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Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 20th Oct 2021

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India delays COVID-19 vaccine supplies to WHO-backed COVAX, sources say

India has delayed committing supplies of vaccine to the COVAX global sharing platform, two sources told Reuters on Tuesday, a day after one of its key backers, the WHO, said the agency could not "cut corners" to approve a domestically developed vaccine.
19th Oct 2021 - Reuters

It is ‘critical’ that booster jabs are accelerated – Neil Ferguson

It is “critical” that the Covid booster programme is accelerated, a leading member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has said. Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London said there is a need to speed up boosters and the vaccination of teenagers, who he suggested should be given two doses of a jab to block infection and transmission. It came as NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard said that, to “make the most of half-term”, the national booking service will be open for 12 to 15-year-olds to book their jabs at existing vaccination centres.
19th Oct 2021 - Evening Standard

WHO-led program aims to buy antiviral COVID-19 pills for $10

A World Health Organization-led programme to ensure poorer countries get fair access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments aims to secure antiviral drugs for patients with mild symptoms for as little as $10 per course, a draft document seen by Reuters says. Merck & Co's experimental pill molnupiravir is likely to be one of the drugs, and other drugs to treat mild patients are being developed. The document, which outlines the goals of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) until September next year, says that the programme wants to deliver about 1 billion COVID-19 tests to poorer nations, and procure drugs to treat up to 120 million patients globally, out of about 200 million new cases it estimates in the next 12 months.
19th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Seniors are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19. So far, 1 in 7 have gotten a booster shot of vaccine

As the US tries to stave off another Covid-19 surge this winter, health experts encourage anyone who is eligible to get a booster dose of vaccine do so. About 10.7 million people have received a booster shot, including roughly 15% of seniors ages 65 and up, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So far, only the Pfizer vaccine has been authorized for use as a booster for certain high-risk groups who received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago, the US Food and Drug Administration said. Advisers to the FDA recently recommended booster doses for some people who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
19th Oct 2021 - CNN

Germany may miss COVID-19 vaccine donation goal, blames manufacturers

Germany may miss its target to donate 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses this year due to conditions imposed by manufacturers and delivery shortfalls, a health ministry official said in a letter to Brussels seen by Reuters. The 100 million doses account for half of the total promised by European Union member states to poorer countries this year, according to the European Commission. But on Oct. 19, the foreign office said Germany had only donated just over 17% of that amount
19th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: Face coverings compulsory in NI for autumn/ winter

Wearing face coverings in crowded indoor spaces will remain a legal requirement in Northern Ireland throughout autumn and winter. It is part of the executive's winter Covid contingency plans, outlined on Tuesday. First Minister Paul Givan said there would also be a "focus on flexible and hybrid working" in workplaces. He also set out a range of options if Covid cases rise sharply or hospital pressures become "unsustainable". Mr Givan said potential measures included deploying Covid vaccine passports in "higher risk settings", if considered appropriate.
19th Oct 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19: Irish press pause on some Covid-19 reopening plans

The Republic of Ireland is to pause some of the measures that had been planned for the reopening of society on Friday 22 October. It follows a rising number of Covid-19 cases in hospitals. The slight pause comes after a recommendation from the country's National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). It is being made even though 89% of those aged over 12 are vaccinated. Cabinet ministers have decided to continue the use of Covid certificates for the hospitality sector and for entrance to night clubs which will now open for the first time since March 2020.
19th Oct 2021 - BBC News

No special deals to allow unvaccinated players at Australian Open: official

Australia's Victoria state will not do special deals with unvaccinated athletes to allow them to compete at major events, an official said on Tuesday, putting Novak Djokovic's Australian Open title defence and bid for the Grand Slam record in doubt. World number one Djokovic, level on 20 Grand Slam titles with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, declined to reveal his vaccination status again this week and said he was unsure if he would defend his Australian Open crown as authorities work out COVID-19 restrictions for the tournament
19th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Ireland to allow nightclubs to reopen, but keeps some COVID curbs

Ireland will allow nightclubs to reopen for the first time since March 2020 but stepped back on Tuesday from plans to drop almost all COVID-19 restrictions in response to a rise in infections in one of the world's most vaccinated countries. After imposing one of Europe's toughest lockdown regimes, the government had hoped to lift most curbs this week including the need for physical distancing and requirement for vaccine certificates in bars and restaurants. Those measures will instead be extended until February, as will a requirement that bars and restaurants operate table service only. Those attending nightclubs must wear facemasks except when eating, drinking and dancing.
19th Oct 2021 - Reuters

New Zealand hits virus high, pushes vaccination as way out

New Zealand counted its most new coronavirus cases of the pandemic Tuesday as an outbreak in its largest city grew and officials urged vaccinations as a way out of Auckland’s two-month lockdown. Health officials found 94 new local infections, eclipsing the 89 that were reported twice during the early days of the pandemic 18 months ago. Most of the new cases were in Auckland, but seven were found in the nearby Waikato district. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said lockdown rule-breakers were contributing to the spread of infections and noted that many of the new cases had been detected among younger people. “I know the highs and lows of cases is incredibly hard on people, particularly those in Tamaki Makaurau,” Ardern said, using the Indigenous Maori name for Auckland. “I just wanted to reinforce again that we’re not powerless. We do have the ability to keep cases as low as we can.”
19th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

UK faces calls for ‘Plan B’ with virus cases high and rising

Life has returned to normal for millions in Britain since coronavirus restrictions were lifted over the summer. But while the rules have vanished, the virus hasn’t. Many scientists are now calling on the government to reimpose social restrictions and speed up booster vaccinations as coronavirus infection rates, already Europe’s highest, rise still further. The U.K. recorded 43,738 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, slightly down from the 49,156 reported Monday, which was the largest number since mid-July. New infections have averaged more than 44,000 a day over the past week, a 16% increase on the week before. Last week, the Office for National Statistics estimated that one in 60 people in England had the virus, one of the highest levels seen in Britain during the pandemic.
19th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

UK under pressure to reimpose restrictions as COVID cases soar

Many scientists are pressing the British government to reimpose social restrictions and speed up booster vaccinations as coronavirus infection rates, already Europe’s highest, rise still further. The United Kingdom recorded 49,156 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, the largest number since mid-July. New infections averaged 43,000 a day over the past week, a 15 percent increase compared with the week before. Last week, the Office for National Statistics estimated that one in 60 people in England had the virus, one of the highest levels seen in Britain during the pandemic. In July, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government lifted all the legal restrictions that had been imposed more than a year earlier to slow the spread of the virus, including face coverings indoors and social distancing rules. Nightclubs and other crowded venues were allowed to open at full capacity, and people were no longer advised to work from home if they could. Some modellers feared a big spike in cases after the reopening. That did not occur, but infections remained high, and recently have begun to increase.
19th Oct 2021 - AlJazeera

'They rushed the process’: Vaccine maker’s woes hamper global inoculation campaign

The world’s vaccine distributor has been counting on U.S. companies to provide more than 2 billion doses to lower and middle-income countries by the end of 2022 — a crucial step in ending the Covid-19 pandemic. But the campaign run by the international consortium known as COVAX, which has already been delayed significantly because of production lags, is now likely to fall short by more than 1 billion doses as a key supplier faces significant hurdles in proving it can manufacture a shot that meets regulators’ quality standards, according to three people with direct knowledge of the company’s problems. The delay, which was confirmed by three other people familiar with the discussions between Maryland-based Novavax and the Biden administration, represents a major setback in the effort to vaccinate the world in the wake of new, more transmissible variants.
19th Oct 2021 - Politico


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

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Nearly a Third of Chicago Police Have Failed to Report Their Vaccine Status

About one-third of Chicago Police Department employees have not reported their Covid-19 vaccination status to the city, defying Friday’s deadline to provide the information or risk unpaid leave. About 64% of the department’s 12,770 employees have reported their vaccine status with about 36% of police staffers not providing the required information, according to data released by city officials on Monday. That’s the lowest reporting rate among the city’s departments. The figures show that 6,894 say they’re fully vaccinated and 1,333 report they are not, according to the data. About 4,500 from the department have not responded as mandated by the city amid a standoff between Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge #7 President John Catanzara Jr.
18th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Russian regions introduce QR codes for entry to public venues as COVID-19 cases hit record

Many Russian regions on Monday announced plans to keep cafes, museums and other public venues open only to those who have recently recovered from COVID-19, have proof of inoculation with a Russian vaccine or a negative coronavirus test, as new cases in the country hit a record. The round of unpopular measures that limits freedoms in Russia comes as the number of daily COVID-19 infections reached an all-time high of 34,325 despite the state-driven vaccination programme.
18th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Biden: Teachers 'most consequential' people after parents

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden hosted a White House ceremony Monday to recognize the 2021 and 2020 national teachers of the year, the state teacher finalists for those years and teachers nationwide, all of whom had to work longer and harder during the pandemic. The president was a surprise guest, walking out onto the South Lawn after the first lady, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and both national teachers had spoken at the ceremony. Biden said teachers are the “single most consequential people in the world,” beyond one’s parents, because of the influence they have over their students.
18th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

Burundi launches COVID-19 vaccination drive

Burundi on Monday rolled out its first COVID-19 vaccines, months after most African countries, the latest step in the East African nation's shift towards a more active approach to containing the pandemic. The vaccination campaign started in the commercial capital of Bujumbura without fanfare. Dozens of city residents queued quietly at a vaccination site, telling Reuters they heard about the drive through word of mouth. No government officials were present to officially inaugurate the launch.
18th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announces COVID-19 roadmap to reopening as state records zero local cases

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has outlined a roadmap to reopen the state's borders to COVID-19 hotspots for fully vaccinated people by Christmas. Fully vaccinated travellers will be allowed to enter Queensland without the need to quarantine from December 17. It comes as the state recorded zero new locally acquired COVID cases in the past 24 hours, while more than 8,000 people remain stranded interstate, having applied for border passes to enter Queensland. Ms Palaszczuk said Queensland would begin a phased border reopening for fully vaccinated people from November 19.
18th Oct 2021 - ABC News

Merck COVID-19 pill sparks calls for access for lower income countries

The plan to roll out Merck & Co's (MRK.N) promising antiviral pill to treat COVID-19 risks repeating the inequities of vaccine distribution, potentially leaving the nations with the greatest need once again at the back of the line, international health groups say. For example, only about 5% of Africa’s population is immunized, creating an urgent need for therapeutics that could keep people out of hospitals. That compares with more than a 70% inoculation rate in most wealthy nations. Merck on Oct 11 applied for U.S. emergency clearance of the first pill for COVID-19 after it cut hospitalizations and deaths by 50% in a large clinical trial.
18th Oct 2021 - Reuters

How the Covid-19 booster shots could make the vaccination gap worse

"We're all triply-vaccinated!" friends gleefully told me last week, as they invited me to their home for dinner. They were thrilled. I had rarely seen such big smiles since the Covid-19 pandemic began. These are important developments, but they arrive at a time when major challenges remain, since about 66 million American adults have still not yet been fully vaccinated. Forty-six percent of Whites, 49% of Hispanics and 54% of Blacks in the country have not yet gotten a single shot. While my friends were delighted to receive extra protections and invite other people to dinner, much of the country remains wary. To overcome the growing pandemic, we as a nation must all now push to address this widening gap.
18th Oct 2021 - CNN

U.S. administers 408.3 mln doses of COVID-19 vaccines - CDC

The United States has administered 408,265,959 doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of Sunday morning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The figures are up from the 407,446,961 vaccine doses the CDC said had gone into arms by Oct. 16. The agency said 218,805,579 people had received at least one dose while 189,141,481 people were fully vaccinated as of 6 a.m. ET Sunday.
18th Oct 2021 - Reuters

EU has exported over 1 bln COVID-19 vaccines, von der Leyen says

More than a billion COVID-19 vaccines produced in the European Union have been exported since December 2020, making the bloc the biggest exporter of the shots, European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen said on Monday. The vaccines had gone to more than 150 countries, and the EU had exported as many doses as it had distributed to its own citizens, von der Leyen added in a statement. The bloc started exporting vaccines at the start of the global roll out at a time when other major producers such as the United States were building up their own supplies and restricting exports.
18th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Should COVID-19 vaccines be mandatory?

Governments across the world are turning to vaccine mandates as the Delta variant continues to wreak havoc and vaccine uptake in some communities begin to slow down. New Zealand – which has abandoned its COVID-Zero strategy amid persistent infections – introduced last week a “no jab, no job” policy for doctors and teachers, while neighbouring Fiji says all of its public and private sector workers are liable to lose their jobs if they fail to get fully inoculated by November.
18th Oct 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Thailand to cease Sinovac vaccine use when stocks end this month

Thailand will stop using the COVID-19 vaccine of China's Sinovac when its current stock finishes, a senior official said on Monday, having used the shot extensively in combination with Western-developed vaccines. Thailand used over 31.5 million Sinovac doses since February, starting with two doses to frontline workers, high-risk groups and residents of Phuket, a holiday island that reopened to tourists early in a pilot scheme.
18th Oct 2021 - Yahoo News

Vaccines, masks? Japan puzzling over sudden virus success

Almost overnight, Japan has become a stunning, and somewhat mysterious, coronavirus success story. Daily new COVID-19 cases have plummeted from a mid-August peak of nearly 6,000 in Tokyo, with caseloads in the densely populated capital now routinely below 100, an 11-month low. The bars are packed, the trains are crowded, and the mood is celebratory, despite a general bafflement over what, exactly, is behind the sharp drop. Japan, unlike other places in Europe and Asia, has never had anything close to a lockdown, just a series of relatively toothless states of emergency.
18th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

Burundi starts COVID jabs; just North Korea, Eritrea remain

One of the world’s last three countries to administer COVID-19 vaccines started giving out doses on Monday as the East African nation of Burundi launched its national campaign. The vaccinations started in the commercial capital, Bujumbura, though health workers told The Associated Press that barely more than a dozen people had received doses by mid-afternoon. Recipients included the ministers of health and security. Only North Korea and the Horn of Africa nation of Eritrea have not administered any COVID-19 vaccines, according to the World Health Organization. Burundi’s previous government under the late President Pierre Nkurunziza had been criticized for taking the pandemic lightly.
18th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

Gordon Brown calls for airlift of 240 million COVID-19 vaccines

Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called for an immediate airlift of unused COVID jabs to countries in the global south. Brown, an adviser to the World Health Organization (WHO), is pressing the leaders of Canada, the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States to hold an emergency summit to agree on the airlift ahead of the G20 meeting later this month. He said an airlift of 240 million doses this month could save 100,000 lives. It would be the first part of a plan to transfer a billion vaccine doses from rich countries to lower-income countries over several months, a plan he says could prevent “many of the one million COVID-induce deaths projected over the next year.” “While vaccines have been pledged for donation from all donors, we are not getting the vaccines into people’s arms and urgently need a month-to-month timetable to meet our interim targets and prevent further loss of lives,” Brown was quoted as saying by the Observer newspaper.
17th Oct 2021 - Al Jazeera English


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

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Wits extends deadline for comments on proposed compulsory Covid-19 vaccinations

The deadline for comments on the Wits University's proposed compulsory vaccination policy has been extended by a week. Spokesperson Shiron Patel said the deadline was extended to Friday 22 October, and that more than 300 comments had been received so far, mostly in favour of the policy. The university is proposing compulsory vaccination against Covid-19, unless in exceptional circumstances. "There are also meetings taking place with various constituencies, including other student groupings, residences, organised labour, professional and academic staff, administrative staff, suppliers and retailers, etc," Patel said.
16th Oct 2021 - News24

Fully vaccinated travellers entering Malaysia to serve shorter quarantine period from Oct 18

Fully vaccinated travellers entering Malaysia will undergo a shorter quarantine period of seven days from Monday (Oct 18), Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced on Friday. They can serve their quarantine at home, if suitable, or at quarantine stations, said Ismail Sabri after a meeting of the Special Committee on COVID-19 Pandemic Management. “Travellers who are not vaccinated or have not been fully vaccinated will have to undergo 10 days’ quarantine at the quarantine station,” he said. The quarantine period for close contacts will also be reduced to seven days at home for those fully vaccinated. It will be 10 days for those unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
16th Oct 2021 - Channel NewsAsia Singapore

Singapore Covid: Airline websites crash as borders set to open

Singapore's borders have effectively been closed for 21 months, so news that the rules will finally be relaxed has sent residents rushing for a ticket out. From 19 October, people will be able to travel freely from Singapore to ten countries around the world, without quarantine and with fewer swab tests, as long as they are vaccinated. By 15 November, one more country - South Korea - will be added to the list. "The cabin fever was just driving us crazy. There's no demarcation between leisure and work here," Low Ka Wei, a corporate communications executive, told the BBC.
16th Oct 2021 - BBC News

'Swab hubs' for arriving tourists

Bangkok is set to reopen to fully vaccinated international visitors next month with "swab hubs" being set up to test tourists upon their arrival in the capital. Bangkok governor Pol Gen Aswin Kwanmuang said that the government has laid down a policy to reopen the country on Nov 1 and precautions include testing and quarantine measures. As for the shortening of nighttime curfew hours starting on Saturday, City Hall will wait for an official announcement of the easing of virus curbs to be published in the Royal Gazette, Pol Gen Aswin said, adding that details regarding countdown events will then be discussed.
16th Oct 2021 - Bangkok Post

Russia's daily COVID-19 deaths top 1000 for first time

Russia’s daily death toll from COVID-19 has exceeded 1,000 for the first time as the country faces a sustained wave of rising infections. The national coronavirus task force on Saturday reported 1,002 deaths in the previous day, up from 999 on Friday, along with 33,208 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, more than 1,000 higher than the day before. Authorities have tried to speed up the pace of vaccination with lotteries, bonuses and other incentives, but widespread vaccine skepticism and conflicting signals from officials stymied the efforts. The government said this week that about 43 million Russians, or about 29% of the country’s nearly 146 million people, are fully vaccinated.
16th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

Opinion | The Unvaccinated May Not Be Who You Think

Reality has refuted dire predictions about how Americans would respond to vaccine mandates. In a poll in September, 72 percent of the unvaccinated said they would quit if forced to be vaccinated for work. There were news articles warning of mass resignations. When large employers, school districts, and hospital systems did finally mandate vaccines, people subject to mandates got vaccinated, overwhelmingly. After United Airlines mandated vaccines, there were only 232 holdouts among 67,000 employees. Among about 10,000 employees in state-operated health care facilities in North Carolina, only 16 were fired for noncompliance.
16th Oct 2021 - The New York Times

Horse race marks Sydney's emergence from long COVID-19 lockdown

Thousands of Sydney residents flocked to a prominent horse race on Saturday, as Australia's biggest city emerges from a strict COVID-19 lockdown and the nation begins to live with the coronavirus through extensive vaccination. Up to 10,000 fully vaccinated spectators can now attend races such as The Everest in Sydney, Australia's richest turf horse race, and the country's most famous, Melbourne Cup Day, on Nov. 2. New South Wales state, of which Sydney is the capital, reached its target of 80% of people fully vaccinated on Saturday, well ahead of the rest of Australia.
16th Oct 2021 - Reuters

New Zealand vaccinates 2.5% of its people in a day in drive to live with COVID-19

New Zealand vaccinated at least 2.5% of its people on Saturday as the government tries to accelerate inoculations and live with COVID-19, preliminary health ministry data showed. Through an array of strategies, gimmicks and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's encouragement through the day, 124,669 shots were administered by late in the day in a country of 4.9 million. "We set a target for ourselves, Aotearoa, you've done it, but let's keep going," Ardern said, using a Maori name for New Zealand at a vaccination site, according to the Newshub news service. "Let's go for 150 [thousand]. Let's go big or go home."
16th Oct 2021 - Reuters

U.S. to lift restrictions Nov 8 for vaccinated foreign travelers

The White House on Friday will lift COVID-19 travel restrictions for fully vaccinated international visitors starting Nov. 8, ending historic restrictions that had barred much of the world from entering the United States for as long as 21 months. The unprecedented travel restrictions kept millions of visitors out of the United States from China, Canada, Mexico, India, Brazil, much of Europe and elsewhere; shrunk U.S. tourism; and hurt border community economies. They prevented many loved ones and foreign workers from reuniting with families.
16th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Zimbabwe bars unvaccinated civil servants from work

Zimbabwe will bar unvaccinated government workers from reporting for duty from Monday as part of efforts to fight COVID-19, an official circular showed. The southern African country has, as of Oct. 14, recorded 4,655 COVID-19-related deaths from 132,251 infections since March 2020. Although the country was one of the first on the continent to vaccinate against COVID-19, less than 2.5 million people out of its 15 million population have been fully vaccinated.
15th Oct 2021 - Reuters

U.S. will accept mixed doses of vaccines from international travellers

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said late on Friday that it will accept mixed-dose coronavirus vaccines from international travelers, a boost to travelers from Canada and other places. The CDC said last week that it would accept any vaccine authorized for use by U.S. regulators or the World Health Organization. "While CDC has not recommended mixing types of vaccine in a primary series, we recognize that this is increasingly common in other countries so should be accepted for the interpretation of vaccine records," a CDC spokeswoman said.
15th Oct 2021 - Reuters


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

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Covid-19 Vaccine-Mandate Bans Tread on Uncertain Legal Ground

