccine inequity worse but a means of keeping the vulnerable safe, WHO's Europe director has said. Hans Kluge appeared to contradict his World Health Organisation (WHO) colleagues at a news briefing on Monday, saying third COVID-19 jabs are an important way of protecting the most clinically vulnerable. Earlier this month, WHO senior officials criticised countries such as the US and Israel for rolling out a booster vaccine programme, when many people across the world have had no jabs at all.
30th Aug 2021 - Sky News

France to donate 10 million coronavirus vaccines to Africa

France will donate 10 million coronavirus vaccine doses to the African Union member states as part of the European country’s commitment to give at least 60 million shots before the end of 2021. AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccine doses will be delivered in the next three months, the Elysee Palace said in a statement Monday. The step comes within the framework of the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) initiative launched by the AU and COVAX, the global scheme that enables the supply of donor-funded vaccines to low and middle-income countries.
30th Aug 2021 - La Prensa Latina

More Covid-19 Pfizer jabs head to Australia as Scott Morrison finalises deal

Scott Morrison bought 1m doses of Pfizer vaccine from Poland two weeks ago. He is expected to announce another international purchase deal this week. It has not been announced which countries Mr Morrison is negotiating with. The doses are expected to be shared between states on a per capita basis
30th Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

Israel doubles down on booster shots as daily Covid cases set new record

Israeli lawmakers are keen to avoid another lockdown after overseeing one of the world’s fastest vaccination drives. New daily coronavirus infections, however, have just climbed to record levels. Covid-19 transmission in Israel declined sharply as the country vaccinated more than half of its population in around two months.
30th Aug 2021 - CNBC

India's COVID vaccine supply jumps, raising export hopes

India's rising output of COVID-19 vaccines and the inoculation of more than half its adult population with at least one dose are raising hopes the country will return as an exporter within months, ramping up from early next year. After donating or selling 66 million doses to nearly 100 countries, India barred exports in the middle of April to focus on domestic immunisation as infections exploded, upsetting the inoculation plans of many African and South Asian countries.
30th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 30th Aug 2021

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Israel offers COVID booster vaccine for ages 12 and above

Israel has begun offering a COVID-19 booster to children as young as 12, and its prime minister says a campaign that began a month ago among seniors has slowed a rise in severe illness caused by the Delta variant. Announcing the decision on Sunday, top Israeli health officials said the effectiveness of the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine waned six months after administration, making a booster necessary.
29th Aug 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Covid 19 coronavirus Delta outbreak: Calls for medical staff to be prioritised for residency

The Government is being told to act swiftly on immigration because delays are leading to the loss of urgently needed medical staff during the Covid-19 outbreak. An immigration lawyer wants a fast-tracked work to residence process for doctors and nurses, saying medics are the soldiers in the pandemic frontline. Kamil Lakshman said there was a lack of urgency about immigration policy, especially given what was at stake with doctors and nurses.
29th Aug 2021 - New Zealand Herald

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 27th Aug 2021

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Inovio to start COVID-19 vaccine trial after Brazil regulator's nod

Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc said on Thursday it would start a large study for its experimental COVID-19 vaccine in the next few weeks, after the drugmaker received authorization from Brazil's regulatory agency. The company is currently working on importing the vaccine to Brazil and expects dosing of trial participants to begin in September, Chief Executive Officer Joseph Kim told Reuters. Inovio started developing its COVID-19 DNA vaccine, INO-4800, last year but fell behind rivals after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) put the Phase 3 portion of its mid-to-late stage trial on hold for more information on the vaccine delivery device.
26th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Brazil's Eurofarma to make Pfizer COVID-19 shots for Latin America

Pfizer (PFE.N) and BioNTech signed on Brazil's Eurofarma Laboratorios as a manufacturer of their COVID-19 vaccine doses for Latin America, in a bid to boost the two drug companies as suppliers of low- and middle-income countries. Eurofarma will start manufacturing finished doses beginning in 2022, the first expansion step in Latin America for the two vaccine partners' supply network. The agreement does not cover the complicated process of mRNA substance production that will be done at Pfizer's U.S. facilities.
26th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Thailand in talks to buy COVID-19 vaccines from European nations

Thailand is in talks with European countries to purchase millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines, a health official said on Thursday, as the Southeast Asian nation tries to speed up its inoculation rollout to contain a wave of infections. Authorities in Thailand have been scrambling to shore up vaccine supplies, despite the country being the production hub for AstraZeneca shots in the region. Last week, the government said it would borrow 150,000 AstraZeneca doses from the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan
26th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Biden Falls Short on U.S. Vaccine 'Arsenal' Pledge, Experts Say

Congress appropriated $16 billion to ramp up Covid-19 countermeasures, but a new report found that the Biden administration had spent very little of it on expanding vaccine manufacturing capacity.
25th Aug 2021 - The New York Times

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 26th Aug 2021

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PM backs businesses rejecting unvaccinated customers as vaccine passport plans firm

Scott Morrison has backed businesses to reject customers or guests who haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19, giving the clearest picture on how so-called ‘vaccine passports’ could be used in Australia. The Prime Minister has gradually been preparing the ground for such a scheme, but his latest position risks a backbench revolt and raising the ire of a growing movement of many thousands of people opposing vaccine passports. “A business under property law has the ability to say ‘No, you can’t come in’, and they can ask for that,” Mr Morrison told 2GB radio on Wednesday, when asked if people may need to show vaccination proof during their daily business.
25th Aug 2021 - The New Daily

Japan withdraws 1.6 mln Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses over contamination

Around 1.6 million doses of Moderna Inc's COVID-19 vaccine has been withdrawn from use in Japan due to contamination, the Nikkei said, citing a health ministry announcement on Thursday. Several vaccination centres reported vials contained "foreign matter", the report said, adding that the ministry will look to minimise the impact of the withdrawal on Japan's vaccination drive.
25th Aug 2021 - Reuters

WHO recommends vaccination of kids with comorbidities but elderly should be priority

The World Health Organization in the Western Pacific on Wednesday recommended that children with comorbidities living in areas with high virus transmission can be vaccinated against COVID-19. The regional office of the UN health agency, however, emphasized that the elderly must still be prioritized for inoculation. “WHO is recommending to countries where children have comorbidities, and if these children are in places where there is ongoing community transmission as well as formation of clusters, then children could be vaccinated,” said Dr. Socorro Escalante, WHO Western Pacific coordinator for essential medicines and health technologies.
25th Aug 2021 - Philstar.com

Afghanistan: COVID-19 vaccines drop by 80% since the Taliban took control as UN warns jabs will expire soon

Latest figures show only 1.2 million vaccinations had been administered in the country, which has a population of 40 million. About four million doses have been sent to Afghanistan in total.
25th Aug 2021 - Sky News

Swiss agree deal with Pfizer for 14 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses

Switzerland has signed an agreement with Pfizer to supply 14 million more doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to cover 2022 and 2023, Health Minister Alain Berset said on Wednesday. "The Swiss government has completed a further contract with Pfizer, which will supply 7 million vaccine doses (in both) 2022 and 2023," Berset told a press conference in Bern.
25th Aug 2021 - Reuters

US vice president pledges Vietnam COVID jabs; says China bullies

US Vice President Kamala Harris has pledged to provide Vietnam with additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines during a regional visit aimed at countering China’s growing influence. Harris, speaking at the top of a bilateral meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on Wednesday, said that the one million doses would begin to arrive within the next 24 hours.
25th Aug 2021 - AlJazeera

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 25th Aug 2021

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Vietnam says Cuba to supply COVID-19 vaccine, transfer technology

Cuba will supply large quantities of its home-grown COVID-19 vaccine, Abdala, to Vietnam and also transfer the production technology to the Southeast Asian country by the end of the year, the Vietnamese health ministry said on Tuesday.
24th Aug 2021 - Reuters

French backs COVID booster jab initiative for those 65 and older

France’s national health body has backed plans for coronavirus vaccine booster jabs for people aged 65 and older. Health minister Olivier Véran announced the booster jab campaign on BFM TV on Monday, but he said he was awaiting confirmation from the health body. On Tuesday, the Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS) recommended the plans, saying in a statement: “After analysing the available data, the HAS proposes a booster dose with an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna, editor's note) for people aged 65 and over, as well as for people with comorbidities that increase the risk of severe forms of COVID-19.”
24th Aug 2021 - Euronews

What does full approval of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine mean?

What does full approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine mean? It means Pfizer’s shot for people 16 and older has now undergone the same rigorous testing and regulatory review as dozens of other long-established vaccines. COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. were initially rolled out under the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization, which allows the agency to speed the availability of medical products during public health emergencies. Under the process, the FDA waived some of its normal data requirements and procedures to make the COVID-19 vaccines available months earlier than would have been possible under normal circumstances.
24th Aug 2021 - The Associated Press

Thailand to receive 61 mln doses of AstraZeneca vaccine this year

Thailand will receive 61 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine this year, a government spokesperson said on Monday, as the Southeast Asian country rushes to vaccinate its population amid a surge in coronavirus infections. Thailand is AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing hub for the region, but has been slow to obtain enough shots to inoculate its population. About 9% of Thailand's 66 million people have been fully vaccinated.
24th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Japan to expand COVID state of emergency to eight more prefectures -NHK

Japan will expand its coronavirus state of emergency to the northern island of Hokkaido and seven other prefectures, public broadcaster NHK reported on Tuesday. They will join 13 other prefectures, including Tokyo, currently which are under the measures until Sept. 12, NHK said.
24th Aug 2021 - Reuters

China should avoid excessive, "flood-like" COVID measures -former CDC expert

The benefits of China's zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19 continue to outweigh the costs but it should cut back on excessive measures that risk exhausting people, a former Chinese disease control official said on Tuesday. Zeng Guang, former chief epidemiologist at Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said "flood-like" measures and policies that prove inefficient should be avoided even though China has the financial resources to keep pursuing the goal of zero local infections.
24th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Nigeria approves Sinopharm COVID vaccine, expects 7.7 mln doses

Nigeria has approved the Sinopharm vaccine against COVID-19 in the past three days, the head of the country's primary healthcare agency said on Tuesday. Nigeria has been allocated 7.7 million doses of the vaccine through the COVAX scheme aimed at providing vaccines to developing countries, although it has not yet received the doses.
24th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Scotland to hold its own coronavirus public inquiry by end of year

Scotland will establish its own judge-led public inquiry into the handling of the coronavirus pandemic by the end of the year, adding to pressure on the UK, Welsh and Northern Irish governments to “show leadership”, according to relatives who lost loved ones to the virus. Confirming the announcement at her Covid briefing, the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said she believed it was appropriate to start the statutory inquiry “as soon as possible” and that Scotland’s lord advocate had begun discussions to appoint a judge. At the briefing, Sturgeon also warned some Covid controls could be reimposed in Scotland after the country experienced a record rise in new cases, which have doubled in the past week.
24th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

Egypt to intensify vaccination ahead of a fourth COVID-19 wave

Egypt will vaccinate all 4.5 million of its state employees against COVID-19 in August and September as it seeks to accelerate vaccinations ahead of a likely fourth wave of infections, the health minister said on Monday. The country's infection rate is still low but started to increase last week and the upward curve is expected to continue for a while, Hala Zayed told a briefing, adding that a significant increase is expected in late September.
24th Aug 2021 - Reuters

India approves further trials for first homegrown mRNA COVID-19 shot

India has approved further clinical trials for its first homegrown mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine developed by Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd, the government said on Tuesday, after the shot was found to be safe and effective in an early-stage study. Gennova is among a few pharmaceutical firms worldwide, including Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc, to use mRNA technology in its coronavirus shot. These vaccines do not use a live virus to generate an immune response but prompt the human body to make a protein that triggers one.
24th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Iran's COVID-19 deaths hit record daily high of 709

Iran on Tuesday reported a record daily 709 deaths from COVID-19 as the worst-hit country in the Middle East faced a fifth surge in infections led by the highly contagious Delta variant. The health ministry said the total number of cases had reached 4.75 million with 40,623 new infections over the past 24 hours. Total fatalities rose to 103,357, state TV reported.
24th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Pakistan gets $2.75 bln in COVID-19 support funds from IMF

Pakistan on Tuesday received $2.75 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under a Special Drawing Rights (SDR) programme to support low-income countries hit by the coronavirus, its central bank said. The funds, part of a $650 billion global programme, will shore up Pakistan's foreign reserves, under pressure from a rise in the current account deficit and falling remittances from workers based abroad. Pakistan entered a $6 billion IMF program in 2019, a sixth review of which has been pending since March.
24th Aug 2021 - Reuters

EU okays increase in mRNA COVID-19 vaccines manufacturing capacity

Europe's medicines regulator has approved additional manufacturing sites for mRNA-based coronavirus vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, and Moderna to help boost production amid a resurgence in infections. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on Tuesday its human medicines committee had approved a site at Saint Remy sur Avre in France for making the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Comirnaty.
24th Aug 2021 - Reuters

New Zealand records another 41 Covid cases as it braces for biggest outbreak of pandemic

New Zealand is bracing for its biggest coronavirus outbreak yet as cases rise, the locations of interest balloon to more than 400 sites, and the number of close contacts swells to more than 15,700 people. On Tuesday, the country recorded 41 new positive cases, bringing the total number in its outbreak to 148 – the majority of whom are Samoan, and linked to a sub-cluster who assembled at the Assembly of God church in Mangere, Auckland before the lockdown. A nationwide, level 4 lockdown – the highest setting – has been extended until at least the end of the week, as the country battles to contain the outbreak of the Delta variant.
24th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 24th Aug 2021

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US regulators give full approval to Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

The U.S. gave full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine Monday, potentially boosting public confidence in the shots and instantly opening the way for more universities, companies and local governments to make vaccinations mandatory. The Pentagon promptly announced it will press ahead with plans to force members of the military to get vaccinated amid the battle against the extra-contagious delta variant. The University of Minnesota likewise said it will require its students get the shot, as did Louisiana’s major public universities, including LSU, though state law there allows broad exemptions.
23rd Aug 2021 - Associated Press

Citing vaccine inequality, WHO head argues against booster shots

The head of the World Health Organization on Monday called for a two-month moratorium on administering booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines as a means of reducing global vaccine inequality and preventing the emergence of new coronavirus variants.
23rd Aug 2021 - Al Jazeera English on MSN.com

Egypt to Release Locally-Made Coronavirus Vaccine Soon - Production Up to 18.5 Million Doses Monthly

Egypt will release its locally-produced doses of the Chinese Sinovac coronavirus vaccine by today or tomorrow maximum, and will manufacture between 15 and 18.5 million doses per month, Health Minister Hala Zayed said on Sunday 22/8/2021. Zayed made the announcement during a press conference with her Djiboutian counterpart, Ahmed Abdilleh, in Cairo. Egypt plans to produce millions of Sinovac and Russian Sputnik V vaccine doses annually to cover the local and African needs. Early in July, Zayed said the ministry seeks to produce 80 million vaccine shots this year.
23rd Aug 2021 - AllAfrica.com

Taiwan's President kicks off rollout of island's first domestically produced Covid-19 vaccine

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen received her first shot of the island's homegrown Covid-19 vaccine on Monday, a public show of support for the new drug which is central to plans for inoculation self sufficiency amid low immunization rates and struggles to obtain vaccines from overseas. Monday's island-wide rollout of the Medigen Covid-19 vaccine, developed by Taipei-based Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corporation, comes after the drug was approved for emergency use last month by Taiwanese authorities for anyone above 20 years old, with at least 28 days between the two doses. The vaccine has yet to complete phase 3 clinical trials and no efficacy data is available.
23rd Aug 2021 - CNN

COVID-19: UK orders 35 million more doses of Pfizer vaccine as it prepares for booster shots

The UK has agreed to buy 35 million more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as a way to "future-proof" the jabs programme. It comes as the government prepares to roll out booster shots from next month - while the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said such shots should be delayed to raise vaccination rates globally. The coronavirus vaccines, which will be delivered from the second half of next year, will also help the country prepare for any new variants that could emerge.
23rd Aug 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19: PCR test market needs 'cleaning out', says Randox boss

There needs to be a "cleaning out" of the market for Covid-19 PCR tests, the head of one of the UK's biggest diagnostic firms has told the BBC. Peter Fitzgerald, founder of Randox, said some firms may not be delivering the service they claim to provide. He has welcomed an investigation of the sector by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The CMA, the UK's competition watchdog, is investigating whether there are pricing and reliability problems.
23rd Aug 2021 - BBC News

Vietnam deploys troops to enforce COVID lockdown in largest city

Ho Chi Minh City epicentre of Delta-driven outbreak. Authorities tighten lockdown in city, no going out even for food. Vietnam deploys military to help with food distribution. Just 1.8% of people in Vietnam fully-vaccinated against COVID-19
23rd Aug 2021 - Reuters

Indonesia eases COVID-19 curbs as cases drop from peak

Indonesia will start reopening restaurants, malls and places of worship in some areas including the capital Jakarta, President Joko Widodo said on Monday, as new coronavirus cases have fallen sharply from their peak and vaccinations rise. Starting Tuesday, restaurants and places of worship in parts of the world's fourth most populous country will be able to operate at 25% capacity and shopping malls at 50%, Widodo told a virtual press conference.
23rd Aug 2021 - Reuters

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 23rd Aug 2021

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UK scientists look at reducing boosters to save vaccine for rest of the world

Scientists in Britain are examining whether smaller doses of Covid vaccine could be used as part of booster programmes, amid hopes that the approach could also increase the supply of jabs across the world. The use of so-called “fractional doses” has been proposed as a way of ensuring that precious supplies can immunise as many people as possible in parts of the world where there are shortages, while still providing high levels of protection from the virus.
22nd Aug 2021 - The Guardian

UK travel restrictions for Covid-19 should be tougher, most voters think as 38% back fourth lockdown in future

Most Britons want the Government to impose tougher restrictions at the UK’s border to stop Covid-19 cases and new variants being imported from abroad, a new survey has revealed. The poll for i by Redfield & Wilton Strategies suggests that fewer that one in 10 people have travelled abroad for a summer holiday this year. It also shows that nearly 38 per cent of people would be prepared to support a fourth nationwide lockdown if the pressure on hospital from coronavirus cases reaches similar levels to the previous peaks.
22nd Aug 2021 - iNews

Victoria records 65 new cases of COVID-19, new case in regional town

Of the 65 cases recorded on Saturday, only 12 were isolating for all of their infectious periods. Authorities say they expect clusters in Shepparton and at the Royal Melbourne Hospital to keep growing. Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton has condemned violent protesters who attacked police yesterday
22nd Aug 2021 - ABC News

New Zealand reports 21 local COVID-19 cases, more expected

New Zealand recorded 21 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warning the number will go higher in the next few days and urging the Pacific nation to adhere to the lockdown rules. The infections in the community outbreak of the highly transmissible Delta variant now total 51. Of the 21 new cases, 18 are in the largest city, Auckland, and three in the capital, Wellington.
22nd Aug 2021 - Reuters

Australian PM Morrison defends lockdown strategy as daily cases hit record

Australia will stick to its lockdown strategy against the coronavirus until at least 70% of its population is fully vaccinated, but after that it will have to start living with the virus, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday.
22nd Aug 2021 - Reuters

FDA Issues ‘You Are Not a Cow’ Warning After Livestock Drug Use

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a strong and unusual warning on Saturday: “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.” The FDA was reacting to alarms from Mississippi, the state with the worst outbreak in the U.S., that people have been taking ivermectin to treat or prevent Covid-19. The drug is often used against parasites in livestock.
21st Aug 2021 - Bloomberg

Public health officials anticipate smoother rollout for coronavirus vaccine booster shots

Officials in the greater Washington region say the rollout of booster shots to millions of vaccinated people will be much different from the early days of the coronavirus vaccinations, when doses were in short supply and people scoured the Internet for scarce appointments. Third doses are already being given out to those who are immunocompromised, and President Biden has said the general population will be eligible for booster shots starting next month.
20th Aug 2021 - The Washington Post

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 20th Aug 2021

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Biden administration's push for COVID boosters raises concerns about the science and morality of the plan

As the delta variant surges and Americans—even those who are vaccinated—shudder at the idea of guarding anew against the coronavirus, a booster vaccine seems to offer some peace of mind. But how much added protection does it really offer? Many scientists believe the question can’t yet be answered. Despite this, the Biden administration revealed on Wednesday that it is preparing to offer booster shots to the public the week of Sept. 20, pending the FDA's endorsement.
19th Aug 2021 - FiercePharma

'Our worst nightmare realized:' Investors, WHO slam J&J for exporting COVID shots produced in Africa

As Africa’s COVID-19 vaccinations lagged behind the rest of the world, Aspen Pharmacare’s manufacturing facility in South Africa scored a deal to help boost production of Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot jab for the region. But it turns out that most of the J&J shots bottled and packaged at Aspen’s site are going to Europe, not Africa, The New York Times reported earlier this week. The news has since swiftly drawn the ire of health advocates and one outspoken investor group, which warned that J&J’s reputation and its “social license to operate” are now at risk. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters on Wednesday that he was “stunned” by the revelation, urging J&J to prioritize shipments to Africa instead.
19th Aug 2021 - FiercePharma

Israel extends Covid restrictions to three-year-olds as cases surge

Israel is now requiring anyone over the age of three to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test before entering many indoor spaces, as it tackles a sharp rise in infections. Restaurants, cafes, museums, libraries, gyms and pools are among the venues covered by the "Green Pass" system. However, proof of immunity is not needed to go into shops or malls. The country's Covid-19 tsar said it was "at war" with the virus despite its world-leading vaccination programme.
18th Aug 2021 - BBC News

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 19th Aug 2021

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Israel reportedly set to offer COVID boosters to all starting next month

Israel will reportedly expand its COVID vaccine booster program to all Israelis 12 years and older starting next month, significantly expanding a program that has already seen over 1 million people over the age of 50 or immunocompromised receive a third dose of the shot. Early data from the booster shot campaign has reportedly shown promising results, with some health officials predicting that re-upping the vaccine across the population will tamp down on a major surge in infections wracking the country.
18th Aug 2021 - The Times of Israel

Biden to require vaccines for nursing home staff

The Biden administration will require that nursing home staff be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition for those facilities to continue receiving federal Medicare and Medicaid funding. Biden will announce the move Wednesday afternoon in a White House address as the administration continues to look for ways to use mandates to encourage vaccine holdouts to get shots. A senior administration official confirmed the announcement on condition of anonymity to preview the news before Biden’s remarks. The new mandate, in the form of a forthcoming regulation to be issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, could take effect as soon as next month.
18th Aug 2021 - The Associated Press

US health officials call for booster shots against COVID-19

U.S. health officials Wednesday announced plans to offer COVID-19 booster shots to all Americans to shore up their protection amid the surging delta variant and signs that the vaccines’ effectiveness is falling. The plan, as outlined by the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other top authorities, calls for an extra dose eight months after people get their second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. The doses could begin the week of Sept. 20. “Our plan is to protect the American people, to stay ahead of this virus,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said as the agency cited a raft of studies suggesting that the vaccines are losing ground while the highly contagious variant of the coronavirus spreads. People who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will also probably need extra shots, health officials said. But they said they are waiting for more data.
18th Aug 2021 - The Associated Press

Norway to offer 16- and 17-year-olds COVID-19 vaccine, government says

Norway will offer all 16- and 17-year-olds their first COVID-19 vaccine dose after those over 18 are fully vaccinated, the government said on Wednesday.
18th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Belgium to give booster coronavirus vaccines for immunocompromised

Belgium will give third shots to people with a reduced immunity against the coronavirus, the government announced. The decision will allow between 300,000 and 400,000 people to get a third shot of an mRNA vaccine, either BioNTech/Pfizer or Moderna, this fall. Belgium is the latest country to move forward with third shots. Israel first began giving boosters this summer, while Hungary gave third shots to anyone who wants one in August. The U.S. is expected to soon follow suit.
18th Aug 2021 - POLITICO Europe

WHO warns of increasing disease including Covid in Afghanistan

The World Health Organisation has warned of an “immediate need” to ensure health services across Afghanistan are maintained as it warned of increasing cases of Covid-19 symptoms and other health problems across the country. In the chaos of the fall of Kabul on Sunday the WHO said many Afghans had fled to the city in the days running up to the Taliban’s takeover, with health officials now reporting an increase in disease and a risk of outbreaks that could affect vulnerable people.
18th Aug 2021 - The Independent

