"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 24th Jun 2021
Will There Be Enough Vaccines? Covax Is Running Out
- A string of nations across Africa and Asia have run out of Covid-19 vaccines or are on the brink of doing so, months after receiving first shipments from a global program meant to equitably distribute the lifesaving shots.
- When the supplies arrived in developing countries earlier this year through the Covax effort, they were seen as an important step in narrowing a glaring gap in access.
- Today, many of those same countries are facing vaccine shortages and are unsure when they will receive donations from wealthy countries.
- A World Health Organization adviser on Monday said that of 80 lower-income countries across the globe that have received vaccines through the program, about 40 are either out of vaccines or on the verge.
Vaccine Shortages Hit Global Supply Program, Halting Rollouts
In the race to end the pandemic, it’s vaccine against virus. Slowdowns in inoculation programs can leave room for problematic new variants to emerge that could reignite infectio
Swiss accelerate reopening, allow large events with 'COVID certificates'
Switzerland will allow large events topping 10,000 people starting on Saturday, provided attendees have so-called COVID certificates showing they are vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19 or have tested negative. The plan, announced on Wednesday, puts Switzerland at Europe's vanguard of back-to-normal efforts and aligns with the country's "lockdown light" strategy, balancing economic protections with pandemic-related health measures. Mask-wearing outdoors will no longer be required, restaurant seating will be unlimited and discos can re-open their doors, with no masks required for people with COVID certificates.
Novartis aims to bottle more than 50 mln doses of BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in 2021
Novartis aims to help manufacture more than 50 million doses of BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine in 2021 at its Stein, Switzerland fill-and-finish facility, the Swiss drugmaker said, after the European Union's drug regulator approved the bottling plant.
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.
Japan suspends applications for corporate vaccination drives
Japan is suspending approval for companies to inoculate staff amid concerns that an increase in such applications will hamper smooth delivery of vaccines, a government minister said on Wednesday. "We would like to suspend accepting new applications, given that we are already reaching the maximum capacity to distribute the vaccines," vaccine minister Taro Kono told a news conference. The government has been accepting applications from companies and local governments to administer Moderna vaccines in workplaces and at mass vaccination centres.
Pukkelpop urges young people to get Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine
Belgian festival Pukkelpop has called on young people to register to get the single-dose Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, which all adults, including those under the age of 41, can volunteer for in Brussels and Flanders. On its Instagram account, the festival put out a message to those younger than 41 who “would like to get vaccinated quickly” to sign up for one shot with Johnson & Johnson. “There are many syringes available this week and we believe it is to everyone’s advantage to come to Pukkelpop fully vaccinated,” Pukkelpop spokesperson spokesman Frederik Luyten told De Standaard.
Half of Spaniards vaccinated with one dose, mask rules eased
Spain has vaccinated half of its 47 million population with at least one dose and nearly 32%, or over 15 million people, have been fully inoculated, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday. With a record 680,540 people receiving a vaccine over the past 24 hours, Spain has already administered nearly 37.6 million doses, putting it on track to reaching the government goal of fully vaccinating 70% of the population by late August.
Colleges split on coronavirus vaccine mandates
Indiana University, a flagship institution in a staunchly Republican state, will require its more than 100,000 students and employees to get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus as it turns the page on a strange pandemic school year. “This is saving lives, it’s as simple as that,” said university President Michael A. McRobbie. “And it will enable us to have a normal fall semester.” Purdue University, also prominent in Indiana, is strongly encouraging vaccination for students and employees but avoiding mandates. A campaign for personal choice and responsibility, Purdue President Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. said, will get better public health results than requirements that “might come across as ham-handed and dictatorial.” Two public universities, two divergent approaches, one race to a common goal: Maximize vaccination before college students return for the fall.
