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Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 26th Feb 2021

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CVS Pharmacies Adds Coronavirus Vaccines at 40 California Locations, Including in San Diego County

CVS Pharmacies will continue its rollout of the coronavirus vaccine Thursday as it makes doses available at 40 more select CVS locations across California – including several in San Diego County. The company said approximately 49,140 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are being made available to distribute at these locations in California through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.
25th Feb 2021 - NBC San Diego

‘It’s Up to You’: Ad campaign to encourage coronavirus vaccination gets underway

For tens of millions of Americans still unsure about taking coronavirus vaccine shots, advertising industry experts and government scientists have a new message: “It’s Up to You.” That message and accompanying ad campaign — shaped by months of consumer research and backed by more than $50 million in donated funds — is to be unveiled Thursday across TV and digital video, social media and audio platforms like Pandora and Spotify. It also will include messaging tailored toward Black and Hispanic communities, where studies have found a lack of trust about the coronavirus vaccines and their long-term effects. The ads and related events will feature celebrities, scientists and members of the faith community.
25th Feb 2021 - The Washington Post

Coronavirus vaccine: one of UK's largest care home firms introduces 'no jab, no job' policy

One of the UK’s largest care home operators has instituted a no jab, no job policy for new staff amid ongoing concern about vaccine take-up among care workers. A spokesperson for Care UK, which runs 120 homes and has seen more than two-thirds of its staff vaccinated, said: “Everyone applying for a role which requires them to go into a home will be expected to have been vaccinated before they start work.” The move comes after Barchester, which operates more than 220 private care homes, said it would insist that current staff are vaccinated, warning that if they “refuse … on non-medical grounds [they] will, by reason of their own decision, make themselves unavailable for work”.
25th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

Kenya to Receive First Batch of Covid-19 Vaccines Next Week

Kenya will receive its initial batch of Covid-19 vaccines in the first week on March, according to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s office. Health-care workers and frontline personnel, including security officers, teachers, vulnerable persons and those in the hospitality sector, will be the first priority for inoculation, the presidency said in a statement
25th Feb 2021 - MSN.com

COVID-19 vaccine tiers may disappear as supply chain ramps up, Garcetti says

After setbacks and shipment delays tied to winter weather, the supply of COVID-19 vaccines in Los Angeles is ramping up again, officials said. Tuesday was the second-busiest day at city-run vaccination sites, Mayor Eric Garcetti said, with 17,572 doses administered. And while some scarcity remains, the numbers are expected to improve in the days and weeks to come. “While we still don’t have clarity on the supply chain, in the next week or two, simple math indicates we should only see more and more supply in the weeks ahead,” Garcetti said. “So get ready.” The city is still primarily providing second-dose appointments but hopes to be able to “accelerate once again first-dose appointments” starting next week, the mayor said
25th Feb 2021 - Los Angeles Times

One third of Scotland's adult population given a Covid-19 vaccine, Sturgeon says

A third of Scotland’s adult population have been given a coronavirus vaccine, with more than 1.5 million jabs administered, Nicola Sturgeon has said. Speaking to MSPs in the Scottish Parliament, the First Minister said 1,515,980 people in Scotland have received their first dose. “The fact that more than one and a half million people have now received the first dose of vaccination is, I think, a really significant milestone,” she said.
25th Feb 2021 - Aberdeen Evening Express

Coronavirus Vaccine Finder Aims to Help Americans Get Shots

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hoping to make it easier for Americans to find Covid-19 vaccines, is backing the test of a centralized online portal where the public can search for nearby vaccination locations with doses on hand. The website, called VaccineFinder, is run by Boston Children’s Hospital with the help of several collaborators. It grew out of the H1N1 flu pandemic of 2009 and has been used for years to coordinate the distribution of flu and childhood vaccines. It expanded on Wednesday to include the availability of coronavirus vaccines at more than 20,000 locations, concentrated in several states. If the program goes well, the website’s developers plan to expand it nationwide in coming weeks to include nearly all vaccine providers that agree to be featured.
25th Feb 2021 - The New York Times

Germany's Merkel warns of third wave if lockdown is lifted too quickly

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that her country could be caught in a third wave of Covid-19 if it lifts its lockdown too quickly. Her comments come as daycare centers and elementary schools were reopened in 10 of the Germany's 16 states this week, and as the nation mulls ways to lift the heavy restrictions that have shuttered the country's non-essential businesses for more than 10 weeks. "Because of (variants), we are entering a new phase of the pandemic, from which a third wave may emerge,'' Merkel told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, in an interview published on Wednesday. "So we must proceed wisely and carefully so that a third wave does not necessitate a new complete shutdown throughout Germany."
25th Feb 2021 - CNN

Travel restrictions have no end in sight as European leaders worry about new variants

Looking to holiday in Greece or Spain? You could be waiting some time. European leaders are expected to say on Thursday that all non-essential travel needs to remain restricted as the Covid health situation remains “serious” across the continent, according to a document seen by CNBC. The European Union’s 27 heads of state will gather virtually on Thursday afternoon to discuss the current state of the pandemic in the region. The EU is still one of the worst hit parts of the world by the coronavirus, with a number of nations still in lockdown or with strict social restrictions in place. At the same time, vaccination efforts have faced a bumpy start and some question whether the EU will reach its target of vaccinating 70% of its adult population by the summer.
25th Feb 2021 - CNBC

More schools, gyms to open as Cyprus eases lockdown

Cyprus on Thursday announced that more children will return to school while tentatively opening gyms as it gradually exits a national lockdown to contain Covid-19 infections. Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said the government was determined to allow a return to normal life "slowly, carefully and in a controlled manner". The number of new Covid-19 infections has been stabilising and hospital admissions are down, he said.
25th Feb 2021 - FRANCE 24

COVID rules set to revert to pre-Christmas restrictions

COVID-19 restrictions similar to those that were in place at Christmas are set to return, with the government expected to relax rules that have lingered since the end of the five-day lockdown. Nine senior Victorian ministers will meet on Friday morning to finalise a plan to ease mask restrictions and allow more people inside homes, provided there are no new locally-acquired cases. Thursday was the sixth day in a row with no new local cases.The intention, according to two government sources familiar with the plans who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the details are subject to change, is to revert to a set of rules resembling the “COVID-safe summer” restrictions that were in place before an outbreak in late December that was traced to a Thai restaurant in Black Rock.
25th Feb 2021 - The Age

British vaccine minister says confident in supply from manufacturers

Britain has confidence in its supply of COVID-19 vaccines and has good visibility on future supplies thanks to regular contacts with manufacturers over timetables for deliveries, the minister responsible for rolling out shots said on Wednesday. The country has accelerated its vaccine rollout plans with a view to easing lockdown, although Monday saw the lowest number of first doses given since daily figures were first reported. “We have real confidence in our supply and our visibility of supply,” Nadhim Zahawi told lawmakers.
25th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Youngsters can sing again as Swiss start lockdown exit

Switzerland’s young people will be able to sing again from March 1, the government on Wednesday, as it announced the first phase in a cautious easing from COVID-19 restrictions. The cabinet, conscious of the impact the lockdown and social distancing is having on the psychological health of youngsters, said it was allowing sports and cultural activities for under-20s to resume, raising the age limit from 16. Children’s and youth choirs will be able to practise and hold events, albeit without audiences.
25th Feb 2021 - Reuters

India’s health workers baulk at taking homegrown COVID vaccine

India is struggling to convince its healthcare and front-line workers to take a homegrown COVID-19 vaccine controversially approved without late-stage efficacy data, government data showed on Thursday, days ahead of a wider roll-out. The country has the world’s second-highest number of COVID-19 infections after the United States, with cases recently surging as mask-wearing declines and states have eased social distancing measures. A lack of confidence in a homegrown vaccine could prevent India from meeting its target of vaccinating 300 million of its 1.35 billion people by August.
25th Feb 2021 - AlJazeera

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 25th Feb 2021

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Thailand receives its first coronavirus vaccines

Thailand received on Wednesday its first 200,000 doses of Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac, the country’s first batch of coronavirus vaccines, with inoculations set to begin in a few days. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha is expected to be among the first to receive the vaccine this weekend. Most doses have been reserved for frontline medical workers.
24th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Ghana becomes first nation in world to receive Covax coronavirus vaccines

Ghana has received the world’s first delivery of coronavirus vaccines from the United Nations-backed Covax initiative. It marked the long-awaited start for a programme that has so far fallen short of hopes that it would ensure shots were given quickly to the world’s most vulnerable people. The arrival of 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the West African country marks the beginning of the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Unicef.
24th Feb 2021 - Aberdeen Evening Express

Israel to use excess Covid vaccines for international diplomacy

Israel will wield some of its excess supply of coronavirus vaccines as international humanitarian aid, using its glut of jabs to pursue diplomatic goals while Palestinians wait for aid shipments for their own supplies. The first three countries to receive thousands of doses will be Honduras, the Czech Republic and Guatemala, all of whom recently agreed to strengthen their diplomatic presence in Jerusalem, bolstering Israel’s claim to the contested city.
24th Feb 2021 - Financial Times

More than half a million have received coronavirus vaccine in NI

More than half a million people have received a Covid-19 vaccine in Northern Ireland. Those aged over 65 and the clinically vulnerable are among those being booked in for jabs. Health minister Robin Swann said it was a landmark moment. Mr Swann announced on Tuesday the first confirmed cases of the South African variant of Covid-19 in the region. He said three cases of the variant had been confirmed.
24th Feb 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

All adults in Wales will get a coronavirus vaccine by July 31, says nation's health minister

Every adults in Wales eligible for coronavirus vaccine will receive a jab by July 31, health minister Vaughan Gething has announced. He said that Wales would be able to offer a vaccine to all eligible adults by July 31, provided that the supply promised by the UK government was fulfilled. Mr Gething said: "Our incredible vaccine programme is the other beacon of hope that will help guide us out of lockdown. I can today confirm that we will offer the vaccine to all eligible adults in Wales by 31 July, as long as the supply matches our ambition."
24th Feb 2021 - Wales Online

Ukraine: Health workers welcome COVID-19 vaccination drive

Ukraine launched a COVID-19 vaccination campaign Wednesday in hopes of halting the spread of the coronavirus that has put a significant strain on the country's teetering health care system. Medical workers and military personnel in different regions of the country were the first to get their shots of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, 500,000 doses of which arrived in the Ukrainian capital from India on Tuesday. It is better to prevent infections "than to treat the complications of the disease later,” said Yevgeny Gorenko, an intensive care specialist who was the first person to receive a shot on Wednesday.
24th Feb 2021 - The Independent

Covid-19: Africa vaccine rollout off to a slow start

Africa has now recorded over 100,000 Covid-19 deaths and there is growing concern over delays in rolling out vaccination programmes. Some countries such as South Africa and Zimbabwe have begun vaccination programmes, but many others will have to wait until later in the year for stocks to arrive. The first vaccines distributed under the Covax programme have now arrived in Ghana.
24th Feb 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19 'vaccine diplomacy': China, Russia and India cherry-picking the countries they help

China, Russia and India have been accused of engaging in "vaccine diplomacy" as they cherry-pick nations to give their COVID-19 vaccines to in order to bolster their influence. Sky News analysis has found 47 countries, plus the African Union which represents 55 nations, have made or been offered vaccine deals with India, China and Russia. In 21 countries, their sole vaccine supplies up until 19 February were from Russia, China and India.
24th Feb 2021 - Sky News

150,000 more people with learning disabilities prioritised for COVID-19 vaccine

Everyone on GP practice learning disability registers - around 300,000 people in England - will now be added to JCVI cohort 6 - the group GP-led vaccination sites are currently focusing on. Cohort 6 covers patients aged 16-64 with underlying health conditions - including patients with 'a severe and profound learning disability' or severe mental illness. Around half of patients on GP learning disability registers fall outside the original definition of cohort 6 - but these patients will now also be offered vaccination as part of this group.
24th Feb 2021 - GP online

Malaysia rolls out Covid-19 vaccinations under state of emergency

Malaysia is set to roll out its Covid-19 vaccination programme on Wednesday as its prime minister faces accusations of exploiting the pandemic to seek a state of emergency and cling on to power. Malaysia’s king last month declared the nationwide state of emergency, the country’s first since deadly race riots in 1969, at the behest of the government of Muhyiddin Yassin, the prime minister. The monarch said the order, which will run until August, was necessary to fight the pandemic, but it followed the loss of Muhyiddin’s thin parliamentary majority after two members of his coalition defected.
24th Feb 2021 - Financial Times

Three experts have their say on Boris Johnson's England Covid lockdown exit plan

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced the steps his government will take to end England’s lockdown over the coming months. Lifting restrictions will be split into four stages, with a minimum of five weeks between each to observe the effects of easing restrictions. Criteria – concerning vaccine rollout and effectiveness, infection rates and mutations – will need to be met each time the country is due to move onto the next stage. Easing restrictions will begin with the reopening of schools on March 8. Here, three academics give their view on the government’s plans.
24th Feb 2021 - Wales Online

Coronavirus: Home tests will give Germany 'more freedom'

Speaking to Germany's Bundestag parliament on Wednesday, Health Minister Jens Spahn pointed to the approval of home coronavirus tests, known as antigen tests, as an important step on the return to normalcy. Though Spahn spoke of freedoms regained, he warned citizens not to let their guard down and called for patience about the availability of tests. Three such self-administered rapid antigen tests have been given special approval for use by Germany's Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices. Although he expressed confidence that more and more tests would be available in the days and weeks following approval, Spahn warned they would be in short supply initially.
24th Feb 2021 - Deutsche Welle

Germany’s Spahn under fire over rapid coronavirus tests

German Health Minister Jens Spahn came under fire Wednesday on another front besides the country's sluggish coronavirus vaccine campaign: His failed promise to roll out rapid antigen tests. Spahn, who pledged that rapid tests and self tests would become a key part of Germany's coronavirus strategy starting in March, got a testy reception on Wednesday as he spoke to lawmakers. Spahn pitched the tests so that visiting public places like concerts and care homes was safer, initially promising to roll out mass testing on March 1. He then had to go back on his word when Chancellor Angela Merkel decided on Monday to address the issue on March 3, at her next conference with Germany's state premiers.
24th Feb 2021 - Politico

Merkel Warns of Third Virus Wave as Germany Weighs Ending Lockdown

Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that Germany is in the midst of a third wave of coronavirus infections and should proceed carefully with reopening schools and businesses, putting a damper on discussions to loosen lockdown curbs. The note of caution comes as Germany struggles on numerous fronts to control the pandemic. Infection rates haven’t come down for days, while the pace of vaccinations remains sluggish. A delayed test strategy represents the latest foul-up.
24th Feb 2021 - MSN.com

India turns to private sector to boost sluggish Covid-19 vaccine drive

I first arrived in India in the mid-1990s at the tail-end of its socialist-style “Licence Raj”. New Delhi was relaxing control over the country’s economic life, but basic amenities — long the monopoly of the state providers — were still in short supply.
24th Feb 2021 - The Financial Times

Hungary starts using China’s Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine in EU first

Hungary cannot yet ease its partial coronavirus lockdown as a third wave of infections has boosted new cases and only a small section of the population has received a vaccine so far, the prime minister said. Hungary became the first European Union country on Wednesday to start inoculating people with the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine, following a similar move with Russia’s Sputnik V shot, which have not been granted regulatory approval in the EU.
24th Feb 2021 - South China Morning Post

Denmark to take 'calculated risk' by easing COVID curbs in March

Denmark plans to allow shops and some schools to reopen in March in a much awaited move that could however send hospital coronavirus admissions soaring in coming months. In what the prime minister has called a “calculated risk”, the government will allow stores under 5,000 square metres to reopen, while outdoor leisure activities can resume with an upper limit of 25 people. Schools in parts of the country will also be allowed to reopen, but will require students to test themselves twice a week.
24th Feb 2021 - Reuters

US to ramp up vaccination efforts amid decline in COVID-19 cases

The White House coronavirus task force announced on Wednesday that it would increase the rate of vaccination across the United States, amid a decrease in COVID cases, hospitalisations and deaths. Jeffrey Zients, the White House’s COVID-19 response coordinator, said the weekly supply of vaccines to states is now 14.5 million, up from 8.6 million five weeks ago – a 70 percent increase. “We’ve nearly doubled weekly of doses in just five weeks,” Zients said during a coronavirus task force news conference on Wednesday.
24th Feb 2021 - AlJazeera

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 24th Feb 2021

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Over 850,000 coronavirus vaccines delivered to Belgian hospitals

More than 850,000 vaccines have been delivered to Belgium as of 22 February, Belgium’s Federal Agency for Medicine and Health Products (FAMHP) announced on Tuesday. Most of those vaccines were delivered by Pfizer and BioNTech. A total of 738,465 Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines were distributed
23rd Feb 2021 - The Brussels Times

Breton aims to reset EU’s vaccine narrative

After spending months under siege from EU capitals and pharma heads over Europe’s sluggish vaccine rollout, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton is seeking to change the narrative via a high-profile jaunt to the Continent's drug factories. Monday's stop: Puurs, a small Belgian town 30 minutes from Brussels, home to a Pfizer factory that's the top vaccine producer in Europe. Breton, who took the job leading the Commission’s Vaccine Task Force less than three weeks ago, has made himself the public face of the EU’s fight to secure vaccines by visiting the facilities where they are made. He started on February 10 with Thermo Fisher Scientific, which has been subcontracted to make AstraZeneca's drug substance in Belgium, followed by Lonza, which is doing that work for Moderna in Switzerland, last Friday.
23rd Feb 2021 - POLITICO.eu

Egypt receives second shipment of Chinese coronavirus vaccine

Egypt received 300,000 doses of a coronavirus vaccine developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) in the early hours of Tuesday, the health ministry said in a statement. The new batch from China was the second shipment of the Sinopharm vaccine to Egypt. The country received its first 50,000-dose shipment in December. The North African country also got 50,000 doses of a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca earlier in February as part of its programme to vaccinate health workers
23rd Feb 2021 - Reuters

Spain among world leaders in administering second Covid-19 dose, but strategy under debate

Spain is one of the countries that has administered the highest percentage of the population with the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine: 2.4% have received the two jabs, meaning they have the full protection offered by the vaccine. According to figures from Our World in Data, which is run by Oxford University in the United Kingdom, Spain is only behind Israel – which is the clear world leader, with nearly a third of the population fully vaccinated – the United States (4.83%), Denmark (2.99%), Romania (2.74%) and Serbia (2.67%). But while this is good news – it means that the vaccines are being administered at a good speed as they are delivered – there is another side to the coin. Studies indicate that just one dose of the vaccine can provide a high level of protection from Covid-19. This means that every second dose administered could be seen as a jab that didn’t go toward protecting another person.
23rd Feb 2021 - El País

NHS app could be used to show coronavirus vaccine or test result

The NHS app could be used to display vaccination status or latest coronavirus test results, as ministers consider the ethical issues surrounding the possible introduction of vaccine passports. Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that he has tasked senior minister Michael Gove with leading a review into the “deep and complex issues” surrounding “Covid status certificates”. But it was understood that the “proper review” will also investigate whether businesses such as pubs and theatres could be prohibited from making access conditional on vaccination alone.
23rd Feb 2021 - Aberdeen Evening Express

Chile powers ahead in Covid-19 vaccination race

More than 2.7m vaccinations have been administered to Chile’s population of 19m so far — more than in all of Africa. That has made the country one of the frontrunners in the global scramble for vaccines on a per capita basis, lagging behind just a handful of richer countries including Israel, the UK and the US. Although the centre-right administration of President Sebastián Piñera came under pressure after violent protests against inequality erupted in October 2019, its far-sighted and pragmatic approach in securing vaccines is poised to boost both Chile’s economic recovery and the government’s political standing ahead of presidential elections in November.
23rd Feb 2021 - Financial Times

‘No fourth lockdown’: Ireland to set out cautious reopening plan

Ireland will set out a broad and gradual plan to reopen its economy on Tuesday to ensure there is no fourth lockdown, a minister said, as the more infectious UK COVID-19 variant slows suppression of its deadliest wave to date. Ireland has been back in lockdown since late December after a brief reopening led to an enormous spike in infections. Some students will return to school next week but no consideration will be given to re-opening the hospitality sector before mid-summer, Prime Minister Micheál Martin said last week
23rd Feb 2021 - Metro US

Dutch expected to ease lockdown slightly despite rising infections

The Netherlands on Tuesday slightly eased COVID-19 restrictions, allowing schools and hairdressers to reopen, as the government seeks to relieve months of lockdown even as infection rates rise again. A controversial night-time curfew, which sparked a string of riots when it was introduced on Jan. 23, will remain in place until at least March 15, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said, as health experts warn of a new wave of infections due to the rise of more contagious variants of the virus. New coronavirus cases increased 19% to 29,997 in the week through Tuesday, the Dutch Institute for Public Health RIVM said, as new variants continued to take hold.
23rd Feb 2021 - Metro US

UK Covid Lockdown: Ministers Review Vaccine Passport Options to Help Firms Open

U.K. firms may be allowed to demand proof that customers do not have coronavirus under options being considered to help businesses reopen after the pandemic. Ministers are conducting a review of whether so-called vaccine passports and test certificates could enable venues to open without fueling a surge in infections once lockdown rules are lifted. In one potential scenario, someone planning to go to an event could be asked to show staff a medical record on their National Health Service smart-phone app proving they have been vaccinated or tested negative for Covid-19, a person familiar with the matter said.
23rd Feb 2021 - Bloomberg

Covid-19: Everyone 'has to play their part' in lockdown easing, says Hancock

Everybody has to "play their part" to meet the dates for England's lockdown to be eased, Matt Hancock has said. But it is currently "too early" to say how long social distancing will be in place, the health secretary said. The aim is for measures like masks to become a "matter of personal responsibility", rather than law, in the future. Boris Johnson has outlined a strategy that could see restrictions lifted by 21 June - if strict conditions are met.
23rd Feb 2021 - BBC News

More German state workers to get AstraZeneca jab as doses go begging

The German government is reworking its strategy to vaccinate the nation against COVID-19 as its campaign, which has faltered due to a lack of supply, also faces public resistance to the shot from AstraZeneca Plc. As schools and kindergartens start to reopen from a lockdown imposed in November, federal and state health ministers on Monday reworked vaccination rules so that teachers will now get priority access to the AstraZeneca vaccine. “Children, the young, and their parents are especially affected by lockdown,” they said in a document seen by Reuters. “Since it can be hard to ensure social distancing with young children, teachers must be protected in another way.”
23rd Feb 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: How European nations are trying to plot route out of lockdown

The details of England's route out of lockdown were revealed this week. Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is "very optimistic" he will be able to remove all coronavirus restrictions by 21 June under his four-stage plan. But how are European countries faring in the second year of the pandemic?
23rd Feb 2021 - Sky News

Long wait over as first COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Ukraine from India

Ukraine received its first batch of 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Tuesday, allowing it to launch its delayed roll-out, starting with front-line medical workers and soldiers. One of Europe’s poorest countries, Ukraine has lagged behind its neighbours in securing vaccines for its 41 million people, asking European Union member states for help while refusing to buy the Sputnik V vaccine from Russia. “We will start vaccination ASAP. We need to fight COVID together,” President Volodymyr Zelenskiy tweeted.
23rd Feb 2021 - Reuters

When will Covid mass vaccination drive start, asks Maharashtrians dreading another lockdown

As a worry of complete lockdown looms large over many Maharashtra cities, citizens are asking the government to start vaccination for common people. However, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has said the Central government must take a call on the mass vaccination programme. In his recent address to the State, Thackeray said the government will have to consider imposing a lockdown if the number of Covid-19 cases multiplies in the next 8-10 days.
23rd Feb 2021 - Hindu Business Line

Easing lockdown will allow Covid to spread. Here's how to mitigate the risks

The government’s roadmap for ending Covid restrictions in England commits it to steps that may increase the rate at which the virus spreads. Some of that is unavoidable. But even as we reopen, there is more that we could do to mitigate the risk, and get us to the summer – and normality – without a resurgence. One reason that east Asian countries have done better during the pandemic is that prior experience with Sars has given people the understanding of how respiratory diseases spread, and how to avoid them. Japan’s three Cs guidance – avoidance of closed spaces, crowded places, and conversations – helped it avoid a serious epidemic without imposing a national lockdown. But the UK’s messaging still prioritises hand washing, surface cleaning and 2-metre distancing, and there has been no public education campaign about ventilation on the scale of last year’s hand-washing campaign.
23rd Feb 2021 - MSN.com

Lockdown easing: How are other countries handling it?

The UK has laid out its road map for lifting all lockdown restrictions by the end of June, but many major economies are taking a different approach. The British Government’s strategy is underpinned by the rapid rollout of its vaccine programme, with 17.7 million people having received their dose as of Sunday. But other nations were more cautious in approving vaccines, and are wary of over-promising while the full risk posed by Covid-19 variants are still unknown.
23rd Feb 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

COVID-19: PM promises 'vaccine passports' review as holiday-starved Britons flock to book a break after lockdown exit plans revealed

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised a review of so-called vaccine passports as eager Britons book holidays, excited by Monday's roadmap out of lockdown. Mr Johnson said: "There are deep and complex issues that we need to explore, ethical issues about what the role is for government in mandating all people to have something or indeed banning people from doing such a thing." He said senior minister Michael Gove would lead a review into the issue, although he added that some form of vaccine passport is "going to come on the international stage whatever" for foreign travel, as some other countries would insist on it.
23rd Feb 2021 - Sky News

Pharmacists say 'pooling' Covid vaccines could save thousands of doses

As millions of people across the U.S. line up for their coronavirus vaccination shots, health officials are struggling to meet the surging demand, the result of short supplies. Some pharmacists say a simple solution could get thousands more people vaccinated each week, but the FDA is standing in the way. It's called "pooling" — and it's not a new concept. Pharmacists have been doing it for years with everything from flu vaccines to some chemotherapy medications to antibiotics. It involves taking what's left over in a drug vial and combining it with what's left in another vial to create a full dose.
23rd Feb 2021 - NBC News

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 23rd Feb 2021

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Spanish region vaccinates 7,000 adults living with a disability in a week

In Spain, Extremadura last week took on the challenge of vaccinating 7,000 adults with need for daily care who are not in residences, and their professional carers in a week. This group included people who need help to carry out basic tasks, recognized as Grade III dependents under the Law of Dependency, those who have asked to be recognized in this category and those who, without having made any request, are accredited with suffering from a disease which requires them to have significant support measures. Thanks to the support of family and health workers, the vaccination day was “surprisingly easy,” said the coordinator of the drive, Paula Salamanca. Red Cross teams, which facilitated up to 300 trips to the center, were also key. Salamanca said that it all comes down to teamwork: “If one of us fails, we all fail.”
22nd Feb 2021 - El País

U.S. administers 64.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines - CDC

The United States has administered 64,177,474 doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of Monday morning and delivered 75,205,940 doses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The tally of vaccine doses are for both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, vaccines as of 6:00 a.m. ET on Monday, the agency said. According to the tally posted on Feb. 21, the agency had administered 63,090,634 doses of the vaccines, and distributed 75,204,965 doses.
22nd Feb 2021 - Reuters

More than 100,000 Covid-19 vaccines to be administered this week

In Ireland, more than 100,000 doses of Covid-19 are set to be administered this week, as supplies of the vaccine are to be ramped up over the coming weeks. Health Service Executive (HSE) boss Paul Reid said the light is “beginning to emerge” as the State scales up its vaccine programme. The CEO of the HSE said that it delivered some 40,000 to 45,000 doses every week, but that increased to 80,000 vaccines last week. He said that 13,500 of those vaccines went to people aged over 85, while 25,000 were delivered to healthcare workers and 40,000 to residents and staff in long-term residential facilities.
22nd Feb 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

Superdrug launches £120 COVID-19 PCR saliva testing service

In the UK, Superdrug has become the first high street pharmacy chain to offer a saliva-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for COVID-19, at the price of £120. The saliva-based PCR test is designed to be less intrusive than the standard method of using a swab to retrieve a sample from the back of the patient's nose or throat. It is available in all 200 Superdrug branches across the country and via the multiple’s website, it announced last week
22nd Feb 2021 - Chemist+Druggist

Tens of thousands more will die of Covid-19 as lockdown eases, advisers warn

Tens of thousands more people will die of Covid-19 as Britain opens up, government scientific advisers have concluded. Even a gradual easing during the spring is likely to produce a peak on the scale of last month or last April because so many people remain susceptible, according to modelling by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage). Lifting all restrictions from the end of April would lead to a far bigger wave of hospital admissions than last month and some limits on social contact will be needed into the summer, the models suggest. Sage told ministers last week that mask-wearing, avoiding crowds and contact tracing may be needed indefinitely to keep the virus under control.
22nd Feb 2021 - The Times

Life may be close to normal by June 21, says PM as he unveils roadmap

Boris Johnson said there is “light ahead”for the UK today after earlier revealing his roadmap to bring England out of lockdown. All pupils in England’s schools will return to class from March 8 while people will be able to socialise with one person outside, Mr Johnson confirmed earlier. Mr Johnson, laying his “roadmap” out of lockdown to the House of Commons on Monday afternoon, also revealed from April 12 at the earliest shops, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries, outdoor attractions and outdoor hospitality venues such as beer gardens will be allowed to reopen. From June 21 at the earliest, all remaining restrictions on social contact could be lifted, larger events can go ahead and nightclubs could finally reopen.
22nd Feb 2021 - Evening Standard

Germany reopens some schools amid fears pandemic may rebound

Elementary students in more than half of Germany’s 16 states returned to school Monday after more than two months at home, the first major relaxation of the country s pandemic measures since before Christmas. Kindergartens also reopened their doors for pre-school children, giving much-anticipated relief to stressed parents trying to juggle working from home and childcare during the lockdown. The move was agreed at a meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and state governors two weeks ago, and stuck to despite signs that the decline in case numbers seen in the country is flattening out again and even rising in some areas.
22nd Feb 2021 - The Independent

Covid-19: New York City Is Down to 1,000 First Vaccine Doses

Vicious winter weather has snarled vaccine deliveries nationwide. The White House estimated that the weather had created a backlog of six million doses, and pleaded with local officials to extend hours at vaccination sites and schedule additional appointments. The bad weather has slowed two vaccine shipping hubs — a FedEx center in Memphis and a UPS site in Louisville, Ky. And the Federal Emergency Management Agency said this week that more than 2,000 vaccine sites were in areas with power outages.
22nd Feb 2021 - The New York Times

COVID-19: Gaza starts inoculation drive amid vaccine shortage

The inoculation campaign against COVID-19 in the besieged Gaza Strip has kicked off after the arrival of vaccines donated by Russia and the United Arab Emirates. On Monday, officials and health workers received the first shots of 22,000 Russian Sputnik V jabs in front of dozens of cameras.
22nd Feb 2021 - AlJazeera

Step by step: how England's Covid lockdown will be lifted

Boris Johnson has announced detailed plans for the unlocking of England amid the coronavirus vaccination programme. Here is the proposed timetable, in four stages, and other initiatives announced by Downing Street. No 10 is stressing that after the first step the subsequent stages of reopening could be subject to delay and that the programme would be guided by “data rather than dates”. There is a minimum of five weeks between each stage – four weeks to collect and assess data and then a week for people and businesses to prepare for the next step.
22nd Feb 2021 - The Guardian

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 22nd Feb 2021

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Covid-19: Health chiefs say NI vaccine programme on target

Northern Ireland's Covid-19 vaccine programme is "ahead of schedule," health officials have said, after Boris Johnson announced new UK-wide targets. Earlier, the prime minister said all UK adults should be offered a first dose of vaccine by the end of July. The previous target was September for first dose completion, but the PM has now said it should "go further and faster" to help ease lockdown rules. Stormont's Department of Health said its plans were dependent on supply.
21st Feb 2021 - BBC News

U.K. to ‘Cautiously’ Ease Lockdown Despite Vaccine Push: Hancock

The U.K. government will take a “cautious” approach to easing lockdown, with restrictions lifted every few weeks to judge the impact, despite a significant acceleration of its Covid-19 vaccination program, a senior minister said. Health Secretary Matt Hancock urged people to keep following the rules even when vaccinated, after the government announced that all adults will be offered a shot by the end of July and everyone over 50 by mid-April. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hold a meeting with his senior ministers on Sunday to sign off on plans for how to ease England’s lockdown, ahead of a statement to Parliament on Monday
21st Feb 2021 - MSN.com

Britain to offer all adults a COVID-19 vaccine by end of July

All adults in Britain will be offered a first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of July, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday ahead of a planned announcement on the cautious reopening of the economy from lockdown. Johnson will set out a roadmap to ease England’s third national lockdown on Monday, having met a target to vaccinate 15 million Britons from higher-risk categories by mid-February. Britain now aims to give a first dose to all over-50s by April 15, the government said, having previously indicated it wished them to receive the shot by May.
21st Feb 2021 - Reuters

Green Pass: Israel's Covid-19 vaccination certificate opens fast track to normal life

People with the so-called "Green Pass" will get access to gyms, hotels and theatres, as more than 46 percent of its 9 million population get vaccinated.
21st Feb 2021 - NBC News

Over 200 million coronavirus vaccines administered worldwide

Thus far, 92% of doses have been administered in high-income countries or the wealthiest of countries placed by the World Bank in the medium-development bracket. Together, they account for a mere 53% of the world’s population. Among the 29 least developed countries, only Guinea and Rwanda have begun to vaccinate their people.
20th Feb 2021 - The Brussels Times

Biden administration, vaccine makers scramble to outflank coronavirus variants

If vaccines need to be switched, when should companies and government officials pull the trigger? Drug companies already have started working on updating their vaccines against new, more transmissible variants — a move encouraged by government officials. “What we are saying is, ‘Go ahead and study them, get them ready to go,'” said a health official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the message conveyed to manufacturers. “You do a construct for the 351 variant [first detected in South Africa], test it in people and get all the information. If you need it a few months from now, you have it. You essentially hold them in the freezer” until needed. While the current shots by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna use a new technology that allows for speedy modifications, changing vaccines adds wrinkles to manufacturing and distribution schemes that are already complex.
20th Feb 2021 - The Washington Post

Gen V: The Young Vaccine Heroes Convincing Their Elders To Get The Covid Jab

Neesie has recruited 20 young people aged between 18 and 25 who are from Black, Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi backgrounds, and teamed up with Bradford’s university and hospital to teach them about Covid and arm them with facts about the vaccine. The plan was for the young people to go out into their communities to spread awareness – but, due to the lockdown, they are speaking to community groups through online platforms to eradicate myths and misconceptions. Someone who looks like you and speaks the same language and has the same cultural or faith background as you is often better at relaying the message and being trusted
20th Feb 2021 - HuffPost UK

Mayor Lori Lightfoot Provides Update On Chicago's Coronavirus Vaccine Rollout

NPR's Scott Simon asks Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot about vaccination efforts in Chicago and other issues.
20th Feb 2021 - NPR

Short of Vaccine, States Find Hidden Stashes in Their Own Backyards

In the U.S. millions of doses of coronavirus vaccine were still sitting in freezers, allocated in excess to nursing homes or stockpiled for later use. Now states are claiming them. Virginia took the lead negotiating the release of stored second doses. It is now seeing leading the way in delivering COVID-19 shots.
20th Feb 2021 - The New York Times

Covid vaccines: Boris Johnson pledges surplus to poorer countries at G7

Boris Johnson is pledging to donate most of the UK's surplus vaccine supply to poorer countries in a speech to a virtual G7 meeting on Friday. He urged rich countries to back a 100-day target for the developing new vaccines for future emerging diseases. The UK has ordered more than 400 million doses of various vaccines, so many will be left over once all adults are vaccinated. But anti-poverty campaigners say the UK is not doing enough. Decisions on when and how much of the surplus will be distributed will be made later this year, with ministers taking into account the supply chain and whether booster shots are needed in the autumn.
20th Feb 2021 - BBC News

How To Register For The Coronavirus Vaccine In Your State

The process to sign up for COVID-19 vaccines varies by place so NPR created a tool to help you understand how things work in your state and connect you with local resources.
20th Feb 2021 - NPR

Biden’s First Month of Covid-19 Response Marked by Larger Federal Role

In his first month in office, President Biden has positioned the federal government squarely at the front of the battle against Covid-19, tapping the military to staff mass-vaccination centers, joining with state and local officials to accelerate the pace of vaccinations, and requiring masks on buses, planes and federal property. But Mr. Biden’s efforts to use his bully pulpit to pressure states to take actions the federal government doesn’t control—such as keeping mask mandates in place—have had mixed results, and many school districts across the country are still grappling with how and when to return to in-person instruction.
20th Feb 2021 - Wall Street Journal

What's safe after COVID-19 vaccination? Don't shed masks yet

It’s great if the vaccine means someone who otherwise would have been hospitalized instead just has the sniffles, or even no symptoms. But “the looming question,” Fauci said during a White House coronavirus response briefing last week, is whether a person infected despite vaccination can still, unwittingly, infect someone else. Studies are underway to find out, and hints are starting to emerge. Fauci pointed to recent research from Spain showing the more coronavirus an infected person harbors — what’s called the viral load — the more infectious they are. That’s not surprising, as it’s true with other illnesses.
20th Feb 2021 - The Independent

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis faces criticism over COVID-19 vaccine distribution

In Manatee County, Florida, this week, thousands of people got called to come to the affluent Lakewood Ranch development and get a coronavirus vaccine. It was a call many had been waiting for. "We were very fortunate, we got the call, we came right down," one woman told CBS News' Jim Axelrod. It was more than good fortune. Those who received the call all lived in two specific zip codes. Their doses came through a deal struck by Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis and the CEO of Lakewood Ranch's parent company, owned by major Republican donors. Manatee County Commissioner Misty Servia said in a county meeting that the deal bypassed county protocol, allowing a select group of residents to go the front of the vaccine line. "So rather than this randomized pool where everybody gets a fair shake, these two zip codes were going to receive preferential treatment," she said.
20th Feb 2021 - CBS News

COVID-19: Sadiq Khan urges BAME communities to get vaccine after he receives jab

Sadiq Khan has received his first dose of a coronavirus vaccine and urged members of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities to follow suit, declaring: "I wouldn't be taking the jab if I didn't think it was safe." The London mayor received a COVID-19 jab on Friday morning at a vaccine centre located inside a church in southwest London.
20th Feb 2021 - Sky News

UK Government needs to donate surplus Covid-19 vaccines now, warns WTO

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has urged the UK Government to start donating Covid-19 vaccines across the world now. The head of the WTO said there should be no delay in sending the surplus coronavirus vaccines to developing countries. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala urged the Government to act now as it is “in the interest” of rich countries as well as poor countries to have “equitable access”. Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to donate the majority of the UK’s surplus vaccines to poorer nations in the lead-up to Friday’s virtual G7 meeting
20th Feb 2021 - Wales Online

Covid-19: California’s Governor Reserves Vaccines for Teachers

Under pressure to reopen classrooms in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Friday that, starting March 1, the state will reserve 10 percent of its first doses of Covid-19 vaccines for teachers and school employees. Noting that the federal government has been steadily increasing the state’s vaccine allotment, the governor said he would set aside 75,000 doses each week for teachers and staff planning to return to public school campuses in person. Although California prioritizes teachers for the vaccine, supply has been an issue. Only about three dozen of the state’s 58 counties have had enough doses on hand to immunize those who work at public schools.
20th Feb 2021 - The New York Times

Here are the four steps needed to safely end the UK's Covid lockdown

Our first collective aim should be reducing transmission to as low a level as possible – and keeping it low. Secondly, it will be crucial that we continue to monitor transmission and quickly identify any new variants. The third important aspect of this roadmap should be a highly effective test, trace, isolate and support system. As cases fall and people begin to mix again, keeping the virus under control will depend upon the effectiveness of this system. Councils and communities must work together to ensure those who are least likely to take up the offer of a vaccination are engaged and supported, whether through targeted, culturally aware communication campaigns or enlisting community representatives to encourage uptake. Local community leaders, businesses, faith groups, libraries, schools, sports clubs and local media will all be central to these efforts.
20th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

COVID: Schools and outdoor mixing could be first areas where lockdown will be eased

The prime minister is still aiming to reopen all schools in England next month despite concerns from teachers and scientists. Ahead of an announcement about easing coronavirus lockdown on Monday, Downing Street refused to be drawn on specific reports that more extensive outdoor socialising could be allowed by Easter, including suggestions that two households will be allowed to meet outside. Schools and outdoor mixing are likely to be the first areas where rules will be relaxed.
20th Feb 2021 - Sky News

UK Covid lockdown easing: A No 10 'priority' is to allow more social contact

Reuniting families and allowing people to have more social contact will be an "absolute priority" in easing lockdown after schools reopen, No 10 says. Options being considered include allowing two households to mix outdoors in the coming weeks. It comes after confirmation that care home residents in England will each be allowed one regular visitor from 8 March. The full plan for England's lockdown easing is due to be set out on Monday.
20th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Germany must ease lockdown measures with caution - health minister

Falling coronavirus infections and a steady rise in vaccinations mean lifting lockdown measures in Germany is possible, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Friday, urging caution given that a more infectious variant had been identified. “There are rising demands to end the lockdown and this is possible but we need to be careful in order not to jeopardize our achievements,” Spahn told a news conference.
20th Feb 2021 - Reuters

How are England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland planning to lift lockdown restrictions?

