"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 28th Jul 2021
We cannot escape the threat of COVID-19 until we vaccinate the world
- G7 countries are guilty of both hoarding vaccines and blocking others from producing them at scale. - New Statesman 26 July
- 'It's not possible to stop everybody getting it, you can't do that, and it's also not desirable because you want immunity in the population to protect ourselves in the future.' Not long after, Patrick Vallance, the UK's chief scientific adviser, spoke these words on 12 March 2020, East Asian countries showed that epidemics could be crushed through strong public health measures.
- Our Scientific Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) was 'unanimous,' however, that these countries would inevitably face a huge second wave. The impact of the UK's 'living with the virus' policies has included 153,000 excess deaths and £372bn of additional government spending owing to the economic crisis (GDP collapsed by 9.9% in 2020). The debate now is to what extent the UK's impressive vaccine rollout has changed the equation of risks and benefits, Were Tory backbenchers and Sajid Javid right to hurry England out of lockdown on 19 July?
- In the short term, Javid's move has made things worse. We already have among the highest per capita case rates in the world, rising hospitalisations, and a slow increase in deaths. The apparent message that infections don't really matter may also worsen vaccine hesitancy. Nonetheless, the latest data suggests cases have peaked (rates have fallen for five consecutive days), while hospitalisations are within the capacity of the NHS and deaths remain below 100 per day. Our media might soon be congratulating Javid on his 'Big Bang' approach.
- But the true question for the UK, and for the world, is whether we move to a relatively mild 'endemic state' or one where severe epidemics wax and wane over several years. We still face a mutating virus that is more virulent and transmissable than influenza. Will cases and hospitalisations surge again in the winter? Will vaccine benefits last long enough to reach 'herd immunity'? Can we vaccinate the world to restore the free flow of people and goods?
- When we vaccinate against stable viruses that don't mutate, such as measles, mumps and rubella, we gain both antibody and T-cell protection. If you meet the virus again after vaccination, your T-memory cells will stimulate a boosted antibody response and killer T-cells will eliminate infected cells before the virus replicates. The biology of the Covid virus, Sars-CoV-2, is very different though. Anthony Leonardi, an immunologist at John Hopkins University in Maryland, USA, believes the virus 'distorts T-cell function, numbers and death, and creates a dysfunctional immune response.'
- It makes a protein that enables infected cells to 'cloak' themselves from killer T-cells, giving the virus precious time to replicate. This means that neutralising antibodies, which have an immediate effect, are critical to prevent mild and moderate illness. These antibodies cover the whole spike proteins of the virus when exposed at a cell's surface, allowing other natural killer cells to stop the virus in its tracks.
- But the duration of antibody levels capable of neutralising Sars-CoV-2 is relatively short, and even shorter in older people. New lab evidence shows that the AstraZeneca vaccine produces much lower levels of neutralising antibodies for the Delta variant compared with the original Wuhan virus.
- Even fully vaccinated people can still become infected, albeit less seriously for now. New variants might show greater 'vaccine escape.' Breakthrough infections in Israel, Gibraltar and in the UK (where they account for more than one-third of hospitalisations) suggest an annual booster jab will be needed with an updated vaccine for most of the world's population.
- Emerging research is showing how little we know about the long-term effects of Covid. in Common with Ebola, rabies and HIV, the Covid virus possesses a 'superantigen,' a peptide (a short chain of amino acids) capable of activating T-cells not specific to the virus. This activation can manifest in autoimmunity and organ damage, as seen in the multi-inflammatory syndrome which has put thousands of children worldwide into intensive care. A new study of 80,000 adults showed cognitive decline in those who'd had Covid after controlling for age, sex and education, with deficits present that did not depend on time since infection.
- The latest ONS survey of Long Covid found that 962,000 people, after a first infection, experienced self-reported symptoms of fatigue, shortness of breath, 'brain fog' and muscle aches, persisting for more than four weeks. A sub-study of 20,000 showed 13.7 per cent had symptoms for more than 12 weeks, eight times higher than uninfected control participants.
- The decision of our Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation not to recommend vaccinating 12-17 year olds (even though the Medicines Regulatory Authority has provided approval) plays down this evidence of longer-term risks. Most cases are mild in children but even a small percentage developing Long Covid and cognitive problems could lead to large numbers affected. We urgently need more research on cohorts of infected children.