Britain will not demand climate talks delegates be vaccinated against COVID-19
Britain will not require delegates attending November's international climate conference in Glasgow to have been vaccinated against COVID-19, an official responsible for organising the event said on Wednesday. Britain will strongly recommend that delegates are vaccinated but it will not be a mandatory requirement, Rosalyn Eales, Chief Operating Officer of the COP26 conference, told a group of lawmakers. Climate and health experts have said poorer nations struggling to access COVID-19 vaccines could find sending delegates to an in-person meeting difficult.
Brazil probes vaccine contract with India’s Bharat Biotech
Brazilian federal prosecutors have opened an investigation into a contract worth 1.6 billion reals ($320m) for 20 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine made by India’s Bharat Biotech, according to a document seen by Reuters. The prosecutor-general’s office (PGR) cited comparatively high prices, speedy talks and pending regulatory approvals as red flags for the Bharat contract signed in February, before similar deals with Pfizer Inc and Johnson & Johnson. The Bharat contract has also drawn scrutiny from a Brazilian Senate inquiry, which called for testimony on Wednesday from the head of Precisa Medicamentos, Bharat’s intermediary in Brasilia.
Chile weighing issue of third booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine
Chile is studying the possibility of issuing a third, booster dose of COVID-19 vaccines, its president said on Tuesday, as the country seeks to beat back the latest wave of infections amid questions about how effective the widely used Sinovac vaccine is against more transmissible virus variants. President Sebastian Pinera said health experts were examining "many scientific studies" to determine if a third dose would be necessary as he launched the rollout of vaccines among teenagers in Chile.
Israel faces fresh Covid surge and calls for teens to be jabbed as even fully vaccinated catch Delta
Israel recorded 125 new cases on Monday - the most cases per day since April New cases come as Israel rolled back nearly all of its coronavirus restrictions Nearly a third of the new cases recorded in the past week have been found in vaccinated people, with many of the new infections being the delta variant More than 55 percent of Israel's population - some 5.2 million people - have received both doses of the vaccine
CDC: Nearly every adult COVID-19 death is now "entirely preventable"
Adult deaths from COVID-19 are "at this point entirely preventable" thanks to vaccines, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said during a White House coronavirus briefing on Tuesday. Why it matters: Deaths from the virus have dramatically decreased since their peak in early 2021, but the U.S. is still currently reporting an average of more than 200 deaths every day, though the numbers could increase as the B.1.617.2 (or Delta) variant of the virus becomes the dominant strain in the country.
Even Doctors Won’t Take Putin’s Vaccine as COVID-19 Rages in Russia
After the Kremlin had all but declared victory against the COVID-19 pandemic in Russia—many across the country now believe they’re back to square one. This month, a raging new wave hit Russia’s big cities. Hospitals quickly turned into “red zones” for infected patients, scientists say they are expecting more than 20,000 new COVID-19 cases a day by the end of June, and all the while, Russian people remain hesitant to take the government at its word. The clearest explanation for this new wave is a failing vaccination campaign, rooted in public distrust in the government’s stamp of approval. Only 10 percent of the population have received both shots—the rest appear to be in no hurry to get their jabs. Some people waited until Putin got vaccinated in late March, others hesitated even after government vaccine researchers said that Sputnik was more than 90 percent effective. Even Russian doctors are undermining scientists by refusing to take Russian-made vaccines.
More than 150 Houston hospital workers resign or are fired for refusing to have Covid-19 vaccine
More than 150 employees at a Houston hospital resigned or were fired Tuesday after they refused to follow a hospital policy requiring they get vaccinated against Covid-19. A spokesperson for the hospital, Houston Methodist Baytown, said that among 200 employees who were told they needed to be vaccinated by June 7 or face a two-week suspension, 153 either resigned or were terminated. The departures came after a judge dismissed an employee lawsuit over the vaccine requirement.
Unvaccinated Missourians fuel COVID: ‘We will be the canary’
As the U.S. emerges from the COVID-19 crisis, Missouri is becoming a cautionary tale for the rest of the country: It is seeing an alarming rise in cases because of a combination of the fast-spreading delta variant and stubborn resistance among many people to getting vaccinated. Intensive care beds are filling up with surprisingly young, unvaccinated patients, and staff members are getting burned out fighting a battle that was supposed to be in its final throes. The hope among some health leaders is that the rest of the U.S. might at least learn something from Missouri’s plight.