The whole of the UK is currently under lockdown in a bid to limit the spread of Covid-19 and therefore reduce the burden on NHS hospitals and staff. But each of the devolved nations is following slightly different rules tailored to suit their own circumstances and differing levels of infection. Prime minister Boris Johnson will unveil his "roadmap" out of England's lockdown in an announcement scheduled for 22 February. So how do England's lockdown rules compare with those in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and how is each nation planning to lift restrictions?
20th Feb 2021 - The Independent

Zimbabwean president urges all Zimbabweans to be vaccinated against COVID-19, thanking China for its generosity

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Saturday urged all Zimbabweans to be vaccinated against COVID-19, saying that this was the only way to conquer the pandemic. Addressing mourners at the burial of national hero Moses Mpofu at the National Heroes Acre, Mnangagwa said the vaccines which Zimbabwe had received from China earlier during the week were safe and an effective antidote against COVID-19. Vaccinations, however, remain voluntary.
20th Feb 2021 - China Daily

Pub and travel bosses demand plan for easing lockdown in England

Pub and travel bosses have demanded that the prime minister produce a detailed roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions in England, amid mounting friction between the government and business leaders. Ahead of an update on the government’s plans, due on Monday, increasingly irate pub executives urged Boris Johnson to mend fences with the industry by offering clarity about the way forward. Separately, in a letter to the prime minister, the travel industry warned “we cannot wait for the full rollout of the vaccination programme before people start to travel again”.
20th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

Hold my hand: English care home visits allowed from March 8

Care home residents in England will be allowed one regular visitor from March 8, the government said, as it starts to ease COVID-19 lockdown measures, underpinned by the rollout of vaccines to older and clinically vulnerable people. Older people living in care homes have been offered the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as part of a programme that has seen almost 17 million shots given to date.
20th Feb 2021 - Reuters

UK to allow outdoor two-household gatherings by Easter: The Telegraph

Britain will allow outdoor two-household gatherings by Easter under lockdown exit plan to be revealed by Boris Johnson, the Telegraph reported here on Friday. However, social distancing rules that people should keep two metres apart when outside are likely to remain in place for “months”, the report added. The news came after the UK announced on Friday that the number of new COVID-19 infections in Britain is shrinking by 3% to 6% each day, faster than last week, adding that the closely watched reproduction “R” number might be slightly lower too.
20th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Spain’s regions move to ease coronavirus restrictions despite high contagion rates

Speaking on Thursday evening to present the latest data, Fernando Simón, the director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts (CCAES), called on citizens not to drop their guard, but some of the country’s regions have already started to roll back their social restrictions. Since yesterday, the Madrid region has changed its curfew time from 10pm to 11pm, and is allowing bars and restaurants to stay open until the same time (until Thursday they had to close at 9pm). Castilla y León, for its part, will be lifting the perimetral lockdown of some of its provinces, while Aragón will be suspending the confinement of the cities of Zaragoza and Calatayud.
19th Feb 2021 - EL PAÍS in English

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 19th Feb 2021

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676,405 coronavirus vaccines delivered to Belgium

A total of 676,405 coronavirus vaccines have been delivered to Belgium up until 14 February, the latest figures from the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP) show. In total, 623,805 Pfizer / BioNTech vaccines were delivered last week, which is some 80,000 more than the week before. As of Wednesday morning, 370,019 people in Belgium have received the first dose of their vaccinations, or 4.01% of the population aged 18 and older. In addition, 203,755 people have received their second dose
18th Feb 2021 - The Brussels Times

Mexico arrests 6 for trafficking false coronavirus vaccines

Police in northern Mexico arrested six people Wednesday for allegedly trafficking in fake coronavirus vaccines. The federal Public Safety Department said the arrests were made in the northern border state of Nuevo León, though they did not say what kind of fake shots were involved or whether they had been offered for sale. “You don't play around with health, and in these moments of pandemic, nobody should be profiteering,” said Public Safety Secretary Rosa Icela Rodríguez.
18th Feb 2021 - The Independent

Pfizer coronavirus vaccines to arrive in Perth this weekend with high-risk workers a priority for initial 5,000 doses

Western Australia is set to receive its first 5,000 doses of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine this weekend. WA Premier Mark McGowan said quarantine and international border workers would be among the first West Australians to be eligible for the vaccine. "Our quarantine hotel workers, including hotel staff, cleaners, police, security and clinical staff working in our quarantine facilities are at higher risk of contracting the virus, so it makes sense that they are prioritised," he said. "That goes for particular staff at our airports and ports, particularly those who board and spend time on overseas vessels."
18th Feb 2021 - ABC.Net.au

Zimbabwe starts COVID-19 vaccinations, vice-president gets first shot

Zimbabwe kicked-off its COVID-19 vaccination programme on Thursday after receiving a donation of 200,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from China earlier in the week. Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, who doubles as the country’s health minister, was the first to receive the jab, at Harare’s Wilkins Hospital. Zimbabwe aims to vaccinate around 60,000 healthcare and other frontline workers in the first round of vaccinations. The elderly and those with chronic conditions will follow.
18th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 passports aim to streamline travel requirements. But there’s no one-size-fits-all fix.

International travel declined by around 90 percent after the pandemic hit — but those still crossing borders may have begun to encounter a novel concept: “covid-19 passports,” or a mobile platform that proves a traveler meets a country’s requirements, like a negative coronavirus test or, in a few cases, having received the coronavirus vaccine. Also called health passports, these are not official documents granted by governments; rather, they are digital passes issued by apps, and accepted by some companies and countries, that have arisen to meet demands by airlines and governments that travelers have a negative coronavirus status. Instead of showing paper-based proof of a test or vaccination card at an airport — which could either be forged, lost or arbitrarily rejected without a streamlined process — a traveler would be able to store and certify their information via their phone
18th Feb 2021 - Washington Post

How Will Covax Deliver Covid-19 Vaccines to Poorer Countries?

Developing countries are falling dangerously behind in the global race to end the coronavirus pandemic through vaccinations. The Covax facility aims to get Covid-19 shots to at least 20% of the populations of the world’s poorest nations. Covax has made deals with most of the big manufacturers, including Pfizer Inc., Johnson & Johnson and Novavax Inc. But during the first half of 2021, the majority of planned deliveries from the facility are for the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca PLC and Oxford University. For the whole year, the AstraZeneca vaccine is forecast to make up about one-third of Covax supplies, assuming that the shots by J&J and Novavax and other manufacturers get authorized as expected.
18th Feb 2021 - Wall Street Journal

COVID-19: Parents of England secondary school pupils 'will be asked to test them twice a week'

Parents of secondary school pupils in England will be required to test their children twice a week once schools return, it has been reported. According to the Daily Telegraph, they will have to use rapid lateral flow tests under government plans to reopen schools as the COVID-19 lockdown is eased. Asked about this report during an interview on Sky News, care minister Helen Whately did not confirm or deny the story. "Next week more will be set out about how the return to school is going to work," she said.
18th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Boris Johnson will soon receive the crucial data which decides the UK’s route out of lockdown

Boris Johnson is due to receive the data which will ultimately determine how quickly the UK can leave lockdown. The Prime Minister will be given the most recent figures available on the impact of the UK’s vaccination programme, which will play a large part in deciding the speed at which existing restrictions can be relaxed.
18th Feb 2021 - The Scotsman

COVID vaccine data 'so good' that it points to lockdown ending earlier, Sage adviser says

Coronavirus vaccine data is “so good” that it points to an earlier end to the UK’s lockdowns, MPs have been told. Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) adviser Professor Mark Woolhouse said every aspect of the UK’s vaccine rollout has gone so well that ministers should bring forward their plans to begin easing restrictions. As of 15 February, 16.12 million doses had been administered in the UK. According to Oxford University’s Our World in Data website, the UK is third in the world in terms of doses administered per 100 people.
18th Feb 2021 - Yahoo News UK

Mass tests for teachers and pupils to be part of England lockdown easing, report says

Teachers, schoolchildren and their families could be tested for coronavirus twice a week under a plan for mass rapid testing that has been touted as key to safely easing England’s lockdown, reports claim. As many as 400,000 rapid lateral flow tests will be sent to homes every day, supported by a public information campaign to encourage people to take tests even if they do not show any symptoms, it is claimed. Boris Johnson is expected to give further details of the scheme when he outlines his roadmap for easing restrictions on Monday.
18th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

Boris Johnson refuses to budge on lockdown exit plan

Boris Johnson resisted pressure for a faster easing of lockdown today, despite a strong decline in infections, with a minister saying that it will take “months” to get back to normal. Care minister Helen Whately said there would be a “step-by-step” approach to lifting restrictions when the Prime Minister publishes his Roadmap to Recovery on Monday. Downing Street is waiting for the delivery of key data, expected tomorrow, on how much vaccines can reduce transmission rates before making decisions on how long it will be before pubs and restaurants can reopen.
18th Feb 2021 - Evening Standard

Boris Johnson plots reopening of UK economy within months

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is plotting a staged exit from lockdown that would see the United Kingdom’s battered economy returning to work over the next five months after leaping ahead of most of the world on vaccinating its people. The novel coronavirus, which emerged in China in late 2019, has killed 2.4 million people worldwide, upended normal life for billions and tipped the United Kingdom into its worst slump in 300 years. After moving faster than all other Western peers bar Israel to vaccinate its population, the United Kingdom’s $3 trillion economy is aiming to be among the first major Western economies to return to some semblance of normality - though still far behind the furnaces of global growth in China.
18th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Switzerland plans cautious easing of pandemic lockdown from March

Switzerland plans to make its first “cautious steps” towards ending its coronavirus lockdown next month, the government said on Wednesday, contrasting with neighbours that are sticking with many restrictions. In the first step, shops, museums and libraries are due to reopen from March 1. Zoos, gardens and sports facilities will also be reopened, with a final decision to come on Feb. 24. Ministers have been caught being caught between health experts supporting stricter limits and struggling businesses calling for a reopening, but a easing in the number of infections has allowed the government to change course. “The efforts of the last few months are now paying off, the population has been very disciplined,” said Health Minister Alain Berset.
18th Feb 2021 - Reuters

AstraZeneca's vaccine contract with the UK is based on 'best efforts,' just like its deal with a frustrated EU

AstraZeneca's contract to supply the UK with 100 million Covid-19 vaccine doses commits it to making "best reasonable efforts," the same language used in its deal with the European Union, which critics blamed for the bloc's faltering inoculation program. The details of the contract are contained in a redacted version published online without fanfare months ago, long before the UK and the EU became embroiled in a bitter dispute over vaccine supply. British officials had earlier declined to provide the contract to CNN, making no mention of the redacted version, and have repeatedly refused to give details on the country's vaccine supplies, citing "security reasons."
18th Feb 2021 - CNN

Macron urges US, EU to rapidly divert COVID vaccines to Africa

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday urged fellow European nations and the United States to give up to five percent of their current COVID-19 vaccine supplies to developing countries in Africa, warning poorer nations are paying “astronomical prices” for jabs being made in the West. Macron said the current uneven distribution of doses marked an “unprecedented acceleration of global inequality” and cautioned some countries were being charged two or three times the price paid by the European Union for vaccines such as the one produced by Oxford-AstraZeneca. “We are allowing the idea to take hold that hundreds of millions of vaccines are being given in rich countries and that we are not starting in poor countries,” Macron told the Financial Times. “It’s an unprecedented acceleration of global inequality,” he added.
18th Feb 2021 - AlJazeera

Don't expect Johnson & Johnson's COVID vaccine to quickly lift U.S. supplies. Early shipments will be small, officials say

Johnson & Johnson's easier-to-use, single-dose COVID-19 vaccine is nearing a rollout, theoretically promising a major boost to the frantic U.S. immunization campaign. But J&J's early supplies are extremely limited, a White House advisor said. After the vaccine’s expected FDA emergency authorization in early March, the company will have just “a few million” doses ready to go, President Joe Biden's coronavirus response coordinator, Jeffrey Zients, said, as quoted by the New York Times. J&J’s contract with the federal government, inked last summer, calls for the drugmaker to deliver 100 million doses by the end of June. But it's now looking like deliveries will be “back-end loaded,” Zients said.
18th Feb 2021 - Fierce Pharma

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 18th Feb 2021

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COVID-19: UK calls for temporary ceasefires to allow vaccine rollout in world's war zones

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is calling for a UN resolution for ceasefires across the globe to allow those living in war zones to get COVID vaccines. As he chairs a UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday, Mr Raab will urge world leaders to agree a resolution for negotiated vaccine ceasefires. The foreign secretary believes there is a "moral duty to act" in order to prevent more than 160 million people being excluded from vaccines because of instability and conflict, including in Yemen, Somalia and Ethiopia.
17th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Pfizer and BioNTech reach agreement with European Union for 200 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine

Pfizer and BioNTech said they have reached an agreement to supply the European Union with another 200 million doses of their Covid-19 vaccine. The US and German companies said in a statement that the doses come on top of the 300 million initially ordered. The EU's executive Commission has an option to request a further 100 million doses. They said the 200 million doses are expected to be delivered this year, with an estimated 75 million of them in the second quarter.
17th Feb 2021 - heraldscotland.com

NYC’s rich neighbourhoods get disproportionate share of coronavirus vaccines

New York City’s vaccines are going disproportionately to wealthier neighbourhoods in Manhattan and Staten Island, according to data the city released on Tuesday. The disparities highlight the inequities of a vaccine drive that has already been criticised for what New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called "profound" racial disparities. White residents composed almost half the people who had at least one dose, despite being only a third of the population. More than a quarter of those getting the coronavirus vaccine are nonresidents, who tend to be younger and are more likely to be White than those living in the city.
17th Feb 2021 - The Independent

Covid-19: NI vaccination programme extended to carers

Northern Ireland's Covid-19 vaccination programme has been extended to include carers and more people with underlying health conditions. The vaccine rollout will be divided between GP practices and the seven regional vaccination centres. Northern Ireland's vaccine rollout is running weeks ahead of schedule, Health Minister Robin Swann has said. On Wednesday, the Department of Health recorded six more Covid-19 related deaths, taking its death toll to 2,015.
17th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Biden to Boost Funds for COVID-19 Tests in Schools, Shelters: White House

The Biden administration plans to provide $650 million to expand COVID-19 testing for elementary and middle schools, as well as homeless shelters and other underserved congregate settings, the White House said in a statement on Wednesday. It will also spend $815 million to increase U.S. manufacturing of testing supplies and $200 million for virus genome sequencing, the statement said.
17th Feb 2021 - U.S. News & World Report

Gaza gets its first COVID-19 vaccine shipment, officials say

Gaza received its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesday after Israel approved the transfer through its border with the Hamas Islamist-run territory, Israeli and Palestinian officials said.
17th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Switzerland Plans Cautious Easing of Pandemic Lockdown From March

Switzerland plans to make its first "cautious steps" towards ending its coronavirus lockdown next month, the government said on Wednesday, contrasting with neighbours that are sticking with many restrictions. In the first step, shops, museums and libraries are due to reopen from March 1. Zoos, gardens and sports facilities will also be reopened, with a final decision to come on Feb. 24. Ministers have been caught being caught between health experts supporting stricter limits and struggling businesses calling for a reopening, but a easing in the number of infections has allowed the government to change course. "The efforts of the last few months are now paying off, the population has been very disciplined," said Health Minister Alain Berset.
17th Feb 2021 - U.S. News & World Report

Covid: Boris Johnson to focus on 'data, not dates' for lockdown easing

Boris Johnson says it is "absolutely right" to take a "data not dates" approach to leaving lockdown, stressing England will ease measures "cautiously". The prime minister said he would set out "what we can" in a road map for easing restrictions on Monday. "We want to be going one way from now on, based on the incredible vaccination rollout," he said. It follows a call from scientists for a data-led approach to lifting measures. Speaking at a mass vaccination centre in Cwmbran, south Wales, Mr Johnson said relaxation of measures would be done in "stages" and that the reopening of hospitality was one of the last things to return after the first lockdown.
17th Feb 2021 - BBC News

German vaccination programme accelerating, but variants raise stakes: minister

Germany is set to speed up its vaccination programme, but even with declining case numbers the rapid spread of more infectious variants of the coronavirus means nobody should drop their guard, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Wednesday. Spahn told a news conference that Germany would have received a total of 10 million vaccine doses by the end of next week. Some 4 million people, mostly carers and care home residents, have so far been vaccinated. He added that a government programme to offer everyone free, rapid antigen coronavirus tests from March, financed from the public purse, would also help slow the spread of the virus. The German government has faced criticism for its relatively slow pace of vaccinations, and business is increasingly impatient for an easing of the lockdown, now in its fourth month, especially with case numbers drifting downwards. While vaccination was voluntary, Spahn urged the public to take up the offer of a jab: "If you wait, you risk serious illness," he said.
17th Feb 2021 - TheChronicleHerald.ca

Angela Merkel's Potential Successors Laschet, Soeder Spar on Covid Lockdown Exit

The two leading conservative contenders to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor took contrasting approaches to exiting Germany’s coronavirus lockdown, as campaigning ahead of September elections gradually gains steam. Armin Laschet, the newly elected head of Merkel’s Christian Democrats, took an unusual swipe at Merkel’s pandemic policy, saying at a party event earlier this week that the government shouldn’t treat voters like “under-aged children” incapable of making their own decisions. His chief rival, Markus Soeder, fired back on Wednesday in a veiled attack.
17th Feb 2021 - Bloomberg

New prime minister, Mario Draghi, vows to speed up Italy's Covid vaccinations

Italy’s new prime minister, Mario Draghi, has pledged to speed up the country’s coronavirus vaccination programme as he presented his government’s priorities before a confidence vote in the upper house of parliament on Wednesday. In his much-anticipated maiden speech, Draghi, who was sworn into office on Saturday, said the government’s first duty was to “fight the pandemic by all means and safeguard the lives of citizens”. His promise came after Italy recorded 336 more coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, bringing the total to 94,171 – the highest in Europe after the UK – and amid concerns over rapidly spreading Covid-19 variants. “The virus is everyone’s enemy,” Draghi said. “It is in memory of those who are no longer here that our commitment grows”.
17th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

Boris told not to lift lockdown quickly as NHS at capacity ‘for six more weeks’

The NHS is expected to remain at full capacity for at least another six weeks, warned a leading health official who urged the prime minister not to ease lockdown yet. Chief Executive of NHS Providers,
17th Feb 2021 - Metro

Vaccination about to pick up pace in Germany - health minister

Italy’s new prime minister, Mario Draghi, has pledged to speed up the country’s coronavirus vaccination programme as he presented his government’s priorities before a confidence vote in the upper house of parliament on Wednesday. In his much-anticipated maiden speech, Draghi, who was sworn into office on Saturday, said the government’s first duty was to “fight the pandemic by all means and safeguard the lives of citizens”. His promise came after Italy recorded 336 more coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, bringing the total to 94,171 – the highest in Europe after the UK – and amid concerns over rapidly spreading Covid-19 variants. “The virus is everyone’s enemy,” Draghi said. “It is in memory of those who are no longer here that our commitment grows”.
17th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Boris Johnson charting path to re-open UK economy within months

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is plotting a staged exit from lockdown that would see the United Kingdom’s battered economy returning to work over the next five months after leaping ahead of most of the world on vaccinating its people. The novel coronavirus, which emerged in China in late 2019, has killed 2.4 million people worldwide, upended normal life for billions and tipped the United Kingdom into its worst slump in 300 years. After moving faster than all other Western peers bar Israel to vaccinate its population, the United Kingdom’s $3 trillion economy is aiming to be among the first major Western economies to return to some semblance of normality - though still far behind the furnaces of global growth in China.
17th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Vaccines, drugs, testing key to easing lockdown safely - UK's Raab

Vaccines, drugs and testing at scale are key to easing lockdown measures safely, Britain’s foreign minister Dominic Raab said on Wednesday as the government prepares to set out a roadmap on how to loosen restrictions. “The two or three things that are going to be really important if we are to ease out of lockdown safely and responsibly are, yes of course, the vaccine and... the drugs... but also this lateral flow testing, being able to do at it at scale,” he told Sky News.
17th Feb 2021 - Reuters

White House announces plans to ramp up COVID testing

The White House announced new efforts on Wednesday to expand and improve testing for the coronavirus, as the United States ramps up efforts to vaccinate Americans. In a news briefing, Carole Johnson, the nation’s new COVID-19 testing coordinator, announced that the federal government would invest $1.6bn to increase nationwide testing. “We need to test broadly and rapidly to turn the tide of this pandemic but we still don’t have enough testing and we don’t have enough testing in all the places it needs to be,” Johnson said during a news briefing.
17th Feb 2021 - AlJazeera

Colombia, Mexico roll out vaccine, Brazil suffers shortages

Head nurse Veronica Luz Machado, who for months has battled the coronavirus pandemic from an intensive care unit in the northern Colombian city of Sincelejo, became the first person in the Andean country to receive a COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday. Beginning with Machado, Colombia will kick off its plan to immunise 35.2 million people with vaccines acquired through a raft of bilateral deals as well as the World Health Organization-backed COVAX mechanism. “The pandemic really changed our lives completely, particularly for me and my colleagues, because we were facing an unknown virus, we didn’t know how to respond,” Machado, who works at Hospital Universitario, said in a government broadcast earlier this week, before receiving the first shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s two-dose vaccine. “It’s a risk that health workers face every day when we leave our homes to come to work in what we enjoy, in what we are passionate about. I was very afraid,” Machado, a nurse for more than two decades, added.
17th Feb 2021 - AlJazeera

Germany dashes hopes of businesses for quick reopening of economy

German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier on Tuesday dashed hopes of business lobby groups for a quick reopening of the economy, saying the country should not rush to ease coronavirus restrictions as this could risk another wave of infections. “Business can’t flourish if we get a third wave of infections,” Altmaier told German television before a virtual meeting with representatives of 40 industry associations. The minister said he recognised that lots of businesses were desperate for a prospect of an end to the current lockdown, but added that Germany was proceeding with caution for fear of new coronavirus variants in neighbouring countries.
16th Feb 2021 - Reuters

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Fears over Covid vaccine access in Pakistan as private imports sanctioned

Pakistan will allow private companies to import coronavirus vaccines and has exempted the vaccines from price caps in a divisive move that health experts fear will create vast inequalities in access. The country has been scrambling to secure vaccine supplies but so far only the Chinese-made Sinopharm treatment is being deployed. This month 500,000 doses were donated to Pakistan. Like many other countries, Pakistan has been relying on the Gavi/World Health Organization Covax vaccine initiative, but has yet to receive any of the 17m doses it is expecting. The cabinet granted permission for unlimited imports of coronavirus vaccines, which could be sold to customers.
16th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

COVID-19 vaccine priority groups expanded as 1.7m added to shielding list

In England, more than 800,000 extra patients will be prioritised for COVID-19 vaccination after a major expansion of the shielding list based on data from a risk assessment tool. Around 1.7m additional patients have been identified as being at increased risk from COVID-19 based on a combination of factors including age, ethnicity, BMI and medical conditions or treatments. Of these, around 820,000 are outside the over-70 age group already offered a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine by the NHS and will now be prioritised for a jab. These patients have been identified through a population risk assessment by NHS Digital, based on a risk prediction tool called 'QCovid', developed by the University of Oxford and thought to be the world's only reliable COVID-19 risk prediction model.
16th Feb 2021 - GP online

Boris Johnson’s cautious tone suggests slow way out of lockdown, say scientists

Scientists and business leaders said that Boris Johnson’s ultra-cautious new tone on Covid-19 suggests he will keep many restrictions in place for longer, despite the success of the vaccine roll-out. The Prime Minister said he wants “really, really low” case numbers and warned against allowing more dangerous new strains of Covid to be incubated in the population. Kate Nicholls, of Hospitality UK, said the change of tone was “worrying” for owners who face ruin, some within weeks, unless they can open their doors. Scientists said the language was significant because it suggested that the Government was being advised against the strategy being pressed by Tory MPs and many firms, which is to sanction a rise in case numbers from May when all 32 million “at-risk” people are due to have been safely vaccinated.
16th Feb 2021 - MSN.com

COVID-19: Phased return of schools in Scotland to begin on Monday, Nicola Sturgeon announces

The phased return of pupils to classrooms in Scotland will begin on Monday, the first minister has confirmed. Nicola Sturgeon revealed the news in a statement to the Scottish parliament, as she said the country's lockdown would continue until "at least" the beginning of March and "possibly for a further period beyond that". She told MSPs the shutdown was working - with fewer COVID-19 patients in hospital and intensive care - but cautioned that "even a slight" easing of restrictions could see cases "start rising rapidly again".
16th Feb 2021 - Sky News

UK health chiefs urge caution over lockdown as COVID deaths fall -

UK health chiefs have urged caution over any relaxation of lockdown rules amid signs that the impact of vaccination and social distancing regulations are beginning to work. Prime minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce a “cautious but irreversible” roadmap for the relaxation of lockdown rules early next week. Dr Layla McCay, director at the NHS Confederation representing hospitals and clinics, said the downward trend in deaths is good news and is “testament to the monumental efforts” from the NHS to care for patients along with the impact of lockdown. But she added: “However, we must remember that there is a long way to go yet, as the number of deaths from COVID is still very high, and still accounts for some 42.6% of all deaths in England and Wales, the third highest proportion recorded during the pandemic.
16th Feb 2021 - Pharmaphorum

England's route out of Covid lockdown taking shape but timings unclear

While the government has said very little about how lockdown restrictions in England will start to be relaxed, there is a lot to be read between the lines. With a week to go before Boris Johnson spells out his roadmap for lifting the lockdown, leaks about new rules and timetables being discussed in multiple meetings across Whitehall will be filtering into newspapers. The chronology now seems to be taking shape. There is a hope of allowing a small easing of restrictions at the same time as schools reopen, to allow people to meet one other person for a coffee in the park, say, rather than just for exercise, without running the risk of being moved on by police. That would put the whole country under something similar to the tier 4 rules that were in place across swathes of England in December. Apart from schools reopening, the difference to a full lockdown is only subtle.
16th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

Squeezed out of the race for Western vaccines, developing countries turn to China

As Peru is caught in the throes of a brutal second wave, millions of people are putting their faith in one country to turn the deadly tide. Peru has joined developing nations from North Africa to the Andes in counting on China for help. For these customers, the vaccines developed in Chinese laboratories and now being distributed globally could hold the solution to a massive problem: how to inoculate their populations after bigger and richer nations have pushed them to the back of the line for the more reliable vaccines developed in the West.
16th Feb 2021 - MSN.com

Victoria's snap lockdown to end on Wednesday

Victoria’s snap five-day lockdown will end as planned at 11:59 on Wednesday after senior Andrews government ministers met to confirm the plans on Tuesday night. The Herald Sun is reporting ministers met on Tuesday to finalise plans to end the lockdown “barring any mystery cases” emerging overnight. Key government ministers will reconvene on Wednesday morning to confirm the plan to reopen the state after it was plunged into a five-day lockdown following the emergence of less than 20 cases from hotel quarantine.
16th Feb 2021 - Sky News Australia

Australia's Victoria 'well placed' to start easing COVID-19 curbs, premier says

Australia’s Victoria state is well placed to begin easing out of a snap five-day coronavirus lockdown on Wednesday, Premier Daniel Andrews said, as it reported just two new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday.Andrews reported two new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the recent cluster to a total of 19 people. “This strategy is working,” Andrews told reporters. “We are well-placed to be able to make changes tomorrow night. As I said yesterday, I’m not in a position to definitively commit to that, because these next 24 hours will be crucial,” Andrews said.
16th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Syringe shortage hampers Japan’s COVID-19 vaccination drive

Fears are growing in Japan – where an inoculation drive against COVID-19 will begin on Wednesday – that millions of doses of Pfizer vaccine could be wasted because of a shortage of special syringes that maximise the number of shots from each vial. The government has made urgent requests, but manufacturers are struggling to ramp up production fast enough, creating the latest headache for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who suffers from weak public support.
16th Feb 2021 - AlJazeera

Israel blocks shipment of Russian Sputnik V vaccine to Gaza

Israel has stopped 1,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine that are intended for front-line medical workers from entering the besieged Gaza Strip. The Palestinian group Hamas which governs the Gaza Strip on Tuesday blasted Israel’s refusal to allow vaccine doses destined for Gaza health workers through its blockade of the territory as a “violation” of international law. Israel – which is carrying out one of the world’s fastest vaccination campaigns per capita – has faced international calls to share its stocks as an occupying power with Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza.
16th Feb 2021 - AlJazeera

‘Vaccine nationalism’ will hurt all countries: New WTO chief

The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) incoming chief has warned against “vaccine nationalism” that would slow progress in ending the COVID-19 pandemic and could erode economic growth for all countries – rich and poor. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told the Reuters news agency that her top priority is to ensure the WTO does more to address the pandemic, saying members should accelerate efforts to lift export restrictions slowing trade in needed medicines and supplies.
16th Feb 2021 - AlJazeera

South Africa to share COVID vaccine as Europe weighs J&J vaccine

In the latest international COVID-19 developments, South Africa health officials announced they will share the country's AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine with other African nations, and in Europe, Johnson & Johnson submitted its request for an emergency use authorization for its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine. South Africa recently announced a pause on the rollout of AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, following early study findings that it appears have little impact on mild-to-moderate disease from the B1351 variant that is dominant in the country. It followed that development with an announcement that it would temporarily switch to using the unapproved Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
16th Feb 2021 - CIDRAP

Biden to refocus on COVID-19 relief as severe weather limits vaccination

President Joe Biden will host a town hall meeting tonight in Milwaukee to address his $1.9 billion COVID-19 relief bill, and bring Americans' focus back to the pandemic after former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial ended this weekend, the Washington Post reported. In addition to promised relief checks for families, the Biden administration today said it is once again increasing the number of vaccine doses given to states each week—from 11 million to 13.5 million, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki. Psaki also said the federal government continues to increase its partnerships with commercial pharmacies, and will send 2 million doses of vaccine to local pharmacies this week.
16th Feb 2021 - CIDRAP

Hotel quarantine rollout in England 'an absolute joke', says border official

Border staff received guidelines on how to execute England’s new “red list” quarantine rules in an email two and a half hours before they came into force in a rollout that one worker described as “an absolute joke”. British and Irish nationals or UK residents arriving from a list of 33 countries are now required to book a 10-day quarantine package costing £1,750 per adult, as the government seeks to limit the spread of new and potentially more dangerous coronavirus variants arriving from abroad. Border Force sources told the Guardian that all immigration control staff had received a lengthy email with five attachments, detailing official guidance for carrying out the new checks at the border, at 9.25pm on Sunday. The rules came into effect at midnight.
15th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

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Vaccine passport for shops could happen, says Dominic Raab

Shops and restaurants could require customers to show vaccine passports under plans being considered by the government, the foreign secretary has suggested. Dominic Raab said that the government was considering using vaccine passports at the “domestic or local level”. His comments appear to put him at odds with No 10, which has repeatedly ruled out using them within the UK. The government is working on plans for the use of vaccine passports to enable international travel. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, denied that there were plans to introduce them within the UK.
15th Feb 2021 - The Times

Sturgeon 'satisfied' Scotland will meet coronavirus vaccine target ahead of slowdown

Nicola Sturgeon is “satisfied” Scotland has hit its target to vaccinate all over-70s and the clinically vulnerable but warned progress will slow in the coming days as some centres reduce their hours following a dip in supplies. The first minister said everyone in the cohort should have been offered an appointment by close of business on Monday and vowed “nobody is going to be left behind” as she encouraged anyone still to be reached to contact their GP. Monday is the final day for the Scottish Government to ensure everyone aged 70 and older or in the clinically vulnerable group is given a slot, and the SNP leader said she is “satisfied we have met that target”.
15th Feb 2021 - The Courier

Phoenix is paying its employees to get COVID-19 vaccine. Other cities and employers offer incentives, too

Phoenix is paying its employees $75 if they get vaccinated for COVID-19. Other cities in the Phoenix area are rewarding their employees for receiving the vaccine, as well, either by giving them a discount on their health insurance or giving them wellness points that could add up to a discount on their insurance. The city programs come as many large private-sector employers announce they are doing the same. Dollar General, Kroger, McDonald’s and Olive Garden are paying their employees either a flat rate or a certain number hours of pay to get the vaccine.
15th Feb 2021 - USA Today

Widespread vaccinations in the US won't come until the summer. Here's what's been driving down Covid-19 cases so far

Kudos to all the Americans who've been responsible about mask wearing and social distancing. Health experts say your efforts are paying off. After an abysmal start to winter, some Covid-19 numbers have been falling for weeks. But it's not just due to vaccines. More than 14 million Americans have been fully vaccinated with both doses of their Covid-19 vaccines, but that's only about 4% of the US population. And it takes weeks for vaccines to fully kick in. So why are we seeing improvement? "It's what we're doing right: staying apart, wearing masks, not traveling, not mixing with others indoors," said Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US CDC
15th Feb 2021 - CNN

EU seeks new COVID-19 vaccine deal with Moderna, AstraZeneca flags doses made outside EU - sources

The EU is holding talks with Moderna on buying more COVID-19 vaccine and AstraZeneca, with which talks have stalled, has suggested delivering doses of its own vaccine made outside Europe to make up for supply cuts, two EU sources said. The European Union has set a target of vaccinating 70% of its adult population by the end of the summer, but has struggled to secure the doses promised by pharmaceutical companies. It is now trying to expand its reserve of vaccines, which already amount to nearly 2.3 billion doses from six drugmakers for its population of about 450 million. The EU is negotiating a new supply deal with Moderna that could nearly double the volume of vaccine doses from the U.S. biotech firm, two senior EU officials involved in the talks told Reuters.
15th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: Millions of asthmatics 'must wait for vaccine'

In England, people whose asthma is under control will not be prioritised for the Covid vaccine, the government has confirmed. Sufferers of the condition will not be on the list ahead of their peers unless they are formally shielding, regularly take steroid tablets or have ever had an emergency hospital admission. This appears to be a rowing back from previous guidance indicating steroid-inhaler users would be eligible. It has since been judged this group is not at increased risk of death. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it was following independent advice that the immediate priority should be to "prevent deaths and protect health and care staff, with old age deemed the single biggest factor determining mortality".
15th Feb 2021 - BBC News

South Korea cuts first-quarter COVID-19 vaccination plan, restricts use of AstraZeneca shot

South Korea said on Monday it will not use AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine on people aged 65 and older, reversing an earlier decision, and scaled back initial vaccination targets due to delayed shipments from global vaccine-sharing scheme COVAX. South Korea had said it would complete vaccinations on 1.3 million people by the first quarter of this year with AstraZeneca shots, but it slashed the target sharply to 750,000. The decision is largely due to adjustments in the supply timetable of the 2.6 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from COVAX, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said
15th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: Special school teachers 'forgotten' in vaccine rollout

In Northern Ireland, it is an "insult" that the Stormont executive did not vote to vaccinate all special school staff, according to the National Association of Headteachers. A special school teacher has also told BBC News NI she felt "outrage, disappointment, fear and frustration" at the decision. Special schools in Northern Ireland have been open for all pupils since the start of January. Only a limited number of staff are to be given priority for vaccination. That will include some of those working in the direct care of clinically vulnerable children. Education Minister Peter Weir claimed the NI Executive had been "reluctant" to hold a vote on a plan to vaccinate all special school staff.
15th Feb 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19: Vaccine programme moves to phase two after 15 million receive first coronavirus jab

Letters are being sent to those aged over 65 and the clinically vulnerable to invite them to receive the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccine. It comes a day after the UK reached the target of giving at least one dose of the vaccine to 15 million people - the majority of them most at risk from the disease. This means that the first four priority groups - those aged over 70 and the clinically extremely vulnerable - have all been invited to receive the first dose of the vaccine.
15th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19: First travellers arrive in UK for hotel quarantine stay

The first travellers required to stay at quarantine hotels have begun arriving in the UK. All British and Irish citizens and UK residents who arrive in England after being in a high-risk Covid country now have to self-isolate in hotels. The "red list" of 33 countries includes Portugal, Brazil and South Africa. The new regulations, which aim to stop Covid variants entering the country, apply to arrivals who have been in one of those places in the past 10 days. In Scotland, the rule to stay in a hotel applies to travellers from all countries - rather than just those from the list of 33 countries.
15th Feb 2021 - BBC News

UK risks ‘substantial wave’ of Covid infections if lockdown lifts too soon - what scientists are saying

A scientist advising the Government has said that the UK could face another wave of Covid-19 as big as the current one if lockdown restrictions are lifted too early. Professor Steven Riley, a member of the Spi-M modelling group, said that while the rollout of the vaccine programme has been “incredibly successful”, it does not mean that safety measures and restrictions can simply be dropped. The professor explained that if we were to “choose to just pretend” Covid-19 wasn’t present any more, and drop our safety measures, then “there is potential to go back to a wave that is a similar size to the one that we are in now”.
15th Feb 2021 - The Scotsman

Zimbabwe receives 200,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines in donation from China

Zimbabwe has received its first batch of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccines from China as it ramps up efforts to begin vaccinating two thirds of its population. Receiving the vaccines at Robert Mugabe International Airport, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said: "it has not been lost on us that in times of need, China's response has been swift." Chiwenga said the donation was "timely" and "yet another demonstration of the long bond of friendship and solidarity." Zimbabwe is the first country in southern African to receive the Sinopharm jabs, whose efficacy against a new variant that emerged in neighbouring South Africa, is still unclear.
15th Feb 2021 - RFI

PoliticsNow: Health Minister Greg Hunt says 4 million vaccine jabs to be done by early April

Health Minister Greg Hunt says 4 million vaccinations will be administered by early April. It comes amid news that the first shipment of Pfizer vaccines have landed in Australia, while Scott Morrison told parliament that the first vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been filled in a Melbourne facility today. Premier Daniel Andrews says he ‘can’t say’ when the statewide lockdown will end as Victoria recorded just one new local case of COVID-19 today.
15th Feb 2021 - The Australian

When will lockdown end? How restrictions will be lifted in three stages, with pubs possibly open by Easter

In England, the Government has developed a plan for leaving lockdown that could see pubs and restaurants open by Easter. A senior official told i that Boris Johnson’s road map out of lockdown will begin with the reopening of schools, already scheduled for 8 March. Non-essential retail will follow, and finally hospitality. When these reopen will depend on how the return of pupils affects the virus’ reproduction rate, known as the R number. On Friday that figure fell below one for the first time since July.
15th Feb 2021 - MSN.com

England's quarantine hotels open in bid to keep COVID variants out

Passengers arriving in England from Monday from any of 33 “red list” countries will have to spend 10 days quarantined in a hotel room under new border restrictions designed to stop new variants of the coronavirus. The launch of the system, which had already been set out earlier this month, marks the government’s latest effort to prevent another relapse into crisis after a second wave of a more contagious COVID-19 variant forced the country into a prolonged lockdown at the start of the year. New cases, deaths and hospitalisations are falling sharply and the rollout of vaccines has reached more than 15 million people, but ministers are still wary that new mutations from overseas might unravel that progress.
15th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Johnson wants 'cautious but irreversible' path out of COVID-19 lockdown

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday he would plot a cautious but irreversible path out of the COVID-19 lockdown this week after the vaccination of 15 million vulnerable people. With nearly a quarter of Britain’s population now inoculated with a first dose of a COVID vaccine in a little over two months, Johnson is under pressure from some lawmakers and businesses to reopen the economy. Speaking later from Downing Street, Johnson said there was not yet enough data about how vaccines were affecting the spread of COVID-19, though data from Israel, currently the world leader on vaccination, was promising.
15th Feb 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19 vaccine in high demand across US, but supply limited

Across the U.S., states are expanding vaccination criteria and opening mass COVID-19 vaccination sites to an eager population. But, as the New York Times reports, few states claim they have enough vaccine supply to meet demand. The CDC COVID Data Tracker shows that 70,057,800 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered in the United States, and 52,884,356 have been administered. That translates to roughly 12% of the US population having had at least the first dose in a two-dose series of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.
15th Feb 2021 - CIDRAP

STAT-Harris Poll: 1 in 4 Americans were unable to get a Covid-19 test when they wanted one

As the U.S. struggles to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, nearly a quarter of Americans say they wanted to get tested for the coronavirus but were unable to do so, according to the latest survey from STAT and The Harris Poll. Specifically, 24% reported that they could not get tested for various reasons – a testing site was not nearby, the wait for a test was too long, transportation to a test site was unavailable, or it was unclear where to go for a test. Some people cited more than one of these hurdles. The issue cited most often — 10% complained of the wait. At the same time, 31% said they were able to get tested when they sought to do so, according to the online survey, which queried 2,043 people between Feb. 5 and Feb. 7. The rest said they have never wanted to be tested.
15th Feb 2021 - STAT News

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 15th Feb 2021

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Japan Health Ministry says it has approved Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine

Japan’s Health Ministry said on Sunday it has officially approved Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine, the first such approval in the country as it steps up efforts to tame a third wave of infections in the run-up to the Summer Olympic Games. The move had been widely expected after a government panel recommended approval on Friday, at which point Health Minister Norihisa Tamura said Japan would give its final approval as soon as possible. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said vaccinations will begin from the middle of next week, starting with some 10,000 health workers. The government hopes to secure enough supplies for the whole populace - some 126 million people - by mid-year.
14th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Serbia donates Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to North Macedonia

Serbia on Sunday donated a first batch of 8,000 doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to North Macedonia, which is yet to deliver its first jabs. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and North Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev attended a border checkpoint handover ceremony of the shipment, praising friendship between the two neighboring Balkan states. Serbia, a country of 7 million, has so far vaccinated some 600,000 people, mainly with the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine and Russian Sputnik V, and to a lesser extent with the Pfizer jab. The country has been one of the most successful in Europe in terms of how fast it has rolled out the vaccine among its population. By contrast, North Macedonia, like most of other Western Balkan countries, has not yet secured a single dose of the coronavirus vaccine for its population of 2.1 million.
14th Feb 2021 - The Independent

Covid: Vaccine given to 15 million in UK as PM hails 'extraordinary feat'

More than 15 million people in the UK have now had their first coronavirus vaccine, in what Boris Johnson described as a "significant milestone". The PM hailed the "extraordinary feat", reached just over two months after the first jab was given on 8 December. It comes as the government is expected to announce on Monday it has met its pledge to offer a jab to everyone in the top four priority groups in the UK. The rollout is now being expanded to over-65s and the clinically vulnerable. In a video, Mr Johnson praised a "truly national, UK-wide effort", adding that in England the jab had been offered to all those in the top four priority groups. Wales has also met the target.
14th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Israel plans to reopen restaurants in March, restart tourism with Cyprus

Israel plans to reopen restaurants around March 9 and restart tourism with Cyprus as part of a gradual return to normality thanks to a COVID-19 vaccination campaign, officials said on Sunday. With more than 41% of Israelis having received at least one shot of Pfizer Inc’s vaccine, Israel has said it will partially reopen hotels and gyms on Feb. 23 to those fully inoculated or deemed immune after recovering from COVID-19. To gain entry, these beneficiaries would have to present a “Green Pass”, displayed on a Health Ministry app linked to their medical files. The app’s rollout is due this week.
14th Feb 2021 - Reuters

First Australian vaccines to arrive this week

Australia’s first shipment of Pfizer vaccines will arrive in the country later this week in a high-security operation, with the first vaccinations to begin within days after arrival. Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed that about 80,000 doses of the first Pfizer vaccines would be exported from Belgium this week where they will arrive in Australia by the end of the week under tight security and be taken to a central distribution point. The Therapeutic Good Administration will then complete final testing of the vaccines to ensure quality before doses are distributed around the country on a per head of population basis. They’ll be taken to hospital hubs and directly to aged care centres, with hospitals told to be ready to administer the first jabs from February 22
14th Feb 2021 - The Australian

Brexit Britain's victory over the EU on Covid vaccination is not what it seems

Britain got a month’s head start on the EU by approving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the start of December, and then AstraZeneca’s at the end of that month. It had to accept the terms offered by the pharmaceutical companies, however, both in paying a higher price per dose, and by waiving their civil liability in the event of adverse effects. But, and there’s a very big but, the UK’s “success” is a really an illusion: because to be fully effective, the vaccine requires two doses. And only 0.80% of the UK population has received both shots, less than that of France (0.92%), and a long way behind Denmark, which has 2.87% of its population fully vaccinated.
14th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

COVID-19: Domestic vaccine certificates 'under consideration', Dominic Raab says

Vaccine certificates to let Britons prove they have been inoculated against coronavirus are "under consideration", the foreign secretary has suggested. Dominic Raab sparked surprise by saying the idea "hasn't been ruled out", after it was repeatedly rubbished by some other ministers. The documents have been mooted given the fast-paced rollout of COVID-19 jabs, as attention turns to when and how restrictions can be lifted.
14th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Some foreign nationals are getting coronavirus vaccines in the United States

One of Mexico’s best-known TV hosts sat in a car, masked, looking straight ahead while a needle was plunged into his bare upper arm. Juan Jose “Pepillo” Origel was the latest Mexican national to get the coronavirus vaccine — by coming to the United States. “Vaccinated! Thank you #USA how sad that my country didn’t provide me with this security!!!” the 72-year-old star tweeted in Spanish on Jan. 23, along with a photo of his inoculation in the parking lot of the Miami zoo. Mexican social media users immediately savaged Origel, protesting that his ability to fly to the United States for the vaccine crystallized their nation’s vast inequities. About the same time, Florida health leaders, concerned that out-of-state residents and foreign nationals were flying in for precious doses of scarce coronavirus vaccine, moved to restrict access to people who live in the state full- or part-time.
13th Feb 2021 - The Washington Post

How India is delivering the coronavirus vaccine to its remotest villages

Vast distances, guerrilla warfare and vaccine hesitancy are just some of the hurdles India must overcome to vaccinate its 1.4 billion people against the coronavirus. Devjyot Ghoshal and Danish Siddiqui follow a feat of co-ordination as a vaccine makes a 1,700km journey to a rural health worker
13th Feb 2021 - The Independent

How AI and data models help governments fight Covid-19

A not-for-profit business group including IBM and Rolls-Royce is using AI and data models to help Europe fight Covid-19 and help prepare an economic recovery. As Covid-19 vaccines roll out, getting economies and societies back to normal after the worst of the pandemic has passed will depend on collaboration between industry and the public sector – and harnessing the power of data and technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI). These are among the reasons why IBM, Rolls-Royce, Microsoft and dozens of global companies recently founded Emergent Alliance − a not-for-profit collaboration specialising in data, analytics and technology. Last April, data scientists and AI experts at IBM (Data Science and AI Elite Team) and Rolls-Royce (R2 Data Labs) joined a team to work on a crucial pandemic-related challenge: how to get a more accurate and up-to-date regional picture of Covid-19 cases so as to help local authorities mount a more effective response to coronavirus outbreaks.
13th Feb 2021 - The Financial Times

Pentagon approves 20 more COVID-19 vaccination teams

The Pentagon has approved the deployment of 20 more military vaccination teams that will be prepared to go out to communities around the country putting the department on pace to deploy as many as 19,000 troops if the 100 planned teams are realized. The troop number is almost double what federal authorities initially thought would be needed. Chief Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Friday that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's latest approval brings the number of COVID-19 vaccination teams so far authorized to 25, with a total of roughly 4,700 service members. He said the teams, which largely involve active duty forces, are being approved in a phased approach, based on the needs of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
13th Feb 2021 - The Independent

'Unethical and unconscionable': Should young Americans get COVID-19 vaccine before poorer nations' most at-risk?