State-imposed bans on Covid-19 vaccine mandates have set up a potential legal clash with the federal government as the Biden administration rolls out a requirement that large companies make sure their employees get inoculated. In Texas and Montana, employers are scrambling to understand the consequences of state orders restricting employers from requiring their workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19. At the same time, they are awaiting rules from the federal government that will mandate shots for millions of American workers—an order from President Biden that is also likely to face lawsuits, casting more uncertainty over the final outcome.
14th Oct 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Verizon says 30000 U.S. employees must meet Dec. 8 vaccination deadline

Verizon Communications said on Thursday the majority of its U.S. workforce must show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 under President Joe Biden's federal contractor executive order. Verizon said thousands of non-union U.S. employees must be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8 under the executive order. Verizon, a federal contractor, said it was in discussions with its unions about vaccination requirements for 30,000 U.S. unionized employees.
14th Oct 2021 - Reuters

U.S. donates 17 million J&J doses to African Union

President Joe Biden told visiting Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday that the United States will make a one-time donation of more than 17 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the African Union, the White House said. The meeting with Kenyatta at the White House marked Biden's first as president with an African leader. Kenya holds the rotating presidency of the U.N. Security Council this month. The United States and Kenya have long cooperated on economic and security initiatives including counterterrorism.
14th Oct 2021 - Reuters

France donates COVID-19 vaccine to Nigeria under COVAX scheme

Nigeria has received 501,600 doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine from the French government through the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility, a senior health official said on Thursday. Faisal Shuaib, head of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, said the country also received 434,400 doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccine from the African Union. Both supplies were received last week, Shuaib said, adding that more were expected through the COVAX facility and the African Union.
14th Oct 2021 - Reuters

U.S. to ship 2.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Pakistan

The U.S. government will ship 2.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Pakistan on Thursday, bringing the total number of doses sent to the South Asian country to about 18.3 million, more than any other country, a White House official said. The latest shipments of the vaccine lots made by Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech are due to arrive on Saturday via the COVAX distribution program, said the official, who asked to remain unidentified.
14th Oct 2021 - Reuters

How do you vaccinate a small African nation? Rwanda’s health minister explains

An outlier in Africa’s slow rollout, Rwanda has raced ahead and vaccinated more than 90 per cent of adults in its capital. Minister of Health Dr Daniel Ngamije tells the Evening Standard’s Vaccine for the World project how Rwanda did it
14th Oct 2021 - Evening Standard

Hospitals weigh COVID vaccine mandates for patients in need of lifesaving organ transplants

The recent uproar over a hospital requiring a Colorado woman to get a coronavirus vaccine before being considered for an organ transplant reveals the kind of decisions transplant centers make every day. Hospitals that transplant hearts, livers, lungs or other organs have strict requirements and prioritize patients based on a range of factors, including medical need, suitability and likelihood of success. “Organs are a scarce resource,” said Deepali Kumar, president-elect of the American Society of Transplantation. “We have a duty to make sure that gift is protected and also that our patients have the best possible outcomes.”
14th Oct 2021 - USA TODAY

Queensland cops take police to court over Covid vaccine mandates

Queensland Police have been told by their commissioner to get Covid vaccine But 50 furious staff members are taking the fight to court and refuse to get vax Dozens of officers have already been suspended after not getting vaccinated Mandatory vaccination is becoming an increasingly controversial issue In NSW, people must be double-jabbed just to go to shops or the pub
14th Oct 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid vaccines for US children are coming but challenge will be persuading parents

Covid vaccines for children aged five to 11 are inching closer to authorization in the US, with possible availability as soon as early November, and experts are already looking to the next hurdle: actually getting the shots in those young arms. Only one-third of parents plan to vaccinate their children as soon as the vaccines are ready, the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation has found. Another third of those surveyed want to wait and see how the rollout goes. “What’s going to be actually more challenging, beyond having the infrastructure to be able to administer the Covid-19 vaccines, is ensuring that parents feel comfortable vaccinating their children,” Syra Madad, an infectious disease epidemiologist and ​​senior director of the System-wide Special Pathogens Program at NYC Health + Hospitals, told the Guardian. About half of children 12 and older have been vaccinated in the months since the vaccines were given the green light for those ages.
14th Oct 2021 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: Unions call for improved vaccine rollout

A global coalition of more than 350 trade unions is renewing calls for politicians to waive the patents on Covid vaccines. They say that failing to do so would compound supply chain crises and inflict "economic self-harm". It comes as the World Trade Organization (WTO) tries to broker a compromise at a meeting in Geneva. Critics argue that accelerating the rollout of vaccines is more complex than just the waiving of patents. The dilemma being discussed at the WTO meeting centres on finding the best way to ensure the most widespread and equitable way of vaccinating the whole world from coronavirus and ending the pandemic. Successfully doing so would allow the removal of restrictions that have impaired economic growth.
14th Oct 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19 Australia: Two of Australia's biggest banks to require their 75,000 staff to get Covid jab

Westpac and Commonwealth Bank to require 75,000 workers to get Covid-19 jab Employees need to be double-jabbed from December to return to the workplace Westpac boss said the mandate is necessary to protect both staff and customers It comes after PwC told 8000 staff they need to get vaccinated against Covid-19
14th Oct 2021 - Daily Mail

Nigeria orders civil servants to show COVID-19 vaccination or negative test from Dec 1

Nigeria will require civil servants to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative test for the disease to gain access to their offices from the beginning of December, a presidential committee said on Wednesday. The presidential committee said unvaccinated government workers will need to present a negative test result done within 72-hours before they are granted access to their offices across the country and its embassies abroad. "An appropriate service wide advisory/circular will be issued to guide the process," Boss Mustapha, chairman of the presidential steering committee on COVID-19, said in a statement.
14th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Ireland may not drop all COVID-19 restrictions next week, ministers say

Ireland raised doubts over its plans to drop almost all COVID-19 restrictions next week due to a rise in cases, with Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe saying a full return of office workers was now unlikely. Ireland has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world with 92% of adults fully protected but also one of the highest infection rates in Europe with around 400 cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days. With hospitalisations ticking up, though still far below peaks this year and last, ministers will discuss at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday whether this will push up critical care needs ahead of the busy winter period.
14th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Melbourne set for COVID lockdown exit despite record cases as vaccinations spike

Melbourne will exit months of COVID-19 lockdown next week helped by a faster-than-expected vaccine uptake, Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said on Thursday, ahead of schedule even though daily infections hit a record the same day. In the worst day of an outbreak of the Delta variant coronavirus that began in early August, Victoria logged 2,297 new cases on Thursday, up from 1,571 the day before and the highest for any Australian state or territory since the pandemic began. Eleven people died, bringing the total toll in the latest outbreak to 125.
14th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Maori leader in New Zealand blasts country's new COVID-19 strategy

The co-leader of New Zealand's Maori Party, Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, says the country's new COVID-19 strategy amounts to a "death warrant" for Indigenous communities. Earlier in October, the country announced it is easing coronavirus restrictions in the largest city of Auckland. The decision was widely seen as moving away from a zero-tolerance approach to the pandemic, where a single coronavirus infection could trigger severe restrictions on public life. To date, only 28 New Zealanders are confirmed to have died of COVID-19.
13th Oct 2021 - NPR


Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 14th Oct 2021

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Australia's CSL reaffirms commitment to making AstraZeneca COVID vaccine

Australian biotech CSL said on Thursday it was committed to its agreement for the production of about 50 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine into 2022. The announcement came after a media report said the British drugmaker's vaccine, Vaxzevria, will no longer be manufactured in Australia due to demand for vaccines of Pfizer and Moderna. Pfizer and Moderna have established a market dominance by using mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine technology to fight the pandemic.
14th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Booster Shot Bolsters Immune Defense, FDA Staff Say

Federal health regulators cautioned that data was limited and they had to rely on Johnson & Johnson’s own analysis for some of the study findings, rather than conducting their own.
13th Oct 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Belgium's Covid App Reports Data Breach Days Before Pass Rollout

Belgium’s app that verifies coronavirus vaccinations reported a data leak, just days before Brussels is set to require people to prove they’ve been jabbed in order to enter restaurants. A potential leak of the CovidScan app may have exposed the sensitive health data of 39,000 people, the country’s data protection authority said in an emailed press release. The app is used to read the QR codes -- usually on a phone -- that prove people have received a vaccine or have recently tested negative for the virus. From Friday the nation’s capital will mandate people to show a Covid pass to enter bars, restaurants, sports clubs and hospitals. The measure aims to stoke the local economy and spur vaccinations.
13th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Ivermectin Demand Sends Sales Soaring for Foreign Generic Drugmakers

Before the pandemic, Taj Pharmaceuticals Ltd. shipped negligible amounts of ivermectin to Russia for veterinary use. But over the past year it’s become a popular product for the Indian generic drug maker: Since July 2020, Taj Pharma has sold $5 million worth of the pills for human use in India and overseas. That’s a bonanza for a small family-owned company with an annual revenue of about $66 million.
13th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Biden's vaccine mandate for companies nears as proposed rule sent to White House

The U.S. Labor Department on Tuesday submitted to the White House the initial text of President Joe Biden's plan to require private-sector workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or get tested regularly. The department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration submitted the proposed rule for review. Some details could change, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters. The move indicates the proposed standard could be released soon. The mandate will apply to businesses with 100 or more employees and will be implemented under a federal rule-making mechanism known as an emergency temporary standard. It would affect roughly 80 million workers nationwide.
13th Oct 2021 - Reuters

WHO chief urges COVID-19 vaccine sharing to make mass coverage 'reality'

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday urged countries and companies controlling the supply of COVID-19 vaccines to prioritize supply to the vaccine sharing program COVAX in order to meet vaccination targets. "We're working with leaders to support the prioritization and planning that's needed to make 40% coverage a reality with aggressive and ambitious action," he said at a media briefing.
13th Oct 2021 - MSN.com

'It's not Satanism': Zimbabwe church leaders preach vaccines

Apostolic groups that infuse traditional beliefs into a Pentecostal doctrine are among the most skeptical in Zimbabwe when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines, with an already strong mistrust of modern medicine. Many followers put faith in prayer, holy water and anointed stones to ward off disease or cure illnesses. While mandates — a blunt no vaccine, no entrance rule — is the way to go for some, there’s a subtler approach for the Apostolic and other anti-vaccine Pentecostal groups, partly, but not only, because they are deeply suspicious of vaccines.
13th Oct 2021 - Associated Press

United Airlines must hold off on its vaccine mandate

A federal judge in Texas ordered United Airlines to temporarily halt its plan to put unvaccinated employees on unpaid leave if they have requested an exemption from the company's COVID-19 vaccine mandate. United Airlines announced Aug. 6 that the Chicago-based airline was requiring all 67,000 of its U.S.-based employees to be vaccinated. At the time, the airline said about 90% of pilots and 80% of flight attendants had already been vaccinated. But for the small portion of employees that refused to get a coronavirus vaccine and requested either a medical or religious exemption from United, the company said it would place those workers on unpaid leave.
13th Oct 2021 - NPR

Putin says Russia needs to speed up vaccination for Covid-19

Russia must accelerate Covid-19 vaccinations, Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated on Tuesday as the country recorded its highest daily death toll since the start of the pandemic. Addressing newly elected lawmakers of the State Duma -- Russia's lower parliament house -- Putin urged the deputies who had gathered in the Kremlin to convince the Russian public to get vaccinated as the situation continues to worsen across the vast country. "You know that the number of infections is growing in many regions and medical specialists are working in difficult conditions. We all know well that vaccination can save us from the virus and from a severe course of the disease. It is necessary to step up the vaccination pace," Putin said.
13th Oct 2021 - CNN

Boeing tells workers they must get COVID-19 vaccine

The Boeing Co. has told employees they must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or possibly be fired. The Seattle Times reports the deadline for workers at the aerospace giant is Dec. 8. “Compliance with these requirements is a condition of employment,” states a Boeing internal presentation from Tuesday viewed by the newspaper. “Employees who are unable to meet these requirements ... may be released from the company.” Employees can request exemptions “due to a disability or sincerely held religious belief.” Any employee granted such an exemption will have to “undergo frequent testing for COVID-19” and be ready to “present a negative test result upon request.”
13th Oct 2021 - The Independent

Covid-19 vaccine boosters are 'immoral' and 'unfair', says WHO chief

Distributing Covid-19 vaccine booster shots in some countries while inoculations across Africa lag is "immoral," according to the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO). The increasing use of boosters is "immoral, unfair and unjust and it has to stop," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told CNN's Becky Anderson on Tuesday. "To start boosters is really the worst we can do as a global community. It is unjust and also unfair because we will not stop the pandemic by ignoring a whole continent, and the continent that doesn't have any manufacturing capacity of other means," he said.
13th Oct 2021 - CNN

Russia, EU to discuss terms for recognising COVID-19 vaccine certificates -Ifax

Russia and the EU will discuss terms for the mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccine certificates for their respective shots at talks, the Interfax news agency cited Russia's health ministry as saying on Wednesday. The EU's ambassador to Moscow last week said Russia has repeatedly delayed inspections by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) necessary for the certification of its Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine in the European Union
13th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Melbourne COVID-19 lockdown may lift early

Melburnians could know by the end of the week if lockdown will lift early, with Victoria on track to reach its 70 per cent double vaccination target ahead of schedule. The city was expected to exit its sixth hard lockdown on October 26, but the rate of people taking up COVID-19 vaccinations means the coverage target will be achieved earlier. "Just give me a few more days, and I'll give you as much clarity as I can about what next week looks like and the week after that and the week after that," Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters
13th Oct 2021 - MSN.com

Doubts over demand on eve of Indonesia's Bali reopening

Hours before Indonesia's top holiday destination Bali reopens to foreign tourists after 18 months of pandemic hiatus, the island is lacking one crucial ingredient: international flights. Tourism-reliant Bali is scheduled to reopen on Thursday and though its Ngurah Rai international airport has carried out simulations preparing for the tourists to return, it is not expecting much to happen soon. "So far there is no schedule," said Taufan Yudhistira, a spokesman for the airport.
13th Oct 2021 - Reuters


Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 13th Oct 2021

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COVID-19 pandemic not in 'rear view mirror' for hospitality sector, pubs boss warns PM

COVID-19 is not in the "rear view mirror" for Britain's hospitality sector and it still has symptoms that are "very real", a leading pubs boss has told Sky News. Clive Chesser, chief executive of Punch Pubs, spoke about the challenges facing the sector at a discussion on the UK's recovery with leaders from across the economy at Sky's Big Ideas Live event. Mr Chesser said the "celebratory" tone of the prime minister's speech to the Conservative Party conference last week did not match the reality facing hospitality businesses.
12th Oct 2021 - Sky News

S.Korea to donate 1.1 mln doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Vietnam, 470,000 doses to Thailand

South Korea will donate 1.1 mln doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to Vietnam and 470,000 doses to Thailand, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said on Tuesday. The donations come as South Korea has administered nearly 80% of its 52 million population with at least one dose of a vaccine, KDCA said
12th Oct 2021 - Reuters

WA's health sector vaccine mandate puts pressure on overstretched bush hospitals

Almost two weeks after Western Australia's health sector vaccine mandate took effect, just a small number of staff losses is increasing pressure on struggling hospital wards and fanning tension between burnt-out workers. Health authorities have confirmed frontline staff have been removed from rosters for refusing to have at least one dose since the rules came into force at the start of the month. The nurses union, which supports the mandate, has accused health bureaucrats of not preparing for the inevitable loss of staff at a time when hospitals in WA's remote north are already being pushed to the brink due to a nurse shortage.
12th Oct 2021 - ABC.Net.au

Bangladesh plans to vaccinate 80 mn people against Covid by next January

Bangladesh aims to administer Covid-19 vaccines to nearly half of its population by next January. Health Minister Zahid Maleque said the Bangladeshi government is working to vaccinate 80 million people by December and January, Xinhua news agency reported, citing the Bangladesh's state-run news agency BSS. The minister said the government is considering vaccinating children aged between 12 and 17 years. Bangladesh has already announced a target of vaccinating 80 per cent of its population by 2022. The South Asian country has so far got nearly 70 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
12th Oct 2021 - Business Standard

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott bans COVID-19 vaccine mandates by private businesses

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order to prohibit any entity, including private business, from enforcing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on workers and called on state lawmakers to pass a similar ban into law. The move comes as the Biden administration is set to issue rules requiring employers with more than 100 workers to be vaccinated or test weekly for the coronavirus. Several major companies, including Texas-based American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, have said they would abide by the federal mandate.
12th Oct 2021 - NPR

Covid-19 Australia: Chief Minister Andrew Barr confirms ACT will lift its lockdown this week

The ACT is set to end its harsh lockdown restrictions by the end of the week, Chief Minister Andrew Barr has confirmed. The territory's leader announced Canberra will officially emerge from lockdown at 11.59pm on Thursday as the state increases its vaccination coverage. 'Case numbers are expected to increase as restrictions are eased, but being fully vaccinated provides you with protection,' he said.
12th Oct 2021 - Daily Mail

Japan working on starting COVID-19 booster shots by year-end

The Japanese government is working on starting COVID-19 booster shots by year-end, deputy chief cabinet secretary Yoshihiko Isozaki said at a news conference on Tuesday. Isozaki added that details such as who would get booster shots first and how they would be administered are currently under discussion by experts. "We would like to ensure that the roll-out of the booster shots is done seamlessly, based on the advice of experts," he said.
12th Oct 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Parents of secondary school and college students urged to ensure their children test regularly and get vaccinated

The education secretary and health secretary have written to parents of secondary school and college students, urging them to ensure their children are testing regularly and also encouraging them to get vaccinated against coronavirus. The letter from Nadhim Zahawi and Sajid Javid comes after official estimates showed that around 270,000 secondary pupils had COVID-19 in the week to 2 October.
12th Oct 2021 - Sky News

New Zealand seeks to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations amid persistent cases

New Zealand expects to administer a record 100,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses in a single day during a mass immunisation drive on Oct. 16, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, as she seeks to accelerate inoculations before easing curbs in Auckland. Ardern on Tuesday urged the country's population over 12 years of age "to roll up sleeves for New Zealand and help make us (one of) the most vaccinated and therefore protected countries in the world". Some 2.44 million, or 58% of the population over 12, have been fully vaccinated so far.
12th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 vaccine mandates work, Dr. Anthony Fauci says

The nation's top infectious disease expert says vaccine mandates work and they'll help get more people vaccinated against Covid-19. About a quarter of the eligible US population remains unvaccinated against coronavirus and the rate of people getting booster shots is now outpacing the rate of people getting their first doses. Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Monday that the federal government is trying to persuade people to get vaccinated on their own, but some may need to be required. "We've obviously been trying very hard," Fauci said. "We try to get trusted messengers out there and try and get this away from being an ideological or political statement, get back into the realm of pure public health, and try to convince people."
12th Oct 2021 - CNN

Get vaccinated if you want to play Australian Open, minister tells players

Tennis players planning to compete in the Australian Open at Melbourne Park should get vaccinated for COVID-19 to give themselves the best chance of playing the Grand Slam, an Australian government official has said. Victoria state, of which Melbourne is the capital, has introduced a vaccine mandate for all professional athletes but authorities have yet to clarify whether athletes from overseas or other Australian states must also vaccinate.
12th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Back to school: How are pupils being kept Covid-safe?