WHO cites concerns about Russian Sputnik V plant, which says issues resolved
The World Health Organization said its review of how Russia produces the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine had found some issues with the filling of vials at one plant, which said it had since addressed all of the WHO's concerns. The Sputnik V shot, widely used in Russia and approved for use in over 60 countries, is undergoing a review by the WHO and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Their approval could open up new markets for the shot, especially in Europe.
Moderna's president talks COVID-19 and vaccine technology
Soon after a new coronavirus began spreading around the world, little-known vaccine developer Moderna began working with the U.S. National Institutes of Health to create a vaccine using a new technology. That vaccine is now one of the pillars of the U.S. COVID-19 response, with 130 million doses administered just six months after regulators authorized it for use. Moderna is now testing its vaccine in younger people as well as potential boosters that may be needed in the future — along with vaccines and treatments for other diseases — all using similar technology based on genetic code called messenger RNA. The Associated Press spoke with company president Dr. Stephen Hoge, who oversees Moderna’s research.
Coronavirus: Canadian vaccine yields promising early results
The University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) has announced positive early results from phase one trials of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate: COVAC-2. The results from the study show that the vaccine appears to be safe and “well tolerated,” according to a press release. The study, conducted by Canadian Centre for Vaccinology (CCfV), said that the most commonly reported side effects among those who received the vaccine were headaches and mild pain at the injection site.
Covid-19 news: Lasting symptoms common in young adults, study finds
More than half of people aged 16 to 30 who had mild covid-19 were still experiencing symptoms 6 months later, a small study in Bergen, Norway has found. Bjørn Blomberg at the University of Bergen and colleagues followed up with a group of 312 people who had covid-19 during the first wave of Norway’s epidemic, including 247 people who isolated at home during their illness and 65 people who were hospitalised. They found that after 6 months, 61 per cent of all people had persistent symptoms, commonly referred to as “long covid”.
Ivermectin–Widely Used To Treat Covid-19 Despite Being Unproven–Is Being Studied In The U.K. As A Potential Treatment
The University of Oxford announced Wednesday it is investigating antiparasitic drug ivermectin as a possible treatment for Covid-19, a trial that could finally resolve questions over the controversial medicine which has been widely promoted around the world despite warnings from regulators and a lack of data supporting its use. Ivermectin will be assessed as part of the U.K. government-backed Principle study, which assesses non-hospital treatments against Covid-19 and is a large-scale randomized control trial widely considered the “gold standard” in evaluating a medicine’s effectiveness.
Delta Plus in India: 40 cases, 1st specimen found in April sample | What we know so far
The government on Wednesday confirmed 40 cases of Delta Plus variant in the country, a day after it alerted Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala about the new variant. Variants are natural for mRNA viruses as these viruses are prone to errors in their replication. Owing to such errors, the virus acquire a new character. On June 16, the Union health ministry for the first time mentioned the name of this variant as a variant of interest. Within a week, the status has been changed to a variant of concern. The government also made additional info about the variant public on Wednesday.
Why The Covid Vaccine Might Impact Your Periods
Almost 4,000 women have reported changes to their periods following the Covid-19 vaccine, but doctors want to reassure women this isn’t something to worry about. The Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) received a total of 3,958 reports of changed periods, up to the date May 17, according to data obtained by The Times. The majority of reports were about “heavier than usual bleeding”. But Dr Nighat Arif, a GP specialising in women’s health and family planning, tells HuffPost UK these changes are temporary and shouldn’t deter women from having the vaccine. “After millions of doses of the vaccine being given across the globe, there’s no evidence the Covid-19 vaccine causes long-term problems with your periods and it does not affect your fertility,” she says.
