"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 7th Dec 2020

Isolation Tips
More people signed off sick with mental health problems during lockdown, analysis reveals
The proportion of people applying for fit notes from their GP for mental health reasons jumped 6 per cent during lockdown in England, according to new research. It adds to growing concern the UK will see a surge in mental health problems as a result of the pandemic and the impact on society and the economy. The latest data on the number of statements of fitness to work signed by GPs, published by NHS Digital, shows mental health problems now account for almost four in 10 of all sick notes signed by GPs. The Centre for Mental Health think tank has warned the government needs to prepare for the aftermath of Covid-19.
How Melbourne and Victoria eliminated Covid-19 cases with a lockdown
In July and August, the Australian state of Victoria was going through a second Covid-19 wave. Local leaders set an improbable goal in the face of that challenge. They didn’t want to just get their Covid-19 numbers down. They wanted to eliminate the virus entirely.By the end of November, they’d done it. They have seen no active cases for a full four weeks. Melbourne, the state’s capital and a city with about as many people as the greater Washington, DC, area, is now completely coronavirus-free. Victoria’s Covid-19 restrictions were controversial with some residents, but Australia in general enjoys more political homogeny than the US does. That must make it easier to build solidarity for these extraordinary measures.
Coronavirus: Care homes to receive Pfizer vaccine within two weeks, says regulator
Care homes are set to receive deliveries of coronavirus vaccine within the next fortnight, after the UK’s medicines regulator gave approval for packs received by the NHS to be broken down into smaller batches for distribution. Residents and staff at care homes have been placed top of the priority list for the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, but prime minister Boris Johnson said that logistical difficulties were likely to delay the delivery of the life-saving vaccine. But now the chief executive of the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), June Raine, has said that doses will “definitely” arrive at homes within the next two weeks. The problem arose because the vaccine shots arrive from manufacturers in Belgium in pizza box-style cases each containing 975 vials, which must be kept below -70 degrees celsius before use
Hygiene Helpers
Atul Gawande on Coronavirus Vaccines and Prospects for Ending the Pandemic
The New Yorker staff writer discusses when a vaccine might be ready for distribution, who should receive it, and whether eradicating the virus is possible.
Covid test-and-trace: Is backwards contact tracing the way forward?
Contact tracing is about detective work - and there are different ways to do it. If a person tests positive, forward contact tracing means finding all the people they could have passed the virus on to, and asking them to self-isolate. For backwards contact tracing, the aim is to find who gave the virus to the person who tested positive. The theory is that if they have already passed on the virus, they're more likely to have infected other people as well, because of how superspreading works. Then their contacts are found, and asked to self-isolate, too. If the effort is just on going forward, then "potentially a lot of cases won't have infected people", said Dr Adam Kucharski, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The result is a big part of the outbreak will be missed, he says. But because cases are often linked to superspreading events, going backwards could pick up infections that might otherwise be missed
CDC urges 'universal mask use' indoors for the first time in U.S.
The CDC suggested the universal use of face masks in a new report on Friday. The agency said proper face masks should be worn anywhere outside of an individuals' home. Report said the US has reached a 'phase of high-level transmission' amid the winter weather, holiday seasons and flu season. President-elect Joe Biden announced he will ask Americans to wear face masks for up to 100 days when inaugurated. Covid-19 deaths and hospitalizations have increased across the country. CDC said national forecasts predicted between 9,500 and 19,500 new Covid-19 deaths will be counted during the week ending December 26
Multidose COVID-19 vaccines will test state tracking systems
When the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available in the United States, officials’ first challenge is getting the people in the door for their shots. Then, they’ll have a second problem: making sure they come back again to get a second dose of the same vaccine. With two two-dose vaccines headed for authorization, the logistical challenges of a vaccination program are only magnified. “You don’t want to have someone get the first dose of one brand of vaccine, and a second dose of another,” says Ben Moscovitch, project director of health information technology at The Pew Charitable Trusts. Assuming the Food and Drug Administration authorizes the vaccines after they review the data later this month, states will start to receive shipments of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine on December 15th, and the Moderna vaccine on December 22nd. From there, it’s up to states to distribute the vaccines. Both take two doses, given a few weeks apart, and both could be circulating at the same time. And that’s just the two front-runners. Other multidose vaccines are still in the development pipeline.