WHO continues call for solidarity around COVID-19

At a press conference today, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, reiterated the agency's moratorium on COVID-19 boosters. Ten countries have administered 75% of all COVID-19 vaccines, while low-income countries have vaccinated little more than 2% of their populations, he said, which was why he was "stunned" when news broke this week about Johnson & Johnson vaccines being exported from South Africa to Europe. According to the New York Times, Johnson & Johnson has shipped 32 million doses from Africa in recent months. And while the African Union's deliveries have arrived on schedule, at the end of June, South Africa had received only about 1.5 million doses of its contract target of 2.8 million.
18th Aug 2021 - CIDRAP

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 18th Aug 2021

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U.S. to world leaders: Stop U.N. becoming COVID 'super-spreader'

The United States is urging world leaders to send videos instead of traveling to New York next month for an annual high-level gathering at the United Nations, saying it would help prevent it "from being a super-spreader event" amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting of world leaders for the 76th U.N. General Assembly, starting Sept. 21, is shaping up to be a hybrid event of in-person speeches and video statements as global vaccination rates vary and the spread of COVID-19 variants sparks concern.
17th Aug 2021 - Reuters

US to recommend booster jabs for all as Delta variant rises

United States health authorities are expected to recommend an extra dose of COVID-19 vaccine for all Americans as the Delta variant of the virus spreads quickly across the country. Health officials in US President Joe Biden’s administration will recommend that most people should get a booster shot eight months after they completed their initial vaccination, a source familiar with the decision told the Reuters news agency.
17th Aug 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Coronavirus vaccine will soon be mandatory: Presidential adviser

The Egyptian state will ensure that vaccinations against the coronavirus will be mandatory soon, advisor to the President of the Republic for Health Affairs, Mohamed Awad Tag Eddin announced. After a short period, vaccination will be compulsory and not optional in all government and private institutions, he said. He added that there is now much less hesitancy amongst civilians in getting the vaccine, with requests rising daily.
17th Aug 2021 - Egypt Independent

COVID-19: UK regulator approves Moderna coronavirus vaccine for 12 to 17-year-olds

The UK health regulator has approved the Moderna coronavirus vaccine for 12 to 17-year-olds. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said it is now up to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to advise the government on whether children in this age group should be given the jab. The MHRA said that the jab - also known as the Spikevax vaccine - is "safe and effective in this age group".
17th Aug 2021 - Sky News

WHO concerned about COVID-19 in Afghanistan as jabs slow

The World Health Organization (WHO) is worried about the spread of the coronavirus in Afghanistan as the upheaval caused by the Taliban advance and seizure of power has slowed vaccinations, a spokesperson said on Tuesday.
17th Aug 2021 - Reuters

More than 30 'emergency' Covid-19 measures could become permanent in Scotland

Announcing a consultation on the possibility of some “beneficial temporary measures” with the emergency powers granted to the Scottish Government during the Covid-19 pandemic, deputy first minister John Swinney said “innovative, beneficial” measures could be retained. But the move was criticised by the Scottish Conservatives as a “clear sign” the SNP was “unwilling to give up their control over people’s lives”, while Scottish Labour urged scrutiny around the new powers.
17th Aug 2021 - The Scotsman

Biden administration is all in on COVID boosters, and follow-up vaccinations could begin next month: reports

On a day when Pfizer and BioNTech revealed that they were submitting COVID-19 booster-shot data to the FDA, the government looks to be a step ahead in the process. The Biden administration has decided to recommend booster shots for most Americans, multiple news outlets report. The endorsement could come as early as this week, said The New York Times, citing administration officials, who added that boosters could be made available as early as mid-September. CDC vaccine advisors will meet on Aug. 24 for “discussions on additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine, including booster doses,” the agency revealed in a filing.
17th Aug 2021 - FoercePharma

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 17th Aug 2021

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Requirement to isolate ends for fully vaccinated contacts

People who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will no longer have to isolate if they come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. From Monday, people in England who have had both doses of a coronavirus vaccine, or are under 18, will not have to spend 10 days in quarantine if they are a contact of a positive case, a change which has been hailed “another step back towards normality”. They will be advised to take a PCR test, but that will not be compulsory and they will not have to self-isolate while they wait for the result.
16th Aug 2021 - Evening Standard

Japan extends, expands coronavirus emergency as cases surge

Japan’s “state of emergency” for curbing surging COVID-19 cases will continue through Sept. 12 rather than ending at the end of this month as initially planned, the government decided Monday. With the pandemic continuing to spread in the country, the emergency for Tokyo Osaka Okinawa and three other regions which started in July would be prolonged and expanded.
16th Aug 2021 - The Independent

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Steps Down Amid Covid-19 Criticism

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin resigned amid criticism over his Covid-19 policies, bringing renewed uncertainty to a government that has been marked by political infighting since Malaysia’s longtime ruling party lost in the wake of one of the world’s largest financial scandals. In a speech Monday, Mr. Muhyiddin said his last ditch effort to shore up political support so he could see through the pandemic recovery had failed. “There were those who were greedy for power instead of prioritizing the lives and livelihoods of the people,” he said of political rivals.
16th Aug 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

North Macedonia reimposes restrictions as COVID-19 resurges

North Macedonia has reimposed restrictions on access to cafes, restaurants and public events in a bid to subdue a fresh spike in COVID-19 infections and nudge citizens to get vaccinated, prompting public anger and protests. From Monday, those who want to go to restaurants, concerts or any public events will have to show a certificate of at least one COVID-19 vaccination or of recovery from the disease within the past 45 days.
16th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Hong Kong reclassifies 15 countries as 'high risk' for COVID-19

Hong Kong's government said it would upgrade 15 overseas places including the United States, Spain and France to "high risk" from "medium risk" by Aug. 20, meaning international arrivals from those countries will face lengthened quarantine due to a resurgence of the coronavirus. The government said arrivals from Bangladesh, Cambodia, France, Greece, Iran, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States would all face the new restrictions, according to a statement released on Monday.
16th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Australia purchases Pfizer vaccines from Poland as COVID-19 infections spike

Australia has purchased about 1 million doses of Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine from Poland to add to its inoculation efforts in Sydney and its home state, which on Saturday entered a snap lockdown amid record new infections. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday the extra vaccines would start arriving immediately and over half will be directed to 20- to 39-year-olds in New South Wales, as the state reported its second largest increase in locally transmitted infections
16th Aug 2021 - Reuters

WHO: $7.7 billion needed for COVID variant detection, oxygen

As many parts of the world battle the more transmissible Delta (B1617.2) variant, the World Health Organization (WHO) today said $7.7 billion is needed to track new variants and boost the supply of oxygen. Meanwhile, countries such as Iran, Japan, and Australia expanded their COVID-19 measures to slow their latest COVID-19 surges. In a statement, the WHO said the Delta variant’s transmissibility ramps up vaccination urgency and that rising infection rates are overwhelming health systems. The agency added that low testing levels, especially in low- and middle-income countries, is leaving the world blind to how the virus is evolving, leaving it vulnerable to new variants.
16th Aug 2021 - CIDRAP

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 16th Aug 2021

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U.S. Homeland Security warns fresh COVID-19 restrictions could spark violent attacks

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in a new terrorism warning bulletin, said violent extremists could view the reimposition of COVID-19-related restrictions following the spread of coronavirus variants as a rationale to conduct attacks. The new DHS bulletin also warned of the risk of "targeted violence" around the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington and around religious holidays.
14th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 Australia: Queensland records new cases as it clamps down on NSW workers entering state

The state announced six new cases of Covid at Saturday morning's update. Youngest positive case is the sibling of another child in hospital with Covid. A 4yo from Cambodia tested positive for Covid-19 while in hotel quarantine. On Friday Queensland Premier imposed stricter border travel for NSW workers
14th Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

Iran orders travel ban and shutdown amid COVID surge

Iran is to impose a one-week lockdown and a ban on road travel amid a fifth COVID-19 surge in the worst-hit country in the Middle East, state television reported on Saturday. All non-essential businesses and offices will have to close under the nationwide lockdown from Monday to Aug. 21, in an effort to curb the highly contagious Delta variant. Authorities are also imposing a driving ban from Sunday until Aug. 27, except for essential vehicles.
14th Aug 2021 - Reuters

The Latest: Alabama gov issues state of emergency amid surge

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday issued a state of emergency as state hospitals face a surge in COVID-19 cases, an order that came the same day the state tied a record low for available intensive care unit beds. Ivey issued a limited state of emergency aimed at giving medical providers flexibility on staffing and capacity decisions and easier shipment of emergency equipment and supplies. The Republican governor stressed she would not be issuing any closure orders or mask mandates.
14th Aug 2021 - Associated Press

Staff at UK medicines regulator express alarm at plan for budget cuts

Senior personnel at the UK regulator responsible for medicines have expressed “deep concern” over outline plans to make up to 25 per cent of staff redundant as it is forced to embark on budget cuts. The proposals by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency to restructure because of financial pressures come despite it being lauded by the government for its “phenomenal contribution” to tackling Covid-19. It also has a central role in Boris Johnson’s plans to put life sciences at the core of his “build back better” agenda for economic growth and innovation.
14th Aug 2021 - Financial Times

No need for fully-jabbed Covid contacts to isolate from Monday, confirms Javid

Fully vaccinated people in England will no longer be legally required to self-isolate upon contact with a positive Covid case from Monday, and will instead be advised to take a PCR test – in a marked shift from rules that have led to more than 14m instructions to stay at home. Ministers have confirmed that the legal requirement to isolate will be replaced with non-binding advice to take a test for the double-jabbed, as well as those 18 and under. And those who do come into contact with the infected will not be told to isolate while waiting for their results. For people who do test positive, isolation will continue.
14th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

Australia secures 1 million more Pfizer vaccine doses from Poland

Australia has secured about 1 million additional doses of Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine that will start arriving on Sunday night, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. The doses, provided by the Polish government, will be targeted for Australians ages 20 to 39 years old, particularly in Sydney where transmission numbers have spiked to record highs. Australia previously contracted for 14 million Pfizer doses, Morrison said.
14th Aug 2021 - Reuters

US allows extra COVID vaccine doses for some. Now what?

Americans at high risk from COVID-19 because of severely weakened immune systems are now allowed to get a third vaccination in hopes of better protection, a policy change endorsed Friday by influential government advisers. The Food and Drug Administration ruled that transplant recipients and other similarly immune-compromised patients can get a third dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. But the decision offers an extra dose only to those high-risk groups — not the general public.
13th Aug 2021 - Associated Press

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 13th Aug 2021

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Cambodia starts vaccine booster drive to shore up COVID-19 defence

Cambodia started offering coronavirus vaccine booster shots on Thursday in a renewed public health drive after managing to inoculate more than half of its population.
12th Aug 2021 - Reuters

F.D.A. to Authorize Third Vaccine Dose for People With Weak Immune Systems

The decision to expand the emergency use of both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines is meant to help transplant recipients and others whose immune systems are similarly compromised.
12th Aug 2021 - The New York Times

Brazil Senate approves bill that could allow coronavirus vaccine patents to be broken

Brazil's Senate on Wednesday approved a bill authorizing the president to temporarily break patents for vaccines and their ingredients in health or public emergencies, such as the coronavirus pandemic.
12th Aug 2021 - Reuters

HHS will require health care workforce to be vaccinated against Covid-19

Covid-19 vaccinations will be required for the more than 25,000 health care staff and volunteers working at the Department of Health and Human Services, Secretary Xavier Becerra announced Thursday. "Staff at the Indian Health Service (IHS) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) who serve in federally-operated health care and clinical research facilities and interact with, or have the potential to come into contact with, patients will be required to receive the Covid-19 vaccine," Becerra said in a statement.
12th Aug 2021 - CNN

Jacinda Ardern shuts New Zealand borders till early 2022 to keep Covid-19 out

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced plans to keep the country's borders closed at least till this year's end in a bid to keep the coronavirus outbreak outside its border amid the coronavirus outbreak. The country will allow quarantine-free entry to vaccinated travellers from low-risk Covid-19 hit countries only from early 2022, she said on Thursday. New Zealand will also speed up its vaccination strategy and increase the gap between two doses to ensure the population is at least partially vaccinated, the prime minister said. Ardern, in a speech on plans to open up New Zealand to the rest of the world, underlined that the New Zealand is still not ready to open up entirely and will open up in phases from early next year.
12th Aug 2021 - The Independent

Covid-19: NI ministers agree to relax self-isolation rules

The Stormont Executive has agreed to a number of changes to Covid-19 rules, including the end of close contacts self-isolating if they are fully vaccinated. Other changes have been agreed for schools and the hospitality sector. Class bubbles will no longer be required from the start of term. The rule-of-six - the number of people allowed to sit at tables together in pubs and restaurants - has also been scrapped. However, the executive stopped short of changing rules on social distancing or face coverings.
12th Aug 2021 - BBC News

Philippines approves emergency use of Hayat-Vax vaccines

The Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Wednesday it has approved the emergency use of the Hayat-Vax COVID-19 vaccine manufactured in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Hayat-Vax vaccine, donated by the UAE, is identical to the Sinopharm vaccine from China, and will be administered to people aged 18 and above, FDA chief Rolando Enrique Domingo told Reuters.
12th Aug 2021 - Reuters

US government expands COVID-19 vaccine requirements

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) expanded its COVID-19 vaccine requirements today, and now employees, volunteers, and contractors have 8 weeks to get vaccinated or risk losing their jobs, not just Title 38 employees. "We're now including most [Veterans Health Administration] employees and volunteers and contractors in the vaccine mandate because it remains the best way to keep veterans safe, especially as the Delta (B1617.2) variant spreads across the country," said Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough, according to the Navy Times.
12th Aug 2021 - CIDRAP

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WHO calls for world leaders and pharmaceutical chiefs to end 'disgraceful' global vaccine inequality

WHO's Bruce Aylward said the world should be "disgusted" with the imbalance in available tools to fight the pandemic and appealed to the wealthiest nations to focus on helping all countries vaccinate at least 10% of their populations by September. Only 1.1% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose, due to a lack of supplies. "I can't help but think: if we had tried to withhold vaccines from parts of the world, could we have made it any worse than it is today?" Aylward, senior adviser to the WHO director-general and head of the ACT Accelerator initiative, which is aimed at providing pandemic resources to developing countries.
11th Aug 2021 - CNN

Merkel to Germans: Get your COVID-19 vaccine, or pay up

Germany will expand COVID-19 testing requirements for non-vaccinated people and end free tests to prod more residents to roll up their sleeves. Starting later this month, negative results will be required for people who haven’t been inoculated or can show they’ve recovered from the disease to eat in restaurants, go to the hairdresser and attend sporting events. The government will no longer pay for antigen tests as of Oct. 11. “Immunization rates have slowed considerably,” and getting vaccinated is a contribution that everyone can make, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday after talks with premiers of the country’s 16 states. “We want to avoid hard measures as much as possible.”
11th Aug 2021 - Fortune

Ukraine extends COVID restrictions until Oct. 1 as cases rise

Ukraine has extended a state of emergency that allows regional authorities to impose COVID-19 restrictions for a further month until Oct. 1 to tackle a surge in infections from the rapidly spreading Delta variant, the prime minister said on Wednesday. "Unfortunately, experts are beginning to register the first negative trends in terms of hospitalisation of those seriously ill, therefore the government is adopting a decree to extend the state of emergency and adaptive lockdown until Oct. 1," premier Denys Shmygal said during a televised weekly cabinet meeting.
11th Aug 2021 - Reuters

UK orders extra Covid vaccines for autumn 2022 booster campaign

Ministers have started ordering vaccines for a booster campaign in autumn 2022, with Pfizer reportedly being asked to supply the UK with a further 35m doses. The government has still not give the final go-ahead for the vaccine booster programme expected this autumn, but it is understood to have placed the order with Pfizer despite the company raising its prices. According to a report in the Times, the government is paying £22 a dose – compared with an earlier price of £18 a dose – because global demand is pushing up prices. The EU has signed a contract with Pfizer to buy 900m doses, with an option to buy the same amount again.
11th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

FDA expected to authorize Covid-19 vaccine booster shots for some immunocompromised people within the next 48 hours

The US Food and Drug Administration is expected to announce within the next 48 hours that it is authorizing Covid-19 vaccine booster shots for some people who are immunocompromised, according to a source familiar with the discussions. This would be a third shot of the current two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. That announcement could slide, the source cautioned, but this is the current timing. "The FDA is closely monitoring data as it becomes available from studies administering an additional dose of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines to immunocompromised individuals," an FDA spokesperson told CNN. "The agency, along with the CDC, is evaluating potential options on this issue, and will share information in the near future."
11th Aug 2021 - CNN

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 11th Aug 2021

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Elimination possible after borders open, Govt told

An expert panel says elimination is still the best approach even after the borders open – in a trio of reports that contain few other details. New Zealanders eager to know when and how the country will at last reopen to the rest of the world are bound to be disappointed with the sparse advice issued by an expert panel tasked with answering exactly those questions. The first three reports from the Strategic Covid-19 Public Health Advisory Group, chaired by epidemiologist Sir David Skegg, were released by the Government on Wednesday morning. They deal with the possibility of a phased reopening of the borders to vaccinated travellers, what proportion of the population might need to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity and whether the elimination strategy will continue to be a viable approach in the next stage of the pandemic.
10th Aug 2021 - Newsroom

S. Korea approves Phase III trial of SK Bioscience's COVID-19 vaccine

South Korea gave vaccine developer SK Bioscience the green light on Tuesday for a Phase III study of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate at a time of vaccine shortages, when a spurt in infections is fuelling demand. The clinical trial of GBP510, the candidate for the first domestic vaccine, will weigh its immunogenicity and safety against AstraZeneca Plc's vaccine, drug safety minister Kim Gang-lip told a news conference.
10th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Austria plans to start COVID-19 booster shots in October

Austria plans to start COVID-19 vaccine booster shots on Oct. 17, nine months after the first group of people to get the jabs received their second dose, the country’s health minister said on Tuesday. The first wave included vulnerable people in nursing homes and medical personnel, Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein told broadcaster ORF in an interview. “There are certain groups, for example immunosuppressed people, where it may be possible to vaccinate even earlier after consultation with the doctor,” Mueckstein said.
10th Aug 2021 - Reuters

UK to relax Covid-19 restrictions for Cop26 climate conference

The government is planning to relax key Covid-19 restrictions for delegates to the UN Cop26 climate conference to be held in Glasgow for two weeks this November. Delegates from 196 countries are expected to attend the talks, viewed as one of the last chances for the world to agree limits on greenhouse gas emissions that would avoid the worst ravages of climate breakdown. The government has offered vaccines to countries coming to the talks, to enable all delegates to be fully vaccinated before the event. However, officials were unable to say how many had taken up the offer.
10th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

Sri Lanka rejects lockdown to beat Covid 'bomb'

Sri Lanka's government rejected on Tuesday mounting calls for an immediate lockdown to contain a surge in Covid-19 cases and deaths that is severely stretching hospitals and crematoriums. Government spokesman and Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the country had not reached a critical stage even as the island nation suffers more than 100 deaths per day on average. "Curfews or a lockdown is the last resort, but we are not there yet," Rambukwella told reporters. "Our target is to get everyone over the age of 18 vaccinated by September and thereafter it is in the hands of the gods." His comments came despite the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) issuing what it called a "final warning" to the government to restrict the movement of people immediately or risk a bigger catastrophe
10th Aug 2021 - MSN

Portugal recommends COVID vaccinations for 12 to 15-year-olds

Portugal on Tuesday recommended that 12 to 15-years-old kids be vaccinated against COVID-19, ideally before the start of the academic year, as the Delta variant has led to a surge of cases in the country.
10th Aug 2021 - Reuters

US to send more COVID-19 vaccines to Mexico amid Delta surge

The United States will send up to an additional 8.5 million coronavirus vaccine doses to Mexico, as both countries continue to grapple with a spike in infections fuelled by the highly contagious Delta variant. Speaking on Tuesday, a day after holding a phone call with US Vice President Kamala Harris, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he expected most adults living along the border with the US will have received their second dose of the vaccine within a month.
10th Aug 2021 - AlJazeera

CDC adds Israel to highest-risk countries for catching Covid-19

The US Centers for Disease Control is advising Americans to stop traveling to Israel after giving the country its highest risk warning for Covid-19. On Monday, the CDC raised Israel’s Covid-19 risk for travellers to level 4, its highest risk level. The CDC recommends that US travellers avoid visiting Israel, and if they must go, to ensure they are fully vaccinated before they leave the US.
9th Aug 2021 - The Independent

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 10th Aug 2021

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Everything you need to know about the changes to Victoria's COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Victoria is fast becoming the vaccination state with thousands taking advantage of major changes to the state's COVID-19 vaccine rollout today. Nine state-run clinics are now offering the AstraZeneca jab to under-40s from today, with Australia's first drive-through clinic also launching in Victoria today. Here is everything you need to know about the changes to Victoria's vaccine rollout.
10th Aug 2021 - 9News

UK set to ‘hoard’ up to 210m doses of Covid vaccine, research suggests

The UK is on course to “hoard” up to 210m spare coronavirus vaccines by the end of the year, research suggests, as ministers were accused of leaving poorer countries “fighting for scraps”. Pressure is growing on the government to do more to help nations where tiny proportions of their population have had a first jab given that the UK is opposing a temporary waiver to intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines that would allow more companies abroad to manufacture the doses themselves.
9th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine gets Swiss approval for 12- to 17-year-olds

Swissmedic has approved the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for 12- to 17-year-olds, the Swiss agency said on Monday.
9th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Malaysia to ease COVID curbs for fully vaccinated in eight states

Malaysia will relax some COVID-19 restrictions for fully vaccinated people in eight states that have met criteria such as reduced case numbers and higher vaccination rates, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said on Sunday. The measures, which will allow dining in at restaurants, outdoor individual sports and interstate tourism, will take effect on Tuesday, Muhyiddin said in a televised address.
9th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Indonesia extends COVID-19 curbs as infections spread in regions

Indonesia extended its COVID-19 curbs on populous Java and Bali islands until Aug. 16, but will ease them in 26 areas, as official data showed infections have plunged in the capital Jakarta but are increasing elsewhere.
9th Aug 2021 - Reuters

A WHO expert explains why she believes the rush for Covid-19 boosters is premature

When the World Health Organization last week called for a moratorium on giving Covid-19 booster shots, except in rare circumstances, it said it was concerned wealthy countries would start giving their populations a third dose before the people at highest risk from the disease — health workers and older adults — in many countries get their first. But Kate O’Brien, the WHO’s director of immunization, vaccination, and biologics, recently insisted on an additional reason: Providing booster shots without strong evidence that the shots are needed is ill-advised. “If we’re not really grounded in that clarity, we’re going to be in a place where we have forever uncertainty about what actually should be done,” she cautioned.
9th Aug 2021 - Stat News

Australian PM approves use of Moderna COVID vaccine

The Australian government has announced that Moderna will become the third COVID-19 vaccine to be rolled out in the country next month. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday that the Australian vaccine regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, approved Moderna for use by adults 18 years and older.
9th Aug 2021 - AlJazeera

Countries battle Delta beyond main hot spots

Indonesia today extended COVID-19 measures in areas where infection levels are rising, as a few more locations in Australia's New South Wales state went on lockdown due to rapid spread of the more transmissible Delta (B1617.2) variant. Elsewhere, more cities in China are conducting mass testing to stem their COVID clusters, as the country continues to report a spike in local cases.
9th Aug 2021 - CIDRAP

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Covid variants could be named after star constellations if Greek alphabet is used up, says WHO epidemiologist

New coronavirus variants could be named after star constellations when the 24 letters in the Greek alphabet are used up, the Covid-19 technical lead for the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said. Maria Van Kerkhove revealed the body was considering how the naming rule for mutations of interest and concern should change amid concerns new variants will continue to emerge in the coming months.
8th Aug 2021 - The Independent

AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine rebranding to 'Vaxzevria' ahead of international travel restart

AstraZeneca has become a household name, but its COVID-19 vaccine will soon be rebranded to help smooth the pathway for millions of Australians hoping to travel overseas once the international border reopens. The vaccine was originally called COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca but has now been officially renamed "Vaxzevria" and approved by Europe's drug regulator, the European Medicines Agency.
6th Aug 2021 - ABC News

Novavax seeks COVID-19 vaccine use in India ahead of US

Vaccine maker Novavax announced Thursday it has asked regulators in India Indonesia and the Philippines to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine -- offering its shot to developing countries before vaccine-flush rich ones. U.S.-based Novavax partnered with the Serum Institute of India to apply in the three countries, and plans later this month to also seek the World Health Organization review needed to be part of the COVAX global vaccine program. Novavax CEO Stanley Erck called the submissions an “important step toward access to millions of doses of a safe and effective vaccine for countries with an urgent need to control the pandemic.”
6th Aug 2021 - The Independent

S.Korea extends social distancing curbs to reduce COVID-19 cases

South Korea will extend its social distancing curbs by two weeks as the government contends with outbreaks nationwide and more people fall severely ill, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said on Friday.
6th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Vietnam's capital to extend COVID-19 curbs as new clusters emerge

Vietnam's capital Hanoi will extend coronavirus restrictions until Aug. 22, its health ministry said on Friday, after authorities warned of new clusters of infections detected in the city of more than 8 million people.
6th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Delta spreads in Sydney as Australia widens COVID-19 restrictions

Sydney reports record infections for second day in a row. Victoria enters sixth pandemic lockdown. Queensland optimistic of easing lockdown rules
6th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Why are government experts holding off vaccinating under-16s in the UK?

