"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 28th May 2021
Yes, we'll probably need coronavirus booster shots, But which one?
- U.S. scientists are expanding efforts to evaluate when fully vaccinated people will need booster shots - and, if so, whether people can switch brands - in the latest chapter of the global quest to stop the pandemic.
- For people eager to put the health crisis behind them, the relief of being vaccinated is being replaced by a new worry. Is immunity a ticking clock? Should they plan a family wedding this fail? Will everyone need booster shots? When? Are people locked into the same brand or vaccine technology for their next shot?
- 'As we know, COVID is not going to go away anytime soon, and we know that the antibodies decrease over time, so that a boost will be needed at some juncture. I can't predict when,' said John Beigel, associate director for clinical research in the Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
- Beigel is working on a U.S. trial, set to launch this week, that will provide one piece of the answer, testing whether people can mix and match shots when the need arises. Can a person fully vaccinated with Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine in Fenruary take a third shot of Moderna? Is there an advantage - or a risk - in switching from one brand orvaccine technology to another?
- The U.S. efforts come as health experts in China are already recommending a third coronavirus shot to some at-risk individuals. Scientists know that vaccine-induced immunity against most diseases wanes, but the answer to those questions about the coronavirus will begin to coalesce only in the coming weeks and months.
- First, scientists need to identify a threshold - what level of immunity is too low to protect people? Then, they need to learn how long it typically takes for immunity to decay to that level. And then they need to figure out how to best boost people's immunity.
Scientists are figuring out if we will need another coronavirus shot — and which one
U.S. scientists are expanding efforts to evaluate when fully vaccinated people will need booster shots — and, if so, whether people can switch brands — in the latest chapter of the global quest to stop the pandemic. For people eager to put the health crisis behind them, the relief of being vaccinated is being replaced by a new worry. Is immunity a ticking clock? Should they plan a family wedding this fall? Will everyone need booster shots? When? Are people locked into the same brand or vaccine technology for their next shot? “As we know, covid is not going to go away anytime soon, and we know that the antibodies decrease over time, so that a boost will be needed at some juncture. I can’t predict when,” said John Beigel, associate director for clinical research in the Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Africa needs 20m second AstraZeneca jabs in six weeks: WHO
Africa needs at least 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine within six weeks if those who have had their first shot are to get the second in time, the WHO said Thursday. “Africa needs vaccines now,” Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization’s regional director for Africa, said in a statement.
Argentina battles health and economic crises as COVID cases soar
Hospital units are overflowing as exhausted healthcare workers plead with the public to heed warnings of distancing and to take precautions. In the province of Buenos Aires, the government has started producing its own oxygen to confront a looming shortage. Vaccine shipments are arriving, but as with many countries in Latin America, the campaign was slow to get going amid fierce global competition. Some 20 percent of the population have received their first shot. “The system is collapsing,” Dr Emmanuel Alvarez wrote in an open letter last month he titled “a desperate shout from the conurbano”, the ring of densely populated and mostly working-class municipalities around the capital.
Can employers make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory?
Can employers make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory? Yes, with some exceptions. Experts say U.S. employers can require employees to take safety measures, including vaccination. That doesn’t necessarily mean you would get fired if you refuse, but you might need to sign a waiver or agree to work under specific conditions to limit any risk you might pose to yourself or others. “Employers generally have wide scope” to make rules for the workplace, said Dorit Reiss, a law professor who specializes in vaccine policies at the University of California Hastings College of the Law. “It’s their business.”
Get vaccinated, win cash as California offers $116.5 million in prizes
California will offer $116.5 million in cash and gift cards to residents who get COVID-19 vaccinations before June 15, the latest - and most lucrative - incentive by U.S. states desperate to persuade laggards and vaccine-skeptics to get the injection. The move by Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom is part of an effort to boost vaccinations as the state prepares to fully reopen its economy on June 15. Ten Californians who become inoculated before that date stand to win lottery-style prizes of $1.5 million apiece, while another 30 people will each win $50,000.
Mexico authorizes J&J vaccine against COVID-19 for emergency use
Mexico's health regulator COFEPRIS has granted emergency use authorization to Johnson & Johnson's vaccine against COVID-19, Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said on Thursday. "This authorization for emergency use certifies that the vaccine meets the quality, safety and efficacy requirements necessary to be applied," COFEPRIS said in a separate statement.