Face coverings are no longer compulsory in schools in England or Wales, although they are recommended in crowded spaces like school buses. However head teachers and health officials can ask staff and pupils to wear masks on school premises in response to local circumstances. Schools in Trafford, Cambridgeshire and West Yorkshire have already reintroduced face coverings. Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi confirmed that mask-wearing in all English schools could be made compulsory again under the government's winter contingency "Plan B".
12th Oct 2021 - BBC News


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

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Virus czar ‘optimistic’ about COVID-19 decline, but says restrictions to remain

Falling coronavirus infection rates are an encouraging sign that a recent wave is coming to an end, national virus czar Salman Zarka said Monday, but warned against the country dropping its guard too soon. Zarka held a video press briefing in which he reviewed the declining coronavirus infections and plans to ease the quarantine regime for school children who are exposed to virus carriers. He said health officials are “optimistic that we are exiting the fourth wave” but cautioned, “we are not there yet.”
11th Oct 2021 - The Times of Israel

WA considers more mandatory COVID-19 jabs

Western Australia will look to make coronavirus vaccinations mandatory in further sectors as as new pop-up clinics open across Perth. No new cases were reported on Monday after it was confirmed over the weekend that an interstate truck driver had been infectious while in WA. Five service stations which the driver attended between September 30 and October 3 have been identified as exposure sites. Ten close contacts and 24 casual contacts are isolating and being tested. Premier Mark McGowan revealed the figures while joining Rio Tinto officials to open a new vaccination hub at Perth Airport. The clinic is open to all fly-in, fly-out resources workers.
11th Oct 2021 - Perth Now

Religious Exemptions to Vaccine Mandates Tested in New York Case

Thousands of New York healthcare workers are in limbo as a federal judge considers whether the state’s vaccination mandate must accommodate requests for religious exemptions, in a case that could guide similar policies in other states. As written, New York’s vaccine mandate applies to all people who work in hospitals and nursing homes, and doesn’t allow healthcare employees to opt out with weekly testing. Starting last week, people were forced to choose between getting the shot and keeping their jobs. There were provisions for medical exemptions but not exemptions based on religious beliefs. Thousands of healthcare workers who refused vaccinations lost their jobs around the state when the mandate took effect, prompting hospitals to cancel elective surgeries and close operating rooms and outpatient clinics. Many nursing homes have stopped admitting new patients.
11th Oct 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

NHS encourages pregnant women to get COVID-19 vaccine

The NHS is encouraging pregnant women to get the COVID-19 vaccine as new data shows that nearly 20 per cent of the most critically ill COVID patients are pregnant women who have not been vaccinated. Since July, one in five COVID patients receiving treatment through a special lung-bypass machine were expectant mums who have not had their first jab. Pregnant women have been treated with a therapy, called Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), used only when a patient’s lungs are so damaged by COVID that a ventilator cannot maintain oxygen levels. England’s top midwife is today reassuring women that the vaccine is safe and effective during pregnancy and is recommended by clinicians and charities. Out of all women between the ages of 16 and 49 on ECMO in intensive care, pregnant women make up almost a third (32 percent) – up from just 6 per cent at the start of the pandemic, March 2020.
11th Oct 2021 - PharmiWeb

New Zealand makes COVID vaccines mandatory for doctors, teachers

New Zealand says it will soon require most of its healthcare workers and teachers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. The new vaccine mandate, announced on Monday, compels doctors, pharmacists, community nurses and other healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated by December. Teachers and other workers in the education sector must be fully vaccinated by January. “We can’t leave anything to chance so that’s why we are making it mandatory,” said Chris Hipkins, New Zealand’s education minister who is also in charge of the country’s COVID-19 response. ”It’s not an easy decision, but we need the people who work with vulnerable communities who haven’t yet been vaccinated to take this extra step,” he added.
11th Oct 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Malaysia and Singapore ease international travel restrictions in pivot to living with Covid

Singapore and Malaysia have each revealed plans to start reopening their borders as the Southeast Asian neighbors move away from their zero-Covid strategies toward living with the virus. Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Sunday the country would end its domestic and international travel restrictions for fully vaccinated residents from Monday, after reaching its target of full inoculation for 90% of the adult population. It comes one day after Singapore added eight new countries to its vaccinated and quarantine-free travel lanes -- the most significant easing of travel restrictions since borders shut last March.
11th Oct 2021 - CNN

New Zealand makes COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for health workers

New Zealand will require teachers and workers in the health and disability sectors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday, as she extended restrictions in Auckland, its largest city, for another week.
11th Oct 2021 - Reuters

‘Naively ambitious’: How COVAX failed on its promise to vaccinate the world

Around the world this spring, country after country awaited their first Covid-19 vaccine shipments. They’d been promised deliveries by COVAX, the ambitious global collaboration set up to give people in rich and poor nations equitable access to the shots, but now, the vaccines were failing to arrive. In many cases, COVAX officials wouldn’t even answer the phone or respond to emails from top diplomats when asked what was happening. Uruguay was one of those nations. Its United Nations ambassador in Geneva, Álvaro Moerzinger Pagani, said his country bought vaccines from COVAX but was unable to speak to officials at the organization. “Maybe we don’t have the contacts,” he said. Libya’s UN ambassador in Geneva said he was also shut off from those with answers. COVAX “certainly was not fair and it was not equitable,” said the diplomat, Tamim Baiou.
11th Oct 2021 - STAT News


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

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Italy widens COVID-19 vaccine booster campaign to frail and over 60s

Italy has decided to provide a booster shot of Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine to frail people regardless of their age as well as people aged 60 and over, the health ministry said on Friday. The booster dose would be available on condition that at least six months have passed since people completed their primary vaccination cycle, the ministry said in a statement. The European Union's drugs regulator said on Monday people with weakened immune systems should get a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna but left it to member states to decide if the wider population should have a booster
9th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Wasted COVID vaccine doses in Louisiana swell to 224,000

Louisiana’s problem of wasted COVID-19 vaccine shots continues to balloon, with about 224,000 doses thrown out across the state as health providers can’t find enough residents willing to roll up their sleeves. The number of trashed doses has nearly tripled since the end of July, even as Louisiana grappled with a fourth, deadly surge of the coronavirus pandemic during that time that led to increased interest in the vaccines. The latest data provided to The Associated Press by the Louisiana Department of Health showed 223,918 doses of the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been thrown out.
9th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

Brazil has lined up 350 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for 2022, Health Minster says

Brazil's Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga said on Friday the country has already acquired, or is in advanced talks to secure, around 350 million vaccine doses for 2022. Queiroga said that although Sinovac's Coronavac vaccine was not currently part of plans for the national campaign next year, it could be incorporated if it receives full approval from Brazil's health regulator.
9th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Singapore expands quarantine-free travel, eyes COVID-19 'new normal'

Singapore is opening its borders to more countries for quarantine-free travel as the city-state seeks to rebuild its status as an international aviation hub, and prepares to reach a "new normal" to live with COVID-19. From Oct. 19 fully vaccinated people from eight countries, including Britain, France, Spain and the United States, will be able to enter the island without quarantining if they pass their COVID-19 tests, the government said on Saturday. The announcement marks a major step in Singapore's strategy to resume international links.
9th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Russians flock to Serbia for Western-made COVID-19 vaccines

When Russian regulators approved the country's own coronavirus vaccine, it was a moment of national pride, and the Pavlov family was among those who rushed to take the injection. But international health authorities have not yet given their blessing to the Sputnik V shot. So when the family from Rostov-on-Don wanted to visit the West, they looked for a vaccine that would allow them to travel freely — a quest that brought them to Serbia, where hundreds of Russian citizens have flocked in recent weeks to receive Western-approved COVID-19 shots.
9th Oct 2021 - The Independent

Canadian province of Ontario to further ease pandemic restrictions

Ontario is lifting capacity limits on concert venues, theaters and spectator facilities at sports games as of Saturday at midnight, the government of Canada's most populous province said on Friday, while continuing to require proof of vaccination and masks. Limited numbers of outbreaks in those settings have been reported, a statement from the provincial government said. Meeting and event spaces as well as horse racing facilities will be included, although indoor meeting and event spaces must be able to maintain physical distancing between people.
9th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Australia braces for more COVID-19 infections as country moves towards re-opening

Australia was bracing for more COVID-19 infections and hospitalisations, officials said on Saturday, even as it moves toward gradually easing pandemic restrictions with the vast majority of its people getting vaccinated against the virus. Sydney, in a lockdown for more than 100 days, is to ease some key restrictions for the fully vaccinated from Monday. More than 70% of people across New South Wales state, of which Sydney is the capital, have been fully vaccinated. "We know that as we open up, case numbers will increase," said New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet. "But what has been key to keeping people safe is our high vaccination rate."
9th Oct 2021 - Reuters

As Sydney readies to exit lockdown, doctors fret re-opening is moving too fast

Australian doctors warned a too-rapid easing of COVID-19 curbs in Sydney could put pressure on health systems and risk lives, as the city prepares for key restrictions to be relaxed next week after more than 100 days in lockdown. Stay-at-home orders are due to be lifted on Monday after New South Wales state this week hit its 70% target of full vaccination for its adult population, and owners of restaurants and other public venues are now scrambling to arrange supplies and staffing. While an easing of restrictions on travel for Sydneysiders outside of their local government areas had previously been flagged, authorities on Thursday also decided to bump up permitted limits for home gatherings, weddings and funerals - earning the ire of the Australian Medical Association (AMA).
9th Oct 2021 - Reuters

India set to reopen for foreign travellers from 15 October

India will reopen to tourism from October 15, the government said, after more than a year of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. Foreign nationals will be able to apply for a visa for the first time since March 2020, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government imposed a strict lockdown in response to the pandemic. “After considering various inputs, the MHA (home ministry) has decided to begin granting fresh Tourist Visas for foreigners coming to India through chartered flights with effect from 15 October, 2021,” the home ministry said in a statement on 7 October. It added that foreigners traveling to India via commercial flights will be able to enter on fresh tourist visas starting November 15, 2021. The home ministry has said all COVID-19 protocols “should be adhered to
9th Oct 2021 - Travel Daily Media

NSW hits ‘impressive’ vaccination target as 580 new Covid cases recorded

Almost 90 per cent of eligible NSW residents have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. The state is expected to reach the milestone within the next two days. Premier Dominic Perrottet applauded NSW residents coming forward for their jabs. However, he said some Sydney postcodes were languishing at less than 50 per cent double-dose rates. “Vaccination is incredibly important. We know it keeps people safe, particularly those in vulnerable communities,” Mr Perrottet said. “To be in a position as we come close to a 90 per cent first-dose vaccination rate is impressive.”
9th Oct 2021 - Perth Now

Pfizer shots offered to Novavax trial volunteers so they can travel

Britain announced that it will offer new vaccinations to thousands of people who volunteered for trials of the Novavax coronavirus vaccine, which hasn’t yet been approved for use in any country. About 15,000 people in Britain got Novavax shots as part of a clinical trial. While Britain recognises them as vaccinated, most countries don’t, meaning they can’t travel. Britain’s health department said on Friday that more than 15,000 participants would be given two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The government says it plans to expand the offer to about 6000 British participants in trials of other vaccines that also haven’t been approved for use. Britain has appealed to other members of the Group of 20 nations to classify clinical trial volunteers as vaccinated, but most haven’t done so.
9th Oct 2021 - Sydney Morning Herald

Bangkok's reopening to be postponed

Bangkok's reopening for inoculated tourists will be delayed by two weeks as most of the city's residents are still waiting for their second jabs, while the tourism ministry has pledged to open the city to bring at least 1 million international tourists this year. Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the tourism and sports minister, said the appropriate timeline for Bangkok should be postponed from Oct 1 to Oct 15 as the capital city is expected to have administered Covid-19 vaccines to 70% of its residents by then. At present, 37% of population is fully vaccinated, while another 33% are in the 8-12 week interval following their first AstraZeneca shot.
9th Oct 2021 - Bangkok Post

Govt slams 'Pfizer jab is a killer' claim

The government has condemned a claim that the Pfizer mRNA Covid-19 vaccine, being offered to students aged 12-17 as part of the plan to reopen schools in November, will have fatal consequences for all recipients within two years. In a message spread via the Line app by several teenage groups campaigning against the Pfizer vaccination programme for young people, it was claimed the vaccine was a tool for committing genocide against young people as they would eventually die within two years if injected with the vaccine, said Dr Chawetsan Namwat, director of the Emergency Health Hazard and Disease Control Division. This claim is believed to have fuelled fears among the parents of many students who appear reluctant to give their consent to have their children vaccinated, he said.
9th Oct 2021 - Bangkok Post

San Francisco to welcome cruise ships after 19-month hiatus

Cruise ships are returning to San Francisco after a 19-month hiatus brought on by the pandemic in what’s sure to be a boost to the city’s economy, the mayor announced Friday. The Majestic Princess will sail into the port of San Francisco Monday, the first cruise ship to dock in the San Francisco Bay Area since March 2020 when the Grand Princess captured the world’s attention and made the coronavirus real to millions in the United States. The ship was carrying people infected with the coronavirus, and thousands of passengers aboard were quarantined as the ship idled off the California coast. The port of San Francisco, home to the Bay Area’s only passenger cruise terminal, expects to welcome 21 cruise ships through the remainder of the year.
9th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

Nearly 2million over-50s have yet to first Covid vaccine, despite booster drive kicking off already

As many as 2million people over the age of 50 in England still haven't had a single Covid vaccine, official figures suggest. MailOnline's analysis of NHS vaccination data means about one in 10 of those who were prioritised in the jab rollout still haven't come forward. Up to 127,288 over-80s remain unvaccinated, despite the programme opening to them as the very first age group last December. Age is the one of the biggest single risk factors for Covid. Yet, the analysis shows there are as many as 249,727 un-jabbed people in their 70s in England.
9th Oct 2021 - Daily Mail

Boosters, employer mandates drive increase in US vaccines

The number of Americans getting COVID-19 vaccines has steadily increased to a three-month high as seniors and people with medical conditions seek boosters, and government and employer mandates push more workers to take their first doses.
8th Oct 2021 - Associated Press on MSN.com

Japan’s new PM promises to do his utmost to end COVID-19 crisis

In his first policy speech, Japan’s new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has pledged to do his utmost to lead the country out of the COVID-19 crisis, while protecting its territory and people in an increasingly tough security environment. Kishida took the top job in the world’s third-largest economy on Monday, replacing Yoshihide Suga, who had seen his support undermined by surging COVID-19 infections. Daily cases have recently fallen and a long state of emergency was lifted this month. “I’m determined to devote body-and-soul to overcome this national crisis with the people, carve out a new era and pass on to the next generation a country whose citizens are rich at heart,” Kishida said in the speech to the lower house of parliament on Friday.
8th Oct 2021 - Al Jazeera English on MSN.com

Give Asian youth a voice to decide their post-pandemic future

Like many of her generation, Pauline Mandrilla, a 23-year-old civil engineer from Manila, suddenly found herself jobless when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Mandrilla felt like a statistic, as she joined the ranks of some 22 per cent of unemployed Philippine youth affected by the pandemic’s economic fallout. “During the onset of the pandemic, we were placed in a no-work, no-pay situation,” Mandrilla recalled. “My previous job heavily relied on my being physically present on a construction site, but because of the quarantine restrictions, which halted public transportation in my region, I couldn’t go to work.”
8th Oct 2021 - South China Morning Post

Coronavirus: as Australia plans border reopening, stranded citizens wait with anxiety, trepidation

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged to ease strict controls on overseas citizens returning home within weeks and to cut quarantine for those who have been vaccinated to seven days at home – rather than 14 at a hotel But with promises of being able to return home for Christmas 2020 still ringing in their ears, many stranded Australians dare not hope the ordeal is over,
8th Oct 2021 - South China Morning Post

US will accept WHO-approved Covid-19 vaccines for international visitors

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said six vaccines approved by the FDA or listed by the world health body for emergency use will meet the criteria The US is preparing to lift restrictions on fully vaccinated air travellers from 33 countries including China, India, Brazil and most of Europe in November
8th Oct 2021 - South China Morning Post


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

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Italy loosens COVID-19 restrictions on leisure activities

Italy increased the maximum attendance capacity allowed at cultural and sporting venues on Thursday, continuing its progressive easing of COVID-19 curbs for those who can show documents of immunity from the disease.
7th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Spain's COVID-19 rate at 'low risk' level for first time in 15 months

Spain's coronavirus incidence dropped below 50 cases per 100,000 people on Thursday, reaching the threshold considered "low risk" by the Health Ministry for the first time in over a year.
7th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Covid: AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines travel 9,000 miles to British team in Antarctica

The AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine has been delivered to one of the most remote places on Earth, arriving in Antarctica nine months after it was first rolled out. The jab, developed at Oxford University, was flown more than 9,000 miles in order to vaccinate 23 UK scientists working at the British Antarctic Survey Research Station. It's the furthest south any vaccine has ever travelled from the UK - a feat executed by the Foreign Office, Ministry of Defence, the RAF and contractor Crown Agents.
7th Oct 2021 - ITV News

Scandinavians curb Moderna shots for some younger patients

Scandinavian authorities on Wednesday suspended or discouraged the use of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in young people because of an increased risk of heart inflammation, a very rare side effect associated with the shot. Sweden suspended the use of Moderna for those recipients under 30, Denmark said those under 18 won’t be offered the Swiss-made vaccine, and Norway urged those under 30 to get the Pfizer vaccine instead. The countries have adequate supplies of both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and will be able to continue their vaccination campaigns. In neighboring Finland, authorities are expected to announce their decision Thursday, according to Dr. Hanna Nohynek, chief physician at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, told local broadcaster YLE.
7th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

Malaysia buys 150000 courses of Merck's COVID-19 pill

Malaysia has struck a deal with U.S. drugmaker Merck & Co to buy 150,000 courses of its experimental antiviral pill, the health ministry said on Thursday, joining other Asian countries in a rush to secure supplies. Molnupiravir, which would be the first oral antiviral medication for COVID-19 if it gets regulatory approval, could halve the chances of dying or being hospitalised for those most at risk of contracting severe COVID-19, clinical data has shown. The data sparked large demand for the drug in Asia, with South Korea, Singapore and Australia announcing similar deals to buy the Merck pill this week. Taiwan and Thailand are also in talks to buy it.
7th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Canada imposes COVID-19 vaccine mandate on federal workers, transportation

Canada will place unvaccinated federal employees on unpaid leave and require COVID-19 shots for air, train and ship passengers, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday, as he unveiled one of the world's strictest vaccine mandate policies. Federal employees will be required to declare their full vaccination status through an online portal by Oct. 29. Workers and passengers age 12 and older on trains, planes and marine transport operating domestically - which are federally regulated - must show they have been inoculated by Oct. 30.
7th Oct 2021 - Reuters Canada

Los Angeles will require proof of a COVID-19 vaccine for indoor establishments

By next month Los Angeles will require residents and visitors to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine in order to eat, drink, or shop in indoor establishments across the city. Under this mandate, eligible patrons will need to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination to enter restaurants, bars, coffee shops, stores, gyms, spas or salons. People attending large, outdoor events will also need to show evidence of either vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test to attend the event. Proof of vaccination includes a vaccination card issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a photo of both sides of the card, documentation from a health care provider, or a digital record of vaccination issued by California, another state or country.
7th Oct 2021 - NPR

Covid-19 booster shots have outpaced the US rate of new vaccinations. And the millions still unvaccinated could trigger 'future waves,' expert warns

The country has averaged more than 101,200 new cases a day over the last week -- down 41% from a peak in a Delta-driven wave reached in mid-September, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The number of Covid-19 patients in US hospitals -- 68,760 as of Thursday -- is down 34% from a Delta-wave peak reached in September, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Just over 56% of the total US population is fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "This wave is receding, but unless we get the nearly 70 million unvaccinated Americans vaccinated, we are at risk for future waves," Dr. Tom Frieden, former head of the CDC, told CNN on Wednesday.
7th Oct 2021 - CNN

Finland joins Sweden and Denmark in limiting Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

Finland on Thursday paused the use of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for younger males due to reports of a rare cardiovascular side effect, joining Sweden and Denmark in limiting its use. Mika Salminen, director of the Finnish health institute, said Finland would instead give Pfizer's vaccine to men born in 1991 and later. Finland offers shots to people aged 12 and over. "A Nordic study involving Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark found that men under the age of 30 who received Moderna Spikevax had a slightly higher risk than others of developing myocarditis," he said.
7th Oct 2021 - Reuters

The WHO has started shipping COVID-19 medical supplies to North Korea

The World Health Organization has started shipping COVID-19 medical supplies into North Korea, a possible sign that the North is easing one of the world's strictest pandemic border closures to receive outside help. WHO said in a weekly monitoring report that it has started the shipment of essential COVID-19 medical supplies through the Chinese port of Dalian for "strategic stockpiling and further dispatch" to North Korea. Edwin Salvador, WHO's representative to North Korea, said in an email to the Associated Press Thursday that some items, including emergency health kits and medicine, have reached the North Korean port of Nampo after North Korean authorities allowed the WHO and other U.N. agencies to send supplies that had been stuck in Dalian.
7th Oct 2021 - NPR

Can I get the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time?