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) announced this week that everyone in the UK aged 16 and 17 should be offered the Covid-19 vaccine. Just two weeks ago, it said the vaccine wouldn’t be offered to non-vulnerable people aged 12-17. The change in position is welcome, but the reasons for the committee’s two-week delay, and its decision to not extend the vaccine to 12- 15-year-olds, are unclear. Unlike the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the committee has offered no quantitative analysis of the risks associated with vaccinating people in this younger age group. Delaying the rollout of the vaccine to adolescents is risky. Recent figures show that 1% of 10-19s were being diagnosed with Covid-19 a week. Waiting for further data on vaccine safety when infections are ripping through younger age groups isn’t cautious, it’s reckless.
6th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

Six EU states overtake UK Covid vaccination rates as Britain’s rollout slows

Six EU states have now fully inoculated a larger share of their total populations with a coronavirus vaccine than the UK, after the bloc’s dire initial rollout took off while Britain’s impressive early jab rate has slumped. According to government and health service figures collated by the online science publication Our World In Data, Malta, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Denmark and Ireland have all overtaken the UK in terms of the percentages of their populations who are fully vaccinated.
6th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 6th Aug 2021

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Festivals for Britain as events get $1 bln COVID reinsurance cover

Britain launched a government-backed reinsurance scheme totalling more than 750 million pounds ($1 billion) on Thursday to cover live events against cancellation risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic, after intense industry lobbying. Insurers stripped coronavirus cover from event cancellation policies after the pandemic took hold last year, prompting top entertainment industry figures such as Andrew Lloyd-Webber to demand a government-backed scheme to enable events to go ahead.
5th Aug 2021 - Reuters UK

Xi says China aims to provide 2 bln COVID-19 vaccine doses to world in 2021

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday said China will strive to provide 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to other countries in 2021, state broadcaster CCTV reported. In his written message to an international COVID-19 vaccine cooperation forum, Xi also said China would donate $100 million to the COVAX global vaccine distribution scheme, according to the CCTV report
5th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Ignoring WHO call, Germany, France to give COVID-19 vaccine boosters

Global body disapproves of boosters until more people vaccinated. Some rich nations going ahead anyway to fend off Delta variant. Elderly and vulnerable to benefit first from booster shots. Low-income nations suffer from lack of vaccine supplies
5th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Coronavirus Covid-19 jabs to be offered to teenagers aged 16-17 in Scotland

Everyone in the 16-17 age group will be offered the Covid-19 vaccination in Scotland. In line with the latest advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), they will be offered a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab. From Friday (August 6), people who are 16 or 17 in mainland Scotland will be invited to register their interest through the online portal at NHS Inform, and will then be sent an appointment via text or email. Eligible young people in Shetland, Orkney and Western Isles will be contacted by their health board and invited to attend clinics.
5th Aug 2021 - RossShire Journal

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Every Australian who wants a COVID-19 vaccine will have one by Christmas, head of taskforce says

Every Australian adult who wants a coronavirus vaccine will have one by Christmas, the head of the national COVID-19 vaccine taskforce has declared. Lieutenant General John Frewen said today the nation is entering the next phase of the rollout and 213,000 doses were administered yesterday, another record. He was asked about the timeline of the rollout, when younger people will be able to access more vaccines, and when the 80 per cent target will be reached. Lieutenant General Frewen also said 10 million doses of Moderna will be available later this year which he hopes will accelerate the rollout.
4th Aug 2021 - 9News.com.au

Iran urges UNHCR to provide coronavirus vaccine for refugees

Iran has urged the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide funding and strengthen the necessary infrastructure to receive vaccines and facilities for the refugees, ISNA reported. A virtual meeting was held on Wednesday attended by Iranian officials, representatives of UN offices, and embassies in Tehran with the aim of providing vaccines for refugees and foreign immigrants.
4th Aug 2021 - Tehran Times

Commission approves Novavax coronavirus vaccine deal — finally

The EU has approved a deal with Novavax to secure up to 200 million doses of the company's protein-based coronavirus vaccine after more than half a year of talks, the Commission announced. EU countries will secure 100 million doses and have the option to purchase another 100 million doses through 2023. The EU announced it had completed "exploratory talks" with the company back in December 2020, but the deal was held up over issues securing a delivery schedule and establishing the U.S. company's European supply chain.
4th Aug 2021 - POLITICO Europe

UK children aged 16 and 17 expected to be offered Covid vaccine

Covid vaccines are expected to be offered to children in the UK aged 16 and 17, in line with many other countries, after a minister confirmed government experts will update their advice “imminently”. Michelle Donelan, the universities minister, said the government was expecting an announcement from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on widening access to the coronavirus vaccine to more teenagers. Just two weeks after the body recommended against routine vaccination of children, two government sources confirmed that the JCVI was reconsidering its ruling.
4th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

Ukraine receives 500000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Denmark

Ukraine has received 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Denmark, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Wednesday. "We're grateful to our Denmark friends for their support in overcoming this global challenge," Zelenskiy wrote on Twitter. Ukraine has lagged behind other European countries in vaccinating its population of 41 million people. So far, 2.1 million Ukrainian citizens have received two jabs as of July 4
4th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Japan's COVID-19 cases rise 87% during first week of Olympics

Halfway through the Summer Olympics in Japan, coronavirus cases are surging in the nation during a state of emergency though the outbreak is nowhere near as severe as other places as the world deal with a more contagious Delta variant. Tokyo 2020 boss Toshiro Muto said at a news conference Sunday that the COVID-19 surge is not linked to the Games, which included 11,000 athletes representing 206 countries. The positivity rate is only 0.02% -- 72 out of around 350,000 tests through Friday, which includes participants and other stakeholders.
4th Aug 2021 - UPI.com

WHO calls for moratorium on COVID-19 boosters

Amid a global COVID-19 surge fueled by the highly transmissible Delta (B1617.2) variant, the World Health Organization (WHO) today called for a moratorium on booster vaccine doses to allow the global supply to fill gaps in lower-income countries. The global total is now within striking distance of 200 million cases, with surges in Asia and the Middle East making up much of the latest weekly increase. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said that it's unacceptable that countries that have already used most of the vaccine supply will be using even more of it. High-income countries have given nearly 100 doses for every 100 people, while most low-income countries have only been able to give 1.5 doses for every 100 people.
4th Aug 2021 - CIDRAP

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Biden vaccine rule sets stage for onslaught of lawsuits

President Biden’s vaccine rule for federal employees is expected to bolster efforts to require vaccines in the workplace, but experts say it's also likely to spark court fights that could threaten the long-standing legal authority of employers to impose health measures at work. As the largest employer in the country, the federal government could end up setting the standard for the private sector with Biden’s requirement that workers undergo regular testing, wear masks and socially distance if they choose not to get vaccinated.
3rd Aug 2021 - The Hill

Britain, Germany to begin giving 3rd doses of coronavirus vaccine

Britain and Germany will both begin offering third coronavirus vaccine shots to at-risk members of the population, with campaigns to administer the injections beginning next month. Israel began offering a third booster shot to all those over the age of 60 at the end of last week, with the drive fully kicking off on Sunday. The UK will provide the booster shots to tens of millions of people from September, The Telegraph newspaper reported on Sunday.
3rd Aug 2021 - The Times of Israel

U.S. donates more than 110 mln COVID-19 vaccine doses abroad -White House

The United States has donated over 110 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to more than 60 countries so far, the White House said on Tuesday, as the world grapples with the fast-spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus.
3rd Aug 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: Amber watchlist travel idea scrapped

A proposal to create an "amber watchlist" of countries at risk of moving to red in the travel traffic light system has been abandoned, government sources have told the BBC. On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he wanted a "simple" and "balanced approach" to pandemic travel. The sources said no new categories would now be added. Tory MPs and travel industry figures earlier warned a complex system risked putting people off from travelling.
3rd Aug 2021 - BBC News

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 3rd Aug 2021

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Vulnerable 12- to 15-year-olds eligible for Pfizer vaccine from next week

Vulnerable 12- to 15-year-olds will be eligible for the Pfizer vaccine from next week and residents in Queensland’s COVID-19 hotspot are being urged to get any available vaccine as outbreaks worsen around the country. Fast coronavirus testing could also become more widely available as trials of the rapid antigen tests continue in aged care facilities around NSW.
2nd Aug 2021 - Sydney Morning Herald

UAE rolls out Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine to children aged 3-17

The United Arab Emirates will start providing China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine to children aged 3-17, the UAE government said on Twitter on Monday. It cited the health ministry as saying the decision comes after clinical trials and extensive evaluations, without providing any details. Authorities said in June the trial would monitor the immune response of 900 children.
2nd Aug 2021 - Reuters

Cambodia to mix vaccines as booster shots to fight COVID

Cambodia will begin offering a booster shot against Covid-19, switching between the AstraZeneca and Chinese COVID-19 vaccines in an effort to fight the spread of the coronavirus in the Southeast Asian country. Prime Minister Hun Sen, launching the vaccination campaign for 12-17 years old, said on Sunday that the third dose will be offered to between 500,000 to one million frontline workers as a priority.
2nd Aug 2021 - Reuters

U.S. CDC extends COVID-19 policy allowing border expulsions

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday extended a Trump-era policy allowing for the expulsion of migrants across U.S. borders, citing COVID-19 risks. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky signed the order that replaces an October 2020 order. The CDC said the policy would be reviewed every 60 days to ensure it is still necessary. The policy allows U.S. officials to send migrants back to Mexico without the chance to seek asylum or other protections in the United States.
2nd Aug 2021 - Reuters

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Pfizer and Moderna raise prices for COVID-19 vaccines in EU

Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc have raised the prices of their COVID-19 vaccines in their latest European Union supply contracts, the Financial Times reported on Sunday. The new price for the Pfizer shot was 19.50 euros ($23.15)against 15.50 euros previously, the newspaper said, citing portions of the contracts seen.
1st Aug 2021 - Reuters

Britain to offer vaccine booster shots for 32 million next month

Britain will offer COVID-19 booster vaccines to 32 million Britons starting early next month with up to 2,000 pharmacies set to deliver the programme, The Telegraph reported on Sunday. The campaign could start as soon as Sept. 6, which would see the rollout completed by early December if it goes to plan, the report added.
1st Aug 2021 - Reuters UK

Residents: Myanmar leaders use pandemic as political weapon

With coronavirus deaths rising in Myanmar, allegations are growing from residents and human rights activists that the military government, which seized control in February, is using the pandemic to consolidate power and crush opposition. In the last week, the per capita death rate in Myanmar surpassed those of Indonesia and Malaysia to become the worst in Southeast Asia. The country’s crippled health care system has rapidly become overwhelmed with new patients sick with COVID-19. Supplies of medical oxygen are running low, and the government has restricted its private sale in many places, saying it is trying to prevent hoarding. But that has led to widespread allegations that the stocks are being directed to government supporters and military-run hospitals.
31st Jul 2021 - Associated Press

Boris Johnson backs plans to ALLOW thousands of Chinese and Russian jabbed delegates to Cop26

PM gives green light for officials to attend conference in Glasgow later this year. Many have only received unregulated Sinovac, Sinopharm and Sputnik V jabs But plans for an 'amber watch list' for holidays have sparked uproar in Whitehall Ministers warned that the scheme could wreck the hopes of millions of Britons It would see tourists warned while abroad that amber spots could go on red list Spain and Italy could both be placed into the new category as soon as next week
31st Jul 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid-19: Biden tells states to offer $100 vaccine incentive as cases rise

US President Joe Biden has called for states to offer $100 (£71) to the newly vaccinated in an effort to address flagging jab rates amid virus surges. The president also issued a strict new vaccine requirement for US federal workers, the nation's largest workforce with some two million people. The order requires employees to show proof of vaccination or be subjected to mandatory testing and masking. Just under half of the US is fully vaccinated, according to official data.
30th Jul 2021 - BBC News

Romania plans to deliver vaccines to Ireland in coming weeks

Romania’s government has confirmed that it plans to start delivering coronavirus vaccines to Ireland in the coming weeks, rejecting fears that the deal will not go ahead. On July 2nd, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said Ireland would buy 1 million mRNA vaccines after Romanian president Klaus Iohannis said the country was trying to sell vaccines because of low inoculation rates. “We are currently holding technical discussions with our Irish counterparts and we aim at securing the delivery shortly, in the following weeks,“ Andrei Baciu, state secretary at Romania’s health ministry, told The Irish Times.
30th Jul 2021 - The Irish Times

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 30th Jul 2021

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Biden orders tough new vaccination rules for federal workers

President Joe Biden on Thursday announced sweeping new pandemic requirements aimed at boosting vaccination rates for millions of federal workers and contractors as he lamented the “American tragedy” of rising-yet-preventable deaths among the unvaccinated. Federal workers will be required to sign forms attesting they’ve been vaccinated against the coronavirus or else comply with new rules on mandatory masking, weekly testing, distancing and more. The strict new guidelines are aimed at increasing sluggish vaccination rates among the huge number of Americans who draw federal paychecks — and to set an example for private employers around the country.
30th Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Japan proposes adding four regions to COVID-19 emergency - minister

Japan's government on Friday proposed states of emergency in three prefectures near Olympic host city Tokyo and the western prefecture of Osaka, a cabinet minister said, as COVID-19 cases spike to records around the country. An existing state of emergency for Tokyo should be extended to Aug. 31, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told a panel of experts, who are expected to sign off on the proposal.
30th Jul 2021 - Reuters

France attacks decision to keep it on England’s ‘amber plus’ list

A French government minister has described the decision to keep stricter quarantine measures in place for fully vaccinated travellers arriving in England from his country as discriminatory and incomprehensible. The Europe minister Clément Beaune criticised the decision after England, Scotland and Wales announced plans to significantly reduce restrictions on international travel for those who have been fully vaccinated. Northern Ireland is yet to announce whether it will follow suit.
29th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Portugal lifts COVID-19 rules with three-stage plan

Portugal on Thursday announced a three-stage plan to lift COVID-19 restrictions, including scrapping a night-time curfew, as the country's vaccination rollout speeds up, helping to bring a recent surge in infections under control. From Sunday, the 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew will no longer be in force and restrictions on the opening hours of restaurants and shops will also be lifted, Prime Minister Antonio Costa told a news conference.
29th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Burundi, in reversal, says it will accept COVID-19 vaccines

Burundi’s government now says it will accept COVID-19 vaccines, becoming one of the last countries in the world to embrace them. But the health ministry says it will not take responsibility for any side effects they might cause. Health Minister Thaddee Ndikumana on Wednesday said the vaccines will arrive with the support of the World Bank. It was not immediately clear how many doses the East African country will receive or when. “The vaccine will be given to those who need it,” the health minister said. The government will store the doses but will not take responsibility for any side effects, he added.
29th Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Covid-19: NI Executive to relax travel isolation rules

People who have been fully vaccinated in the EU or the US will not need to self-isolate when entering Northern Ireland from Monday. This easing of the Covid-19 travel rules is in line with changes made in England, Scotland and Wales. The Northern Ireland Executive also decided to allow international cruises to restart from 31 July. Students arriving from red-list countries will be put into managed isolation facilities. The pilot rollout for the expansion of the amber listed countries vaccinations policy is due to start on Monday 2 August.
29th Jul 2021 - BBC News

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 29th Jul 2021

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Kazakhstan donates 25000 doses of its QazVac coronavirus vaccine to Kyrgyzstan

The batch of 25,000 doses of QazVac coronavirus vaccine today has arrived in Kyrgyzstan. This vaccine was donated by Kazakhstan. The handover ceremony was held in the Ministry of Health in presence of Health Minister Alymkadyr Beishenaliev, Ambassador of Kazakhstan Rapil Joshybaev, representatives of the Biological Safety Research Institute, developer of the vaccine.
28th Jul 2021 - AKIpress

UK announces global rollout of coronavirus vaccine doses

The UK will start its global coronavirus vaccine distribution this week, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Wednesday. It is part of a pledge to donate 100 million shots worldwide by next June. Where are the UK vaccine donations going? Raab revealed that Commonwealth countries like Kenya and Jamaica will benefit from the initial delivery of 9 million doses. He said that "vulnerable places like Laos and Cambodia, partners like Indonesia, Malaysia," would also be sent vaccine doses. He said he hopes the whole world will be vaccinated by 2022.
28th Jul 2021 - Deutsche Welle

In breakthrough, Tanzania kicks off COVID-19 vaccinations

In a major breakthrough for one of the world's last countries to embrace COVID-19 vaccines, Tanzania’s president kicked off the nation’s vaccination campaign Wednesday by publicly receiving a dose and urging others to do the same. The East African country’s government under former President John Magufuli had long worried African health officials by denying the pandemic. Magufuli, who insisted the coronavirus could be defeated with prayer, died in March. The presidency went to his deputy, Samia Suluhu Hassan, who has since changed Tanzania s course on COVID-19.
28th Jul 2021 - The Independent

U.S. to ship 4 mln COVID-19 vaccine doses to Nigeria, 5.66 mln to South Africa

The U.S. government on Wednesday will ship nearly 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to two of the most populous African countries - Nigeria and South Africa - as the continent battles a third wave of infections, White House officials said. Four million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine will go to Nigeria and 5.66 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to South Africa, the officials said
28th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Italian regulator endorses Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for teens

Italian regulators approved the use of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for children 12-17 years old, making it the second shot endorsed for adolescents, alongside that of Pfizer. Italian drug agency AIFA said it had endorsed the vaccine Spikevax for teens, fully accepting the recommendation made by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on July 23.
28th Jul 2021 - Reuters

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IMF warns of growing poverty, unrest and geopolitical tensions

The IMF warns of a global economic recovery where ‘poor get poorer and social unrest and geopolitical tensions grow’.
27th Jul 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Uzbekistan to receive 3 million doses of coronavirus vaccine from U.S.

Some 3 million doses of Moderna coronavirus vaccine will be airlifted to Uzbekistan on July 29 in the framework of COVAX program. These doses of the Moderna vaccine were donated by the United States, the Embassy of Uzbekistan said. According to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, Moderna vaccine may prevent contraction of COVID-19. Its efficacy rate is more than 94%. Vaccine is administered in persons above 18 years in 2 doses with one-month interval. Moderna vaccine is stored at regular fridge temperature making it easy to distribute it across all regions of Uzbekistan.
27th Jul 2021 - AKIpress

Africa wants to produce a coronavirus vaccine — and Big Pharma’s not happy

Africa is poised to make a bold move that could turn around its fortunes in coronavirus vaccine manufacturing — taking the continent from import dependence to self-sufficient production of life-saving jabs for coronavirus, TB and maybe even one day for HIV. Two manufacturers are establishing an mRNA vaccine technology-transfer hub at the tip of the continent that could let it produce its own vaccines, on its own terms. It's a way to address just how exposed countries are if they don’t have their own vaccine manufacturing capacity. Africa imports about 99 percent of routine immunizations — and is the least vaccinated against coronavirus in the world.
27th Jul 2021 - POLITICO Europe

Covid-19: Irish vaccine programme to include 12-15-year-olds

The Covid-19 vaccination programme in the Republic of Ireland is to be extended to include 12 to 15 year-olds. The recommendation was made to the Irish government by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC). Earlier, Taoiseach (Irish PM) Micheál Martin said there would be further advice from the NIAC on the matter. He said it represented a "significant opening up" of the vaccination programme to younger people. Mr Martin said it had been a "very effective" programme to date and the government wanted to encourage "heightened participation" among the remaining age groups.
27th Jul 2021 - BBC News

Greece recommends COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 12-15

Greece said on Monday children aged 12-15 could be vaccinated against COVID-19 with Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna shots, extending the inoculations of adolescents that was begun this month as infections continue to rise. The head of Greece's vaccination committee, Maria Theodoridou, said including younger teenagers in the programme would help protect vulnerable youngsters and relatives and prepare the way for a return to school in September.
27th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Federal law doesn't prohibit Covid-19 vaccine requirements, Justice Department says

Justice Department lawyers have determined that federal law doesn't prohibit public agencies and private businesses from requiring Covid-19 vaccines -- even if the vaccines have only emergency use authorization, according to an opinion posted online Monday. The opinion from the department's Office of Legal Counsel paves the way for more federal agencies and businesses to require vaccinations.
27th Jul 2021 - CNN

Argentina signs deal with Pfizer for 20 mln COVID-19 vaccine doses, minister says

Argentina's government has signed a deal with U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc to acquire 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to be delivered this year, Health Minister Carla Vizzotti told reporters on Tuesday. The agreement comes after Argentina modified at the beginning of the month the law regulating purchases of vaccines against COVID-19 to be able to access the doses of U.S. companies. Those companies had been reluctant to sign with the South American country under previous regulations.
27th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Vietnam companies agree COVID-19 vaccine tech transfer with Japan's Shionogi - media

Vietnamese firms AIC and Vabiotech have signed a deal with Japan's Shionogi & Co to produce COVID-19 vaccines based on recombinant DNA protein technology, a health ministry official told local media outlet VnExpress on Tuesday. After successfully containing the virus for much of the pandemic, Vietnam has been facing record daily surges of infections since an outbreak which emerged in late April.
27th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Can Tasmania continue on its coronavirus-free trajectory?