- Further, global vaccination is progressing very badly, with just 13.7 per cent of people fully vaccinated worldwide, and only 1.6% in Africa. The world's poorest 27 countries have received just 0.3% of vaccine doses worldwide.
- Most countries helped by the COVAX system - the World Health Organisation's vaccine iniative - depend heavily on the AstraZeneca jab manufactured by the Serum Institute of India. But India has blocked exports of the vaccine. Official death rates conceal the scale of the growing disaster among unvaccinated populations. In India alone, a new study estimates excess deaths to be in the range of 3.4 million to 4.7 million - about ten times higher than the country's official Covid-19 death toll.
- With Germany, Canada and the UK blocking President Joe Biden's proposal of a vaccine patent waiver, G7 countries are guilty of hoarding vaccines and blocking others from producing them at scale, a moral and geopolitical failure that lower income countries will not forget. Some have turned to the Russian Sputnik vaccine and China's Sinovac, although there are still concerns about their supplies and regulatory standards.
- Despite the UK's higher coverage, a vaccination-only policy does not guarantee success. We are still without an effective local public health system to crush new virus outbreaks, our health service must cope with unpredictable numbers of future Covid-19 casualties as well as the huge backlog of patients on hospital waiting lists, and vaccine passports face stiff parliamentary opposition. A global economic recovery will depend upon a coordinated international response that has so far failed to materialise and the hope that the virus mutates into a milder pathogen.
Anthony Costello is a professor of global health and sustainable development at UCL and a former director of maternal and child health at the World Health Organisation
We cannot escape the threat of Covid-19 until we vaccinate the world “It's not possible
It’s not possible to stop everybody getting it, you can’t do that, and it’s also not desirable because you want immunity in the population to protect ourselves in the future”. Not long after Patrick Vallance, the UK’s chief scientific adviser, spoke these words on 12 March 2020, East Asian countries showed that epidemics could be crushed through strong public health measures. Our Scientific Advisory Group of Experts (Sage) was “unanimous”, however, that these countries would inevitably face a huge second wave. The impact of the UK’s “living with the virus” policies has included 153,000 excess deaths and £372bn of additional government spending owing to the economic crisis (GDP collapsed by 9.9 per cent in 2020).
White House considering requiring federal employees to get Covid vaccines or submit to regular testing
President Joe Biden has confirmed to reporters that the White House is considering a requirement that all federal workers receive a Covid-19 vaccine or submit to regular mandatory testing. The president made the remarks on Tuesday when asked if a requirement that all federal employees, a number that tops 4.2 million when including the armed forces and Postal Service according to a recent report using data from federal agencies, would be required to get the vaccine. “That’s under consideration right now”, the president said.
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?
CDC reverses course on indoor masks in some parts of US
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed course Tuesday on some masking guidelines, recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging. Citing new information about the ability of the delta variant to spread among vaccinated people, the CDC also recommended indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status. The new guidance follows recent decisions in Los Angeles and St. Louis to revert to indoor mask mandates amid a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations that have been especially bad in the South. The country is averaging more than 57,000 cases a day and 24,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Bhutan fully vaccinates 90% of eligible adults within a week
The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has fully vaccinated 90% of its eligible adult population within just seven days, its health ministry said Tuesday. 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.” In April, Bhutan grabbed headlines when its government said it had inoculated around the same percentage of eligible adults with the first dose in under two weeks after India donated 550,000 shots of AstraZeneca vaccine. But the country faced a shortage for months after India, a major supplier of the AstraZeneca shot, halted exports as it scrambled to meet a rising demand at home as infections surged.
Moderna says COVID-19 vaccine supply outside United States to slow down
Moderna said on Tuesday its COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing partners outside the United States are facing delays due to laboratory testing operations that have occurred in the past few days, slowing the supply of the shot to these markets. The vaccine maker's comments come after South Korean health officials said earlier in the day that Moderna has delayed its late-July vaccine shipment schedule for the country to August due to supply problems.
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’.
White House reporters to wear masks in briefing room again
White House reporters will be wearing masks in the briefing room again, the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) told members on Tuesday. The mask requirement for the White House press pool is reimposed for all indoor spaces at the White House. It follows guidance that White House staff will also be wearing masks again indoors.