J&J, FDA near announcing end to contamination problems at Baltimore vaccine plant
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Johnson & Johnson are expected to announce as early as Friday that contamination problems at a COVID-19 vaccine plant in Baltimore are resolved, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
Tens of thousands of lives could have have been saved - top scientists back Dominic Cummings
Dominic Cummings’ central charge against the Government - that delays over imposing lockdowns led to tens of thousands of people dying from Covid-19 unnecessarily - was today backed up by two of Britain’s leading coronavirus experts. Professor John Edmunds, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said a “very large number” of Covid-19 deaths could have been avoided in the second wave if the Government had taken more drastic action as being advised by scientists. In his damning evidence to a joint session of the Commons health and science committees, former No10 top adviser Mr Cummings said on Wednesday: “Tens of thousands of people died who did not need to die.”
Facebook won’t remove posts claiming Covid-19 is man-made
Facebook says it will no longer remove claims that COVID-19 is human-made or manufactured “in light of ongoing investigations into the origin of COVID-19 and in consultation with public health experts.” There is rising pressure worldwide to investigate the origins of the pandemic, including the possibility that it came from a lab. Since the pandemic began, Facebook has been changing what it allows on the topic and what it bans. In February, it announced a host of new claims it would be prohibiting -- including that COVID-19 was created in a Chinese lab. Other claims it added at the time included the false notion that vaccines are not effective or that they are toxic.
UK PM Johnson says may need to wait before reopening England from lockdown
England may need to wait longer than planned before COVID-19 restrictions are fully lifted as a coronavirus variant first found in India spreads rapidly in Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on Thursday. Johnson had previously laid out a roadmap out of lockdown for England, with all restrictions to end on June 21, but warned that the swift spread of the variant could threaten that plan. Next steps would depend on how robust the country’s “vaccine fortifications” against the variant were, according to the British prime minister.
India scraps local trials for COVID shots, says Pfizer vaccine could arrive by July
India scrapped local trials for “well-established” foreign coronavirus vaccines on Thursday as it tries to accelerate its vaccination rollout, with a government official saying Pfizer shots could arrive by July. India pledged last month to fast-track imports, but its insistence on local trials and a dispute over indemnity stalled discussions with Pfizer. “The provision has now been further amended to waive the trial requirement altogether for the well-established vaccines manufactured in other countries,” the government said in a statement.
Rich countries cornered COVID-19 vaccine doses. Four strategies to right a 'scandalous inequity'
In January, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, issued a blunt warning. The world was “on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure,” he said. Wealthy countries were buying up available COVID-19 vaccines, leaving tiny amounts for others—a replay of what happened during the 2009 influenza pandemic. “The price of this failure will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the world’s poorest countries,” Tedros said. He was right. Today, some rich countries are vaccinating children as young as 12 years old, who are at extremely low risk of developing severe COVID-19, while poorer countries don’t even have enough shots for health care workers. Nearly 85% of the COVID-19 vaccine doses administered to date have gone to people in high-income and upper middle–income countries. The countries with the lowest gross domestic product per capita only have 0.3%.
Taiwan says China blocked deal with BioNTech for COVID-19 shots
Taiwan directly accused China for the first time on Wednesday of blocking a deal with Germany's BioNTech for COVID-19 vaccines, in an escalating war of words after Beijing offered the shots to the island via a Chinese company. Taiwan has millions of shots on order, from AstraZeneca and Moderna, but has received only slightly more than 700,000 to date, and has only been able to vaccinate about 1% of its population as COVID-19 cases surge. While Taiwan has previously said it had been unable to sign a final contract with BioNTech, it had only implied that Chinese pressure was to blame
Ghana - 82% of our target in 2nd phase vaccinated against covid-19
The Ghana Health Service (GHS), says it has vaccinated more than 82 percent of its target for the second phase of the COVID-19 exercise. The GHS is therefore hopeful it will meet the full target before the exercise ends. In an interview with Citi News, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye indicated that they will reduce the number of centres for the vaccination. He however assured that all who are to be vaccinated in this particular exercise will be vaccinated accordingly.