Tasmania hasn't had an active case of COVID-19 in the community since May 6 last year. While the virus runs rampant through the country's biggest population centres, Tasmania's coronavirus-free count has quietly ticked over the 400-day mark. But how has the island state achieved this? Has Tasmania remained coronavirus-free for so long due to good luck, or good management?
27th Jul 2021 - ABC.Net.au

COVID: Bhutan fully vaccinates 90 percent of adults within a week

The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has fully vaccinated 90 percent of its eligible adult population within just seven days, after receiving vaccines via foreign donations, its health ministry has said. The tiny country, wedged between India and China and home to nearly 800,000 people, began giving out second doses on July 20 in a mass drive that has been hailed by UNICEF as “arguably the fastest vaccination campaign to be executed during a pandemic”.
27th Jul 2021 - AlJazeera

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Europe tried to boost Covid-19 vaccine takeup with carrots. Now some leaders are breaking out the sticks

As the pace of Covid-19 vaccinations in Europe shows signs of a slowdown, leaders are racing to find answers to a key dilemma of the rollout's next phase: how to convince reluctant citizens to roll up their sleeves. From cash payments to phone data, free football stadium tours to free grilled meat, officials have offered up a range of carrots to entice people to get shots.
26th Jul 2021 - CNN

French parliament approves COVID passes despite protests

New legislation extends the use of health certificates in daily life, introduces mandatory vaccinations for healthcare workers.
26th Jul 2021 - Al Jazeera English

U.S. will not lift travel restrictions, citing Delta variant -official

The United States will not lift any existing travel restrictions "at this point" due to concerns over the highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant and the rising number of U.S. coronavirus cases, the White House confirmed on Monday. The decision, which was first reported by Reuters, comes after a senior level White House meeting late on Friday. It means that the long-running travel restrictions that have barred much of the world's population from the United States since 2020 will not be lifted in the short term.
26th Jul 2021 - Reuters

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Ministers plan for new restrictions within weeks as Covid rates in young adults hit record level

The coronavirus infection rate in young people has reached the highest for any age group since the pandemic began as the government drafts contingency plans to bring back restrictions within weeks. In the seven days before Covid restrictions were lifted, 1,154.7 infections per 100,000 people were recorded among those aged 20 to 29, according to Public Health England, with cases rising across every age group and region of the country. Weekly hospitalisations are also at their highest since early March. Officials in the Covid-19 taskforce have been drawing up proposals that could see baseline measures, such as mask-wearing, social distancing and guidance on working from home, reintroduced in England by next month.
24th Jul 2021 - The Independent

EU regulator endorses use of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine in teens

Europe's medicines regulator on Friday recommended approving the use of Moderna's (MRNA.O) COVID-19 vaccine in 12- to 17-year olds, paving the way for it to become the second shot okayed for adolescent use in the bloc.
23rd Jul 2021 - Reuters

Australia's Lorna Jane activewear fined $4 m for misleading COVID-19 claims

Athleisure clothing chain Lorna Jane Pty Ltd was fined A$5 million ($3.7 million) by an Australian court on Friday after claiming its garments could prevent COVID-19, which a judge labelled as "exploitative, predatory and potentially dangerous"
23rd Jul 2021 - Reuters

Taiwan to ease COVID-19 restrictions as cases drop

Taiwan will ease its COVID-19 restrictions next week, the government said on Friday, as rapidly falling case numbers give authorities confidence to further lower the coronavirus alert level. Taiwan imposed restrictions on gatherings, including closing entertainment venues and limiting restaurants to take-out service, in mid-May following a spike in domestic cases after months of no or few cases apart from imported ones.
23rd Jul 2021 - Reuters

Vietnam's biggest cities tighten restrictions as COVID-19 cases surge

Vietnam will extend a lockdown in Ho Chi Minh City until Aug. 1 and impose stricter restrictions in the capital Hanoi from Saturday, as the Southeast Asian country battles its worst wave of COVID-19 infections. After successfully containing the virus for much of the pandemic, Vietnam has been facing a complicated outbreak of the virus, with southern business hub Ho Chi Minh City and surrounding provinces accounting for most new infections.
23rd Jul 2021 - Reuters

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Chile approves emergency use of Sputnik-V coronavirus vaccine

Chile's Institute of Public Health approved emergency use of the Russian Sputnik-V vaccine against COVID-19, joining the country's already massive inoculation program, the institute said in a statement. One of the institute's experts voted against the approval, and two abstained, asking for more information about the efficacy of the formula developed by Russia's Gamaleya Institute. Five members of the committee convened by the institute voted for approval.
22nd Jul 2021 - Reuters

EU has shipped tiny percentage of planned COVID-19 shot donations - document

* EU has donated less than 4 mln COVID-19 vaccines so far - document * 160 mln shots to be shared in total. * EU nations sharing almost exclusively AstraZeneca doses. * Doses shared so far were sent mostly to former colonies. * EU says on track to donate 200 mln this year
22nd Jul 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

U.S. donates 3 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses to Vietnam

The U.S. government will send 3 million more doses of the Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) COVID-19 vaccine to Vietnam on Thursday, bringing total donations to the Southeast Asian country to 5 million, a White House official said. The next batch of shots is due to arrive in Vietnam this weekend as the country battles its worst coronavirus outbreak of the pandemic.
22nd Jul 2021 - Reuters

China rejects WHO plan for study of COVID-19 origin

China rejected on Thursday a World Health Organization (WHO) plan for a second phase of an investigation into the origin of the coronavirus, which includes the hypothesis it could have escaped from a Chinese laboratory, a top health official said. The WHO this month proposed a second phase of studies into the origins of the coronavirus in China, including audits of laboratories and markets in the city of Wuhan, calling for transparency from authorities
22nd Jul 2021 - Reuters

Ireland to wait a few weeks before reopening economy further

Ireland will wait a few weeks before considering easing COVID-19 restrictions beyond Monday's planned resumption of indoor dining and drinking in restaurants and bars, Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Thursday. Ireland has been gradually unwinding its third and longest lockdown and earlier this month delayed plans to allow indoor service in pubs and restaurants for the first time this year due to concerns about the COVID-19 Delta variant.
22nd Jul 2021 - Reuters

As Indonesia mulls easing lockdown, WHO urges tougher restrictions

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday urged Indonesia to implement a stricter and wider lockdown to combat surging COVID-19 infections and deaths, just days after the country's president flagged the easing of restrictions. Indonesia has become one of the epicentres of the global pandemic in recent weeks, with positive COVID-19 cases leaping fivefold in the past five weeks. This week, daily deaths hit record highs over 1,400, among the highest tolls in the world.
22nd Jul 2021 - Reuters

The government relies on Boris Johnson’s infectious optimism – but good cheer alone cannot sustain it

Boris Johnson’s approach to tackling Covid-19 has been remarkably consistent: his objective is to keep society as open as the National Health Service will allow. When pressure on the health service eases, so too must restrictions. When healthcare capacity starts to collapse, down come the shutters again. But having a single aim isn’t the same as having a consistent strategy. Like Johnson’s own instincts, the government has veered in many different directions. Matt Hancock, the Prime Minister’s first health secretary, wanted to keep the country as locked down as possible until science beat back the disease. Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, argued for looser restrictions and a less generous support scheme for businesses and individuals, creating the ideal conditions for the virus to spread.
22nd Jul 2021 - New Statesman

Israelis to receive Moderna COVID vaccine beginning August

Health funds will be able to place orders for the Moderna vaccine, which will then be made available to Israelis over the age of 18. Starting July 28, health funds will be able to place orders for the Moderna vaccine, which will then be made available to eligible Israelis beginning August 1, according to a letter sent by the Health Ministry to the health funds. At that point, the Pfizer vaccine will only be administered to those under the age of 18, for whom the Moderna vaccine is not yet approved, and for people who are waiting on their second dose.
21st Jul 2021 - The Jerusalem Post

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Pfizer to offer COVID-19 vaccines to African Union through South African partnership

Pfizer and BioNTech will partner with The Biovac Institute, a South African biopharmaceutical company, to manufacture COVID vaccines for distribution within the African Union, the companies announced Tuesday.
21st Jul 2021 - Yahoo

US extends coronavirus closures of borders with Mexico, Canada

The United States’ land borders with Mexico and Canada will remain closed to non-essential travel for another month, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced, just days after Canada signalled plans to ease restrictions on travel from the US. The restrictions into the US by land or ferry will remain in place until at least August 21, the DHS said on Wednesday.
21st Jul 2021 - AlJazeera

WHO leader says virus risk inevitable at Tokyo Olympics

The Tokyo Olympics should not be judged by the tally of COVID-19 cases that arise because eliminating risk is impossible, the head of the World Health Organization told sports officials Wednesday as events began in Japan. How infections are handled is what matters most, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a speech to an International Olympic Committee meeting. “The mark of success is making sure that any cases are identified, isolated, traced and cared for as quickly as possible and onward transmission is interrupted,” he said. The number of Games-linked COVID-19 cases in Japan this month was 79 on Wednesday, with more international athletes testing positive at home and unable to travel.
21st Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

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Zimbabwe orders COVID-19 vaccination for all civil servants

Zimbabwe's government on Tuesday ordered that all its workers should receive a COVID-19 vaccine and only 10% of civil servants report for duty, with the rest working from home in a bid to curb the spread of the pandemic. The head of the public commission, Jonathan Wutawunashe, said in a circular to government departments that all civil servants - about 250,000 - were considered frontline workers who should get COVID-19 shots.
20th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Vietnam agrees to tech transfers on Russian, U.S. COVID-19 vaccines

Vietnam said on Tuesday it has reached agreements on technology transfers for Russian and U.S. coronavirus vaccines. The Southeast Asian nation is keen to boost its vaccine capacity. The World Health Organization said in May it was reviewing a proposal by an unidentified manufacturer in Vietnam to become an mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine technology hub.
20th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Israel to launch digital tracking for people in COVID quarantine

Under new measure, people in isolation must reply to a text message sent by police who will then use it to track their immediate location; PM calls for criminal charges for confirmed coronavirus patients who violate their isolation, streamlining enforcement process on the ground
18th Jul 2021 - Ynetnews

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Cabinet ignored expert advice in reopening nightclubs: report

The Dutch government ignored advice from experts in the Outbreak Management Team and Fieldlab when it authorized the reopening of nightclubs on June 26, NRC reported based on parliamentary documents and conversations with people involved. The number of coronavirus cases in the Netherlands spiked in the two weeks after clubs reopened and events were made possible. This resulted in the cabinet tightening some restrictions again, and apologizing for relaxing measures too soon.
19th Jul 2021 - NL Times

A Pacific nation's Covid-19 crisis has become a political power play between China and Australia

China and Australia have found another battleground for their deepening diplomatic standoff: the Pacific Islands' pandemic response. Canberra has hit back at Beijing's claims it is derailing the rollout of Chinese vaccines in Papua New Guinea (PNG), the most-populous Pacific nation. "We support Papua New Guinea making sovereign decisions," Australia's minister for the Pacific, Zed Seselja, said in an interview with CNN on Wednesday.
19th Jul 2021 - CNN

Taiwan approves Medigen's COVID-19 vaccine candidate

Taiwan's government on Monday approved the emergency use and production of Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp's. COVID-19 vaccine candidate, a major step in the island's plans to develop its own vaccines to protect against the coronavirus.
19th Jul 2021 - Reuters

19 July: England Covid restrictions ease as PM urges caution

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged caution as most legal restrictions on social contact are lifted in England. There are now no limits on how many people can meet or attend events; nightclubs reopened at midnight; and table service will not be necessary in pubs and restaurants. Face coverings will be recommended in some spaces, but not required by law. Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said government experts had recommended that only some under-18s be vaccinated.
19th Jul 2021 - BBC News

Judge upholds COVID-19 vaccine mandate in victory for Indiana University

Indiana University students must comply with the school's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for the fall semester after a federal judge refused on Monday to block the school's inoculation requirement, one of the first rulings of its kind during the pandemic. U.S. District Court Judge Damon Leichty in South Bend, Indiana, rejected the argument by eight students that the school violated their bodily autonomy and constitutional right to due process. "This university policy isn’t forced vaccination," wrote the judge. "The students have options -- taking the vaccine, applying for a religious exemption, applying for a medical exemption, applying for a medical deferral, taking a semester off, or attending another university."
19th Jul 2021 - Reuters

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Nigeria puts six states on COVID-19 red alert, curbs gatherings

Nigeria has put six states on red alert after seeing a "worrisome" rise in COVID-19 infections, a government official said, urging people to curb gatherings and hold prayers outside mosques during this week's Muslim festival Eid-el-Kabir. Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, is like most parts of the continent now facing a COVID-19 third wave after detecting the more transmissible Delta variant.
18th Jul 2021 - Reuters

S.Korea to expand curbs on private gatherings beyond Seoul

South Korea will expand tougher COVID-19 restrictions on private gatherings to outside the Seoul metropolitan area, as the country struggles to contain its worst outbreak, its prime minister said on Sunday. "It's been a week since the toughest level of distancing curbs have been imposed in the metropolitan area but the number of confirmed (virus) cases is rarely decreasing ... Pre-emptive measures are needed for now," Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum told a meeting with health officials. From Monday until Aug. 1, current rules in Seoul limiting private gatherings to four people will apply to the rest of the country.
18th Jul 2021 - Reuters

All adults in Britain offered a COVID-19 shot ahead of Monday reopening

Every adult in the United Kingdom has been offered a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, the health ministry said on Sunday, ahead of the end of legal restrictions in England on Monday. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's target was for every adult who wanted to a shot to be able to get one by July 19.
18th Jul 2021 - Reuters UK

British ministers decide against mass vaccination for teens - The Telegraph

Britain has opted against mass COVID-19 vaccinations for all children and teenagers, with ministers instead preparing to offer doses to vulnerable 12 to 15-year-olds and those about to turn 18, the Telegraph newspaper reported late on Saturday.
18th Jul 2021 - Reuters UK

UK has nine times more Covid cases than France as country moves to 'amber plus' list

The UK has extended quarantine rules for France, despite Britain having almost nine times as many Covid cases. British holidaymakers coming home from France after Monday will still have to continue to quarantine for 10 days, officials have announced. The requirement will be dropped for all other 'amber list' countries as long as returning Brits have been double-jabbed. Many travellers have questioned why the rules are continuing for France when it has a comparatively low number of new Covid infections. The UK recorded a further 244,691 cases in the 7 days to July 14, while France only had 27,713 infections over the same period, according to Our World in Data.
17th Jul 2021 - The Mirror

U.S. COVID-19 vaccine doses going to Ukraine, Bangladesh

The United States sent 2 million doses of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine to Ukraine via the COVAX international vaccine-sharing program on Friday, a White House official said, and plans to send 3.5 million Moderna doses to Bangladesh over the weekend. The doses for Bangladesh will arrive on Monday, the official said. The doses are part of President Joe Biden's promise to share doses of U.S. vaccine with other countries around the world, via COVAX or directly.
17th Jul 2021 - Reuters

World leaders pledge to focus on global vaccination efforts

Leaders of the Asia-Pacific trade group APEC, including US President Joe Biden, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and China’s Xi Jinping, pledged on Friday to work to expand sharing and manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines to fight the global pandemic. The leaders, struggling to tame outbreaks exacerbated by the Delta variant, said they would encourage the voluntary transfer of vaccine production technologies “on mutually agreed terms” as the region prepared for future health shocks.
16th Jul 2021 - Al Jazeera English

India orders 660 mln vaccine doses amidst warnings over shortages - media

The Indian government has ordered 660 million vaccine doses for August-December, its largest procurement, local news reports said on Friday, as state authorities and health experts warned that shortages could leave millions vulnerable if coronavirus infections surge again. The federal government aims to inoculate all of the country's estimated 944 million adults by December, a target health experts have said is ambitious, as only 8% of that number is currently vaccinated with the mandatory two doses.
16th Jul 2021 - Reuters India

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Risk of COVID spread is 'zero', IOC chief says, amid rising cases

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said on Thursday there was "zero" risk of Games participants infecting Japanese residents with COVID-19, as cases hit a six-month high in the host city. Bach said Olympics athletes and delegations had undergone more than 8,000 coronavirus tests, resulting in three positive results. "Risk for the other residents of Olympic village and risk for the Japanese people is zero," he added.
15th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Alabama military base is first in the U.S. to require vaccination proof amid rising covid-19 rates

An Alabama military base is taking increased actions to combat the ongoing prevalence of coronavirus infections, authorizing leaders to ask for proof of vaccination of service members not wearing a mask while on duty. It is the first military base in the continental United States to allow leaders to check the vaccination status of those in uniform. The new guidance at Fort Rucker comes as the new delta variant of the virus continues to drive infection rates and now accounts for a majority of cases in the United States. The base is among facilities, including Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, Fort Sill in Oklahoma and Fort Jackson in South Carolina, where less than half of the surrounding populations have been vaccinated.
15th Jul 2021 - The Washington Post

CDC advisers to consider coronavirus booster shots for immunocompromised patients

A federal advisory panel is expected next week to consider whether health-care workers should be allowed to give additional coronavirus shots to patients with fragile immune systems, even as top U.S. health officials have said an additional dose of vaccine is not widely needed. The prospect of booster shots emerged last week as the maker of a two-dose coronavirus vaccine, Pfizer-BioNTech, announced it would seek regulatory approval for a third inoculation amid rising global concern about the highly transmissible delta variant.
15th Jul 2021 - The Washington Post

Analysis | Under Trump, Republicans touted the coronavirus vaccines. Now, under Biden, they're questioning them.

Days after initial data from two coronavirus vaccines showed broad effectiveness at preventing illness, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) went on Fox Business Network to laud them. “I’ve been a big proponent of releasing it early,” Paul said Nov. 19. “I think that we’ve had enough safety and effectiveness data.” About two weeks later, Paul told Fox: “All I would say to government officials is let’s get the vaccine out as soon as we can.” Since then, Paul has become one of several congressional Republicans employing conjecture and misinformation to question the efficacy of the vaccines and the Biden administration’s efforts to vaccinate more Americans. You can watch examples of these juxtapositions in the video above.
15th Jul 2021 - The Washington Post

WHO's Tedros to set out follow-up study into COVID-19 origins - director Ryan

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus will share proposals for a phase 2 study into the origins of the coronavirus with member states on Friday, its emergency director Mike Ryan said. "We look forward to working with our Chinese counterparts on that process and the director-general will outline measures to member states" on Friday, Ryan told a news conference in Geneva on Thursday. Earlier, Tedros told reporters that investigations into the origins of COVID-19 in China were being hampered by the lack of raw data on the first days of its spread there
15th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Vietnam approves Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine as daily cases hit record

Vietnam on Thursday approved Johnson & Johnson's Janssen COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday for emergency use, as the country tries to boost supplies at a time of record numbers of new infections. The approval of the vaccine, the sixth brand to be endorsed in the Southeast Asian country, is part of Vietnam's efforts to expedite its inoculations programme amid its worst outbreak so far. Vietnam reported a record 3,416 new cases on Thursday, its biggest daily increase and above Wednesday's record high of 2,934. Most of those are in Ho Chi Minh City, the epicentre, which has been under stricter movement curbs since last week.
15th Jul 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19 deaths in Africa surge 43% week-on-week, WHO says

Africa recorded a 43% jump in COVID-19 deaths last week as infections and hospital admissions have risen and countries face shortages of oxygen and intensive-care beds, the World Health Organization said on Thursday. The continent's case fatality rate - the proportion of deaths among confirmed cases - stands at 2.6% against the global average of 2.2%, WHO Africa said in its weekly briefing. "Africa's third wave continues its destructive pathway, pushing past yet another grim milestone as the continent's case count tops six million," Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, told the briefing.
15th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Fosun-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine completes China regulator review - media

Chinese regulators have completed an expert review of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine developed by Germany's BioNTech and Fosun Pharma and the shot is in the administration review stage, Caixin reported, citing the Chinese company. China hasn't approved any COVID-19 vaccine developed overseas but greenlighted several domestic brands, administering 1.4 billion doses so far, or two-fifths of the global total of 3.47 billion doses
15th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Grappling with 'worst-case scenario', Indonesia faces more COVID-19 pain

Indonesia prepared if daily cases top 60,000 - minister. Government assessing duration of mobility curbs. Union says over 10% of manufacturing workers infected Indonesia approves Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine
15th Jul 2021 - Reuters

New Zealand's Ardern to host emergency APEC virus summit

New Zealand's Jacinda Ardern will host an emergency meeting of APEC leaders. Friday aimed at bolstering vaccine rollouts to contain the fast-spreading coronavirus variants now fuelling the pandemic. The virtual meeting, called with less than five days' notice, would also examine the 21-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group's response to its biggest economic crisis since World War II, the prime minister said.
15th Jul 2021 - International Business Times

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EU regulator weighing mixing COVID-19 vaccines, booster doses

Says 'not in position' to advise on use of different doses. Says countries may adapt strategies based on available evidence. Finds no 'clear' link between Moderna shot, new blood condition. EC says it follows science, but needs to be prepared
14th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Spain's top court rules pandemic lockdown unconstitutional

Spain’s Constitutional Court ruled Wednesday that a strict stay-at-home lockdown order the Spanish government issued under a state of emergency during the first wave of COVID-19 last year was unconstitutional. While upholding most terms of the state of emergency, the court said provisions ordering the population off the streets except for shorts shopping trips, unavoidable work commutes and other essential business violated Spain’s Constitution. The court issued a brief statement that described the ruling as a split decision. State broadcaster TVE said six magistrates were in favor and five against. The full decision is expected to be released in the coming days.
14th Jul 2021 - Associated Press

Coup, COVID fuelling 'perfect storm' in Myanmar, UN expert warns

Surging COVID-19 cases as the Delta variant spreads, a collapsed health system, and “deep mistrust” of the military junta, are a “perfect storm” of factors that could lead to further major loss of life in Myanmar, the UN independent expert on the human rights situation in the country warned on Wednesday. In a statement, Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews said “emergency” assistance for Myanmar was desperately needed to save lives. “The highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being and that right is being denied to most within Myanmar. The international community must act.”
14th Jul 2021 - UN News

Vietnam says Pfizer to provide additional 20 mln COVID-19 vaccine doses

Vietnam on Wednesday said U.S. vaccine maker Pfizer would provide an additional 20 million doses of its COVID-19 mRNA shot, as the country tries to shore up supplies at a time of record number of new infections. The additional Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines would be used for 12-18 year olds, its health ministry said in a statement. It comes a day after Vietnam said it would offer the vaccine as a second dose option for people inoculated with one shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine
14th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 Vaccines Are Becoming Mandatory in Parts of China

Several local governments in China are planning to bar residents who haven’t been vaccinated against Covid-19 from accessing public venues, stirring controversy as the country makes a push for herd immunity. In recent days, a dozen counties and cities in the eastern provinces of Zhejiang, Fujian and Jiangxi set late-August deadlines for people 18 years or older to complete a two-shot vaccine regimen, according to similarly worded online statements. Many of them also set dates in late July by which unvaccinated people would be barred from entering schools, libraries, prisons, nursing homes and inpatient facilities at hospitals without a valid medical exemption. Some of the localities attributed their new policies to “national, provincial and municipal arrangements,” without explaining whether they received a decree from the central government.
14th Jul 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Thailand plans to mix Sinovac and AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines. Critics say that's risky

A virologist and adviser to Thailand's government endorsed a plan to mix doses of the coronavirus vaccines of AstraZeneca and Sinovac, amid some public unease about use of the largely untested strategy. There has been no research released specifically about mixing the two types, but a growing number of countries are looking at mix-and-match approaches to better protect from highly transmissible variants -- with Vietnam the latest. At a health ministry news conference, Yong Poovorawan, a virology expert at Chulalongkorn University, said 1,200 people in Thailand had already received the Sinovac-AstraZeneca combination -- in different orders -- mainly due to allergic reactions to their first doses, requiring them to change vaccine
14th Jul 2021 - CNN

Vietnam to mix doses of Pfizer, AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines - govt

Vietnam will offer the coronavirus mRNA vaccine jointly developed by Pfizer and BioNTech as a second dose option for people first inoculated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, its government said on Tuesday.
14th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings sues Florida over prohibition on vaccine requirements.