Can I get the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time? Yes, you can get the shots in the same visit. When COVID-19 vaccines were first rolling out in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended waiting 14 days between the shots and other immunizations as a precaution. But the agency has since revised its guidelines and says the wait is unnecessary. The CDC and other health experts point to past experience showing that vaccines work as they should and any side effects are similar whether the shots are given separately or in the same visit. “We have a history of vaccinating our kids with multiple vaccines,” says flu specialist Richard Webby of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
7th Oct 2021 - The Independent

Sydney to exit COVID-19 lockdown next week after vaccination rate hits 70%

COVID-19 restrictions will be eased further in Sydney from Monday, authorities said, as Australia's largest city looks set to exit a nearly four-month lockdown after hitting its 70% full vaccination target. Fully vaccinated people in New South Wales (NSW) state will be able to leave their homes for any reason including visiting pubs, retail stores, cinemas and gyms, which will reopen under strict social distancing rules. The number of vaccinated visitors allowed to gather in a home will double to 10, while the limit on vaccinated people at weddings and funerals will be raised to 100. Nightclubs can partially reopen to vaccinated people once inoculations reach 80%, earlier than previously planned, and masks will not be mandatory in offices.
7th Oct 2021 - Reuters

While US summer surge is waning, more mandates in the works

COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are coming down again, hospitalizations are dropping, and new cases per day are about to dip below 100,000 for the first time in two months — all signs that the summer surge is waning. Not wanting to lose momentum, government leaders and employers are looking to strengthen and vaccine requirements. Los Angeles enacted one of the nation’s strictest vaccine mandates Wednesday, a sweeping measure that would require the shots for everyone entering a bar, restaurant, nail salon, gym or Lakers game. New York City and San Francisco have similar rules. innesota’s governor this week called for vaccine and testing requirements for teachers and long-term care workers. In New York, a statewide vaccination mandate for all hospital and nursing home workers will be expanded Thursday to home care and hospice employees.
7th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press


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Canada to require federal workers be vaccinated against COVID

Canada will require federal employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be placed on unpaid administrative leave, the government announced, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau strengthened his government’s efforts to combat the pandemic. Speaking to reporters on Wednesday morning, Trudeau also announced that domestic travellers will need to show proof of vaccination to board aeroplanes, trains or cruise ships operating within the country.
7th Oct 2021 - Al Jazeera English on MSN.com

Biden to Spend $1 Billion to Boost Supply of Rapid Covid Tests

The White House on Wednesday announced a billion-dollar investment in at-home rapid coronavirus tests that it said would help quadruple their availability by later this year. By December, 200 million rapid tests will be available to Americans each month, with tens of millions more arriving on the market in the coming weeks, Jeffrey D. Zients, the White House’s Covid-19 coordinator, said at a news conference. Mr. Zients also said the administration would double the number of sites in the federal government’s free pharmacy testing program, to 20,000. The changes reflect the administration’s growing emphasis on at-home testing as a tool for slowing the spread of Covid-19.
6th Oct 2021 - The New York Times

COVID-19 infections dropping throughout the Americas, more vaccine needed, says health agency

The number of new COVID-19 infections has been dropping over the past month throughout the Americas, even though only 37% of the people in Latin America and the Caribbean are fully vaccinated, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said. PAHO also said it has closed vaccine supply agreements with Sinovac and AstraZeneca for the delivery of 8.5 million doses this year, and with China's Sinopharm for next year. Jamaica, Nicaragua and Haiti have yet to reach even 10% vaccination coverage, PAHO said.
6th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Los Angeles poised to enact strict vaccination mandate

Los Angeles leaders approved one of the nation’s strictest vaccine mandates — a sweeping measure that requires the shots for everyone entering bars, restaurants, nail salons, gyms or even a Lakers game. The City Council voted 11-2 in favor of the ordinance that will require proof of full vaccination starting Nov. 4. The move came after the council postponed a vote last week to deal with concerns ranging from who could be fined for violations to whether employees could end up in fist-fights when they have to serve as vaccine door monitors. Some critics charge that a mandate would amount to segregation of those who cannot or refuse to be vaccinated. Others call it unenforceable.
6th Oct 2021 - Associated Press

Hospital system says it will deny transplants to the unvaccinated in 'almost all situations'

A Colorado-based health system says it is denying organ transplants to patients not vaccinated against the coronavirus in “almost all situations,” citing studies that show these patients are much more likely to die if they get covid-19. The policy illustrates the growing costs of being unvaccinated and wades into deeply controversial territory — the use of immunization status to decide who gets limited medical care. The mere idea of prioritizing the vaccinated for rationed health resources has drawn intense backlash, as overwhelmingly unvaccinated covid-19 patients push some hospitals to adopt “crisis standards of care,” in which health systems can prioritize patients for scarce resources based largely on their likelihood of survival.
6th Oct 2021 - The Washington Post

‘Complex EU’ leads Europe to diverge from US on coronavirus vaccine booster

The world's two leading medicines regulators have reached different decisions on a third dose of the BioNTech/Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine — and it’s partly because of the complexity of the EU, according to the European Medicines Agency. On September 22, the U.S. FDA authorized the use of the vaccine as a third, or booster, dose for all over 65s, and only those over 18 who are at greater risk from infection, such as those with underlying illnesses or frequently exposed to the virus, like health workers. By contrast, the European Medicines Agency said on Monday that the third dose can be given to all healthy people over 18 at least six months after their second dose.
6th Oct 2021 - POLITICO Europe

England urged to step up vaccinations to avoid winter Covid surge

The distribution of Covid boosters for the most vulnerable people and second shots of vaccine for teenagers should be accelerated to help prevent a winter surge of coronavirus overburdening the NHS, a senior scientist has said. Prof Neil Ferguson said England’s vaccine strategy had been “cautious” in recent months, with many teenagers having only one jab, and boosters for the most vulnerable people given no sooner than six months after their second dose. Ferguson said it was unclear whether the winter would bring another substantial wave of infections, but with new cases already high, at about 30,000 a day, even a moderate rise could put the NHS under pressure.
6th Oct 2021 - The Guardian

The Psychological Benefits of COVID-19 Boosters

Scientists don’t agree on whether approving COVID-19 boosters for certain non-elderly Americans, as the CDC did recently, was the right move. The president, the CDC, and the FDA have issued a series of conflicting statements on the issue. Some experts have indignantly resigned. Others have published frustrated op-eds. President Joe Biden, who got a booster shot this week and called on other eligible Americans to do the same, remains enthusiastic. The split between Biden-administration scientists, such as Chief Medical Adviser Anthony Fauci and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, and other scientists over boosters might seem confusing. One possible explanation for it has largely escaped notice: Vaccinated Americans seem to really want boosters, which means that the shots could have benefits that go well beyond extra protection against COVID. Those benefits could be psychological and economic—and, for the president, political.
6th Oct 2021 - The Atlantic

Kazakhstan to buy 4 mln doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

Kazakhstan has signed a deal to buy about 4 million doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, healthcare minister Alexei Tsoi said. The Central Asian nation's government has said it will offer the Pfizer shots, at least initially, only to children aged 12 and older, and to pregnant women.
6th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: Paul Givan hopes winter contingency plan not needed

First Minister Paul Givan has said he hopes Northern Ireland's government will not have to deploy contingency coronavirus plans to help manage health pressures this winter. The executive will meet on Thursday to look at the remaining Covid-19 rules. Those include social distancing in hospitality venues and mandatory wearing of face coverings. Mr Givan said he hoped there would be the "headspace" to approve more relaxations.
6th Oct 2021 - BBC News

Vaccines are here. School’s open. Some parents still agonize

Online school disrupted kids’ educations and parents’ work. Then the return of in-person school this year brought rising exposures and community tension as parents fought over proper protocols. The politicization of masks, vaccines and shutdowns have worn many parents out. Deciding what’s OK for children to do and what isn’t can feel fraught. Schools are, for many, a constant worry. There’s evidence that masks in schools help reduce virus spread, and a majority of Americans support requiring masks for students and teachers. But that breaks down sharply along partisan lines.
5th Oct 2021 - Associated Press


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Vaccines are here. School's open. Some parents still agonize

Eight days into the school year, all five of Amber Cessac’s daughters, ages 4 to 10, had tested positive for COVID-19. Having them all sick at once and worrying about long-term repercussions as other parents at their school, and even her own mother, downplayed the virus, “broke something inside of me,” Cessac said. “The anxiety and the stress has sort of been bottled up,” she said. “It just felt so, I don’t know, defeating and made me feel so helpless.” Like parents everywhere, Cessac has been dealing with pandemic stress for over 18 months now.
5th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

Rapid COVID-19 tests increasingly scarce, pricey as demand from employers jumps

Surging demand for COVID-19 tests from U.S. employers has exacerbated a nationwide shortage of rapid tests in recent weeks and is driving up costs for state and local testing programs, according to industry executives and state officials. Testmakers including Abbott Laboratories, Quidel Corp and LumiraDX Ltd are scaling up production to meet rising demand. But significantly boosting test output will take weeks to months, half a dozen industry executives told Reuters, making the tests harder to procure in the near term.
5th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Zimbabwe: Low Vaccine Uptake Threatens Covid-19 December Herd Immunity Target

Public policy think tank, the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) says a drop in vaccine uptake is threatening the country's Covid-19 December 2021 herd immunity target. According to an Access to Public Health Monitoring Report for September, ZDI blamed the drop in vaccine uptake to lack of strategy in terms of information dissemination. "The achievement of Covid-19 herd immunity in Zimbabwe by December 2021 appears to be facing a challenge of a significant drop in vaccine uptake. Between 26 July 2021 and 26 August there was an increase of 962 036 vaccinations done in Zimbabwe. "However, during the same period from 26 August 2021 to 26 September 2021 an increase in vaccinations stood at 583 484. This drop in vaccination rate can be attributed to lack of a strategy to break the existing rural-urban divide in terms of information and awareness on Covid-19 vaccination and the need to reach a target of herd immunity.
5th Oct 2021 - AllAfrica.com

Biden's new vaccine requirement has Republicans ready with lawsuits, while business groups seek more details

President Biden’s planned vaccine requirement faces a number of tests in coming weeks, as at least two dozen Republican-controlled states prepare legal challenges, setting up a clash between the federal government and local officials that could ultimately determine the fate of the rule. The Labor Department has moved slowly in designing the rule, which White House officials said will require companies with more than 100 employees to institute mandatory vaccination or testing protocols for their staffs. Top administration officials have been working carefully to ensure the proposal is ironclad, and some have been heartened to see anecdotal evidence that companies and local governments implementing vaccine requirements have seen large-scale cooperation.
5th Oct 2021 - The Washington Post

New Zealand to phase out zero-covid strategy, Jacinda Ardern says

After months of back-and-forth between virus-free life and lockdowns, New Zealand will phase out its pursuit of zero covid-19 cases and instead rely on vaccines to allow the country to live with the coronavirus. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that New Zealand will transition from relying on harsh restrictions, instead using vaccines and “everyday public health measures” to keep residents safe. She added that the change was one “we were always going to make over time.” But the delta variant, Ardern said, had “accelerated” this transition. New Zealand’s admission that it cannot fully eliminate the virus and must instead learn to live with it marks a dramatic shift from the strategy it had employed throughout the pandemic
5th Oct 2021 - The Washington Post

Western Australia mandates COVID-19 vaccine for miners, natural gas workers

Western Australia said that it would require all employees that work with natural resources to have a first COVID-19 shot from December to help protect vulnerable Indigenous communities as the country begins opening up. People working in mining, oil and gas exploration are required to have their first dose by Dec. 1 and must be fully vaccinated by Jan. 1, the government said. The mandate also applies to any workers flying in and out of remote sites and any visitors to these operations, it said. "The new directions will address the risks posed by movement of resources sector workers... to and from regional and remote locations in WA, with many sites and operations located at or near remote Aboriginal communities," State Premier Mark McGowan said
5th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Ireland coming 'close to suppressing' Covid - Nolan

In Ireland, the population seems to have come close to suppressing Covid-19 and "we're in a good place" in relation to lifting the remaining restrictions by 22 October, NPHET's Prof Philip Nolan has said. The Chair of NPHET's Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group said suppressing the virus is down to very high levels of vaccination and the adherence to public health measures. Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, he said: "We're fortunate with our very high level of vaccinations and frankly the very sensible manner in which each and every one of us is taking the precautions, we seem to have come close to suppressing what is a very transmissible virus."
5th Oct 2021 - RTE.ie

Thai Red Cross delivers COVID-19 vaccines to Thailand's vulnerable migrant workers

The Thai Red Cross Society kicked off a vaccination campaign on Tuesday for migrant workers, one of the country's most vulnerable groups that has been largely left behind in the broader COVID-19 inoculation rollout. About 300 workers received their first doses along with a small number of undocumented refugees as part of a campaign due to run until the end of the month that is initially targeting 5,000 workers. "The more migrant workers we're able to vaccinate, the better for the Thai people, too," said Tej Bunnag, secretary-general of the Thai Red Cross Society.
5th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 numbers are improving. Don't let history repeat itself with yet another resurgence, doctors say

As Covid-19 numbers gradually improve in the U.S., health experts have an urgent message: Don't get cocky and relax. "We can't get overconfident. Every time we do and we put our guard down ... we get another surge with another variant," said Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, a viral researcher and internal medicine physician. "So yes, things are better. But they're far from over." On average, 107,312 new cases were reported each day over the past week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, the lowest since August 5.
5th Oct 2021 - CNN

Australia to buy experimental Covid-19 drug - Morrison

Australia is to purchase 300,000 courses of Merck & Co's experimental antiviral pill, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. The announcement came as Victoria logged the highest number of daily Covid-19 infections of any state in the country since the pandemic began. Molnupiravir, which would be the first oral antiviral medication for Covid-19 if it gets regulatory approval, could halve the chances of dying or being hospitalised for people most at risk of contracting severe Covid-19, according to experts.
5th Oct 2021 - RTE.ie

Covid-19 cases are declining but remain high among children. Here's what the US needs to do to end the surge

After weeks of a troubling Covid-19 surge across the US, infection rates are finally on the decline -- but experts say there's still work to be done before the tide can be turned, especially when cases remain exceptionally high among children. "I am worried that we still have some tough days ahead," said Dr. Ashish Jha, the Dean at Brown University School of Public Health. "Even though we're doing reasonably well on vaccines, we've got to do much better because the Delta variant is very good at finding people who are unvaccinated and infecting them."
5th Oct 2021 - CNN

Covid-19: November vaccines 'likely' for 12 to 15-year-olds

It is likely to be November before most schools in Northern Ireland begin to vaccinate 12 to 15-year-old pupils. Letters and consent forms for the Covid-19 vaccine are expected to be sent to parents of eligible children in mid-to-late October, according to the Public Health Agency (PHA). The UK's four chief medical officers have recommended healthy 12 to 15-year-olds be offered one vaccine dose. Vaccinations for pupils in Scotland and England are already taking place. However, the approach being taken by each nation differs.
5th Oct 2021 - BBC News

India begins delivering Covid-19 vaccines by drone

In India, the vast landscape, difficult terrain and remote location of some of its population has presented challenges for the coronavirus vaccine drive. Officials in the vast nation have come up with a unique solution to deliver the vaccine to such areas; by drafting in drones. The drones can travel up to 22 miles and could bring the country closer to its target of vaccinating each of its 950 million adults by the end of this year. The system has already been used to transport Covid vaccines from a hospital in north east state of Manipur to a health centre on Karang Island, which lies 10 miles away in the middle of a lake.
5th Oct 2021 - ITV News


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Senegal records fewest daily COVID-19 cases since outbreak began

Senegal on Monday logged only two new daily COVID-19 infections, the lowest number since the pandemic reached the country and two months after the rate of new cases hovered at record highs, the health ministry said on Monday.
4th Oct 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Ulster Hospital: Two wards remain closed due to Covid-19 outbreak

Two wards remain closed at the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald, on the outskirts of east Belfast, due to outbreaks of Covid-19. Additional cleaning and infection control measures have been put in place by the hospital to tackle the outbreak. One of the affected wards provides care specifically for elderly patients. The move is being reviewed on a daily basis, a spokesperson for the South Eastern Health trust told BBC News NI in a statement. A total of 18 patients have tested positive for the virus at the Ulster Hospital in the past two weeks, along with 23 members of staff.
4th Oct 2021 - BBC News

Doctors grow frustrated over COVID-19 denial, misinformation

The COVID-19 patient's health was deteriorating quickly at a Michigan hospital, but he was having none of the doctor's diagnosis. Despite dangerously low oxygen levels, the unvaccinated man didn't think he was that sick and got so irate over a hospital policy forbidding his wife from being at his bedside that he threatened to walk out of the building. Dr. Matthew Trunsky didn’t hold back in his response: “You are welcome to leave, but you will be dead before you get to your car,’” he said. Such exchanges have become all-too-common for medical workers who are growing weary of COVID-19 denial and misinformation that have made it exasperating to treat unvaccinated patients during the delta-driven surge. The Associated Press asked six doctors from across the country to describe the types of misinformation and denial they see on a daily basis and how they respond to it.
4th Oct 2021 - The Independent

Global trade is accelerating, but poorer countries need vaccines to keep up, the W.T.O. says.

Global trade recovered from its pandemic lows faster than anticipated in the first half of 2021 and is set to grow more quickly than expected next year, lifting global growth forecasts, the World Trade Organization said Monday. The W.T.O. now forecasts global merchandise trade to grow 10.8 percent in 2021, up from the 8 percent it forecast in March, as the flow of goods recovers from last year’s slump. Global trade is expected to rise 4.7 percent in 2022 as the growth rate approaches its prepandemic trend, the W.T.O. said. That trade growth has not been equal as a result of the pandemic, the group said, with developing regions in particular lagging behind because of lower vaccination rates, and supply chain disruptions continuing to weigh on trade in some areas.
4th Oct 2021 - The New York Times

New York’s largest health care provider fires 1,400 unvaccinated employees.

Northwell Health, New York State’s largest health care provider, announced on Monday that it had fired 1,400 of its employees who refused to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to a spokesman, Joe Kemp. New York’s effort to require the state’s more than 650,000 hospital and nursing home workers to get vaccinated went into effect last week, prompting tens of thousands of employees who had held out to get their shots. But others filed a flurry of lawsuits, and courtrooms across the state are determining when and how to allow exemptions to the mandate. So far the number of workers in New York who have walked away from their jobs is relatively small, and not likely to result in the staff shortages that have imperiled harder-hit parts of the country during the Delta variant’s rise.
4th Oct 2021 - The New York Times

N.Y.C.'s Teacher Vaccine Mandate Prompts Thousands of Last-Minute Shots

New York’s requirement that virtually everyone who works in the city’s public schools be vaccinated against the coronavirus compelled thousands of Department of Education employees to get at least one dose of a vaccine in the past week, leading to extremely high vaccination rates among educators, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday. About 95 percent of all full-time school employees have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, the mayor said, including 99 percent of principals, 96 percent of teachers and 94 percent of non-education staff. Roughly 43,000 doses total have been administered since the mandate was announced in late August, including more than 18,000 shots that were given to staff members since Sept. 24.
4th Oct 2021 - The New York Times

More community colleges are mandating coronavirus vaccination

One by one, Maryland’s community colleges are starting to require students to get vaccinated against the coronavirus — months after the state university system adopted a sweeping vaccine mandate. But Virginia’s community colleges are not requiring student vaccination. Instead, they are encouraging it. That includes Northern Virginia Community College, where the first lady, Jill Biden, teaches English on the Alexandria campus. The difference between policies in the neighboring states illustrates a quiet debate that has been unfolding nationally among the public two-year colleges. These schools, hit hard by enrollment drops during the pandemic, have been slower on the whole to embrace vaccine mandates than four-year colleges and universities.
4th Oct 2021 - The Washington Post

Senior doctors urge secondary school pupils to get vaccinated

Senior doctors have urged secondary school children to consider getting vaccinated against Covid after the death of a healthy 15-year-old girl highlighted that young people with no underlying conditions are potentially still at risk. The rollout of Covid vaccines for healthy 12 to 15-year-olds in England started on 20 September, but the process is more complicated than for some age groups because the shots are given through schools and parental consent is needed beforehand. Dr Helen Salisbury, a GP in Oxford and a member of the Independent Sage committee, said while it made sense to deliver Covid vaccinations through schools, the programme was starting late compared with other countries and that many schools could struggle given recent cuts to school nursing and medical services.
4th Oct 2021 - The Guardian

The US is turning a corner in its fight against Covid-19, Fauci says. But it's still too early to let our guard down

As Covid-19 numbers gradually improve, health experts have an urgent message: Don't get cocky and relax. "We can't get overconfident. Every time we do and we put our guard down ... we get another surge with another variant," said Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, a viral researcher and internal medicine physician. "So yes, things are better. But they're far from over." On average, 107,312 new cases were reported each day over the past week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, the lowest since August 5.
4th Oct 2021 - CNN

Amid COVID-19 booster data dilemma, EU nations' plans diverge

A patchwork of campaigns for an extra COVID-19 shot are being rolled out across the European Union even before the region's drug watchdog rules on whether they are safe and effective. Italy, France, Germany and Ireland have already started to administer booster shots and the Netherlands plans to do so soon but only to people who are immuno-suppressed. But several EU countries are waiting for the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to give its opinion this week.
4th Oct 2021 - Reuters

'We are tired': Workers flee Vietnam's largest city as long lockdown eases

Tens of thousands of people, mostly migrant workers, left Ho Chi Minh City over the weekend as the largest metropolis in Vietnam eased a months-long COVID-19 lockdown, triggering fears of labour shortages and more disruption to manufacturing. The mass exodus comes as the city and its nearby industrial provinces struggle to ensure sufficient workers to help revive the country's economy, which posted a record GDP slump in the third quarter due to COVID-19 curbs. "We left our home behind for the city in search for better jobs but now we are tired," said Tran Thi Them, 32, as she queued for a compulsory COVID-19 test before leaving.
4th Oct 2021 - Reuters


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Air New Zealand to require COVID-19 vaccination for international travelers

Air New Zealand, the flag carrier airline of New Zealand, said on Sunday it will require passengers on its international flights to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, in what is one of the world's strictest policies for travellers. "Being vaccinated against COVID-19 is the new reality of international travel – many of the destinations Kiwis want to visit are already closed to unvaccinated visitors," Air New Zealand's Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran said. New Zealand plans to reopen its international borders, which have been closed since March 2020 to anyone who is not a New Zealand citizen, early next year.
3rd Oct 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: Irish vaccine passports 'accelerated' jab uptake

Covid-19 vaccine uptake in the Republic of Ireland "would have been much lower" without the vaccine passport scheme, an immunology expert has said. Prof Kingston Mills from Trinity College Dublin said it was "a big incentive" for people to get jabbed. When indoor hospitality reopened in July, the Irish government said people had to be vaccinated or recently recovered from Covid-19 to get in. That requirement will be removed from 22 October. The EU Digital Covid Certificate, enables people to show proof of their vaccination status, or if they recently had a negative PCR test or recently recovered from the disease.
3rd Oct 2021 - BBC News

COVID shots required for all Nevada college workers Dec. 1

Employees at all public universities and colleges in Nevada are required to get COVID-19 vaccinations by Dec. 1 or face potential termination under a new policy adopted by the state board of regents. Meanwhile, coronavirus case trends are improving in urban areas but have worsened in most rural parts of the state, where vaccination rates are the lowest. The regents voted 10-3 on Thursday to mandate vaccines for all employees in the Nevada System of Higher Education by December with some medical and religious exemptions. All new hires also will have to prove their vaccination status. About 23% of system employees had not been vaccinated as of Sept. 20, according to state figures. The Desert Research Institute has the highest vaccination rate at 87% followed by the University of Nevada Reno at 82%. UNLV reported 75%. Rural Elko-based Great Basin College had the worst rate at 66%.
2nd Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