Eceptionist launches self-service COVID-19 vaccine management tool
Global health care software provider Eceptionist has launched a new web-based solution to help private and public organizations manage COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Dubbed VaxManager, the software as a service (SAAS) solution alleviates the administrative burden of managing COVID tests, flu shots, and other vaccines when they become available. VaxManager incorporates an organization's COVID guidelines into a test/vaccine request workflow to automatically screen and prioritize vaccine and test requests, the company said. The mobile-friendly platform also includes a self-registration and self-request portal for patients to ensure quick and easy onboarding. Automated appointment reminders, follow-up notifications, and post-testing and post-vaccine information make the software highly reliable and relevant for patients.
Community Activities
The vaccine miracle: how scientists waged the battle against Covid-19
In the early afternoon of 3 January this year, a small metal box was delivered to the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre addressed to virus expert Prof Zhang Yongzhen. Inside, packed in dry ice, were swabs from a patient who was suffering from a novel, occasionally fatal respiratory illness that was sweeping the city of Wuhan. Exactly what was causing terrifying rises in case numbers, medical authorities wanted to know? And how was the disease being spread? Zhang and his colleagues set to work. For the next 48 hours, virtually non-stop, he and his team used advanced sequencing machines to unravel the RNA – the genetic building blocks – of the virus which they believed was responsible for the outbreak. Decoding the 28,000 letters of this RNA – which acts as letters of DNA do in a human – would give a precise indication of the new pathogen’s nature and behaviour.
COVID-19: Christmas shoppers flood high streets in return after lockdown
Christmas shoppers flooded England's high streets for the first weekend since lockdown was lifted and non-essential stores were allowed to reopen. Despite the difficulties of the pandemic, retail experts predicted £1.5bn would be spent in shops nationwide on Saturday. Taking advantage of the first non-working day to do their Christmas shopping, people flooded London's Regent Street and city centres in Manchester and York. Shoppers visiting Westfield, east London and stores in central Birmingham had to contend with hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters staging demonstrations against more potential restrictions next year.
COVID-19: Anti-lockdown and vaccine protests held across Australia
Anti-lockdown and vaccine protests have been held across Australia, with hundreds gathering in Sydney to hear from COVID-19 sceptics at a self-described “freedom” rally. The Sydney protest was observed by police but appeared to remain peaceful, with a NSW Police spokesperson confirming to NCA NewsWire there were no arrests. The rallies took place despite more significant easing of restrictions in NSW and Victoria following weeks of extremely low or zero case numbers. Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt told Sky News on Sunday morning he had complete confidence in the Therapeutic Goods Administration and medical experts, who had kept Australia safer than most countries in the world. He urged against complacency about COVID-19 and said it remained a contagious and deadly virus.
'76 Days' review: Inside Wuhan hospitals during COVID-19
The first minutes of the experiential COVID-19 documentary “76 Days” are claustrophobic and disorienting — a feeling not unlike your first trip to the grocery store while wearing a mask. But it gets better. In the controlled chaos of a hospital’s corridors, everyone is sheathed head to toe in PPE. We see a woman screaming to say goodbye to her father and having to be restrained. A crowd bangs on a door pleading to be let in as the hospital staff reassures them that they will all be admitted if they only remain patient.
Warner Bros to release all 2021 films on HBO Max and in cinemas on same day
Warner Bros will release all of its 2021 films, including Dune and The Matrix 4, online on the same day they hit cinemas. The move to put such major blockbusters straight on streaming service HBO Max is another blow to the struggling cinema industry, which has largely closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Warner Bros said the one-year plan was in response to the "unprecedented times" of the outbreak, but the multiplexes will no doubt still be concerned about what it could mean for their future. They have been stung by a raft of delays to high-profile films in 2020, including the latest instalments in popular franchises such as Marvel and James Bond.