The fight over requiring vaccinations for travel is heating up. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings sued Florida’s surgeon general on Tuesday, accusing the state of preventing it from “safely and soundly” resuming trips by barring it from requiring customers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. The filing represents the latest twist in a monthslong fight over the resumption of cruises from Florida, a hub for the industry. Under Gov. Ron DeSantis, the state has fought vaccine requirements by cruises and other businesses, claiming that such policies are discriminatory. Supporters of vaccine requirements have argued that requiring vaccines is necessary to protect public health.
13th Jul 2021 - The New York Times

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 14th Jul 2021

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UAE sends 500,000 coronavirus vaccine doses to Tunisia

A plane carrying 500,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses, donated by the UAE to help curb the spread of the virus, has arrived in Tunisia. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, ordered the donation of half a million Covid-19 vaccine doses to Tunisia. The country is battling to contain a second wave of infections, with several countries in the region pledging aid.
13th Jul 2021 - The National

Moldova gets 500,000 doses of J&J's COVID-19 vaccine from U.S. - State Dept

The United States has sent 500,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine to Moldova as part of Washington's coronavirus diplomacy to send surplus shots overseas to help fight the global pandemic, the U.S. Department of State said on Tuesday. "I’m pleased to announce the donation of 500,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to Moldova. This delivery furthers the U.S. commitment to defeating the global COVID-19 pandemic and helping Moldova," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a post on Twitter alongside pictures of the shipments. The COVID-19 pandemic has battered the economy of tiny ex-Soviet republic, which has 3.5 million people and is one of Europe's poorest nations.
13th Jul 2021 - Yahoo

COVAX signs deal for 550 million Chinese Covid-19 vaccines amid questions over efficacy

COVAX has signed agreements with two Chinese pharmaceutical companies to buy more than half a billion of their Covid-19 vaccines by the first half of next year, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi) announced Monday. Under the agreements, Chinese vaccine makers Sinopharm and Sinovac will begin to make 110 million doses immediately available, according to a news release from Gavi, a public-private global health partnership that is co-leading COVAX, a worldwide initiative aimed at distributing vaccines to countries regardless of wealth. The agreements came at a time when "the Delta variant is posing a rising risk to health systems," Gavi said in the statement.
13th Jul 2021 - CNN

Thailand approves $1.3 bln measures to ease impact of COVID-19 lockdown

Thailand’s cabinet on Tuesday approved 42 billion baht ($1.29 billion) of relief measures to help businesses and workers affected by the latest coronavirus restrictions as the country deals with its biggest outbreak so far. The measures included compensation for businesses and utility subsidies, government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said in a statement. The lockdown began on Monday in the capital Bangkok and nine provinces.
13th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Living with COVID-19: Israel changes strategy as Delta variant hits

Masks back on indoors in Israel. Delta variant has driven up infections Israel following "soft suppression" strategy. Aims for minimum disruption to daily life
13th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Malaysia seeks to beef up health system as Delta variant rages

Malaysia on Tuesday announced new measures to support its ailing public health system as the country saw another record daily rise in COVID-19 cases, fueled by the highly infectious Delta variant. The Southeast Asian country reported 11,079 new infections on Tuesday, the third daily record seen in the past week, and 125 new deaths. The surge comes even as Malaysia ramped up its vaccination programme and imposed stricter lockdown measures over the past month.
13th Jul 2021 - Reuters

French rush to get vaccinated after president’s warning

More than 1 million people in France made vaccine appointments in less than a day, according to figures released Tuesday, after the president cranked up pressure on everyone to get vaccinated to save the summer vacation season and the French economy. Some bristled at President Emmanuel Macron’s admonition to “get vaccinated!” immediately, but many people signed up for shots, accepting that getting injected was the only way to return to some semblance of pre-pandemic life.
13th Jul 2021 - Associated Press

WHO director-general slams notion of Covid-19 vaccine booster doses given global health needs

The director-general of the World Health Organization issued a stinging rebuke to Pfizer and other vaccine manufacturers focused on developing — and selling — Covid-19 vaccine booster shots to high-income countries, saying they should focus instead on providing vaccine to nations that have had little access to first doses. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ statement came four days after Pfizer said it has data to support its repeated claim that a third dose of its vaccine will be needed to keep protection levels high. He also singled out Moderna, which, like Pfizer, is developing updated vaccines targeted at variants. “We’re making conscious choices right now not to protect those in most need,” Tedros said in Geneva.
13th Jul 2021 - STAT News

The world will not exit Covid-19 pandemic without booster shots, vaccine developer says

The world will not get the Covid-19 pandemic under control without using booster shots for messenger RNA vaccines, one of the key figures involved in the development of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine said Tuesday. Ugur Sahin, co-founder and CEO of BioNTech, insisted booster shots are going to be necessary, despite caution from some experts. “At the end of the day it really matters that we get this pandemic under control. And we will not get it under control without boosting. That’s my strong opinion,” Sahin said.
13th Jul 2021 - STAT News

State of emergency begins in host city Tokyo as Games near

Olympic host city Tokyo entered a new state of emergency on Monday, less than two weeks before the Games begin amid worries about whether the measures can stem a rise in COVID-19 cases. Organisers last week announced that spectators would be banned from nearly all venues. Spectators from abroad were already banned months ago, and officials are now asking residents to watch the Games on TV to keep the movement of people, which could spread contagion, to a minimum.
13th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Politics, health collided in Taiwan's tortured BioNTech vaccine talks

As talks for Taiwan to access BioNTech SE's COVID-19 vaccine via two major Taiwanese companies reached a head last week, the German firm's Chinese sales agent put forward a template contract seeking access to Taiwanese medical records. The clause sparked alarm, as such a requirement would be anathema for Taiwan's government, long wary of Beijing's attempts at influence over the democratic island, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
12th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Global COVID Cases Up for 4th Consecutive Week, WHO Says

The World Health Organization reported Monday that COVID-19 cases rose globally for the fourth consecutive week and that the number of deaths rose after 10 weeks of declines — driven by the highly contagious delta variant, which was first detected in India. The delta variant has now been reported in more than 104 countries. At the agency's Monday briefing from its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said all but one of the organization's six global regions had seen an increase in COVID-19 cases.
12th Jul 2021 - Voice of America

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'Be cautious': Johnson goes ahead with lifting England's COVID curbs

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people on Monday to show caution when nearly all remaining COVID-19 restrictions are lifted in England next week, saying an increase in cases underlined that the pandemic was by no means over. England will from July 19 be the first nation in Britain to lift the legal requirement to wear masks and for people to socially distance. The government says Britain's vaccination drive - one of the world's fastest - has largely broken the link between infections and serious illness or death. But what was once billed as "freedom day" is now being treated with wariness by ministers after a new surge in cases and fears that there could be as many as 100,000 new infections a day over the summer.
12th Jul 2021 - Reuters UK

Brazil's federal police open probe into Bolsonaro over vaccine deal - source

At the request of the Supreme Court, Brazil's federal police has formally opened a probe into President Jair Bolsonaro related to alleged irregularities in the purchase of an Indian vaccine and could now question him, a source with knowledge of the matter said on Monday. The president has been caught up in allegations of irregularities surrounding the 1.6 billion reais ($316 million) contract signed in February for 20 million doses with a Brazilian intermediary for the vaccine’s maker, Bharat Biotech.
12th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Moderna to supply 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Argentina

Moderna Inc said on Monday it had signed a supply agreement with the government of Argentina for 20 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine or its updated variant booster vaccine candidate. The company said delivery was expected to begin in the first quarter of 2022. Last week, the Latin American country said it was looking to sign a supply deal with the U.S. vaccine maker, in an attempt to speed up the inoculation of its population and sidestep a possible third wave of the coronavirus.
12th Jul 2021 - Yahoo

Latin America urgently needs vaccines from west, top official warns

​Wealthy nations have three times the coronavirus vaccine stocks they need for their own populations and should donate the surplus now to Latin America, the region worst hit by the pandemic and where the death toll is “catastrophic”, a top official has said. In an interview with the Financial Times, Rebeca Grynspan, who heads the Ibero-American General Secretariat that groups Spain, Portugal and Latin America, said other countries should follow the example of Spain. The country’s prime minister Pedro Sánchez has pledged to donate surplus vaccines to Latin America via the WHO-led Covax facility once half of the ​Spanish ​population has been vaccinated. As of July 8, some 57.5 per cent had received a first dose, according to Madrid. “It’s very important to follow the ​Spanish example because that would start to give us the vaccines from the second half of this year,” Grynspan said. If Spain’s example was not followed, “the suffering will be prolonged and it will keep costing many lives”.
12th Jul 2021 - Financial Times

China's Sinovac, Sinopharm ink COVAX supply deal for up to 550M coronavirus vaccine doses

COVAX, the global COVID-19 vaccine sharing program, has fallen behind in its pursuit to provide poorer nations with billions of doses by year’s end. But now, the program is getting a much-needed boost from Chinese vaccine developers Sinovac and Sinopharm. In a boon to poorer countries with lagging vaccine rollouts, Gavi, the vaccine alliance, inked supply agreements with the two drugmakers worth up to 550 million doses. Since the shots have already scored the WHO’s emergency use backing, they’ll be able to ship out immediately, Gavi said.
12th Jul 2021 - FiercePharma

Germany seeks to know more than just COVID-19 case numbers

With coronavirus cases edging up again, German officials said Monday that a broader focus is needed to fully understand the impact the pandemic is having on the country's health care system. For much of the past year the incidence rate — how many COVID-19 cases are confirmed per 100,000 people each week — has been key to the government's decisions over what restrictive measures to impose.
12th Jul 2021 - The Independent

Saudi Arabia to send one million doses of vaccine to Tunisia

Saudi Arabia will send a medical aid package to Tunisia that includes one million doses of vaccine to help the North Africa country control the rapid spread of the COVID pandemic. Saudi Arabia joins other Arab countries in helping Tunisia, which is facing the collapse of its health care system, including Egypt, Algeria, UAE, Kuwait, Turkey and Qatar. The Saudi Press Agency said on Monday the aid also includes 190 respirators and other equipment.
12th Jul 2021 - Reuters

World hunger, malnutrition soared last year mostly due to COVID-19 - U.N. agencies

World hunger and malnutrition levels worsened dramatically last year, with most of the increase likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a multi-agency United Nations (U.N.) report published on Monday. After remaining virtually unchanged for five years, the number of undernourished people rose to around 768 million last year - equivalent to 10% of the world's population and an increase of around 118 million versus 2019, the report said.
12th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Sweden to ease pandemic curbs despite worries over mounting Delta cases

Sweden's government said on Monday it will move ahead with a planned easing of pandemic restrictions this week but warned that new variants of the virus demanded vigilance as it urged people to adhere to social distancing recommendations. Sweden has relied mainly on voluntary measures to stem the spread of infections, though curbs on opening hours for restaurants and limits on crowds at venues such as shopping malls have also been implemented.
12th Jul 2021 - Reuters

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Saudi Arabia approves Moderna's COVID vaccine -state news agency

Saudi Arabia's Food and Drug Authority on Friday approved Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for use in the kingdom, the state news agency (SPA) said. The authority added that after this approval, authorities will start procedures to import the two-dose vaccine, the news agency said. Saudi Arabia had earlier approved the use of the Pfizer, AstraZeneca and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
10th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Arab countries pledge aid as Tunisia struggles with COVID pandemic

Several countries promised to help Tunisia fight the coronavirus on Friday as the north African country recorded its highest daily death toll since the pandemic began, putting its health care system under severe stress and depleting oxygen supplies. President Kais Saied said in a statement that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had pledged to send vaccinations and whatever medical equipment Tunisia needed.
10th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 9th Jul 2021

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U.S. to send 500,000 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses to Uruguay

The United States will ship 500,000 doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to Uruguay on Thursday, the White House said, amid a wider distribution to Latin American nations this week. The shipments are part of President Joe Biden's commitment to share 80 million vaccines from the U.S. domestic supply with countries around the world. "Today we ship 500,000 doses of Pfizer to Uruguay," White House spokesman Kevin Munoz said in a Twitter post.
8th Jul 2021 - Reuters

EU could discuss joint recognition of COVID-19 vaccine certificates with Russia -TASS

The European Union has proposed to Russia that they discuss the potential joint recognition of their COVID-19 vaccination certificates, TASS news agency cited the bloc's ambassador to Moscow as saying. Russia has approved four vaccines, none of which have been approved by the European Union. Moscow has not authorized any foreign vaccines for use. TASS quoted EU Ambassador Markus Ederer as saying the 27-nation bloc has digital certificates allowing its citizens to travel freely within the EU, as well as a law that envisages the possibility of recognising other similar certificates.
8th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Coronavirus vaccine to be made mandatory for disability support workers in Australia

In Australia, disability support workers may soon be forced to get vaccinated against coronavirus if they want to keep their jobs. The compulsory jab policy has been recommended by a panel of health experts and will be debated at a national cabinet meeting on Friday. The proposed mandate follows a similar order imposed on aged care workers, who must receive at least one dose by mid-September to remain employed in the industry.
8th Jul 2021 - SBS News

Amid fresh virus surge, Africa sets out to save itself on vaccines procurement

Let down by wealthy countries, Africa is pinning its hopes on its own coronavirus vaccine deals. And for once, the man who is usually delivering dire predictions about Africa's fight against the pandemic actually seems optimistic. John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, delivered some good news this week: Africa is expecting the first vaccine doses from the sizable deal secured through the AU's African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) to start arriving in the next two to three weeks. But he’s still cautious, almost as if his optimism may jinx things. The delivery follows the June announcement by the AU and the World Bank of a partnership that would allow AVATT to deliver up to 400 million doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
8th Jul 2021 - POLITICO.eu

How Delta variant forced Israel to rethink its Covid strategy

For much of this year Israel has been hailed as a resounding Covid-19 success story. It rolled out one of the world’s fastest vaccination drives, reopened its economy and jettisoned all remaining lockdown restrictions last month. Now rising infection rates, driven by the more infectious Delta variant, have forced the Israeli government to reintroduce restrictions for the first time since January. While hospitalisation rates remain low, Israel has chosen a cautious approach. Israelis again have to wear masks inside and on public transport. Testing sites have been reopened. Multiple other curbs, including stricter quarantine for travellers and greater testing of children, are expected to be introduced. Israel may even bring back the “green pass”, which allowed greater freedom for vaccinated people.
8th Jul 2021 - Financial Times

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New Zealand approves use of J&J coronavirus vaccine

New Zealand medical regulators have approved use of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, after earlier in the year approving the Pfizer vaccine. But New Zealand’s government intends to stick with its plan of primarily using the Pfizer vaccine to inoculate the population of 5 million. The provisional approval for the J&J vaccine by regulator Medsafe applies to adults aged 18 and over and will need to be signed-off on by the Cabinet, which will likely happen next month. New Zealand has an agreement to buy 2 million doses of the J&J vaccine.
7th Jul 2021 - MarketWatch

Japan set to declare another COVID-19 state of emergency in Tokyo

The Japanese government is slated to declare another state of emergency over COVID-19 in Tokyo as infections rebounded in the capital, where the Olympic Games are scheduled to open about two weeks later. The Tokyo metropolitan government reported 920 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, logging the highest number since mid-May at the peak of Japan's fourth wave of infections. The Japanese capital reported 1,010 new COVID-19 cases on May 13. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said he will make a final decision Thursday regarding the 10 prefectures including Tokyo and Osaka after a quasi-state of emergency expires Sunday.
7th Jul 2021 - Xinhua

UK to track COVID-19 variants with genomic sequencing across the world

Britain said on Wednesday it would provide genomic sequencing support to Brazil, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Pakistan to help identify, assess and track new variants of the novel coronavirus. The novel coronavirus, which has killed 4 million people globally since it emerged in China in late 2019, mutates around once every few weeks, slower than influenza or HIV, but enough to require tweaks to vaccines. Public Health England will extend support to Britain's partners through the New Variant Assessment Platform Programme which tracks changes in the virus.
7th Jul 2021 - Reuters

World reacts cautiously to Boris Johnson’s ‘reckless’ Covid plans

Boris Johnson’s plan to scrap most of England’s Covid-19 restrictions has prompted alarm, wariness and perhaps even a hint of envy around the world. Politicians in the north and south of Ireland, which stands to be most affected by its neighbour’s experiment, expressed concern about its consequences being exported across the Irish Sea. Authorities in other parts of Europe and in New Zealand gave a more mixed response but none said they planned to follow England’s lead.
7th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

COVID-19: Department of Health and Social Care investigated over ministers' use of private emails

The Department of Health and Social Care is being formally investigated over the use of private email addresses by ministers during the coronavirus crisis. The Information Commissioner's Office has launched a probe into "the use of private correspondence channels" by the department and is seeking the handover of evidence. It follows a Sunday Times report last month that both former health secretary Matt Hancock - who quit the role after being caught breaching COVID rules by kissing an aide - and under-pressure health minister Lord Bethell routinely used private inboxes.
7th Jul 2021 - Sky News

When will lockdown end? How Covid restrictions are easing in England on 19 July – and what happens next

England is set to lift the final remaining lockdown restrictions which were put in place to combat an alarming spike in Covid-19 cases at the beginning of this year. The rules were announced by Boris Johnson on Monday 4 January and have been gradually lifting since early in March under a four-stage roadmap. The final easing of restrictions is now set for Monday 19 July, with the Prime Minister indicating “freedom day” would go ahead despite cases continuing to rise – here’s how England’s lockdown will end, and what could come next.
7th Jul 2021 - iNews.co.uk

Panic-buying as Vietnam announces broad COVID-19 curbs in biggest city

Vietnam will impose tight movement restrictions in its commercial hub Ho Chi Minh city from the end of the week to tackle a coronavirus outbreak, its health ministry said on Wednesday, in some of its strictest curbs yet. The measures effective for 15 days from Friday include a stay-home order, a ban on more than two people gathering and a closure of public transport services, the ministry said. "Fighting the pandemic is fighting the enemy," the city chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong said in a health ministry statement.
7th Jul 2021 - Reuters

New Zealand not willing to risk UK-style ‘live with Covid’ policy, says Jacinda Ardern

New Zealand has dismissed suggestions it should follow in Britain’s footsteps to “live with” Covid-19, saying the level of death proposed by Boris Johnson would be “unacceptable”. If cases in Britain explode as a result of the lifted regulations, New Zealand may also consider putting the country on a no-fly list. On Monday, Johnson announced plans to scrap regulations including on face masks and social distancing by 19 July, saying that Britain must “learn to live with” the virus. He said Covid cases would likely reach 50,000 a day within a fortnight, and “we must reconcile ourselves, sadly, to more deaths from Covid”.
7th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

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The Latest: Zimbabwe back to strict lockdown, virus surges

Zimbabwe has returned to strict lockdown measures to combat a resurgence of COVID-19 amid vaccine shortages. Infections have dramatically increased in recent weeks despite a night curfew, reduced business hours, localized lockdowns in hotspot areas, and bans on inter-city travel. The country’s information minister announced the virus has spread to rural areas which have sparse health facilities. Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa announced after a Cabinet meeting that most people must stay at home, similar to restrictions on movement adopted in March last year when towns and cities became almost deserted.
6th Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Australia denies using ‘plants’ to undermine China’s Covid vaccine rollout in Pacific

The Australian government has denied undermining China’s plan to roll out Covid vaccines to Pacific countries after Beijing lashed Canberra’s purported “callous” and “irresponsible behaviour”. The allegation, first aired in Chinese state-controlled media and then amplified by the foreign ministry in Beijing, was “absolutely not” true, the Australian government said on Tuesday. The spat is the latest flashpoint in the deteriorating relationship between China and Australia amid intense competition for influence in the Pacific region.
6th Jul 2021 - The Guardian Australia

S. Korea is to get 700,000 COVID-19 vaccines doses from Israel

South Korea said it will receive 700,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine from Israel on loan this week, in an attempt to speed up immunisation following a surge in infections around the capital Seoul. More than 1,000 COVID-19 cases were reported as of 6 p.m. on Tuesday, the highest since December and hundreds more than the 746 cases posted on Monday, Yonhap news agency reported, citing South Korean government health officials.
6th Jul 2021 - Reuters

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Local lockdowns could still be imposed after Covid 'freedom day' if new variants emerge

Local lockdowns could still be imposed in England after the so-called Covid “freedom day”, Sajid Javid has revealed. Ministers will retain laws that allow local authorities to shut down businesses, prohibit certain events, or close outdoor public spaces “in case of a local breakout” or in case a new dangerous variant emerges, the Health Secretary told MPs. “We will be keeping in place contingency measures, particularly for local authorities, the so-called No.3 regulations, at least until the end of September, in case those powers are needed in the case of a local breakout,” Mr Javid told the Commons.
5th Jul 2021 - iNews

Iran, facing another virus surge, reimposes restrictions and focuses on homegrown vaccines

Iran on Sunday reimposed coronavirus restrictions amid fears that a fifth wave of the virus driven by the delta variant could overrun the country’s health-care system, already battered by U.S. sanctions and the region’s worst cycle of outbreaks. The latest surge comes as Iran has struggled to import vaccines, prompting the country’s leaders to double down on researching and developing its homegrown vaccines.
5th Jul 2021 - The Washington Post

Ghana plans to issue Africa’s first social bonds with $2B sale

Ghana would be pioneering social bonds in Africa, seizing on an instrument that’s boomed since the COVID-19 pandemic.
5th Jul 2021 - Aljazeera.com

Ukraine approves Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

Ukraine has approved the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson, the health ministry said on Monday.
5th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Leaked memo raises Thai concern about Sinovac vaccine's efficacy

A leaked health ministry document has prompted calls in Thailand for medical staff inoculated against COVID-19 to be given a booster of an mRNA vaccine, after it included a comment that such a move could dent public confidence in Sinovac Biotech's vaccine. The internal memo, which included various opinions, was reported by local media and shared widely on social media. It was confirmed by Thai Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul as being authentic.
5th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Australia is paying hundreds of millions to AstraZeneca for COVID-19 vaccines. But the deal is a 'national security' secret

The Australian government's entire vaccine supply agreement with AstraZeneca is being withheld from public release on the grounds it poses a "real and substantial risk" to national security if it were released. Gavin Hayman, the executive director of global advocacy group Open Contracting, said Australia's blanket suppression of the deal was striking and at odds with other nations. "There is no merit in using a national security argument for keeping the vaccine contract hidden from public sight," he said. "In fact, national security is best served by building public trust in the entire vaccination program. We think publishing the contract with a clear explanation of its key terms can contribute to that."
5th Jul 2021 - ABC.Net.au

Norway delays full reopening over Delta COVID-19 variant

Norway announced the easing of some COVID-19 restrictions on Monday but delayed the final phase of reopening the economy until the end of this month at the earliest because of concerns about the Delta coronavirus variant. Measures that will remain include bars and restaurants being limited to table service, limits of 20 people on gatherings in private homes, and restrictions on adult recreational sports.
5th Jul 2021 - Reuters

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Covid-19: Ireland to buy one million vaccine doses

The Irish government has announced it is to purchase one million Covid-19 vaccine doses from Romania. The agreement in principle to purchase the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, followed talks between Taoiseach (Irish PM) Micheál Martin and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. Mr Martin said the development was "very good news for Ireland". People aged 18 to 34 can register to get a specific Covid-19 vaccine in the Republic of Ireland from next week. Earlier, Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said this group can "opt-in" for Janssen or AstraZeneca for earlier vaccination.
3rd Jul 2021 - BBC News

Brazil top court gives nod for probe into Bolsonaro over vaccine deal

Brazil's Supreme Court Justice Rosa Weber late on Friday authorized an investigation of President Jair Bolsonaro by the top prosecutor's office, or PGR, for dereliction of duty in the process of procuring an Indian COVID-19 vaccine, according to a copy of the decision seen by Reuters.
3rd Jul 2021 - Reuters

Australia to halve arrivals from overseas, offers COVID-19 exit roadmap

Australia to cut arrivals from overseas to 3,000 a week. NSW reports 31 new cases, biggest daily rise for 2021. Brisbane lockdown extended for another day
3rd Jul 2021 - Reuters

South Africa Approves Sinovac's Covid-19 Vaccine

South African regulators have approved Sinovac Biotech Ltd.’s coronavirus vaccine, the first shot developed for the disease by a Chinese company to be sanctioned locally. The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority backed the double-dose CoronaVac candidate made by Sinovac’s Life Sciences unit with conditions, according to a statement on Saturday. Those include satisfactory results of ongoing studies and periodic safety updates, SAHPRA said.
3rd Jul 2021 - Bloomberg

China, U.S. to send COVID-19 vaccine doses to El Salvador

China will send 1.5 million Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines to El Salvador, the Chinese Embassy there announced on Friday, hours after the White House said the U.S. would send 1.5 million Moderna vaccines to the Central American nation. El Salvador's president, Nayib Bukele, responded to China's plan by retweeting the embassy's announcement and placing the Chinese flag next to that of his country. So far, he has not commented on the White House announcement.
3rd Jul 2021 - Reuters

Argentina opens door to U.S. vaccine donations with legal tweak

Argentina will tweak legislation to help the country receive U.S. donations of COVID-19 vaccinations, senior officials said on Friday, a move that could also help unlock deals that have proved tricky with drugmakers like Pfizer Inc. A government decree will soften legal clauses around negligence, remove a reference to "fraudulent maneuvers" and create a fund to compensate people harmed by a vaccine.
3rd Jul 2021 - Reuters