Alaska Air to require COVID-19 vaccine for employees

Alaska Air Group has told its 22,000 employees they will be required to get a COVID-19 vaccination. There are some exceptions to the policy, which has shifted since last month, The Seattle Times reported. In an email Thursday evening to all Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air employees, the Seattle-based company said employees will now be required to be fully vaccinated or approved for a reasonable accommodation. Officials said the new police would be in accordance with the White House executive order that requires all federal contractors to have their workers vaccinated. It replaces an Alaska policy which paid vaccinated employees $200 and required regular testing for others. At that time, Alaska said that 75% of its employees had been vaccinated.
2nd Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

Merck Surges as Covid Pill Looks to Ease Hospital Strains

Merck & Co. shares posted their biggest gain in five years after the company’s experimental pill slashed the risk of getting seriously ill or dying from Covid-19 in a study, findings that could eventually yield a simple way to treat many virus patients before they ever reach the hospital. The drug, known as molnupiravir, reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 50% in an interim analysis of a late-stage clinical trial, Merck and partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP said in a statement on Friday. The study results were so encouraging that Merck and closely held Ridgeback, in consultation with independent trial monitors and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, elected to stop enrolling patients and begin the process of gaining regulatory clearance.
1st Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Japan's restaurants, bars welcome back drinkers as COVID-19 controls ease

Typhoon winds and rain dampened what might have been a more celebratory mood in Tokyo on Friday, as restaurants were allowed to sell alcohol and stay open later following the lifting of the latest COVID-19 state of emergency. Japan is cautiously easing restrictions that have prevailed across much of the nation for almost six months. New COVID cases in Tokyo totalled 200 on Friday, a sharp drop from more than 5,000 a day in August amid a fifth wave driven by the infectious Delta variant that brought the medical system to the brink. The restrictions, intended to blunt infections by reducing mobility and interaction, have been particularly tough on the service sector.
1st Oct 2021 - Reuters

S.Korea extends social distancing curbs as COVID-19 cases rise in Seoul

South Korea extended social distancing curbs to combat the coronavirus pandemic on Friday for two weeks, offering more incentives to people to get vaccinated as it battles thousands of new cases each day, particularly in the capital. The rapid resurgence in the greater Seoul area prompted authorities to extend distancing restrictions until Oct. 17, including a ban in the region on dining out after 10 p.m. and gatherings of more than two people after 6 p.m. The country recorded 2,486 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), with the daily tally having topped 3,000 for the first time last week.
1st Oct 2021 - Reuters

In a first, COVAX to send COVID shots only to least covered nations

A global scheme designed to ensure fair access to COVID-19 vaccines will this month for the first time distribute shots only to countries with the lowest levels of coverage, the World Health Organization said. Co-led by the WHO, COVAX has since January largely allocated doses proportionally among its 140-plus beneficiary states according to population size. This made some richer nations that had already secured vaccines through separate deals with pharmaceutical firms eligible for COVAX doses alongside countries with no supplies at all
1st Oct 2021 - Reuters

NBA vaccination rate reaches 95 percent

As a few notable NBA players continue to make headlines for their anti-vaccination stances, the vast majority of the league has been vaccinated against COVID-19. NBA executive director Michele Roberts revealed this week that over 90 percent of the league's players are fully vaccinated, while ESPN reported Thursday that 95 percent of players have now received at least one shot. Still, the topic of vaccinations has become hot-button. The NBA mandated that all team employees except for players must be vaccinated, and there is tension within the league about that difference.
1st Oct 2021 - Reuters

Cuba aims to fully inoculate 90% of residents against COVID-19 by December

Cuba is speeding up its COVID-19 vaccination program as it aims to fully inoculate 90% of its population against the coronavirus by December, an ambitious goal that has yet to be reached by even wealthier nations. The health ministry reported on Thursday that more than 80% of Cuba's 11.3 million people had received at least a first shot of a three-dose immunization regimen with Cuban-made vaccines Abdala, Soberana-2 or Soberana-plus. Close to 50% were fully vaccinated, it said - well ahead of the global average of 34%, according to the Our World In Data website.
1st Oct 2021 - Reuters

EXCLUSIVE White House presses U.S. airlines to quickly mandate vaccines for staff

The White House is pressing major U.S. airlines to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for employees by Dec. 8 - the deadline for federal contractors to do so - and is showing no signs of pushing back the date, four sources told Reuters on Friday. White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeffrey Zients spoke to the chief executives of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines on Thursday to ensure they were working expeditiously to develop and enforce vaccine requirements ahead of that deadline, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
1st Oct 2021 - Reuters

California to require COVID-19 vaccines for schoolchildren

California will become the first U.S. state to mandate statewide COVID-19 vaccinations for schoolchildren, Governor Gavin Newsom said on Friday as a Reuters tally showed the United States topping 700,000 coronavirus deaths. “The state already requires that students are vaccinated against viruses that cause measles, mumps, and rubella – there’s no reason why we wouldn’t do the same for COVID-19," the Democratic governor said at a news conference.
1st Oct 2021 - Reuters


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California Mandates Boost Vaccination Rates Among Health Care Workers

California’s requirement for all health care workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, which took effect Thursday, appears to have compelled tens of thousands of unvaccinated employees to get shots in recent weeks, bolstering the case for employer mandates. In a survey of more than a dozen of the state’s major hospital systems, most health care employers reported vaccination rates this week of 90 percent or higher, with hundreds — and in some cases, thousands — more workers in some systems opting to be vaccinated, rather than to apply for limited medical or religious exemptions, since Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration issued the health order Aug. 5.
30th Sep 2021 - The New York Times

Atlanta Falcons Fire Scout Over Refusal to Get Covid-19 Vaccine

The Atlanta Falcons fired a scout over his refusal to get a Covid-19 vaccine, in a high-profile confrontation between a team and an employee in the closely watched setting of professional sports. A combination of educational blitzes, incentives and mandates have produced vaccination rates in professional sports that far exceed the rates in the general U.S. population. Around 90% of NBA players are vaccinated, as are 94% of NFL players and 99% of WNBA players. (Major League Baseball has declined to release a number specific to players.)
30th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Woman who survived 1918 flu, world war succumbs to COVID

Dorene Giacopini holds up a photo of her mother Primetta Giacopini while posing for a photo at her home in Richmond, Calif. on Monday, Sept 27, 2021. Primetta Giacopini's life ended the way it began — in a pandemic. She was two years old when she lost her mother to the Spanish flu in Connecticut in 1918. Giacopini contracted COVID-19 earlier this month. The 105-year-old struggled with the disease for a week before she died Sept. 16. Dorene Giacopini holds up a photo of her mother Primetta Giacopini while posing for a photo at her home in Richmond, Calif. on Monday, Sept 27, 2021. Primetta Giacopini's life ended the way it began — in a pandemic. She was two years old when she lost her mother to the Spanish flu in Connecticut in 1918. Giacopini contracted COVID-19 earlier this month. The 105-year-old struggled with the disease for a week before she died Sept. 16. “I think my mother would have been around quite a bit longer” if she hadn’t contracted COVID,” her 61-year-old daughter, Dorene Giacopini, said. “She was a fighter. She had a hard life and her attitude always was ... basically, all Americans who were not around for World War II were basically spoiled brats.”
30th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

Data show coronavirus vaccine mandates work well

A union representing Massachusetts state troopers sought to make a splash this week in its fight against the state’s coronavirus vaccine mandate. Dozens of troopers had submitted resignation paperwork over the mandate, the State Police Association of Massachusetts announced Monday after an adverse court ruling. It suggested that the mandate-linked resignations would deplete an agency that is “already critically short staffed.” What if such mandates mean our crime-fighters can’t fight crime? That’s a scary prospect. The reality, though, is far from as dire as it might have seemed. And the totality of the anecdotal data we have so far on coronavirus vaccine mandates points to one conclusion: They work — quite well, in fact.
30th Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

Western Coronavirus Vaccines May Be Coming to Russia

Russian residents may soon be able to receive vaccines not recognized by the government, the Kommersant business daily reported, citing a Health Ministry proposal put up for public discussion. The move to relax import rules could potentially allow Russians to have Western coronavirus jabs like Pfizer and Moderna, as well as Chinese vaccines like Sinopharm and Sinovac. The Health Ministry proposed Tuesday to grant the Moscow International Medical Cluster (MIMC) project the right to import vaccines and drugs not registered in Russia. MIMC operates in Moscow City Hall’s Skolkovo Innovation Center, which works under a special legal regime that gives it preferential access to drugs registered in OECD member-states, even if they are not registered in Russia.
30th Sep 2021 - The Moscow Times

Slovenia suspends use of J&J coronavirus vaccine

Slovenia suspended the use of the single-shot coronavirus vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson after a twenty-year-old woman died two weeks after receiving the shot. This development risks undermining Slovenia’s already slow vaccine uptake fuelled by a potent anti-vaccination movement. The suspension will be in place until all the circumstances of the woman’s death have been ascertained, according to Health Minister Janez Poklukar. There is not currently any confirmation that the woman died as a direct result of the vaccine. Unlike in several other countries where the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (also known as the Janssen vaccine) is administered only to older patients, it was available in Slovenia to anyone over 18, except pregnant women.
30th Sep 2021 - EURACTIV

Malaysia makes COVID-19 vaccinations compulsory for government employees

Malaysia said on Thursday it would now be mandatory for all federal government employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, with exceptions only to be allowed on health grounds. The announcement comes as the country looks to boost vaccination rates with the aim of inoculating 80% of the population by the end of the year. Malaysia has one of the fastest vaccine rollouts in Southeast Asia, with 61% of its 32 million population already fully vaccinated. In a statement, the Public Service Department said vaccinations would be made compulsory for federal staff in order to boost public confidence and ensure government services can be delivered smoothly.
30th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Russia may allow access to unregistered COVID-19 vaccines, report says

Russians may soon be able to receive COVID-19 vaccines not registered in the country from clinics set up in a special economic zone, under a healthcare ministry proposal, Russian Kommersant daily reported on Thursday. Many Western nations have not registered Russian vaccines such as Sputnik V and require visitors to have other shots that are not available to Russians, a situation that has prompted vaccine tourism
30th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Vietnam's biggest city to start lifting COVID-19 curbs to spur business

Vietnam's commercial hub Ho Chi Minh City will start relaxing its coronavirus curbs from later on Thursday, officials said, allowing more business and social activities after four months of measures aimed at arresting a spiralling death rate. Policies will seek to spur the economy and restore some normalcy while coexisting with the virus, which hit the country hard in recent months, with overall deaths jumping from 36 in mid May to more than 19,098 as of Wednesday. "All checkpoints on the streets will be lifted and no travel permits will be needed after today," Le Hoa Binh, deputy chairman of the city's people's committee, told a news conference.
30th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Biden vaccine mandate splits US on party lines: AP-NORC poll

A survey of Americans on President Joe Biden’s plan to require most workers to get either vaccinated or regularly tested for COVID-19 finds a deep and familiar divide: Democrats are overwhelmingly for it, while most Republicans are against it. With the highly contagious delta variant driving deaths up to around 2,000 per day, the poll released Thursday by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed that overall, 51% say they approve of the Biden requirement, 34% disapprove and 14% hold neither opinion. About three quarters of Democrats, but only about a quarter of Republicans, approve. Roughly 6 in 10 Republicans say they disapprove. Over the course of the outbreak, Democrats and Republicans in many places have also found themselves divided over masks and other precautions. “I don’t believe the federal government should have a say in me having to get the vaccine or lose my job or get tested,” said 28-year-old firefighter Emilio Rodriguez in Corpus Christi, Texas. The Republican is not vaccinated.
30th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

PAHO says it is buying more COVID vaccines for Americas

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has said it is pushing to secure additional COVID-19 vaccines for residents of the Americas amid huge discrepancies in vaccination rates between countries in the region. PAHO, the Americas branch of the World Health Organization (WHO), announced on Wednesday that it had reached an agreement with Chinese vaccine maker Sinovac to buy 8.5 million vaccine doses for 2021 and another 80 million doses next year.
29th Sep 2021 - AlJazeera


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Unvaccinated players to face extensive COVID-19 curbs: ESPN

NBA players who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 will have to comply with a long list of restrictions to take part in the upcoming season, according to a memo obtained by Reuters. The National Basketball Association's tentative protocols released to teams on Tuesday showed vaccinated players will only be tested if they show coronavirus symptoms or are a close contact of a positive case. However, unvaccinated players will have to undergo daily testing prior to entering a team facility, participating in team activities or interacting with players and coaches.
29th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Zimbabwe's vaccine mandates squeeze some of world's poorest

For months, Acholo Jani was told to get a COVID-19 vaccination because it might save his life. He hesitated, fearful of potential side effects. But the moment he was told it would save his job, Jani got in line. The 43-year-old mechanic’s employer is among many in Zimbabwe mandating shots for their staff, including the government, which is requiring the vaccine for its 500,000 employees. That sets the southern African nation apart from nearly every other on the continent, where the most immediate challenge is still simply acquiring enough doses. Zimbabwe, by contrast, says it has ample supply for now, mostly purchased from China, but that hesitancy is holding back its campaign — a problem that has also troubled other African countries, partly driven by a general distrust of authorities. But Zimbabwe’s strategy is raising worrying rights questions.
29th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

Tanzania: Samia Calls for Mass Education on Coronavirus Vaccine

President Samia Suluhu Hassan urged religious leaders to help educate their members about coronavirus and vaccine currently administered freely and voluntarily across the country. Addressing clerics and bishops of the Anglican Church of Tanzania at the church's 50th anniversary held in Dodoma, President Samia it is important for the citizen to be well informed about the vaccine. "Vaccine helps reduce complications as well as mortality," she said. "We have to use all means necessary and vaccine is one of them." Apparently some church members had managed to develop a locally made-vaccine claimed to battle coronavirus. President Samia hailed the initiative insisting that her administration would help verify the efficacy of the vaccine with health authorities before mass production. "Let me congratulate the youth from this church who are trying to get a vaccine... We will help send some samples to international institutions for testing and if approved it can be allowed so that more people will get vaccinated," she noted.
29th Sep 2021 - AllAfrica.com

Roll-out of Covid-19 boosters to NI care homes gets underway

Health Minister Robin Swann has welcomed the roll-out of the Covid-19 booster jab programme in Northern Ireland. Health Trust vaccinator teams are bringing the boosters to care home residents and staff as part of a planned programme. The minister said the roll-out will be on phased basis, as the booster vaccine dose is to be offered no earlier than six months after receipt of the second dose. “I very much welcome the fact that vaccinator teams are providing vital vaccine booster doses to care home residents and staff," said Robin Swann. “This will give added and important protection for some of the most vulnerable people in our society as we head towards winter." The Health Department said the wider booster dose programme will begin in October for those eligible.
29th Sep 2021 - ITV News

Sri Lanka to lift quarantine curfew on Oct. 1 as COVID-19 cases decline

Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Wednesday instructed related authorities to lift the existing nationwide quarantine curfew over COVID-19 on Oct. 1 as the South Asian country has seen a decline in coronavirus infections.
29th Sep 2021 - Xinhua

Slovenia temporarily suspends J&J's Janssen COVID-19 vaccine

Slovenia on Wednesday temporarily suspended the application of Johnson & Johnson's Janssen COVID-19 vaccines after the death of a young woman, health minister Janez Poklukar was quoted as saying by the STA national news agency. Johnson & Johnson was not available for an immediate comment. "The patient had blood clots and bleeding in the brain at the same time, intensive care was not successful," Igor Rigler, a neurologist at the Ljubljana hospital centre, told the STA.
29th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Vatican orders all staff to be vaccinated or undergo regular Covid-19 testing

The Vatican made the announcement on Tuesday to staff, according to reports. Even the most senior members of the Catholic Church will not be exempt. The Pope has made the Catholic Church's stance on vaccinations clear. Francis himself was vaccinated in January and has called it a 'moral duty.' On Monday, Pope Francis emphasised the need for attention to be given to other diseases after Covid-19 has taken up most resources for almost two years
29th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Four in five students had received at least one Covid-19 jab by August – poll

More than four in five university students had received at least one Covid-19 vaccination by August, a survey suggests. The figure is now likely to be “considerably higher”, the National Union of Students (NUS) has said, as a further one in 10 said they intended to have a vaccine as soon as possible. The survey, of more than 5,000 students between July and August, suggests that three in five (60%) students who are moving into halls of residences are concerned about living with others. This is partly down to a fear of catching Covid-19 and others not following rules and good hygiene, according to the NUS poll.
29th Sep 2021 - Evening Standard

Swiss buy 150,000 doses of J&J COVID-19 vaccine

Switzerland has agreed to buy 150,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines. from Johnson & Johnson that will arrive this week and be distributed to regional authorities next week, the government said on Wednesday. Switzerland has relied so far on vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna using new mRNA technology but also considered standard vector jabs from Johnson & Johnson to help persuade more people to get immunized. “People aged 12 and over are still recommended to be vaccinated primarily with an mRNA vaccine, as this offers a very high level of protection and is very safe,” the Federal Office of Public Health said.
29th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Americans Are Getting Covid-19 Boosters—No Questions Asked

The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have authorized a third shot of the vaccine made by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE for a wide swath of the U.S. population. Anyone over age 65 is eligible for a booster shot, as is anyone over 18 with a pre-existing condition predisposing the person toward a severe case of Covid-19. Also eligible are those with a job or living situation that poses a higher risk of contracting Covid-19. Boosters for all patients must be given at least six months after an initial Pfizer vaccine course. Patients who received initial doses of the vaccines made by Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson aren’t eligible yet. Approval of a booster regimen for those patients is expected in the coming months. The FDA did amend its emergency-use authorization in August, however, to allow a third Moderna dose for immunocompromised people.
29th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Employer vaccine mandates convert some workers, but not all

Businesses that have announced vaccine mandates say some workers who had been on the fence have since gotten inoculated against COVID-19. But many holdouts remain — a likely sign of what is to come once a federal mandate goes into effect. Even before President Joe Biden’s Sept. 9 announcement that companies with more than 100 workers would have to require vaccinations, dozens of companies, including Amtrak, Microsoft, United Airlines and Disney issued ultimatums to most workers. And smaller companies in New York, San Francisco and New Orleans have been required to implement mandates for customers and workers. Some mandates seem to have converted hesitant workers, but employers are still dealing with holdouts. United said late Tuesday it will begin terminating 593 employees over the next few days for refusing to get vaccinated. Other companies are offering alternatives, including weekly testing or working remotely or away from other staff.
29th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

In India, demand for Russia’s expensive Sputnik vaccine sputters

Some of India’s private hospitals have cancelled orders for Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine as they struggle to sell COVID-19 shots amid surging supplies of free doses of other vaccines offered by the government. Some industry officials said low demand and the extremely cold storage temperatures required have spurred at least three big hospitals to cancel orders for Sputnik V, sold only on the private market in the world’s biggest producer of vaccines.
29th Sep 2021 - AlJazeera

AT&T mandates COVID-19 vaccination for union-represented employees

AT&T Inc said on Wednesday it would require its union-represented employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before entering their work location, following a similar mandate for its management employees last month. The U.S wireless carrier, one the largest employers of union-represented workers, said the Communications Workers of America linked employees must be fully vaccinated by Feb. 1, 2022. CWA represents more than 150,000 employees at AT&T. Other major companies including Facebook Inc, Google and Microsoft Corp have also mandated vaccinations for employees as the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus drives up infections in the United States.
29th Sep 2021 - Reuters


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Yemen uses UN speech to call for more COVID-19 vaccines

The top diplomat of Yemen s internationally recognized government said Monday his conflict-torn country needs millions more coronavirus vaccines to ensure some of the world's poorest are not left behind. In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak said the roughly 1 million doses Yemen was given are not enough to vaccinate even the most vulnerable portions of its population. Yemen has a long way to go toward vaccinating the majority of its some 30 million people, most of whom are facing multiple humanitarian crises, including poverty, hunger and poor access to adequately run hospitals. Yemen’s government has received just roughly 500,000 doses so far this year through the COVAX initiative, and the rest through direct donations from other countries. “These amounts are still not enough to cover the targeted groups,” Bin Mubarak said. “We hope that the donating countries will contribute to increasing the number of vaccines so that no one is left behind.”
28th Sep 2021 - The Independent

Australia is still 56th in the world for coronavirus vaccination coverage — but it's clawing its way up

Australia is clawing its way up from the bottom of the pack of wealthy nations in the COVID-19 vaccination race. After months spinning its wheels near the start line, we are now roaring towards the vaccination levels that will allow a safer re-entry into the world. But there is still a distance to go. Of all the nations home to at least 500,000 people, Australia currently ranks 48th on partial vaccination levels, according to the latest data compiled by Our World In Data. Australia is 56th in the world for full vaccination coverage. Among the relatively wealthy OECD nations, Australia still ranks near the bottom of the pack. But the nation is now clambering upwards, with one of the fastest vaccination speeds in the world.
28th Sep 2021 - ABC News

For many families, the countdown has begun to coronavirus vaccines for younger children