'They don't need me now': COVID impact forcing Britons to food banks
British food banks are seeing more families needing their support as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic forces struggling people to seek help, charities and volunteers say. Lockdowns and other measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus have forced businesses to close or lay off staff. The rise in those out of work has resulted in more people turning to food banks, which provide emergency food supplies to families in need. “I was working part-time as a cleaner for evenings, and then when COVID started, we had to quit because everything was closed and our offices, they’re not opening until 2021 because people can work from home,” said Vilma Tunylaite, 40, queuing at a food bank in southwest London. “And me, they don’t need me now.”
COVID-19 crisis: Fewer women than men feel they can ask for raise
Ginning up the courage to ask for a raise is tough in any labour market, let alone one ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. But men are exhibiting more moxie than women when it comes to bargaining for better pay during the pandemic. That is the finding of a study released this week by Moody’s Analytics and Morning Consult that surveyed 5,000 adult workers in mid-September.
Working Remotely
5 Time Management Tips When Working From Home
Time management was a challenge during normal times. Now the pandemic has introduced a whole new set of issues, including sharing workspace with our significant other and managing our children's educational needs from home. In May alone, 42% of Americans aged 20-64 earning more than $20,000 per year were working from home full-time, according to a Stanford University survey, compared to just 2% before the pandemic. And there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. While offices worldwide have started to reopen, employees will likely be working from home in some capacity until at least 2022.
You may be working from home — but the boss is still looking over your shoulder
It’s a moment that anyone who has ever had a job knows well: that feeling that you have to be just a little more careful when your supervisor or manager is nearby. As familiar as it is, though, it was also just a temporary little blip, or a reminder — once the boss moved on from your cubicle or your spot in the warehouse, it was back to normal. But as digital technology has become ubiquitous in the workplace, the space for that kind of reprieve is shrinking — while the control possible for employers seems to only be growing. Recently, an Australian researcher brought to light that Microsoft’s ubiquitous Office software, used by more than a million companies worldwide, lets companies track employee behaviour, and even provide them a “productivity score” by monitoring their actions. It’s the sort of thing that conjures images of a dark dystopia in which one’s every move is tracked — and in which the boss is forever virtually looking over your shoulder.
Why France is struggling to embrace the work-from-home revolution
The French were not accustomed to working from home, or WFH, but when the Covid epidemic forced people into lockdown this spring, they had to get used to it. It’s now become part of the landscape, but has yet to enter the country’s DNA. Before lockdown in March this year, only around eight percent of French companies had some form of remote working in place. But numbers rocketed during those two spring months as everyone who could work from home was encouraged to do so. Some five million employees found themselves in zoom meetings from the comfort, or not, of their living rooms, bedrooms or hallways.
Survey finds most Canadians enjoy working from home, but what are the pros and cons?
When a new survey asked Canadians how they are enjoying working from home only 27 per cent said they would prefer being back at the office. The survey by ClickMeeting, which organizes online meetings and webinars, found that 56 per cent said they enjoy remote work and would prefer a hybrid model of home and office employment. “We do think that down the line that the hybrid model is going to take off," Patrick Quinn, marketing manger with ClickMeeting, said. While many Canadians may enjoy the benefits of working from home, there are challenges to working remotely and some employees may embrace it more than others
Virtual Classrooms
NYC parents protest virtual classes for older kids as K-5 students set to return
In NYC, a group of Big Apple parents rallied outside City Hall on Sunday to demand the return to hybrid learning for all grades — the day before only K-5 students were set to head back into classrooms. Joining a recent wave of protests across the country calling for more in-class instruction, about 70 parents and kids waved signs that said things such as, “Safest place for children is in school” and “Home detention is not education.” The debate over the re-opening of schools to more in-person learning is heating up across the US, where there have been protests in at least nine cities in the past week
Doctors seeing more eye strain and headaches from virtual learning and screen time during pandemic
Between online learning and self-isolation, school-aged kids that are homebound are inevitably spending more time with their digital screens. Doctors say kids are paying a price - citing an uptick in everything from eye strain to migraines. "I feel that a lot of kids today have more dry eye,” said Dr. Kim Le, Pediatric Ophthalmologist at Henry Ford Health System. Across the country, doctors citing an uptick in children complaining of everything from eye strain to head pain.