While images of people lined up for long-awaited COVID-19 vaccinations spurred hope in millions across the globe, they stirred up something else in Dr. Juan Jose Velez: frustration. Velez runs the coronavirus ward in one of the biggest public hospitals in Colombia, a country with one of the highest death rates and positivity rates in the world. While more than 152 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered globally, with roughly a third of those in the U.S., according to Bloomberg's vaccine tracker, Colombia is among a number of lower- to middle-income countries that still had not administered a single dose by mid-February.
13th Feb 2021 - USA TODAY on MSN.com

Why Canada is falling behind in Covid vaccinations

Canada has secured the world's largest number of potential Covid vaccine doses per capita - but it's struggling to get its hands on some of those doses and to get jabs into arms. On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised an "enormous increase" in doses coming to Canada of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the only two currently authorised for use in the country. He is under pressure from critics who say he has not delivered vaccines fast enough, and has promised that all Canadians who want a vaccine will get one by the end of September. Canada's inoculation drive began 14 December, and the country has so far given just over 1.18 million doses. It currently stands at 40 in global rankings of doses per 100 people, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
13th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Covid passports could deliver a 'summer of joy,' Denmark hopes

Like many countries around the world, Denmark is desperate to reopen the parts of its economy frozen by the pandemic. The kingdom of under six million people has become one of the most efficient vaccination distributors in Europe and aims to have offered its whole population a jab by June. But before that target is reached, there's pressure for life to get back to normal for Danes already inoculated and to open up borders for Covid-immune travelers from overseas. Morten Bødskov, Denmark's acting finance minister, last week raised the prospect of a so-called coronavirus passport being introduced by the end of the month. "Denmark is still hard hit by the corona pandemic," he said. "But there are parts of Danish society that need to move forward, and a business community that needs to be able to travel."
13th Feb 2021 - CNN

Covid-19: How well is Northern Ireland's vaccination going?

Covid-19 vaccinations have now opened up to another group in Northern Ireland - those 80,000 or so people who were in receipt of a shielding letter because they are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV). The vaccination programme is crucial in the plan to exit lockdown and get on top of the virus. But how well is it going?
13th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19 pandemic: Warning vaccine roll-out risks prolonging crisis

The Covid-19 pandemic is unlikely to end unless poorer countries can access vaccines, scientists writing in medical journal the Lancet have warned. Unprecedented numbers of doses are needed, the article says, but poorer countries lack funds and richer countries have snapped up supplies. The experts want to see production ramped up and doses priced affordably. It is the latest warning that so-called "vaccine nationalism" is putting lives at risk. At last year's UN General Assembly, Secretary-General António Guterres called the practice - when countries sign deals to inoculate their own populations ahead of others - "unfair" and "self-defeating".
13th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Virus in Reverse Across U.K. as Johnson Plots Lockdown Exit

The U.K. government said it is “confident” the country’s coronavirus epidemic is shrinking, as the reproduction rate of the disease dropped to levels last seen in July. The latest so-called R number for the U.K. is between 0.7 and 0.9, according to official estimates published Friday, down from 0.7 to 1.0 last week. It means that on average, every ten people infected with the virus are passing it on to between seven and nine others. The last time the upper end of the range was below 1 was on July 31 last year, after the first wave of infections
13th Feb 2021 - BloombergQuint

Covid-19: How England's hotel quarantine will differ from Australia's

England's rules on quarantine hotels for travellers arriving from Covid "red list" countries are less stringent than those enforced in Australia. The BBC has seen a copy of the government's official requirements for hotel operators ahead of the policy starting on Monday. It spells out the rules for handling travellers for 11 nights of quarantine. The UK government said its hotel quarantine measures were "in line with those in other countries". And it promised to update guidance for hotels "imminently".
13th Feb 2021 - BBC News

UK ministers in push to boost COVID-19 vaccine uptake

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday he was optimistic he could announce the easing of some lockdown measures soon as the government nears its target of offering vaccines to 15 million people in priority groups. The government says it is on track to have offered an injection by Monday to everyone who is aged 70 and over, as well as those who are clinically vulnerable, frontline health and social care workers and older adults in care homes. With infections and hospitalisations beginning to fall, Johnson is under pressure from some in his own party to set out when strict lockdown restrictions, which have caused the biggest crash in economic output in more than 300 years, will be eased.
13th Feb 2021 - Reuters

‘No One Is Safe Until Everyone Is Safe’ – Vaccine Rollout Misses Key People

Homeless people, migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and some people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds are among those struggling to get a coronavirus jab even when they’re entitled to one. The UK’s coronavirus vaccination rollout is being hailed as a rare pandemic success with the NHS on target to hit its goal of immunising 15m of the most vulnerable people by next week. But people are falling through the gaps because they face barriers to accessing healthcare. Experts say many of the people being missed out in the vaccine rollout are already at greater risk of health inequalities and have cautioned that until all communities in the population are reached with the vaccine, coronavirus cases will “keep creeping back”. Charities and campaigners say the easiest route for people to be called for a coronavirus vaccine is by being called for one by their GP. But those with an unstable immigration status are often too terrified of registering with a GP or seeking medical care as they fear they might get reported to the Home Office and deported.
13th Feb 2021 - Huffington Post

COVID-19: Next phase of UK vaccine rollout 'may not meet the public's expectations', group of MPs warns

A lack of planning could affect the next phase of the coronavirus vaccine rollout, MPs have warned. The Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) praised the "world-beating" effort to get the jab to the most vulnerable, but said there is "much to be done" if the UK government is to hit its next target. Ministers are aiming to offer a jab to about 15 million people in the top four priority groups by 15 February, then a further 17.7 million people in the next five groups - including all over-50s - by the end of April. But a new report by the PAC said: "We are concerned by departments' lack of planning for the next phase of the programme and in learning the lessons from what has already been done that will be so vital to the programme's success."
12th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19: C.D.C. Urges Reopening of Schools With New Guidelines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday urged that K-12 schools be reopened and offered a comprehensive science-based plan for doing so speedily, an effort to resolve an urgent debate roiling in communities across the nation. The new guidelines highlight the growing body of evidence that schools can openly safely if they put in effect layered mitigation measures. The agency said that even when students lived in communities with high transmission rates, elementary students could receive at least some in-person instruction safely — a finding echoed by an independent survey of 175 pediatric disease experts conducted by The Times. Middle and high school students, the agency said, could attend school safely at most lower levels of community transmission — or even at higher levels, if schools put into effect weekly testing of staff and students to identify asymptomatic infections.
12th Feb 2021 - The New York Times

UK social distancing rules could remain until autumn

Social distancing norms in Britain could remain until the autumn under plans being considered by ministers, The Times newspaper reported on Friday. The government's roadmap out of lockdown assumes people will have to wear masks and remain a metre apart of each other for months, the newspaper reported here. Scientists believed the restrictions may need to go on until the end of the year, according to the report.
12th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Late April or May before lockdown eases with month of low cases needed before change

Level 5 restrictions will not be eased until very low Covid-19 case numbers are sustained for up to four weeks, according to multiple senior Government sources. Such a scenario could see the wider reopening of society, beyond schools and construction, pushed back until late April or early May. The concept of a “pause”, where no easing takes place until numbers stay at a consistent level for a few weeks, is used in New Zealand and Australia and is viewed favourably by a number of Ministers as an effective indicator that it is safe to lift restrictions. The “cautious and conservative” approach enunciated by Taoiseach Micheál Martin in recent days is now widely accepted across all three Government parties. Ministers including the Taoiseach have accepted mistakes were made before Christmas, when measures were relaxed too early .
12th Feb 2021 - The Irish Times

Biden Announces a Big Vaccine Deal, but Warns of Hurdles

The Biden administration says it has now secured enough vaccine to inoculate every American adult, but President Biden warned that logistical hurdles would most likely mean that many Americans will still not have been vaccinated by the end of the summer. Officials said Thursday that they had arranged to get 200 million more doses of vaccine by the end of summer, which amounts to a 50 percent increase. That should be enough vaccine to cover 300 million people. But it will still be difficult to get those shots into people’s arms, and Mr. Biden lamented the “gigantic” logistical challenge his administration faces during an appearance at the National Institutes of Health.
11th Feb 2021 - The New York Times

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 12th Feb 2021

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Churches pair up with clinics to deliver coronavirus vaccine to those who need it most

Pastor Joseph Daniels folded his 6-foot-3-inch frame into the mobile coronavirus vaccine clinic outside Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church in Southeast Washington on Wednesday and joked that he was no fan of needles. Before he knew it, a nurse wearing a face shield, a mask and gloves was applying a bandage to his upper arm. “Oh, okay,” he said. “That was easy.” Daniels was one of a handful of pastors, along with their spouses, who received a vaccination Wednesday morning as part of the city’s pilot program staging clinics at churches, part of an effort to combat vaccine hesitancy and improve access to the shots in hard-hit neighborhoods where vaccination rates are low
11th Feb 2021 - The Washington Post

Ministers to discuss vaccine certificates for international travel

Ministers are set to discuss plans on Friday for vaccination and test certificates to ease international travel after lockdown is lifted. But the discussion will not involve "vaccine passports" to prove immunity at venues in the UK. Instead, it will focus on how Britain can co-operate with the international system expected to be introduced eventually to facilitate journeys between different countries. A source said proposals were at a very early stage, and any scheme is not expected to be put into effect for some time.
11th Feb 2021 - The Independent

Dr Fauci declares April 'open season' for COVID-19 vaccinations

Dr Anthony Fauci has predicted that any American who wants one will be able to get a coronavirus vaccine by April. 'By the time we get to April, that will be what I would call, for better wording, "open season," namely, virtually everybody and anybody in any category could start to get vaccinated,' Dr Fauci said during a Thursday Today show interview. 'Hopefully as we get into the middle and end of the summer we will have accomplished the goal of...the overwhelming majority of people have gotten vaccinated.'
11th Feb 2021 - Daily Mail

Roadmap out of lockdown may not be revealed on February 22 after all

The date for unveiling a roadmap out of lockdown has been pushed back, in a move that could delay the reopening of schools. Boris Johnson had previously promised to set out a plan for lifting restrictions on Monday February 22, but today his official spokesperson broadened the deadline by saying it would be published some time that week. If the plans are not published until the end of the week, on February 26, schools would not be able to reopen until at least March 12, which is on a Friday. That is a week later than the previous target date of March 8. It has previously been reported that some outdoor socialising could be allowed within weeks of pupils going back to the classroom and that pubs could reopen by May.
11th Feb 2021 - Metro

Nicola Sturgeon warns staycations at risk in lockdown 'trade off'

Scots should “be cautious” about booking any holiday staycations this summer despite progress in beating back the virus, Nicola Sturgeon warned. The First Minister addressed public health concerns as the country prepares for tough quarantine rules on international travel. However, there remain serious concerns today about differences in approach between the UK and Scottish governments. It’s feared the English plan to quarantine people from a “red list” of higher risk countries will be “leaky” and provide a backdoor for people coming back to Scotland unchecked.
11th Feb 2021 - Daily Record

Britain can beat Covid and avoid more lockdowns with vaccine rollout, says top scientist Jeremy Farrar

Britain can beat the virus to avoid any more lockdowns by getting “population immunity” with the vaccine roll-out, a top scientist said today. Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, stressed that there was still a long way to go to cut Covid-19 infection levels and warned against lifting lockdown too early. However, he also made clear that an end is in sight to the nightmare epidemic if Covid jabs are offered to the whole population, including school children.
11th Feb 2021 - Evening Standard

UK set for 'easier' end to lockdown restrictions than expected, says Matt Hancock

In England, Matt Hancock has said that the unexpectedly high uptake of Covid vaccinations means that the country is set for an “easier” and safe exit from lockdown. The Health Secretary spoke to BBC Breakfast, voicing his optimism about the UK’s vaccination programme and what it means for the relaxation of lockdown measures. The Health Secretary’s comments reflect this success but come after Boris Johnson’s press conference yesterday, in which the Prime Minister said that people would have to be “patient” about making plans for summer.
11th Feb 2021 - Cambridgeshire Live

Why have almost half EU countries restricted use of the Astrazeneca vaccine?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended the rollout of Astrazeneca’s Covid vaccine for use in all age groups, after a slew of European countries slapped limitations on the jab’s distribution. WHO officials said a “preponderance of evidence weighed in favour of not constraining the vaccine for certain age groups”, and refused to recommend an upper age limit for the drug. But almost half of all EU countries have now applied age restrictions to the rollout of the Astrazeneca jab, despite it receiving official approval for all over-18s by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) last month.
11th Feb 2021 - City A.M.

Hunt for the 2million unvaccinated Britons as Boris Johnson urges vulnerable people to come forward

Ministers are hunting for the final two million vulnerable Britons who have not yet come forward for their Covid vaccine, warning that having large numbers of unprotected people could delay the easing of lockdown. The Government has made it its mission to inoculate the 15million Brits most at risk of dying from the coronavirus by Monday, which includes everyone over 70, care home residents, their carers and frontline NHS staff, as well as patients classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, such as those with terminal illnesses. But while 13 million in the most vulnerable categories have had the jab, including 90 per cent of the over-70s and care home residents, the Prime Minister has warned there is still a group numbering roughly twice the population of Birmingham who had yet to receive one.
11th Feb 2021 - Daily Mail

Spain’s regions favor higher age limit for AstraZeneca vaccine

Following the Spanish government’s decision that the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine will only be administered to people between the ages of 18 and 55, several regional leaders said they would seek to raise that threshold to 65. Andalusian premier Juan Manuel Moreno and the deputy premier of the Madrid region, Ignacio Aguado, both said they would make this request at the Wednesday gathering of central and regional health officials known as the Inter-Territorial Council of the National Healthcare System, which meets every week to discuss coronavirus policy.
11th Feb 2021 - El País

Covid lockdown could wind down in May if UK follows Israel's roadmap

Britain will only begin to emerge from lockdown at the end of May, if it follows the Israeli roadmap for defeating coronavirus. Israel has started implementing a three-stage plan to exit draconian Covid restrictions – similar to the blueprint Boris Johnson is set to lay out on February 22. Israeli officials hope to let non-essential shops, gyms and libraries reopen within a fortnight. But ministers will only give the move the green light on February 23 if 90 per cent of over-50s have been vaccinated and at least a third of the country have had their booster dose. Infection rates must also continue to plummet.
11th Feb 2021 - Daily Mail

Coronavirus in the UK: Prof Devi Sridhar says ‘very open debate’ is needed over easing of lockdown restrictions

Devi Sridhar, professor of global public health at the University of Edinburgh, described how vaccines could be used to enable schools to reopen and people to visit crowded bars and restaurants, but said “the cost is restricted movement internationally”. Asked whether fully stopping transmission of the disease could be done, Profesor Sridhar told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We have seen that it’s possible. “If we look across the world to New Zealand, Australia, East Asian countries, and even the debate’s now happening within Japan and now in Germany, you’re seeing there’s a turn towards saying: ‘Do we want to use our vaccines and the tools we have to actually just stop transmission of the virus and be able to get back our normal life’, which means normal schooling, fully open and crowded restaurants and bars, gyms and fitness studios, live music festivals, large spectator sports events, but the cost is restricted movement internationally?
11th Feb 2021 - The Scotsman

Quarantine hotel chaos as booking website crashes minutes after launching

In the UK, the government's plan to quarantine international arrivals in hotels has today been thrown into chaos as its booking website crashed minutes into its launch, while travellers were not allowed to reserve rooms for the first two days. Arrivals from a 'red list' of 33 countries - who will only be allowed to fly into one of five airports - will be expected pay £1,750 to quarantine for 10 full days (11 nights) in designated hotels from Monday. Those who attempt to evade quarantine by providing false information face a fine of up to £10,000, and up to 10 years in prison, while those who do not book a hotel place before arriving in England face a £4,000 fine. But as the booking website for the scheme was launched, searches at Birmingham, Glasgow and Heathrow airports showed they weren't 'any applicable hotels' for passengers to stay in.
11th Feb 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid-19 vaccination rates follow the money in states with the biggest wealth gaps, analysis shows

Connecticut has the most glaring disparity in vaccination rates between its richest and poorest communities — a difference of 65% — according to a STAT analysis of local-level vaccine data in 10 states with the biggest wealth gaps. Four other states — California, Florida, New Jersey, and Mississippi — also have vaccinated a significantly higher proportion of people in the wealthiest 10% of counties. The discrepancies vary: In California, 156 shots have been given to residents in the richest areas for every 100 vaccines in the poorest counties, while in Mississippi, 111 vaccines have been given to residents of the richest counties for every 100 doses in the poorest places. The findings back up, with hard data, anecdotal reports from around the country that wealthy people have been able to gain access to vaccines ahead of low-income people.
11th Feb 2021 - STAT News

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 11th Feb 2021

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Bahrain authorises Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use - Bahrain TV

Bahrain has authorised Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, Bahrain TV’s twitter account said on Wednesday. Bahrain already uses the Pfizer/BioNTech, vaccine, one manufactured by Chinese state-backed pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm, and the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
10th Feb 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: South Africa wants to swap 500,000-dose AstraZeneca order for another vaccine

South Africa wants to swap a 500,000-dose order of the AstraZeneca vaccine for a different treatment. The COVID jabs have yet to arrive in the country but the health minister said he hoped to arrange an exchange, or even sell the treatment on. It comes as scientists advising the World Health Organisation have recommended the use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine in adults of all ages. South African officials have suspended the rollout of the jab in their country after a small trial suggested it may offer less protection against the variant that originated there.
10th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Barack Obama makes direct appeal to Black Americans to get coronavirus vaccine

Former President Barack Obama took to Twitter Tuesday to urge Americans - especially Black Americans - to get the coronavirus vaccine as soon as they are eligible. Mr Obama addressed misinformation about the vaccine, and asked Americans to trust the science behind the drugs. "There is a lot of disinformation out there, but here’s the truth: You should get a Covid vaccine as soon as it's available to you. It could save your life—or a loved one’s," Mr Obama wrote on the tweet. His tweet included a link to a New York Times opinion piece that included 60 Black health experts warning Americans about vaccine disinformation and the importance of the drugs in the fight against the coronavirus.
10th Feb 2021 - The Independent

NHS plans for annual coronavirus vaccinations

The NHS is planning a mass campaign of booster jabs against new variants of coronavirus as early as the autumn, in what the vaccines minister suggested would become an annual effort to prevent Covid-19 as the virus keeps mutating. High-street pharmacists and retired doctors who were not enlisted in the first phase of the vaccination programme could be involved in the effort to protect the UK against new strains, according to people familiar with the logistics. Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines minister, told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that the government was expecting annual inoculations to take place every autumn in much the same way as flu prevention, adding: “Where you look at what variant of virus is spreading around the world, you rapidly produce a variant of vaccine, and then begin to vaccinate and protect the nation.”
10th Feb 2021 - Financial Times

European Union admits errors in coronavirus vaccine rollout, 'deeply regrets' decision on export curbs

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has acknowledged failings in the EU's approval and rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. She was speaking to MEPs in the European Parliament following criticism of the slow rollout of vaccines and a plan to curb exports that initially sought to set up a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, causing an outcry in London and Dublin. "And yet it is a fact that we are not today where we want to be in the fight against the virus," she said. "We were late with the approval. We were too optimistic on mass production. And perhaps we were also too certain that the orders would actually be delivered on time."
10th Feb 2021 - ABC.Net.au

Nearly a third of US adults say they definitely or probably will not get a COVID-19 vaccine

Nearly one-third of U.S. adults say they are not likely to get a coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available to them, a new poll suggests. Conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, the report found that 67 percent of Americans plan to get vaccine or have already done so. However, 15 percent are certain they will not get the jab and 17 percent said they probably will not. Many expressed doubts about the vaccine's safety and effectiveness, suggesting that substantial skepticism persists more than a month and a half into the U.S. vaccination drive that has encountered few side effects.
10th Feb 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid-19: Robin Swann says NI must tread carefully to end lockdown

NI must "tread carefully" when it comes to easing the coronavirus lockdown and some restrictions may remain in place long term, Robin Swann has said. The health minister said that despite progress with vaccinations, serious uncertainties remain about the future. His comments came amid warnings from health officials that some restrictions could remain in place until next year. "If we want a better spring and summer, we need to make the utmost effort now," added Mr Swann. Northern Ireland re-entered lockdown on 26 December, as hospitals faced severe pressures in managing a third wave of the virus.
10th Feb 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19: Boris Johnson says 'we'll have to get used to idea' of autumn booster jabs

The prime minister has raised the prospect of people getting a coronavirus vaccine "booster" jab in the autumn. Boris Johnson said the move would likely be required as the UK battles the emergence of new variants of COVID-19. "I think we're going to have to get used to the idea of vaccinating and then revaccinating in the autumn, as we come to face these new variants," he told the Commons during PMQs. Mr Johnson said a deal with pharmaceutical firm CureVac for 50 million doses would help in developing vaccines to respond "at scale to new variants of the virus".
10th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19: 10-year jail term for travel lies defended

In Britain, a maximum 10-year jail term for lying about recent travel history has been defended by the government. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the British public "would expect pretty strong action" and the maximum sentence reflects the seriousness of the crime. It was criticised by former Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption who said lower tariffs exist for sex offences. From Monday, people arriving in England from "red list" countries must isolate for 10 days in hotels, costing £1,750. It follows concerns that existing vaccines being rolled out in the UK may struggle to control new virus variants identified around the world.
10th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Don’t book summer holidays until lockdown eases, UK minister warns

The travel industry has criticised the UK government after ministers warned it was too soon for Britons to book holidays at home or abroad. Grant Shapps, transport secretary, said on Wednesday that people should not book holidays internationally or domestically until there was a clearer plan for exiting lockdown, due to be announced by prime minister Boris Johnson later in February. Britons should “do nothing at this stage,” he said, adding that under current lockdown restricitons, anyone in the UK is currently banned from leaving the country for a holiday.
10th Feb 2021 - The Financial Times

Schools are safe to reopen next month if rest of country remains locked down, say scientists

A “cautious” reopening of schools from March 8 can be done without sparking another wave of Covid-19, researchers said today. The findings raise hope that Boris Johnson will be able to proceed with an easing of the lockdown from next month. The Prime Minister is due to set out his roadmap on February 22, with the reopening of schools said to be a priority. Experts from University College London, Oxford university and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine say there is “tentative evidence” that it will be safe to start reopening schools, with the best option being to start with primary schools and secondary pupils in exam years.
10th Feb 2021 - Evening Standard

Poor support for self-isolation undermines the UK's Covid vaccination effort

The UK currently has no plan to eliminate coronavirus from our shores. Lockdown will minimise contacts and protect the NHS. Rapid distribution of vaccines will protect the vulnerable, until all adults receive the vaccine in the longer term. Then we can treat the virus like seasonal flu, with booster doses to protect against new variants. At Monday’s press briefing, the deputy chief medical officer for England, Jonathan Van-Tam, confirmed as much. So the national strategy has not changed. In early February 2020, UK advisers on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), against World Health Organization advice, took the view that coronavirus, like influenza, could not be stopped. Ignoring UK coronavirus experts and effective country responses in Asia, they followed the rulebook for pandemic influenza.
10th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

'The best shield': Peru launches inoculation drive with Sinopharm vaccine

Peru launched its COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Tuesday with newly arrived doses of China’s Sinopharm vaccine, as the South American country struggles to control a fierce second wave of infections that has forced a lockdown in the capital, Lima. Peruvian President Francisco Sagasti was vaccinated later in the day and urged vaccine skeptics to get inoculated. A survey by Ipsos Peru last month showed 48% of Peruvians would refuse to be vaccinated, citing fears of side effects.
10th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Britons should not book holidays at home or abroad - minister

British people should not book a holiday domestically or abroad until more is known about the success of Britain’s COVID-19 vaccination programme, transport minister Grant Shapps said on Wednesday. Under new border restrictions, people arriving from countries where coronavirus variants are spreading will have to pay for 10 days of quarantine in hotels. Anyone who breaks the rules could face a heavy fine or a 10-year jail term. Addressing the “shrinking chance” that anyone was considering booking a holiday, Shapps said it would be the wrong thing to do as going on holiday is illegal under current restrictions, he said.
10th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Cambodia launches COVID-19 vaccinations with shots for PM's sons, ministers

Cambodia launched its coronavirus inoculation drive on Wednesday, using 600,000 vaccine doses donated by China, with the sons of long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen and government ministers among the first recipients. The Southeast Asian nation of about 16 million has managed to limit the spread of the disease, reporting just 478 infections and no deaths, although a rare cluster of cases emerged in November. Hun Sen had vowed to take the first dose, but later said that at 68 he was above the age to get the vaccine, made by Sinopharm. His sons and the justice and environment ministers were among the first to get it instead.
10th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Japan to discard millions of Pfizer vaccine doses because it has wrong syringes

Millions of people in Japan will not receive Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine as planned due to a shortage of specialist syringes – an oversight that could frustrate the country’s inoculation programme. Standard syringes in use in Japan are unable to extract the sixth and final dose from each vial manufactured by the US drugmaker, according to the health minister, Norihisa Tamura. Japan has secured 144m shots of the Pfizer vaccine – enough for 72 million people – on the assumption that each vial contained six doses.
10th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

Do the math: Vaccines alone won’t get us out of this pandemic

As Covid-19 vaccines are being rolled out across the U.S., Americans seem to be heaving a collective sigh of relief. Yes, it will take months to get the vaccine to everyone. Yes, there were tremendous gaps in the Trump administration’s plans to distribute the vaccines, including promising doses that didn’t exist. But it seems as if there is light at the end of the tunnel. As long as we maintain social distancing, keep wearing masks, and washing our hands, it feels to many as though we can hold on until we get vaccinated. I’m sorry to be writing the words that follow, but here they are: We can’t vaccinate our way out of this pandemic. And the myopic focus on achieving herd immunity through mass vaccination may even make it tougher for America — and the world — to defeat Covid-19.
10th Feb 2021 - STAT News

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 10th Feb 2021

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Near complete uptake of Covid vaccine among people aged 75-79

Nearly 96% of people aged 75-79 have had their Covid-19 vaccine in the UK, the health secretary announced today. In a Covid update to the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon, where he announced tough new border measures to control variants, Mr Hancock revealed the uptake
9th Feb 2021 - Pulse

Uber and Walgreens team up to offer free rides and access to the COVID-19 vaccine for underserved communities

Uber and Walgreens are teaming up to distribute the vaccine to underserved communities by offering free rides and education to the communities who haven't received their share of doses, the companies said in a joint statement on Tuesday. As COVID-19 vaccines become widely available at retail pharmacies across the country starting February 11, the two companies partnered up to help "drive equitable access" to the shots as health organizations point to a disparity in who is receiving the majority of doses. Walgreens President John Standley said the companies are each using their expertise to "take bold action to address vaccine access and hesitancy among those hit hardest by the pandemic."
9th Feb 2021 - MSN.com

COVID-19: Ignore 'scary headlines' about South Africa variant and get coronavirus vaccine, says Professor Jonathan Van-Tam

Britons "should not be concerned" that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine could be less effective against the South African coronavirus variant, a government adviser has said. Professor Jonathan Van-Tam explained case numbers of the variant in the UK are "very small" and it is not likely to become more dominant than the strain first found in Kent. He was seeking to calm people's fears after South Africa halted the rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
9th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Ethiopia says it has secured 9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines till April

Ethiopia has secured nine million doses of COVID-19 vaccines up until April and hopes to inoculate at least a fifth of its 110 million people by the end of the year, the health minister said on Tuesday. “For now up to April we have been allocated close to nine million doses,” Lia Tadesse said. “Within this year we want to make sure we get at least 20% of the population,” she told Reuters.
9th Feb 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Over-70s can now book first coronavirus jab and don't need to wait for contact from NHS

People aged 70 and over in England who have not yet had a coronavirus vaccine are being urged to book an appointment with the NHS to get a jab. Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the policy is changing to make sure no-one falls through the cracks as the drive to inoculate against COVID-19 continues. It comes as the race intensifies for all those in the top four priority groups to get their first jab by 15 February before attention turns to rolling the vaccine out to the other five priority groups, reaching all over-50s by May.
9th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19: Travellers face £1,750 cost for England quarantine hotels

Travellers having to stay in quarantine hotels in England will be charged £1,750 for their stay, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced. The measures, which come into force on Monday, apply to UK and Irish residents returning from 33 red list countries. Those who fail to quarantine in a government-sanctioned hotel for 10 days face fines of up to £10,000. Meanwhile, all travellers arriving into Scotland from abroad by air will have to go into quarantine hotels.
9th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Schools could open if rest of lockdown stays, say researchers

Reopening UK schools to all pupils in early March is feasible, as long as other lockdown measures continue, say researchers who have modelled the likely impact on infection numbers. The London and Oxford team believes coronavirus cases could be kept in check while letting pupils have face-to-face lessons in the classroom. The least risky scenario would be to open primaries and only exam-critical years in secondary schools. It could keep R below 1, says the team. That would mean spread of the disease should continue to shrink, rather than grow.
9th Feb 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19: All travellers arriving in UK to have to pay for £100 COVID tests while in quarantine

All travellers arriving in the UK are to face mandatory coronavirus tests - paid for by themselves - from next week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock is poised to announce to MPs. In a Commons statement, Mr Hancock will say that from next Monday, 15 February, all passengers arriving in the UK will be required to take a PCR test, which currently cost around £100 per test, on days two and eight after they arrive. The new rules, which will cause further dismay in the already-reeling airline industry, will apply to arrivals not just from 33 so-called Red Zone countries heading into hotel quarantine, but also those isolating at home.
9th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Spain’s government pinning hopes on a vaccination passport to help kick-start ailing tourism sector

The Spanish government is pinning its hopes on 2021 being a year of recovery. That said, the administration is well aware that one of the mainstays of the country’s economy, tourism, will struggle to return to some kind of normality this year given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. To deal with this issue, the coalition government – made up of the Socialist Party (PSOE) and junior partner Unidas Podemos – is looking for formulas to speed up the return to levels of tourism that existed pre-Covid. One of the key factors being considered is the creation of a Europe-wide vaccination card that could help bring back foreign tourists.
9th Feb 2021 - El Pais

Government adviser says people who 'society values most' could be first in line for Covid vaccines when over-50s are jabbed amid calls for teachers and police officers to be bumped up the queue

A Government adviser has said people who 'society values most' could be first in line for Covid vaccines in the coming weeks amid calls for teachers and police officers to be bumped up the queue when over-50s have been jabbed. The UK's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) — which advises ministers on the priority order — is currently in talks over who should receive the jab after the first nine groups. JCVI member Professor Adam Finn, from the University of Bristol, claimed plans will be set out by the end of February or early March. By then, the UK is on track to have dished out up to 25million doses
9th Feb 2021 - Daily Mail

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 9th Feb 2021

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Cambodia gets first COVID-19 vaccine from key ally China

Cambodia on Sunday received its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine, a donation of 600,000 doses from China the country’s biggest ally. Prime Minister Hun Sen his senior Cabinet members and Chinese Ambassador Wang Wentian were at Phnom Penh International Airport for a reception ceremony for the Sinopharm vaccine carried by a Chinese Air Force flight. Hun Sen had announced that he would be the first person to be vaccinated, but backtracked last week, saying the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine was effective only for people aged between 18 and 59, while he is 68. He said Sunday at the airport that he would urge younger members of his family, as well as top officials and generals under 60, to get vaccinated Wednesday as an example to the public
8th Feb 2021 - The Independent

COVID-19: Undocumented migrants 'likely to remain fearful' despite govt's vaccine amnesty offer

The government's "vaccine amnesty" has been criticised for not giving enough assurance to those who are too scared to access healthcare in the UK. The Home Office has promised no action will be taken against people in the UK illegally if they register with a GP to be vaccinated. It is part of a government effort to get as many people as possible vaccinated against the virus, which has already caused the deaths of more than 112,000 people in the UK.
8th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Confusion and chaos: Inside the vaccine rollout in D.C., Maryland and Virginia

The first precious boxloads of the frozen elixir arrived in December, bearing great promise for curtailing the pandemic that has paralyzed the region and the world. Nurses and firefighters got injections on live TV. Some of them cried. Watching at home, many hopeful people cried, too. But in the weeks that followed, that hope was mixed with frustration, then anger, as it became clear that getting the potentially lifesaving vaccine would not be easy — not nationally, and not in the District, Maryland and Virginia.
8th Feb 2021 - The Washington Post

Covid: BAME communities urged to have coronavirus vaccine

"I'd shout it from the street - please have your vaccinations, you don't know what we're going through." This is a plea from Shamim Abbas of Newport, who lost husband Ghulam and brother-in-law Raza to Covid. The brothers died within hours of each other last April. Concerns have been growing in recent weeks about an apparent hesitancy from some people in black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) communities to have the Covid-19 vaccine. And even though the virus has had such a devastating impact on Shamim's family, some relatives have been unsure about having it.
8th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Quebec, Nova Scotia and Alberta begin relaxing COVID-19 restrictions

Several provinces began relaxing COVID-19 restrictions on Monday amid what Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam described as “hopeful signs of declining COVID-19 activity.“ Loosened rules went into effect in Quebec, Alberta and Nova Scotia, while the Ontario government announced that restrictions in some parts of the province would start being eased on Wednesday. The number of new cases reported daily across the country is continuing to trend down, Tam said in a statement. But she warned that these trends could reverse quickly and that new variants “could rapidly accelerate transmission of COVID-19 in Canada.”
8th Feb 2021 - The Star

Of course Covid-19 vaccination certificates are discriminatory – that’s the whole point

Boris Johnson’s statement, as quoted by Nadhim Zahawi (News, 7 February), that this government won’t be issuing Covid-19 vaccination certificates because it is discriminatory and “that’s not how we do things in the UK, we do them by consent”, is as fatuous as one would expect from him. I hereby publicly voice my consent to receiving a Covid-19 vaccination certificate. I own a yellow fever vaccination certificate, and have carried a variety of other vaccination certificates for travel purposes throughout my life. They do, indeed, discriminate between those who have had vaccinations and those who haven’t. That is precisely their public health purpose where international travel is concerned.
8th Feb 2021 - The Independent

Covid-19: Minister urges vaccine confidence, as South Africa stops AstraZeneca jab rollout

The public should have "confidence" in the UK vaccination programme, the vaccines minister says - despite a study showing the AstraZeneca jab may be less effective against the South African variant of Covid-19. The study involved about 2,000 people, with an average age of 31. It showed the jab offered "minimal protection" against mild and moderate disease from the South African variant. AstraZeneca said it did not know whether the jab would stop severe illness, because the study was predominantly on younger people. But the company said it could still be effective. Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi says the jabs "appear to work well" against the variants currently dominant in the UK. On Sunday, he told the BBC that a booster in the autumn, and annual vaccines, could be needed to combat variants.
8th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Covid: Boris Johnson 'very confident' in vaccines being used in UK

Boris Johnson says he is "very confident" in the Covid vaccines being used in the UK, amid concerns about the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab's effectiveness against the South Africa variant. The vaccines are effective in delivering a high degree of protection against serious illness, the PM said. A small study found the Oxford jab gave "minimal protection" against mild disease from the South Africa variant. But scientists are confident it will protect against serious disease. Some 147 cases of the South Africa variant have been found in the UK. However, the Oxford vaccine has shown to provide good protection against the so-called Kent variant, which remains the dominant strain in the UK.
8th Feb 2021 - BBC News

UK tries to allay vaccine concern

The Biden administration’s recent investment of $230 million to expedite rapid production of the Ellume home Covid-19 test represents an audacious step forward in mitigating the pandemic. Some experts have criticized it as a “waste of money” because this kit costs more than other alternatives and because of the timing of the investment. I believe the test is worth the extra cost, due to its connectivity and the types of research it enables, though all of these tests need to be evaluated against the other options. Throughout the pandemic, public health officials have struggled to demonstrate the value and importance of measures such as mask wearing, social distancing, and vaccines. The ultimate result has been public skepticism, poor uptake of helpful interventions, and even outrageous conspiracy theories. We must learn from these missteps and design interventions that can be measured quickly and precisely.
8th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Covid testing expanded to more workplaces in England

Workplace Covid testing is being offered to more companies in England, for staff who cannot work from home during lockdown, the government says. Businesses with more than 50 employees are now able to access lateral flow tests, which can produce results in less than 30 minutes. Previously only firms with more than 250 staff qualified for testing. Health Secretary Matt Hancock urged businesses and employees to take up the offer to "stop this virus spreading". "When you consider that around one in three people have the virus without symptoms and could potentially infect people without even knowing it, it becomes clear why focusing testing on those without symptoms is so essential," he said, adding that firms should regularly test staff.
8th Feb 2021 - BBC News

What might the South African variant mean for plans to ease lockdown restrictions?