For almost a year, Whitney Kuhn has been trying to escape the grip of long-haul symptoms after contracting covid-19. And she has not stopped worrying about how to protect her 10-year-old son, Tyler, from the illness she experienced. She has been too anxious to go on family vacations, visit relatives for the holidays or even take Tyler to the grocery store. She has pulled him from basketball — his favorite sport — and other extracurriculars. And when he had to return to school, she could only hope his classmates wore their masks the right way.
28th Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

New York can move forward with coronavirus vaccine mandate for school workers, judges say

A federal appeals court Monday made way for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) to implement a coronavirus vaccine mandate for all school employees, ruling against four educators who had sued to stop it. The court decision marks a major victory for the nation’s largest school system, which employs 150,000 people and educates over 1 million students in a city gutted by the coronavirus last year. Unlike most other cities, New York’s mandate does not allow employees to submit to regular testing as an alternative to getting a vaccine. The city’s mandate would have required all school employees to show proof of at least one shot by midnight Monday. But on Friday, a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit issued an injunction temporarily halting the requirement.
28th Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

Cuba begins commercial exports of its COVID-19 vaccines

Cuba has begun commercial exports of its homegrown COVID-19 vaccines, sending shipments of the three-dose Abdala vaccine to Vietnam and Venezuela. Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel announced the arrival of vaccines in Vietnam on his Twitter feed on Sunday. The official Cubadebate news website said the shipment included 900,000 doses bought by Hanoi and 150,000 more donated by Cuba. Vietnam’s President Nguyen Xuan Phuc visited Cuba last week and toured the laboratory that produces the vaccine, announcing an agreement to buy at least five million doses. As two of the last five Communist countries in the world, Cuba and Vietnam have maintained longstanding ties.
28th Sep 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Egypt allows immediate COVID-19 vaccination amid fourth wave

Egypt is now providing immediate COVID-19 vaccinations at youth centres across the country without prior online registration, a step aimed at encouraging vaccinations and relieving pressure on hospitals and health units amid a fourth wave of infections. Nearly 270 youth centres are now open for citizens to get the vaccines, the health ministry said, bringing the total number of vaccination sites across the country to 1,100. The move is part of the "Together We Are Assured" campaign, launched by the health ministry in mid-September, that allows citizens to register and receive vaccinations immediately after complaints of a large time difference between the two steps.
28th Sep 2021 - Reuters

People in the Northeast could prevent a Covid-19 surge like the one in the South by following these measures, Fauci says

As weather grows colder and children spend more time in school, a surge of Covid-19 cases like the one in the South could be in store for the Northeast, but it is not too late to get ahead of it, Dr. Anthony Fauci said. "It is within our power, and within our grasp, to prevent that from occurring," Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN on Monday. The way to do it, he said, is by utilizing mitigation measures such as wearing masks indoors and in schools, as well as increasing vaccination rates. The idea of vaccine mandates for schools and businesses has sparked debate through much of the country, but with the spread of the Delta variant, more leaders are adopting such methods.
28th Sep 2021 - CNN

Japan to lift emergency COVID-19 curbs, but gradually

Japan will lift a coronavirus state of emergency in all regions on Thursday for the first time in nearly six months, as the number of new cases and deaths falls and the strain on the medical system eases, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said. Daily cases have fallen nationwide from more than 25,000 last month to 1,128 on Monday, but the opening will be gradual with some curbs on restaurants and large-scale events staying in place for about a month.
28th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Hospitals fear staffing shortages as vaccine deadlines loom

Hospitals and nursing homes around the U.S. are bracing for worsening staff shortages as state deadlines arrive for health care workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19. With ultimatums taking effect this week in states like New York, California, Rhode Island and Connecticut, the fear is that some employees will quit or let themselves be fired or suspended rather than get the vaccine. “How this is going to play out, we don’t know. We are concerned about how it will exacerbate an already quite serious staffing problem,” said California Hospital Association spokesperson Jan Emerson-Shea, adding that the organization “absolutely” supports the state’s vaccination requirement.
28th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

Biden, McConnell get COVID-19 boosters, encourage vaccines

Seventy-eight-year-old Joe Biden and 79-year-old Mitch McConnell got their booster shots Monday, the Democratic president and the Republican Senate leader urging Americans across the political spectrum to get vaccinated or plus up with boosters when eligible for the extra dose of protection. The shots, administered just hours apart on either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, came on the first workday after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration recommended a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine for Americans 65 and older and approved them for others with preexisting medical conditions and high-risk work environments.
28th Sep 2021 - The Independent

With one simple decision, the Canadian government can save lives

With one simple decision, the Canadian government can save lives. This is the message I want to bring to Canada’s newly re-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. On May 11 of this year, the Plurinational State of Bolivia signed an agreement with the Canadian manufacturer “Biolyse Pharma” to produce 15 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines using the Jensen vaccine formula of the North American company Johnson and Johnson. The implementation of this agreement depends on the Canadian government carrying out the necessary procedures so that the vaccines can be produced under the compulsory licensing mechanism established by the World Trade Organization (WTO).
28th Sep 2021 - AlJazeera

Ireland to donate 335,500 doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Uganda

Ireland is to donate 335,500 doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Uganda, it has been announced. This donation is in addition to the one million Covid-19 vaccines that Ireland has already committed to donate via Covax, which aims to guarantee fair and equitable vaccine access for every country in the world. Along with this donation of vaccines to Uganda, Ireland is also donating all of the consumables needed to support the administration of 335,500 doses (plus a consumables contingency).
28th Sep 2021 - The Journal


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'Every Day Is Frightening': Working For Walmart Amid Covid

Sore, disoriented, he’d already grasped what his mother was now telling him: He’d had another seizure. But he also grasped a larger truth: He needed to pull it together and somehow go to work. A cashier and self-checkout host at the nearby Walmart, Mr. Naughton dreaded depleting his limited paid time off in the midst of a pandemic. His mother, for her part, insisted that her epileptic son, then 44, stay home and rest. The hours after a seizure were difficult enough. Toss in the stress of Covid-19 and a customer base that largely — and often angrily — rejected mask use, and a day at work seemed anything but recuperative.
27th Sep 2021 - The New York Times

Covid-19 vaccine passports a 'no brainer', says Nichola Mallon

The introduction of vaccine passports in Northern Ireland is a "no brainer", the infrastructure minister has said. SDLP MLA Nichola Mallon said she has raised the issue at Stormont executive meetings on "a number of occasions". It comes after her party leader Colum Eastwood called for the introduction of vaccine passports earlier this week. "It's frustrating that we're still sitting having this discussion," Ms Mallon told the BBC's Sunday Politics programme. Since July, the EU Digital Covid Certificate system has been in operation in the Republic of Ireland.
27th Sep 2021 - BBC News

Tanzania to receive 2 million doses of coronavirus vaccine from China

The government yesterday said two million doses of Sinopharm vaccine from China is expected to arrive in the country as the number of vaccinated Tanzanians reached 400,000 off from the million doses initially received. The government spokserson, Mr Gerson Msigwa said yesterday that unlike the Johnson & Johnson doses that are injected once a year, Tanzanians will have to be inoculated twice a year with the Sinopharm doses.
27th Sep 2021 - GhanaWeb

Why Does Biden's Vaccine Mandate Have a Testing Loophole?

President Joe Biden’s new vaccine mandate for large businesses is a strange one, in that it does not actually make vaccines mandatory for the roughly 80 million Americans it’s aimed at. Tucked plainly into the rule is a singular and obvious opt-out: Unlike federal employees and contractors, those in the private sector can test for the coronavirus on an at-least-weekly basis, a no-jab alternative that makes the White House’s decision quite a bit gentler than it could have been. “It’s a stick, but it’s sort of a soft stick,” Julia Raifman, a health-policy researcher at Boston University, told me.
27th Sep 2021 - The Atlantic

Want to help prevent more variants down the road? Get vaccinated, CDC director says

Adequate rates of vaccination can help prevent the rise of new mutations that could force people to get booster after booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine, the head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Sunday. The CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration recommended booster shots for many Americans last week to help preserve their immunity. But that doesn't necessarily mean people will need to keep getting boosters. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told CBS's "Face the Nation."
27th Sep 2021 - CNN

US has enough COVID-19 vaccines for boosters, kids shots

With more than 40 million doses of coronavirus vaccines available, U.S. health authorities said they're confident there will be enough for both qualified older Americans seeking booster shots and the young children for whom initial vaccines are expected to be approved in the not-too-distant future.
27th Sep 2021 - The Independent

New Zealand to begin letting people isolate at home as it looks to ease border curbs

New Zealand is to begin allowing small numbers of vaccinated travellers to isolate at home instead of in state-run quarantine facilities as part of a phased approach to re-opening its borders, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday. The pilot project starting next month will be open to 150 people, who must be New Zealand citizens or residents and are fully vaccinated, Ardern said at a news conference. "While this is a pilot, it gives you a sense of where we intend to go on our borders," Ardern said, adding that the government was working on a wide range of options for allowing people back in safely.
27th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Recovered COVID patients will require vaccine dose to receive Green Pass

The Health Ministry announced on Sunday that, from October 3, when a number of new restrictions will be introduced, recovered COVID-19 patients will be required to get a single coronavirus vaccine dose in order to be eligible to receive a Green Pass. Under the current Green Pass rules, entry to certain businesses and events is limited to those with proof of vaccination, recovery from COVID-19, or a negative test result. The new rules mean that some 1.2 million Israelis who have been diagnosed with the virus since the start of the pandemic, along with those who have a positive serological test showing high antibodies, will need at least one vaccine shot to qualify for the Green Pass.
26th Sep 2021 - The Times of Israel

UK counts on vaccines, ‘common sense’ to keep virus at bay

Britons are encouraged these days — though in most cases not required — to wear face coverings in crowded indoor spaces. But Prime Minister Boris Johnson regularly appears in the packed, poorly ventilated House of Commons cheek-by-jowl with other maskless Conservative lawmakers. For critics, that image encapsulates the flaw in the government’s strategy, which has abandoned most pandemic restrictions and is banking on voluntary restraint and a high vaccination rate to curb the spread of the coronavirus. As winter approaches, bringing the threat of a new COVID-19 surge, Britain’s light touch is setting it apart from more cautious nations.
26th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

Federal judge delays vaccine mandate for NYC teachers

New York City schools have been temporarily blocked from enforcing a vaccine mandate for its teachers and other workers by a federal appeals judge just days before it was to take effect. Workers in the nation’s largest school system were to be required to show vaccination proof starting Monday. But late Friday, a judge for the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a temporary injunction sought by a group of teachers pending review by a three-judge panel, which will take up the motion Wednesday. Department of Education spokesperson Danielle Filson said officials were seeking a speedy resolution in court. “We’re confident our vaccine mandate will continue to be upheld once all the facts have been presented, because that is the level of protection our students and staff deserve,” Filson said in an email.
25th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

Biden, Walensky boost COVID vaccine boosters

"If you got the Pfizer vaccine in January, February or March of this year, and are over 65, go get the booster, or if you are a frontline worker, go get a free booster now. I’ll be getting my booster shot." That was President Joe Biden's message today, as he briefed the nation on COVID-19 vaccine booster doses. For Pfizer vaccine recipients, roughly 100 million Americans, a third dose of vaccine is now recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for several groups, including those over 65, and those ages 40 to 54 who have underlying medical conditions that put them at risk for severe infection. Those ages 18 to 39 with underlying medical conditions may get a booster, as well.
24th Sep 2021 - CIRAP


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Rowdy celebrations erupt in Norway as COVID restrictions end

Police in Norway have reported dozens of disturbances and violent clashes including mass brawls in the Nordic country’s big cities after streets, bars, restaurants and nightclubs were filled with people celebrating the end of COVID-19 restrictions
26th Sep 2021 - ABC

Cuba kicks off COVID-19 vaccine exports with shipment to Vietnam

Cuba said on Saturday it had exported its three-shot Abdala coronavirus vaccine for the first time, sending an initial shipment to Vietnam as part of a contract to supply five million doses to the Southeast Asian country. Scientists in the Communist-run island have developed three home-grown vaccines against COVID-19, all of which are waiting to receive official recognition from the World Health Organization.
26th Sep 2021 - Reuters

To Reach Vaccine Holdouts, Scientists Take a Page From Digital Marketing

Public-health researchers seeking new ways to persuade vaccine holdouts to take coronavirus shots are turning to the strategies of the digital marketing industry to figure out how to win over the reluctant. Companies that use online ads to sell products try out various colors, phrases, typefaces and a whole host of other variables to determine what resonates with consumers. So why not, the thinking goes, apply the same sort of A/B testing to figure out how best to promote vaccines?
26th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Nevada hospital urges residents to take COVID-19 seriously: 'We are pleading with you'

A hospital in Nevada is urging residents to take the coronavirus seriously as it nears capacity due to an influx of COVID-19 patients. “As a hospital staff, we are pleading with you to practice the precautions we know are effective in stopping COVID-19,” Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital said in a COVID-19 update on Friday. The hospital urged citizens to wear masks, avoid large gatherings, practice social distancing and get vaccinated against COVID-19. “Most importantly, please get vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccination truly is the best way to protect yourself and others from being hospitalized with this disease,” the hospital said.
26th Sep 2021 - The Hill

El Salvador to begin giving third dose of COVID-19 vaccine

El Salvador will begin administering a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine to various groups including the elderly, healthworkers and people with underlying health conditions, President Nayib Bukele said on Friday. The Central American nation of roughly 6.4 million people has obtained some 12 million vaccines since February. Third shots would be given to people including those aged over 60, frontline health staff, teachers, the armed forces, police and firefighters, as well as Salvadorans with pre-existing health problems, Bukele said on Twitter.
25th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Brazil approves COVID-19 booster shots for healthcare workers

Brazil has approved booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines for "health professionals," with preference given to the Pfizer shot, Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga said on Friday. The boosters will only be given to people six months after they complete initial round of COVID-19 vaccination, Queiroga said in a Twitter post.
25th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Doctors scale rockslides, invoke gods to vaccinate Himalayan villages

To visit the Indian village of Malana deep in the Himalayas, a COVID-19 vaccination team scrambled over a landslide that blocked the road the day before, scaled a retaining wall and then began a three-hour trek down and up a river valley. Despite the hostile terrain, the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, where Malana is located, earlier this month became the first in India to administer at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose in all its adults. The steep topography was one challenge overcome by health workers walking for hours or days to reach remote villages and another was religious beliefs, as the tourism-dependent state immunised its roughly 5 million adults.
25th Sep 2021 - Reuters India

Cuba starts to reopen economy as COVID-19 vaccine campaign races ahead

Cuba is allowing a staggered opening from Friday of restaurants, shopping centres and beaches in provinces that have lowered coronavirus cases even as it battles some of the highest nationwide rates of infection per capita worldwide. The easing of lockdown restrictions coincides with preparations by the cash-strapped Caribbean island nation for its tourist high season, which it hopes will bring much-needed dollars to palliate a dire economic crisis. The government has already announced it will allow more flights and accept COVID-19 vaccination certificates for inbound travelers in lieu of a PCR test from November.
24th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Mexico to use only Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on at-risk kids

The COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer-BioNTech will be the only one used in Mexico for at-risk children aged 12-17, Mexico's deputy health minister said on Friday. Mexico is expanding its vaccine campaign to children with health issues like cancer, diabetes or cardiovascular disease that make them vulnerable to the virus. "We can only use the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine because it is the only one that has already been scientifically proven to be safe and effective in girls, boys and adolescents from 12 to 17 years old," Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said at a regular news conference.
24th Sep 2021 - Reuters

D.C. area officials begin giving booster shots as the climbing number of cases reach peak levels in unvaccinated Shenandoah Valley

High-risk or elderly residents of the D.C. area who received a Pfizer coronavirus vaccination at least six months ago can receive a booster shot as of Friday, Maryland and D.C. health officials said, although leaders in Virginia have yet to offer their own guidance on the rollout. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) called it a “significant step toward providing additional protection for our most vulnerable residents.” Maryland, he noted, had already begun providing booster shots for elderly residents in nursing homes. “While this action was long overdue, I am glad that the federal government has finally approved booster shots for seniors and high-risk individuals,” he said.
24th Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

Margaret Keenan: First UK person to get the Pfizer jab gets booster

A woman who became the first person in the world to get the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine has had her booster. Margaret Keenan, 91, from Coventry, got her third injection at University Hospital in the city on Friday, the same place she was first vaccinated. Also getting the booster was Matron May Parsons, who administered Ms Keenan's first jab back in December, Ms Keenan said she felt happy she had got it done and that it meant she felt free. The UK has administered more than 48 million first doses of coronavirus vaccine so far. Booster jabs are being offered to the over-50s, younger adults with health conditions and frontline health and care workers.
24th Sep 2021 - BBC News

States Begin a Complex Booster Shot Rollout for Pfizer Recipients

State health officials rushed on Friday to roll out campaigns to provide coronavirus booster shots for millions of vulnerable people who got the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and to help a confused public understand who qualifies for the extra shots. Among their challenges: making sure that recipients of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines know that they are not yet eligible for boosters, reaching isolated elderly people and informing younger adults with medical conditions or jobs that place them at higher risk that they might be eligible under the broad federal rules. “Those of us overseeing vaccine rollouts don’t have a clear idea of what to do,” said Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia’s Covid-19 czar.
24th Sep 2021 - The New York Times

New York Hospitals Face Possible Mass Firings as Workers Spurn Vaccines

In Buffalo, the Erie County Medical Center plans to suspend elective in-patient surgeries and not take intensive-care patients from other hospitals because it may soon fire about 400 employees who have chosen not to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. Officials at Northwell Health, New York’s largest provider of health care, estimate that they might have to fire thousands of people who have refused to get vaccinated. And while the vast majority of staff members at New York City’s largest private hospital network, NewYork-Presbyterian, had been vaccinated as of this week, more than 200 employees faced termination because they had not.
24th Sep 2021 - The New York Times

Education Secretary Cardona backs mandatory coronavirus vaccinations for students

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said Thursday he supports mandatory coronavirus vaccinations for older teenagers, saying vaccines are critical to keeping students in school. “I wholeheartedly support it,” he said. “It’s the best tool that we have to safely reopen schools and keep them open. We don’t want to have the yo-yo effect that many districts had last year, and we can prevent that by getting vaccinated.” Cardona said that in general, he believes governors, not school superintendents, should implement the mandates. “I really want to make sure that governors and health officials are driving the communication around public health measures, which vaccinations are,” he said.
23rd Sep 2021 - The Washington Post


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USOPC will require COVID-19 vaccine for all US athletes at Beijing Games

The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee on Wednesday said all U.S. athletes hoping to compete at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
23rd Sep 2021 - Reuters

India likely to allow export of Sputnik Light COVID shot this month - sources

India is likely to allow the export of domestically produced doses of Russia's Sputnik Light COVID-19 vaccine this month, as the shot has yet to be approved in India, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Local media have reported that Indian drugmaker Hetero has already manufactured 2 million doses of the single-shot vaccine, for whose approval the country's drug regulator has sought a separate "immune-bridging clinical trial" in its residents.
23rd Sep 2021 - Reuters India

Unvaccinated but willing: The group volunteers and clinics hope to vaccinate against coronavirus

Yolanda Orosco-Arellano decided she would get the coronavirus vaccine long before it became available. But securing an appointment for it was less straightforward. The hotel housekeeper and mother of four worried about her anemia, a risk factor for severe illness from the virus. But Orosco-Arellano doesn’t have a car and needed a vaccination slot scheduled around her shifts at the hotel. Barriers to getting the shot and information about the vaccines have hindered the “unvaccinated but willing,” who account for approximately 10 percent of the American population, according to a report last month by the Department of Health and Human Services. Unlike those who have declined vaccines, some vocally, because of their politics or ideology, a quieter share — about 44% of unvaccinated people — say they would get vaccinated but are on the fence for certain reasons.
23rd Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

Coronavirus Vaccine Inequity a Focus at UN General Assembly

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, Chad’s President Mahamat Idriss Deby and Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni are set to address the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday. Access to COVID-19 vaccines has been one of the major topics of the annual meeting in New York and is likely to be one of the most discussed again Thursday as leaders from African nations make up a large portion of the day’s list of speakers. While some countries such as the United States have had vaccine doses widely available to their populations for months, other countries have struggled to access COVID-19 vaccine supplies.
23rd Sep 2021 - Voice of America

England’s Covid travel rules spark outrage around the world

England’s Covid travel rules and refusal to recognise vaccines administered across huge swaths of the world have sparked outrage and bewilderment across Latin America, Africa and south Asia, with critics denouncing what they called an illogical and discriminatory policy. The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, described England’s rules, unveiled last Friday, as “a new simplified system for international travel”. “The purpose is to make it easier for people to travel,” Shapps said. But in many parts of the world there is anger and frustration at the government’s decision to recognise only vaccinations given in a select group of countries.
23rd Sep 2021 - The Guardian

FDA authorizes Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine booster for older Americans and those at high risk of illness

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized a Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus booster shot for people 65 and older and adults at risk of severe illness, an effort to bolster protection for the most vulnerable Americans against the highly transmissible delta variant of the virus. In addition to older Americans, boosters should be made available to people 18 through 64 years of age at high risk of severe illness from the coronavirus and those “whose frequent institutional or occupational exposure” to the virus puts them at high risk of serious complications from the disease caused by the virus, the agency said.
23rd Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine offered to Ayrshire children aged 12 to 15 as NHS tackles Covid cases