Slovakia sells most Sputnik V vaccine doses back to Russia

Slovakia has sold most Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccines back to the country of origin, the Slovak Health Ministry said on Friday, as public interest is low after months of government hesitation over using the product that lacks European regulatory approval. Slovakia shipped back 160,000 out of 200,000 doses imported in March, at $9.95 per dose, the same price as the original purchase, a ministry spokeswoman said.
3rd Jul 2021 - Reuters

WHO warns new COVID wave inevitable in Europe as cases rise

A third wave of infections is now inevitable unless citizens and legislators are “disciplined”, the World Health Organization (WHO) warns, saying a 10-week decline in new coronavirus infections across Europe has come to an end. The number of new cases across Europe rose by 10 percent last week, the UN health agency’s regional director for Europe Hans Kluge told a news briefing on Thursday in Copenhagen, Denmark.
1st Jul 2021 - Al Jazeera English

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WHO decision challenges West to recognize Chinese vaccines

The World Health Organization said Thursday that any COVID-19 vaccines it has authorized for emergency use should be recognized by countries as they open up their borders to inoculated travelers. The move could challenge Western countries to broaden their acceptance of two apparently less effective Chinese vaccines, which the U.N. health agency has licensed but most European and North American countries have not. In addition to vaccines by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna Inc., AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, the WHO has also given the green light to the two Chinese jabs, made by Sinovac and Sinopharm.
1st Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

World Bank says will boost COVID-19 vaccine funding to $20 bln

The World Bank on Wednesday pledged to boost available funding for COVID-19 vaccine purchases and deployment to $20 billion from a previous target of $12 billion, citing a sharp increase in overall financing demand from developing countries. World Bank President David Malpass said the global development bank had already provided more than $4 billion to 51 developing countries for the purchase and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines, and would add billions for 25 more countries soon. "Much more will follow in coming weeks," Malpass told reporters, noting that a total of 41 requests had been received from African countries, where less than half the population has been vaccinated
1st Jul 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: Indonesia announces lockdown in Java and Bali as cases surge

Indonesia has announced a lockdown on its main island Java, as well as the tourism destination of Bali. The announcement by President Joko Widodo comes as the country battles multiple outbreaks and an alarming spike in Covid cases. Indonesia recently recorded two million Covid cases, attributed to increased holiday travel and the Delta variant. The lockdown will last two weeks and aims to reduce the number of cases to below 10,000 a day. The country is currently recording more than 20,000 new cases each day.
1st Jul 2021 - BBC News

Malaysia to impose tighter coronavirus restrictions in capital

Malaysia on Thursday announced tighter restrictions on movement and businesses in the capital Kuala Lumpur and neighbouring Selangor state as new coronavirus cases show no sign of abating. Security Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Kuala Lumpur and several districts in Selangor will see stricter measures imposed from Saturday for a period of two weeks. Only essential busineses, including factories producing food and daily necessities are allowed to operate, he said in a statement.
1st Jul 2021 - Reuters

Emergency curbs in Indonesia’s Java and Bali amid COVID surge

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has announced “emergency restrictions” on the archipelago’s most populous island of Java and the tourist island of Bali as a second wave of COVID-19 infections drives rates of hospitalisation and deaths to record highs. In a televised address on Thursday, Widodo said the measures will begin on Saturday and last until July 20.
1st Jul 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Some European nations approve India’s Covishield vaccine: Report

Germany and Spain are among nine countries in Europe to have told India they will accept travellers inoculated with Covishield, the Indian-made version of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, Indian foreign ministry sources said. Friction emerged between India and Europe in recent days over the exclusion of Covishield as an accepted vaccine by the European Union vaccine passport programme.
1st Jul 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Africa's COVID-19 envoy blasts EU, COVAX over vaccine crisis

The African Union special envoy tasked with leading efforts to procure COVID-19 vaccines for the continent is blasting Europe as Africa struggles amid a crushing third surge of infections, saying Thursday that “not one dose, not one vial, has left a European factory for Africa.” Strive Masiyiwa also took aim at the global effort meant to distribute vaccines to low- and middle-income countries, accusing COVAX of withholding crucial information including that key donors hadn’t met funding pledges. He didn’t name which donors. “The situation could be very different had we known back in December that ‘Listen, this help is not coming, do for yourselves,’” Masiyiwa told reporters, adding that “many countries were just sitting back saying, ‘the vaccines are coming.’ ... We as Africans are disappointed.”
1st Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Biden behind on global vaccine sharing, cites local hurdles

President Joe Biden came up well short on his goal of delivering 80 million doses of coronavirus vaccine to the rest of the world by the end of June as a host of logistical and regulatory hurdles slowed the pace of U.S. vaccine diplomacy. Although the Biden administration has announced that about 50 countries and entities will receive a share of the excess COVID-19 vaccine doses, the U.S. has shipped fewer than 24 million doses to 10 recipient countries, according to an Associated Press tally. The White House says more will be sent in the coming days and stresses that Biden has done everything in his power to meet the commitment.
1st Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Africa’s COVID threat hits ‘new level’ as Delta variant spreads

Warnings are mounting about a fast-growing new wave of COVID-19 infections across the continent amid insufficient vaccines. At a press briefing on Thursday, the World Health Organization’s Africa director Dr Matshidiso Moeti warned that “the speed and scale of Africa’s third wave is like nothing we’ve seen before.” “COVID-19 cases are doubling every three weeks, compared to every four weeks at the start of the second wave. Almost 202,000 cases were reported in the past week and the continent is on the verge of exceeding its worst week ever in this pandemic,” she added. Moeti said that, among the 14 African countries now in resurgence, 12 have detected coronavirus variants of concern, including nine with the highly contagious Delta variant.
1st Jul 2021 - AlJazeera

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Zimbabwe imposes dusk to dawn curfew in new COVID-19 restrictions

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday imposed a dusk to dawn curfew, banned inter-city travel and cut business hours with immediate effect in response to increasing coronavirus infections. The southern Africa nation, which has recorded more than 47,000 cases since the outbreak last year, has seen its 7-day average infection rate increasing five times to 727 compared to two weeks ago.
30th Jun 2021 - Reuters

As Covid Rages, Putin Pushes Russians to Get a (Russian) Vaccine

President Vladimir V. Putin urged Russians to get vaccinated against the coronavirus on Wednesday — his most extensive comments on the matter yet — as his country scrambles to contain a vicious new wave of the illness. Speaking at his annual televised call-in show, Mr. Putin spent the opening half-hour trying to convince Russians to get one of the country’s four domestically produced shots. It was the latest instance of a marked change in tone about the pandemic from Russian officials, who for months did little to push a vaccine-wary public to get immunized but are now starting to make vaccination mandatory for some groups. “It’s dangerous, dangerous to your life,” Mr. Putin said of Covid-19. “The vaccine is not dangerous.”
30th Jun 2021 - The New York Times

World Bank says will boost financing for COVID-19 vaccines to $20 billion

The World Bank on Wednesday pledged to boost available funding for COVID-19 vaccine purchases and deployment to $20 billion from a previous target of $12 billion, citing a sharp increase in overall financing demand from developing countries. World Bank President David Malpass said the global development bank had already provided more than $4 billion to 51 developing countries for the purchase and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines, and would add billions for 25 more countries soon.
30th Jun 2021 - Reuters

France delays some regional unwinding of COVID restrictions over fourth wave concerns

Warnings of 4th COVID wave in France by September or October. Unwinding of restrictions delayed in Les Landes. Presence of Delta variant growing in France Average number of new cases up for third consecutive day. France has world's 9th highest COVID death toll
30th Jun 2021 - Reuters

U.S. to ship 2.5 million doses of J&J vaccine to Colombia

The U.S. plans to ship 2.5 million doses of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine to Colombia, the White House said Wednesday. The Colombian president's office said Monday that U.S. President Joe Biden told President Ivan Duque of the donation in a call during which they also discussed reactivating the economy, jobs, climate change and shared democratic values and human rights.
30th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Thailand buys 5 mln doses of Moderna coronavirus vaccine

Thailand said on Wednesday it would import nearly four million doses of Moderna’s mRNA coronavirus vaccine towards the end of this year and a further one million in early 2022, for use by private hospitals. Thailand’s vaccinations strategy so far has relied heavily on the viral vector vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca and Sinovac Biotech’s inactivated COVID-19 vaccine. The Government Pharmaceutical Organization in a statement said 3.9 million doses of the Moderna vaccine would be delivered in the fourth quarter and 1.1 million doses in the first quarter of 2022.
30th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Brazil suspends Covid-19 vaccine deal with Indian firm amid allegations of contract irregularities

Despite a desperate need for Covid-19 vaccines, Brazil is suspending a deal to purchase 20 million doses of the Indian-made Covaxin vaccines, the Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday, after questions were raised about a pricing increase.
30th Jun 2021 - CNN

S.Korean capital delays relaxation of social distancing as COVID-19 cases surge

South Korea's capital Seoul and its neighbouring regions will delay by a week the relaxation of social distancing rules due to a sudden increase in COVID-19 cases, authorities said. The government had said it would relax social distancing and allow private gatherings of up to six people in the greater Seoul area, from the current four, starting July 1 as the country's inoculation drive has been picking up speed
30th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Bangladesh to deploy army in lockdown to curb COVID-19 surge

Bangladesh is deploying army troops from Thursday to enforce a strict lockdown amid a record spike in coronavirus cases driven by the Delta variant first detected in India, the government said on Wednesday. Most restrictions imposed as part of a strict lockdown introduced in April have since been lifted, but a record spike in cases this week of the highly contagious Delta variant has prompted the government to order a week of tight controls.
30th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 30th Jun 2021

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Brazil's Bolsonaro under fire after vaccine deal allegations

Accusations that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro turned a blind eye to possible corruption in a deal to purchase coronavirus vaccines have heightened threats to his presidency, including a move to recommend slapping him with a criminal charge. The claims have added impetus to the opposition’s impeachment drive and left the Brazilian leader’s allies in Congress evaluating the costs of their support.
29th Jun 2021 - Associated Press

India's Cipla gets regulator nod to import Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine

Indian drugmaker Cipla has received regulatory approval to distribute partner Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine in the country, a senior government official said on Tuesday, clearing the way for the shot to be imported. Moderna's vaccine will be the fourth shot authorized for use in India, after AstraZeneca and partner Serum Institute of India's Covishield, Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and Sputnik V developed by Russia's Gamaleya Institute. "Our vaccine basket is now richer by this addition," government official Vinod Kumar Paul said at a news briefing on Tuesday, adding the government remained in talks with Pfizer over the drugmaker's vaccine.
29th Jun 2021 - Reuters

US to send 2.5m doses of Moderna coronavirus vaccine to Pakistan

The Biden administration is shipping 2 million doses of the Pfizer COVID vaccine to Peru and 2.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine to Pakistan, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday. "Thanks to the President’s commitment to playing a leading role in ending the pandemic everywhere, 2 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine will begin to ship to Peru from the United States, and 2.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine will ship to Pakistan," Psaki said. The White House earlier this month laid out a plan for the United States to donate 80 million surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to the world by the end of June.
29th Jun 2021 - Geo News

Indonesia's COVID-19 situation nears 'catastrophe' - Red Cross

Oxygen prices in Indonesia’s capital had more than doubled and some suppliers reported shortages on Tuesday after a surge in COVID-19 cases that prompted the Red Cross to warn of a coronavirus “catastrophe” in Southeast Asia’s biggest country. Indonesia has announced record daily COVID-19 infections of more than 20,000 in recent days, in a new wave fueled by the emergence of highly transmissible virus variants and increased mobility after the Muslim fasting month. With hospitals filling up in the capital, Jakarta, and patients being turned away, some people sought to secure oxygen for infected family members at home. The price for a tank of oxygen had jumped to $140 from the usual $50, suppliers said.
29th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Malaysia PM announces $36 bn aid package amid extended lockdown

Malaysia Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Monday announced a 150 billion ringgit ($36.22 billion) aid package, including cash aid and wage subsidies, a day after extending a nationwide lockdown indefinitely to tackle a stubborn COVID-19 outbreak. Lockdown measures originally set to end on Monday would not be eased until daily reported cases fell below 4,000, the state news agency reported on Sunday, citing Muhyiddin. On Monday, Malaysia reported 5,218 new infections, bringing total cases to 739,266, including 5,001 deaths.
29th Jun 2021 - Taiwan News

Japan to donate 1 mln AstraZeneca vaccines to the Philippines

The Philippines will receive one million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines next month provided by Japan, its ambassador to the Southeast Asian nation said on Tuesday. "We are working double time so this donation reaches Philippine shores without delay," the ambassador posted on his official Twitter account posted. The vaccines will be delivered on July 8.
29th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 29th Jun 2021

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IMF says Africa urgently needs vaccines to halt repeated COVID waves

COVID-19 infections in Africa will likely exceed previous peaks within days, underscoring an urgent need to accelerate vaccine supplies and financing to the region, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Monday.
28th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Spain, Malta and Portugal restrict non-vaccinated travellers

Portugal and Malta have introduced measures to restrict UK travellers who are not fully vaccinated. The Portuguese government says travellers will have to quarantine for 14 days unless they can prove they received their second vaccine dose a fortnight before arrival. Malta is also only allowing double-vaccinated people in from Wednesday. In Spain, UK travellers need to prove they are fully vaccinated, or provide a negative PCR test on arrival.
28th Jun 2021 - BBC News

Colombia says to get 2.5 mln Janssen COVID shot donation from U.S.

Colombia said on Monday it will receive a U.S. donation of 2.5 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine developed by Janssen, the pharmaceutical unit of Johnson & Johnson
28th Jun 2021 - Reuters

U.S. to donate 1 mln doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to Paraguay

The United States said on Monday it will donate one million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech, coronavirus vaccine to Paraguay, offering relief to the South American country whose immunization program is moving slowly amid a new wave of COVID-19 cases.
28th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Cambodia receives another batch of China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine

A new batch of COVID-19 vaccine Cambodia purchased from China's pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech arrived in Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia, on Monday, the state-run National Television of Cambodia (TVK) reported. In its live broadcast on the vaccine's arrival at the Phnom Penh International Airport, TVK said Cambodia's acquisition of Sinovac vaccine was a testament to the close relations and cooperation between Cambodia and China. The Chinese Embassy in Cambodia confirmed the new arrival of the vaccine in a Facebook post, saying that the China-Cambodia joint COVID-19 fight has set a model for international cooperation.
28th Jun 2021 - China Daily

Greater Darwin lockdown extended by 72 hours as NT records one new case of COVID-19

Darwin and its surrounds will remain in lockdown for an extra 72 hours as a result of the growing COVID-19 outbreak linked to a gold mine in the Northern Territory. The cluster has now grown to seven, after one new case was recorded since yesterday. The lockdown will remain in place for Darwin, Palmerston and the rural area until 1:00pm on Friday, NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner said.
28th Jun 2021 - ABC News

Government failures still hamper our Covid-19 response

Sarah Boseley’s article on the Oxford vaccine story (The Oxford vaccine: the trials and tribulations of a world-saving jab, 26 June) was a huge missed opportunity to get to the real root cause of some of the vaccine’s challenges. Namely, the failure of the UK to invest in pandemic preparedness, specifically vaccine manufacturing, over many years. Prior to the pandemic, I had sought significant funding to prepare for a disease “X” (like Covid-19) and to develop the manufacturing capacity to produce trial vaccines – neither of which happened. If we had been properly prepared, and not had to make do with what we had in place while in the midst of a lockdown, we would have been much better able to respond. As it is, I am incredibly proud of what has been achieved with more than 500m doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine distributed around the world on a not-for-profit basis.
28th Jun 2021 - The Guardian

COVID-19: Two-week lockdown imposed in Sydney as Australia battles 'new phase' of pandemic

Australians have been warned they face the most "serious crisis" in the COVID pandemic since last February/March as health officials battle to contain new outbreaks of the virus. Australia's COVID-19 committee is due to hold an emergency meeting on Monday over rising case numbers plus outbreaks of the Delta variant across the country. Authorities in New South Wales are warning coronavirus infections will increase "considerably" after the state recorded 18 new locally transmitted virus cases.
28th Jun 2021 - Sky News

Delta COVID-19 variant sends even vaccinated nations back into lockdown

The delta variant of the coronavirus is sending Australia, New Zealand and Bangladesh into some form of lockdown, along with parts of Portugal. Even Israel, where more than half of the population is vaccinated, is reimposing a mask mandate in enclosed public places. The variant, first discovered in India, has been identified in at least 85 countries and “is the most transmissible of the variants identified so far … and is spreading rapidly among unvaccinated populations,” World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Friday. Sydney, Australia’s biggest city, on Saturday began a two-week lockdown because of the growing number of cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
28th Jun 2021 - The Observer Uganda

Malaysia's COVID-19 lockdown to be extended - PM

Malaysia will extend a national lockdown beyond Monday to curb the spread of COVID-19, state news agency Bernama reported on Sunday, citing Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. Lockdown measures were set to end on Monday. But Muhyiddin said they will not be eased until daily cases fell below 4,000, Bernama said. Malaysia reported 5,803 cases on Saturday.
28th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 28th Jun 2021

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Israel's new leader urges youth to get vaccine

Israel’s new prime minister is urging the country’s youth to get vaccinated as coronavirus case numbers have crept up in recent days due to a localized outbreak of the Delta variant. Naftali Bennett’s comments came at a meeting of the government Sunday in Jerusalem. “We don’t want to impose any restrictions: not on parties, on trips or anything like that. But specifically because of this, if you don’t want restrictions, go get vaccinated today. Talk to your parents and get vaccinated,” he said. Israel reinstated a mask mandate indoors amid a rise in new infections in the past week. Israel’s Health Ministry recorded 113 new coronavirus cases Saturday.
27th Jun 2021 - The Associated Press

Bangkok, 9 provinces restrict movements to curb rising cases

Faced with a sharp rise in coronavirus cases, the Thai capital on Sunday announced a ban on indoor dining and gatherings of more than 20 people, in addition to the closure of construction sites and the sealing off of workers’ quarters in Bangkok and nine other provinces. The measures will remain for 30 days. Thailand reported 3,995 confirmed cases and 42 dead in the last 24 hours. The numbers have doubled recently, and health officials blame a lack of cooperation from migrant workers employed in construction and in factories.
27th Jun 2021 - The Associated Press

COVID: New restrictions amid struggle to contain Delta variant

Authorities in several countries – from Bangladesh and Indonesia to Australia and Israel – are racing to contain the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, while Russia’s Saint Petersburg announced a record death toll, laying bare the challenges faced by nations worldwide in their efforts to return to pre-pandemic life. While vaccination campaigns have brought down infections in mostly wealthy nations, the rise of the Delta variant has stoked fears of new waves of a virus that has already killed nearly four million people.
27th Jun 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Sydney and Darwin in lockdown as COVID-19 cases pop up across Australia

Australia reported on Sunday one of the highest numbers for locally acquired coronavirus cases this year, triggering lockdowns in the cities of Sydney and Darwin and forcing tighter restrictions in four states. Sydney began a two-week lockdown on Sunday as the Bondi neighbourhood cluster of the highly infectious coronavirus Delta variant rose to 110 in Australia's largest city, while an outbreak in the northern city of Darwin prompted a hard two-day stay-at-home order.
27th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: Japan to donate millions more AstraZeneca vaccine doses across Asia

Japan will donate one million Covid-19 vaccine doses each to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand starting from next Thursday, said foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi on Friday. Kyodo News reported that the foreign minister said that the country will also offer one million doses each to Taiwan and Vietnam, in addition to the batches of 1.24 million and one million shots provided to them, respectively, earlier in the month. The decision to provide coronavirus vaccine developed AstraZeneca came after requests were made from the said countries and Taiwan.
26th Jun 2021 - ETHealthworld.com

San Francisco becomes biggest US city to demand all 35000 of its municipal workers get Covid vaccine

The City of San Francisco is requiring all 35,000 of its employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19 or risk losing their jobs. Workers who don’t comply could be fired; About 70% of city’s residents are already fully vaccinated, one of the highest vaccination rates of any U.S. city. City officials say the requirements will promote safety in municipal workplaces. It includes police officers, firefighters, building inspectors and other city workers who come into regular contact with members of the community. The requirement will take effect once a Covid vaccine receives full authorization from the Food and Drug Administration
26th Jun 2021 - Daily Mail

UN chief urges European Parliament to support COVID vaccines for all

The Secretary-General reiterated his recent call for an Emergency Task Force that would mobilize pharmaceutical companies and key industry players in implementing a plan to ensure the entire global population is vaccinated by “as early as possible in 2022.” Members would include vaccine-producing countries, as well as nations that could manufacture these treatments provided they have assistance, supported by the World Health Organization (WHO); the vaccine alliance, GAVI, and international financial institutions. The Task Force would explore all options to scale-up vaccine production, such as technology transfers, patent pooling, sharing intellectual property, and addressing supply chain bottlenecks.
26th Jun 2021 - UN News

Honduras to receive 1.5 mln doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from U.S. on Sunday

Honduras will receive 1.5 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from the United States on Sunday as part of an initial delivery of doses through the COVAX international vaccine-sharing program, White House officials told Reuters. The shipment is part of 80 million U.S. doses that President Joe Biden has pledged to share with other countries around the world either directly or through the COVAX program. "We are sharing vaccines with Honduras because it’s the right thing to do from a global public health perspective, and right for our collective security and well-being in the region," said Juan Gonzalez, senior director for the Western Hemisphere on the White House National Security Council, in a statement shared with Reuters.
26th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Iceland becomes first country in Europe to lift ALL coronavirus restrictions

Icelanders will no longer need to wear masks or keep a safe distance from others All Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted from Saturday, health minister confirmed Government said 87 per cent of Icelanders received first dose of a Covid vaccine It has infection incidence of 1.6 per 100,000 inhabitants on two-week average
25th Jun 2021 - Daily Mail

Russia mandates vaccinations for some as virus cases surge

They tried grocery giveaways and lotteries for new cars and apartments. But an ambitious plan of vaccinating 30 million Russians by mid-June still has fallen short by a third. So now, many regional governments across the vast country are obligating some workers to get vaccinated and requiring the shots to enter certain businesses, like restaurants. As many Western countries lift coronavirus restrictions and plan a return to normal life after mass vaccinations, Russia is battling a surge of infections — even though it was the first in the world to authorize a vaccine and among the first to start administering it in December.
25th Jun 2021 - The Associated Press

U.S. Offers Afghanistan 3 Million J&J Covid-19 Vaccine Doses

The Biden administration plans to deliver three million doses of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine next week to Afghanistan, which is battling its deadliest wave of the pandemic amid a rapidly deteriorating security situation. The White House is offering the single-dose vaccines ahead of President Biden’s Friday meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Afghanistan’s chief peace negotiator, Abdullah Abdullah. They plan to discuss how Washington can continue supporting the embattled Afghan government, which lost large territories to the Taliban this month, once the U.S. military completes its withdrawal. Mr. Biden aims to press Mr. Ghani and Mr. Abdullah—who ran against the Afghan president in elections in 2014 and 2019—to align more closely and create a broader front against the Taliban, if Washington is to continue supporting Kabul, according to a senior administration official.
24th Jun 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 25th Jun 2021

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The Struggles of India’s Vaccine Giant

When the coronavirus hit, the Serum Institute of India seemed uniquely positioned to help. It is world’s largest vaccine maker, producing 1.5 billion doses a year for diseases from polio to tetanus. Striking a deal with AstraZeneca, its leaders promised to make and deliver a billion doses of vaccine to low- and middle-income nations. Earlier this year, however, a second wave of the coronavirus hit India hard and Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to ban all exports of vaccines. What has this ban meant for the nations that were promised millions of doses, and for the Serum Institute itself?
24th Jun 2021 - The New York Times

UN urges Belgium to double coronavirus vaccine production

Belgium should double its production of coronavirus vaccines to ensure an equitable distribution of doses in the world, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said during a visit to Brussels on Thursday. Guterres, who met with Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and several other ministers before speaking at the European Parliament, emphasised the disparity between the number of administered vaccines in Europe compared to in Africa.
24th Jun 2021 - The Brussels Times

Federal government projects little need for AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine after October

AstraZeneca is likely to be phased out of Australia's coronavirus vaccine rollout later in the year as more Pfizer and Moderna doses join the immunisation program. The federal government has released the vaccine distribution projections it supplied to state and territory health authorities. COVID-19 task force commander Lieutenant General John Frewen says the information would allow states to better plan their immunisation programs
24th Jun 2021 - SBS News