What might the South African variant mean for plans to ease the lockdown? It’s probably too early to say. It’s important to remember that, according to the latest data, only 147 cases of the South African variant (B.1.351) have been found in the UK, according to health minister Ed Argar this morning. This is an increase of 42 on the 105announced a week ago by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, which sparked the “surge testing” in nine locations across England, including West Ealing and Hanwell –where Mayor Sadiq Khan visited today - Tottenham Hale and Pollards Hill in Merton.
8th Feb 2021 - Evening Standard

Revisiting Ischgl: Austria eases coronavirus lockdown, annoys Bavaria

Austria is easing its coronavirus lockdown after six weeks, despite stubbornly high infection numbers. While the government is keeping bars, restaurants and hotels closed and a nighttime curfew in place, schools, hairdressers and museums reopened on Monday under strict hygiene rules as testing capacities were expanded. The move came amid growing pressure on Vienna to lift at least some restrictions, with data showing that Austria's economic downturn is particularly severe. In the fourth quarter of 2020, the economy contracted by 4.3 percent over the previous quarter amid slumping tourism, the worst performance of any EU country for that period.
8th Feb 2021 - POLITICO.eu

More testing as minister rules out vaccine passport

Almost one in four adults in the UK have had their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, Matt Hancock has said. The Health Secretary speaking at a Downing Street press briefing after new data showed that coronavirus deaths in the UK had hit a six-week low. A further 333 fatalities and 14,104 infections were reported on Monday. People over-70 who have not yet received their first dose have been asked to contact the NHS to arrange their jab.
8th Feb 2021 - Evening Standard

Israel begins exit from third virus lockdown

Israeli barbershops and some other businesses reopened Sunday as the country began easing its third coronavirus lockdown Sunday amid an aggressive vaccination campaign. Early Friday, the government announced it was lifting some restrictions imposed since December, when the country saw a rise in Covid-19 infections. Jerusalem barber Eli Aroas was among those re-opening on Sunday morning, the start of the working week.
8th Feb 2021 - FRANCE 24

I've been in Covid quarantine in South Korea – there's a lot Britain can learn

The UK government’s decision to require overseas arrivals from “high risk” countries to self-isolate in hotels has triggered a debate on the effectiveness of enforced quarantine in government-run facilities. Some have balked at its cost and restrictive character while others have dismissed the measure as half-baked and too little, too late. My experience in a quarantine facility for Covid-19 patients in South Korea might be illuminating in this regard. Last November, I flew into South Korea to spend a holiday with my family. To sum up the complicated arrival process at Seoul: I was required to download a Covid-19 tracking app, had my temperature checked and was whisked away by pre-approved taxis to the public clinic nearest to my home to take a PCR test. I was then required to self-isolate for more than two weeks at home.
8th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

What is needed to bring back freedom of movement

As COVID-19 spread around the world, countries fought against the invisible threat by restricting people’s movements — from entry bans and strict lockdowns to softer lockdowns like Japan’s state of emergency. Each government took a completely different approach in how to restrict the freedom of movement domestically and internationally. But in the end, how should governments implement effective border control measures to restore the freedom of movement? China was initially reluctant to disclose the actual situation of the COVID-19 outbreak within the country, which allowed many people to continue to travel freely across national borders. But after China imposed a lockdown in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, Beijing took extremely strict measures to curb the spread of the virus, almost ignoring the freedom of movement of its own citizens and mobilizing every possible technology. Its strong enforcement capabilities stunned many people around the globe.
8th Feb 2021 - The Japan Times

Annual vaccines and autumn ‘booster’ could be required to combat new Covid variants, minister says

The minister responsible for the coronavirus vaccine rollout has suggested annual jabs or a “booster in the autumn” could be required to combat new variants of the disease. Nadhim Zahawi’s remarks came as official government data showed on Sunday that over 12 million people in Britain had now received a first dose of a Covid vaccine — putting the government on course to reach the 15 February target of inoculating 15 million in high priority groups. As Boris Johnson prepares to tell the nation how the government will begin unwinding the lockdown in two weeks, Mr Zahawi insisted he was confident the NHS would be able to reach the new “tough” target of immunising all those over the age of 50 by May.
8th Feb 2021 - The Independent

Western Australia to make masks mandatory for high school students and teachers in rigorous post-lockdown ruling - after recording another day of ZERO cases

Masks will be mandatory for teachers and senior school students in the Perth, Peel and South West regions. Western Australia recorded no new cases of Covid on Sunday, both within the community and in hotel quarantine.
8th Feb 2021 - Daily Mail

WA moves to ban coronavirus hotel quarantine security guards from taking second jobs

The WA Government has moved to restrict hotel quarantine security staff to one job only, a week after the state was plunged into lockdown when a guard tested positive to COVID-19. WA Premier Mark McGowan said letters stipulating the change in contract had gone out to the four security companies that provided staff to the nine quarantine hotels.
8th Feb 2021 - ABC News

US administers more than 4 million Covid vaccines to most vulnerable: ‘We are on the path to protection’

The United States has administered more than 4.7 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to 3.8 million of its most vulnerable people in an effort to decrease hospitalisations and deaths caused by the novel virus. "Those who are dying in large numbers last year are now on the path to protection," said Andy Slavitt, Joe Biden's senior coronavirus adviser, during the White House Covid response team press briefing on Monday. People living in long-term care facilities, alongside healthcare workers, were prioritised above all others in the country to receive a Covid-19 vaccine. This was after the country witnessed deadly spreads of the novel virus within these facilities last year.
8th Feb 2021 - The Independent

Travellers to UK set to be tested after arrival

Travellers entering the UK are set to be tested for coronavirus a few days after they arrive. The new, expanded testing regime will be announced shortly. Enhancing the testing regime "to cover all arrivals while they isolate" would add another level of protection, the Department of Health said. The move is designed to help to track any new cases which might be brought into the country and make it easier to detect new variants. It is in addition to the current rules which say travellers arriving in the UK, whether by boat, train or plane, must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test to be allowed entry. The test must be taken in the 72 hours before travelling, and anyone arriving without one faces a fine of up to £500.
8th Feb 2021 - BBC News

4 in 5 Americans ready for COVID-19 shot, but vaccine messages remain key, analysis finds

Has the vaccine hesitancy tide turned into a wave of vaccine excitement? Possibly. A new W2O Group study using search and social data found that 80% of Americans are likely willing to get vaccinated. However, vaccine makers still have their work cut out for them—especially among certain groups of people—and messaging will be critical, W2O Chief Data Officer Seth Duncan said. Out of four groups of people established for the study, many of those who aren’t inclined to get vaccinated are politically right-leaning. Among the group—defined as those who follow at least three right-leaning politicians, journalists or news outlets—only 41% show a willingness to get a vaccine. That compares with 95% of center left, 93% of the educated left and 91% of the apolitical groups who are ready to get vaccinated.
8th Feb 2021 - FiercePharma

A digital option is the right investment for at-home Covid-19 testing

The Biden administration’s recent investment of $230 million to expedite rapid production of the Ellume home Covid-19 test represents an audacious step forward in mitigating the pandemic. Some experts have criticized it as a “waste of money” because this kit costs more than other alternatives and because of the timing of the investment. I believe the test is worth the extra cost, due to its connectivity and the types of research it enables, though all of these tests need to be evaluated against the other options. Throughout the pandemic, public health officials have struggled to demonstrate the value and importance of measures such as mask wearing, social distancing, and vaccines. The ultimate result has been public skepticism, poor uptake of helpful interventions, and even outrageous conspiracy theories. We must learn from these missteps and design interventions that can be measured quickly and precisely.
8th Feb 2021 - Stat News

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 8th Feb 2021

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Covid-19 Vaccine Promises Fall Short for Many Doctors, Elderly in Europe

Eugenio Del Rio, a 77-year-old writer, leaves his Madrid apartment only to shop for food and take an occasional stroll as he awaits his turn to get the coronavirus vaccine. The wait is getting longer and longer. So long, in fact, that he has come to realize a book he is writing, about the cultural factors that pushed some youth to oppose the Franco regime, might be published before the country is through the pandemic. “I hope to be vaccinated in April, but even if that happens it will be ages before we return to normal life because so many people will still need to be vaccinated,” said Mr. Del Rio.
7th Feb 2021 - Wall Street Journal

UK eyes COVID-19 booster in autumn, then annual vaccinations, says minister

A COVID-19 booster in the autumn and then annual vaccinations are very probable, Britain’s vaccine deployment minister said on Sunday as countries race to administer injections in the face of new variants. Britain has already injected over 12 million first doses of COVID-19 vaccines and is on track to meet a target to vaccinate everyone in the top most vulnerable groups by mid-February. Among coronavirus variants currently most concerning for scientists and public health experts are the so-called British, South African and Brazilian variants, which appear to spread more swiftly than others.
7th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Cambodia gets first COVID-19 vaccine from key ally China

Cambodia on Sunday received its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine, a donation of 600,000 doses from China, the country’s biggest ally. Prime Minister Hun Sen, his senior Cabinet members and Chinese Ambassador Wang Wentian were at Phnom Penh International Airport for a reception ceremony for the Sinopharm vaccine carried by a Chinese Air Force flight. Hun Sen had announced that he would be the first person to be vaccinated, but backtracked last week, saying the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine was effective only for people aged between 18 and 59, while he is 68. He said Sunday at the airport that he would urge younger members of his family, as well as top officials and generals under 60, to get vaccinated Wednesday as an example to the public.
7th Feb 2021 - ABC News

COVID-19: Rapid testing to be offered to workplaces with more than 50 employees

Rapid tests will be offered to workplaces with more than 50 employees in an effort to control the COVID-19 pandemic. The lateral flow tests can produce results in less then 30 minutes but were previously only available to firms with more than 250 staff. Officials said the move is an effort to "normalise" testing in the workplace and ensure the safety of those who cannot work from home.
7th Feb 2021 - Sky News

The U.S. needs a National Vaccine Day

Vaccines don’t save lives. Vaccinations do. That is an essential lesson we have learned from working at the forefront of vaccine development and health communication. One of us (S.P.) helped develop vaccines for rubella, rabies, and rotavirus, that have played an essential role in reducing preventable childhood deaths in the United States and around the world — but only because of public health campaigns that built trust in vaccination and made vaccines easily accessible to people from every walk of life. Now along comes Covid-19, a highly infectious disease caused by a novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV2, that humans had never previously encountered. In an amazing feat of science and speed, we now have vaccines against this virus that are proving to be highly effective.
7th Feb 2021 - Stat News

South Africa pauses rollout of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

South Africa has stopped the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after data emerged that showed it provided minimal protection against the South Africa coronavirus variant, which is currently dominant in the country. Reuters reports that Health Minister Zweli Mkhize made the announcement on Sunday following disappointing results from a trial conducted by the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. The outlet reports that the South African government had planned to roll out doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Monday but will now offer the vaccines developed by Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer instead
7th Feb 2021 - The Hill

South Africa Says AstraZeneca's Covid-19 Vaccine is Not Effective at Stopping Variant

South Africa halted use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford coronavirus vaccine on Sunday after evidence emerged that the vaccine did not protect clinical-trial participants from mild or moderate illness caused by the more contagious virus variant that was first seen there. The findings were a devastating blow to the country’s efforts to combat the pandemic. Scientists in South Africa said on Sunday that a similar problem held among people who had been infected by earlier versions of the coronavirus: the immunity they acquired naturally did not appear to protect them from mild or moderate cases when reinfected by the variant, known as B.1.351.
7th Feb 2021 - The New York Times

Coronavirus in Scotland: Restrictions will not be scrapped when vaccine rollout complete, says Deputy First Minister

Covid-19 restrictions will not be scrapped in Scotland once the vaccination programme is complete, Deputy First Minister John Swinney has said.
6th Feb 2021 - The Scotsman

NFL Offers All 30 Stadiums For Use As Coronavirus Vaccine Sites

Every NFL team will offer their stadium as a possible mass vaccination site to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a letter to President Biden. The move would expand an effort that currently includes seven teams. Each team "will make its stadium available for mass vaccinations of the general public in coordination with local, state, and federal health officials," Goodell wrote in the letter, which was sent on Thursday. The effort would be helped, he said, by the experience the teams already have with transforming parts of their facilities into coronavirus testing sites. The NFL has 32 teams, but the offer comprises 30 stadiums, because pairs of teams share facilities in both New York and Los Angeles.
6th Feb 2021 - NPR

Scotland hits coronavirus vaccine milestone as more than three quarters of a million receive first dose

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has hailed the "enormous efforts" of coronavirus vaccinators as the number of Scots to have been given their first injection passed three quarters of a million. Figures published by the Scottish Government showed that by Saturday morning, 786,427 people had now had their first jab - with 10,332 having received both doses of the vaccine. The figures were revealed as it was announced there had been a further 48 deaths among those who had tested positive for the virus in the past 28 days - taking the total number of deaths under this measurement to 6,431. In addition, a further 895 cases of Covid-19 have been reported in the past 24 hours - 5.9% of all those tested.
6th Feb 2021 - Daily Record

Coronavirus: Vaccine chief 'optimistic' about over-50s May target

The UK can meet the target of vaccinating all over-50s by May, the chairman of the vaccines taskforce has said, adding he is "very optimistic". Dr Clive Dix told the BBC the taskforce has met every target set. The UK would be "ahead of the game" in terms of anticipating variants of coronavirus and was making "libraries of future vaccines", he said. He added that the UK would not hoard supplies but would distribute them globally, once the UK target is met. Downing Street has said everyone in the UK aged 50 and over should have been offered a coronavirus vaccine by May.
6th Feb 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19: Still too early to talk about ending coronavirus restrictions amid 'very, very high' infection rates - PM

Boris Johnson says it is still too early to talk about ending coronavirus restrictions, with news reports suggesting pubs might be able to reopen by May. Downing Street has confirmed that it aims to vaccinate those aged over 50 and those aged 16 to 65 who have certain health conditions by May. And some MPs have said there would be little reason to keep restrictions once those in the nine priority groups have been vaccinated.
6th Feb 2021 - Sky News

More COVID-19 vaccine megasites open nationwide, including at Yankee Stadium

More COVID-19 vaccination megasites opened this week across the country, including at a casino in Missouri and at Yankee Stadium in New York — where a long line formed as it opened on Friday to local residents. Legendary MLB player Mariano Rivera was there, encouraging people to get their shots. "Now, it's time to support you and let you know that it's okay to be vaccinated," Rivera said. More sites are on the way. In California, Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara County will become the state's biggest vaccination site when it opens early next week, according to the county and the San Francisco 49ers. The goal is to be able to vaccinate as many as 15,000 people there a day.
6th Feb 2021 - CBS News

Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron discuss Covid-19 collaboration

Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron have discussed co-operation in the global fight against Covid-19 in their first conversation since a vaccine row. No 10 said the two leaders agreed that collaboration between governments was vital in defeating coronavirus. They also discussed cross-channel relations amid continuing tensions over the UK's post-Brexit arrangements. The EU withdrew its threat last week to restrict vaccine exports to Northern Ireland after an outcry in the UK. But the dispute, prompted by concerns on the continent over the slow rollout of vaccinations, intensified calls for the post-Brexit rules governing trade between Britain and Northern Ireland to be reviewed.
6th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Gradually easing lockdown and mass vaccination ‘could still lead to 130,000 deaths’

Easing lockdown slowly and ‘ramped up vaccinations’ would still lead to over 130,000 deaths between now and next June, scientists have warned. A report to the Government’s advisers claims vaccines are ‘insufficient’ to allow the UK to go back to normality ‘within the year’. Academics who authored the paper, including Professor Neil Ferguson whose modelling led to the original lockdown, said 3 million doses a week were considered ‘critical to avoid exceeding national hospital capacity after the current wave’. But even if this target was met and restrictions were lifted gradually, the dossier predicts 130,800 people could die between now and June 2022.
6th Feb 2021 - Metro

Slovenia eases anti-coronavirus restrictions after criticism

Slovenia will reopen ski resorts and some shops and has eased restrictions on people entering the country imposed to help reduce the rate of COVID-19 infections, after coming under pressure over its handling of the pandemic. From Saturday, daily migrant workers and academics entering Slovenia from European Union countries that have lower 14-day incidences of COVID-19 will not have to present negative coronavirus tests, or be quarantined, the government said. Also, ski resorts as well as shops and service businesses not larger that 400 square meters will be allowed to reopen next week, with weekly mandatory testing of employees, Economy Minister Zdravko Pocivalsek said.
6th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Why aren't covid-19 vaccines being manufactured in standard prefilled syringes?

Prefilled syringes are the safest and standard recommended delivery device for most modern vaccines—so why are covid-19 vaccines being packaged in glass vials in the middle of a global glass shortage? Jane Feinmann reports By 24 January 2021 more than 5.8 million people in the UK had been given their first dose of covid-19 vaccine. The achievement is all the more remarkable given the tough and time consuming safety precautions that must be taken. For the AstraZeneca injection, healthcare professionals, working alone or in pairs, take “full responsibility” for following a lengthy, itemised standard operating procedure, which was published for NHS use only by the Specialist Pharmacy Service on 7 January 2021.
6th Feb 2021 - The BMJ

Covid: All over-50s in UK to be offered vaccine by May

All adults aged 50 and over should have been offered a coronavirus vaccine by May, Downing Street has confirmed. Previously ministers had said it was their "ambition" to vaccinate the first nine priority groups by the spring.
5th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Israeli Health Officials Fear Worse COVID Outbreak if Schools Reopen Too Quickly

Senior Israeli official warns that an 'uncontrolled, rapid exit' from the lockdown could bring another spike in an already high rate of COVID19 illness particularly among young people
5th Feb 2021 - Haaretz

Britain to work with Germany's CureVac on vaccines against coronavirus variants

Britain on Friday said it had agreed on a deal with German biotech firm CureVac to work to develop vaccines against coronavirus variants, placing an initial order for 50 million doses in case they are needed. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has cited the possibility of new variants of the coronavirus as one of the biggest risks to the vaccine rollout and hopes that the economy can start to be reopened from lockdown in the spring. The government said both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines being currently rolled out appear to work well against variants currently dominant in Britain.
5th Feb 2021 - Reuters

‘A waste of money’: The home Covid-19 test funded by the Biden administration is too costly and complex, critics say

For months, U.S. public health experts have called on the federal government to approve and fund cheap and fast at-home Covid-19 tests, to help bring the spread of infection under control. But when the Biden administration this week announced a $231.8 million deal to ramp up production of the first fully at-home test, the experts’ response was, to say the least, unenthusiastic. One dismissed it as “a spit in the ocean.” It’s not that home testing with a 15-minute turnaround time isn’t a good idea, they said, it’s just that the rollout of this initial kit is too little and too late, and the test too expensive and complicated, to help extinguish the raging pandemic fire. A number of experts called on the Biden administration to subsidize the home test for consumers, and said the Food and Drug Administration needs to do more to make such tests widely available.
5th Feb 2021 - Stat News

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 5th Feb 2021

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COVID-19 vaccine inequality could cause 'deadly consequences,' experts warn

Around 70% of the total coronavirus vaccine doses administered globally have been in the 50 wealthiest countries compared to only 0.1% administered in the 50 poorest countries, according to analysis by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The IFRC described the disparity as alarming and said it could result in “deadly and devasting” consequences, warning that if large areas across the globe remain unvaccinated, the virus will carry on circulating and mutating. “This is alarming because it is unfair, and because it could prolong or even worsen this terrible pandemic,” Jagan Chapagain, Secretary General of the IFRC, said.
4th Feb 2021 - CNN Philippines

Coronavirus vaccines: More than 250,000 in NI have received Covid jab

More than a quarter-of-a-million people in Northern Ireland have received their first Covid-19 vaccine, Arlene Foster has said. The first minister said 263,735 people have received their first jab, with 25,539 people receiving both. The R - or reproduction - number in the community is now sitting between 0.75 and 0.85. Mrs Foster said it was not the time to "ease up" but "push on" against the virus with lockdown restrictions. She said hospitals and intensive care units were still under significant pressure
4th Feb 2021 - BBC

Outrage as 'people jump queue for a coronavirus vaccine' after being sent NHS link

Non-priority groups including Public Health England workers and friends of NHS staff have been jumping the queue for the coronavirus vaccine jab. Over a hundred members of PHE staff at Porton Down, Wiltshire, have had the treatment, even though they are not in an of the qualifying categories. The director at the facility insisted they were spare doses that would have gone to waste if they had not been used - but would not comment on the total
4th Feb 2021 - Daily Mail

Why Are So Many Health-Care Workers Resisting the Coronavirus Vaccine?

Despite confronting the damage of covid-19 firsthand—and doing work that puts them and their families at high risk—U.S. health-care workers express similar levels of vaccine hesitancy as people in the general population. Recent surveys suggest that, over all, around a third of health-care workers are reluctant to get vaccinated against covid-19. (Around one in five Americans say they probably or definitely won’t get vaccinated; nationwide, hesitancy is more common among Republicans, rural residents, and people of color.) The rates are higher in certain regions, professions, and racial groups. This hesitancy is less outright rejection than cautious skepticism. It’s driven by suspicions about the evidence supporting the new vaccines and about the motives of those endorsing them. The astonishing speed of vaccine development has made science a victim of its own success
4th Feb 2021 - The New Yorker

Iran receives its first batch of foreign coronavirus vaccine

Iran on Thursday received its first batch of foreign-made coronavirus vaccines as the country struggles to stem the worst outbreak of the pandemic in the Middle East. The shipment consists of 500,000 doses of Russian-made Sputnik V vaccines which arrived at Tehran’s Imam Khomeieni International Airport from Moscow, the semi-official Fars news agency reported. Also Iranian state TV quoted Tehran’s ambassador to Russia, Kazem Jalali, as saying that Iran has ordered 5 million doses from Russia. The next batches are to arrive on Feb. 18 and Feb. 28, said Jalali.
4th Feb 2021 - The Independent

COVID-19: Hotels 'kept in the dark' over quarantine plan as further details pushed back to next week

Further details on the plans for quarantine hotels will be released next week - not today as the prime minister had suggested. Boris Johnson announced at a Downing Street news conference on Wednesday that the health secretary would be detailing further rules for travellers arriving in England in a statement to the Commons on Thursday. However, Downing Street issued a statement saying no announcements on the issue will be made today. Ministers have been under fire for failing to come forward with details as to when the scheme will come into effect, a week after it was first announced.
4th Feb 2021 - Sky News

COVAX publishes first interim vaccine distribution forecast

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organization, as co-leads of the COVAX initiative for equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines, alongside key delivery partner UNICEF, are pleased to publish COVAX’s first interim distribution forecast. Building on the publication of the 2021 COVAX global and regional supply forecast, the interim distribution forecast provides information on early projected availability of doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in 1st quarter of 2021 and the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine candidate in first half of the year to COVAX Facility participants.
4th Feb 2021 - MercoPress

COVID-19: MEPs want to ensure developing countries' access to vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines should be produced also in developing countries to overcome the pandemic, development MEPs told Commissioner Urpilainen on Thursday. “Distributing vaccines globally is our exit strategy from the pandemic,” International Partnership Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen told the Development Committee, adding that the Commission will coordinate a “common EU vaccine sharing mechanism”, in which EU countries can donate part of their vaccines through the COVAX program, especially when vaccine production is scaled up. The EU is also seeking to scale up production capacity in developing countries and to contribute to strengthening their regulatory framework in the pharmaceutical field, she said
4th Feb 2021 - EU News

Covid: UK 'past the peak' but levels 'forbiddingly' too high to relax lockdown

It is too soon to imagine the relaxation of lockdown restrictions in England, with infection levels of coronavirus "still forbiddingly high", the prime minister has said, though the UK is thought to be "past the peak". Boris Johnson said the UK's Covid vaccination programme has provided "some signs of hope", with 10 million people having received their first jab, but he warned the NHS is still "under huge pressure". The PM said his plan remains to set out a plan, on February 22, for an exit out of lockdown but the "level of infection is still forbiddingly high for us to imagine relaxation of currently guidelines".
4th Feb 2021 - ITV News

COVID: No special freedoms for the vaccinated in Germany

The German Ethics Council on Thursday spoke out against lifting restrictions for individuals who have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Germany has been in partial lockdown since November. Vaccinations started at the end of December with people over 80 and their carers front of the line. There is currently a shortage of vaccines in Germany, and it will take several months for a majority of people to be immunized and become eligible for the lifting of restrictions. Over the past few weeks tourism agencies, event managers and some politicians had suggested allowing those who have been vaccinated to travel, eat in restaurants, attend concerts and other events which would involve close contact with a high number of other people.
4th Feb 2021 - Deutsche Welle

German health minister open to deconfinement before end of winter

German Health Minister Jens Spahn is in favour of starting to relax coronavirus measures before the end of winter, he said on Thursday. “We can’t stay in this harsh confinement all winter, our society wouldn’t stand it well,” Spahn told regional press group Funke. In addition, “the figures are encouraging, we are seeing a significant downward trend in new infections,” the minister added. However, Spahn did not want to commit to a start of deconfinement from the start of February, whereas the restrictions have been programmed for the moment to last until the 14th of the current month.
4th Feb 2021 - The Brussels Times

North Korea to receive nearly 2 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses in first half of the year

North Korea has requested COVID-19 vaccines and is expected to receive nearly two million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine by the first half of this year, said agencies leading the COVAX vaccine-sharing programme. The COVAX Facility will distribute 1.99 million doses of the vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India, according to the COVAX interim distribution report on Wednesday (Feb 3).
4th Feb 2021 - Channel NewsAsia

Western Australia lifts lockdown as raft of restrictions kick in

Western Australia is preparing to take steps out of its snap five-day lockdown with a raft of restrictions to be lifted at 6pm on Friday. Premier Mark McGowan said the state will forge ahead with lifting its lockdown after a week-long testing blitz uncovered no new cases as of 8pm on Thursday. People in the Perth and Peele areas will be free to leave their homes from tomorrow night, with masks mandatory both indoors and outdoors and on public transport. However, masks will not required during vigorous outdoor exercise. Community sports may also resume.
4th Feb 2021 - MSN.com

Johnson says will set out more on lockdown plans on February 22

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday he hoped to announce more details on Feb. 22 about Britain’s route map out of the COVID-19 lockdown and plans to ease restrictions. “On February the 22nd, we will be setting out in as much detail as we can about where we see the dates, what the timetable could be, the earliest dates by which we want to do what - you remember what we did last year - setting out a route map, we’ll do that again,” he said.
4th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Hungary PM flags easing of lockdown after Easter, economy rebounding in Q2

Hungary’s vaccination drive will accelerate and could potentially enable the country to ease coronavirus restrictions in April after Easter, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Thursday. Nationalist Orban, who will face parliamentary elections in early 2022, is under pressure to reopen the economy. Finance Minister Mihaly Varga said the economy was likely to shrink again in the first quarter but that the second quarter could be a turning point. Hungary has already vaccinated nearly 250,000 people using Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines and, first in the European Union, has signed deals to buy large quantities of Russia’s Sputnik COVID-19 vaccine and Chinese company Sinopharm’s vaccine.
4th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Kaduna, Zipline sign agreement for drone-delivered COVID-19 vaccines

In Nigeria, Kaduna State Government has signed a deal with medical delivery firm Zipline that will allow drone shipment of COVID-19 vaccines without significant state investment in cold-chain storage. Zipline in a Reuters report noted that its end-to-end cold chain distribution capability can safely deliver even the Pfizer vaccine which would allow Kaduna health facilities to bypass purchases of ultra-low freezers and enable on-demand deliveries of precise amounts of COVID-19 vaccines.
4th Feb 2021 - The Guardian Nigeria

The Health 202: How West Virginia beat other states in administering coronavirus vaccines

The Biden administration will start shipping extra coronavirus vaccine doses straight to pharmacies, hoping to speed the process of getting shots into arms. But in West Virginia — which has administered the vaccines faster than any other state except Alaska — officials lament that the new allocations will not be going directly to the state to distribute. “We’re appreciative of any help we’re given, but we would appreciate it more if we would get it delivered to us and in our system,” James Hoyer, the director of the Joint Interagency Task Force for Vaccines in West Virginia, said yesterday.
4th Feb 2021 - Washington Post

Concerns raised over queue-jumping as PHE workers given Covid vaccine

More than 100 Public Health England workers have been given a Covid jab despite not falling into any of the priority categories, the Guardian can reveal. The decision to vaccinate staff at PHE’s site in Porton Down, Wiltshire, has raised questions internally at the agency about how those involved were allowed to jump the queue for their first doses of the vaccine. The move has also sparked fears that it will undermine the public health message about the importance of vaccinating priority groups first – a strategy that PHE helped to draw up and promote.
4th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

COVID-19 challenges continue across US

As the United States continues to roll out doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, states continue to struggle with how best to reach the elderly and minorities, groups at greater risk for severe COVID-19. In Mississippi, 38% of state residents are black—the highest in the nation—but only 17% of the state's vaccine recipients have identified as black. An NBC News analysis on that state shows several barriers to accessing the vaccine: Many residents live far from a drive-thru vaccination site and lack access to a car. Similarly, announcements made about open vaccination slots and registration times are missed by people without reliable internet access.
4th Feb 2021 - CIDRAP

Gilead forecasts 2021 growth, strong remdesivir COVID-19 sales

Gilead Sciences Inc on Thursday forecast its 2021 results above Wall Street estimates after posting a 26% rise in fourth-quarter 2020 revenue, driven by sales of its antiviral drug, remdesivir, which is used to treat COVID-19 patients. Shares of Gilead were up 2.5% in extended trading. Gilead said the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect its sales, including its treatments for hepatitis C and HIV, due to fewer people going to their doctors. It expects a gradual recovery in underlying market dynamics starting the second quarter of this year. Remdesivir, which is sold under the brand name Veklury, brought in $1.9 billion in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, above analysts’ estimates of $1.34 billion. Excluding Veklury, Gilead said its quarterly sales fell 7%.
4th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 4th Feb 2021

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Slow COVID-19 vaccine rollout expected in war- ravaged Syria

The success of the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in war-ravaged Syria depends on their availability and distribution and may initially cover only 3% of the population, a World Health Organization official said Tuesday. Akjemal Magtymova, WHO's representative in Syria, said the country is eligible to receive vaccines for free through the global COVAX effort aimed at helping lower-income countries obtain the shots. But Magtymova couldn't say when the first shipment would arrive, how many vaccines were expected, or how they would be rolled out in a divided country still at war. The COVAX rollout is expected to begin in April. Magtymova spoke to The Associated Press in the capital Damascus amid concerns over the equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines across the country, where the health care sector has been devastated by a decade of war and remains divided into three rival parts.
3rd Feb 2021 - The Independent

Israel opens coronavirus vaccines to all over-16s

Israel’s health ministry has said it will offer coronavirus vaccines to anyone over the age of 16, as part of a rapid campaign that has already seen the majority of older and vulnerable populations receive shots. The ministry has told healthcare providers they can start booking appointments for the new age group starting on Thursday. One in three Israelis has received at least one injection, a far higher fraction than anywhere else. The country of 9 million had previously allowed anyone over 35, as well as at-risk groups and exam-taking students aged 16 to 18, to be inoculated.
3rd Feb 2021 - The Guardian on MSN.com

COVID-19: 10 million people have had a first coronavirus vaccine in the UK, Hancock says

Ten million people in the UK have now had their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said. "This is a hugely significant milestone in our national effort against this virus. Every jab makes us all a bit safer - I want to thank everyone playing their part," Mr Hancock said. A further 1,322 people have died in the UK within 28 days of a positive test, and another 19,202 cases have been recorded. It brings the total number of UK deaths to 109,335 and the total number of cases to 3,871,825.
3rd Feb 2021 - Sky News

Hundreds of coronavirus vaccines wasted after fridge switched off

More than 400 doses of Covid-19 vaccines went to waste after a fridge was accidentally turned off in a vaccination centre, it has been reported. Staff are understood to have discovered the issue when they checked the fridge temperature early in the morning of January 8. A total of 450 doses of the Pfizer jab had to be binned following a “power-related issue” with a fridge at Montgomery Hall in Wath-upon-Dearne, Rotherham, last month. Ninety vials of the vaccine – each containing up to five doses – were wasted when the fridge was inadvertently switched off overnight at the venue, sources confirmed to the PA news agency.
3rd Feb 2021 - Evening Standard

Australia places no upper age limit on Pfizer coronavirus vaccine

Australian regulators have decided to place no upper age limit on use of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine despite reports of dozens of deaths among the elderly in Norway. Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration said in a statement Tuesday that it received reports on Jan. 14 of about 30 deaths in more than 40,000 elderly people vaccinated with Pfizer PFE, -0.43%. But it added that “no causal link between vaccination and deaths could be established.” The agency says that “elderly patients can receive this vaccine and there is no cap on the upper age limit.” The regulator last month gave provisional approval for the use of the Pfizer vaccine in Australia and the first doses are due to be administered to people aged 16 and older in late February.
3rd Feb 2021 - MarketWatch

Some U.S. pharmacies to begin getting direct shipments of coronavirus vaccine

Several thousand pharmacies across the United States will start to receive direct shipments of coronavirus vaccine next week in the first phase of a strategy intended to simplify the ability to get shots, White House officials said Tuesday. Jeff Zients, coordinator of the White House’s covid-19 response, said the 1 million doses that will be sent to pharmacies starting Feb. 11 come on top of a modest increase in vaccine allocations to states that is beginning this week. And to help states cope with financial burdens created by the pandemic, Zients said, the government will reimburse them retroactively for emergency expenses associated with fighting the public health crisis, including the purchase of masks and gloves, and the mobilization of the National Guard.
3rd Feb 2021 - The Washington Post

China announces plan to provide 10 million coronavirus vaccine doses to developing nations through global COVAX facility

China announces plan to provide 10 million coronavirus vaccine doses to developing nations through global COVAX facility.
3rd Feb 2021 - ABC News

MP encourages city's Black community to get covid jab

A Merseyside MP has visited a health centre to encourage the city's Black community to take up the offer of a coronavirus vaccine. Liverpool Riverside MP Kim Johnson visited Princes Park Health Centre, which recently began its Covid-19 vaccination programme. Ms Johnson, along with Dr Katy Gardner, Cllr Steve Munby and Cate Murphy, a member of the MP's team, were given a full tour of the centre. Ms Johnson said: "We were blown away by the dedication and expertise of all the staff, including Dr David Lewis, Fiona Lemmens, Michelle Fairhurst and the fantastic team of medical students. "While I welcome the development, the delay has been frustrating.
3rd Feb 2021 - Liverpool Echo

Covid-19: Study showing Oxford vaccine slows virus spread 'superb' - Hancock

Results that show the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine might reduce the spread of coronavirus have been hailed as "absolutely superb" by the health secretary. Matt Hancock said the study shows "vaccines are the way out of this pandemic". It is the first time a vaccine has been shown to reduce transmission of the virus. The UK has given a first Covid jab to more than 10 million people so far. The results of the study, which has not yet been formally published, suggest that the vaccine may have a "substantial" effect on transmission of the virus. It means the jab could have a greater impact on the pandemic, as each person who is vaccinated will indirectly protect other people too.
3rd Feb 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19: Nicola Sturgeon aims for phased return of Scotland schools within three weeks

A phased return of pupils to classrooms in Scotland could begin from 22 February, the first minister has announced. Nicola Sturgeon revealed the news as she confirmed the country's COVID-19 lockdown restrictions would be extended until at least the end of February. Ms Sturgeon said the measures were having an effect, noting that the prevalence of the virus has fallen in Scotland, but stressed "continued caution" was required with pressure on the NHS still "severe". She held out the prospect of a "careful and gradual" easing of restrictions from the start of next month, if progress continues to be made, adding she would update MSPs on a possible relaxation of measures in two weeks.
3rd Feb 2021 - Sky News

Oxford vaccine study marks moment of vindication for roll-out plan, but hopes of easing lockdown are premature

The latest data on the Oxford/AztraZeneca vaccine which reveals is both effective in protecting patients and cutting transmission of the virus is a moment of victory for the Government’s immunisation policy. The independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended the strategy of waiting longer than three-to-four-weeks between the first and second dose of vaccines in the face of scepticism from health bodies and criticism from other countries. But the new analysis from Oxford University showed the jab offers 76 per cent protection up to three months after just one dose.
3rd Feb 2021 - i on MSN.com

Ukraine government to allow regions with lower COVID cases to ease lockdown measures

The Ukrainian government is ready to cancel a nationwide lockdown and allow health authorities to ease lockdown measures in regions where COVID-19 cases are lower, Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said on Wednesday. The decision may be taken in the coming days, he told a televised cabinet meeting.
3rd Feb 2021 - Reuters

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 3rd Feb 2021

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COVID-19: EU warns of consequences if vaccine orders not delivered

The EU has ruled out an immediate ban on vaccine exports, but signalled there could be consequences if manufacturers do not produce the expected doses. In an exclusive interview with Sky News, Joao Vale de Almeida, the bloc's ambassador to London, confirmed that the European Commission is not introducing export bans on vaccine supplies, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed with Ursula von der Leyen on Friday night. But he added that "everyone will have access to the vaccines" if "companies export according to their contractual obligations and our expectations in contracts are met".
2nd Feb 2021 - Sky News

Japan concerned over EU COVID-19 vaccine supply uncertainty

Japan is concerned about delays in the distribution of European-made coronavirus vaccines an official said Tuesday, as it struggles to obtain enough doses to allow it to host the Olympics this summer. Taro Kono the Cabinet minister in charge of COVID-19 vaccines, said the EU s lack of clarity in its supply schedule is affecting Japan's preparations. “Our vaccine supply schedule has not been finalized even now,” Kono said. Last month, the EU announced export controls on coronavirus vaccines made in the bloc under a so-called transparency mechanism requiring producers to prioritize existing contracts with the EU.
2nd Feb 2021 - The Independent

PM unveils deal with Novavax to produce its COVID-19 vaccine in Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says a deal has been struck with Novavax to produce its COVID-19 vaccine in Canada, but the pharmaceutical company isn’t expected to be ready to roll out doses domestically until the fall at the earliest. The federal government has signed a “memorandum of understanding” with Novavax to pursue options to produce its COVID-19 vaccine at a new Montreal facility that is under construction. While the prime minister is calling this a “major step forward,” it could be months before this potential first made-in-Canada vaccine candidate is approved, let alone shipped to delivery sites nationwide.
2nd Feb 2021 - CTV News

How Britain placed its coronavirus vaccine bets boldly and reaped rewards

With a record death toll, failure to secure PPE and bungled management of lockdowns, many felt Britain had been diminished internationally by its handling of the pandemic. Until, that is, the vaccine procurement effort when the country was fast out of the blocks to begin inoculating its population. Each day seems to bring positive vaccine news: yesterday it was announced that the manufacturer Valneva would deliver another 40 million doses to the UK stock, bringing its commitment to 100 million by 2022.
2nd Feb 2021 - The Times

Uganda orders 18 mln doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine

Uganda has ordered 18 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and up to 40% of the shipments are expected to arrive in the country by the end of March, the government said on Tuesday. Uganda has so far reported 39,651 COVID-19 cases and 325 deaths - a much lower toll than in most countries due to what experts attribute to years of experience battling other viral outbreaks such as HIV AIDS and Ebola. Its economy, however, is reeling from the impact of the measures put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The vaccine shots will be procured from the Serum Institute of India, the government said in a statement detailing cabinet deliberations at a sitting held on Monday.
2nd Feb 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

COVID-19 vaccine will be manufactured in Canada once it is approved, Justin Trudeau says

On the same day that Ontario was lamenting the impact of vaccine delivery delays on nursing homes, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that Canada will be able to produce a new COVID-19 vaccine this year. But the news will do nothing to alleviate the provinces’ frustration with delays in the deliveries of two other vaccines that have already been authorized for use in Canada, or help Ottawa keep a pledge to provide vaccinations to all Canadians by September. The new vaccine developed by the U.S.-based firm Novavax must first be approved by Health Canada. The National Research Council facility in Montreal that is expected to manufacture it is under construction, and scheduled to be completed by summer. That facility will then have to be certified by Health Canada.
2nd Feb 2021 - The Star

UK compromising safety over Covid-19 vaccine, says Ursula von der Leyen

Britain failed its “gigantic responsibility” to ensure the proper safety of vaccines and the European Union should be proud of its strategy, Ursula von der Leyen said today. Amid growing criticism of her handling of the vaccine crisis, the German president of the European Commission has insisted that the EU has acted appropriately despite falling way behind the UK in the number of shots administered.
2nd Feb 2021 - The Times

Eye on Africa - South Africa eases some Covid-19 restrictions as vaccines arrive

In tonight's edition: South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa says the country has "passed the peak" of its second wave of Covid-19, allowing for the easing of restrictions ahead of the first vaccinations this month.
2nd Feb 2021 - FRANCE 24

Spain's vaccine delays hamper fight against pandemic

The Isabel Zendal hospital in Madrid only opened in December, but already it's feeling the strain. Spain's third wave of Covid-19 broke after the Christmas holiday, making January the worst month the country has had in terms of infections. "We had a terrible January," said Javier Marco, medical director of the hospital. It was built in just three months specifically to manage the Covid crisis. "It's been stressful." The country's infection rate has stabilised in recent days, at just below 900 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, but the pressure is still on the healthcare system.
2nd Feb 2021 - BBC News

France Says Europe Vaccine Strategy Safer Than U.K.'s

France is taking the lead in defending Europe’s faltering vaccine program, and a jab at the U.K. in the process. “The Brits are in an extremely difficult health situation,” France’s junior minister for European Union affairs, Clement Beaune, said on France Inter radio. “Understandably, they are taking many risks in this vaccination campaign.” Brexit Preparations at France's Second Biggest Port Beaune defended the EU’s decision to purchase the doses in common. Beaune cited the U.K.’s decision to focus on the first vaccine jabs and its reliance on AstraZeneca Plc despite doubts over its efficiency on older people. “I don’t think citizens would accept us taking risks that contradict scientific recommendations,” he said.
2nd Feb 2021 - Bloomberg

Ramaphosa announces eased level 3 lockdown for South Africa – including changes for alcohol sales and curfew

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that South Africa’s adjusted level 3 lockdown regulations will be relaxed following a decline in Covid-19 transmissions. In a national address on Monday (1 February), the president said that the country has recorded its lowest daily increase in infections since December, and that the country has now passed the peaked of the second wave. The average number of daily infections has almost halved, while the number of hospital admissions has also dropped, the president said. While the indicators are pointing in the right direction, Ramaphosa said that that the number of transmissions in the country is still relatively high.
2nd Feb 2021 - BusinessTech

Austria to loosen lockdown, allowing shops and schools to reopen

Austria will loosen its coronavirus lockdown next week, switching to a nighttime curfew from all-day restrictions on movement and letting non-essential shops and schools reopen. The conservative-led government announced the move despite coronavirus infections staying higher than it would like, citing the social toll of continuing the country’s third lockdown, which began on Dec. 26. “Epidemiologically the issue is clear. The safest course would be to remain in lockdown,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told a news conference after discussions with scientific experts, influential provincial governors and opposition parties.
2nd Feb 2021 - Reuters

White House to begin shipping COVID-19 vaccines to drug outlets

President Joe Biden's coronavirus czar, Jeff Zients, announced the administration would send 1 million doses of mRNA vaccines to more than 6,500 pharmacies across the country next week in an effort to further expand vaccination in the United States. The 1 million doses represent a weekly shipment expected to ramp up quickly, Zients said during a press conference. Eventually, Zients said, 40,000 retail pharmacies, including Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid locations, will receive millions of vaccine doses to distribute
2nd Feb 2021 - CIDRAP

As 13 million in US get COVID vaccine, minority uptake uncertain

About 13 million Americans—about 5% of the population 16 years and older—received at least the first of their two COVID-19 vaccine doses in the first month of availability, but limited data paint a foggy picture of how many doses reached key demographics like blacks, according to a report yesterday in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Another MMWR study homes in on skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), finding that more than three quarters of residents and almost 40% of staff members have received at least one vaccine dose during the first month. Both studies were led by scientists with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
2nd Feb 2021 - CIDRAP

Germany looking to accelerate sluggish distribution of vaccines

Chancellor Angela Merkel and German state governors were planning to talk with representatives of the pharmaceutical industry on ways to beef up the country's sluggish vaccination campaign. Monday's videoconference, which also will involve the European Union's Executive Commission, comes as finger-pointing in the bloc's most populous country mounts over who is to blame for the slow vaccine rollout. By Friday, 1.85 million people had received a first vaccine dose in Germany, a country of 83 million, and more than 461,000 had a second dose.
1st Feb 2021 - heraldscotland.com

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 2nd Feb 2021

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How Brazil missed its chance to secure Covid-19 vaccines

Only about one million doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered in Brazil -- a stunningly low number given Brazil's decades-long success in vaccinating its population. CNN's Matt Rivers reports.
1st Feb 2021 - CNN on MSN.com

Coronavirus: Flow of Pfizer-Biontech vaccine from EU now guaranteed, says minister

The flow of Pfizer-Biontech vaccines into Britain is “absolutely guaranteed”, according to a cabinet minister who also suggested that doses may be shared with other countries later on. Liz Truss, the international trade secretary, promised that the UK’s order of 40 million jabs would make its way into the country after Brussels backed down in an extraordinary row over supplies
1st Feb 2021 - The Times

Coronavirus in Scotland: Over 575,000 people have had first dose of vaccine, says Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon has said over 575,000 people have had first dose of the coronavirus vaccine in Scotland. Speaking at the Scottish Government daily coronavirus briefing on Monday, the First Minister added this included 98% of those living in care homes for older people, and 88% of staff in these homes. Ms Sturgeon also said that vaccinations for the over-70s have begun – with two mass vaccination centres opening in Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Already 14% of the over-75s have been vaccinated.
1st Feb 2021 - The Scotsman on MSN.com

Covid-19: UK orders extra 40m doses of Valneva vaccine

The UK has ordered an extra 40 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine from the French pharmaceutical company Valneva, that should become available later in the year and into 2022. The government says it will give flexibility should people need revaccinating next winter or beyond. The UK has secured 407 million doses of different coronavirus vaccines - more than enough for the entire population. Valneva's jab is still being tested in trials. Although those will take time to satisfy regulators before it can be rolled out, manufacturing at a site in West Lothian, Scotland, has already begun. The site is already supporting 100 new highly-skilled local jobs for scientists and technicians.
1st Feb 2021 - BBC News

Israel to give 5,000 coronavirus vaccines to Palestinian doctors

Israel has agreed to transfer 5,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine to the Palestinians to immunize frontline medical workers, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz's office announced Sunday. It was the first time that Israel has confirmed the transfer of vaccines to the Palestinians, who lag far behind Israel's aggressive vaccination campaign and have not yet received any vaccines.
1st Feb 2021 - NBC News

COVID-19: Every care home resident in England has been offered a coronavirus jab

Every care home resident in England has been offered a COVID-19 jab, the NHS has confirmed, just hours after a new record was set for vaccinations in the UK. Older people living in more than 10,000 care homes across England have either been vaccinated or offered the jab and those forced to wait because of an outbreak of the virus will be treated as soon as possible, health professionals said.
1st Feb 2021 - Sky News

Over 80% of Northern Ireland people will take the coronavirus vaccine

The vast majority of people in Northern Ireland will accept the Covid-19 vaccine when offered - but a hefty minority will not or are still unsure, the new LucidTalk poll has indicated. More than 80% of the population here will definitely get the jabs, 7% said they will not, and 10% do not know, are unsure or have no opinion. The percentage of vaccine supporters is similar to the UK as a whole and also the Republic of Ireland, but it is much higher than some other European countries.
1st Feb 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

Many who have received the coronavirus vaccine wonder: What can I safely do?