Schoolkids in Ayrshire are now being offered the Covid-19 vaccine. Youngsters aged 12 to 15 can receive a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech inoculation following a decision by Scottish Ministers to accept advice from the four UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs). Children should either attend a local drop-in vaccination clinic from today or await appointment details to arrive by post. Appointed clinics for this age group will begin on Wednesday. NHS Ayrshire & Arran's Public Health Director, Lynne McNiven, said: “The roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine to all young people aged 12-15 marks a significant milestone in the vaccination programme.
23rd Sep 2021 - Daily Record

Japan to double COVID-19 vaccine donations to other countries to 60 mln doses

Japan plans to give other countries 60 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Thursday, doubling the target from the previous pledge of 30 million doses. "Today, I am pleased to announce that, with additional contributions, Japan will provide up to approximately 60 million doses of vaccine in total," Suga said in a pre-recorded video message at the U.S.-hosted Global COVID-19 Summit.
23rd Sep 2021 - Reuters

The pace of first Covid-19 vaccine doses is the slowest in two months, CDC data shows, worrying health professionals as flu season approaches

The pace of people getting first doses of Covid-19 vaccines is the slowest it has been since July 23, according to data released Wednesday from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data comes as flu season is around the corner, which could increase death tolls and put more strain on hospitals already struggling with an influx of patients and depleted resources. More than 312,000 people have initiated the vaccination process -- gotten their first shot -- over the last week, CDC data shows. That's a 7% drop from last week and a 35% drop from the previous month.
23rd Sep 2021 - CNN

New Zealand's Ardern says lockdowns can end with high vaccine uptake

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday the country should aim for a 90%-plus rate of inoculation, and could drop strict coronavirus lockdown measures once enough people were vaccinated.
23rd Sep 2021 - Reuters

U.K. Eases Covid Travel Rules for COP26 Climate Conference

The U.K. has relaxed Covid-related travel restrictions for people attending the international climate conference in Glasgow that’s now less than six weeks away. Minister-level officials from so-called red list countries, along with two staffers, won’t be required to spend time in quarantine when they arrive for the COP26 conference, according to updated travel requirements. That’s a change from an earlier stance that required visitors from the high risk, red-list countries to spend five days in isolation.
23rd Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Portugal to Lift Limits at Restaurants, Allow Nightclubs to Open

Portugal said it will remove limits on the size of groups that can be seated at restaurants from Oct. 1 as it takes the next step in a plan to gradually lift restrictions that were put in place to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Nightclubs will be allowed to reopen, with a EU digital certificate required at the entrance, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said at a press conference in Lisbon on Friday. Portugal accelerated its Covid-19 inoculation campaign amid a new surge of cases in June, and more than 80% of the population has now completed vaccination, among the highest rates in the world.
23rd Sep 2021 - Bloomberg


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Supplier Contracts Get Revamped After Covid-19 Disruptions

Pandemic-driven strains in supply chains are triggering changes in contract terms between suppliers and their manufacturing and retail customers as companies try to address the risks and added costs brought on by persistent delays and disruptions. Procurement experts say that when drafting new contracts and renewing existing ones, companies increasingly are seeking to add provisions that cover the impact of pandemics or epidemics and accelerating inflation. The moves come as commodity costs and shipping prices have soared far faster during the past two years than considered in traditional contract terms. A fourfold increase in container shipping rates has made ocean freight for some shippers more expensive than the products they are shipping.
22nd Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Why the NFL Wants Its Personnel to Get Covid Tests—Even When They’re Vaccinated

Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel woke up one August morning feeling mostly fine, but just a little bit off. His throat was sore, and his ear ached. It could have easily been explained by a long summer day at training camp barking at players. Yet when Vrabel arrived at the team facility that morning, he asked for a coronavirus test. Vrabel, who is vaccinated against Covid-19, waited in his car until the result came back. It was positive. So was a follow-up test. And so instead of possibly exposing colleagues and players, he was placed into isolation. It was a model response for an organization like the NFL—or for anybody trying to conduct business as usual—in the age of vaccines. As mass mandatory testing recedes as a containment strategy, monitoring symptoms and voluntary testing is now a front line of defense.
22nd Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

U.K. Faces Backlash Over Selective Vaccine Policy at Border

The U.K. government is facing a rising backlash over its refusal to recognize visitors as vaccinated unless they received their shots in a handful of select countries. Under travel rules unveiled last week, fully dosed arrivals from nations such as the U.S., Israel and Australia will be allowed to enter England without quarantine starting Oct. 4. But vaccinated people from vast swathes of the world still face tougher restrictions, including a 10-day home isolation period. The measure applies even if the visitor has had a vaccine approved and used in the U.K., such as the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE version or the shot produced by AstraZeneca Plc and Oxford University. It doesn’t matter whether the country is on the “red list” of those facing additional restrictions on entry or not
22nd Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

COVID-19: Should countries send vaccines abroad instead of giving booster jabs?

As the UK starts rolling out booster jabs, health experts have raised concerns about diverting resources from developing countries with much lower vaccination rates. Sky News analysis has found two-thirds of countries have vaccinated less than 40% of their population - the target that WHO set for the end of 2021. The UK is one of a number of developed countries rolling out a third dose to over-50s and vulnerable groups from this week in order to bolster protection against the virus. But the WHO's director general has called for the suspension of boosters until the "critical milestone" of 40% vaccine coverage has been reached across all countries.
22nd Sep 2021 - Sky News

‘Don’t get vaccinated’: Fake funeral home used to promote coronavirus shot

An ad truck appearing to spread anti-vax messaging caused a stir among US football fans in Charlotte, North Carolina, over the weekend. The vehicle, which had a funeral home’s name and website at the bottom of its giant advert, was emblazoned with a plain black board and a slogan which read: “Don't get vaccinated”. As it happens, though, the advert contains a hidden message. There is no “Wilmore Funeral Home”, which the ad claims to represent, and going to its website takes visitors to a landing page instructing them to do the opposite of what it says. “Get vaccinated now” appears on the site, along with a message that says, “If not, see you soon”. The ad agency, BooneOakley, said it was time to get creative and tackle America’s waning Covid-19 vaccine take-up
22nd Sep 2021 - The Independent

Unvaccinated should get priority for an effective early covid-19 treatment, some officials say

Faced with a new federal push to conserve a highly effective covid-19 treatment, some officials are urging health-care providers to put the unvaccinated first. Demand for once-obscure monoclonal antibodies has skyrocketed as federal authorities and particularly Republicans such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis promote the treatment’s success at preventing mild or moderate covid-19 cases from escalating to hospitalization. The Biden administration moved last week to take over distribution of the therapy, drawing an outcry in Southern states that have used the treatments heavily and will probably have to cut back. The recommendation to prioritize the unvaccinated — who are far more likely to be hospitalized — comes after intense backlash to the idea of penalizing the unvaccinated while rationing hospital care.
22nd Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

UAE eases COVID-19 face mask rules as Expo nears

The United Arab Emirates has cut the number of places where face masks must be worn as it gears up to open the Expo 2020 world fair next month and as official COVID-19 case numbers fall. The UAE had required masks in all public places and among members of different households in private vehicles. While adhering to a two-metre distancing rule, masks can now be removed when doing exercise in public places, on beaches and at poolsides, in hair salons and in medical centres when being treated. The change follows a steady decrease in reported daily cases since early July, the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority said
22nd Sep 2021 - Reuters

Panama to give immunocompromised people third COVID-19 vaccine shot

Panama will offer a third COVID-19 vaccine dose to moderate and severely immunocompromised people starting this week, Health Minister Luis Sucre said. The decision follows similar moves by other Latin American countries such as Ecuador and Chile, which are already giving a booster vaccine dose to people at risk, for instance those with immunodeficiencies or the elderly. Among those eligible to get an extra shot during the first phase of the Panamanian plan are people undergoing cancer treatment and transplants, as well as those who received stem cells in the last two years or suffer from an advanced or untreated HIV infection.
22nd Sep 2021 - Reuters

U.S. parents weigh risks, benefits as COVID-19 vaccine for kids nears approval

Monday's announcement from Pfizer and BioNTech that a low dose of their coronavirus vaccine proved safe and effective for children ages 5 to 11 in a clinical trial has come as a relief to many parents anxiously awaiting the chance to protect their children. The highly contagious Delta variant of the virus has collided with the start of the U.S. academic year, sending infections among young children soaring - including many cases requiring hospitalization - and forcing thousands of schools to shut for days or even weeks. The companies said they plan to file for regulatory authorization as soon as possible for a 10-microgram dose for children ages 5 to 11 after it led to a strong immune response in a 2,268-participant trial.
22nd Sep 2021 - Reuters

Iran eyes normalisation as COVID vaccination drive accelerates

The rollouts of Iran’s vaccination campaign against COVID-19 has gathered significant pace, after months of public anger about slow imports, raising hopes of a relative return to normal life in the Middle East’s worst-hit country. More than 30 million jabs alone were imported during the sixth month of the Iranian calendar which ends on Wednesday – higher than all doses imported since the start of February combined. Another 13.4 million doses were imported in the previous Iranian month, in the middle of which President Ebrahim Raisi took office.
22nd Sep 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Biden doubles US global donation of COVID-19 vaccine shots

President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that the United States is doubling its purchase of Pfizer’s COVID-19 shots to share with the world to 1 billion doses as he embraces the goal of vaccinating 70% of the global population within the next year. The stepped-up U.S. commitment marks the cornerstone of the global vaccination summit Biden convened virtually on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, where he encouraged well-off nations to do more to get the coronavirus under control. World leaders, aid groups and global health organizations are growing increasingly vocal about the slow pace of global vaccinations and the inequity of access to shots between residents of wealthier and poorer nations.
22nd Sep 2021 - Associated Press


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COVID creates shortages of an array of U.S. medical supplies

Shortages of masks and gloves that marked the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic have spread to a host of other items needed at medical facilities in the United States, from exam tables and heart defibrillators to crutches and IV poles. It can now take up to five months to get some types of exam tables, for instance, compared to three to six weeks before the pandemic, according to CME Corp, a distributor of medical equipment that handles over 2 million products.
21st Sep 2021 - Reuters

U.S. retail industry seeks 90-day lead time on COVID-19 rules

Two major U.S. retail industry groups on Tuesday asked the Biden administration for at least 90 days before imposing new rules that will require employees at larger firms to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to regular testing. On Sept. 9, the White House said the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing an emergency temporary standard that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated, or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative COVID-19 test once a week.
21st Sep 2021 - Reuters

Britain's daily Covid cases rise again by nearly a fifth in a week and deaths climb 10%

Department of Health bosses posted 31,564 new coronavirus infections today, up 18.5 per cent on last week. The number of people dying within 28 days of testing positive for the virus increased 9.7 per cent to 203. But Covid hospital admissions are continuing to fall — with 861 new patients recorded last Thursday
21st Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Romania could offer third Covid-19 vaccine dose from next week

Romania could start offering a third COVID-19 vaccine dose to medical staff and at-risk people as early as next week as the number of new daily cases was rising sharply, the head of the national vaccination committee said on Tuesday.
21st Sep 2021 - Reuters

Thai campaign to vaccinate schoolchildren makes progress

Health officials in the Thai capital made headway Tuesday in their effort to vaccinate children against the coronavirus, giving shots of the Pfizer vaccine to students aged 12 to 18 with underlying diseases. Vaccinations for that age bracket were first offered last month through hospitals, but now are arranged by schools. A separate campaign by a medical research institute on Monday began inoculating children aged 10 to 18 with China’s Sinopharm vaccine. On Tuesday, 1,500 students received shots of the Pfizer vaccine, 800 for the first time and 700 as a follow-up to their first shot in August.
21st Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

DC school, childcare workers must get covid vaccine, no test option

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said Monday that all teachers and school staff and early child-care workers in the District must be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by Nov. 1, eliminating a testing option for these professionals who regularly interact with children who are often too young to be vaccinated. The mayor’s initial vaccine requirement — which included a testing option — did not apply to public charter or private school workers nor day-care employees. But this stricter mandate applies to these nongovernment employees.
21st Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

Argentina loosens COVID-19 restrictions, will ease open borders

Argentina on Tuesday unveiled plans to ease coronavirus pandemic restrictions, including loosening strict border controls, allowing more commercial activities and getting rid of the mandatory wearing of face masks outdoors. Health Minister Carla Vizzotti said the easing of rules would allow more economic, industrial and commercial activities in closed places, while borders would gradually reopen from this month, with all tourists allowed back in from November.
21st Sep 2021 - YAHOO!News

India calls new UK COVID-19 vaccine rules 'discriminatory'

ndia on Tuesday criticized the British government’s decision not to recognize coronavirus vaccine certificates issued by Indian authorities, calling it a "discriminatory policy” that will impact its citizens who want to travel to that country. Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said the new rules unveiled last week, which take effect next month, could force India to “impose More than half of companies in the U.S. are planning to impose COVID-19 vaccine mandates on their employees by the end of the year, a new survey finds. Researchers from Willis Towers Watson, a British multinational risk management, insurance brokerage and advisory company, polled nearly 1,000 companies who employ around 9.7 million people. They found that by the fourth quarter of 2021, 52 percent of employers are planning or could have one or more vaccine mandate requirements
21st Sep 2021 - The Independent

More than HALF of companies are planning to impose COVID-19 vaccine mandates

Willis Towers Watson, a risk management and advisory company, surveyed nearly 1,000 U.S. companies employing 9.7 million workers. More than half, 52%, said they are planning to impose Covid vaccine mandates on their employees by the end of the year. Nearly one-third are planning or considering making vaccines a requirement to enter the workplace and 21% are considering the shots for all new hires Of companies tracking vaccination status 62% require workers to submit proof and 36% count on workers to self-report
21st Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Calls grow among experts in Singapore for a vaccine mandate as COVID-19 spikes

Some health experts in Singapore are calling for mandatory vaccination against the coronavirus with a growing toll of severe COVID-19 among unvaccinated people as infections surge and with vaccine take-up plateauing at 82% of the population. The government has linked reopening to vaccination targets but it paused the easing of restrictions this month to watch for signs that severe infections could overwhelm the health system.
21st Sep 2021 - Reuters

India says it will resume Covid-19 vaccine exports next month

India will resume exports of Covid-19 vaccines in the October quarter, prioritizing the global vaccine-sharing platform COVAX and neighboring countries first as supplies rise, the country's health minister said on Monday. India, the world's biggest maker of vaccines, stopped exports of Covid shots in April to focus on inoculating its own population as infections exploded. The country's monthly vaccine output has since more than doubled and is set to quadruple to over 300 million doses next month, minister Mansukh Mandaviya said, adding that only excess supplies would be exported. Total production could top 1 billion in the last three months of the year as new vaccines from companies such as Biological E are likely to be approved, he added.
21st Sep 2021 - CNN

Poland recommends COVID-19 booster shot for people over 50

Poland will recommend a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for people over 50 as well as healthcare workers, a deputy health minister said on Tuesday. Waldemar Kraska said the booster would be administered at least 6 months after the second shot. A third dose was already recommended earlier for the immuno-compromised.
21st Sep 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: Vaccinated school pupil 'excited' to be near grandparents

One of the first pupils in England to receive a Covid-19 vaccination in the rollout to under-16s said he was "excited" that he could now spend time with his grandparents. All children aged 12-15 across the UK are to be offered one dose of a Covid vaccine. Quinn, 15, was given a Pfizer vaccination at Belfairs Academy in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. He said: "I was nervous at first but in the long run it's going to be good." Quinn said he wanted the vaccine because "I can keep safe near my family and with my grandparents".
21st Sep 2021 - BBC News

India asks UK to revise COVID quarantine rules, warns retaliation

India’s foreign minister has urged the United Kingdom for an “early resolution of quarantine issue” in the wake of a new British rule requiring Indians visiting there to quarantine even if they are fully vaccinated. England and Scotland will ease pandemic restrictions from early October, but the list of countries with approved vaccines does not include India, despite the country using a locally made version of the AstraZeneca vaccine developed in the UK.
21st Sep 2021 - AlJazeera


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India to Resume Covid-19 Vaccine Exports to Developing Nations

India will resume exports of Covid-19 vaccines starting next month, government officials said Monday, in a move likely to aid developing nations that have struggled to vaccinate their populations after New Delhi restricted shipments amid resurgence of cases at home. The exports would be a mix of donations and commercial deals, and would include shipments to Covax, a World Health Organization-supported facility aimed at getting vaccines to developing countries. India has been a major supplier to Covax. When it resumes exporting, India will accord priority to neighboring countries, Africa, and Latin America, according to an Indian government official familiar with the plan. The official declined to detail how many vaccines India plans to export. India exported 66 million doses to 95 countries before temporarily restricting the shipments in early April to help ease supply shortages as Covid-19 cases rose rapidly in the country last spring.
20th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Russia Vaccinates Indigenous Yamal Herders Against COVID-19

The Nenets are one of the few Indigenous minorities on the Yamal Peninsula in northwestern Siberia. Their lifestyle is nomadic, following the seasonal migrations of the reindeer they herd. While Covid brought travel to a halt in much of the world, the Nenets of Yamal kept moving. From December to April, the herders deploy their camps and pasture their reindeer in the Nadymski district, a region of some 40,000 square miles at the base of the Yamal Peninsula and centered on the city of Nadym. In mid-April they begin “kaslanie,” a season of nomadism, traveling with their herds some 400 miles up the peninsula and moving camp 30 to 100 times during the year.
20th Sep 2021 - The New York Times

New body launched to self-regulate Covid testing amid No10's crackdown on 'exploitative' firms

New body promises to put a stop to unfair, late, and overpriced Covid travel tests. It comes after the Government promised to crackdown on 'Covid cowboys.' However one member of the new group appears to be in breach of its own rules
20th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Slow but steady has seen the EU win out in the vaccine race

In March, WHO compared Europe’s Covid vaccine rollout unfavourably with the UK’s, calling it “unacceptably slow”. As late as April, only 11% of the bloc’s population had received at least one shot, compared with 29% in the US and 46% in Britain. But last week, according to Our World in Data, the picture looked different. Nine EU countries, including Portugal, Spain, Ireland, France, Belgium and Italy, have now administered one or both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine to a larger share of their populations than the UK, with a further five having overtaken the US.
20th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

Gordon Brown calls for urgent action to avert ‘Covid vaccine waste disaster’

More than 100m Covid vaccine doses are due to expire and be “thrown away” unless global leaders urgently share surplus supplies with the world’s poorest countries, Gordon Brown has warned. The “staggering” number of stockpiled “use now” jabs will be of no use to anyone by December, according to a new report from the research group Airfinity. The former prime minister said the failure of Boris Johnson, Joe Biden and EU leaders to agree on a plan to distribute the spare doses meant the world was facing a “vaccine waste disaster”. Brown has sent Airfinity’s research to leading politicians, including the US president, the UK prime minister, and senior figures in Brussels, before a global vaccine summit on Wednesday.
20th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

Coronavirus digest: Germany to offer vaccines to children in 2022

German Health Minister Jens Spahn said that a vaccine for children under 12 will likely be available from the first quarter of 2022. Spahn also expects approval for a vaccine for youth to go through by the beginning of next year. "I am assuming that the approval for a vaccine for children under 12 years of age will come in the first quarter of 2022," Spahn told Funke media group. "Then we could protect the younger ones even better." "A recommendation from the Standing Committee on Vaccination [STIKO] will also come a little later in this case," he added. BioNTech, for example, announced a few days ago that it would apply for approval of its coronavirus vaccine for children between the ages of five and eleven in the coming weeks.
20th Sep 2021 - DW (English)

India to resume exports of coronavirus vaccines in October

India will resume exports and donations of surplus coronavirus vaccines in October after halting them during a devastating surge in domestic infections in April, the health minister said. Mansukh Mandaviya said the surplus vaccines will be used to fulfill India's "commitment towards the world for the collective fight against COVID-19,” but vaccinating Indians will remain the government's "topmost priority.”
20th Sep 2021 - The Independent

COVID-19: Coronavirus vaccine rollout reaches 12 to 15-year-olds

Children aged between 12 and 15 have started receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations. Up to three million youngsters are eligible for coronavirus jabs across the UK. Quinn Foakes, 15, was one of the first children in England to get the vaccine. Speaking after receiving his jab at Belfairs Academy secondary school in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, he said: "I was pretty nervous at first but once I'd got it done it was all good and I'm glad that I've done it." His mother Janine Lilleker, a teacher at the school, said: "Their education has been hindered since COVID and by getting their vaccination done it's a way of them protecting themselves and also protecting the wider community of the school."
20th Sep 2021 - Sky News

Thailand to try alternative COVID-19 vaccination method to stretch supplies

Doctors in Thailand have been given the go-ahead to start giving COVID-19 booster shots under the skin, rather than injecting them into muscles, officials said, in an effort to strengthen immunity and stretch vaccine supplies. Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the method, which doctors began exploring last month, could be used at the discretion of medical professionals, providing it was supported by evidence. Chalermpong Sukonthaphon, director of the Vachira Hospital in Phuket, said his hospital had been given the green light to use the technique from Friday, as trials had showed it triggered a similar immune response to the regular method.
20th Sep 2021 - Reuters

ACT records seven new COVID-19 cases, as 'detailed roadmap' out of lockdown not yet finalised