Virtual learning tips stress well being and establishing new routines
As frazzled households adapt to the challenges of virtual learning during the pandemic, the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit is offering a free webinar to help parents cope and make it easier for children to succeed in school from home. “The greatest challenge for families is the fact that they need to juggle many different responsibilities including their job, their child’s access to a consistent, conducive environment for learning, as well as, assessing the mental wellness of their children during a pandemic,” said Jason Conway, executive director for the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit.
What Teachers Have Learned About Online Classes During COVID-19
Few people would tell you that online kindergarten was a good idea, or frankly even possible. That was before 2020. The number has fluctuated as cases rise across the U.S., but throughout this fall pandemic semester, between 40% and 60% of students have been enrolled in districts that offer only remote learning. We are still starved for data on what this all means. The earliest standardized test scores coming out show modest learning loss for students in math, but there are worries that the most at-risk students are not being tested at all. For this story, Anya Kamenetz talked to educators in six states, from California to South Carolina. For the most part they say things have improved since the spring. But they are close to burnout, with only a patchwork of support.
Public Policies
Long a Holdout From Covid-19 Restrictions, Sweden Ends Its Pandemic Experiment
After a late autumn surge in infections led to rising hospitalizations and deaths, Sweden has abandoned its attempt to combat the pandemic through voluntary measures.
China begins huge COVID-19 vaccine rollout, with doses reportedly already administered to 1 million citizens
Health officials in China have begun giving at-risk citizens emergency access to vaccine doses, according to a report. More than a million healthcare workers and others in at-risk groups have already received vaccines, The Associated Press reported Sunday. It detailed millions of orders from the country's provinces. Health officials in world's most populous country, which is home to almost 1.4 billion people, haven't yet released a comprehensive plan. Chinese government researchers are testing several vaccines from about a dozen countries, with a domestic vaccine from China Pharmaceutical Group, or Sinopharm, nearing final approval
The first Covid-19 vaccine arrives in Scotland
The Scottish Government has announced that the first Covid-19 vaccine arrived in Scotland on Saturday. Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, welcomed the news. Ms Freeman said:“I am pleased to announce that the vaccine is now in Scotland and being stored safely in order for vaccinations to begin on Tuesday. Science has given us hope and we are starting on a journey which will eventually allow us to escape this terrible virus. Following clinical advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) we will begin with those groups which have been prioritised to address 99 per cent of preventable deaths associated with Covid-19. These include the elderly, care home residents and staff, and frontline health and social care workers.
California heads for Covid lockdown as US records 200,000 cases a day
As large parts of California went back into lockdown and healthcare systems in many states began to waver under the strain, new cases of Covid-19 in the US remained above 200,000 on Saturday, with more than 2,000 deaths. Members of the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force heralded the imminence and efficacy of vaccines, but asked Americans to keep their guard up. Johns Hopkins University recorded 213,875 new cases, down from nearly 228,000 on Friday in a week of surging figures after a Thanksgiving lull in record-keeping. Amid figures worsened by holiday travel and gatherings whose full impact experts say is not yet apparent, there were 2,254 new deaths, making the full death toll 280,979 from nearly 14.6m cases.
First week of eased restrictions in SA as state records no new cases of COVID-19
Hospitality venues in South Australia are bracing for a busy weekend after restrictions were eased, allowing twice as many people to be seated in pubs, bars and restaurants. The state's top police officer, Police Commissioner Grant Stevens, overruled health advice to increase the capacity in venues to one patron per two square metres, to help the state's economy during the Christmas trading period. The easing of restrictions come as SA records another day of zero cases of locally acquired COVID-19.
New Zealand Covid minister urges patience in wait for vaccine approval
New Zealand’s Covid-19 minister has called for patience in the country’s vaccine roll-out programme, saying he was unlikely to follow the UK in using emergency provisions to fast-track approval. Covid-19 minister Chris Hipkins said: “We are in a slightly different position to other countries who are using emergency provisions to approve the vaccine, and in many cases those countries are doing that because they are suffering hugely from Covid, with thousands of people dying every day.”