Soon after Marc Wilson gets his second dose of coronavirus vaccine, he plans to resume one of his pre-pandemic joys: swimming laps with his friends. But most other activities — including volunteering at a food pantry and homeless shelter — will be off-limits until the outbreak is curbed and scientists know more about the threat of emerging variants. “I can definitely broaden the things I do, but I still have to be quite cautious,” said Wilson, 70, a retired accountant in Norman, Okla., who has diabetes and other health problems. “When your doctor tells you, ‘If you get covid, you’re dead,’ that gets your attention real good.”
1st Feb 2021 - The Washington Post

More than HALF of Americans say they'll delay getting coronavirus vaccine or REFUSE it altogether

Only 41 per cent of people surveyed said they are happy to be vaccinated now 13 per cent will refuse vaccinations while 31 per cent want to 'wait and see.' Survey also found divisions on political, racial and economic lines in the US. Many are reluctant to get the shots because of myths spread by anti-vaxxers. President Biden plans to roll out 100million doses in 100 days in office
1st Feb 2021 - Daily Mail

South Africa welcomes first delivery of COVID-19 vaccines

South Africa gave a hero’s welcome Monday to the delivery of its first COVID-19 vaccines — 1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa greeted the crates of vaccine that arrived at Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport. The shipment will be followed up later this month by another 500,000 doses. The vaccine will be effective in preventing severe disease and death from the variant that has become dominant in South Africa, a vaccine expert says. The AstraZeneca vaccines will be used to inoculate South Africa’s front-line health workers, which will kickstart the country’s vaccination campaign. The first jabs are expected to be administered in mid-February, after the vaccines are tested and approved by South Africa’s drug regulatory authorities.
1st Feb 2021 - Associated Press

White House awards $230M to help produce over-the-counter, rapid COVID-19 tests

Andy Slavitt, White House COVID-19 adviser, said the administration will provide nearly $232 million to an Australian company called Ellume, which received authorization for the test in December. The company was part of the National Institutes of Health's RADx initiative to spur test development, and received $30 million from the program. "Thanks to this contract, they'll be able to scale their production to manufacture more than 19 million test kits per month by the end of this year," Slavitt told reporters.
1st Feb 2021 - The Hill on MSN.com

England hits 'monumental milestone' as all eligible care homes offered Covid-19 jab

Tributes have been paid to “dedicated” health and care staff for their efforts in rolling out the Covid-19 vaccine to the most vulnerable, as NHS England claims jabs have now been offered to all eligible care homes for older adults.
1st Feb 2021 - Nursing Times

Covid-19: Volunteers step forward as vaccination taxis

With the Covid-19 vaccination rollout in full swing, people are stepping forward to volunteer to take people for their jabs. But this service can be more than just a car journey, a connection is being made with some of the most vulnerable in our communities. Carolyn Carter, 56, chairwoman of Chippenham Link Transport in Wiltshire, regularly drives clients to their medical appointments and is now helping with vaccination runs. She said: "I thought long an hard about doing it, but...I can do good by doing this. "Wednesday we were all just backwards and forwards to the surgery. Between the 11 of us we did about 40 trips over two days. "Everyone has been fantastic. They are just helping with whatever they can to get this done."
1st Feb 2021 - BBC News

Covid: Regional tier system may not return after lockdown, Boris Johnson says

The regional tier system for England's coronavirus measures may not return after lockdown ends, the prime minister has said. Boris Johnson said it may be more appropriate to ease measures on a national basis "this time around", rather than locally as had been the plan, due to the way Covid-19 is currently "behaving". In a few weeks he will set out a "road map" for exiting lockdown, with March 8 targeted as the earliest possible date for reopening schools and easing other measures. Following the last lockdown, England returned to tiered arrangements which restricted activities permitted in an area depending on various criteria, such as pressure on local NHS services and levels of coronavirus.
1st Feb 2021 - ITV News

Covid: Boris Johnson 'optimistic' about summer holiday prospects

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is "optimistic" people will be able to have summer holidays this year - but it depends on certain things going well. Asked about tourism in the UK, he said he did not want to give "concrete" dates for such trips but would set out more details on 22 February. The success of the vaccine rollout and level of Covid cases would be factors taken into consideration, he added. Nearly 9.3 million people in the UK have had their first dose of a vaccine. A vaccine has been offered to all older residents at eligible care homes in England, the NHS announced earlier - an achievement Mr Johnson described as a "crucial milestone".
1st Feb 2021 - BBC News

UK Covid-19 lockdown will end in time for ‘great British summer’, Matt Hancock promises

The nationwide lockdown will be over in time for a “great British summer”, Matt Hancock has predicted as he said the “vast majority” of adults would be vaccinated against Covid-19 within the next six months. Data on the effects that vaccinations have on the spread of coronavirus in Britain should be available within a fortnight, according to the Covid-19 response director at Public Health England (PHE) – but she warned that the end of lockdown should be done “very slowly, very cautiously” to avoid a resurgence in cases.
1st Feb 2021 - iNews

Germany looking to accelerate sluggish distribution of vaccines

Chancellor Angela Merkel and German state governors were planning to talk with representatives of the pharmaceutical industry on ways to beef up the country’s sluggish vaccination campaign. Monday’s videoconference, which also will involve the European Union’s Executive Commission, comes as finger-pointing in the bloc’s most populous country mounts over who is to blame for the slow vaccine rollout. By Friday, 1.85 million people had received a first vaccine dose in Germany, a country of 83 million, and more than 461,000 had a second dose.
1st Feb 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

Boris Johnson says lockdown is working and vaccines ARE effective against Covid variants as internal report hails 'stabilising' cases - but PM warns it is too early to take ...

Boris Johnson insisted the coronavirus lockdown is working and vaccines are effective on current variants. The PM warned that it is still too early to take our 'foot off the throat of the beast' by easing curbs at this stage. He said he was 'optimistic' Britons will be able to go on summer holidays this year but did not give schedule Two cases of South African strain not linked to travel found in Surrey with 'surge' testing scheme under way. Dr Mike Tildesley said vaccination rollout could mean lockdown starting to be eased sometime next month
1st Feb 2021 - Daily Mail

Not Yet Desperate, Japan and South Korea Plod Toward Vaccinations

Japan’s biggest cities are under a state of emergency as coronavirus deaths rise, even while the country tries to convince the world it can safely hold the Summer Olympics. South Korea is prohibiting gatherings of five or more people to keep a recent surge in cases under control. Hong Kong imposed stringent lockdowns on some of its poorest neighborhoods to stop an uptick. And yet none of these places have begun to carry out the only solution with any hope of putting the pandemic behind them: vaccinations.
1st Feb 2021 - The New York Times

India pandemic-fighting budget to boost health care spending

India’s government has proposed to increase spending on health care in a $477 billion budget for 2021-22 that promises extra help for weathering the coronavirus pandemic. India is in its worst economic slowdown in a decade. The budget proposal presented to parliament by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday also focuses on developing financial institutions and shoring up of infrastructure to get the pandemic-ravaged nation back on track as the world’s fastest-growing major economy. “India is well well-poised to be the land of promise and hope,” she said in explaining the budget for the fiscal year that begins April 1.
1st Feb 2021 - The Associated Press

Covid: Lockdown easing must happen 'very slowly', adviser says

Ending the current coronavirus lockdown must happen "very slowly, very cautiously", Public Health England's Covid strategy chief has said. Dr Susan Hopkins said the focus should be on getting people vaccinated and preventing another wave of infections. She told the BBC's Andrew Marr: "I hope that this summer will be similar to last summer... and that will allow us to do things that feel more normal." Meanwhile, Matt Hancock predicted "a happy and free Great British summer". But the health secretary warned of a "a tough few months" as national restrictions continue across the UK while vaccinations are administered. "We have to follow the data, we have to see the impact of the vaccine on the ground. It's a difficult balance: we've got to move as fast as we can but in such a way that keeps people safe," he told BBC Politics East.
1st Feb 2021 - BBC News

How are delays in vaccine deliveries really affecting Spain’s campaign?

At the current rate, it would take years to vaccinate the entire population of Spain against Covid-19. This assertion, which is being touted by a number of political leaders in the country, is true. But it doesn’t provide any information that we haven’t already known for more than a month now. Barring a few deviations from the plan, this was the expected speed for the early stage of the campaign. The government is planning for a ramping up of the inoculations once laboratories are able to produce more doses and new vaccines are approved. The delay in the arrival of the available vaccines has, up to now, prompted the reorganization of schedules. But it has not significantly changed the forecasts that were put in place at the end of December, when announcements were made about how many doses would be arriving in the country during the first quarter of the year. Whether or not the government’s objectives are met – i.e. vaccinating the majority of the population by the summer – will not depend on the number of doses that arrive before the spring, which was always due to be very limited, but rather those that start to arrive from that moment onward.
1st Feb 2021 - El Pais

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World Bank Pledges US$12 Billion For Africa's Vaccine Purchase - OpEd

The World Bank has expressed readiness to commit US$12 billion as concessional loans to assist African countries access foreign vaccines. During a virtual meeting on the Africa COVID-19 Vaccine Financing and Deployment Strategy, the World Bank informed that the emergency vaccine financing projects in Africa, including Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Niger, Mozambique, Tunisia, Eswatini and Cabo Verde. The funds are available now, and for most African countries, the financing would be on grant or highly concessional terms, adding, IFC is working to mobilize financing for vaccine production and therapeutics focused on developing countries.
1st Feb 2021 - Eurasia Review

First batch of coronavirus vaccines due to arrive in South Africa

South Africa, the continent’s worst COVID-hit country, is due to receive its first batch of coronavirus vaccines on Monday. Initially scheduled for the end of January, the first one million shots of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine produced in India will be used to inoculate healthcare workers over the next three months. The second batch of 500,000 jabs is scheduled to arrive later in February. Despite criticism from opposition parties and medical experts that the procurement process of the vaccine has taken too long, Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize has called the arrival of the vaccines from the Serum Institute of India “a massive achievement of unprecedented proportions”. Once the consignment has undergone quality checks, which are going to take between 10 and 14 days, the country will begin its long-awaited, three-phase immunisation campaign. Following the inoculation of front-line healthcare workers, other high-risk groups such as the elderly, people with comorbidities and essential workers such as minibus drivers, police and teachers are going to receive their shot. The third phase targets everyone else above the age of 18.
1st Feb 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Israel to give some coronavirus vaccines to Palestinians

Israel has agreed to transfer 5,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine to the Palestinians to immunize front-line medical workers Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz s office announced Sunday. It was the first time that Israel has confirmed the transfer of vaccines to the Palestinians, who lag far behind Israel's aggressive vaccination campaign and have not yet received any vaccines. The World Health Organization has raised concerns about the disparity between Israel and Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, and international human rights groups and U.N. experts have said Israel is responsible for the well being of Palestinians in these areas.
31st Jan 2021 - The Independent

Israeli official sees COVID-19 turnaround when 1/3 of population vaccinated

Israel could begin overcoming the COVID-19 crisis after fully vaccinating a third of its population, an official said on Sunday, indicating it would take some weeks more than previously thought. Launching what has become the world’s fastest vaccine rollout on Dec. 19, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set protecting Israel’s most vulnerable cohorts - around 24% of 9 million citizens - as the benchmark for a possible reopening of the economy in February. But a projected mid-January turnaround in curbing the spread of the illness did not transpire. Despite a third national lockdown, cases and deaths have surged among the part of the population that has not yet been vaccinated. Officials blame this on highly communicable foreign variants of the coronavirus.
31st Jan 2021 - Reuters

EU rejects Astrazeneca’s compromise offer over Covid-19 vaccine

The European Union has rejected an offer from Astrazeneca of eight million more doses, with the European Commission chief insisting that the company honour its existing “binding contract”. Details of an intended compromise in the row between Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical firm and the bloc over a sudden cut to Covid vaccine supplies emerged today. An EU official said that the cuts, blamed on production problems at a Belgian plant, would mean only 31 million doses being delivered in the period to the end of March, a 60 per cent reduction. It is a major blow for the bloc’s 27 member countries, which are already lagging behind the vaccination campaigns in Israel, Britain and the United States.
30th Jan 2021 - The Times

Coronavirus: WHO criticises EU over vaccine export controls

The World Health Organization (WHO) has criticised the EU's announcement of export controls on vaccines produced within the bloc, saying such measures risked prolonging the pandemic. The EU introduced the measure amid a row with vaccine manufacturers over delivery shortfalls. But WHO vice-head Mariangela Simao said it was a "very worrying trend". Earlier WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said "vaccine nationalism" could lead to a "protracted recovery". Speaking at the Davos Agenda - a virtual version of the global summit - he said vaccine hoarding would "keep the pandemic burning and... slow global economic recovery", in addition to being a "catastrophic moral failure" that could further widen global inequality.
30th Jan 2021 - BBC News

When Covid-19 vaccines are about to expire, health care workers must scramble to make sure they are used

Mechanical breakdowns. Bad weather. Expiration deadlines. The earliest phases of Covid-19 vaccine distribution in some instances have left doctors, nurses, and health officials scrambling to inoculate Americans. In the worst cases, valuable doses have been wasted or thrown out. However, quick thinking by practitioners mixed with a bit of luck have found them administering vaccines in unique circumstances. On Thursday night, after a freezer containing vaccine doses malfunctioned in Seattle, a nearby hospital had less than nine hours to administer more than 800 vaccinations before they spoiled. Vaccines from Pfizer-BioTech and Moderna require certain low temperatures for storage and have a limited shelf life when exposed to room temperature.
30th Jan 2021 - CNN on MSN.com

Failed freezer forced overnight dash to give out more than 1,600 doses of coronavirus vaccine

The last shots were given at about 3.45am, out on the street, with literally no time to spare. All night, staff and volunteers with Seattle's Swedish Health Services had been rushing to administer hundreds of doses of the coronavirus vaccine set to expire early in the morning after a freezer malfunction. Finally, they had only a few dozen shots left and about 15 minutes to get them into people's arms. "We were literally like . . .who can get people here? People started texting and calling and we were just counting down," said Kevin Brooks, the chief operating officer of Swedish, who helped coordinate everything at their clinic at Seattle University. "Thirty-seven. Thirty-five. Thirty-three . . . People were showing up and running down the hall."
30th Jan 2021 - The Independent

COVID-19: EU 'recognise they made a mistake' in move to block vaccine exports, says Gove

The EU "recognise they made a mistake" by invoking a Brexit deal clause to prevent coronavirus vaccine shipments entering the UK, Michael Gove has said. The bloc has faced widespread criticism after its short-lived move to override part of the agreement on Northern Ireland over export controls. And Minister for the Cabinet Office Mr Gove said the union now realised it was in the wrong - and promised the UK would "work with them to make sure their own problems can be tackled".
30th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Shortage of coronavirus shots heaps pressure on European leaders

Edleff Joachim should have been among the first to receive a jab when Germany launched its mass Covid-19 vaccination programme on December 27. A month on, the 84-year-old is still waiting. “It’s just chaos,” said Mr Joachim, who lives in the town of Görlitz on the Polish border. “No one seems to know what's going on.” His frustration bears testament to a German vaccination drive in disarray — a mess now replicated across much of the EU due to a shortage of doses. Over-80s were supposed to be inoculated first, along with care home residents, but tens of thousands of eligible Germans have yet to get the shot.
30th Jan 2021 - Financial Times

Macron: AstraZeneca vaccine seems ‘quasi-ineffective’ on older people

French President Emmanual Macron said Friday the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine appeared to be "quasi-ineffective" on people older than 65 — just hours before the EU's drugs regulator approved it for use on all adults. "The real problem on AstraZeneca is that it doesn’t work the way we were expecting it to," Macron told a group of reporters, including POLITICO, in Paris. "We’re waiting for the EMA [European Medicines Agency] results, but today everything points to thinking it is quasi-ineffective on people older than 65, some say those 60 years or older." Later in the day, the EMA gave the vaccine the green light. It said: "There are not yet enough results in older participants (over 55 years old) to provide a figure for how well the vaccine will work in this group. However, protection is expected, given that an immune response is seen in this age group and based on experience with other vaccines; as there is reliable information on safety in this population, EMA’s scientific experts considered that the vaccine can be used in older adults."
30th Jan 2021 - POLITICO.eu

I’m a Covid vaccinator and thousands of doses are being thrown away every day – it’s an outrage

I’m a doctor and I’m writing to tell you that the news about coronavirus vaccines being binned in Britain is absolutely true. The Pfizer vaccine is currently the main vaccine programme in the UK. The challenges around its use have been well documented. Once thawed from its -70C storage, it has to be used within a matter of days. Some vials contain extra doses of the vaccine, an extra one to two doses can be obtained from the advertised five doses. A combination of these factors – as well as reports of some centres unexpectedly receiving extra vaccines – mean it's notoriously difficult to be precise about how many people to invite to a vaccine centre on any given day. In turn, this means there are often extra doses left over at the end of the day.
30th Jan 2021 - The Independent

Algeria starts COVID-19 vaccination drive with Russian shots

Algeria launched its coronavirus vaccination campaign Saturday in the city where the country s first COVID-19 case was confirmed in March. The North African nation is using Russia’s Sputnik-V vaccine, and a 65-year-old retiree received the first shot at a hospital in Blida, a city about 40 kilometers (25 miles) southwest of the capital, Algiers Health authorities were on hand for the event. “All measures have been taken to ensure a good rollout of the vaccination campaign on the national territory,” Health Minister Abderrahmane Benbouzid said. Vaccines will get administered in all regions of the country starting Sunday with health care workers, elderly adults and other vulnerable populations.
30th Jan 2021 - The Independent

More than 1,100 doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine are accidentally DESTROYED in Florida

Palm Beach health care worker accidentally shut off power supply to a refrigerator where the Pfizer vaccines were being stored. The Pfizer vaccine must be kept refrigerated in order to preserve some of its components or else it is rendered useless. The blunder meant that 232 vials of the vaccine - consisting of 1,160 doses - had to be destroyed. Palm Beach County official are now storing supplies in centralized refrigerators with a backup generator to prevent such an incident from reoccurring. Officials are struggling to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to the American population in a timely fashion. Only 6.9 percent of Americans have received their first Pfizer or Moderna shot; just 1.4 percent of citizens are fully vaccinated. It is concerning news given that highly-contagious mutations of the virus from the UK, Brazil and South Africa have now been detected on US soil
30th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

COVID-19: BAME communities less likely to take coronavirus vaccine, ONS figures suggest

People from ethnic minority backgrounds are far less likely to take the COVID-19 vaccine, according to new data. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said only 49% of 150 black or black British adults said they would be likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine, compared with 85% of 13,240 white adults. More than a quarter (28%) said they would be unlikely to do so, as did 7% of white adults. Some 13% of 170 people with mixed ethnicity and 8% of 460 Asian or Asian British adults said they would be unlikely to get a jab.
30th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Norway to gradually ease capital's COVID-19 lockdown from February 3

The Norwegian government will gradually loosen the capital region’s coronavirus lockdown, allowing some shops and recreational activities to reopen from Feb. 3 onwards, Health Minister Bent Hoeie said on Saturday. The outbreak of a more contagious variant of COVID-19, first identified in Britain, had prompted the introduction of stricter measures on Jan. 23, including the closure of all non-essential stores in and around Oslo for the first time in the pandemic. “Infections are going down continuously in Norway and we now have a better overview over the outbreak and spread,” Hoeie told a news conference.
29th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Public back teachers getting half-term Covid jabs to re-open schools again

The public supports our bid to prioritise teachers for the Covid-19 vaccine in Phase 2 of the rollout, a poll revealed. Teachers topped the poll, which asked who should be next after the most vulnerable. Pressure is growing on Boris Johnson to get school staff vaccinated. In a poll by Ipsos MORI, 46% said school and nursery staff should come before healthy 60 to 69-year-olds, ahead of 42% for emergency service workers. Labour wants school staff vaccinated in the February half term to make it safer if pupils start to back from March 8. Keir Starmer said it was vital to avoid staff being off sick or isolating due to Covid-19. He said: “It’s likely to go back to the disruption we have in September and October.
29th Jan 2021 - Mirror Online

How Europe fell behind on vaccines

The Europen Union's vaccination effort came under fire just as it was beginning to deliver. Heralded for months as the flagship of European solidarity during the coronavirus pandemic, the European Commission’s strategy of joint vaccine procurement is now being accused by national leaders of being too bureaucratic, too limiting to its members, too slow. Specifically, the bloc’s decisions to prioritize process over speed and to put solidarity between EU countries ahead of giving individual governments more room to maneuver have been criticized for holding back the coronavirus response.
29th Jan 2021 - POLITICO.eu

U.S. Labor Department issues COVID-19 workplace safety guidance

The guidance issued by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) outlines key measures for limiting the coronavirus’ spread, including ensuring infected or potentially infected people are not in the workplace, implementing and following physical distancing protocols and using surgical masks or cloth face coverings. It also provides guidance on use of personal protective equipment, improving ventilation, good hygiene and routine cleaning. But the guidance is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations.
29th Jan 2021 - Reuters

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Global Covid-19 vaccine passports 'probably' way to go, says Jason Leitch

Scotland's national clinical director has voiced guarded "support" for calls to introduce a global Covid-19 vaccine passport to suppress future spread of the virus. But Professor Jason Leitch warned more data would be needed on the impact of vaccines before pressing ahead with the move, which is being proposed by former Prime Minister Tony Blair. The ex-Labour leader says the UK could lead the the way in the creation of a global ID that shows Covid-19 vaccine and disease status. Mr Blair claimed this would aid the recovery of the economy, including the vital tourism sector.
28th Jan 2021 - MSN.com

Covid-19: Vaccines 'needed across world to reduce chance of new variants'

Coronavirus vaccines must be made available around the world in an effort to keep cases down and prevent new mutations which could escape the effects of the jabs, an expert has warned. Sir Jeremy Farrar, a member of the British government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said the amount of virus circulating in the world will determine the chances of a new variant emerging. He said new strains are "a warning of what is coming, which we must take incredibly seriously" and suggested countries with access to vaccines could donate a percentage of their doses through the international Covax drive which aims to ensure equitable access.
28th Jan 2021 - The Irish News

NI coronavirus vaccine roll-out: GPs raise concern about supply amid worry of speed of roll-out to ‘higher priority groups’

The Royal College of GPs in Northern Ireland has spoken out about concerns over the supply of vaccines. Dr Laurence Dorman, who chairs the organisation, was responding to the decision to open Trust vaccination centres to those aged 65-69 while those aged 70-79 are asked to wait for an appointment to see their GP. “We fully support the principle of vaccinating as many people as possible, as quickly as possible and it is encouraging to see such high demand for appointments since the booking portal launched on Wednesday night,” he said. “However, we have concerns about the speed of vaccine rollout to those people in higher priority groups."
28th Jan 2021 - Belfast Newsletter

Health workers, stuck in the snow, administer coronavirus vaccine to stranded drivers

Unlike many who have to drive miles to get a Covid-19 vaccine, some travelers in southwestern Oregon had the vaccine come to them Tuesday under treacherous weather conditions. Josephine County Public Health workers were returning from a mass vaccination clinic at Illinois Valley High School in Cave Junction when about 20 members of the group got stranded in a snowstorm at Hayes Hill, the agency said. They had with them six leftover doses of the vaccine. To keep those doses from going unused before expiring, the workers went from car to car to offer people the chance to get a shot, the health department said. An ambulance was waiting nearby in case any recipients had an adverse reaction
28th Jan 2021 - CNN

Matt Hancock names Bristol one of the best areas in UK for Covid-19 vaccine rollout

Bristol and its surrounding areas have been named as one of the best performing parts of the UK for rolling out the Covid-19 vaccinations, according to Health Secretary Matt Hancock. The "fantastic efforts" of the vaccination teams were praised in a letter to a North Somerset MP Liam Fox. More than 80% of care home residents in the area covered by the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire NHS clinical commissioning group (CCG) had received the vaccine, making it one of the “highest performing” parts of the country. In the letter, Matt Hancock said the success in Bristol and its surrounding areas was down to the “tireless” efforts of everyone involved in rolling out the vaccine. He praised the “incredible” community spirit that has contributed to the success.
28th Jan 2021 - ITV

Africa secures another 400 million COVID-19 vaccine doses

Another 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been secured for the African continent through the Serum Institute of India, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. With the new doses, on top of the 270 million doses announced earlier this month from Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, “I think we’re beginning to make very good progress," Africa CDC director John Nkengasong told reporters. An Africa CDC spokesman said the 400 million doses are of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. As with many vaccine deals, there were no immediate details on cost or how much people might pay per dose.
28th Jan 2021 - The Independent

COVID-19: Germany says Oxford/ AstraZeneca jab should not be given to over 65s

Germany has said the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine should not be offered to people over the age of 65, a source close to the country's government has told Sky News. It comes after Reuters reported Germany's vaccine committee made the recommendation, citing insufficient data about how effective the jab is for older people, not because of any safety concerns. But UK prime minister Boris Johnson said he was not worried because Britain's medicines regulator had judged it is "effective across all age groups and provides a good immune response across all age groups".
28th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Trust chiefs get Covid-19 jab while some people over 80 are still waiting

In Northern Ireland, the chief executives of health trusts have received a Covid-19 vaccine while some patients over 80 years old are still waiting for the potentially lifesaving jab, it has emerged. The row over the vaccination programme intensified on Wednesday night as a leading doctor hit out at the system that means healthcare staff working at home have been given priority over those most at risk of dying from the virus. Guidance from the UK advisory body the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) states that “as the risk of mortality from Covid-19 increases with age, prioritisation is primarily based on age”.
28th Jan 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

Covid-19: Self-isolation payment rules 'need to be reviewed'

In England, self-isolation payment rules need to be reviewed as some people have to chose between self-isolating or putting food on their tables, a council has said. Knowsley Council has rejected two thirds of applications for £500 as they did not meet government criteria, which includes those on low incomes. Councillor Jayne Aston said "only a small number of people who need this help actually qualify". Knowsley currently has the highest rate of Covid-19 infections in England, according to the latest data, with 822.6 infections per 100,000 people in the week to 23 January. "Our rates are beginning to fall, but only very slowly," Ms Aston said.
28th Jan 2021 - BBC News

EU warns it could block vaccine exports, wields legal threat at drugmakers

Europe's fight to secure COVID-19 vaccine supplies intensified on Thursday when the European Union warned drug companies such as AstraZeneca that it would use all legal means or even block exports unless they agreed to deliver shots as promised. The EU, whose member states are far behind Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States in rolling out vaccines, is scrambling to get supplies just as the West's biggest drugmakers slow deliveries to the bloc due to production problems. As vaccination centres in Germany, France and Spain cancelled or delayed appointments, the EU publicly rebuked Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca for failing to deliver and even asked if it could divert supplies from Britain.
28th Jan 2021 - MSN.com

Coronavirus: Germany may limit AstraZeneca jab to under-65s

Germany's vaccine committee has said AstraZeneca's Covid jab should only be given to people aged under 65. The committee cited "insufficient data" over its efficacy for older people. The European Medicines Agency is to decide on Friday whether to approve the vaccine for use across the EU. The UK has been using the AstraZeneca vaccine in its mass immunisation programme for weeks now, and public health officials say it is safe and provides "high levels of protection". The German announcement comes as the EU is in dispute with leading manufacturers over a shortage of vaccines on the continent.
28th Jan 2021 - BBC News

India will make more home-grown coronavirus vaccines available, Modi tells World Economic Forum

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the country would release more locally made Covid-19 vaccines as New Delhi continues to save the lives of people in other countries by exporting medicines and vaccines. “So far only two made-in-India vaccines have been introduced, but in the future many more vaccines will be made available,” Modi said at a virtual meeting of the World Economic Forum, adding India had fulfilled its global responsibilities by setting up infrastructure related to vaccination. Modi also said India will issue health identity cards to 1.3 billion citizens. The South Asian nation, one of the world’s biggest makers of medicines, is producing two vaccines – Covishield, licensed from Oxford University and AstraZeneca, and Covaxin, developed at home by Bharat Biotech in partnership with Indian Council of Medical Research.
28th Jan 2021 - South China Morning Post

Germany will mobilize up to 50 billion eur more state aid for firms

Germany has the fiscal strength to mobilize further state aid of up to 50 billion euros ($60.5 billion) for companies affected by the second coronavirus lockdown, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on Thursday in a speech in parliament. This comes on top of grants already paid out of roughly 80 billion euros, an additional 23 billion euros as part of the Kurzarbeit job protection scheme, and a multi-year stimulus programme worth 130 billion euros, Altmaier told lawmakers.
28th Jan 2021 - Reuters

German minister sees COVID-19 vaccine shortage well into April

Germany faces a shortage of coronavirus shots well into April, its health minister said on Thursday, and called for a summit with the country’s state leaders to discuss vaccinations as the government faced fresh criticism over the pace of the roll-out. “We will still have at least 10 tough weeks with a shortage of vaccine,” Jens Spahn said in a Tweet, adding the meeting should focus on how Europe gets its fair share of shots and what can be done to support the process. Germany, like the rest of the European Union, is scrambling to obtain shots as the West’s biggest drugmakers slow deliveries to the bloc due to production problems. Germany’s top-selling Bild newspaper described the problem of procuring enough vaccines as a “scandal”.
28th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

Coronavirus: people of colour must get fair access to vaccines, Fauci says

The top US public health official and chief medical adviser to Joe Biden, Dr Anthony Fauci, has emphasised the need for people of colour to be prioritised for Covid-19 vaccines. “I think that’s the one thing we really got to be careful of,” Fauci told the New England Journal of Medicine. “Most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people. You really want to get it to the people who are really the most vulnerable … you don’t want to have a situation where people who really are in need of it, because of where they are, where they live, what their economic status is, that they don’t have access to the vaccine.”
28th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 28th Jan 2021

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AstraZeneca denies pulling out of Covid-19 vaccine talks with EU amid row over doses shortfall

AstraZeneca has denied pulling out of vaccine talks with the European Union amid a row over a shortfall of doses for EU member states. The pharmaceutical company says it plans to meet with EU officials in Brussels later on Wednesday. The latest disagreement between the two sides came after AstraZeneca rejected the EU’s accusation that the company had failed to honour its commitments for the delivery of the coronavirus vaccine. The company says figures in its contract with the EU were targets that could not be met because of problems in rapidly expanding production capacity.
27th Jan 2021 - Evening Standard on MSN.com

Philadelphia let ‘college kids’ distribute vaccines. The result was a ‘disaster,’ volunteers say.

Philadelphia is home to some of the most venerated medical institutions in the country. Yet when it came time to set up the city’s first and largest coronavirus mass vaccination site, officials turned to the start-up Philly Fighting COVID, a self-described “group of college kids” with minimal health-care experience. Chaos ensued. Seniors were left in tears after finding that appointments they’d made through a bungled sign-up form wouldn’t be honored. The group switched to a for-profit model without publicizing the change and added a privacy policy that would allow it to sell users’ personal data. One volunteer alleged that the 22-year-old CEO had pocketed vaccine doses. Another described a “free-for-all” where unsupervised 18- and 19-year-olds vaccinated one another and posed for photos.
27th Jan 2021 - The Washington Post

Madrid region to halt new vaccinations as supplies run out

Supplies of coronavirus vaccines have become so scarce that the Madrid region of Spain will stop all new jabs for at least 10 days, a top official said on Wednesday, as Catalonia complained its supply was also running out. Madrid’s move appears to be the first such pause in the EU, highlighting the bloc’s mounting problems with distributing the vaccine. Ignacio Aguado, the deputy head of Madrid’s regional government, said shortages of both the BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna vaccines — the only ones so far approved by the EU — meant it was impossible at “the current pace” to meet national and European targets of vaccinating 70 per cent of the population by the end of June. Instead, “we would take until 2023 to arrive at this level”, he added.
27th Jan 2021 - Financial Times

Kamala Harris receives second dose of coronavirus vaccine

Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff have received a second dose of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine. She sat for her shot at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland on Tuesday. The vice president urged “everyone to take the vaccine when it is your turn.” “It is really pretty painless, and it will save your life,” she said.
27th Jan 2021 - The Independent

"Vaccine nationalism" disputes threaten European nations' COVID-19 vaccine supplies

Disputes over the production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines are threatening supplies between the United Kingdom and the European Union, as some world leaders accuse wealthy countries of hoarding doses. The scramble for vaccinations in Europe has never been more critical, CBS News' Charlie D'Agata reports, and the tension never higher. In the Netherlands, a night-time curfew that sparked riots this week was one of the more aggressive measures taken to stem the spread of a new variant of the coronavirus first identified in the U.K. — where a grim-faced Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the country had become the first in Europe to surpass 100,000 COVID-linked deaths.
27th Jan 2021 - CBS News

Coronavirus UK: Britain falls off pace in Covid vaccine rollout

NHS England figures revealed today that there were 260,307 vaccinations administered across the country. The data revealed that the highest number of first doses were administered in the Midlands with 1,166,017. Britain remains ahead of all countries in Europe in vaccine drive and has one of the highest per-person rates
27th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

UK's Johnson hopes schools in England can reopen on March 8

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson indicated Wednesday that the coronavirus lockdown in England will remain in place until at least March 8 as he ruled out any imminent return to school for most students. In a statement to lawmakers, Johnson also confirmed new restrictions for travelers arriving in England from countries deemed to be high-risk. He said the U.K. remains in a “perilous situation” with more than 37,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, nearly double the number during the country's previous peak in April.
27th Jan 2021 - The Independent

Boris Johnson promises plan next month for 'phased' easing of lockdown

The PM has said he hopes a "gradual and phased" relaxation of Covid restrictions can begin in early March. Boris Johnson told MPs he intended to set out a plan for how the lockdown in England could be eased and the criteria involved in the final week of February. Factors will include death and hospitalisation numbers, progress of vaccinations and changes in the virus. He has ruled out schools in England re-opening after the February half term, instead setting an 8 March target. In a statement to Parliament, Mr Johnson said the scientific data was not sufficiently clear to make any decisions now but he hoped to publish a detailed roadmap in just under a month's time as the "picture became clearer".
27th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Vaccine's role in tackling transmission crucial to easing UK lockdown

The UK government has commissioned a study to investigate the effects of Covid-19 vaccination on transmission of the virus, which will play a big role in Boris Johnson’s decision on when to ease England’s lockdown. Coronavirus vaccines have been found to have a high degree of efficacy in providing immunity from the disease, but their impact on transmission of the disease is less clear. Downing Street officials said cutting transmission was a “critical factor” in easing the current restrictions. The study, which is being overseen by Public Health England, is focused on frontline healthcare workers who were given jabs early in the vaccination programme. Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer, is closely involved with the research, which is expected to conclude in late February.
27th Jan 2021 - Financial Times

Covid England: Boris Johnson to unveil 'road map' out of lockdown

Boris Johnson has again insisted he takes responsibility for Government's handling of the coronavirus crisis. The PM said there were no 'easy' answers' as Keir Starmer highlighted the UK death toll topping 100,000. Mr Johnson said 'perpetual lockdown is no answer' as he said he will unveil a road map out of lockdown soon Border crackdown is also set to be unveiled later with travellers from 'red list' countries in 'quarantine hotels.' Infection figures were down from 68,000 cases recorded on January 7 to just over 20,000 yesterday, he said
27th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Cyprus eases second virus lockdown

Cyprus announced Wednesday a cautious easing from February 1 of its national lockdown following a decline in the spread of Covid-19 infections that peaked after Christmas. The Mediterranean island went into lockdown on January 10 for the second time since last March after daily cases hit a record 907 on December 29. Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said the government has been relying on testing, restrictions and vaccinations to keep the pandemic in check.
27th Jan 2021 - FRANCE 24

Boris Johnson hopes to publish criteria for easing lockdown next month

The PM has said he hopes a "gradual and phased" relaxation of Covid restrictions can begin in early March. Boris Johnson told MPs he intended to set out a plan for how the lockdown in England could be eased and the criteria involved in the final week of February. Factors will include death and hospitalisation numbers, progress of vaccinations and changes in the virus. He has ruled out schools in England re-opening after the February half term, instead setting an 8 March target. In a statement to Parliament, Mr Johnson said the scientific data was not sufficiently clear to make any decisions now but he hoped to publish a detailed roadmap in just under a month's time as the "picture became clearer".
27th Jan 2021 - BBC News

South Korea willing to share COVID-19 vaccines with North, PM says

South Korea is willing to share excess COVID-19 vaccines with North Korea as part of an overall effort to resume relations with its nuclear-armed neighbor, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said on Wednesday.
27th Jan 2021 - UPI.com

Free vaccines and India's humanitarian diplomacy

Large parts of the world are still reeling from the spread of the coronavirus, with renewed lockdowns in effect in many places. With every stricken country focused on tackling its COVID-19 crisis, there is little international generosity in donating large quantities of medicines or vaccines when demand for them is sky-high. So, when India in recent days delivered millions of COVID-19 vaccines as gifts to countries in the Indian Ocean region, it attracted international attention. More than 5 million Indian-made vaccines were airlifted last week to countries extending from Myanmar and Bangladesh to Mauritius and the Seychelles. And millions of more free vaccines are on their way this week.
27th Jan 2021 - The Japan Times

Ireland plans to exit lockdown 'very slowly' after March 5 - deputy PM

Ireland is set to extend a shutdown of the economy until March 5 and will ease restrictions very gradually similar to its exit from an initial lockdown last year if it can suppress COVID-19 again, Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Monday. COVID-19 cases have begun to fall sharply in Ireland after exploding at the fastest rate in Europe at the turn of the year, fuelled by a four-week relaxation of restrictions and increasing prevalence of a new, more transmissible variant first detected in England. But with 766 COVID-19 infections per 100,000 people still recorded in the past 14 days, Varadkar and senior ministers will advise the Cabinet on Tuesday to keep most shops, building sites and all hospitality closed until March 5.
27th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Cyprus to ease lockdown measures gradually after fall in COVID cases

Cyprus announced on Wednesday a staggered easing of lockdown measures following a fall in the number of COVID-19 infections, including the reopening of primary schools and shopping malls on Feb. 8. The island has been in a strict lockdown since Jan. 10 after a spike in COVID-19 cases and the detection of a more contagious variant of the virus first identified in Britain. Bans on large gatherings and the closure of shopping centres and restaurants had already been announced in December.
27th Jan 2021 - Reuters

India Has Plenty of Coronavirus Vaccines But Few Takers

Most of the world is struggling to secure enough vaccines to inoculate their populations. India has the opposite problem: Plenty of shots, but a shortage of people willing to take them. As India rolls out one of the world’s biggest inoculation programs, some health-care and other frontline workers are hesitating because of safety concerns over a vaccine that has yet to complete phase III trials. As of Monday, only about 56% of people eligible to get the shot have stepped forward in a nation with the world’s second-worst Covid-19 outbreak. Unless the inoculation rate significantly increases, India will fall far short of its target of inoculating 300 million people -- or about a quarter of the population -- by July. That will setback global efforts to contain the virus and snuff out optimism that a recovery is taking root in an economy set for its biggest annual contraction in records going back to 1952.
26th Jan 2021 - Bloomberg

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 27th Jan 2021

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White House expected to tell governors they will get more coronavirus vaccine doses starting next week

The Biden administration said Tuesday it will seek to buy another 200 million doses of the two coronavirus vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use in the United States. The purchases would increase available supply by 50 percent, bringing the total to 600 million doses by this summer. Because both products — one developed by Pfizer and German company BioNTech and the other by Moderna — are two-dose regimens, that would be enough to fully vaccinate 300 million people. An estimated 260 million people in the United States are currently considered eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine, though Pfizer and Moderna have initiated trials for children as young as 12, the results of which could expand the pool
26th Jan 2021 - The Washington Post

EU threatens to impose export controls on Covid vaccines

Prime minister Boris Johnson has pledged to launch an inquiry into Britain’s handling of the pandemic, but insisted on Tuesday evening that “we truly did everything that we could, and continue to do everything that we can, to minimise [the] loss of life and to minimise suffering.” However, for many of those scientists who either advised the government or watched on helplessly from the sidelines as their warnings went unheeded, there is no excusing the realities of the past year and the scale of mortality that has swept across the UK.
26th Jan 2021 - The Independent

Covid vaccine: Scottish GPs say vaccination target for over-70s is a ‘big ask’

Coronavirus vaccination centres around Scotland will have to be operating at “full steam” in a matter of days for all over-70s to given their first dose on time, doctors have warned. Dr Andrew Buist, chair of the British Medical Association’s Scottish GPs group, described the official target of reaching this age group by mid-February as a “big ask”. While he said he was very confident that the over-80s would receive their first dose by the end of next week as planned, he was much less certain about the over-70s target.
26th Jan 2021 - iNews

People 75 and older can sign up for coronavirus vaccine beginning Wednesday

Massachusetts embarks on the next stage of its COVID-19 vaccination program on Wednesday, extending eligibility to people 75 and older, the population most devastated by the coronavirus, amid frustration over the pace and priority of distribution. As the Biden administration announced plans to buy 200 million more doses of the vaccine and increase weekly shipments to states, Massachusetts officials said residents 75 and over could now register for appointments at scores of immunization sites across the state. The first shots for this age cohort, approximately 450,000 people, will begin Monday. “By the end of this week, we will have 103 vaccination sites open to the public with the ability to administer about 240,000 doses each week,” Governor Charlie Baker said Tuesday in his State of the Commonwealth address. “And by mid-February, we will have 165 public sites, including seven mass vaccination sites, and all together, we will have the capacity to administer approximately 305,000 doses every week.
26th Jan 2021 - The Boston Globe