A solution to the murky legal status of vaccine mandates: rewrite vaccine EUAs
Vaccination is the key weapon in our nation’s battle against Covid-19. Either we quickly get closer to full immunity as a nation or we are doomed to another fall and winter of school shutdowns, business closures, fewer recreational opportunities, and more masking and social distancing, with all the likely deaths that new strains of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, entail. Despite this grim reality, vaccine uptake is inadequate. Leaders have tried begging, pleading, and cajoling, but full vaccination in many states and counties hovers around 30%. Some states and cities have tried incentives such as free meals, drinks, lottery tickets, hunting licenses, vacations, cookies, and even marijuana, but to little avail. We believe that the solution to this public health crisis is to institute vaccine mandates, set by government or by private businesses and institutions.
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.
EU needs more than 70% vaccination coverage to stop variants, warns Belgian virologist
The European Union needs a vaccination coverage higher than 70% of adult population to stop the spread of new and highly transmissible COVID-19 variants, says Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst, warning the virus can "happily circulate" among the unvaccinated. "We have to reach a vaccination level that is higher than 70%, that is clear," Ranst told Euronews. "Against the original variant, the one that came from Wuhan, probably 70% would cut it. But then the British variant came, and then the Indian variant came, and they were much more infectious, which means you need a higher vaccination coverage to sort of counter this."
COVID-19: Michael Gove drops strong hint that vaccine passports will be needed for football matches
Michael Gove says it is his view that "some form of certification is the right way to go" and that "selfish" individuals who refuse to get a COVID-19 jab face being denied entry to some events.
Nearly 60 medical groups including American Medical Association sign joint statement calling on employers to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for healthcare workers
In a joint statement on Monday, 57 medical groups called on employers to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for all health care workers. The groups say that requiring health workers to get vaccinated will protect patients as well as vulnerable groups like the immunocompromised. Houston Methodist was the first health system to make vaccines mandatory earlier this year and has since been joined by dozens of others. Daily vaccinations have fallen to less than 500,000 per day while daily cases have increased by 291% in three weeks from 13,305 to 52,116
Australia's vaccine rollout 'a colossal failure', ex-PM Turnbull says
Australia's vaccine rollout has been "a colossal failure" because the government failed to buy enough vaccines so its borders are therefore likely to remain closed until at least early 2022, former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told the BBC.
‘Reckless’ to let Covid-19 spread through young people, says Scottish Government adviser
Writing for The Guardian, Professor Devi Sridhar criticised the position in the UK of letting “teenagers get on with it and see what happens once they’re infected”. Criticising the approach in England, where all major legal Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted, the chair of global public health and Edinburgh University said such a move would result in an “uncontrolled epidemic” among younger age groups.
Workers exempted from Covid-19 self-isolation to include binmen, vets and tax collectors
The list of professions that no longer have to follow self-isolation rules has been expanded to include rubbish collectors, vets and tax collectors in an attempt to limit disruption caused by the “pingdemic”. A pilot study has suggested that only one in 145 workers who come into contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus go on to contract it themselves.
Vaccine advisory group urged Australian health department in 2020 ‘to get as much as you can’
Pushback from members comes after department secretary Brendan Murphy says all government vaccine purchases ‘were on the advice of advisory group’
Ireland lowers COVID-19 vaccine age to 12 to boost strong takeup
Ireland became the latest European Union member state to commit to offering COVID-19 vaccines to children aged 12-15 as it opened its strongly subscribed programme to 16 and 17-year olds on Tuesday. Ireland's vaccine programme is currently running at one of the fastest rates in Europe, with almost 70% of its adult population fully vaccinated and more than 84% partially protected with the first of two doses - greatly reducing the rate of serious illness and death from COVID-19.
Why Isn't the Military Mandating COVID-19 Vaccines?
COVID-19 vaccination has become yet another front in the war by elected officials and media figures to draw the military into politics. Representative Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican, has introduced legislation to prohibit vaccinations being made mandatory in the armed forces and has been scaremongering on Twitter about potential dangers that vaccine mandates pose to military readiness. A group of seven Democratic lawmakers led by Representative Jimmy Panetta of California recently wrote to President Joe Biden, urging that his administration make vaccinations mandatory for everyone in the military.
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.
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.
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.