Most of California to be under stay-at-home orders as COVID-19 surges
California’s two most densely inhabited regions and its agricultural breadbasket will be under stay-at-home orders by Sunday night as the COVID-19 pandemic strains hospitals in the most populous U.S. state, officials said. Designed to kick in when intensive care units in any of five regions have little remaining capacity, the order affecting Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley will close bars, hair salons and barbershops, and allows restaurants to remain open only for takeout and delivery service. The shutdowns, which go into effect at 11:59 pm Sunday, are triggered by an order announced Wednesday by Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat.
First COVID-19 vaccines may reach Poland in January: PM's top aide
The first coronavirus vaccines could reach Poland in January, the Polish prime minister’s top aide said on Friday, as emerging Europe’s biggest country prepares to roll out its COVID-19 vaccination programme. Poland has ordered 45 million COVID-19 vaccines, and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said the country intended to start vaccinating health workers, security forces and the elderly in February. “Similarly to other countries, it looks like the first batches of vaccine will reach Poland in January, because the approval process will take place in late December and early January,” the prime minister’s chief of staff Michal Dworczyk told public broadcaster Polskie Radio Program 1. Dworczyk added there may be around 8,000 vaccination points in Poland. “We want there to be a vaccination point in every community,” he said. As of Thursday, Poland had reported 1,028,610 cases of the coronavirus and 18,828 deaths.
Covid: Argentina passes tax on wealthy to pay for virus measures
Argentina has passed a new tax on its wealthiest people to pay for medical supplies and relief measures amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Senators passed the one-off levy - dubbed the "millionaire's tax" - by 42 votes to 26 on Friday. Those with assets worth more than 200 million pesos ($2.5m; £1.8m) - some 12,000 people - will have to pay. Argentina has recorded close to 1.5 million infections and almost 40,000 deaths from the coronavirus. It has been hit hard by the pandemic, becoming the fifth country worldwide to report one million confirmed cases in October despite only having a population of about 45 million people - making it the smallest nation at the time to surpass that figure.
`Biggest crisis`: South Korea tightens COVID-19 restrictions amid record high surge
After months of keeping the novel coronavirus spread under control, a new outbreak has scared the authorities of a threat bigger than the starting of the grim year. Following a sudden surge in the COVID-19 cases, South Korea has raised its coronavirus alert to the highest level in the capital city Seoul as the authorities believe this outbreak may take longer to be controlled. South Korea had been following the "trace, test and treat" approach for the past few months, and had managed to contain the spread of the deadly virus. Following a drop in cases, the country had reopened its economy, letting people step out to meet friends and go to work, and life was slowly returning back to normal.
Germany's Bavaria region to tighten coronavirus lockdown
The southern German region of Bavaria, which has so far recorded the country’s highest coronavirus death toll, announced on Sunday that it will impose a tougher lockdown from Wednesday until Jan. 5. People in Bavaria will only be able to leave their homes with good reason, state premier Markus Soeder told a news conference, adding that there would be some relaxation in the rules for Christmas but not for New Year celebrations. While Germany brought the pandemic under control in March and April, it is now dealing with a more deadly second wave and imposed a “lockdown light” at the start of November, closing restaurants and bars and limiting public gatherings. While daily infections are no longer rising as sharply as before, case numbers have stagnated at a high level, and Germany reported its highest single-day coronavirus death toll on Wednesday.
Norway to use three vaccines to stop COVID-19 from early 2021
Norway plans to use the three vaccines developed by Moderna, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and BioNTech in its first push to inoculate its population against COVID-19, Norway’s health minister said on Friday. In the first quarter of 2021, Oslo expects to receive a total of 2.5 million doses, covering 1.25 million people - or 23% of the population, pending approval of the vaccines from European regulators. The doses would roughly cover the 1.3 million people in Norway who are considered in risk groups, Health Minister Bent Hoeie said, while the 340,000 health personnel in contact with patients would have to wait.
WHO hopes to have 500 million vaccine doses via COVAX scheme in first quarter of 2021 - chief scientist
The World Health Organization hopes to have half a billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines available for distribution by the global COVAX initiative in the first quarter of 2021, its chief scientist said on Friday. To date 189 countries have joined the COVAX programme, which is backed by the WHO and seeks to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines. The United States is not among them, having secured bilateral deals. The initial COVAX plan is to vaccinate the 20% of populations at highest risk, including health workers and people aged over 65.