States race to vaccine Gen Z against Covid-19

With more than 84% of all eligible people in Vermont having had at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose, no one would blame health officials if they wanted to take it easy, but the easy path is not a part of Dr. Michael Levine's pandemic plans. The Vermont health commissioner says he's proud of the Green Mountain state ranks first in the US for Covid-19 vaccinations, but with the variant threat, Levine wants even more people protected. To do that, he's going to have to figure out how to reach the one demographic that's holding out, not just on him, but on public health leaders throughout the country -- Gen Z. "They're a tough nut to crack," Levine said.
24th Jun 2021 - CNN on MSN.com

White House Plan for COVID-19 Antiviral Pills

The Biden administration has committed $3 billion toward the development of antiviral medications. The hope is the pills will effectively treat COVID-19 symptoms as well as be ready for use in future pandemics. Experts say the goal of the program is a good one, but they’re uncertain if it can be accomplished.
24th Jun 2021 - Healthline

‘Real and present danger’: Sydney imposes new COVID curbs

People in Sydney, Australia’s biggest city, have been ordered not to leave the metropolitan area, as authorities scramble to contain a number of new coronavirus cases of the Delta variant – a development that has prompted neighbouring New Zealand to raise its alert level following possible exposure from a tourist from Australia. New South Wales (NSW) State Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the stricter curbs – affecting about five million people who live and work in the city – on Wednesday. The new rules took effect at 4pm Sydney time (06:00 GMT) and will remain in force for a week.
24th Jun 2021 - AlJazeera

Africa battles new COVID-19 wave hitting faster and harder

Africa is facing a devastating resurgence of COVID-19 infections whose peak will surpass that of earlier waves as the continent’s countries struggle to vaccinate even a small percentage of the population, top health officials said Thursday. “The third wave is picking up speed, spreading faster, hitting harder,” Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said Thursday “With rapidly rising case numbers and increasing reports of serious illness, the latest surge threatens to be Africa’s worst yet,” she said
24th Jun 2021 - Associated Press

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 24th Jun 2021

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Nearly every new Covid-19 death is now entirely preventable, CDC director says

The dangerous Delta variant poses a risk as the United States works to ease out of the Covid-19 pandemic, but experts say the nation has the tools needed to overcome the threat -- if the public takes advantage of them. "Covid-19 vaccines are available for everyone ages 12 and up," US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday at a White House briefing. "They are nearly 100% effective against severe disease and death -- meaning nearly every death due to Covid-19 is particularly tragic, because nearly every death, especially among adults, due to Covid-19 is at this point entirely preventable." Those still dying from Covid-19 in the US are "overwhelmingly" unvaccinated, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN.
23rd Jun 2021 - CNN

Moscow restricts visits to bars, restaurants to curb COVID-19 wave

Moscow's mayor ordered bars and restaurants to serve people only if they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or had had an infection indicating immunity - one of the Russian capital's toughest steps to fight the pandemic since last year's lockdown. The Kremlin has blamed a renewed wave of infections over the last two weeks on the Delta variant and the slow pace of its vaccination programme even though four domestically-produced vaccines have been approved for use.
23rd Jun 2021 - Reuters

Delta Plus: India issues alert over new Covid 'variant of concern'

India has issued an alert over a new variant of concern called Delta Plus that is believed to be more transmissible than the original Delta Covid strain. The country's health ministry said 16 cases of the variant - a mutation of B.1.617.2, which was first detected in India - were found in the state of Maharashtra on Tuesday. Federal health secretary Rajesh Bhushan told a news conference that Delta Plus is more transmissible than the original Delta Covid-19 strain. The health ministry also warned it could be less susceptible to vaccines and that it may be better at binding to receptors on people's lungs.
23rd Jun 2021 - LBC

New Zealand brings back curbs in Wellington after COVID scare from Sydney visitor

Australia's largest city of Sydney re-introduced "soft touch" COVID-19 curbs on Wednesday to contain a widening outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant, mandating masks in offices while neighbouring states closed their borders. New Zealand raised the alert level in its capital of Wellington over exposure concerns after an Australian tourist tested positive for the virus upon returning to Sydney from a weekend visit to the neighbouring nation.
23rd Jun 2021 - Reuters

Morgan Stanley says unvaccinated staff and clients not welcome

Morgan Stanley says staff and clients will not be allowed to enter the bank’s New York offices if they are not fully vaccinated, making it the latest in a line of Wall Street firms to delay the return of unvaccinated employees. Employees, clients, and visitors will be required to attest to being fully vaccinated in order to access the bank’s offices in New York City and Westchester in the US state of New York, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters late Tuesday. Those who are not fully vaccinated will need to work remotely, the source added. The policy, outlined in an internal memo, is one of the most restrictive issued by a major US bank so far. The firm said the goal is to help create a normal office environment, without a need for face masks and physical distancing.
23rd Jun 2021 - AlJazeera

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 23rd Jun 2021

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WHO setting up hub to make COVID-19 vaccines in South Africa

The WHO is setting up a hub in South Africa to give companies from poor and middle-income countries the know-how and licenses to produce COVID-19 vaccines, in what President Cyril Ramaphosa called an historic step to spread lifesaving technology. The "tech transfer hub" could make it possible for African companies to begin manufacturing mRNA vaccines - the advanced technology now used in shots from Pfizer and Moderna - in as little as 9-12 months, the World Health Organization said.
22nd Jun 2021 - Reuters

EU takes up option to buy 150 million more Moderna COVID-19 shots

The European Union has decided to take up an option under a supply contract with drugmaker Moderna that allows the bloc to order 150 million additional COVID-19 vaccines produced by the U.S. biotech firm, the EU Commission said on Tuesday. The announcement comes a week after CureVac, a German biotech firm, said its COVID-19 vaccine was only 47% effective in a late-stage trial, missing the study's main goal and casting doubt on the potential delivery of hundreds of millions of doses to the EU
22nd Jun 2021 - Reuters

Turkey's Erdogan says easing COVID-19 restrictions further as of July

Turkey will further relax restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 from next month, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday after the number of daily coronavirus cases in the country fell to around 5,000. Lockdowns that had been imposed on Sundays and curfews from 1900 GMT on weekdays would be lifted from July 1, Erdogan said after a government cabinet meeting. "Public transportation restrictions will also be lifted and public institutions will return to normal working hours," Erdogan said.
22nd Jun 2021 - Reuters

Moscow imposes new virus restrictions as cases remain high

The mayor of Moscow announced new pandemic restrictions on Tuesday, saying the situation in the capital where the delta variant of the virus is spreading remains “very difficult.” The country’s state coronavirus task force reported 6,555 new COVID-19 cases in Moscow on Tuesday and a total 16,715 new infections across Russia, both tallies twice as high as a month ago. “The decisions that we’re making are difficult, unpopular, but necessary for saving people’s lives,” Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said in an online statement, adding that more than 14,000 people severely ill with COVID-19 remain in the city’s hospitals. He has attributed the infection spike to the delta variant that first appeared in India. Sobyanin banned all entertainment and sports events at which more than 500 people are present starting Tuesday.
22nd Jun 2021 - The Associated Press

White House’s global COVID jab distribution plan hits a snag

The Biden administration on Monday revealed allocation plans for 55 million coronavirus vaccination doses, amid what officials say are logistical challenges that have delayed a commitment to share 80 million with other countries by the end of June. In a fact sheet released Monday, the White House said the majority of the 55 million shots will be shared through the COVAX global sharing mechanism. Some 14 million doses will go to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Brazil, Argentina and Colombia, while 16 million will go to countries in Asia, including India. About 10 million doses will go to Africa, with countries selected in coordination with the African Union. The remaining doses, some 25 percent, will be shared directly with countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and in Europe.
21st Jun 2021 - AlJazeera

Health minister invites Chinese vaccine maker to invest in Turkey

Sinovac, the Chinese developer of the first COVID-19 vaccine used in Turkey, was urged by Health Minister Fahrettin Koca to invest in the country for mass production of vaccines. Koca, who held a videoconference call with Sinovac executives, said he believed a good cooperation model can be developed between the company and his country. According to media outlets, Sinovac has reportedly started production in Turkey. Sinovac's CoronaVac, an inactive vaccine, was Turkey’s first choice for vaccination against the coronavirus. It was the first jab applied in the country to health care workers during the campaign that later included a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
20th Jun 2021 - Daily Sabah

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 22nd Jun 2021

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WHO says delta is the fastest and fittest Covid variant and will 'pick off' most vulnerable

The highly contagious delta variant is the fastest and fittest coronavirus strain that will “pick off” the most vulnerable people, the World Health Organization said. Delta has the potential “to be more lethal because it’s more efficient in the way it transmits between humans,” the WHO’s Dr. Mike Ryan said.
21st Jun 2021 - CNBC

World Bank, African Union join forces to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines

The World Bank and the African Union said on Monday they would work together to accelerate COVID-19 vaccinations for up to 400 million people across Africa, bolstering efforts to vaccinate 60% of the continent's population by 2022. In a joint statement, the World Bank and the African Union said their agreement would provide needed resources to the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) initiative, allowing countries to purchase and deploy more vaccines.
21st Jun 2021 - Reuters

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Jun 2021

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Uganda imposes new anti-coronavirus measures to stem raging pandemic

Uganda's president Yowreri Museveni on Friday introduced sweeping new anti-coronavirus measures including a ban on all vehicular movement except for essential workers to help curb a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic gripping the nation. The east African country, like most other African peers had been left relatively unscathed by the first wave. It suddenly started experiencing a steep surge in COVID-19 infections last month after authorities confirmed they had detected presence of the Indian coronavirus variant
18th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Philippines seals biggest COVID-19 vaccine order yet, for 40 mln Pfizer doses

The Philippine government has signed a supply agreement for 40 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE, in its biggest coronavirus vaccine deal to date. Deliveries of the vaccine will begin in late September, Carlito Galvez, head of the government's COVID-19 vaccine procurement, said on Sunday. It "will significantly boost our national immunisation programme and will enable us to realise our goal of achieving herd immunity by year-end," he said.
21st Jun 2021 - Reuters

Vietnam receives 500000 Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine doses donation from China

Vietnam has received a shipment of 500,000 Sinopharm vaccine doses donated by China, the health ministry said on Sunday, as the country is ramping up inoculations to battle against a more widespread outbreak. The Southeast Asian nation approved China's Sinopharm vaccine for emergency use against COVID-19 in early June. The vaccines will be used for three groups: Chinese citizens in Vietnam, Vietnamese who have plan to work or study in China and people who live near the borders with China, the health ministry said in a statement. Vietnam's domestic inoculation programme, which started in March, has so far relied heavily on around 4 million shots of AstraZeneca's vaccine.
20th Jun 2021 - Reuters

US sending Taiwan 2.5 million vaccine doses, tripling pledge

The U.S. is sending 2.5 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Taiwan, tripling an earlier pledge in a donation with both public health and geopolitical meaning. The shipment was due to arrive by plane later Sunday, the de facto U.S. embassy said. “The donation reflects our commitment to Taiwan as a trusted friend, and a member of the international family of democracies,” the American Institute in Taiwan wrote on its Facebook page. Taiwan, which had been relatively unscathed by the virus, has been caught off-guard by a surge in new cases since May and is now scrambling to get COVID-19 vaccines. It has ordered 5.05 million doses directly from Moderna but so far received only 390,000, including a second shipment that arrived Friday.
20th Jun 2021 - The Associated Press

Oman to reimpose nightly curfew following spike in COVID-19 cases

Oman will reimpose a curfew and suspend all commercial activities from 8 p.m. until 4 a.m. following a spike in COVID-19 cases, the country's Supreme Committee for Combating Coronavirus said on Saturday. The curfew, which will start on Sunday, will restrict the movement of people and vehicles, with an exception for home delivery services, the committee statement said. Cases in Oman have trended upwards since January, with a pronounced surge since a dip in early May. The Gulf state has had the region's slowest vaccine rollout due to procurement difficulties.
19th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Mexico to donate 154100 doses of AstraZeneza vaccine to Honduras

The Mexican government announced on Friday it is donating to Honduras 154,100 doses of the AstraZeneca (AZN.L) COVID-19 vaccine. The donation is the first from the Mexican government to the small Central American nation, which has confirmed 251,149 cases of coronavirus and 6,719 deaths. About 400,000 Hondurans have received at least one vaccine shot, out of a population of 9.5 million.
18th Jun 2021 - Reuters

AstraZeneca and EU both claim victory in vaccine battle

A Belgian court ruled on Friday that coronavirus vaccine maker AstraZeneca had committed a “serious breach” of its contract with the European Union amid a major legal battle over delivery obligations that has tarnished the company’s image. The court ordered AstraZeneca to deliver a total of 80.2 million doses to the EU from the time the contract was agreed up until September 27. The ruling said the company did not appear to have made a “best reasonable effort” to meet the delivery schedule because it had not used its United Kingdom production sites.
18th Jun 2021 - Al Jazeera English

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Japan plans to lift COVID restrictions ahead of Olympic Games

Japan’s government on Thursday approved lifting Tokyo’s virus emergency measures a month before the Olympics, but set new restrictions that could sharply limit fans at the sporting events. The state of emergency in place in Tokyo began in late April and largely limits bar and restaurant opening hours and bans them from selling alcohol. That measure will now end in the capital and eight other regions on June 20, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced. It will stay in place in Okinawa. “The number of infections nationwide has been declining since mid-May and the situation in terms of hospital beds is steadily improving,” he said. “On the other hand, in some regions there are signs that the fall in the number of infections is slowing,” Suga added.
18th Jun 2021 - Aljazeera.com

AstraZeneca vaccine price pledge omits some poor countries, contract shows

AstraZeneca can charge a higher price for its Covid-19 vaccine in dozens of poor countries once the pharmaceutical company decides the pandemic has ended, according to a copy of its contract with Oxford University seen by the Guardian. The British-Swedish drug firm has promised to provide the vaccine at a not-for-profit price to the developing world in perpetuity, but a review of a redacted version of its contract with Oxford University, obtained by the student advocacy group Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), found that the promise excludes many low-income and lower-middle-income countries. Among those left off the list are 34 countries classified by Unicef and the WHO as being in need of vaccine support, including Sri Lanka, Angola, Timor-Leste, Honduras, Zimbabwe and the Philippines, which could all be charged a higher price once AstraZeneca declares the Covid-19 pandemic has ended.
17th Jun 2021 - The Guardian

U.S. donating additional 1 million COVID-19 vaccines to Canada

The United States is donating one million additional doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Canada. The doses, which were produced in the U.S., will arrive in Toronto later today, according to a White House official speaking on the condition they not be named, as they are not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. This delivery is part of a broad donation strategy previously announced by the Biden administration.
17th Jun 2021 - CBC.ca on MSN.com

After a Year of Denying Covid-19, Tanzania Orders Vaccines

Tanzania has lodged an order for coronavirus vaccines, the country’s presidency said Thursday, after the East African nation’s government spent a year denying the existence of the virus within its borders and becoming a magnet for Covid-19 skeptics from around the globe. Tanzania’s request for vaccines from the World Health Organization-backed Covax program, which distributes free Covid-19 shots to the world’s poorest countries, follows the death of President John Magufuli in March, when local doctors and church leaders were warning about a surge in infections. His successor and former deputy, Samia Suluhu Hassan, has tentatively instituted more transparency in the handling of the pandemic, opening several Covid-19 testing centers and wearing masks during public appearances
17th Jun 2021 - Wall Street Journal

New Zealand lays out vaccine plan after grumbling over delay

New Zealand will take up to the end of the year to inoculate all those eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday, as she announced details of a vaccine campaign. The Pacific island nation shut its borders and used tough lockdown measures to become one of the few countries to have virtually eliminated COVID-19, but the government is facing criticism for a slow rollout of vaccines. About 560,000 people in the country of 5 million have received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine while about 325,000 have been given a second dose.
17th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Fauci: US to spend $3.2B for antiviral pills for COVID-19

The United States is devoting $3.2 billion to advance development of antiviral pills for COVID-19 and other dangerous viruses that could turn into pandemics. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, announced the investment Thursday at a White House briefing as part of a new “antiviral program for pandemics” to develop drugs to address symptoms caused by potentially dangerous viruses like the coronavirus. The pills for COVID-19, which would be used to minimize symptoms after infection, are in development and could begin arriving by year’s end, pending the completion of clinical trials. The funding will speed those clinical trials and provide additional support to private sector research, development and manufacturing.
17th Jun 2021 - The Associated Press

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Top-up Pfizer would be used to fully vaccinate Victorians, state government told Commonwealth

In Australia, the Andrews government assured the Commonwealth it would use the one-off additional doses of Pfizer it received to fully vaccinate Victorians, and declared it was incumbent upon the state to ensure that supply was available for second doses. Acting Premier James Merlino on Wednesday took a swipe at the federal government for the lack of certainty on the supply of the Pfizer vaccine, with Health Minister Martin Foley on Monday declaring the vaccine rollout was being hampered by limited doses arriving from the Commonwealth. The Morrison government has disputed there are supply constraints, while the Andrews government has maintained it cannot keep up with the rate of demand at the current level of supply.
16th Jun 2021 - The Age

EU Delays Russia's Sputnik V Covid Vaccine Approval – Reuters

The European Union will delay approval of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine until later in 2021 because of a missed deadline to submit required data, Reuters reported Wednesday. The delay shrinks Sputnik V's prospects as part of the EU’s pandemic response. Russia’s Direct Investment Fund, which markets the jab worldwide, said earlier in the day it was confident that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) would approve Sputnik V within two months. The EMA launched a rolling review of Sputnik V, which Russia touts as the world’s first government-approved vaccine, this spring.
16th Jun 2021 - The Moscow Times

U.S. buys 200 mln more Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses

The U.S. government has bought another 200 million doses of Moderna’s (MRNA.O) COVID-19 vaccine, the drugmaker said on Wednesday, including an option to buy experimental shots that may be in development. The additional Moderna doses, which brings total U.S. orders to 500 million, could be used for primary inoculation, including of children, or as a possible booster shot, the company said. Moderna is currently conducting clinical trials testing a third booster shot of its authorized vaccine as well as an experimental one to protect against coronavirus variants.
16th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Brazil to buy single-shot Chinese COVID-19 vaccine

Brazil plans to buy 60 million doses of the single-shot COVID-19 vaccine developed by China's CanSino Biologics for delivery in the third and fourth quarters of this year, according to a negotiation document reviewed by Reuters. A ministry official signed a letter of intent on June 4 to purchase the doses with a Brazilian pharmaceutical company that represents CanSino in Brazil, Belcher Farmaceutica do Brasil, the document said. The vaccine, trade-named Convidecia and developed by CanSino together with a research institute linked to the Chinese military, will cost $17 per dose, it said.
16th Jun 2021 - Reuters

New York governor lifts remaining COVID-19 restrictions, calls it a 'momentous day'

New York is lifting all state-mandated coronavirus restrictions after reporting that 70% of the state's adults have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday. "It is an important milestone, and we're going to keep pushing to do more," Cuomo told a news conference, adding that the state would continue to encourage more New Yorkers to get vaccinated. Restrictions across commercial and social settings will be lifted immediately. Cuomo said some limitations based on guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would remain in place, with mitigation measures still required in public transit and healthcare settings
16th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Ukraine government extends lockdown measures until Aug 31, softens curbs

Ukraine's government on Wednesday extended COVID-19 lockdown measures until Aug. 31, but eased some of the restrictions, Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said. Shmygal said all Ukrainian regions are now in the "green zone" but the country "must be ready for any development". Shmygal did not specify which measures will be eased. On Monday, Ukraine registered 420 COVID cases - the lowest daily number of new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours for nearly a year
16th Jun 2021 - Reuters UK

South Africa returns to tighter COVID restrictions as cases surge

South Africa has returned to tighter restrictions on public gatherings and liquor sales as the country sees a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations. President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Tuesday that the new infections threaten the health systems in several parts of the country and COVID-related hospital admissions have increased 59 percent over the past two weeks.
16th Jun 2021 - AlJazeera

Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine to be made in India soon - govt official

The Serum Institute of India is preparing to produce Novavax's (NVAX.O) COVID-19 vaccine in the country, government official Vinod Kumar Paul said at a press briefing on Tuesday. The vaccine maker on Monday had said its COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective in a large, late-stage U.S.-based clinical trial.
15th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Coronavirus outpacing vaccine effort, says WHO, after G7 doses pledge

The World Health Organization has warned that Covid-19 is moving faster than the vaccines, and said the vow by G7 countries to share a billion doses with poorer nations was simply not enough. “This is a big help, but we need more, and we need them faster. Right now, the virus is moving faster than the global distribution of vaccines,” World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists. “More than 10,000 people are dying every day ... these communities need vaccines, and they need them now, not next year.” Global health leaders also warned the pledge was too little, too late, with more than 11bn shots needed.
15th Jun 2021 - The Guardian

Japan to ship 1 mln COVID-19 vaccines to Vietnam on Wednesday

Japan will send a million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Vietnam, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said on Tuesday, as the southeast Asian nation steps up vaccine procurement to fight a more stubborn wave of infections. With a population of about 98 million, Vietnam's tally of infections stands at 10,241, and only 58 deaths, since the pandemic began. The shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines produced in Japan is due to arrive in Vietnam on Wednesday, Motegi told reporters.
15th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Malaysia grants conditional approval for CanSino, J&J COVID-19 vaccines

Malaysia has granted conditional approval for emergency use to the single dose COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by China's CanSino Biologics and U.S. drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, the government said on Tuesday. The Southeast Asian country has been ramping up its vaccination programme, amid a fresh round of lockdowns imposed this month to curb a surge in coronavirus infections. Malaysia would obtain Johnson & Johnson's vaccines via the global COVAX facility backed by the World Health Organization, the health ministry said in a statement. It did not say how many doses it would procure via COVAX.
15th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Congo caps public gatherings as third COVID-19 wave builds

The Democratic Republic of Congo will limit public gatherings to 20 people and close nightclubs as the country grapples with a third wave of COVID-19, President Felix Tshisekedi said on Tuesday. Congo has officially registered relatively few cases, but low vaccination rates have left the country vulnerable to more contagious strains, including the highly-infectious Delta variant. "For several weeks we have seen a persistent rise in the number of people infected," Tshisekedi said in a televised address. "We need to react with speed, and above all, methodically."
15th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Taiwan reports 132 new domestic COVID-19 cases

Taiwan reported 132 new domestic COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, down from the previous day's figure of 185.
15th Jun 2021 - Reuters

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Brazil extends validity of J&J COVID vaccine to 4.5 months

Brazil's health regulator Anvisa has extended the validity of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N)COVID-19 vaccine, prolonging its shelf life from 3 months to 4.5 months, giving the country more time to use a first batch due to arrive this week. The batch of 3 million doses was due to expire on June 27, but now Brazil has followed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in extending the expiration dates by a month a half
14th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Chile faces setback to reopening as coronavirus cases soar

Chilean health authorities said on Monday they would extend a COVID-19 emergency through September to allow the government to impose restrictions, a setback in a country that has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. The announcement comes as cases have soared in Chile to some of their highest levels since the pandemic began, despite 61% of citizens receiving at least one vaccine dose and 48% being fully vaccinated
14th Jun 2021 - Reuters

PM announces four-week delay to Covid lockdown easing in England

Boris Johnson has halted the final easing of lockdown restrictions in England and ordered a four-week delay to speed up the vaccination programme, but signalled afterwards he would not tolerate any further suspension. The prime minister said 19 July was a “terminus date” and that all restrictions on social contact could be lifted, barring the emergence of a gamechanging new variant. The chief medical officer for England, Prof Chris Whitty, suggested that within four weeks the additional jabs would offer sufficient protection to halt a surge in hospitalisations and said there would come a point where the country would be able to live with the virus in relative normality. But Whitty and Johnson said a speeding up of second vaccine doses for the over-40s combined with a four-week delay could prevent thousands of unnecessary deaths. Although the data will be reviewed after two weeks, No 10 said it was unlikely restrictions would change.
14th Jun 2021 - The Guardian