COVID-19 curbs to end in Australian state, continue in Sydney
New South Wales records 172 new cases, most since March 2020. Victoria will ease curbs on Weds after 10 new cases. NSW to decide soon whether to extend five-week lockdown. South Australia to lift restrictions after no new cases
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.
Devi Sridhar: Failing to vaccinate children ‘raises risk of deadly Covid mutations’
British politicians defying international guidance to vaccinate children risk turning them into a breeding ground for coronavirus mutations that can make them seriously ill and kill those around them, public health experts have warned. Devi Sridhar, chairwoman of global public health at Edinburgh University, said she was “baffled” by the decision to withhold vaccines from children aged 12 to 17. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which advises UK politicians, said adolescents should not get the vaccine amid concerns about rare cases of heart inflammation in young people who have received a jab.
India says it will meet July target for domestic vaccine supply
India will meet its target of supplying more than half a billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to states by the end of this month, the health ministry says but added that not all doses may be administered by then. The government told the country’s highest court last month that 516 million doses would be made available by the end of July, an important milestone for its goal of inoculating all of India’s estimated adult population of 944 million this year.
People told to shield eight times more likely to get Covid-19, study suggests
Researchers also said people deemed at moderate risk from the virus due to health conditions like diabetes were four times more likely to have confirmed infections than the low-risk group, and five times more likely to die following confirmed infection. The study, led by the University of Glasgow and published in the journal Scientific Reports, also showed that people aged 70 and over accounted for almost half (49.55%) of deaths in a Scottish health board.
Transplant patients' higher rate of COVID-19 breakthroughs boosts case for booster vaccines
Transplant physicians have worried for months that their patients might not be getting the protection they need from COVID-19 vaccines. Studies have already shown that many organ recipients don’t produce coronavirus-fighting antibodies even after two doses of the highly effective messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines—an indication their bodies are unable to mount a strong defense against SARS-CoV-2. A study out today indicates this lack of antibodies is indeed translating to a much higher risk of “breakthrough” cases of COVID-19 among vaccinated transplant recipients.
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.
Antibodies from Sinovac's COVID-19 shot fade after about 6 months, booster helps - study
Antibodies triggered by Sinovac Biotech's (SVA.O) COVID-19 vaccine declined below a key threshold from around six months after a second dose for most recipients, but a third shot had a strong booster effect, a lab study showed. Chinese researchers reported the findings from a study of blood samples from healthy adults aged between 18-59 in a paper published on Sunday, which has not been peer reviewed
Covid-19 could cause lower intelligence in those who have had it, says study
Scientists say Covid-19 could have a negative effect on the intelligence of people admitted to hospital with the virus, according to a new study. Researchers found that people who had been hospitalised with Covid were more likely to get a lower score on the Great British Intelligence Test. The drop-off was even greater among those who had recovered from the virus after being put on a ventilator, according to the study, published in The Lancet, that analysed the results of 81,337 people who took the test between January and December 2020.
Supply issues to delay Moderna COVID-19 vaccine shipments, S.Korea says
Moderna said on Tuesday its COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing partners outside the United States are facing delays due to laboratory testing operations that have occurred in the past few days, slowing the supply of the shot to these markets. The vaccine maker's comments come after South Korean health officials said earlier in the day that Moderna has delayed its late-July vaccine shipment schedule for the country to August due to supply problems
Myanmar reports 4,964 new COVID-19 cases, 338 more deaths
Myanmar reported 4,964 new cases of COVID-19 with 338 more deaths in the past 24 hours, according to a release from the Ministry of Health and Sports on Tuesday. The number of COVID-19 cases has increased to 279,119 with the death toll being at 7,845 as of Tuesday. The release said a total of 194,410 patients have been discharged from hospitals so far. The ministry has imposed a stay-at-home order in 98 townships in total after five townships in Bago, Mandalay and Ayeyarwady regions were added to the list on Tuesday.