Seven in 10 will have a coronavirus vaccine, 8.6 million doses now used
Just over seven in 10 Dutch people in the Netherlands will have a coronavirus vaccine when it is their turn, national statistics agency CBS said on Thursday, on the basis of its latest quarterly health monitor. Some 66% of the 2,000 people questioned in the first quarter of this year said they would be vaccinated and 4% had already been so, the survey found. The research was carried out before the vaccination programme got up to steam. However, 14% of respondents – who were aged 16 plus – said they would not be vaccinated and 15% said they did not have an opinion either way.
How Native Americans launched successful coronavirus vaccination drives: ‘A story of resilience’
Native American tribes, among the hardest-hit by covid-19, are celebrating a pandemic success story. Navajo Nation, the largest of the 574 Indian tribes in the United States, is now about 70 percent fully vaccinated, according to Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez. Other tribes are reporting similar numbers. By late March, Blackfeet Nation in Montana reported that 95 percent of its population had received its first vaccine dose. The Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation’s vaccine drive went so well that leaders offered surplus doses to a neighboring school district. The Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi, with 70 percent of its eligible population fully vaccinated, is nearing herd immunity. Tribal leaders attribute this success to several factors, including tribal sovereignty, which gave tribes the flexibility to create their own methods of distributing the vaccine, and cultural values that prioritize elders and community.
India’s Covid vaccine rollout favours the wealthy and tech-savvy
When all Indian adults became eligible for Covid-19 vaccinations on May 1, Postcard Hotels & Resorts, a boutique hotel chain, swung into action to get its staff inoculated. Managers scoured the country’s online jab-booking platform, Co-win, to secure appointments. Hotel cars ferried workers to clinics as far as two hours away. The company paid for the inoculations, some of which cost as much as Rs1,300 (£13) per dose. Within a week, 200 employees had received a first dose. “We ran it like an army operation,” said Kapil Chopra, the company’s founder and chief executive. “I did it for the safety of my team, which is in the line of fire.”
Ohio announces 1st $1 million Vax-a-Million lottery winner
A southwestern Ohio woman won the state’s first $1 million Vax-a-Million vaccination incentive prize, while a Dayton-area teen was awarded the first full-ride college scholarship offered by the program, the state announced Wednesday night. The winners were selected in a random drawing Monday and had their information confirmed before the formal announcement at the end of the Ohio Lottery’s Cash Explosion TV show. The lottery announced that Abbigail Bugenske of Silverton near Cincinnati was the $1 million winner, while Joseph Costello of Englewood near Dayton was the college scholarship winner.
Ten states reach 70% COVID-19 vaccination goal
So far ten states have reached President Biden's Jul 4 goal of vaccinating 70% of eligible residents against COVID-19, according to White House COVID-19 response coordinator Andy Slavitt. Pennsylvania joined Vermont, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and New Mexico as the tenth state to reach the 70% goal of having citizens with at least one dose of vaccine. Slavitt tweeted that another 10 states are above 65% coverage. In total, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID Data Tracker shows 359,849,035 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered in the US, and 289,212,304 have been administered, with 131,850,089 Americans fully vaccinated.
Australian state has biggest one-day rise in COVID-19 cases in 7 months
Australia's second most populous state reported on Wednesday its biggest single-day rise in COVID-19 cases in more than seven months and warned the next 24 hours would be critical to limit the spread of a cluster without clamping on tough new curbs. The six new cases were the largest daily rise in the southeastern state of Victoria since October 2020. Authorities warned that more than 300 close contacts of sufferers had been identified, with many having visited crowded locations.
People with Covid in London hospitals jumps by 22% as lockdown eases
Covid hospitalisations in London have jumped by 22% in the past week – but remain exceptionally low when compared with the peak of the devastating second wave. A total of 116 people tested positive after being admitted to hospital in the seven days to Sunday, following 95 people the previous week. This gives an average of 16 new daily admissions, compared with almost 1,000 back in January. The capital is seeing slightly higher figures than England as a whole, with hospital admissions up 13% week-on-week across the country.