Wales reveals how much coronavirus vaccine is being wasted

The Welsh Government has published detail for how much coronavirus vaccine is being wasted. In total 0.3% of the vaccine distributed in Wales has been wasted - which is equivalent to around 870 of the 290,000 coronavirus doses that have so far been administered in Wales. See the daily update here. However Wales will not be releasing figures on coronavirus vaccine stock and supply levels - despite the health minister stating they would be in yesterday's press conference. Vaughan Gething said on Monday that information would be put in the public domain about the amount of vaccines Wales had received, the amount supplied and the amount of vaccine wastage. This information is in addition to the data Public Health Wales now releases on a daily basis showing the number of people being immunised against Covid-19 and their priority category. But the Welsh Government has now said that figures on the amount of doses supplied to Wales will not be released. It said that the UK Government has asked that vaccine stock data is not published "due to current commercial sensitivities".
26th Jan 2021 - Wales Online

Covid-19: Plans to vaccinate all over-65s by end of February

The Department of Health has said it plans to vaccinate everyone aged over 65 in Northern Ireland by the end of February. Both GP practices and regional vaccination centres will be used to vaccinate members of the public from prioritised groups. People aged between 65 and 69 in NI are to be vaccinated at their local vaccination centre. Until now only health care workers have been vaccinated at these locations. As of Monday, 159,642 people in Northern Ireland had received a first coronavirus vaccine dose. On Tuesday, the Department of Health daily figures reported an additional 16 Covid-19 related deaths and 550 new cases, bringing the total number of positive tests to 101,291.
26th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19 in Scotland: Half of over-80s have had first vaccine dose

More than half of people over 80 have received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.The 51 per cent figure announced by Scottish ministers is significantly lower than the UK-wide average of 78.7
26th Jan 2021 - The Times

Four in five over-80s have had first COVID-19 jab despite weekend slump in vaccinations

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said on 25 February that 78.7% of people aged over 80 have now received a dose of COVID-19 vaccine - up from 60% around a week ago. UK-wide there are 3.3m people aged over 80 - suggesting that around 2.6m in this cohort have had at least one dose of vaccine. Of the 6.6m total first-dose COVID-19 jabs administered UK-wide to date, around 40% have gone to over-80s. NHS officials have said around three quarters of jabs in England have been administered by GP-led local vaccination sites.
26th Jan 2021 - GP online

Davos highlights: Merkel appeals for international co-operation to overcome Covid-19

European leaders on Tuesday urged greater international co-operation as they reflected on the pandemic and signalled hopes for Joe Biden’s administration to extend its early efforts to re-engage in multilateral forums. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said the coronavirus pandemic has been the “hour of multilateralism”, as she used her speech to plead for more international collaboration to defeat the virus. “We must choose the multilateral approach,” she said on Tuesday, adding that isolation was not the solution and urging for coronavirus vaccines to be distributed fairly to poorer countries. Ms Merkel also said the pandemic had highlighted the importance of international agreements, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Paris climate accord.
26th Jan 2021 - Financial Times

Coronavirus: Vaccine supply fears grow amid EU export threat

The EU has warned Covid vaccine producers they must deliver agreed supplies, amid fears reductions could seriously hamper its inoculation drive. AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech have both said production problems mean they cannot supply the expected numbers. The EU warned it could restrict exports of vaccines made in the bloc, with Germany's health minister demanding "fair distribution". The UK's vaccine minister warned of "the dead end of vaccine nationalism". AstraZeneca is mainly produced in the UK, while the UK's supplies of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine come from the company's Belgian plant.
26th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Delaying the second Covid dose in the UK is controversial, but it's the right decision

A recent YouGov poll shows that the British are among the most willing in the world to take the Covid-19 vaccine. This is good news. But there are still questions about the vaccines and the way they’re being deployed, especially after the government decided to spread out the time between the two doses from three weeks to 12 weeks. The confusion is understandable, as we are in a developing situation. Clear messages about why tough decisions are made can get lost in the noise. First, it is absolutely clear that the two Covid-19 vaccines that are being deployed in the UK will save lives. Moreover, they will reduce the burden on hospitals. The Pfizer data, measured from day 14 post-vaccination, showed only one severe case of Covid-19 in 21,000 vaccinated people. The AstraZeneca data showed no hospitalisations or severe disease in 6,000 vaccinated trial participants. The caveat to this was that there were a small number of cases in the first two months after the first vaccine dose. This brings me to an important point.
26th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Covid: No risk to delivery of Pfizer vaccine, minister insists, despite EU threat to impose export controls

There is no risk to deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine, a minister is insisting, despite the EU threat to impose controls over a separate row with UK-based AstraZeneca. Nadhim Zahawi sought to play down growing fears of “vaccine nationalism” – saying he was “confident” that tens of millions of doses of Pfizer jabs ordered from Belgium will arrive. Brussels announced plans for export controls after AstraZeneca – which was due to deliver 80 million doses to the EU by the end of March – suddenly said it was cutting supplies to as low as 30 million. But, asked whether the EU could prevent Pfizer vials leaving its borders, Mr Zahawi, the vaccines minister, said: “No, I'm confident that the Pfizer vaccine will be delivered.
26th Jan 2021 - The Independent

Lockdown UK: Schools to find out when they can reopen 'within days'

Schools are to find out when they can reopen ‘within days,’ Education Minister Nick Gibb said. He told MPs: ‘The Government recognises that headteachers, teachers, support staff and parents and carers need time to prepare for reopening. ‘That’s why (Education Secretary Gavin Williamson) made it clear we will give two weeks’ notice to schools colleges and universities so they can prepare for a return to face to face education. ‘We want to give notice so parents can get notice for the care of their children, and we will be making an announcement in the next few days.’
26th Jan 2021 - Metro.co.uk

How quarantine hotels could work for travellers arriving in the UK

Boris Johnson is considering making all travellers arriving in the UK – including Brits returning home – quarantine in hotels. International travel is banned during England’s lockdown, with exceptions for essential circumstances. The UK has already scrapped travel corridors, meaning anyone arriving from abroad – with the exception of Ireland – must self-isolate for 10 days.
26th Jan 2021 - iNews

Germany backs EU export restrictions on vaccine after supply cuts

Germany’s health minister supported European Union proposals to introduce restrictions on COVID-19 vaccines on Tuesday as tensions grew with AstraZeneca and Pfizer over sudden supply cuts just a month after the bloc started vaccinating citizens. The EU has proposed setting up a register of vaccine exports, amid frustration over delays in deliveries of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 shot and other supply problems. “I can understand that there are production problems but then it must affect everyone in the same way,” Health Minister Jens Spahn told ZDF television. “This is not about Europe first but about Europe’s fair share,” he said, adding it therefore made sense to have export limits on vaccines.
26th Jan 2021 - Reuters

U.S. will have enough Covid-19 vaccines for 300 million Americans by end of summer, Biden says

President Biden plans to purchase another 200 million doses of coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, which should give the U.S. enough to fully vaccinate 300 million Americans by the end of summer 2021, the administration announced in a press release Tuesday. The Biden administration will also increase the number of vaccines being shipped weekly to states from 8.6 million to 10 million. The move comes less than a week after the Biden administration released a sweeping national plan to revamp the coronavirus vaccine effort. That plan foreshadowed a number of the changes announced Tuesday, including purchasing more vaccines from vaccine manufacturers.
26th Jan 2021 - Stat News

UK health minister says new COVID variant makes it harder to lift lockdown

Britain’s health minister Matt Hancock said on Monday a new more infectious coronavirus variant means the government needs to be more cautious in lifting lockdown restrictions. The government said on Friday that the new variant may be 30% more deadly than the original strain. “There is no question the new variant made this fight a whole lot tougher,” Hancock told a press conference. “The critical message is we must be cautious. For all of us, our response must be extra careful.”
26th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 26th Jan 2021

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Covid-19: Passengers may be required to pay for stay in quarantine

Passengers required to quarantine after arriving in Ireland may be asked to contribute towards the costs under new measures being discussed by the Cabinet subcommittee on Covid-19. The details of the measure are expected to be discussed later on Monday.
26th Jan 2021 - The Irish Times

Coronavirus in Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon reveals almost half of over 80s have been vaccinated against Covid-19

Speaking at her daily press briefing, Nicola Sturgeon said 46 per cent of all over 80s had been given a jab since the start of the vaccine rollout. At the same time, she revealed that the Scottish Government would publish more detailed data on its immunization effort, including breakdowns of the number of people who have been vaccinated in each age and risk category.
25th Jan 2021 - The Scotsman

German health minister calls for coronavirus vaccine exports to be authorized by EU

The export of coronavirus vaccines should be authorized at the EU level before leaving the bloc, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Monday. “As the EU, we must be able to know whether and which vaccines are being exported from the EU,” said Spahn in a statement. “This is the only way we can understand whether our EU contracts with manufacturers are being served fairly.” The EU will be taking up the call for registration of exports, according to Reuters, quoting an official who stated that a transparency register would be created and come into force in the coming days.
25th Jan 2021 - POLITICO.eu

COVID-19: Almost four in five of over-80s have received first dose of coronavirus vaccine but supply is 'tight', says Matt Hancock

Almost four in five of those aged over 80 have received a first dose of a COVID vaccine, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said. Speaking at a Downing Street news conference, Mr Hancock said the government was "on track" to meet its deadline of offering a first dose of a coronavirus jab to 15 million of the most vulnerable by 15 February. He said more than one in nine of the UK's adult population had now received a jab, including 78.7% of all over-80s. Over the last week, 2.5 million got a vaccine at a rate of more than 250 people per minute, the health secretary added.
25th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19: Why the US hasn't hit vaccine targets so far

President Joe Biden has pledged to boost the rollout of Covid vaccines in the US, and has criticised the speed of the operation under the previous administration. It's been "a dismal failure thus far," the president said, and he's committed to overseeing 100 million vaccine doses administered in his first 100 days. So how slowly has the rollout gone?
25th Jan 2021 - BBC News

California to reportedly lift Covid stay-at-home orders on Monday

California lifted its stay-at-home order statewide Monday after four-week projections showed intensive care unit capacity to be above 15% in beleaguered regions for the first time in weeks. “Today we can lay claim to starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel as it relates to case numbers,” said the California governor Gavin Newsom during a press briefing on Monday. Monday’s change moves counties back to a tiered system of reopening, with most regions across the state expected to move into the most restrictive tier. It lifts an evening curfew and, in many areas, will allow restaurants and churches to resume outdoor operations and hair and nail salons to reopen. Local officials still could choose to impose stricter rules.
25th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Difficult to put timeline on lockdown easing- UK minister

It is difficult to put a timelime on easing lockdown measures, Britain’s health minister said on Monday, adding that the government will look at the death rate, the number of hospitalisations, variants and the success of the vaccine rollout. “It is difficult to put a timeline on it because it is a matter of monitoring the data and the facts,” Matt Hancock told a press conference.
25th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Hancock says vaccine roll-out ‘on track’ as 4/5 of over-80s now jabbed

Nearly four in five over-80s in the UK have now received a first dose of coronavirus vaccine, the Health Secretary has said. Matt Hancock revealed the latest figures at a Downing Street press conference and said the roll-out was “on track” to hit its target of vaccinating 15 million vulnerable people by February 15. Meanwhile, Tory MPs have warned that England’s school children have become the “forgotten victims” of the coronavirus pandemic, mounting pressure on Boris Johnson to get kids back into the classroom after the February half-term.
25th Jan 2021 - Evening Standard

Bulgaria will have all travellers entering the country take Covid-19 test

On Monday, the health minister of Bulgaria announced that they will make all the travellers coming in the country, take a Covid-19 test in order to curb the spread of the new strain of coronavirus. Bulgaria will make everyone coming into the country take Covid-19 tests to stop the spread of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus, health minister Kostandin Angelov said on Monday. Bulgarian health authorities say they have so far recorded eight cases of the new variant that was first identified in Britain. "Today we will undertake actions to make PCR tests compulsory for all travellers that want to enter the country, including from the European Union," Angelov told a government meeting. The country has seen a significant drop in new infections in recent weeks and is planning to ease some restrictions and reopen secondary schools, shopping malls and gyms from February 4.
25th Jan 2021 - Hindustan Times

Medical-grade masks now mandatory in Austria

Medical-grade FFP2 face masks are now mandatory in Austria for people aged over 14 on public transport, shops and businesses, pharmacies, as well as hospitals or medical practices. Austria is among the first European countries to make FFP2 masks mandatory. The measure has largely been accepted without complaint, despite controversy over other measures, such as the closing of schools while ski lifts remain open. Though often sold for more than €5 each just a few weeks ago, the masks, which block 94% of aerosols, can now be found at all grocery stores for 59 cent each.
25th Jan 2021 - RTE.ie

UK could face three-month ‘halfway house’ lockdown while over-50s get jabs

Under plans being considered, ministers could kick start the economy in April but a full easing of lockdown rules will be delayed to allow more people to get the vaccine.
25th Jan 2021 - Metro

Britain still a long way from easing virus lockdown, minister says

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday the country was still a long way from being able to relax a national lockdown despite evidence that the restrictions were bringing down the rate of COVID-19 infections. “There is early evidence that the lockdown is starting to bring cases down. But we’re a long, long, long way from that from being low enough because the case rate was incredibly high and you can see the pressure on the NHS (National Health Service),” he said during an interview on Sky News.
25th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 25th Jan 2021

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AstraZeneca warns EU countries it will cut deliveries of Covid-19 vaccine by 60% in first quarter

AstraZeneca has warned EU countries it will cut deliveries of its Covid-19 vaccine by 60 per cent to 31 million doses in the first quarter due to production problems. The decrease deals another blow to Europe's Covid-19 vaccination drive after Pfizer Inc and partner BioNTech SE slowed supplies of their vaccine to the bloc this week, saying the move was needed because of work to ramp up production. AstraZeneca was expected to deliver about 80 million doses to the 27 EU countries by the end of March, a senior official who was involved in the talks said. The official said AstraZeneca planned to begin deliveries to the EU from February 15, in line with original plans.
23rd Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Italy to take legal action on COVID vaccine delays to get doses

Italy will take legal action and step up pressure in Brussels against Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca over delays in deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines with a view to securing agreed supplies, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Sunday. The aim was to get the companies to meet the vaccine volumes they had promised and not to seek compensation, Di Maio said on RAI state television. “This is a European contract that Pfizer and AstraZeneca are not respecting and so for this reason we will take legal action... We are working so our vaccine plan programme does not change,” he said.
24th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Help With Vaccination Push Comes From Unexpected Businesses

Amazon wrote to President Biden on Thursday offering to assist with communication and technology. Microsoft is opening up its largely empty office campus as a vaccination center as part of a broader partnership with the State of Washington. Starbucks is assigning workers from its operations and analytics departments to help design vaccination sites, donating the labor to the same state while continuing to pay employees. While some retailers and pharmacy chains have been directly involved in the rollout of coronavirus vaccinations, more surprising is the number of companies that have offered help despite having little to do with health care. What these companies do have are vast national footprints, significant manpower, huge distribution warehouses and, in some cases, empty office buildings. And they have the money to spare for a public service effort that could boost both their public image and their bottom line.
23rd Jan 2021 - The New York Times

Behind Africa's Delayed Coronavirus Vaccine Access

NPR's Steve Inskeep speaks with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former president of Liberia and co-chair of a WHO review panel, on what could be a years-long COVID-19 delay in Africa.
23rd Jan 2021 - NPR

Coronavirus vaccine delays halt Pfizer jabs in parts of Europe

Vaccinations in parts of Europe are being held up and in some cases halted because of a cut in deliveries of the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine. Germany's most populous state and several regions in Italy have suspended first jabs, while vaccinations for medics in Madrid have been stopped too. The US pharmaceutical firm has had to cut deliveries temporarily while cases in many European countries surge. Germany has reached 50,000 Covid deaths and Spain has seen record infections. Italy and Poland have threatened to take legal action in response to the reduction in vaccines. Pfizer said last week it was delaying shipments for the next few weeks because of work to increase capacity at its Belgian processing plant. The EU has ordered 600 million doses from Pfizer and has also authorised the Moderna vaccine.
23rd Jan 2021 - BBC News

Germany expects AstraZeneca to deliver 3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in February

AstraZeneca informed European Union officials on Friday it would cut deliveries of its COVID-19 vaccine to the bloc by 60% to 31 million doses in the first quarter of the year due to production problems, a senior official told Reuters. The decrease deals another blow to Europe's COVID-19 vaccination drive after Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech slowed supplies of their vaccine to the bloc this week, saying the move was needed because of work to ramp up production. "The good news is that if the AstraZeneca vaccine is approved at the end of January, we expect at least 3 million vaccine doses for Germany in February," Spahn told Bild am Sonntag in an interview.
23rd Jan 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

COVID-19: Three hospitals criticised for not vaccinating vulnerable inpatients

Vulnerable inpatients who are eligible for a COVID-19 jab are not being vaccinated in at least three hospitals in England. Sky News has seen evidence of hospitals telling the families of elderly non-COVID patients that they are only vaccinating outpatients, and not those staying overnight. Some 17.5% of COVID-19 patients caught the virus in hospital, according to analysis from the Daily Telegraph. Maria Thompson's 80-year-old mother has been in Merseyside's Whiston Hospital with an autoimmune disease for more than a week.
23rd Jan 2021 - Sky News

German minister warns against relaxing COVID-19 measures too soon

Germany’s coronavirus infection numbers are encouraging but remain too high, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Friday, dampening expectations that restrictions to curb the spread of the virus could be lifted. Spahn told a news conference that new, more transmissible strains of the virus made it imperative to reduce case numbers further. “It’s like an antibiotic: if you stop too early, stop too soon, resistance can develop,” he said. “We don’t want to be accused of having relaxed too soon.” Germany, in lockdown since early November, reported over 800 deaths and almost 18,000 new infections on Friday. The 7-day incidence fell to 115 cases per 100,000, its lowest since Nov. 1.
23rd Jan 2021 - Reuters

Greece lifts more lockdown curbs, to open highschools on Feb. 1

Greece will loosen some lockdown restrictions on Feb. 1, letting high schools reopen for the first time in more than two months after signs that the spread of COVID-19 infections has stabilised, officials said on Friday. The country, in lockdown since early November due to a spike in infections, has seen pressure on its public health system ease with infections receding. It reopened primary schools and kindergartens earlier this month.
23rd Jan 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Crowds at Heathrow Airport spark social distancing concerns

Crowds at Heathrow Airport have sparked "super spreader" concerns after pictures emerged of a packed departures hall with limited social distancing. Former British ambassador Sir Peter Westmacott posted a photo of Terminal 2 on Friday with the caption: "T2 Heathrow Friday afternoon. No ventilation. Long delays. Super spreading." Pictures and videos of huge queues for passport control have appeared on social media in recent days, despite international travel being largely banned. Britons are only allowed to go abroad for a small number of "legally permitted reasons" during lockdown, with arrivals requiring a negative coronavirus test from the past 72 hours before they are allowed entry.
23rd Jan 2021 - Sky News

South Africa paying more than double EU price for Oxford vaccine

South Africa will have to buy doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine at a price nearly 2.5 times higher than most European countries, the country’s health ministry has said. The African continent’s worst virus-hit country has ordered at least 1.5m shots of the vaccine from the Serum Institute of India (SII), expected in January and February. A senior health official on Thursday told AFP those doses would cost $5.25 (€4.32) each – nearly two and a half times the amount paid by most European countries. European Union members will pay $2.16 (€1.78) for AstraZeneca’s shots, according to information leaked by a Belgian minister on Twitter.
23rd Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Canada considering quarantining travellers in hotels

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned Friday his government could impose stricter restrictions on travellers at any moment in response to new, likely more contagious variants of the coronavirus – possibly making it mandatory to quarantine in a hotel at their own expense when they arrive in Canada. Trudeau said at a news conference that such measures could be imposed suddenly and bluntly warned against nonessential trips abroad. “No one should be taking a vacation abroad right now. If you’ve still got one planned, cancel it. And don’t book a trip for spring break,” Trudeau said. Canada already required those entering the country to self-isolate for 14 days and to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days before arrival. The suggested measure would require isolating at a hotel rather than at home.
22nd Jan 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine unit struggles to add new hires as holiday nears

A Beijing unit of Sinovac Biotech manufacturing a COVID-19 vaccine said it is facing difficulties in finding staff to expand production because of surging local infections and the imminent Lunar New Year holiday. Eleven people living in the Daxing district of the capital, Beijing, where Sinovac Life Science is based, were confirmed as COVID-19 patients between Sunday and Wednesday, forcing authorities to seal up some residential compounds and launch a mass testing scheme. “Many people dare not go to Daxing district to apply for jobs, nor do people outside Beijing dare to come to the city to work,” said Ma Hongbo, recruitment manager of Sinovac Life Science, in an article published by the Beijing Talent Market News, backed by the city’s human resources authority.
22nd Jan 2021 - Reuters

Europe’s growing mask ask: Ditch the cloth ones for medical-grade coverings

Faced with new, more contagious, strains of the coronavirus and a winter surge in cases, European nations have begun to tighten mask regulations in the hope that they can slow the spread of the virus. Germany on Tuesday night made it mandatory for people riding on public transport or in supermarkets to wear medical style masks: either N95s, the Chinese or European equivalent KN95 or FFP2s, or a surgical mask. It follows a stricter regulation from the German state of Bavaria this week that required N95 equivalents in stores and on public transport. Austria will introduce the same measures from Monday.
20th Jan 2021 - Washington Post

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 22nd Jan 2021

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11,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to arrive in Estonia next week

Based on the data of the Ministry of Social Affairs, in total 10,950 doses of both Pfizer/BioNtech and Moderna vaccines, should arrive in Estonia next week. Ministry of Social Affairs' media advisor Eva Lehtla told ERR that on Monday (January 25), 9,750 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will arrive in Estonia and 1,200 doses of Moderna vaccine. Lehtla said the first Moderna doses arrived last week and there were also 1,200 of them. While AstraZeneca's vaccine had not been approved yet, Lehtla said, according to the current information, the European Medicines Agency should give its evaluation of the vaccine by January 29.
21st Jan 2021 - ERR News

Social care chief nurse urges workforce to take up Covid-19 vaccine

The chief nurse for adult social care has urged nursing staff in the sector to take up the offer of a Covid-19 vaccine “as soon as it comes”. Professor Deborah Sturdy’s appeal to the workforce comes as vaccines are rolled out to a wider group of social care professionals. While the first priority had been staff working in care homes for older adults, the vaccination programme has now been extended to other frontline social care workers as well as NHS staff who fall under priority group two.
21st Jan 2021 - Nursing Times

All overweight D.C. residents will get priority for the coronavirus vaccine. Experts are skeptical.

The District plans to give priority for coronavirus vaccines to the broadest possible swath of people with preexisting health conditions — a decision that will make hundreds of thousands eligible for scarce doses of the vaccine and that some public health experts say might not make medical sense. The plan, the details of which were confirmed by vaccine director Ankoor Shah, would offer vaccines to people whose weight and medical history would not qualify them for early access to the vaccine in almost any state in the country. D.C. Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt told members of the D.C. Council last week that she decided to open up vaccine access, possibly as soon as February, to such a large group in the hope of quickly vaccinating anyone who might suffer the worst outcomes if they contract the virus.
21st Jan 2021 - Washington Post

Scotland considers streamlining Covid-19 vaccine delivery for GPs

Calls from Scottish GPs for the coronavirus vaccine distribution process to be streamlined are to be considered by ministers, amid fears supplies are not getting to surgeries quickly enough. The British Medical Association (BMA) is pressing the Scottish Government to allow GPs to order their supplies directly, claiming the current system is too bureaucratic. It has asked Professor Alison Strath, the interim Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, to consider reforming the process so doctors can bypass health boards when ordering vaccines.
21st Jan 2021 - iNews

Where Are Our Coronavirus Vaccines? South Africans Ask

South Africa’s government, lauded for its swift lockdown in March to curb the spread of the coronavirus, is now being pilloried for being slow off the mark to secure vaccines. While developing nation peers such as Indonesia and Argentina are among more than 50 already administering shots, South Africa’s inoculation program has yet to get off the ground. In December, it pinned down sufficient doses to cover just 10% of the population from Covax, a facility that aims to distribute vaccines equitably around the world. But those are only due to start arriving next month and the authorities have been scrambling to source additional supplies.
21st Jan 2021 - Bloomberg

Spain’s Covid immunization drive dogged by line-jumping politicians and other irregularities

Concern is rising in Spain over the number of individuals who have jumped the line to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. The list includes several mayors, a regional health chief and family members of medical workers. In these cases, the vaccine was administered even though the person did not belong to the first priority group of the ongoing campaign: residents and staff of care homes, other healthcare workers and people with serious disabilities. In some instances, this was due to a misunderstanding, and in others, the individuals jumped the line “to build confidence” in the vaccine or because there were “leftover doses.”
21st Jan 2021 - EL PAÍS in English

US to join global coronavirus vaccine program

Dr. Anthony Fauci says U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday will order the United States to support projects to deploy COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics to people in need around the world. Fauci also says the United States will cease reducing U.S. staff counts at the World Health Organization and will pay its financial obligations to it. Fauci, Biden’s top medical adviser on the pandemic, told the WHO’s executive board that the president will issue a directive Thursday that shows the United States’ intent to join the COVAX Facility, a project to deploy COVID-19 vaccines to people in need around the world — whether in rich or poor countries. Fauci also said the United States would support the “ACT Accelerator” — an umbrella effort including COVAX that also focuses on distributing diagnostic tools and therapeutics for the coronavirus to countries around the world.
21st Jan 2021 - The Independent

Coronavirus vaccine tracker: How many Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19?

Nearly a year into the coronavirus pandemic, Canada has launched the largest mass vaccination program in its history. And Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised that every Canadian — nearly 40 million people across 10 provinces and three territories — who wants to be inoculated against COVID-19 will be able to do so by September 2021. To keep track of it all, Global News has launched this project to keep track of: How many Canadians have been vaccinated each day How many people in each province have been vaccinated How Canada’s vaccination efforts compare with the rest of the world
21st Jan 2021 - Global News

Biden inheriting nonexistent coronavirus vaccine distribution plan and must start 'from scratch,' sources say

Newly sworn in President Joe Biden and his advisers are inheriting no coronavirus vaccine distribution plan to speak of from the Trump administration, sources tell CNN, posing a significant challenge for the new White House. The Biden administration has promised to try to turn the Covid-19 pandemic around and drastically speed up the pace of vaccinating Americans against the virus. But in the immediate hours following Biden being sworn into office on Wednesday, sources with direct knowledge of the new administration's Covid-related work told CNN one of the biggest shocks that the Biden team had to digest during the transition period was what they saw as a complete lack of a vaccine distribution strategy under former President Donald Trump, even weeks after multiple vaccines were approved for use in the United States. "There is nothing for us to rework. We are going to have to build everything from scratch," one source said.
21st Jan 2021 - CNN

Fed-Up Executives Plot a Faster Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout

Executives from an industrial conglomerate, a health system and a professional sports ownership group met up this month in their Charlotte, N.C., neighborhood to walk and vent. The national rollout of Covid-19 vaccine doses, they agreed, wasn’t going fast enough. By the end of the stroll, they had sketched the outline of a plan to speed things up: Combine the logistics technology of Honeywell International Inc., the expertise of health system Atrium Health, and the real estate of Tepper Sports & Entertainment to inoculate thousands more people a day than the average North Carolina vaccination site currently does. “It’s the last mile,” Honeywell Chief Executive Darius Adamczyk said of the problems that have plagued the vaccine rollout. Mr. Adamczyk is part of the North Carolina trio, along with Atrium CEO Eugene Woods and Tepper President Tom Glick. “We dramatically need to pick up the pace.”
21st Jan 2021 - Wall Street Journal

Jumping Covid-19 vaccine queue is 'morally reprehensible' says top NHS doctor

It is "morally reprehensible" to try to jump the queue for the Covid-19 vaccine, a senior NHS director has said. Brits have reportedly been securing appointments for coronavirus vaccinations through links to the NHS booking system shared on WhatsApp and social media. The Evening Standard found people had secured jabs through the loophole which should go to the elderly and vulnerable. And today Dr Vin Diwakar, NHS England regional medical director for London said they were denying vulnerable people a "life-saving vaccine". He told a Downing Street press conference: "People are being called in priority order so that we can vaccinate those most at risk of serious illness first. “That is why I was horrified to hear reports that some unscrupulous people have used links shared with them to try and falsely book a vaccination appointment.
21st Jan 2021 - The Mirror

Another 65 pharmacies join COVID-19 vaccination programme

A further 65 pharmacy-led sites will begin administering COVID-19 vaccinations over the coming days, but “many more” pharmacies are keen to offer their service, sector leaders say. The 65 additional sites – which include pharmacy teams operating from a mosque, pop-up Odeon and Village Hotel sites operated by Pharmacy2U and the Manchester Whalley Range Tennis and Cricket Club, run by Wilbraham Pharmacy – join the initial six pharmacies that went live last week (January 14).
21st Jan 2021 - Chemist+Druggist

Coronavirus: Emmanuel Macron promises more support for students in France

French university students have protested against the financial and psychological effects of the lockdown. The French president has promised to allow a very limited return to campus. French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday pledged more support for students affected by university closures. Students had protested on Wednesday against campus closures as part of coronavirus restrictions, calling for a resumption of in-person teaching. They rallied against the financial and psychological effects of the lockdown.
21st Jan 2021 - Deutsche Welle on MSN.com

France may follow Germany in making clinical masks mandatory

Medical-grade face masks rather than cloth coverings could become mandatory in a number of European countries to help contain the rapid spread of highly contagious Covid variants first identified in the UK and South Africa. Angela Merkel and the leaders of Germany’s 16 states agreed on Tuesday that either single-use surgical FFP1 masks or more protective FFP2 filtering facepiece respirators should be worn in the workplace, on public transport and in shops.
21st Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Mandatory travel quarantine should be introduced by Ireland, experts urge

Many countries across Europe including Ireland are concluding that the only way to curb Covid-19 “is to bring this virus sharply under control” with tighter measures on isolation and mandatory quarantine, according to public health specialist Prof Anthony Staines. Speaking at a webinar on the case for an international travel quarantine, the Dublin City University academic predicted that if Ireland was not the first country in the European Union to pursue this course, Germany would be. “Each country has to decide for itself what it wants to do. I have a sense across Europe that many are facing the same challenge that we’re facing and moving to the same conclusions. We need to bring this virus sharply under control. But they’re looking for someone to go first,” Prof Staines said at the event hosted by the Independent Scientific Advocacy Group (ISAG) for Covid in Ireland.
21st Jan 2021 - The Irish Times

Covid-19: Two weeks' notice for England's school return and warning over infection levels

Parents will know a fortnight in advance when their children will return to schools in England, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson says. Telling BBC Breakfast he wants pupils back in classrooms at "the earliest possible opportunity", he says he's "not able to exactly say" when schools will reopen but the "key criteria" will be whether pressure on the NHS was lifting
21st Jan 2021 - BBC News

Schools will be first to open when lockdown relaxed, Gavin Williamson says

Schools will “very much be the first to open” when lockdown is eased, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said today. He stressed that teachers, parents and pupils would be given two weeks notice for the return to class and that he “certainly hoped” that would be by Easter. The Cabinet minister explained that this would not happen before the pressure on the NHS, with many hospitals struggling to cope with a surge in Covid patients, started to ease. “What we will be wanting to do is give schools as much notice as possible so teachers can get ready, children can prepare and parents know in order to be able to manage their lives,” he told Sky News.
21st Jan 2021 - Evening Standard

Coronavirus: Hungary first in EU to approve Russian vaccine

Hungary has become the first country in the European Union to give preliminary approval to the Russian coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V. On Thursday, Prime Minister Viktor Orban's chief of staff confirmed both the Russian jab and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine had been given the green light by the health authorities. Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto is travelling to Moscow for further talks, where he is expected to discuss a shipment and distribution deal. Early results from trials of the Sputnik vaccine have shown promising results. Hungarian health officials are also in Beijing for talks with the Chinese authorities over the approval and immediate delivery of one million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, which is already being used in neighbouring Serbia.
21st Jan 2021 - BBC News

Hungary gives initial approval for AstraZeneca and Sputnik V vaccines

Hungary’s drug regulator has given initial approval for use of Britain’s AstraZeneca and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccines against the coronavirus, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff said on Thursday, confirming media reports. Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto was travelling to Moscow for talks about the Sputnik V vaccine later on Thursday, Gergely Gulyas told a briefing. If he secures a shipment deal with Russia, Hungary would be the first European Union member to receive the Sputnik V shot, underlining Budapest’s rush to lift coronavirus lockdown measures in order to boost the economy, even though the EU’s medicines regulator has yet to green-light the Russian vaccine. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has also not approved the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University in Britain but a decision is expected on Jan. 29.
21st Jan 2021 - Reuters

Don't ease Covid lockdown too soon, expert warns

A public health expert has warned that the Government cannot “take the foot off the brake” on Covid restrictions “any time soon.” Dr Gabriel Scally told RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne that moving from Level 5 to Level 3 restrictions in December had not been a sensible decision. While the recent slow reduction in the number of cases was good, but there was still a long way to go. “It will take a long time to get the numbers really down.” There were serious questions about “how to take things forward” to keep the country safe for the rest of the year. Dr Scally said he supported a “zero Covid” policy, but that it would require a lot of planning now. “You can’t tell what decisions politicians will take.”
21st Jan 2021 - BreakingNews.ie

Covid-19 vaccine supply is running low. Here’s how Biden hopes to fix that

The Biden administration is willing to consider almost anything to boost the nation’s dwindling supply of Covid-19 vaccines. A new strategy document released Thursday, totaling nearly 200 pages, offers the first clear list of the options President Biden has before him, though it doesn’t specifically say he’ll actually take all of the steps. On the list are some controversial ideas, like cutting the amount of vaccine being administered to each American. He’s also made it clear he wants to utilize the Defense Production Act to ramp up production of key supplies, and some more straightforward options like buying more doses.
21st Jan 2021 - STAT News

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 21st Jan 2021

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PH to receive COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX Facility within 1st quarter of this year

The country is set to receive COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility within the first quarter of this year, government officials said on Wednesday night. This was announced by Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III and Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr.
20th Jan 2021 - Manila Bulletin

Distributing the COVID-19 vaccine ... the just way

A look at COVID-19 vaccine distribution and how the developing world will almost certainly be left behind in the vaccination process.
20th Jan 2021 - Deutsche Welle

AstraZeneca and Pfizer supplies blamed for UK Covid vaccine slowdown

Mounting concerns about slowdown in vaccine rollout after three consecutive days saw falling numbers. Boris Johnson said 'on track' to hit mid-February target despite 37% dip on Monday compared to Friday. The PM admitted that 'constraints in supply' from Pfizer and AstraZeneca were making the situation harder. With possible exception of schools, unlikely to be any relaxation at first formal 'review point' in mid-February. Reports yesterday claimed that Boris Johnson was targeting Good Friday on April 2 as the earliest date. But several sources told the Mail that even this date could look optimistic, warning of restrictions into June. Britain recorded most deaths since the pandemic started yesterday, 30 per cent rise on same day last week. It comes amid alarm at the rising death toll in care homes, with fatalities doubling last week to 1,260
20th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Fury as coronavirus vaccine IT loophole 'allows people to jump the queue

Links to Swiftqueue website meant to allow over-70s and NHS staff book jabs But they have reportedly been shared on social media and Whatsapp People using them not asked for proof of eligibility when making appointments
20th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Coronavirus vaccine passports will leave bosses on shaky legal ground

With more than four million people in Britain having received a first dose of the Covid vaccine and another ten million or more expected to do so over the next month, there is a clamour for those protected from the virus to be allowed to go about their normal lives. Many businesses, particularly in the transport and travel industries, believe that vaccine passports could offer a way out of restrictions and governments are reviewing the feasibility of such schemes.
20th Jan 2021 - The Times

Saga requires all cruise customers to have Covid vaccine

Saga, the travel group targeting the over-50s, has become the first holiday business to insist that all of its customers must be vaccinated against coronavirus before they embark on its cruises. The company, whose customers are primarily in the UK, said on Wednesday that it had told holidaymakers they must be fully inoculated against the virus at least 14 days before travelling and take a pre-departure Covid-19 test. The requirement means customers must have had two doses of vaccine.
20th Jan 2021 - Financial Times

Seoul to procure enough COVID-19 vaccines for North, South Korea

South Korea is preparing to secure more COVID-19 vaccines via technology transfer from U.S. manufacturers Novavax Inc. and Moderna, allowing the country to produce local doses and enough potential vaccines for North and South Korea. South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Wednesday during a visit to a SK Bioscience Co. plant in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province, that Novavax vaccines will be produced in Korea and that enough vaccines to inoculate 10 million people will be secured through this supply agreement, Hankook Ilbo an and Yonhap reported.
20th Jan 2021 - UPI.com

COVID-19: Plans for daily testing in schools put on hold over worries about accuracy

Plans for daily tests in schools are being halted amid warnings about the accuracy of lateral flow tests. The rapid turnaround tests were due to be used to keep pupils and staff in school if they had come into contact with a positive case.
20th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19 vaccines diverted to areas lagging behind as overall numbers of vaccinations fall

Vaccine doses are to be diverted into areas falling behind with the coronavirus inoculation drive amid concerns over differing levels of vaccination across England. As the Government fended off accusations of a “postcode lottery” in the programme, new vaccination figures suggested it was falling behind its pledge to supply the jabs to 14.6 million people in the most vulnerable groups by 15 February.
20th Jan 2021 - iNews

UK 'nowhere near' easing lockdown and vaccine 'may not give us full herd immunity'

The UK is "nowhere near" easing its various lockdown measures, the Chief Scientific Advisor warned today. Sir Patrick Vallance sounded the grim alert after reports suggested England's restrictions will only start easing significantly in April. Boris Johnson previously claimed he wanted to lift restrictions from February 22, once the most vulnerable have a first vaccine dose. But the date appears to be slipping, with The Sun reporting he is now working on a plan to allow outdoor mingling at Easter. Sir Patrick today warned vaccines are not doing enough "heavy lifting" at the moment and case rates need to drop further.
20th Jan 2021 - Mirror Online

Covid lockdown cannot be eased while NHS looks like ‘war zone’, warns chief scientific adviser

Parts of the NHS are such “a war zone” that the UK cannot afford to relax its lockdown, the government’s’ chief scientific adviser has warned. Despite the vaccination of more than 4 million people against coronavirus, Sir Patrick Vallance warned that the country remains in “a difficult, dangerous situation”. Vaccines alone are not yet doing enough “heavy lifting” to allow lockdown restrictions to be eased, and when relaxation does come it will be slow and gradual, he said.
20th Jan 2021 - The Independent on MSN.com

London Schools Could Re-Open First After UK Lockdown, Official Says

The U.K. reported its highest daily death toll since the Covid-19 pandemic began, as data suggested one in eight people in England have had the disease. A further 1,610 people in the U.K. died within 28 days of a positive test, according to government figures released Tuesday -- taking the total number of deaths to more than 90,000. Covid-19 related deaths will “continue for some time throughout this second wave,” Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, said in a statement. “Whilst there are some early signs that show our sacrifices are working, we must continue to strictly abide by the measures in place.”
20th Jan 2021 - Bloomberg

As COVID-19 vaccination drives expand globally, many in India opt out of getting priority doses

Countries around the world stepped up their coronavirus vaccine campaigns Monday, with Russia offering jabs to all citizens, while an independent probe found fault with the early response to the pandemic. Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and Beijing could have acted faster when COVID-19 first surfaced in China a year ago, the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response concluded in a report. It added that countries where the virus was likely to spread should have put containment measures in place immediately. With the global death toll now past two million, many governments are betting on mass vaccination to throttle the pandemic, while tightening lockdown measures at the same time. Nationwide rollouts from Brazil to Azerbaijan were getting underway Monday, while Britain and France were widening inoculations to all elderly people.
20th Jan 2021 - Firstpost

S.Korea may secure additional COVID-19 vaccines from Novavax, Moon says

South Korea may secure additional coronavirus vaccines for 20 million people from U.S. drugmaker Novavax Inc, President Moon Jae-in said, according to a statement from the presidential office on Wednesday. Novavax entered into a development and supply agreement for its vaccine with South Korea's SK bioscience Co last year, according to a statement in August. Moon visited SK bioscience's work site on Wednesday and said that the agreement between Novavax and SK bioscience "raised the possibility of securing vaccines for an additional 20 million people," the statement said. That is in addition to the vaccines that the South Korean government has secured so far. The country has secured 106 million doses to allow for coverage of 56 million people, more than the 52 million residents of the country, Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) director Jeong Eun-kyeong said earlier this month.
20th Jan 2021 - The Peninsula

South Africa's Ramaphosa scrambles for enough Covid-19 vaccines

The scramble by South Africa for Covid-19 vaccines is intensifying pressure on the government to square its plans for immunizing the country with reality. President Cyril Ramaphosa has sketched out a program to acquire and administer enough vaccines to immunize two-thirds of South African’s population of 58 million by the end of this year with the goal of achieving so-called herd immunity. But the plan suffers from a shortage of specifics and a surfeit of ambition, say some in the public health community, who have counseled the government to rethink its target and up its transparency.
20th Jan 2021 - Quartz

UK still in COVID-19 peril so too early to talk about lifting lockdown, minister says

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson resisted calls for an inquiry into his government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday as the country’s death toll neared 100,000 and his chief scientist said hospitals were looking like war zones. Johnson has been accused of reacting too slowly to the crisis, failing to supply sufficient protective equipment and bungling the testing system, although the United Kingdom has been swift to roll out a vaccine. The official death toll is 93,290 - Europe’s worst figure and the world’s fifth worst, after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico. Deaths rose by another record daily number on Wednesday.
20th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Coronavirus: Vaccinators could lose their licences for giving second doses prematurely

Hospitals say they have been told they could lose their licence to deliver coronavirus vaccines if they give second doses to anyone before 12 weeks have passed since their first jab. In a message sent to vaccinators at the University Hospital Southampton Foundation Trust and seen by The Independent, staff were told the hospital’s chief executive had been given a “crystal clear” instruction that no second doses should be given to anyone before 12-week mark. There is mounting criticism of the delays in giving frontline NHS staff a second dose of the vaccine amid concerns that these could leave them more at risk. Emerging data from Israel suggested on Wednesday that the effectiveness of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine could be as low as 33 per cent after only the first dose.
20th Jan 2021 - The Independent

New York City reschedules 23,000 vaccination appointments due to supply issues

Tens of thousands of New Yorkers had their coronavirus vaccine appointments rescheduled this week due to a lack of supply, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said Wednesday. According to the mayor, a delay in the delivery of Moderna's vaccine contributed to the supply issues, which puts the city's goal of 1 million vaccinations by the end of the month in jeopardy. "We've had to tell 23,000 New Yorkers who had an appointment this week that they will not be able to get that appointment for lack of supply," de Blasio said during a news conference.
20th Jan 2021 - The Hill

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 20th Jan 2021

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Ireland’s first Covid-19 vaccine recipient receives second dose

The first person in Ireland to receive the Covid-19 vaccine has been given her second dose today. Dublin woman Annie Lynch (79) received the first round of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in St James’s Hospital on December 29, making her the first person in the country to be given the Covid-19 jab outside of clinical trials. The mother of three, who has 10 grandchildren, returned to St James Hospital to receive her second round of the vaccine.
19th Jan 2021 - Independent.ie

Coronavirus: India to provide vaccines to six countries from Wednesday

India will provide coronavirus vaccines made in the country to six nations - Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles - from Wednesday, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. Vaccines will be sent to Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius as well, once necessary regulatory clearances are received, the ministry added. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it was a matter of honour and that vaccines will be sent to more countries. “India is deeply honoured to be a long-trusted partner in meeting the healthcare needs of the global community,” he tweeted. “Supplies of Covid vaccines to several countries will commence tomorrow, and more will follow in the days ahead.”
19th Jan 2021 - Scroll

More than 45,000 people in Florida are overdue for their second coronavirus vaccine dose

Of the 1.03 million people in Florida who have received at least one shot of the coronavirus vaccine, 45,056 are overdue for their second dose. Florida's Department of Health has refused to answer questions about whether officials are concerned and reasons for why people have missed their second jab. Health experts say some might be worried about the side effects of getting the second dose, which is known to be stronger than the first. In a statement on Thursday, Gov Ron DeSantis urged Floridians being vaccinated to not forego their second shot
19th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid in Scotland: Concerns about vaccine supply amid GP frustration

Opposition parties have voiced concerns about vaccine supplies after "frustrated" GPs said they were still waiting for deliveries. At Holyrood on Tuesday, the first minister was pressed on why the rollout was going "so slowly" and on whether there was a problem with distribution. Dr Andrew Buist, of BMA Scotland, told the BBC that patients were getting anxious and practices could not plan. Nicola Sturgeon said there were ongoing challenges but targets would be met. Dr Buist claimed that as of Monday, the Scottish government had taken receipt of more than 700,000 vaccines - but only used 264,991.
19th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Covid vaccine: New York to run out of doses by Thursday, warns mayor

New York City could run out of Covid-19 vaccine doses by Thursday, warned Mayor Bill de Blasio, which could force the city to cancel vaccination appointments. “We will have literally nothing left to give as of Friday,” Mr de Blasio said. “What does that mean? It means that if we do not get more vaccine quickly, a new supply of vaccine, we will have to cancel appointments and no longer give shots after Thursday for the reminder of the week at a lot of our sites.” The warning came during the mayor’s coronavirus press briefing on Tuesday morning.
19th Jan 2021 - The Independent

Many health care workers are refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccine

A significant percentage of doctors, nurses, EMS workers, support staff and other health care employees said they turned down the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines over concerns they may not be safe or effective, according to a recent survey by Surgo Ventures, a non-profit group focused on solving health and social problems. Others in the health field worried the development of the vaccine had been rushed. "We have a lot more work to do to get health care workers to take the vaccine. Simply making it available is not enough — we have to take a more precise, targeted approach to reach different segments of population to overcome hesitancy," Hannah Kemp, director of programs for Surgo Ventures, told CBS MoneyWatch.
19th Jan 2021 - CBS News

COVID-19: 'Vast majority' of over-80s should be vaccinated before jabs offered to over-70s, minister says

The "vast majority" of over-80s and care home residents should be vaccinated before local areas move on to giving jabs to lower priority groups, a cabinet minister has told Sky News. From this week, those aged over 70 and those listed as clinically extremely vulnerable will be invited to receive coronavirus vaccinations.
19th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Outcry in Italy at call for more vaccines for rich regions

The idea that richer areas should get a bigger share of coronavirus vaccines sparked an outcry on Tuesday (19 January) in Italy, one of the countries worst hit by the pandemic. The proposal came from Letizia Moratti, the aristocrat wife of a late oil baron, who this month was appointed health chief of the northern Lombardy region, which includes Milan. Writing to the government coronavirus crisis commissioner, she said vaccines should be allocated to regions based not only on population density, but also on gross domestic product (GDP), local impact of the pandemic and levels of mobility. “It is not about giving more vaccines to richer regions… but in helping Lombardy’s recovery you would automatically help the recovery of the whole country,” she said in the letter, parts of which media published.
19th Jan 2021 - EURACTIV

Spain to extend COVID furlough scheme until May, PM says

Spain will extend its scheme supporting hundreds of thousands of workers furloughed due to COVID-19 until May, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Tuesday after the government, unions and business groups reached an agreement on the issue. The ERTE furlough scheme, which has benefitted millions of workers since the beginning of the pandemic, had been due to expire on Jan. 31 under a previous such agreement. As most of business restrictions were lifted during the past months following a nationwide lockdown, many furloughed workers returned to work though 755,000 were still on the state-supported furlough scheme in December.
19th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Japan scrambles to roll out vaccine, but how many people will get the shot?