British Government to compensate people who suffer extreme Covid-19 vaccine side effects with payments of up to £120,000 under existing scheme for common jabs
People 'severely disabled' by the Covid-19 vaccine will get a £120k payment The government added the jab to the 1979 Vaccine Damage Payments Scheme People suffering at least 60 per cent disability will receive a tax-free lump sum Prof Jonathan Van-Tam said he was confident about the safety of the vaccine
Maintaining Services
Military planes could fly-in Covid-19 vaccine amid fears of post-Brexit delays
Military planes could fly-in the Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine amid fears of post-Brexit delays at Britain's ports. The majority of doses for Pfizer's vaccine, which offers up to six months of immunity to the coronavirus, are being produced in the town of Puurs, Belgium. But as the Government tries to roll-out its vaccination scheme, the Department for Health and Social Care has had talks with the Ministry of Justice to ensure the doses can arrive on time.
Coronavirus: NHS to begin vaccine rollout this week
The coronavirus vaccine is the "beginning of the end" of the epidemic in the UK, Prof Stephen Powis has said, as vaccinations begin on Tuesday. But the NHS England medical director warned the distribution of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine would be a "marathon not a sprint". It will take "many months" to vaccinate everybody who needs it, he said. Frontline health staff, those over 80, and care home workers will be first to get the Covid-19 vaccine. In England, 50 hospitals have been initially chosen to serve as hubs for administering the vaccine.
Victoria eases Covid restrictions again as it reaches 37 days without a case
Victoria has announced a significant easing of its Covid-19 restrictions in time for summer, allowing households to receive 30 visitors a day, relaxing mask-wearing rules, and increasing public gatherings to 100. Victoria, once the worst hit state in the country, has now had 37 straight days free of Covid-19. The result, praised by premier Daniel Andrews as “amazing” on Sunday, has allowed a further easing of restrictions. Victorians will, as of midnight local time, be allowed to have 30 visitors daily to their home from any number of other households, a doubling of the previous limit of 15.
PPE glut leaves UK manufacturers fearful for their future
When the UK government issued a desperate plea for British manufacturers to tackle a shortfall of urgently needed personal protective equipment for health staff as Covid-19 hit, James Eden answered the call. His clothing company, Private White VC, borrowed money for a new factory to make face masks and switched its lines to make hospital gowns, hiring dozens of staff, as the government announced it was aiming to source 70 per cent of its PPE domestically. But at the same time, ministers were awarding companies or middlemen with no prior experience in the field lucrative contracts to import the much needed equipment, often at inflated prices, creating a stockpile that has left nascent domestic producers without a market.
Britain gets ready for roll-out of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine this week
Britain is preparing to become the first country to roll out the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine this week, initially making the shot available at hospitals before distributing stocks to doctors’ clinics, the government said on Sunday. The first doses are set to be administered on Tuesday, with the National Health Service (NHS) giving top priority to vaccinating the over-80s, frontline healthcare workers and care home staff and residents. Britain gave emergency use approval for the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech last week - jumping ahead in the global race to begin the most crucial mass inoculation programme in history. In total, Britain has ordered 40 million doses - enough to vaccinate 20 million people in the country of 67 million.
Wales to give citizens ID cards to prove they got the Covid vaccine
People in Wales will be given ID cards by the NHS after getting the coronavirus vaccine so they can prove they have had the jab, the Welsh government has announced. Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething said vaccinated people will receive a “credit-card sized” token, after the UK became the first nation to approve the jab developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. While plans for so-called “immunity passports” remain unclear in other parts of the UK, Welsh ministers believe new cards will help remind people to get the second part of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine. In a written statement Mr Gething said: “Those receiving a Covid-19 vaccination will be given a credit card-sized NHS Wales immunisation card which will have the vaccine name, date of immunisation and batch number of each of the doses given handwritten on them.”
Moscow key workers register for jabs of Russian-made COVID-19 vaccine
Muscovites from high-risk groups such as healthcare workers began registering for jabs of a Russian-made COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, two days after President Vladimir Putin called for large-scale vaccinations. Sputnik V, one of two Russian-made vaccines to have received regulatory approval in Russia despite clinical trials being incomplete, requires two injections. Interim trials showed it is 92% effective at protecting people from COVID-19. Mass testing for the second Russian vaccine, EpiVacCorona, began on Monday. The online registration service allows Moscow residents in specified high-risk jobs and aged between 18 and 60 to book free vaccination appointments at 70 points around the city, starting from Saturday, the mayor’s website said.