Taiwan struggles with testing backlog amid largest outbreak
Facing Taiwan’s largest outbreak of the pandemic and looking for rapid virus test kits, the mayor of the island’s capital did what anyone might do: He Googled it. “If you don’t know, and you try to know something, please check Google,” Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je quipped. Praised for its success at keeping the virus away for more than a year, Taiwan had until May recorded just 1,128 cases and 12 deaths. But the number of locally transmitted cases started growing this month and it soon became clear that the central government was ill prepared not only to contain the virus, but to even detect it on a large scale due to a lack of investment in rapid testing.
Government scientist hails 'encouraging' data showing Covid hospitalisations remain low despite rising cases - as figures reveal infections are only clearly growing in three of England's eight Indian variant hotspots
One of the Government's most prominent scientists today hailed data showing that coronavirus hospitalisations across England remain low, despite cases rising across the nation. Public Health England's medical director Dr Yvonne Doyle claimed the rate of admissions was 'encouraging', even though they have crept up slightly — with around 0.79 of every 100,000 people needing medical care for Covid in the week ending May 23, up from around 0.75. The figure stood at almost 40 during the peak of the second wave in January. It comes as MailOnline analysis of official statistics showed Covid cases are only clearly rising in three of England's Indian variant hotspots
B1617 variant behind COVID outbreak in central Newfoundland, Fitzgerald confirms
Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting four new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, two of which are connected to the cluster in central Newfoundland, raising the cluster's total to 46. Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said there are also two presumptive cases, and one probable case, connected to the cluster. There are now six people in hospital due to COVID-19. Four of them are in central Newfoundland. Fitzgerald said the investigation into the source of the outbreak is ongoing, but the coronavirus variant B1617 — first identified in India — has been confirmed as causing the wave of infection
Australia's Victoria state to enter COVID-19 lockdown after 'highly-infectious' outbreak
Australia’s second most populous state of Victoria will enter a one-week COVID-19 lockdown forcing its near seven million residents to remain home except for essential business as authorities struggle to contain a highly-infectious outbreak. "We're dealing with a highly infectious strain of the virus, a variant of concern, which is running faster than we have ever recorded," Victoria state Acting Premier James Merlino told reporters in Melbourne. "Unless something drastic happens, this will become increasingly uncontrollable." Merlino said contact tracers have identified more than 10,000 primary and secondary contacts who would need to quarantine, test and self isolate, adding "that number will continue to grow and change".
Tokyo Games could lead to Olympic coronavirus variant - Japanese doctor
The head of a Japanese doctors’ union said on Thursday that holding the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer, with tens of thousands of people from around the world, could lead to the emergence of an “Olympic” coronavirus strain. Japan has pledged to hold a "safe and secure" 2020 Olympics in Tokyo after a year-long postponement but is struggling to contain a fourth wave of infections and preparing to extend a state of emergency in much of the country.
Covid-19: Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is “likely” responsible for deaths of some elderly patients, Norwegian review finds
The Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccine is “likely” to have been responsible for at least 10 deaths of frail elderly people in nursing homes in Norway, an expert review commissioned by the Norwegian Medicines Agency has concluded. The expert group was established at the end of February 2021 to look into the cause of the first 100 reported deaths of nursing home residents who had received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. At the time, around 30 000 elderly nursing home residents had been vaccinated. Although the mortality rate in nursing homes is generally very high and the deaths of some nursing home residents after vaccination was anticipated, the Norwegian Medicines Agency wanted to determine whether the vaccine had possibly hastened any deaths and to gain a clearer understanding of the risks and benefits of its use in frail elderly people.
Sanofi, GSK kick off Phase III trial for COVID-19 shot
France's Sanofi and Britain's GlaxoSmithKline launched a late-stage human trial for a recombinant COVID-19 vaccine candidate on Thursday which they hope to get approved by the end of 2021. The study initiated by Sanofi and GSK is one of the first late stage trials that combines tests for boosters and variants, as drugmakers adapt their strategies to deal with an evolving coronavirus.
GSK, Sanofi launch late-stage COVID-19 vaccine study
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Sanofi have begun enrolling participants into a Phase III clinical study of their adjuvanted recombinant-protein COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The study, which will include more than 35,000 volunteers aged 18 years and older, will aim to evaluate if the vaccine can prevent symptomatic COVID-19 vaccine in participants who have not previously been infected with SARS-CoV-2.