Health: Tree pollen can carry COVID particles and may increase infection risk in crowded areas
Researchers from the University of Nicosia, Cyprus simulated a willow tree. They modelled how pollen grains spread out in a light breeze towards a crowd. In a breeze, pollen could pass through a crowd 44 feet from the tree in a minute. Given this, greater distancing might be called for in areas of high pollen levels
AstraZeneca vaccine effective against COVID-19 variants identified in India
COVID-19 vaccines made by AstraZeneca and the Pfizer-BioNTech, alliance remain broadly effective against Delta and Kappa variants of the COVID-19 causing virus, which were first identified in India, according to a scientific study, underpinning a continued push to deliver the shots. The study by Oxford University researchers, published in the journal Cell, investigated the ability of antibodies in the blood from people, who were vaccinated with the two-shot regimens, to neutralize the highly contagious Delta and Kappa variants, a statement said.
Four Brits develop Guillain-Barré syndrome just days after having AstraZeneca's Covid jab
Four British men have developed a potentially life-threatening condition just days after having AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine. The recipients developed Guillain-Barré syndrome, which can cause paralysis and leave patients in crippling pain. All four cases were spotted in the Nottingham area, where around 700,000 people have had the British firm's coronavirus jab. British health chiefs have yet to offer a public breakdown of how many cases of the syndrome have been spotted in vaccine recipients across the entire country.
CDC advisory group says there is a 'likely link' between COVID-19 vaccines and rare heart inflammation in young adults after nearly 500 reported cases
An advisory group for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say there is a 'likely link' between rare cases of heart inflammation in adolescents and young adults and the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. In a presentation released on Wednesday, the COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Technical (VaST) Work Group discussed nearly 500 reports of the heart inflammation, known as myocarditis, in vaccinated adults under age 30. The group of doctors said the risk of myocarditis or pericarditis following vaccination with the mRNA-based shots in adolescents and young adults is notably higher after the second dose and in males
Alpha SARS-CoV-2 variant tied to more severe outcomes
Infection with the Alpha (B117) SARS-CoV-2 variant may pose a heightened risk of poor COVID-19 outcomes, according to two observational studies from England and Denmark published yesterday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases. In the first study, a team led by University of Oxford researchers studied data on a primary care cohort and a critical care group, both of which were infected by the Alpha variant and tested positive for COVID-19 from November 2020 to January 2021.
COVID-19: India reports new 'Delta plus' coronavirus variant of concern
India has reported a new "Delta plus" coronavirus variant of concern, officials have said. Sixteen cases of the variant, a mutation of B.1.617.2, were found in the state of Maharashtra on Tuesday, federal health secretary Rajesh Bhushan told a news conference. Delta plus is thought to be more transmissible than the original Delta variant, according to state officials who are increasing testing and local vaccination drives.
Congress demands investigation into the 'super-spreader' Wuhan Military Games in October 2019 where athletes from several countries 'got sick with COVID symptoms' and recalled streets being locked down - two months before China reported their first case
U.S. lawmakers are demanding an investigation into the 2019 Military World Games in Wuhan, China, where athletes complained of COVID-like symptoms and described the city as a 'ghost town' weeks before authorities admitted the spread of a new virus. Almost 10,000 international competitors from 100 countries took part in what is known as the 'military Olympics' in October 2019, two months before Beijing confirmed they were treating patients with an 'unknown pneumonia'. But today the city is at the center of concerns the virus leaked from a virology lab triggering fresh calls for investigators to examine claims that athletes fell ill.
Covid-19: 'Perfect storm' could lead to rise in London infections
London has a "perfect storm" of factors which could lead to an increase in Covid-19 cases, public health experts have warned. The city's role as an international hub and its young, "ethnically mixed and transient" population, could lead to rising infections, the London Assembly Health Committee heard. Covid-19 infections are rising, particularly in younger age groups. A high rate of multiple occupant homes could also contribute to the rise.