Nursing home residents added to first wave of Texans eligible for COVID-19 vaccine
Residents at nursing homes and assisted living facilities will be among the first wave of Texans eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, joining the ranks of healthcare workers already at the front of the line. State officials announced the addition Friday, while also unveiling plans to send the state’s first 224,250 doses to hospitals, including nine in Dallas County.
HSE reveals specialist freezers for Covid-19 vaccines News
Specialist freezers to store Covid-19 vaccines have started to arrive in Ireland, the Health Service Executive chief Paul Reid revealed. He posted a photo on Twitter and explained: "We're preparing for the #COVID19 vaccine roll-out in Ireland. "At the HSE National Cold Chain Centre, we have received and are currently commissioning & validating a consignment of 9 x Ultra Low Temperature Freezers for storage of the vaccines at -75 degrees." It follows a press briefing yesterday during which Mr Reid said Ireland has the capacity to acquire 16 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. "Although there will be no shortage of the vaccine", he said, they will arrive at different stages, which "will require sequencing or prioritisation process which is currently being finalised".
Healthcare Innovations
Research into Covid-19 dog detectors begins
Dogs could be used in the fight against Covid-19 – by being trained to sniff out infected people. Researchers in Australia have begun to train 14 dogs in a feasibility study, and the animals could become part of the screening process for incoming visitors if successful. Studies have previously shown dogs can detect particular odours – known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – which are produced by humans when they are suffering with a viral infection. Dr Anne-Lise Chaber of the University of Adelaide’s School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences said the current training – in Adelaide and at the Australian Border Force’s National Detector Dog Programme Facility – will test the accuracy of dogs detecting VOCs in sweat samples from people infected with coronavirus.
COVID-19 reinfections likely as antibody counts fall: WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that new data suggest individuals who were once infected with COVID-19 can be susceptible to secondary infections as antibodies die off. “We have seen the number of people infected continue to grow, but we’re also seeing data emerge that protection may not be lifelong, and therefore we may see reinfections begin to occur,” Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, said per CNBC. “So the question is: What are the levels of protection in society?” Researchers at the WHO are now working to determine how long antibodies in response to COVID-19 last in the human system.
Indonesia receives first COVID-19 vaccine from China's Sinovac
Indonesia received its first shipment of coronavirus vaccine from China on Sunday (Dec 6), President Joko Widodo said, as the government prepares a mass inoculation programme. Jokowi, as the president is widely known, said in an online briefing that the country received 1.2 million doses from China's Sinovac Biotech, a vaccine Indonesia has been testing since August. He added that the government plans to receive another 1.8 million doses in early January. Late-stage trials of the Sinovac vaccine are also under way in Brazil and Turkey, with interim results on efficiency from Brazil expected by mid-December. Indonesia is also expected this month to receive shipments of raw materials to produce 15 million doses and materials for 30 million doses next month, the president said.
Bahrain becomes second country to approve Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
Bahrain said it had approved the emergency use of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and German partner BioNTech. The approval on Friday makes Bahrain the second country in the world to grant an emergency use authorisation for the vaccine, the Bahraini national news agency BNA reported.
Blood Tests Of Immune Response May Be Key To Future COVID-19 Vaccine Development : Shots - Health News
News today from Harvard's Center for Virology and Vaccine Research may help solve a problem that future COVID-19 manufacturers are sure to face: how to make sure that new and potentially better vaccines actually work without doing extremely large and expensive studies. Writing in the journal Nature, the researchers show that a certain class of antibodies in a monkey's blood predicted protection from COVID-19. If that hold true for humans, a relative simple blood test may show whether an experimental vaccine is working. Here's the dilemma: Once a vaccine is approved, it's unethical to test it against a placebo. Approving new vaccine would require researchers to compare two vaccines against each other, instead of having a vaccine and a placebo--which would take a lot more people than the 30,000 for the initial trials.