COVID-19: Another coronavirus vaccine set to enter production within weeks - and UK has 60m doses ordered
Production of the coronavirus vaccine developed by French firm Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will begin within weeks, the firms have said. The two companies are currently in Phase 3 of their trials, which will see 35,000 adult volunteers receive their coronavirus jab across the US, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. They will test for effectiveness against the original form of COVID-19 that swept across the world after emerging in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 - and also the variant first detected in South Africa. "Manufacturing will begin in the coming weeks to enable rapid access to the vaccine should it be approved," a joint statement from Sanofi and GSK said. The Sanofi-GSK vaccine could be given the green light by drugs regulators in the final three months of this year if the Phase 3 trials are successful.
India has held talks with Pfizer, J&J, Moderna for COVID-19 vaccines
ndia has held several discussions with COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers Pfizer, Moderna and J&J, but there are no applications for approval pending with its regulators, the government said on Thursday. "Government offered all assistance to have them supply and or manufacture their vaccines in India," the government said in a statement. "No application of any foreign manufacturer for approval is pending with the drugs controller."
Biden orders more intel investigation of COVID-19 origin
President Joe Biden ordered U.S. intelligence officials to “redouble” their efforts to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, including any possibility the trail might lead to a Chinese laboratory. After months of minimizing that possibility as a fringe theory, the Biden administration is joining worldwide pressure for China to be more open about the outbreak, aiming to head off GOP complaints the president has not been tough enough as well as to use the opportunity to press China on alleged obstruction. Biden asked U.S. intelligence agencies to report back within 90 days, and he told reporters on Thursday that he aimed to release their results publicly. The Democrat directed U.S. national laboratories to assist with the investigation and the intelligence community to prepare a list of specific queries for the Chinese government. He called on China to cooperate with international probes into the origins of the pandemic.
Brazil's Butantan aims to supply 40 mln doses of its COVID-19 vaccine by year-end
Brazil's Butantan institute could supply at least 40 million doses of its own COVID-19 vaccine called Butanvac in the fourth quarter of 2021, said Director Dimas Covas on Thursday. Speaking before a Senate panel investigating the federal government's handling of the pandemic, Covas said clinical trials of the new vaccine can be concluded quickly, though they still need to be authorized by Brazilian health regulator Anvisa.
Eli Lilly receives DoJ subpoena over COVID-19 drug manufacturing plant
Eli Lilly and Co said on Thursday it had received a subpoena from the U.S. Department of Justice related to its New Jersey plant that makes its COVID-19 treatment, bamlanivimab. The subpoena requested certain documents relating to its site in Branchburg, New Jersey, and the company is cooperating with the investigation, Eli Lilly said. It did not specify what documents the subpoena requested. Reuters reported earlier this month that the company's employees have accused a factory executive of altering documents required by government regulators to downplay serious quality control problems at the Branchburg site.
Germans 'solve' Covid vaccine blood clot puzzle: Scientists say rare side effect from AstraZeneca jabs is caused by cold virus used to deliver the jab into the body - and can be fixed
Germans scientists say they have figured out why the Covid vaccines from. AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson are linked to rare blood clots. In a new pre-print, the team says the problem is with the adenovirus vector, a common cold virus used to get the body to induce an immune response. They claim the vaccine is sent into the cell nucleus instead of surrounding fluid, where parts of it break off and create mutated versions of themselves. The mutated versions then enter the body and trigger the rare blood clots. Scientists say they can genetically adapt the vaccine to prevent the virus's spike proteins, which it uses to enter cells, from splitting apart
GlaxoSmithKline, Vir snag FDA authorization for new COVID-19 antibody. But how will they sell it without a supply deal?
Following in the footsteps of Eli Lilly and Regeneron, a partnership between GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology has won an emergency FDA nod for a COVID-19 antibody drug. The difference? It doesn’t have a supply deal with the U.S. government. Wednesday, the FDA issued (PDF) an emergency use authorization to GSK and Vir’s sotrovimab for mild-to-moderate COVID-19. Same as the previous go-aheads for similar therapies from Lilly and Regeneron, the new nod is limited to patients who aren’t hospitalized but are at high risk of progressing to severe disease. The anti-coronavirus antibody proved its worth in a phase 3 trial. The Comet-Ice study stopped early after an interim analysis found sotrovimab reduced the number of patients who died or needed hospitalization by 85% over placebo.