S.Korea eases COVID-19 restrictions on concerts, sports games

South Korea began easing restrictions on large concerts and sports events on Monday after announcing last week it would loosen a series of coronavirus curbs as the country pushes ahead with its vaccination drive. Up to 4,000 people will be allowed to attend K-Pop concerts and other cultural shows from Monday, up massively from a capacity limit of below 100 people since late last year, according to measures announced by health officials on Friday. Sports stadiums will be able to operate at a 30% to 50% capacity, depending on the districts, up from 10% previously.
14th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: US regulator raises “significant concerns” over safety of rapid lateral flow tests

The US Food and Drug Agency (FDA) has raised concerns about the safety and the marketing of rapid lateral flow covid-19 tests, which are the cornerstone of the UK’s mass testing programme. On 10 June,1 the agency warned the public to stop using the Innova SARS-CoV-2 antigen rapid qualitative test for detecting infection and suggested the tests should be destroyed and binned or returned to the manufacturer. The FDA published a class 1 recall of the test after an investigation carried out between March and April uncovered “significant concerns that the performance of the test has not been adequately established, presenting a risk to health.” Class 1 is the most serious kind of recall and indicates that use of the tests may cause serious injury or death. In addition, the FDA said that “labelling distributed with certain configurations of the test includes performance claims that did not accurately reflect the performance estimates observed during clinical studies,” and that the test “has not been authorised, cleared, or approved by the FDA for commercial distribution or use in the US, as required by law.”
14th Jun 2021 - The BMJ

Rishi Sunak will not extend furlough despite delay to end of lockdown

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has rejected calls for an extension of the furlough scheme, despite an expected delay to the lifting of lockdown. The support fund for people who’ve been unable to work during the pandemic is set to be wound down from July 1. It means the Treasury will no longer cover 80% of workers’ wages, reducing the offer to 70% with employers contributing 10%. The scheme will be reduced step-by-step until it completely finishes at the end of September.
14th Jun 2021 - Metro.co.uk

India eases COVID rules as new cases dip to two-month low

Many Indian states have eased coronavirus restrictions, including the capital New Delhi, where authorities allowed all shops and shopping centres to open, as the number of new infections dropped to the lowest in more than two months. Experts have cautioned against a full reopening as India has vaccinated only about 5 percent of its estimated 950 million adults with the necessary two doses, leaving millions vulnerable.
14th Jun 2021 - AlJazeera

South Africa rejects 2m J&J vaccines due to FDA decision

South Africa’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout has been hit by further delays as it will have to discard at least 2 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines produced in the country. The vaccines were found by the U.S Food and Drug Administration to be unsuitable for use due to possible contamination of their ingredients at a Baltimore plant. South Africa was expecting to use them to inoculate its health care workers and people aged 60 years and older. This is the latest setback to South Africa’s vaccine rollout which has so far given shots to just over 1% of its 60 million people.
14th Jun 2021 - The Associated Press

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G-7 Commits to 1 Billion Extra Covid Shots in Final Communique

Group of Seven leaders promised to deliver at least 1 billion extra doses of vaccines over the next year in the most dramatic element of the bloc’s effort to help bring an end to the global Covid-19 pandemic. In the final communique, obtained first by Bloomberg News, the G-7 worked to revitalize cooperation between some of the world’s most powerful economies, after a period during Donald Trump’s administration in the U.S. when such documents were often done away with.
14th Jun 2021 - Bloomberg

Moscow orders 'non-working week' to stop the spread of Covid-19

Moscow's mayor Sergei Sobyanin has ordered a week-long Covid-19 lock down. He has urged the old and vulnerable people to remain at home for a week. Figures have shown only 12 per cent people in Russia have been vaccinated
13th Jun 2021 - Daily Mail

Vietnam approves Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Vietnam has approved the COVID-19 vaccine jointly made by Pfizer and BioNTech for domestic emergency use, the government said on Saturday. It is the fourth vaccine to be endorsed in the Southeast Asian country that is tackling a new outbreak. Vietnam, which has previously approved the AstraZeneca vaccine, Russia's Sputnik V and China's Sinopharm vaccine, said it is seeking to procure 31 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech version for delivery in the next quarter.
12th Jun 2021 - Reuters

India cuts taxes on medicines and equipment to treat COVID-19

India on Saturday cut taxes on medical equipment such as oxygen concentrators and drugs used to treat COVID-19 infections, after widespread criticism over healthcare costs during a devastating second wave of the virus in April and May. The government cut taxes on medical grade oxygen, ventilators, the remdesivir antiviral drug, diagnostic kits, pulse oximeters and hand sanitizers to 5% from 12-18% with immediate effect. The new levies will be in place until the end of September, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, adding it would include taxes on electric furnaces in crematoriums and ambulances.
12th Jun 2021 - Reuters India

Saudi Arabia bars foreign travellers from Haj over COVID-19

Saudi Arabia has restricted the annual Haj pilgrimage to its own citizens and residents for the second year running in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the state Saudi Press Agency (SPA)reported on Saturday. Only people aged between 18 and 65 who have been vaccinated or immunised against the virus, and are free of chronic diseases, will be able to take part, the ministry that manages the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca said in a statement carried by SPA.
12th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Malaysia extends COVID-19 lockdown for 2 more weeks

Malaysia on Friday extended a national lockdown imposed to curb a surge in coronavirus infections for two more weeks, with the latest restrictions to end on June 28, security minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said. The lockdown, originally set to end on June 14, was announced as the Southeast Asian nation began reporting record levels of COVID-19 infections and deaths last month.
12th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Chile shuts capital Santiago once more as vaccines fail to quell rampant cases

Chilean health authorities announced a blanket lockdown across the capital Santiago on Thursday following some of the worst COVID-19 case numbers since the pandemic began, despite having fully vaccinated more than half its population. The development, which will alarm authorities elsewhere who are debating how fast to reopen as vaccination campaigns gather steam, comes as Chile's confirmed daily caseload surged 17% in the past two weeks nationwide and 25% in the Metropolitan region that includes Santiago and is home to half the country's population.
12th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Top CDC official warns US not ready for next pandemic | TheHill

The No. 2 official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning that without consistent, long-term funding for public health, the U.S. won't be any better prepared for the next pandemic. In an interview with The Hill on Wednesday, Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s principal deputy director, said the U.S. was not prepared for COVID-19 due to years of inadequate investment in public health infrastructure. Emergency funding has helped public health agencies fight back against the coronavirus, Schuchat said, but unless that level of spending can be sustained, the country is in danger of repeating the same mistakes.
11th Jun 2021 - The Hill

US FDA Denies Emergency Use Approval to Bharat Biotech's Covaxin

A vaccine that has been administered in India to the tune of 29 million doses has been denied emergency-use approval in the US. Covaxin is the name of a whole-virus inactivated vaccine manufactured by Bharat Biotech, Hyderabad. It received accelerated approval in India on January 3, 2021, after which it became one of the two major vaccines in India’s COVID-19 inoculation drive. However, because India’s drug regulator okayed Covaxin without any data from its phase 3 clinical trial, it was met with considerably vaccine hesitancy that the government itself was forced to acknowledge. Virologist and former INSACOG executive committee chief Shahid Jameel had told The Wire Science in Janaury 3 that Covaxin is in all likelihood safe and meaningfully efficacious, but that the opacity surrounding its approval in India would undermine public confidence. Bharat Biotech had also applied for approvals with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the WHO.
11th Jun 2021 - The Wire

Trouble for some US COVID-19 vaccines

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today said 60 million doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine cannot be used because of possible contamination, according to the New York Times. The vaccines are part of the 170 million vaccines produced at the troubled Emergent BioSolutions plant in Baltimore. Ten million Johnson & Johnson vaccines from the plant will still be useable, the FDA said. While losing 60 million doses does not impact America's vaccination campaign, the decision could have global repercussions as the Biden administration looks to share more doses of COVID-19 vaccines to countries currently in need of supply.
11th Jun 2021 - CIDRAP

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Biden says biggest vaccine donation 'supercharges' battle against coronavirus

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Thursday that a donation of 500 million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to the world's poorest countries would supercharge the battle with the virus and comes with "no strings attached." Biden, speaking alongside Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla in the English seaside resort of Carbis Bay ahead of a G7 summit, thanked other leaders for recognising their responsibility to vaccinate the world.
11th Jun 2021 - Reuters

UK to donate more than 100m surplus vaccine doses, says PM

Boris Johnson says the UK will start donating coronavirus vaccines to poorer countries in the next few weeks. More than 100m surplus doses will be delivered in the next year, he announced ahead of the G7 summit. US President Joe Biden has promised half a billion doses of Pfizer vaccines to 92 low and middle-income countries and the African Union. The first 5m doses from the UK will be given by the end of September, with another 25m by the end of the year. The prime minister said: "As a result of the success of the UK's vaccine programme we are now in a position to share some of our surplus doses with those who need them.
11th Jun 2021 - BBC

U.S. to raise COVID-19 vaccine intellectual property issues with WTO, may take time -Tai

The Biden administration is committed to efforts to waive intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines and will raise the issue with the World Trade Organization (WTO), but it may take time, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on Thursday. "We will actively participate in text-based negotiations at the WTO that will be needed to make this happen. And this may take time given the complexity of the issues involved, but our goal remains to get vaccines to as many people as fast as possible," Tai said in remarks to an AFL-CIO union event. U.S. President Joe Biden last month backed a proposed patent waiver for vaccines targeting the novel coronavirus that advocates say could help boost availability amid the pandemic.
10th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Vaccine changes as shorter interval between doses announced

The introduction of a shorter interval between Covid-19 vaccine doses in Northern Ireland has been announced. The time between both doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines is to be reduced to a maximum of eight weeks. This will accelerate the vaccination programme as it moves into its final phase and will ensure that people in NI have "the strongest possible protection from variants of the Covid-19 virus". This includes the Delta variant which has been identified here recently
10th Jun 2021 - Belfast Live

Portugal halts easing of COVID-19 rules in Lisbon as cases rise

Most of Portugal will move to the next stage of lockdown easing next Monday but stricter rules will remain in place in the capital Lisbon due to a worrying rise in COVID-19 infections, the government said on Wednesday. Portugal imposed a nationwide lockdown in January to tackle what then was the world's worst coronavirus surge, but restrictions have been gradually lifted since mid-March and most businesses have already reopened. Across most of the country, restaurants, cafes and pastry shops, which now must close at 10.30 p.m., will be able to keep doors open until 1 a.m. from June 14, and there are no more restrictions on stores' opening hours.
10th Jun 2021 - Reuters

EU foregoes 100 million J&J vaccines, considers donating other doses - sources

The European Union decided not to take up an option to buy 100 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ.N) COVID-19 vaccine and is considering donating another 100 million optional shots, if ordered, European officials said. The discussions show a drop in confidence in the one-dose shot, which was initially touted as crucial for a successful vaccination drive in Europe, but has been largely relegated to a back-up choice after safety and supply problems. The EU at the end of March let the term to order 100 million extra doses lapse, three European officials with direct knowledge of contracts with vaccine makers told Reuters, revealing a confidential clause of the contract with J&J which had not been previously disclosed.
10th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Government ran secret coronavirus outbreak exercise five years ago

The UK government ran a secret exercise mimicking the outbreak of a Covid-like virus outbreak in 2016. Exercise Alice, as the project was called, involved the Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England and was carried out nearly five years ago. The exercise envisioned an outbreak of MERS, the so-called Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, which is a coronavirus, according to newspaper The Guardian.
10th Jun 2021 - City A.M.

FDA Extends Shelf Life of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine

Johnson & Johnson said on Thursday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has extended the shelf life of its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine from three months to four-and-a-half months. The health regulator's decision was based on data from ongoing studies, which demonstrated that the vaccine is stable at 4.5 months when refrigerated at temperatures of 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit (2 to 8 degrees Celsius), the drugmaker said.
10th Jun 2021 - U.S. News & World Report

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Biden administration to buy 500 million Pfizer coronavirus vaccine doses to donate to the world

The Biden administration is buying 500 million doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine to donate to the world, as the United States dramatically increases its efforts to help vaccinate the global population, according to three people familiar with the plans. The first 200 million doses will be distributed this year, with the subsequent 300 million shared in the first half of next year. The doses will be distributed by Covax, the World Health Organization-backed initiative to share doses around the globe, and they will be targeted at low- and middle-income countries. Pfizer is selling the doses to the U.S. at a “not-for-profit” price, according to the people familiar with the deal.
9th Jun 2021 - The Washington Post

EU, U.S. to agree reduction of vaccine export barriers, summit draft says

The European Union and the United States are set to agree at a summit on Tuesday to reduce export restrictions on COVID-19 vaccines and drugs, a draft joint text says, arguing that voluntary sharing of technology is the key to boosting output. The document, seen by Reuters and still subject to changes, makes no mention of mandatory waivers on vaccine patents, which U.S. President Joe Biden has endorsed as a temporary solution to the global shortage of COVID-19 shots. The EU has repeatedly opposed the idea, which is backed by dozens of poorer nations.
9th Jun 2021 - Reuters

U.S. signs $1.2 bln deal for 1.7 mln courses of Merck's experimental COVID-19 drug

Merck & Co Inc said on Wednesday the U.S. government has agreed to pay about $1.2 billion for 1.7 million courses of its experimental COVID-19 treatment, if it is proven to work in an ongoing large trial and authorized by U.S. regulators. The oral antiviral treatment, molnupiravir, aims to stop COVID-19 from progressing and can be given early in the course of the disease, similar to Tamiflu to treat influenza. The treatment course being tested in the trial is an oral dose given every 12 hours for five days.
9th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Melbourne to exit lockdown with COVID cases controlled

Authorities in Melbourne will relax a COVID-19 lockdown as planned on Thursday night, saying people’s adherence to the strict rules had “changed the course” of a coronavirus outbreak in Australia’s second-largest city. Melbourne’s five million residents have had to remain at home for all but the most essential reasons over the past two weeks after a cluster of cases emerged that were linked to the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which is thought to be more transmissible. The relaxation will take effect from 11.59pm local time (13:59 GMT) on Thursday, although some restrictions on travel and gatherings will remain in place for a further week.
9th Jun 2021 - AlJazeera

High Court finds UK gov’t acted unlawfully over COVID contract

The United Kingdom’s High Court has ruled that the government acted unlawfully when it handed a contract to a company run by associates of Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s former aide. The court said on Wednesday the government had shown “apparent bias” in awarding more than 560,000 pounds ($794,000) to Public First to test public opinion on the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The public relations company, which undertook research for the government on its public health messaging around the coronavirus pandemic, is headed by James Frayne and his wife Rachel Wolf. The pair previously worked with Cummings and the Cabinet Office minister, Michael Gove. The Good Law Project (GLP), a campaign group, had brought a judicial review against the government, saying the contract was awarded without any competitive tenders in the early stages of the pandemic.
9th Jun 2021 - AlJazeera

Brazil OK's clinical tests for homegrown COVID vaccine Butanvac

Brazil's health regulator Anvisa on Wednesday authorized Phase 1 and 2 clinical tests to be carried out on volunteers for the Butanvac vaccine developed by Sao Paulo's Butantan Institute biomedical center. The tests for the two-shot vaccine were initially authorized for 400 volunteers, but will later involve an expected total of 6,000 volunteers aged 18 and over, Anvisa said. The vaccine developed by Butantan, one of Brazil's two top biomedical research centers, will not need imported active ingredients like the main vaccines produced in Brazil, the AstraZeneca shot and Sinovac Biotech CoronaVac.
9th Jun 2021 - Reuters

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WHO's Tedros says COVID-19 vaccine inequity creates 'two-track pandemic'

Glaring COVID-19 vaccine inequality has created a "two-track pandemic" with Western countries protected and poorer nations still exposed, World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday, renewing pleas for shot donations. "Increasingly, we see a two-track pandemic," Tedros told reporters during a press conference from Geneva. "Six months since the first COVID-19 vaccines were administered, high-income countries have administered almost 44% of the world's doses. Low-income countries have administered just 0.4%. The most frustrating thing about this statistic is that it hasn't changed in months."
8th Jun 2021 - Reuters

WTO panel considers easing protections on COVID-19 vaccines

Envoys from World Trade Organization member nations are taking up a proposal to ease patents and other intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines to help developing countries fight the pandemic, an idea backed by the Biden administration but opposed in other wealthy countries with strong pharmaceutical industries. On the table for a two-day meeting of a WTO panel opening Tuesday is a revised proposal presented by India and South Africa for a temporary IP waiver on coronavirus vaccines. The idea has drawn support from more than 60 countries, which now include the United States and China. Some European Union member states oppose the idea, and the EU on Friday offered an alternative proposal that relies on existing World Trade Organization rules.
8th Jun 2021 - The Independent

New Zealand PM Ardern to take first dose of COVID-19 vaccine next week

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday that she would get her first COVID-19 shot at the end of next week, as the country prepared to receive another 1 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine. "For me, it's been important that I allow those in the most at risk group... to be prioritised," Ardern said in a news conference. "I'm choosing to be vaccinated at this point in order to play my role in demonstrating that I consider it to be absolutely safe and also really critical to keep others safe," she said.
8th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Ontario to loosen COVID-19 restrictions starting June 11, ahead of schedule

Ontario will loosen COVID-19 restrictions starting June 11, three days ahead of schedule, Premier Doug Ford announced on Monday, as infection rates continue to drift lower after a punishing third wave while vaccinations pick up pace. The province will enter step one of its reopening plan, allowing non-essential retail to operate at 15% capacity, outdoor dining with a maximum of four people per table, and outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people to take place. Canada's most populous province entered a lockdown in April as a variant-driven third wave of COVID-19 threatened to overwhelm hospitals
8th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 8th Jun 2021

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MHRA authorises Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds

The UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has extended the authorisation of Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in children aged 12 to 15 years old. On Friday, the MHRA announced that it had concluded that the jab is safe and effectiveness in the younger age group,
7th Jun 2021 - PharmaTimes

PH approves Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

The Philippines has approved for emergency use the COVID-19 vaccine developed by China state-owned Sinopharm, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Monday. In a televised meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte, FDA Director General Eric Domingo said they have already authorized the Department of Health (DOH) to accept Sinopharm COVID-19 shots. “So ito po ay tinignan na rin ng ating mga experts at ang ating pong evaluation sa FDA, today, we already granted an emergency use authorization [EUA] to the DOH to accept the donations of Sinopharm,” Domingo said.
7th Jun 2021 - Philippine Daily Inquirer

Uganda re-imposes lockdown to beat back COVID-19 case surge

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni on Sunday re-imposed a strict lockdown that included the closure of schools and the suspension of inter-district travel to help beat back a surge in COVID-19 cases in the East African country. The new measures, which will be effective from Monday morning, include the closure of all educational institutions, some bans on travel, the shutdown of weekly open markets, and the suspension of church services. Most of the new restrictions, Museveni said, would be implemented for 42 days. An assessment of their impact will then help the government decide whether to ease or prolong them, he added.
7th Jun 2021 - Reuters

India reopens major cities as new COVID cases hit two-month low

Key Indian cities have reopened for business, with long queues for buses in the financial hub of Mumbai while traffic returned to the roads of New Delhi after a devastating second wave of coronavirus that killed hundreds of thousands. The 100,636 new infections of the past 24 hours were the lowest in the world’s second-most populous nation since April 6, and well off last month’s peaks of more than 400,000, allowing authorities to reopen parts of the economy.
7th Jun 2021 - AlJazeera

US to donate 750,000 COVID jabs to Taiwan amid China row

The United States will give Taiwan 750,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, as part of the country’s plan to share millions of jabs globally, a delegation of US senators have announced, after Taipei complained that China was hindering its efforts to access the injections. Senator Tammy Duckworth, who landed in Taiwan with two of her colleagues on Sunday, said their trip underscores the bipartisan support for the democratic island that Beijing claims as its own territory.
7th Jun 2021 - Al Jazeera English

U.S. report concluded COVID-19 may have leaked from Wuhan lab

A report on the origins of COVID-19 by a U.S. government national laboratory concluded the hypothesis claiming the virus leaked from a Chinese lab in Wuhan is plausible and deserves further investigation, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the classified document. The study was prepared in May 2020 by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and was referred by the State Department when it conducted an inquiry into the pandemic's origins during the final months of the Trump administration, the report added.
7th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Public Policies - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 7th Jun 2021

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Vaccinating children ‘not a high priority’ amid shortage: WHO

The World Health Organization’s top vaccines expert has said that immunising children against COVID-19 is not a high priority from a WHO perspective, given the extremely limited global supply of doses. During a social media session on Thursday, Dr Kate O’Brien said children should not be a focus of COVID-19 immunisation programmes, even as increasing numbers of rich countries authorise their coronavirus shots for teenagers and children.
5th Jun 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Yemen Covid Surge Threatens to Worsen Country's Humanitarian Crisis

Masks and social distancing are scarce in the port city of Aden, where many see Covid-19 as less of a threat than cholera or typhoid. Yemen has struggled with mass outbreaks of cholera, dengue fever, and typhoid, and poverty has surged to affect as much as 78% of the population since 2015, when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and their allies began an offensive to restore the government ousted by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. Now, as the world tries to emerge from a public health disaster, Yemen looks poised to hurtle more deeply into another one. After a first coronavirus wave in mid-2020, Covid-19 has “come roaring back” to Yemen, Mark Lowcock, the United Nations undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, warned in April.
5th Jun 2021 - Bloomberg

Euro 2020: UK Government will NOT ease Covid-19 restrictions for foreign fans travelling

The UK Government will not be easing Covid-19 restrictions around Euro 2020. With Wembley hosting key games, many fans are expected to be flying in. Those from amber-listed countries will face a 10-day quarantine period. The UK has the toughest entry requirements of any of the host countries
5th Jun 2021 - Daily Mail

Exit from lockdown ‘to be delayed by two weeks’ as Covid cases surge

A two-week delay to the planned easing of restrictions in England on June 21 is reportedly being considered after the number of people in the country with Covid-19 rose by 75 per cent. Multiple reports have also suggested plans to lift restrictions could be scaled down, with social distancing and the wearing of face coverings set to continue amid concerns the Indian variant is fuelling a surge in cases. The UK on Friday recorded its highest number of new confirmed coronavirus cases – 6,238 – since late March, according to official figures
5th Jun 2021 - Evening Standard

UK approves Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 12-15

The UK has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for use in children aged 12-15. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) authorised the use of the jab in the younger age group on Friday following a review of its safety,
4th Jun 2021 - The Irish Times

The U.S. Is Sending 1 Million Vaccines To Mexico Border Cities And Resort Spots

One million Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are heading to Mexico from the U.S. with most of the shots set to service resort areas and spots along the border. The batch of vaccines is part of the 25 million excess doses the White House announced on Thursday would be shipped to other countries around the world. Much of the vaccine distribution will be through COVAX, an international system aimed at helping to vaccinate people in the world's poorest countries.
4th Jun 2021 - NPR

EU pushes rival plan to Covid-19 vaccine IP waiver, but some deride it as ‘meaningless’

Amid intense debate over equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, the European Union is offering a rival plan to a controversial proposal that would temporarily waive intellectual property protections in a World Trade Organization Agreement. But critics say the alternative is inadequate. The proposed plan is designed to safeguard patent rights, a hot-button issue for the pharmaceutical industry and some EU countries where drug makers are based. Instead, the EU suggested several ideas to increase equitable vaccine distribution, such as limiting export restrictions, voluntary licensing, sharing expertise, tiered pricing, making it easier for countries to use existing rules to override patents in some cases, and new investments in manufacturing plants in developing countries
4th Jun 2021 - STAT News

Chile approves 2nd doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine, with new age limit

Chile said on Friday that people inoculated with AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine should get their second dose, but health officials put a new limit on the age of recipients until an investigation into possible complications is completed. On Thursday, the health ministry said a 31-year-old man had developed thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) - a rare but serious condition involving blood clots with a low platelet count - seven days after his first AstraZeneca vaccine injection
4th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Brazil's Anvisa approves Russian Sputnik V vaccine, with conditions

Brazilian health regulator Anvisa on Friday gave the green light for states to import the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V, but with conditions attached. Anvisa's board voted 4-1 to grant the conditional approval after more t