Ukraine considers tighter border controls due to Delta COVID-19 variant
Ukraine is considering strengthening border controls over travellers from the United Kingdom, India, Russia and Portugal in a bid to prevent the spread of Delta variant of the coronavirus, the health minister said on Wednesday. Ukraine, which has been recording a significant decline in new infections, earlier this month significantly relaxed travel requirements, lifted many of its domestic restrictions but extended some lockdown measures until August 31.
New Zealand mulls lockdown; visitor tests positive for COVID-19 after returning home
New Zealand is considering locking down its capital city Wellington on Wednesday after an Australian tourist tested positive for COVID-19 after visiting the city over the weekend. The South Pacific nation of 5 million people is among a handful of countries that have contained the spread of COVID-19 and returned to normalcy, with the last positive case due to community transmission reported on Feb 28. But fresh concerns of an outbreak emerged after an Australian traveller from Sydney who visited New Zealand at the weekend tested positive for COVID-19 on return to Australia. "Everything is on the table," Dr. Ashley Bloomfield told Radio New Zealand when asked if a lockdown in Wellington was an option being considered to curb any potential outbreak.
After 21 Delta Plus variant cases, Centre asks Maharashtra to implement containment measures immediately
The Union Health Ministry on Tuesday asked Maharashtra to take up immediate containment measures, speed up testing and vaccination in various districts after the state reported 21 cases of Delta Plus variant of coronavirus.
Delta plus a Covid-19 'variant of concern' in India: Health ministry
In India, 16 of the 22 cases of Delta plus variant have been found in Ratnagiri and Jalgaon in Maharashtra and some in Kerala and Madhya Pradesh, health secretary Rajesh Bhushan announced in the briefing. He also said that the Delta plus variant has been found in the US, the UK, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, Poland, Nepal, China and Russia besides India. The health ministry issued the statement after Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG) informed the officials that the Delta plus mutation has a number of characteristics including increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response. In the same briefing, the consortium apprised the government that it is now a 'variant of concern.'
Covid gender gap widens as cases surge in Scotland
A Covid cases gender gap has opened up as the total number testing positive in the past 24 hours hit nearly 3,000. On Wednesday five new deaths were reported, and 2,969 cases recorded - the highest daily number since the start of mass testing. In recent days about two thirds of cases in the 15 to 44 age range have been male. Behaviour expert Prof Stephen Reicher has suggested that men meeting up to watch Euro 2020 is behind the rise. National Clinical Director Prof Jason Leitch said he believed indoor socialising was the main factor, though not necessarily linked to football.
NHS alarm over rise in number of UK Covid patients on ventilators
NHS bosses have sounded the alarm over the number of people on ventilators in hospital in the UK, which has risen over the past week. The deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, said the number of Covid patients in hospital on ventilation beds had increased by 41% in the last week to 227, which she said was a strong indication Covid was having an impact on health services. Cordery told BBC Breakfast: “Trusts on the frontline are really coming under huge pressure ... they have plans in place to tackle the backlog, but with more Covid cases and demand for emergency care going up, that’s really challenging.”
Fauci warns of 'localized surges' in areas with low vaccination rates
Anthony Fauci warned of the possibility of "localized surges" of COVID-19 in areas of the U.S. with low vaccination rates if a certain segment of the population declines to get the shots. Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Biden, said at a White House press briefing that he does not expect any surges that were as bad as the pre-vaccine days in the United States, and he says the country is likely past the threat of returning to having 1,000 or more deaths per day.
Russia tightens COVID-19 restrictions as deaths spike in major cities
Deaths related to COVID-19 spiked in Russia's major cities on Wednesday amid a surge in new cases that authorities have blamed on the new Delta variant, and restrictions seeking to curb the virus' spread were strengthened. Desperate to speed up Russia's sluggish vaccination campaign, Moscow and several Russian regions have resorted to tough measures to encourage people to get shots, including threats of loss of earnings and dismissal. Russia's coronavirus task force reported 548 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, the most confirmed in a single day since February, with 88 in Moscow and 93 in St Petersburg respectively, a record in both cities.