Thousands of foreigners leave Indonesia amid COVID-19 crisis
Thousands of foreigners have left Indonesia in recent weeks, airport records released Tuesday showed, apparently spurred by a brutal pandemic wave and a general shortage of vaccines, which have gone to high-priority groups first. Indonesia now has the most confirmed daily cases in Asia as infections and deaths have surged over the past month and India’s massive outbreak has waned. Infections peaked in mid-July, with the highest daily average reported at more than 50,000 new cases each day. Until mid-June, daily cases had been running at about 8,000. Since early this month, nearly 19,000 foreign nationals have left through Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in the capital, Jakarta
US COVID prevalence likely 60% higher than reported, experts say
University of Washington at Seattle researchers estimate that 60% of US COVID-19 cases have gone unreported due to biases in test data and delayed reporting, according to a modeling study yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers used multiple data sources, including likely unbiased representative random testing surveys from Indiana and Ohio, to estimate the true number of coronavirus infections in both the country and in each state for 1 year starting in March 2020. Their model included likelihood components that combine data on COVID-19 deaths, confirmed cases, and the number of tests administered each day.
As Virus Cases Rise, Another Contagion Spreads Among the Vaccinated: Anger
As coronavirus cases resurge across the country, many inoculated Americans are losing patience with vaccine holdouts who, they say, are neglecting a civic duty or clinging to conspiracy theories and misinformation even as new patients arrive in emergency rooms and the nation renews mask advisories. The country seemed to be exiting the pandemic; barely a month ago, a sense of celebration was palpable. Now many of the vaccinated fear for their unvaccinated children and worry that they are at risk themselves for breakthrough infections.
Bangladesh logs single-day records for COVID cases, deaths
Bangladesh has registered the highest number of new coronavirus cases and deaths within a single day amid a strict lockdown imposed to contain the surge in infections. The government’s Directorate General of Health Services on Monday said 15,192 infections and 247 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the total caseload to 1,179,827 and death toll to 19,521 since the pandemic began in March last year.
Tokyo’s daily Covid cases on track to hit all time high of more than 3,000 cases
Olympic host city Tokyo is on track to a record high of more than 3,000 coronavirus cases after the number of infections almost doubled in a day. Daily infections in the city, which has seen an influx of overseas visitors for the Games, reached 2,848 on Tuesday, official figures showed. The figure on Monday was 1,429. Now Tokyo is asking hospitals to raise the number of Covid beds to 6,406 by early next month from the current capacity of 5,967, to avoid people having to sleep on the floor or outside.
CDC tightens mask recommendations; South Africa registers 7,773 new cases
South Africa registered 7,773 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the cumulative total to 2,391,223. A further 370 Covid-19-related deaths were reported, taking total official deaths to 70,388. A total of 6,854,667 people have been vaccinated.
Record 1.13 million children in England absent for Covid-19 related reasons
Q record 1.13 million children in England were out of school for Covid-19 related reasons towards the end of term, Government figures show. Around 1,126,000 pupils missed class on Friday July 16, compared with 859,000 on Friday July 9, according to Department for Education (DfE) statistics. The figures include 994,000 children self-isolating due to a possible contact with a Covid-19 case, 48,000 pupils with a confirmed case of coronavirus, and 33,300 with a suspected case.
'Severe' Covid-19 cases surge in Tokyo during Olympics
Japan's prime minister on Tuesday said there were no plans to shut down the ongoing Olympics Games after a record number of new Covid-19 cases were recorded in the country's capital. “First of all, thanks to the restrictions on vehicles, and through measures such as remote-working, with the cooperation of the public, the flow of people has been decreasing," Yoshihide Suga said during a press conference. "Because the flow of people is decreasing, we’re not worried."
Covid-19 UK: SAGE expert says group left 'scratching head' over falling infections
Warwick University's modelling suggested Britain would be seeing around 60,000 cases a day at the moment. Covid cases fell for the sixth day in a row yesterday down to 24,950 boosting hope the third wave has peaked. Professor Sir Mark Walport, a member of SAGE, said the sharp drop off in Covid infections is 'quite surprising'
Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan report record daily COVID-19 infections
Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan reported record numbers of fresh COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, standing at 6,797 and 789 respectively, signalling that Central Asia has yet to overcome the latest pandemic wave, driven by new variants.
Canada has enough COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate everyone eligible - Trudeau
Canada has obtained enough COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate everyone who is eligible and managed to do so ahead of schedule, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Tuesday. Aides say Trudeau is set to trigger a snap election in the months ahead where one of the main campaigning points will be the Liberal government's record on fighting the pandemic. Trudeau said Canada had bought more than 66 million doses.
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.