The government is scrambling to begin the rollout of coronavirus vaccinations as early as the end of February. But in a nation where many people are skeptical about vaccines in general, Japan may face a daunting challenge in trying to convince people to get the shots even when they are available. There is a scientific consensus worldwide that the COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective and that they will help achieve herd immunity — a light at the end of the tunnel. Polls have shown recently that nearly 70% of Japanese are willing to get a coronavirus vaccine. But still, skepticism against vaccines is deeply rooted in the country. In a 2016 EBioMedicine study of 67 countries, 31% of Japanese were skeptical of vaccine safety, ranking third-highest following France (45.2%) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (38.3%). The global average was 13%.
19th Jan 2021 - The Japan Times

COVID-19: Schools might not all reopen at the same time across England, suggests Dr Jenny Harries

Schools might not all reopen at the same time across England as lockdown restrictions are eased, MPs have been told. Dr Jenny Harries, one of England's deputy chief medical officers, said there was "likely" to be regional differences in COVID measures once the national shutdown ends.
19th Jan 2021 - Sky News

UK still looking at mid-Feb for COVID lockdown review: minister

Britain’s government is still aiming to review COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in mid-February, Northern Ireland minister Brandon Lewis said on Tuesday. “When we put these current restrictions in place we said we would do a review in mid-February ... and that’s still the case,” Lewis told Sky News.
19th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Africa's fears over Covid-19 vaccine shortage

One of Africa's top public health officials, virologist Dr John Nkengasong has spoken of his concern that countries in the continent will not be getting the vaccines they need. The director of the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention told BBC World News: "We are truly headed towards a moral catastrophe if this situation isn't addressed." When the pandemic first hit the world it was agreed everyone needed equitable and timely access to vaccines, Dr Nkengasong said. Now that the vaccines are here it was time to translate those words into action he said, explaining that the second wave of the virus in the continent was much more aggressive and devastating.
19th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Most Americans want vaccine as nation tops 400,000 COVID deaths

One day before Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, a new poll from Washington Post-ABC News shows that 52% of Americans think the coronavirus outbreak is out of control, and 62% say trying to control the pandemic is more important than restarting the economy. The numbers come as a national vaccine campaign has rolled out in fits and starts across the country. Though the new poll still shows a political divide, most Americans said they will (40%) or probably will (23%) get a COVID-19 vaccine when one is made available to them. Half of Democrats polled said they would definitely get a vaccine, while only 25% of Republicans said the same.
19th Jan 2021 - CIDRAP

Coronavirus: Why South Africa has yet to roll out vaccines

More than a third of all Covid-19 cases in Africa have been in South Africa and numbers are surging with the emergence of a new variant of the virus. But unlike some other badly hit countries in the world, South Africa is yet to start its vaccination programme.
19th Jan 2021 - BBC News

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These Over-90s Are Still Waiting For The Vaccine. Here's Why

On Monday, the British government announced people aged over 70 and over and the clinically extremely vulnerable will begin receiving invitations for coronavirus vaccinations from this week. It came as officials announced more than 4m people in the UK have received the first dose of a vaccine. But HuffPost UK spoke to several people who said their elderly parents, all of whom were over the age of 90, had received no news regarding their vaccine appointments. One said hearing the latest announcement had only made things “even more frustrating” for their Lincolnshire-based mother, who is 94 and diabetic.
18th Jan 2021 - Huffington Post UK

Governors express anger as Covid vaccine stockpile vanishes

In the US, several governors expressed exasperation at the Trump administration after being assured that the federal government had enough vaccine stockpiled to speed up or expand state rollouts only to be later told those reserves don't exist. Among them are Wisconsin's Democratic governor, Tony Evers who has been taking heat from the state's Republican-led Legislature over the slow pace of vaccinations. Several other governors including Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, were left scrambling to alter plans to expand the rollouts in their states, including to senior citizens.
18th Jan 2021 - The Independent

Second Covid vaccine doses in doubt amid call for study into single jab

In England, the foreign secretary cast doubt on whether all people would be given a second dose of coronavirus vaccine as leading academics said the government had a duty to run trials into giving it as a single injection. Dominic Raab repeatedly declined to guarantee that all people who had received a first dose would get a second within 12 weeks. He instead said that the government was “aiming for” everyone to get a second jab. Sheila Bird, former programme leader at the Medical Research Council’s biostatistics unit, has written to Matt Hancock, the health secretary, calling for a study to begin immediately to investigate the effect of extending the gap between the first and second doses of the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine.
18th Jan 2021 - The Times

More than 4 million Britons receive first COVID-19 vaccine dose

More than 4 million people have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Britain, according to official data on Monday which showed there had been a further 37,535 cases reported and 599 deaths within 28 days of a positive test. A total of 4,062,501 people have received their first shot Public Health England said as the government ramps up the vaccination programme.
18th Jan 2021 - MSN.com

COVID-19: 24-hour vaccination sites to be piloted in London before end of January

Twenty-four hour vaccination sites will be piloted in London before the end of January, the vaccines minister has said. Speaking to Sky News, Nadhim Zahawi said the NHS will be "targeting forensically who we want to protect" to ensure the most vulnerable people can be vaccinated first. He said that as there is "limited supply" of the vaccine, "it needs to get into the arms of the most vulnerable" such as those who are elderly or clinically extremely vulnerable. Professor Stephen Powis, the NHS national medical director for England, told Sky News the 24/7 pilot would be starting "within the next week or two". The current 8am to 8pm vaccination times have been working for the over-80s, and some areas of the UK have managed to give out first jabs to the majority of this age group.
18th Jan 2021 - Sky News

UK coronavirus: Mutations mean lockdowns needed as vaccine rolls out

Dr Christina Pagel said Britain should still be going for 'suppression' of Covid Said she 'can't think of anything worse' than jabs being outdated in 6 months NHS vaccinated nearly a million people across the UK last week in fast roll-out Coronavirus mutations have become serious concern in recent months Approval and roll-out of vaccines means scientists want virus to stay the same
18th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

England extends Covid vaccines to over-70s

People aged over 70 will start receiving invitations for their first Covid-19 vaccination from Monday, along with the clinically extremely vulnerable, as the programme enters a new phase. The NHS has concentrated over the past month on giving jabs to its highest priority categories — the over-80s, frontline health staff and care home residents and workers. But with 3.8m vaccinations administered, ministers have given sites approval to offer injections to the next two “cohorts” of over-70s and “clinically extremely vulnerable” people with conditions such as cancer, Down’s syndrome, cystic fibrosis or severe asthma.
18th Jan 2021 - Financial Times

Indian companies prepare to buy vaccines for employees

Several Indian companies are considering buying COVID-19 vaccines for their employees, once they become available commercially, just days after the government began a huge vaccination drive. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched what his government has described as the “world’s largest vaccination programme”. It aims to inoculate around 300 million people to curb the pandemic in India, which has reported the second highest number of coronavirus cases after the United States. India vaccinated 148,266 people on Monday, taking the total to 381,305, the health ministry said.
18th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Covid UK: Travellers into the UK face Australia-style 'hotel quarantine'

Travellers into the UK face being forced to quarantine in hotels from 4am Ministers have asked officials to prepare for creation of quarantine hotels Arrivals would be required to self-isolate before being allowed out
18th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Germany plans more tests, sequencing to deal with new coronavirus strains

Top German politicians on Monday called for new measures to slow the spread of new, more infectious variants of the coronavirus, including more health checks for cross-border commuters and intensified gene sequencing of virus samples. In future, health labs will have to sequence 5% of the samples they collect when screening for the coronavirus to check if they match more virulent variants first identified in Britain and South Africa, or if new mutations were emerging in Germany. National and regional leaders are due to meet on Tuesday to decide on new measures. “We still have a big risk ... that is the risk of mutation,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a news conference, calling for a joint European response. An outbreak of a mutated variant of the coronavirus at a clinic in the southern German alpine town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which appeared not to be one of the known variants, fanned the concerns.
18th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Brazil vaccinations start as country faces vaccine ingredient shortfall

Brazil kicked off a nationwide COVID-19 immunization program on Monday by distributing doses of a vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech following an emergency use authorization, although the pace of vaccination will depend on delayed imports. After weeks of setbacks, many Brazilians cheered the first wave of inoculations, from bustling clinics in Sao Paulo to a spectacular shot planned at the foot of the Christ Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro. The Health Ministry gave states the green light to start immunizing at 5 p.m. (2000 GMT). Although some began administering shots before that, the majority of Brazil’s 26 states had yet to receive vaccine shipments as of Monday evening, delaying the start of vaccinations for the elderly and frontline health workers.
18th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Independent pandemic review panel critical of China, WHO delays

An independent panel said on Monday that Chinese officials could have applied public health measures more forcefully in January to curb the initial COVID-19 outbreak, and criticised the World Health Organization (WHO) for not declaring an international emergency until Jan. 30. The experts reviewing the global handling of the pandemic, led by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, called for reforms to the Geneva-based United Nations agency.Their interim report was published hours after the WHO’s top emergency expert, Mike Ryan, said that global deaths from COVID-19 were expected to top 100,000 per week “very soon”. “What is clear to the Panel is that public health measures could have been applied more forcefully by local and national health authorities in China in January,” the report said, referring to the initial outbreak of the new disease in the central city of Wuhan, in Hubei province.
18th Jan 2021 - Reuters

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GPs ‘forced to bin leftover vaccines’ amid struggle to book exact number of Covid vaccine recipients

In the UK, GPs are being forced to bin leftover vaccines rather than give patients second doses or use them on staff, according to reports. Local NHS leaders are said to have issued the vaccine disposal instructions to doctors organising clinics. The revelation comes as Pfizer said there would be a short delay to UK orders of its vaccine. GPs are struggling to book the exact number of appointments to match the doses of the vaccine which needs to kept at -70c, which adds another layer of difficulty.
17th Jan 2021 - Evening Standard

UK ‘on home straight’ as Covid vaccine rollout increases

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the UK is "nearly on the home straight" out of the pandemic as the vaccine rollout gathers pace. More than 324,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines were administered in the space of 24 hours, new Government statistics showed , with 3.5 million people in the UK now receiving their first dose of a vaccine, with new vaccination centres opening from tomorrow. But Government sources have “dismissed as speculation” reports that every adult in Britain could be vaccinated by the end of June. Other reports state the government is looking at relaxing lockdown restrictions in March.
17th Jan 2021 - Evening Standard

COVID-19: More than half of over-80s have received vaccine as 140 jabs given a minute

More than half of over-80s in the UK have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, as the government has revealed that 140 jabs are being given out a minute. Sharing the news on Twitter, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "I'm delighted that over half of all over-80s have been vaccinated. "Each jab brings us one step closer to normal."
17th Jan 2021 - Sky News

COVID-19: Some restrictions could go by March and vaccine should be offered to every adult by September

All UK adults should be offered the first dose of a COVID vaccine by September - with the hope some restrictions can be lifted by March, Dominic Raab has told Sky News. The foreign secretary said: "Our target is that by September to have offered all the adult population a first dose, if we can do it faster than that great but that's the roadmap." The target is more specific than the government's COVID-19 vaccine delivery plan, published a week ago, which said that level of protection should be provided "by the autumn".
17th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19: England delivering 140 jabs a minute, says NHS chief executive

People in England are being vaccinated four times faster than new cases of the virus are being detected, NHS England's chief executive has said. Sir Simon Stevens told the BBC that 140 people a minute were now being given the jab, usually the first dose of two. But he said the NHS had never been in a more precarious position, with 75% more Covid patients than at the April peak. It comes as a further 298,087 people received their first dose of the vaccine on Saturday. There were also 671 more deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test, and another 38,598 positive tests. Sir Simon said some hospitals would open for vaccinations 24 hours a day, seven days a week on a trial basis in the next 10 days.
17th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Lifting lockdown in February would be ‘disaster’ for NHS, top scientist warns

It would be a ‘disaster’ to remove coronavirus restrictions at the end of February, even if the vaccine target is met, according to a leading expert. Epidemiologist Professor John Edmunds – who sits on the Government’s Sage committee of scientific advisors – warned against lifting lockdown too soon because of the ‘enormous pressure’ it would place on the NHS. He also said it was ‘likely’ both variants of Covid first detected in Brazil have already made it to the UK before new travel restrictions were introduced.
17th Jan 2021 - Metro

Greece starts COVID-19 vaccinations among the elderly

Greece kicked off COVID-19 vaccinations among the elderly on Saturday, after first inoculating tens of thousands of frontline workers to fight the spread of the coronavirus. More than 75,000 healthcare workers and nursing home residents and carers have received the shot of the vaccine produced by Pfizer/BioNTech since Greece rolled out the plan along with other EU countries last month.
17th Jan 2021 - Reuters

German minister says COVID curbs should be eased for vaccinated people

People who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 should be allowed to go to restaurants and cinemas earlier than others, a German minister said, contradicting other cabinet members who have so far opposed special freedoms for those inoculated. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the state had massively restricted people’s basic rights in order to contain infections and avoid overwhelming hospitals. “It has not yet been conclusively clarified to what extent vaccinated people can infect others,” Maas told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. “What is clear, however, is that a vaccinated person no longer takes a ventilator away from anyone. This removes at least one central reason for restricting fundamental rights.”
17th Jan 2021 - Reuters

UK hopes to ease lockdown from March: minister

Britain’s government hopes to ease some lockdown restrictions in March as it presses ahead with Europe’s fastest rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, foreign minister Dominic Raab said on Sunday. The country, which also has Europe’s highest COVID-19 death toll, has been under national lockdown since Jan. 5, with schools closed for most pupils, non-essential businesses shut and people ordered to work from home where possible. “What we want to do is get out of this national lockdown as soon as possible,” Raab told Sky News television.
17th Jan 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Second variant from Brazil 'likely' already in the UK, SAGE scientist says

The second of two new coronavirus variants from Brazil is likely to already be in the UK despite the government imposing a travel ban, a leading epidemiologist has warned. Eight cases of the first variant, which has a small number of mutations, have been identified in the UK. The second, which has been detected in the Brazilian city of Manaus and in travellers arriving in Japan, has not been detected in the UK so far.
17th Jan 2021 - Sky News

From hard lockdown to tactful reopening: How China bounced back from Covid

The smell, salty and pungent, wafts through the freshly paved streets near the gleaming new factory. The factory is owned by a company called Laoganma, which makes a piquant chili-and-soybean sauce famous across China for its power to set mouths watering. In a time of global pandemic, when the jobs of working people around the world hang in the balance, the factory’s scents signal opportunity. Since it opened in March, when China was still in the grip of Covid-19, the factory has struggled to find enough machinery operators or quality control technicians. Now workers are flocking to Changmingzhen, a once-quiet farming town ringed with green mountains and rice paddies, from which young people once fled for better jobs elsewhere.
17th Jan 2021 - Business Standard

India Kicks Off A Massive COVID-19 Vaccination Drive

Cheers erupted in hospital wards across India on Saturday as a first group of nurses and sanitation workers rolled up their sleeves and got vaccinated against COVID-19, at the start of what's likely to become the biggest national vaccination campaign in history. India aims to vaccinate 300 million people by July, though it could take an additional two or more years to inoculate all nearly 1.4 billion Indians. The shots are voluntary. Hospitals and clinics have been setting up and rehearsing for weeks. "A proud moment indeed! This is what we've been waiting for," Dr. R. Jayanthi, dean of the Omandurar Medical College in the southern city of Chennai, told local media moments after receiving her shot. "I'm truly a very privileged beneficiary today, and I'm feeling absolutely fine."
17th Jan 2021 - NPR

Coronavirus: EU anger over delayed Pfizer vaccine deliveries

Several EU countries are receiving significantly fewer doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine than expected, after the US firm slowed shipments. Six nations called the situation "unacceptable" and warned it "decreases the credibility of the vaccination process". Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia urged the EU to apply pressure on Pfizer-BioNTech. Pfizer said the reduced deliveries were a temporary issue. In a statement on Friday, the drugmaker said shipments were being affected by changes to its manufacturing processes designed to boost production. "Although this will temporarily impact shipments in late January to early February, it will provide a significant increase in doses available for patients in late February and March," Pfizer said.
16th Jan 2021 - BBC New

Care boss' frustration over coronavirus vaccine no-shows in Gwent

A care boss has been left frustrated by people in Gwent not turning up for coronavirus vaccines. Mary Wimbury, the chief executive of Care Forum Wales which represents nearly 500 independent providers, said it was particularly galling when many vulnerable care home residents in the Aneurin Bevan health board area are desperate to have them. There has been a significant number of no-shows across Wales at a time when vaccine supplies are limited. It was now, said Ms Wimbury, a race against time to get all 23,000 care home residents as well as the 12,000 staff in Wales vaccinated, with the Welsh Government promising that all of them will be given the jab before the end of January.
16th Jan 2021 - South Wales Argus

Biden details 5-step COVID vaccine plan, names new lead for vaccines

President-elect Joe Biden revealed details of his $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, which includes an emergency vaccination and relief package to help see America through the COVID-19 pandemic, and today the former vice president presented a 5-point plan aimed at quickly ramping up vaccinations. "We're sparing no effort in getting Americans vaccinated," Biden said. "We remain in a very dark winter, the infection rate is up 34%, we see 3 or 4,000 deaths per day. Things will get worse before they get better." Biden named a new head for Operation Warp Speed, which promoted rapid vaccine development under President Donald Trump, though the Biden team will rename the effort. Biden said the Trump administration's efforts to roll out two approved COVID-19 vaccines, one from Pfizer and one from Moderna, was a dismal failure. He said he wanted to turn frustration into motivation and meet his goal of 100 million shots during his first 100 days in office.
15th Jan 2021 - CIDRAP

Biden will mobilize FEMA, the National Guard, and pharmacies to ramp up vaccine distribution

President-elect Biden’s newly released vaccine distribution plan promises to dramatically increase the number of vaccination sites in America by mobilizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Guard, relying on low-income community health centers, and pharmacies around the country. Biden unveiled the plan in a Friday afternoon speech in which he doubled down on his long-stated goal: Administering 100 million vaccine doses in his first 100 days in office. “Some wonder if we’re reaching too far for that goal,” Biden said. “Is it achievable? It’s a legitimate question to ask. Let me be clear. I’m convinced we can get it done.”
15th Jan 2021 - STAT News

EU countries decry ‘very short notice’ of delay in delivery of Pfizer vaccine

EU governments struggling with the slow rollout of coronavirus vaccines have hit out at plans by Pfizer to delay supplies to European countries, including the UK, from next week. Germany’s health ministry said on Friday that it regretted the “unexpected and . . . very short notice” announcement, especially as the US pharmaceuticals company had promised “binding delivery dates” until the middle of next month. Health ministers from six Nordic and Baltic states also expressed “severe concern about the sustainability and credibility of the Covid-19 vaccination process” following the US company’s decision.
15th Jan 2021 - Financial Times

The Covid-19 Death Toll Is Even Worse Than It Looks

The recorded death count from the Covid-19 pandemic as of Thursday is nearing 2 million. The true extent is far worse. More than 2.8 million people have lost their lives due to the pandemic, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from 59 countries and jurisdictions. This tally offers the most comprehensive view yet of the pandemic’s global impact. Deaths in these places last year surged more than 12% above average levels. Less than two-thirds of that surge has been attributed directly to Covid-19. Public-health experts believe that many, if not most, of the additional deaths were directly linked to the disease, particularly early in the pandemic when testing was sparse. Some of those excess deaths came from indirect fallout, from health-care disruptions, people avoiding the hospital and other issues.
14th Jan 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

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The future of the Covid vaccine: Inside New York City’s pop-up clinics

On a normal weekday, Hillcrest High School in Queens, New York, would be filled with students congregating in the hallways and attending classes. But the school has instead faced a pandemic transformation, becoming one of the latest vaccination pop-ups to open up across New York City. When eligible residents arrive on the site, which officially opened on Sunday, they are asked to confirm their online appointment with a staff member before they are guided along a stickered path through the hallways of the high school.
14th Jan 2021 - The Independent

COVID-19: Success of vaccine rollout will remain a mystery so long as government keeps key data under wraps

The COVID vaccine rollout is the biggest in the history of the NHS, but we're not being given the information to judge how well it's going. Yes, we know how many people are getting their first dose, so we can track progress towards the government's target of protecting the 15 million people most vulnerable disease. But the rollout isn't happening anywhere near fast enough.
14th Jan 2021 - Sky News

COVID-19: Disruption to vaccine rollout as people trek for miles in snow for jabs - and others told to stay at home

Heavy snow has battered parts of the country, with people trekking for miles in freezing conditions to receive COVID jabs and others told to rebook and avoid the poor weather. GPs in Leeds have been "frantically" trying to fill cancelled vaccination appointments - but elderly people due to receive a jab in Newcastle today were told to rebook and stay at home. The disruption to the vaccine rollout comes after parts of the North saw snowfall overnight and today. Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said there was "no need to risk travelling in the bad weather".
14th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Pope Francis, 84, receives his first dose of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine

Vatican began vaccinating its population of 800 against Covid on Wednesday Pope Francis, 84 and with only one lung, was among the first to get a shot Pope Emeritus Benedict, 93, received his jab early on Thursday, Vatican said Francis told Catholics it is their 'moral duty' to be vaccinated against the virus
14th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Fourth coronavirus vaccine to be trialled in Birmingham as UK orders 60 million

A fourth Covid vaccine is undergoing a trial in the UK as the government orders 60 million doses. The Valneva coronavirus vaccine is being developed in West Lothian and will initially be tested on 150 volunteers at four National Institute for Health Research sites across the UK. Trials are set to begin within months at sites in Birmingham, Bristol, Newcastle and Southampton. Alok Sharma said: “Today we have more welcome news that life-saving clinical trials will begin across the country to test the safety and effectiveness of Valneva’s coronavirus vaccine, which is being clinically developed right here in the UK.
14th Jan 2021 - Birmingham Live

Mayor: Chicago opening 6 mass COVID-19 vaccination sites

The city of Chicago is opening six mass COVID-19 vaccination sites that’ll be able to deliver roughly 25,000 weekly shots once operational, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday. Lightfoot visited one of two new sites that opened Thursday but said Chicago needs many more first doses to protect all Chicagoans quickly. The last three sites are expected to open in the next week. Most are at City Colleges of Chicago campuses. “We are frustrated by the federal government's response to COVID-19 overall, but particularly the vaccine rollout which is not delivering on its promises of the quantities that we've seen," Lightfoot said after touring a Richard J. Daley College site.
14th Jan 2021 - Associated Press on MSN.com

Quebec says some regions running out of COVID-19 vaccine, but new shipments coming

Quebec will wait up to 90 days before giving a COVID-19 vaccine booster to people who have received a first shot, Health Minister Christian Dube said Thursday. That delay goes far beyond the recommendation of vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna, which propose intervals of 21 and 28 days, respectively, and is more than double the 42-day maximum delay proposed by Canada’s national vaccine advisory committee. Dube told a news conference that the decision was made in order to vaccinate as many vulnerable people as possible and to reduce the pressure on the health system. “In our context, this is the best strategy, because we have to contend with (having) very few vaccines, and we’re in a race against the clock,” Dube told a news conference.
14th Jan 2021 - The Star

Covid-19: High Street chemists start vaccinations in England

Some High Street pharmacies in England will start vaccinating people from priority groups on Thursday, with 200 providing jabs in the next two weeks. Six chemists in Halifax, Macclesfield, Widnes, Guildford, Edgware and Telford are the first to offer appointments to those invited by letter. But pharmacists say many more sites should be allowed to give the jab, not just the largest ones. More than 2.6 million people in the UK have now received their first dose. Across the UK, the target is to vaccinate 15 million people in the top four priority groups - care home residents and workers, NHS frontline staff, the over-70s and the extremely clinically vulnerable - by mid-February.
14th Jan 2021 - BBC News

No need to extend lockdown in Ukraine - deputy minister

Ukraine's health ministry expects the country's strict lockdown will end as scheduled on Jan 25, Interfax Ukraine news agency quoted the deputy minister as saying on Thursday. Ukraine closed schools, restaurants and gyms last week. Viktor Lyashko said the ministry expected to exit the lockdown on Jan. 25 and not have to introduce any further strict measures in the future. The number of new COVID cases dropped in early January to less than 10,000 a day from record levels in mid-December. The country has registered more than 1.1 million coronavirus cases with 20,376 deaths as of Jan. 14.
14th Jan 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Airlines face more turbulence before vaccine relief

For a year expected to mark a turning point for pandemic-stricken European airlines, 2021 is off to a rough start. A resurgence of COVID-19 lockdowns has killed off a fragile bookings upturn, executives and analysts said, as insolvent Norwegian Air finally axed its long-haul operations on Thursday. The setbacks deal a blow to airline hopes that the promise of vaccines would put the worst of the crisis behind them, and set the stage for a summer rebound. New outbreaks and travel restrictions - some designed to curb the spread of a highly infectious virus variant detected in Britain - have hit forward bookings that are usually relied upon to bring in vital cash during the thin winter months. Global airline industry body IATA believes a return to positive cash flow “might not arrive before the end of the year,” Chief Economist Brian Pearce said.
14th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Australian scientists suggest delaying AstraZeneca vaccine as infections fall

Some Australian scientists have proposed delaying mass inoculation using AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine with a view to considering a different shot instead. Questions surrounding the vaccine in Australia, which recorded just one new local case of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, have cast a cloud over its immunisation plans, with 53 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine already on order. Experts cited data showing the AstraZeneca shot, co-developed with Oxford University, had 62% efficacy compared with more than 90% for a vaccine developed by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech. "The question is really whether it (AstraZeneca) is able to provide herd immunity. We are playing a long game here. We don't know how long that will take," said Professor Stephen Turner, president of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology (ASI).
14th Jan 2021 - Yahoo News

Outrage as people in Coventry offered Covid jab over 100 miles away

People in Coventry are being invited to travel more than 100 miles for their first Covid-19 jab, prompting politicians and GPs in the city to criticise the government’s national programme of vaccinations. Residents aged over 80 received letters over the weekend saying they could travel to Manchester to get the jab, despite government policy that patients should not have to drive more than 45 minutes to a centre. The Coventry North MP, Taiwo Owatemi, said: “I was ecstatic that Coventry was the first in the world to administer the vaccine but it has been wholly disappointing that progress has stunted since. “I am outraged that patients in the high-risk category are having to choose between putting themselves at risk and travelling over 100 miles to Manchester or delay their receipt of the vaccine.”
14th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

GPs in England say inconsistent supply of Covid vaccine causing roll-out issues

Inconsistent vaccine supply is making it difficult for GPs in England to book patient appointments more than a few days in advance, experts have warned, as the prime minister admitted there were significant disparities in local immunisation rates. Doctors, NHS specialists and MPs told the Guardian that batches of the Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine frequently arrived with only a couple of days’ notice, requiring last-minute planning and creating uncertainty for patients. Insiders said the distribution system was operating on a “push model” meaning that doctors could not order the vaccine but simply had to be ready to be receive batches whenever the NHS was able to deliver them.
14th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Boots and Superdrug start dishing out Covid vaccines as six high street pharmacies are recruited and No10 says it's on track to do 3m jabs a week — but independent chemists fear UK will fail to hit target unless it uses 'many more, much sooner'

MailOnline revealed this week Boots in Halifax and Superdrug branch in Guildford would join vaccine effort. Chains are among six high street pharmacies across England to be converted into Covid hubs this morning. Calls for ministers to go further and use England's 11,500 pharmacies to deliver round-the-clock vaccinations
14th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Vaccination drive against coronavirus begins with health care workers in Turkey

Turkey moved on to a new chapter in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic as health care workers started taking jabs of CoronaVac, developed by China’s Sinovac, in an inoculation drive that began Thursday. The country’s Medicines and Medical Devices Agency (TITCK) on Wednesday approved the emergency use of the vaccine. The approval came after a 14-day testing period, which began when the first shipment of the vaccine, containing 3 million doses, arrived in the country on Dec. 30. "Following scientific inspections and evaluations, the vaccine has been authorized for emergency use," the TITCK said in a statement. The samples of the vaccine were tested in accordance with the routine quality control processes applied all over the world, the Ministry of Health previously said in a statement. Analyses were conducted to check the expected quality, effectiveness and reliability of the vaccine when it is stored and applied under conditions defined by the company throughout its shelf life.
14th Jan 2021 - Daily Sabbah

With Covid-19 approvals, ‘vaccine nationalism’ is a worrisome trend

Just after New Year’s Day, regulators in India granted authorization for restricted use to Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, adding another Covid-19 vaccine to the list of those that have been approved for use in various countries around the world. New vaccines against Covid-19 are sorely needed worldwide, especially in low-income countries, which are being left behind as high-income countries adopt “vaccine nationalism” and snatch up doses at the expense of those with less means. The Covaxin rollout, however, illustrates another worrisome trend. Regulators in India gave the vaccine the go-ahead before data from large-scale clinical trials are available, just as Russian and Chinese regulators did for their own homegrown vaccine candidates.
14th Jan 2021 - Stat News

Amid last minute changes and funding shortfalls, Biden adviser predicts a slow start to the ‘100 million vaccines in 100 days’ goal

President-elect Joe Biden is promising to administer 100 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine in his first 100 days — but some of his top advisers are already warning that the early days of that effort are going to be rocky. The 100-day goal, which would require the Biden team to administer 1 million doses a day, each day, for his first 100 days, would represent a significant ramp-up from the pace set by the Trump administration, which has vaccinated roughly 10.2 million Americans over the course of 30 days. “The first days of that 100 days may be substantially slower than it will be towards the end,” said Michael Osterholm, a member of Biden’s Covid-19 task force who called the goal “aspirational … but doable.’’ “It’s not going to occur quickly … you’re going to see the ramp-up occurring only when the resources really begin to flow.”
14th Jan 2021 - Stat News

Warp Speed chief Slaoui resigns at Biden's request as COVID-19 shots are unleashed: report

Despite the slower-than-promised rollout of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, the tenure of Moncef Slaoui, Ph.D., as co-leader of the government’s Operation Warp Speed effort has largely been deemed a success. Slaoui, after all, is credited with fostering a speedy R&D process so the companies could get their mRNA vaccines on the market so quickly. But now, Slaoui has one foot out the door as the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden draws near. Slaoui submitted his resignation at Biden’s request, CNBC reported Tuesday, citing anonymous sources. Slaoui appeared on CNBC this morning and confirmed the report. Slaoui said it is time for him to "move on and go back to my private life and private business." He added that he plans to stay for 30 days to ease the transition.
13th Jan 2021 - FiercePharma

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U.S. Vaccine Shift Stirs New Unease as 128 Million Join Line

The U.S. government wants states to offer vaccines to millions more Americans as Covid-19 infections continue to soar, in a bid to bolster an immunization campaign that’s off to a rocky start. In recommending that states start immunizing all residents 65 and older, along with all those between 16 and 64 with medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to serious disease, U.S. health officials are clearing a path for about 128 million more Americans to be vaccinated.
13th Jan 2021 - Bloomberg

Joan Bakewell threatens legal action over delays to second Covid vaccine dose

The journalist and Labour peer Joan Bakewell is threatening the government with legal action over its policy to delay the second dose of Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid vaccine. Lady Bakewell, 87, said there were grounds to show the decision taken by ministers to widen the gap between doses – from the three weeks recommended by the manufacturer to up to 12 weeks – was unlawful. She has instructed the law firm Leigh Day to start proceedings in response to the new dosing strategy, and names the respondent as the health secretary, Matt Hancock.
13th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Second shots of Covid vaccine could be delayed further in England

Second shots of coronavirus vaccine could be delayed even further amid growing evidence that spacing out the doses improves their effectiveness. The NHS vaccination programme aims to immunise about 14 million people at greatest risk of Covid by mid-February, with second doses to be given up to 12 weeks later. But Public Health England’s head of immunisation, Mary Ramsay, told MPs on Wednesday that if infection data showed vulnerable groups, such as the over-80s, were well protected by their first shot, then second doses could be delayed to get a first jab to younger people as well.
13th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Less than half of people who have developed Covid-19 symptoms have requested a test - and over-60s are the worst at getting checked out

Just 43 per cent of people who develop Covid-19 symptoms are getting a test, according to shock new data. An ongoing UCL study has been tracking the social aspect of the pandemic and how the general public has been behaving and adhering to the ever-changing rules and guidance. It started in mid-March 2020 and regularly quizzes more than 70,000 Britons about their life in lockdown. Data shows a third of people requested a test every time they developed symptoms, one in ten got a test only on some of the occasions when they had symptoms and 57 per cent never requested a test despite having symptoms
13th Jan 2021 - MSN.com

COVID-19: Care homes asked to take coronavirus patients straight from hospitals without recent test

Care homes are being asked to take COVID patients straight from hospitals without a recent test under new guidance. In a document seen by Sky News, the NHS is now advising that patients can be moved from a hospital directly to a care home within 90 days of a positive COVID test or the onset of symptoms. Patients will not be required to have a further COVID-19 test in the 48 hours prior to their discharge. But they will have to have completed a 14-day isolation period and have shown no new coronavirus symptoms or had any no new COVID-19 exposure
13th Jan 2021 - Sky News

US requires negative Covid-19 tests from all international travelers

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced it will start requiring all international travelers coming into the US to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter the country. Global testing requirements would be an expansion on a Trump administration policy barring UK travelers without a negative test from entry, which was announced on December 24. The new rule, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, will apply to Americans returning home from abroad, as well as visitors.
13th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Spain aims for all care home residents to get first COVID-19 vaccine dose by weekend

Spain aims for all its nursing home residents to have received a first dose of vaccine against the coronavirus by the end of the week, Health Minister Salvador Illa said on Tuesday after a cabinet meeting. Since kicking off its vaccination campaign at the end of December and with new infections on the rise, Spain has focused its efforts on inoculating elderly nursing-home residents who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.
13th Jan 2021 - Reuters

EasyJet cabin crew to help with UK vaccination programme

British airline easyJet said the National Health Service (NHS) would train hundreds of its cabin crew to administer COVID-19 vaccines under a fast-track scheme designed to help boost the country’s vaccination efforts. The government plans to vaccinate the elderly, the vulnerable and frontline workers - around 15 million people - by mid-February and is opening up centres and recruiting volunteers to help it meet its target. With travel at very low levels due to the lockdown, many of easyJet’s 3,000 cabin crew are not working but are both first aid trained and security cleared, making them attractive candidates to the NHS to help with the programme.
13th Jan 2021 - Reuters

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Pope Francis will receive Covid-19 jab this week and declares 'without a vaccine you are playing with life'

Pope Francis will receive his Covid-19 vaccine this week, days after his personal doctor died from complications with the virus. The pontiff said it was an 'ethical duty' for everyone to get inoculated as Vatican City prepares for its rollout of the jabs. He told Italian news outlet TG5: 'Everyone should get the vaccine. Without a vaccine, you are playing with health, life, but also with the health of others.'
12th Jan 2021 - MSN.com

COVID-19 vaccine tourism? Florida could be hot spot as governor discourages outsiders

While thousands of seniors in Florida are bleary eyed and angry after spending weeks trying unsuccessfully to get an appointment for a coronavirus vaccine, the former chairman and CEO of Time Warner told a national television audience on Friday that it was a breeze. Richard Parsons, who is also a former chairman of Citigroup, said he left his home of New York to travel to Florida specifically because the Sunshine State made it so easy. While there is no evidence that Parsons pulled any strings; seniors who have experienced just how difficult it is to get an appointment said they worry that the business giant’s words will encourage others
12th Jan 2021 - Indianapolis Star

Trump will reverse plan to hold back second COVID-19 vaccine doses and urge states to give jabs to all over-65s in an effort to speed up rollout that has seen fewer than 3% of ...

US will ship previously withheld second doses to states, reversing its policy. Manufacturing has ramped up such that having too few doses to give booster shots to everyone who got a first shot is not a concern, HHS Secretary said. Just 9.27 million Americans have received a first dose and 29 million doses have been distributed. Doses went first to health care workers, many of whom refused the shots. Trump administration is now urging states to vaccinate anyone 65 or older Dr Anthony Fauci criticized original roll-out plans for being 'too rigid,' delaying the vaccination process. Mass vaccination sites are now opening up across the nation, including at Disneyland and Dodger Stadium in California and in New York
12th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Brussels probes member states’ compliance with EU Covid vaccine strategy

Brussels is to probe EU governments’ compliance with its centralised buying of coronavirus vaccines, as concerns grow that member states will seek to make their own deals to avoid possible supply shortages. The European Commission is to write to the bloc’s 27 countries to ask them to provide “all the necessary transparency” over any dealings with drug companies with which it has done deals or held talks. Tensions have grown over whether the commission has secured sufficient quantities of the vaccines made by BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna, the only two so far to have won approval from the EU medical regulator. Germany has already reportedly placed several bilateral orders, including 30m doses with BioNTech/Pfizer and 20m doses with CureVac, which — like BioNTech — is a German company. Cyprus has asked for extra jab supplies from its Mediterranean neighbour Israel, which has the highest vaccination rate in the world.
12th Jan 2021 - Financial Times

CDC to recommend states give Covid vaccine to anyone 65 and older

States should expand access to Covid-19 vaccines to everyone 65 and older, as well as any adult with an underlying health condition that might raise the risk for complications of Covid-19, members of Operation Warp Speed recommended Tuesday. The guidelines are intended to prompt faster distribution of the vaccines by making more people immediately eligible for vaccination, as well as expanding the potential locations where people can receive it. Of the more than 25 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine that have been delivered nationwide, just under 9 million shots had been put into Americans' arms as of Tuesday
12th Jan 2021 - NBC News

COVID-19: Government 'to look at' prioritising shop workers for vaccine, says Matt Hancock

In England, the government will look "very carefully" at prioritising shop workers - as well as teachers and police officers - for COVID vaccines, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told MPs. The government and NHS are currently aiming to offer the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine to 15 million of the most vulnerable people by 15 February.
12th Jan 2021 - Sky News

EU’s Covid vaccine chief defends procurement scheme

The head of the EU’s multibillion-euro coronavirus vaccine-procurement scheme has denied the wrong products have been bought and that the programme risks falling apart as member states seek to secure their own supplies. Sandra Gallina, who is leading the European Commission’s programme to order more than 2bn doses of seven inoculations, said Brussels had built a portfolio that would yield sufficient quantities and timely delivery. Her defence, in an appearance before MEPs on the European Parliament’s environment and public health committee on Tuesday, is a riposte to critics, notably in Germany, who say the bloc has not purchased sufficient quantities of the leading vaccines approved by the European medical regulator, made by BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna.
12th Jan 2021 - Financial Times

Sir David Attenborough receives Covid-19 vaccine

Sir David Attenborough has become the latest well-known name to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, his representative has confirmed. The news about the 94-year-old natural historian comes a few days after it was revealed the Queen had been vaccinated. It's not known which vaccine Sir David has been given or exactly when he had it. The Perfect Planet host is one of several stars to receive the first of two doses of the vaccine. They include The Great British Bake Off's Prue Leith, actor Sir Ian McKellen, choreographer Lionel Blair, actor Brian Blessed and actress Dame Joan Collins.
12th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19: All doctors should be offered first vaccine dose by mid-February, government says

The UK government has promised that every adult in the UK will be offered a covid-19 vaccination by the autumn as it set out plans to rapidly scale up its mass vaccination programme. The UK covid-19 vaccines delivery plan,1 published on Monday 11 January to coincide with the opening of seven new regional vaccination centres, said England will have capacity to vaccinate at least two million people per week by the end of January. This will be delivered across 206 hospital sites, 50 vaccination centres, and 1200 local vaccination sites run by primary and community care teams, it says. The expansion of capacity means that everyone will live within 10 miles of a vaccination centre, or, in the case of a small number of highly rural areas, have access to a mobile unit delivering vaccinations, the plan says.
12th Jan 2021 - The BMJ

Asia Today: India starts shipping COVID-19 vaccine to cities

India has started shipping COVID-19 vaccines to multiple cities, four days ahead of a nationwide inoculation drive. The first consignment of vaccines developed by the Serum Institute of India left the city of Pune on Tuesday. The vaccines rolled out from Serum Institute of India’s facility in temperature-controlled trucks to the city’s airport, from where they were loaded into private air carriers for distribution all over the country. Civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri called the shipping of vaccines a “momentous mission.”
12th Jan 2021 - ABC News

India delivers COVID jabs for ‘world’s biggest vaccination drive’

Indian airlines have started delivering batches of COVID-19 vaccines across the country, getting ready for the launch of a campaign to offer shots to 1.3 billion people in what officials call the “world’s biggest vaccination drive”. The vaccines rolled out from the Serum Institute of India’s facility on Tuesday in temperature-controlled trucks to the city’s airport from where they were loaded into private air carriers for distribution all over the country.
12th Jan 2021 - AlJazeera

Malaysia's Pharmaniaga buys 14 million doses of China's Sinovac COVID vaccine

Malaysia Pharmaniaga Bhd has signed an agreement with China’s Sinovac to purchase 14 million doses of ready-to-fill COVID-19 vaccines and later to manufacture the vaccine domestically, it said on Tuesday. Pharmaniaga said in a bourse filing that the company will carry out a fill-and-finish process of the vaccine in Malaysia, and will subsequently enter into local manufacturing, under license from Sinovac for its technology and know-how. Group Managing Director Zulkarnain Md Eusope said the company has a monthly fill-and-finish capacity of two million doses and that Sinovac’s vaccine will be the first to be manufactured in Malaysia.
12th Jan 2021 - Reuters

US COVID-19 vaccine strategy pivots to target those 65 and up

Operation Warp Speed announced today a major pivot in the US COVID-19 vaccine strategy, one that will see the release of all current vaccines in the national stockpile and a new effort to vaccinate all those 65 and up as quickly as possible. The changes bring the total number of doses that have been made available for use in the United States to roughly 38 million. "We are now at an important juncture in the vaccine program where we're ready for a transition," said Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar during an Operation Warp Speed press conference today.
12th Jan 2021 - CIDRAP

U.S. plan to expand access to Covid-19 vaccine likely sets up new debacles

As health authorities across the country struggle to get Covid-19 vaccination programs up and running, outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar threw a new wrench into the works on Tuesday, telling states to expand priority access to tens of millions of additional people immediately. But it will be several months before there is enough vaccine available to meet that kind of demand. The move all but ensures the current narrative around the vaccine rollout — it’s too slow — will shift, but not in a positive direction: The incoming Biden administration will likely face a groundswell of complaints about long lines, failed efforts to find vaccine supplies, and an inequitable distribution system as it tries to live up to its promise of seeing 100 million vaccine doses administered in the new president’s first 100 days in office.
12th Jan 2021 - STAT News

ICE must provide Covid-19 vaccines to all detained migrants

After months of public health and political debates on vaccine prioritization for incarcerated populations, Covid-19 vaccination has begun in prisons and jails across the United States. Yet little is known about vaccination programs in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers. Some states have said they will vaccinate incarcerated populations in Phase 1b or 2 of the vaccines rollout, either alongside correctional officers or after they have been vaccinated. The Federal Bureau of Prisons first planned to prioritize correctional officers, in line with recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. But after pushback from public health experts highlighted the growing rates of Covid-19 among inmates, the Bureau of Prisons began vaccinating staff members and selected prisoners simultaneously.
12th Jan 2021 - STAT News

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Covid vaccine: Medics are being drafted in to counter public complacency as vaccine programme is rolled out

It was no accident that Downing Street drafted in England’s chief medical officer for the round of broadcast interviews usually faced by ministers. Chris Whitty used his appearances to hammer home a bleak warning that Britain has reached the worst moment in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic with one in 50 of the population believed to be infected. And he delivered a fresh plea for the public to stick to the latest lockdown restrictions and social distancing rules to prevent the super-infectious strain of the disease advancing further. Prof Whitty has become a familiar face alongside ministers at Downing Street press conferences, but is being promoted to the forefront of efforts to jolt the public out of any sense of complacency.
11th Jan 2021 - iNews

Most Australians will get the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, but priority groups will receive the Pfizer drug. What's the difference?

As Australians navigate lockdowns, border closures, hotel quarantine and COVID-19 testing queues, the wait for the vaccines that will protect the population is slowly shortening. But before the largest vaccination program in the country's history can kick off next month, many of the details have to be decided, implemented and communicated to the public. Last week, the Federal Government outlined its plan to administer the Pfizer vaccine to "first-priority groups" because Australia will get that drug first, but only in a limited supply. Over the weekend, Chief Health Officer Paul Kelly said most Australians would receive the AstraZeneca drug as part of the Government's strategy because "we are making it here".
11th Jan 2021 - Australian Broadcasting Corporation on MSN.com

Covid in Scotland: All over-80s to be vaccinated by February

Everyone aged 80 or over in Scotland will be given the Covid vaccine by February, the health secretary has said. Jeane Freeman also said care home staff and residents, as well as front-line health and social care staff would be vaccinated in the next few weeks. As of Sunday, 163,377 Scots had been given a first dose of vaccine. Ms Freeman told BBC Scotland that just under 560,000 people will have been vaccinated by the end of the month. The Oxford vaccine will be available at more than 1,100 locations from Monday. Scotland has been given an initial allocation of more than 500,000 doses to use in January.
11th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Covid vaccine: Wales has delivered 70,000 of 275,000 doses

Wales has received 275,000 doses of the two Covid-19 vaccines to deal with the pandemic. About 70,000 people received a first dose after the first month of the vaccine rollout. The Welsh Government confirmed it has had more than 250,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 25,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab. The health minister promised a "really significant step-up" in the roll-out after opponents criticised its speed. The Pfizer jabs were first administered in early December at seven sites across Wales as part of the UK-wide immunisation programme.
11th Jan 2021 - BBC News

France rejects criticism of EU coronavirus vaccine procurement

Delegating coronavirus vaccine procurement to the European Commission was the right approach, even if there are kinks to work out, according to French Europe Minister Clément Beaune. In an interview with POLITICO setting out France's EU priorities for the year ahead, Beaune said the vaccination effort would dominate the first six months of 2021. The Commission and its president Ursula von der Leyen have been accused by critics in recent days of not buying enough doses, not buying enough of the right vaccine and not getting the doses fast enough. The criticism has included unusually blunt attacks on the EU from some German politicians and media outlets as the controversy has become caught up in the contest to succeed Angela Merkel as German chancellor.
11th Jan 2021 - POLITICO.eu

Hundreds of over-80s queue as Covid-19 mass vaccination centres open

They travelled many miles for their chance at immunity against a virus which isolated from friends and family for months.Hundreds of over-80s, some with the aid of their children and carers, flocked
11th Jan 2021 - The Times

Two million receive Covid-19 vaccination as Boris Johnson urges ‘maximum vigilance’

Almost two million people have been vaccinated against the coronavirus but the epidemic has never been so dangerous, according to England’s chief medical officer. Professor Chris Whitty warned people that there was a “very high chance” that someone with whom they have had unnecessary contact had Covid-19, adding: “This is the most dangerous time.” Boris Johnson has begged people to follow rules, particularly in supermarkets and at takeaway venues as part of a drive to counter faltering compliance and lockdown fatigue.
11th Jan 2021 - The Times

Travel body rejects compulsory COVID-19 shots, experts say herd immunity distant

The head of a global travel organisation on Monday opposed making COVID-19 vaccinations a requirement for travellers in the fight against the pandemic, despite scepticism about reaching herd immunity this year.
11th Jan 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: 2.6 million jabs given to 2.3 million people - but UK warned vaccine 'not a free pass' to ignore rules

Some 2.6 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been given to 2.3 million people, the health secretary has said, as an NHS boss warned the jab is "not a free pass" to ignore national guidance.
11th Jan 2021 - Sky News

COVID-19: Army to help ensure vaccines reach health authorities in Spain after worst snowfall in decades

Convoys containing food and the coronavirus vaccine are being sent by the Spanish government to reach areas cut off by record snowfall. Army emergency brigades have focused on clearing access to Madrid's main fresh food distribution centre and to hospitals as COVID-19 infections rise across Spain. Interior minister Fernando Grande-Markaska said the government will take extra steps to ensure that the country's weekly shipment of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, arriving on Monday, can be distributed to regional health authorities via police-escorted convoys.
11th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19: Birmingham mass vaccination centre opens

Health workers have been among the first to receive a Covid-19 jab at a mass vaccination centre. The site at Birmingham's Millennium Point is one of seven across England and will offer about 2,500 vaccinations a day when it is fully operational. It comes as England's chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty warns the coming weeks will be "the most dangerous time" of the pandemic. One of the first patients said she had been "so excited" to get the vaccine. Olga Leach-Walters is an endoscopy nurse at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
11th Jan 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19: Boris Johnson says 40% of 80-year-olds vaccinated as 2.4 million coronavirus jabs given out in UK

Some 2.4 million coronavirus jabs have been administered across the UK, the prime minister has said. Speaking from a vaccination centre in Bristol, Boris Johnson said: "Today, I think I can confirm that we've done roughly 40% of the 80-year-olds in this country already. "We've done about 23% of the elderly residents of care homes." Seven new mass vaccination sites in England have been opened today, joining hundreds more GP sites and a small number of new pharmacy-led centres opening this week. Officials are racing to vaccinate as many people as possible while COVID-19 cases continue to rise and hospitals come under extreme pressure.
11th Jan 2021 - Sky News

COVID-19: Israel urges world to follow its rapid vaccine rollout, but Palestinians are left waiting

Israel's health minister has urged countries simply to "get out there" if they want to replicate his country's vaccination success. Speaking to Sky News, Yuli Edelstein said that expert logistics, early procurement, close co-operation with the manufacturer and Israeli innovation had all been combined to make the country a clear leader in the global vaccination race. "The faster we get the vaccine into their arms, the less cases we'll see in our hospitals and, God forbid, deaths," Mr Edelstein said.
11th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Third of over 80s vaccinated as government to unveil COVID-19 vaccine deployment plan

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC on Sunday that around 2m doses of vaccine had now been delivered and that around a third of over 80s had received at least one dose. His comments came as the government prepared to set out its full COVID-19 vaccine deployment plan on 11 January, which Mr Hancock said would be the 'keystone of our exit out of the pandemic'. The government has already said it hopes to deliver 13.9m doses of COVID-19 vaccine UK-wide by mid February, covering the first four priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
11th Jan 2021 - GP online

Here's when the new lockdown measures in England could end, and how they'll be reviewed

England has entered a third period of national lockdown restrictions to replace the four-tier system as Covid cases continue to rise at an alarming rate. The rules were announced by Boris Johnson on Monday 6 January, and were enshrined in law two days later ahead of a retrospective Commons vote. Under the measures people are only allowed to leave their homes for certain specific reasons, with schools closed to the majority of pupils and all non-essential businesses closed in an attempt to ease pressure on the embattled NHS. While the legislation on the new restrictions lasts until 31 March, the speed that the measures can be eased depends on how quickly the UK can continue its roll-out of Covid-19 vaccination.
11th Jan 2021 - iNews

Chicago Is Reopening Schools Against Fierce Resistance From Teachers

Across the country, many big cities like New York have struggled to resume even limited in-person instruction, while a number, including Los Angeles, have simply given up on the idea, choosing to stick with all-remote education into the spring. Few places have seen as much acrimony over the issue as Chicago, whose public school system is the nation’s third-largest. Now, with 6,000 prekindergarten and special education students preparing to return to the city’s public school buildings on Monday for the first time since March, a question looms: How many of their teachers will be there to greet them?
11th Jan 2021 - The New York Times

UK on course for COVID-19 vaccination target as shots reach 200000 a day - Hancock

Britain is on course to have immunised its most vulnerable people against COVID-19 by mid-February and offering a shot to every adult by autumn, with some 2 million people having already received a first dose, its health secretary said on Sunday. “Over the last week we’ve vaccinated more people than in the entirety of December, so we’re accelerating the roll-out,” Matt Hancock told BBC TV. Britain is battling surging infections but is pinning its hopes on rapid immunisation to enable life to start returning to some degree of normality by the spring. Hancock said around 2 million people had already received a first shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
11th Jan 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Teachers to be considered for next vaccination wave

Teachers could be next in line for the second wave of COVID-19 jabs, a member of the group advising on the vaccine rollout has suggested. Professor Adam Finn told Sky News' Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme that while no decisions had been taken on future prioritisation of the coronavirus injections, the "critical role" played by the profession would "figure in the discussions" of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The professor of paediatrics at the University of Bristol said committee members had been instructed to come up with a plan by the middle of February to determine the priority order of who should be vaccinated against COVID-19 next.
10th Jan 2021 - Sky News

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Rapid Covid testing across England will help identify symptomless carriers

Rapid testing to find symptomless carriers of Covid-19 is to be launched in England this week. The aim of the programme is to identify some of the tens of thousands of infected people who are unwittingly spreading the virus across the country. The dramatic escalation of the programme – which uses detectors known as lateral flow devices – comes as Covid death rates have continued to soar and hospitals have reported alarming numbers of patients needing intensive care.
10th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: UK has “no clear strategy” to alleviate Covid pressure on hospitals beyond lockdowns says expert

The UK has “no clear strategy” to alleviate pressure on hospitals battling coronavirus beyond “reactive lockdowns”, a public health expert has said. The country has seen some form of restrictions placed on the population for almost a year, said Professor Devi Sridhar, adding that it is “unrealistic” to expect people to adhere to rules for months on end. The chairwoman of public health at Edinburgh University told Times Radio: “I think the larger issue here is the UK has no clear strategy beyond reactive lockdowns whenever hospitals are under pressure.
10th Jan 2021 - Herald Scotland

Biden Plans Coronavirus Vaccination Blitz After Inauguration

In a sharp break with the Trump administration, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. intends to release nearly all available doses of the coronavirus vaccine soon after he is inaugurated, rather than hold back millions of vials to guarantee second doses will be available. The decision is part of an aggressive effort to “to ensure the Americans who need it most get it as soon as possible,” the Biden transition team said on Friday. The vaccination plan, to be formally unveiled next week, also will include federally run vaccination sites in places like high school gyms and sports stadiums, and mobile units to reach high-risk populations.
9th Jan 2021 - The New York Times

Nurse catches Covid three weeks after getting Pfizer vaccine

A nurse in Wales caught Covid three weeks after getting the vaccine, prompting warnings from experts that it takes time for immunity to build up. The nurse, who has been working for the Hywel Dda University Health Board area, said that she contracted the virus while waiting for the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech jab. Deputy Chief Executive of Hywel Dda health board, Dr Philip Kloer, said that while a Covid vaccine ‘reduces your chance of suffering’ from the virus, no vaccine is ever 100% effective.
9th Jan 2021 - Metro.co.uk

Second doses of first coronavirus vaccine happening now

As states try to broaden the reach of their coronavirus vaccination campaigns and navigate uncertain supply chains, many of the first people to receive their shots are just now completing the final act of immunity, the second dose, which boosts the efficacy of both available US vaccines to about 95 percent. Many health care workers and others at high risk who had the Pfizer shots in mid December lined up for their "booster" shot this week, due to be given 21 days after the initial dose.
9th Jan 2021 - NPR

Coronavirus: Company's apology after £5,000 vaccine offer

In England, a property investment company has offered GP surgeries £5,000 for unused coronavirus vaccine doses. The Hacking Trust's medical division approached surgeries in Bristol and Worthing offering to pay the money to charity "or the staff member directly". Robyn Clark, from the Institute of General Practice Management, said it was "just appalling". The company, based in London, has apologised, saying its "good intentions" were "misinterpreted". NHS England said people "will rightly take a dim view of anyone who tries to jump the queue".
9th Jan 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19: UK approves use of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine and orders 10 million more doses

The Moderna vaccine has become the third coronavirus jab to be approved for use in the UK - with an additional 10 million doses ordered. The US-based company's vaccine was shown to have 94% efficacy against COVID-19 in final trials. Seven million doses had already been ordered by the UK government with a further 10 million expected to follow - but it will likely not become available until March.
9th Jan 2021 - Sky News

WHO director calls for easing of vaccine hurdles for developing nations

The World Health Organization's (WHO's) director-general today called on vaccine makers and countries to take steps to ensure that low- and middle-income countries aren't shut out of receiving vaccine supply. The move comes amid news of a European Union deal with Pfizer, announced by the European Commission today, that would give countries in the region nearly half of the company's COVID-19 vaccine output for 2021. At a WHO briefing, Tedros Adhanom Gheybreyesus, PhD, the agency's director-general, said the WHO-led COVAX initiative has contracts to secure 2 billion doses and the right of first refusal for 1 billion more.
8th Jan 2021 - CIDRAP

Queen and Prince Philip get Covid vaccine at Windsor Castle

In England, the Queen and Prince Philip have both received the first dose of Covid-19 vaccinations, Buckingham Palace has confirmed. The royal couple were given the jab by a doctor from the Royal Household at Windsor Castle, where they are both isolating. The Queen, 94, and the Duke of Edinburgh, 99, both meet the Government age guidelines for those who should be given the vaccine. Some 1.3 million people in the UK have now received their first dose of a Covid vaccine, according to the government.
9th Jan 2021 - Evening Standard

NHS England plans to vaccinate all frontline staff against COVID-19 in next few weeks

NHS England said on Friday it had made plans to vaccinate all frontline staff against COVID-19 in the next few weeks following the rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Nikita Kanani, the Nation Health Service medical director for primary care, said the vaccine will be administered to “all health and social care staff” by mid-February.
9th Jan 2021 - Reuters

What the US can do to speed up vaccine distribution

The US set a new daily record for Covid-19 deaths on Jan. 6, reporting the loss of 3,963 lives. So where are the vaccines? Thus far, the rollout of doses from Pfizer and Moderna has been underwhelming. The US set a goal of vaccinating 20 million people in December 2020, but by Jan. 7 the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that only 5.3 million first doses had been injected, and only about 17 million doses have been sent to states. The slow pace means it will take longer to bring the pandemic under control, increasing both the human and economic toll of this crisis. The problem appears to be government dysfunction—specifically, an unfulfilled need for support from the federal government to the state agencies and local healthcare providers tasked with distributing the vaccine. To reach safe levels of immunity in the US by May would require providing 1.8 million doses every single day after Jan. 15, according to a letter (pdf) the American Hospital Association (AHA) sent to Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar today.
9th Jan 2021 - Quartz

Over 9 million COVID-19 vaccine shots given in China, health officials say

China has administered over 9 million shots of COVID-19 vaccine since Dec 15 to people deemed at high risk of contracting the disease, senior health officials said on Saturday. As vaccine production ramps up,
9th Jan 2021 - China Daily

DGCA issues guidelines for Airlines to transport COVID-19 vaccines

India's civil aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), has issued guidelines to airlines and other aircraft operators for transportation of Covid-19 vaccines. "All scheduled operators who have been currently authorized to carry dangerous goods may carry COVID19 vaccine packed in dry ice, meeting the regulatory requirements," DGCA said in a circular. "Non-scheduled operators, including aircraft engaged in general aviation, that are required to participate in the carriage of COVID 19 vaccines packed in dry ice shall seek specific approval before commencing such operations," it added. Covid-19 vaccination in India is expected to start in the next few days, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said yesterday, adding that the union government has requested the stakeholders in the process to help in its smooth rollout.
9th Jan 2021 - DD News

Israel's Covid vaccine rollout is the fastest in the world — here are some lessons for the rest of us

While the U.S. and Europe attempt to ramp up their own Covid vaccination drives, Israel is outpacing them all. Israel’s vaccination drive began on Dec. 19, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the first person to be vaccinated in the country. Priority has been given to people aged over 60, health care workers and anyone clinically vulnerable — reported to make up around a quarter of its 9 million population.
9th Jan 2021 - CNBC

First Minister advises people to be 'cautious' even after having Covid vaccine

The coronavirus vaccine roll-out is well under way right across the UK which offers a ‘brighter futuer’ for 2021. However the UK finds itself under lockdown rules, with First Minister Mark Drakeford extending restrictions in Wales for a further three-weeks. At the Welsh Government press conference on January 8, he told the nation that the vaccine roll-out is under way and he ‘shares’ the Prime Ministers ambitions of vaccinating the top four priority groups by mid-February. However stressed this is dependant on the programme and vaccine supplies.
9th Jan 2021 - LeaderLive

Some school staff will be prioritised for coronavirus vaccine

Special school staff, an those working in colleges providing intimate care, as well as at risk staff will be prioritised for the coronavirus vaccine along with care workers. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) which advises UK health departments on immunisation, agreed certain special school staff should be classed as care workers and that at risk school and college staff should also be prioritised. Headteachers, including Chris Britten, head of Ysgol y Deri special school in Penarth, have been pressing for school staff to be prioritised after health workers and vulnerable groups.
9th Jan 2021 - Wales Online

Biden’s plan to end policy of keeping Covid vaccine doses in reserve is the first step in a difficult journey

The transition team of President-elect Biden has taken its first step to reexamine the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines put in place by the Trump administration. Instead of keeping half the doses in reserve to make sure that every person who received their first dose can receive their second dose, the transition said Friday that it would release the vast majority of available doses of authorized vaccines at once. It’s a great start. But it is also only a start. The argument to hold back the second dose was not without merit at a time of limited supply of the vaccines, developed by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech, as well as Moderna. The fear has been that, without sufficient doses in reserve, there would be mayhem, with some sites keeping doses in reserve themselves and recipients becoming upset if their second dose was not available.
8th Jan 2021 - STAT News

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 8th Jan 2021

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15,000 Covid-19 vaccines administered in Ireland

More than 15,000 people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in Ireland to date. The country’s health chief said a total of 35,000 people will have received the Pfizer BioNTech jab by the end of the week. Paul Reid described the State’s coronavirus vaccination programme as the “great light” and “great hope” as the country faces the weeks ahead. A total of 15,314 people have been given vaccinated since December 29. “It has given a great lift to the country and it has given a great inspirational lift to our healthcare workers,” he said.
7th Jan 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

Most vulnerable to get vaccine by mid-Feb as Covid deaths soar

The UK has recorded more than 1,000 new coronavirus deaths overnight for the second day in a row while hospital admissions have risen above the peak of the first wave, new figures show. Some 3,600 Covid-19 patients were admitted to hospital in the UK on January 3, the first time it has been higher than the peak of 3,565 recorded on April 1. It comes as London’s hospitals are on the verge of being overwhelmed as health bosses scramble to find more beds to deal with a surge in infections across the country. The sobering figures were published as Boris Johnson admitted that the UK roll-out of Covid vaccines is a “challenge on a scale like nothing we’ve seen before”.
7th Jan 2021 - Evening Standard

GPs struggling with Covid vaccine delivery timing uncertainties

GPs are having to do a ‘huge amount’ of cancellations and rebooking of Covid vaccine appointments amid last-minute changes to vaccine delivery times, regional GP leaders have claimed. LMC leaders said this was giving practices ‘a headache’ and called for some ‘assurance’ about ‘when vaccine will be supplied’. This week, GP sites in wave five of the rollout were expecting their first vaccine deliveries between Wednesday and Friday, while sites in wave six will be told today (Thursday 7 January) whether they have passed their ‘readiness assessment’ to commence vaccinations next week. Slides presented in an NHS England webinar for GPs on Tuesday evening said ‘site-specific delivery dates have been confirmed’.
7th Jan 2021 - Pulse

Belgian government under fire over slow pace of coronavirus vaccinations

All over Europe, governments are feeling the heat over botched vaccination strategies — as is the European Commission. Belgium, which started its coronavirus vaccination plan in earnest on Tuesday, is no exception. After an earful from opposition lawmakers on Tuesday, Belgian Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke asked the country's vaccination task force to speed up and readjust its strategy. It's set to meet on Thursday, with an announcement expected on Friday morning. The move comes after health workers asked Vandenbroucke to be prioritized for the jab in an open letter dated Tuesday. About 700 residents and staff of care homes have gotten their first shot as of January 2, when the government provided its latest update on the tally. In Germany, by contrast, roughly 317,000 doses have been administered, and about 182,000 in Italy.
7th Jan 2021 - POLITICO.eu

Nicola Sturgeon confirms covid vaccine to be rolled out to all over 80s in next four weeks

All over-80s in Scotland will receive their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine in the next four weeks, Nicola Sturgeon has announced. Speaking at today's daily briefing, the First Minister confirmed that 113,459 people have received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, with the Oxford/AstraZeneca inoculation being first used on Monday. She said: "I can confirm that this shows that by Sunday, the 30th of January, 113,459 individuals had received their first tools of the Pfizer Covid vaccine.
7th Jan 2021 - Glasgow Live

Covid-19: PM sets out Covid vaccine rollout plan

PM says he has "no doubt" there is enough supply to vaccinate the first four priority groups by 15 February. NHS CEO Sir Simon Stevens says there will be a "huge acceleration" in the vaccination programme over the coming weeks. Army logistics expert Brigadier Phil Prosser says his mission is to get vaccines "in arms not on shelves." A further 1,162 people have died in the UK within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is being rolled out to hundreds of GP-run vaccination centres in England. Nearly 1.5 million people across the UK have now had their first dose, Boris Johnson says. A weekly doorstep round of applause returns at 20:00 GMT - under the new name of Clap for Heroes
7th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Hancock: 'We're working with Pfizer and AstraZeneca to increase Covid-19 vaccine supply'

Health Secretary Matt Hancock visited a GP surgery in London to promote the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines. Mr Hancock said they were working with the Pfizer and AstraZeneca to increase the supply.
7th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19: PM says jab rollout needs 'unprecedented effort' as two more life-saving drugs found

The vaccine rollout is a national challenge requiring an unprecedented effort involving the armed forces, Boris Johnson has said. At a Downing Street press briefing, the PM confirmed almost 1.5 million people in the UK have now received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine. More than 1,000 GP-led sites in England will be able to offer a total of "hundreds of thousands" of jabs each day by 15 January, he said. The Army will use "battle preparation techniques" to help achieve that goal. It comes as GPs in England began receiving doses of the Oxford Covid jab.
7th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Boris Johnson says 1.5million Covid-19 vaccines have been administered and says everyone should get one within 10 miles

Nearly 1.5million coronavirus vaccines have been administered in the UK, Boris Johnson announced on Thursday as he said he was “throwing everything” at the roll-out of the national jabs programme.
7th Jan 2021 - London Evening Standard on MSN.com

Covid-19: Vaccine rollout widens as hospital pressure rises

GPs in England are receiving doses of the Oxford Covid jab as medics warn about overstretched hospitals. The rollout of the Oxford vaccine is part of the NHS's biggest-ever effort and aims to offer jabs to 13 million by mid-February - including all over-80s. But Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted vaccine supply was a "rate-limiting" factor. Birmingham's NHS said there are enough supplies with more to come as politicians warned doses may run out. Some hospitals in England are at risk of becoming Covid-only sites, with rising admissions for the virus forcing trusts to cut back on other services.
7th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Matt Hancock says third lockdown will be England's last because of coronavirus vaccines

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs that people may need to have a coronavirus vaccine every six months. But he said he believed this would be the last lockdown that was required, because of the coronavirus vaccines. "There is absolutely no doubt that vaccines and testing will still be a feature next year," he told the Health and Social Care Committee. "We will need both the surveillance testing to be able to understand where the virus is and we will need testing for people who have symptoms, in the same way that you get tested for all sorts of other things." On vaccines, Mr Hancock said: "I anticipate we will probably need to revaccinate because we don't know the longevity of the protection from these vaccines.
7th Jan 2021 - Birmingham Live

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Around 50,000 receive first dose of Covid-19 vaccine in Northern Ireland

Around 50,000 people have received a first dose of coronavirus vaccine in Northern Ireland, Health Minister Robin Swann said. Nine in 10 care home residents have been inoculated. By January 18, more supplies are expected to be received from manufacturer AstraZeneca. Mr Swann urged the public to stay at home while the programme gathers steam. "This is a time to hunker down and weather the crisis," he said.
6th Jan 2021 - ITV News

South African medical schemes to fund COVID-19 vaccines for 30% of adults

Millions of South Africans will have their COVID-19 vaccinations subsidised by medical schemes that pool health insurance premiums through an agreement with the government, a top medical scheme administrator said. Under the arrangement, medical schemes will pay above cost for doses for their members - roughly 7 million adults over the age of 15 - subsidising procurement for another 7 million adults who are without private medical cover, Ryan Noach, chief executive of the country’s largest medical scheme administrator, Discovery Health, said. In all, vaccines for around 30% of the country’s adult population would be financed by the agreement.
6th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Mafia on the hunt for coronavirus vaccines, say Italian police

The mafia will be trying to get their hands on COVID-19 vaccines, Italian police have warned. Giving vaccines to millions of people is proving problematic for most governments and now law enforcement authorities are bracing for an additional challenge — criminals targeting vaccine distribution. “Their interest in vaccines is due to the high demand and the low initial supply,” the Italian police body monitoring mafia infiltration of the economy said in an internal report, extracts of which were released on Wednesday.
6th Jan 2021 - POLITICO.eu

Israel expects to receive first Moderna coronavirus vaccines on Thursday

Israel expects to receive its first shipment of Moderna Inc coronavirus vaccines on Thursday and will administer them to people confined to homes or otherwise unable to go to clinics, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. His statement, issued late on Wednesday, did not detail the size of the shipment. Moderna said on Monday that Israel had approved the vaccine, securing 6 million doses. Israel has since Dec. 19 been administering Pfizer Inc’s coronavirus vaccine, with the Health Ministry saying on Wednesday that some 16% of citizens had received a first shot.
6th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

Coronavirus: Dutch shocked to be EU vaccination stragglers

The Dutch army is cleared to help hospitals, intensive care units borrow beds from other wards, patients are sent to Germany for treatment, routine operations are postponed, a nationwide lockdown is in place - and still no vaccinations. In a proudly well-organised country, with a well-funded health service, the first Dutch nationals will receive their coronavirus jabs on Wednesday - ten days after their European neighbours and nearly a month after the UK. The Dutch government has come in for stinging criticism. One former public health director, Roel Coutinho, warned the country's "shameful" vaccination strategy was "going to cost lives". During an emergency debate in parliament, opposition politicians called the approach "chaotic and confusing".
6th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Serbia praises Russian COVID vaccine as first shots administered

Top Serbian politicians urged greater international acceptance of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine on Wednesday as they joined the front of their country’s queue for shots, days after Moscow delivered the first consignment. The first batch of 2,400 doses of Sputnik V vaccine arrived on Dec. 30, and Russian sovereign fund RDIF said it had agreed to supply more up to a total of 2 million. Serbia started inoculations with the two-stage drug on Wednesday, including a shot for parliament speaker Ivica Dacic, who urged the World Health Organization to register it.
6th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

Merkel ‘open’ to producing Russian coronavirus vaccine in the EU

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told Russian President Vladimir Putin that she is "open to the idea" of using European manufacturing capacities to increase the production of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine, a German government spokesperson said on Wednesday. News of a Merkel-Putin call on Tuesday to discuss cooperation on vaccine production was first made public by the Kremlin that same day. Speaking at a German government press briefing Wednesday, deputy spokesperson Ulrike Demmer said that Merkel had told Putin "that she is open to the idea of bilateral cooperation for the purpose of tapping European production capacities [for the Russian vaccine]." Demmer added that this would only happen if the European Medicines Agency (EMA) gives its approval to the Sputnik V vaccine.
6th Jan 2021 - POLITICO.eu

As cases spike, Europe mulls delaying 2nd coronavirus vaccine shot

Faced with surging coronavirus cases, some European countries are considering whether to change tack and join the U.K. in vaccinating as many people as possible with just one dose rather than the two administered during clinical trials so far. This issue has been live since December 30, when the U.K. announced its decision to delay second doses by up to 12 weeks when it approved the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use. The switch also applied to the BioNTech/Pfizer jab. Just this week, Denmark announced its decision to delay the second dose of both the Pfizer and forthcoming Moderna jabs by up to six weeks. The German health ministry has also confirmed looking into widening vaccination coverage by similar delays between doses.
6th Jan 2021 - POLITICO.eu

COVID-19: Britons must take coronavirus test before travelling to Ireland

Visitors to Ireland will have to produce a negative COVID-19 test taken within the previous 72 hours, as the country's government brings in a raft of tough new restrictions.
6th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Azar: states should not let prioritization slow COVID-19 vaccinations

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Wednesday that states should not let recommendations to prioritize certain groups like essential workers slow the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations. “Those are simply recommendations, and they should never stand in the way of getting shots in arms,” Azar said at a press conference for the Operation Warp Speed vaccination program, If states are struggling to distribute the vaccine “then by all means you want to be opening up to people 70 and over or 65 and over,” he said.
6th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

Covid-19: Johnson warns England's lockdown won't end 'with a bang'

The end of England's lockdown will not happen with a "big bang" but will instead be a "gradual unwrapping", Boris Johnson has told MPs. The prime minister made the comments in the Commons ahead of a retrospective vote later on the lockdown measures. He said the legislation runs until 31 March to allow a "controlled" easing of restrictions back into local tiers. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the government's decisions "have led us to the position we're now in". Health Secretary Matt Hancock said there were now 30,074 patients with coronavirus in UK hospitals. All of the UK is now under strict virus curbs, with Wales, Northern Ireland and most of Scotland also in lockdown.
6th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Covid Vaccine Rollouts in Europe Are Off to a Shaky Start

With a more contagious variant of the coronavirus forcing England to impose a strict new national lockdown and European nations extending restrictions in the face of rising cases, political leaders have promised that mass vaccinations will bring an end to the suffering. But in the race to beat the virus, the virus is still way out in front. There are shortages of needles in Italy, Greece and other countries. Spain has not trained enough nurses. France has only managed to vaccinate around 7,000 people. Poland’s program was rocked by scandal after it was revealed that celebrities were given preferential treatment. There are calls in Germany to take control over vaccine purchases from European Union authorities. Nearly every country in Europe has complained about burdensome paperwork.
6th Jan 2021 - The New York Times

Balkans feel abandoned as vaccinations kick off in Europe

When thousands of people across the European Union began rolling up their sleeves last month to get a coronavirus vaccination shot, one corner of the continent was left behind, feeling isolated and abandoned: the Balkans. Balkan nations have struggled to get access to COVID-19 vaccines from multiple companies and programs, but most of the nations on Europe’s southeastern periphery are still waiting for their first vaccines to arrive, with no firm timeline for the start of their national inoculation drives. What is already clear is that Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia — home to some 20 million people — will lag far behind the EU’s 27 nations and Britain in efforts to reach herd immunity by quickly vaccinating a large number of their people.
6th Jan 2021 - The Associated Press

British PM Johnson says England's lockdown will be slowly unwrapped

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson won parliament’s backing for England’s latest lockdown on Wednesday after telling lawmakers that schools would be the first to reopen when he can start a “gradual unwrapping” of the strict measures. Faced with criticism over the timing of the lockdown and the abrupt closure of all schools, Johnson defended his decision by saying the new, more contagious, coronavirus variant and the threat it posed to the health service offered little choice. Johnson justified his decision on schools, which some lawmakers said threatened to hurt the opportunities of millions of children, by saying he did “everything in our power to keep them open” until “every other option had been closed off”.
6th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 6th Jan 2021

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What do we know about the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out in Scotland?

Vaccination of the public and vulnerable people from Covid-19 in Scotland is well underway, but information on when the Scottish Government expects vaccines to reach all of the population remains thin on the ground.
5th Jan 2021 - The Scotsman

Back-of-the-pack Dutch under fire for slow coronavirus vaccine rollout

The Dutch government's vaccine strategy has been flawed, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Tuesday as he admitted watching on with frustration as other countries' citizens were given a jab against the coronavirus. “Because the government's approach was not ...
5th Jan 2021 - POLITICO

Almost 14 million people to get a Covid vaccine jab by mid-February, vows minister

Almost 14 million people could receive a Covid vaccine by the middle of February, it has been announced. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said tonight that officials were hoping for all people in the top four priority groups to have received a jab in the coming weeks. And speaking afterwards, vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi said the NHS “family will come together” to get 13.9 million doses administered by the middle of February. In a tweet tonight, he said: "We can do this. The NHS family will come together and we will do this." Speaking from Downing Street, Mr Johnson outlined the NHS’s “realistic expectations” for the vaccination programme in the weeks ahead. He said: “By the middle of February, if things go well and with a fair wind in our sails, we expect to have offered the first vaccine dose to everyone in the four top priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.”
5th Jan 2021 - Wales Online

Exclusive: Teachers Could Get Covid Vaccine From Mid-February, MPs Told

Deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries suggests frontline key workers could begin getting jabs once 13m most vulnerable are inoculated. In a briefing with MPs on Tuesday, England’s deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries suggested teachers and other frontline key workers could be included in the next stage of vaccinations, which will cover the next five priority groups including over 50s and those with risky underlying health conditions. Any decision to inoculate teachers and key workers that early in the vaccination programme would mark a significant acceleration.
5th Jan 2021 - HuffPost UK

The EU’s coronavirus vaccine blame game. Why so slow?

When it comes to getting people vaccinated, the EU is trailing behind the U.K., the U.S. and Israel — and a growing number of critics blames the European Commission. Over the weekend, Markus Söder, leader of Germany's Christian Social Union, and BioNTech CEO Uğur Şahin criticized the Commission for not purchasing enough of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, the first to be approved by European regulators. The Commission fired back Monday, saying it had secured more than 2 billion doses of vaccines from seven producers with member states’ participation throughout the process.
5th Jan 2021 - POLITICO.eu

Coronavirus vaccine: China slams West's 'elderly first' policy

Hu Xijin of The Global Times praised China for prioritising people aged 18 to 59 He lauded Beijing for having a 'responsible attitude' in tackling the coronavirus The state-run paper warned the West against pinning its hope on the vaccines A commentary urged the West to learn from China and adopt a national system Comes as Beijing steps up its effort in shaping the narrative about the pandemic
5th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail

Coronavirus: India to export Covid vaccines 'within weeks'

India will begin exporting locally-made coronavirus vaccines within a fortnight of their launch, a foreign ministry official has told the BBC. The official dismissed reports that India would ban exports of vaccines it is producing to meet local demand. India makes about 60% of vaccines globally and many countries are eagerly waiting for it to begin shipping doses. It has formally approved the emergency use of two vaccines as it prepares to begin giving jabs in January.
5th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Baker says 70,000 staff members at Mass. hospitals have received COVID-19 vaccine

Governor Charlie Baker said Tuesday that more than 70,000 “COVID-facing” staff members at Massachusetts hospitals have received the COVID-19 vaccine amid the ongoing distribution program that’s slated to expand to first responders on Jan.
5th Jan 2021 - The Boston Globe

India says it hasn't banned the export of COVID-19 vaccines

India s government had not banned the export of any vaccines for COVID-19 the health ministry said Tuesday, days after the head of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer said it got emergency authorization to produce the shots as long as it didn't send them overseas. Adar Poonawalla, chief executive of Serum Institute of India, told The Associated Press in an interview Sunday that the company got the green light for its version of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine on the condition that it not export shots to ensure that vulnerable populations in India are protected. AstraZeneca contracted Serum Institute of India to manufacture 1 billion doses for developing nations. That vaccine and another developed by Indian company Bharat Biotech were granted licenses for emergency use by Indian regulators Sunday.
5th Jan 2021 - The Independent

A COVID-19 shot for $150? Online scams surge as slow vaccine rollout frustrates

As millions of people await their turn to get a COVID-19 vaccine that could be months away, scammers online, in emails and on messaging apps are luring victims with claims they can deliver shots within days for as little as $150. COVID-19 vaccine scams are on the rise, according to European and U.S. government officials who are warning the public of fraudsters out for money and personal data. A Reuters search online, in dark web forums and on messaging app Telegram found seven different offers for alleged COVID-19 vaccines.
5th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK

Elderly residents who waited overnight for Covid vaccine are turned away as Florida centre hits capacity

Distribution has stalled in places across the United States due to the limited number of coronavirus doses currently available, and it caused one Florida vaccine centre to close its doors once it reached capacity. On Monday, a vaccination centre at Daytona Stadium, in Daytona Beach, Florida, reached capacity for distributing the Moderna vaccine. It was announced that the centre would be open Monday, 4 July, and Tuesday, 5 July, on a first come, first serve basis to administer the coronavirus vaccine to those who qualified. About 2,000 doses were available.
5th Jan 2021 - The Independent

New York nurse is first in US to be fully vaccinated after receiving second shot

New York nurse Sandra Lindsay on Monday became the first person in the United States to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus. Ms Lindsay received her second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, where she is the director of critical care nursing. “My message is still that of hope. You know the initial study was done using two doses of the vaccine. So, I feel like I have completed a kind of a marathon and closed the loop,” she said, after receiving both jabs, administered 21 days apart.
5th Jan 2021 - The Independent

Covid: Can we really jab our way out of lockdown?

With the country in lockdown and a new faster-spreading variant of coronavirus rampant, it's clear the UK is in a race to vaccinate. Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants all the over-70s, the most clinically vulnerable and front-line health and care workers to be offered a jab by mid-February, to allow the restrictions to be eased. That requires about 13 million people to be given the opportunity to be vaccinated - but so far only one million have been. And ensuring a quick rollout to the rest is fraught with difficulties. There is enough vaccine in the country, BBC News has learned, but getting it into people's arms could be hampered by: a global shortage of glass vials to package up the vaccines long waits for safety checks the process of ensuring there are enough vaccinators
5th Jan 2021 - BBC News

France cranks up vaccine rollout to deliver shots faster