The ACT has recorded seven new locally acquired cases of COVID-19. At least four of those cases spent some time infectious in the community. However, all seven cases are able to be linked to other known cases, with six of those being household contacts. Five people are in hospital with the virus — two in intensive care. There are currently 223 active COVID-19 cases in the territory. Mr Barr said the territory would today hit an 80 per cent single-dose vaccination rate for Canberrans aged 12 and above, as appointments for Pfizer opened up to more 12-15-year-olds
20th Sep 2021 - ABC.Net.au

COVID-19: Booster jab invitations to 'strengthen wall of defence' will be sent out across England this week

More than a million people in England will receive an invitation to book their COVID-19 booster jab. Texts will be sent out on Monday, while letters will be posted to those who are eligible for a third coronavirus vaccine dose later in the week, NHS England said. Around 1.5 million people will be contacted and encouraged to use the National Booking Service. Those eligible for booster jabs include those aged 50 and over, people living and working in care homes for the elderly and frontline health and social care workers.
20th Sep 2021 - Sky News

Sydney COVID-19 cases fall as curbs ease in virus hotspots

Australia's New South Wales (NSW) state on Monday reported its lowest rise in daily COVID-19 cases in more than three weeks as some lockdown restrictions were eased in Sydney, the state capital, amid higher vaccination levels. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said 935 new cases had been detected in the state, the lowest daily tally since Aug. 27, and down from 1,083 on Sunday. The state reported four more deaths.
20th Sep 2021 - Reuters

New Zealand eases COVID-19 curbs slightly in biggest city

New Zealand eased coronavirus curbs slightly on Monday in its largest city of Auckland, as the government expressed confidence that there was no widespread regional transmission of the Delta variant. But tough restrictions will continue even after midnight on Tuesday, when the alert level drops to 3 from 4 in the city of about 1.7 million at the centre of the latest Delta outbreak.
20th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Vietnam capital Hanoi to ease coronavirus curbs this week

Vietnam's capital Hanoi will further ease its coronavirus restrictions from this week, the government said, with new cases on the decline and the majority of its adult population partially vaccinated. Most construction projects can resume from Wednesday, authorities said late on Sunday, adding further easing would follow, with average new daily cases down to just 20.
20th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Get vaccinated against COVID-19 or face ejection from caucus, Ford's office tells PC MPPs

Premier Doug Ford has given MPPs in his Progressive Conservative government until Thursday afternoon to get a shot of COVID-19 vaccine or face ejection from caucus. In a letter to MPPs obtained by Radio-Canada, chief government whip Lorne Coe said that it is up to the PC caucus to "show leadership" and "ensure every eligible Ontarian who can" receives a vaccine. Radio-Canada has not confirmed how many members of caucus received the letter. Coe goes on to say that there is a deadline of 5 p.m. Thursday to provide either proof of vaccination against the virus or a medical exemption from a doctor or registered nurse
18th Sep 2021 - CBC.ca


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Africa's Biggest City to Vacinate 30% of Residents in a Year

Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub, plans to give Covid-19 shots to 30% of residents within a year, the state’s governor said in an emailed statement. To be able to do so “the world must ensure that vaccines were available to all, especially poorer countries that had struggled with supply,” Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who governs Africa’s biggest city said. Lagos has only been been able to vaccinate 1.2% of its estimated 24 million residents, which is far below the recommendation set by the World Health Organization, Sanwo-Olu said.
19th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

White House debates vaccines for air travel

The Biden administration is facing an internal debate over whether to impose vaccine mandates for air travel, with President Biden’s chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, saying he would support a mandate but the White House claiming a new policy isn’t forthcoming. The potential of a mandate for domestic air travel would be fiercely opposed by Republicans and the travel industry and could add to the pushback Biden has received over his mandate on COVID-19 vaccines and testing for companies with at least 100 employees. The White House sees the mandate on such businesses as politically popular, but it has run into opposition from GOP governors who have threatened to sue.
19th Sep 2021 - The Hill

A New Covid Testing Model Aims to Spare Students From Quarantine

More school districts are embracing “test-to-stay” protocols that allow uninfected close contacts to remain in the classroom.
19th Sep 2021 - The New York Times

Scottish Covid vaccine trialists ‘treated like second-class citizens’

Scottish vaccine volunteers are being treated like “second-class citizens” while waiting for the Novavax jab to be approved, an MSP has said, as they continue a months-long fight to have their vaccines recognised on the standard NHS Scotland database. The trialists are worried that the introduction of vaccine passports in Scotland next month could put them at a further disadvantage as they cannot access the standard electronic version, instead possessing only a piece of paper. Some have been abused online by anti-vaxxers while others have felt forced to lie to obtain an approved dose, despite having no information about side-effects of vaccine mixing.
19th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

U.S. administers about 384.9 mln doses of COVID-19 vaccines -CDC

The United States has administered 384,911,290 doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of Saturday morning and distributed 466,569,635 doses, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Those figures are up from 383,994,877 vaccine doses the CDC said had gone into arms by Sept. 17 out of 464,315,725 doses delivered.
19th Sep 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

New Zealand sees small increase in daily COVID-19 cases over weekend

New Zealand reported 24 new locally acquired coronavirus cases on Sunday, up from 20 on Saturday, showing an upturn after several days of lower numbers, as the country's largest city Auckland awaits to hear if its lockdown restrictions will ease. All of the new cases have been reported in greater Auckland, a city of about 1.7 million people which has been in a full level 4 lockdown since mid-August.
19th Sep 2021 - Reuters

U.S. to buy hundreds of millions more doses of Pfizer vaccine to donate to the world

The Biden administration is buying hundreds of millions more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to donate to the world, according to two people familiar with the deal, as the United States looks to increase efforts to share vaccine with the global population. The administration is expected to purchase 500 million doses, but the terms are not finalized, said the people with knowledge of the deal, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the donation. The announcement of the purchase is slated for early next week and timed to coincide with the U.N. General Assembly meeting.
18th Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

Vaccine boosters for more people are on the horizon. But the unvaccinated remain the biggest obstacle to curbing the pandemic

While more people are likely to be eligible for Covid-19 vaccine booster shots, the most glaring issue prolonging the pandemic is the large swath of unvaccinated people, who are filling up hospitals and dying from the persistent virus, officials and health experts said. Advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration greenlighted recommending emergency use authorization of a booster dose of Pfizer's vaccine six months after full vaccination for people 65 and older and those at high risk of severe illness from the virus. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention is meeting next week with its vaccine advisers, and the agency determines the final approval for the shots. But with 54.4% of the US total population fully vaccinated, health experts reiterated that booster shots are not the answer to ending the pandemic.
18th Sep 2021 - CNN

Delta variant: Major Covid testing flaws and home quarantine loophole gave strain ‘the keys to the house’

The UK’s fight against the Delta variant as it swept into the country this spring was hampered by two major flaws repeatedly flagged as concerns by scientific advisers. Samples of swabs taken from travellers arriving in the country in March and April could not be examined by Public Health England (PHE) because the body had no contractual link with the private firms carrying out the testing. And people living with those who had travelled from amber list countries and were required to quarantine at home – which included India until 23 April – were able to go to work and mix with others. The loophole meant home quarantine was “not effective”, experts said.
18th Sep 2021 - iNews

Covid-19 Australia: Victoria could end lockdown early if Pfizer wait time halved

Victoria has recorded 535 new Covid-19 cases and one death amid hopes the state could end lockdown as soon as Melbourne Cup day if the wait time between Pfizer doses is halved. World Health Organisation epidemiologist Professor Adrian Esterman said it was time to revise the window period between receiving both doses of the vaccine. The waiting period could be cut down from six to three weeks and ultimately fast track the state to reach its 80 per cent vaccination target by November 2. At its current pace, Victoria is expected to reach the milestone by November 19.
18th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Coronavirus NI: Students getting vaccinated will help ease disruption to their lives, says health minister as 'jabbathon' continues

In Northern Ireland, students getting vaccinated against Covid-19 will help ease the disruption they have endured since the start of the pandemic, the Health Minister has said, Robin Swann was speaking as details of Jabbathon clinics aimed at rolling out Covid-19 vaccines to as many young adults as possible were announced yesterday. Mobile walk-in clinics will continue at 30 campuses across Northern Ireland’s universities and further education colleges next week.
17th Sep 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

Coronavirus: plans to end free rapid tests in England ‘reckless’

England’s coronavirus testing strategy has been been criticised as “reckless” amid plans to end the free provision of rapid tests and relax the monitoring of cases from abroad. Families and businesses will have to pay for lateral flow tests from next year in an overhaul of Downing Street’s approach to the pandemic. More than 95m of the 30-minute tests have been used since they were made freely available in England from April. Reported to cost £5-£30 each, they have identified more than 620,000 cases, mostly in people without symptoms but who could still transmit the virus. Mayors, teaching unions and directors of public health said charging for lateral flow tests was a “backward step” that threatened to throw schools back into chaos, accelerate the spread of the virus and deepen health inequalities.
17th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

Nearly half of Spaniards think Covid-19 vaccination should be mandatory

“Everyone should be forced to get vaccinated even if they don’t want to.” Fully 47.7% of Spaniards checked this answer in a survey about Covid-19 immunization carried out in September by Spain’s Center for Sociological Studies. Another 25.4% said that “nobody should be forced to get vaccinated” while 21.8% said it depends on each case and 4.8% were undecided. These percentages rise considerably for certain professions: 81.5% of respondents said that healthcare personnel, senior home staff and workers who deal directly with the general public should all get mandatory shots. This percentage includes the 47.7% who support obligatory inoculation for everyone regardless of their occupation.
17th Sep 2021 - El País

Cuba begins vaccinating children as young as two against COVID-19

On Thursday Cuba began a massive vaccination campaign for children between the ages of two and 10, becoming one of the first nations to do so. Health officials in the country say Cuba’s homegrown vaccines have been found safe for young children. “Our country would not put [infants] even at a minimal risk if the vaccines were not proven save and highly effective when put into children,” Aurolis Otano, director of the Vedado Polyclinic University, told The Associated Press news agency in a vaccination room. Otano said the circulation of the Delta variant led to an increase in infections among the youngest, so Cuba’s scientific community decided to “take the vaccine to clinical trial” and it was approved for children.
17th Sep 2021 - AlJazeera

Covid 19: Doctor calls red list travel shake up 'worrying'

Dr Amir Khan warned that any new variants of the Covid-19 virus could be ‘missed’ if fully vaccinated people returning from a green list country no longer have to take PCR tests. A huge shake up to how international travel will work during the ongoing pandemic is expected to be announced later today. According to reports, one of the measures thought to be revealed will see double-jabbed people required to take lateral flow tests rather than expensive PCR tests when arriving back in the UK.
17th Sep 2021 - Metro.co.uk

COVID-19: Italy makes vaccine passport compulsory - workers can be fined and suspended without pay

Italy is to become the first European country to make a vaccine passport system compulsory for all workers. Proof of vaccination, a negative test or recent recovery from infection must be provided or staff will be suspended without pay and face a fine. However, they cannot be sacked. The law set to apply to both public and private employees from 15 October after the Italian government approved the measures on Thursday.
17th Sep 2021 - Sky News

FDA panel is first key test for Biden COVID-19 booster plan

Dealing the White House a setback, a government advisory panel overwhelmingly rejected a plan to give Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots across the board, and instead endorsed the extra vaccine dose only for those who are 65 or older or run a high risk of severe disease. The twin votes represented a heavy blow to the Biden administration’s sweeping effort, announced a month ago, to shore up nearly all Americans’ protection amid the spread of the highly contagious delta variant. The nonbinding recommendation — from an influential committee of outside experts who advise the FDA — is not the last word. The FDA will consider the group’s advice and make its own decision, probably within days. And the CDC is set to weigh in next week.
17th Sep 2021 - Associated Press

What will the Covid-19 booster roll out look like? Public health groups plan as they await details

Health agencies, providers, and other groups tasked with the herculean effort to vaccinate the public against Covid-19 are readying for the next phase of the endeavor: boosters. But they’re also having to account for an array of unknowns about who will be eligible and when, with just days remaining before the White House originally said the shots would be available. “They’re planning to plan, because there’s so little information right now about what this is going to look like,” said Lori Tremmel Freeman, the CEO of the National Association of County and City Health Officials.
17th Sep 2021 - STAT News

Companies Grapple With Questions About Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate

Companies preparing to implement the Biden administration’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate face logistical challenges and unanswered questions about how to comply, employment and compensation lawyers say. Businesses are awaiting more details in a formal rule that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration plans to issue in coming weeks. One of the biggest unknowns is who will be responsible for covering the cost of testing for employees who choose to remain unvaccinated, lawyers said.
17th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal


Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 17th Sep 2021

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Parents Seek Out Covid-19 Vaccine Trials for Their Children Ahead of Official Authorization

Rachael DiFransico’s 14-month-old daughter Sybil chewed on a plastic toy at a doctor’s office in the Cleveland suburbs while waiting one recent day to enroll in a study testing whether a Covid-19 vaccine works safely in children. “This trial is our best shot at getting the vaccine as quickly as possible,” said Ms. DiFransico, who said she wanted Sybil to be able to spend more time with other children and extended family. “We want some semblance of normalcy for her.”
16th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Italy Is First EU Country to Require Covid Pass for All Workers

Italy will require all workers to have a valid Covid passport, as the government led by Prime Minister Mario Draghi moves to set the toughest vaccination requirements in Europe. A cabinet meeting Thursday approved the measure, which applies to all public and private-sector workers and will come into force Oct. 15. Workers faces fines of as much as 1,500 euros ($1,763) for noncompliance, while employers who fail to check their workers may have to pay as much as 1,000 euros. The wider use of the passports -- dubbed Green Passes -- had met fierce opposition from right-wing parties including Matteo Salvini’s League, which backs Draghi’s government.
16th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

United says about 90% staff vaccinated ahead of company deadline

United Airlines Holding said on Thursday 95% of its management was fully vaccinated and about 90% of all employees had uploaded proof of shots ahead of the company's Sept. 27 deadline for staff vaccination. United has taken a tough stance on employees who decline to get vaccinated and became the first U.S. carrier in early August to announce it would mandate vaccines for employees.
16th Sep 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Vaccine booster programme begins as NHS starts giving third jabs

The NHS has started rolling out COVID-19 booster jabs. Over 50s, people in care homes, frontline health and social care workers and vulnerable people between 16 and 49 are among those who will be offered a third dose. At least six months must have passed since the second jab. Hospital hubs began giving third doses to health and social care workers on Thursday, NHS England said, with other eligible people now being identified.
16th Sep 2021 - Sky News

Spain to give COVID-19 booster dose to nursing home residents

Spain will give a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine to nursing home residents, organ transplant recipients and other vulnerable groups, the Health Ministry said on Thursday. Cancer patients undergoing chemo or radiotherapy and people with health conditions that require immunosuppressive treatment would also be eligible for a booster dose, the ministry said.
16th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 Australia: Queensland health to send text messages to track people in home quarantine

Australians in home quarantine will soon receive timed text messages to ensure they are isolating or face a visit from the cops as part of a compliance crackdown in Queensland. The texts are part of the state's new Covid-19 laws - which come into effect immediately - that give people in home quarantine a ten minute window to respond as part of a real-time check in system. Health Minister Yvette D'Ath told parliament on Thursday residents who are isolating at home after returning from to the state will receive daily text messages at random times of the day from Queensland Health.
16th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Virgin Australia to require COVID-19 vaccinations for staff

Virgin Australia said on Thursday it will require all its staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19, in line with domestic rival Qantas Airways and a growing number of airlines in the Asia-Pacific region. Pilots, cabin crew and airport workers will need to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 15, while other staff will have until March 31, 2022, Virgin said, aligning its dates with Qantas. "We also remain supportive of any government-led measures to ensure travellers are vaccinated," Virgin Chief Executive Officer Jayne Hrdlicka said.
16th Sep 2021 - Reuters

US working on new COVID-19 rules for international visitors

The Biden administration is considering requiring vaccinations against COVID-19 and contact tracing of international visitors after the U.S. revamps current broad restrictions that bar many foreigners from traveling to the U.S., a top White House adviser said. Jeffrey Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said that because of the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, current travel restrictions will remain in place until the administration rolls out a “new system” for regulating international travel. The system will include a prominent role for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
16th Sep 2021 - The Independent

Covid-19: France suspends 3,000 unvaccinated health workers

About 3,000 health workers in France have been suspended because they have not been vaccinated against Covid-19. A new rule, which came into force on Wednesday, made vaccination mandatory for the country's 2.7 million health, care home and fire service staff. But French Health Minister Olivier Véran said on Thursday that "most of the suspensions are only temporary". Many are now agreeing to get jabbed because "they see that the vaccination mandate is a reality", he said. The rule applies to all doctors, nurses, office staff and volunteers.
16th Sep 2021 - BBC News

The government’s winter Covid plan can prevent another UK lockdown – if we all work together

Prof Devi Sridhar is chair of global public health at the University of Edinburgh. He writes: 'To avoid a lockdown, we need the various components of the system – vaccination, behavioural changes and widespread testing – to work together. Covid-19 is still here, and we are still in the midst of a pandemic. Let us hope this autumn brings a move away from a divided society arguing over how serious Covid-19 is, to one where we collectively work towards managing this problem, slowing the spread of the disease, and saving lives and livelihoods.'
16th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

Asia supercharges vaccination efforts after slow start, U.S. lags

Several Asian nations are quickly ramping up vaccination campaigns from shaky starts to combat growing COVID-19 infections, as supply shipments roll in and people overcome hesitancy in hopes of easing curbs and freeing up travel. Japan and South Korea have passed the United States in terms of those who have received at least one dose and are fast catching up with the second. And Australia, which is targeting high vaccination rates in its drive to escape lockdowns and re-open borders, has given 56% of people at least one shot as infections peak.
16th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Beyond ‘vaccinopia’: Rapid tests should play a larger role in Biden’s Covid-19 plan

America is suffering from a serious case of vaccinopia: an inability to look beyond shots in arms when considering how to manage the pandemic. This was made clear by President Biden’s new Covid-19 plan, which emphasizes vaccine mandates while providing insufficient support for rapid tests, which we believe to be the most promising — and most underused — tool in the armamentarium against the coronavirus. We are strong proponents of the Covid-19 vaccines, which have proven to be impressively effective and safe. In an ideal world, every eligible American would have been vaccinated by now. But we do not live in an ideal world. Covid-19 vaccination has become so politicized that a broad, societal consensus on its merits seems all but impossible. As many as one in five eligible Americans may continue to decline vaccination. Vaccine mandates could change that, but their immediate impact will be blunted by the inevitable legal challenges and the months-long process of delivering millions of vaccinations and waiting for sufficient immunity to develop.
16th Sep 2021 - STAT News

End of the face mask in fight against Covid? Around 4.3 million people stopped wearing coverings this summer, data shows

Millions of Britons stopped wearing face masks in public this summer, Government data suggests. An Office for National Statistics survey found 89 per cent of people wore coverings outside their home in the week ending September 5. For comparison, uptake stood in the region of 98 per cent at the start of May when the second wave was receding. This equates to around 4.3 million people having turned their backs on masks, figures suggest.
16th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Italy makes COVID health pass mandatory for all workers

The Italian government approved on Thursday some of the strictest anti-COVID measures in the world, making it obligatory for all workers either to show proof of vaccination, a negative test or recent recovery from infection. The new rules will come into force on Oct. 15 in the latest effort by Prime Minister Mario Draghi's broad coalition to persuade people to get inoculated and blunt contagion in one of the countries worst-hit by the virus.
16th Sep 2021 - Reuters


Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 16th Sep 2021

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Montana's Largest Hospital Nears 'Crisis Standards of Care' Rationing Over Covid

Montana’s largest hospital is considering crisis standards of care procedures that grant authority to decide who receives life-saving treatment, the Billings Gazette reported Wednesday. Intensive care unit capacity at Billings Clinic is at 150% as Covid-19 rages, the newspaper said. “If it comes to a point where we have to make those incredibly [difficult] life or death situations, we will have an objective team that will be available to provide council and make those decisions,” said Laurie Smith, chief nursing officer.
15th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

U.S. administers 382.3 mln doses of COVID-19 vaccines - CDC

The United States has administered 382,294,795 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Wednesday morning and distributed 461,117,525 doses, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Those figures are up from the 381,453,265 vaccine doses the CDC said had gone into arms by Sept. 14 out of 458,771,465 doses delivered. The agency said 210,361,099 people had received at least one dose while 179,695,287 people are fully vaccinated as of 6:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday.
15th Sep 2021 - Reuters

New US immigrants required to get coronavirus vaccine, USCIS says

The United States will require new immigrants to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus as part of its routine medical examination, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced on Tuesday. The measure goes into effect on Oct. 1. Most people applying to become a permanent resident in the United States are required to receive the immigration medical examination “to show they are free from any conditions that would render them inadmissible under the health-related grounds,” according to USCIS. The announcement comes after the Biden administration last week unveiled a sweeping set of vaccination mandates, requiring federal employees to get immunized against the coronavirus, and ordering businesses with more than 100 employees to require vaccinations or weekly testing
15th Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

COVID-19: Javid defends return to office advice after experts warn of hospital admissions soaring

The health secretary says A&E pressures and a rising number of COVID patients could trigger the government's "plan B" for the winter - as experts warned hospital admissions could reach 7,000 a day. Sajid Javid added that a new variant of concern would not necessarily be a trigger as he refused to rule out a lockdown. Plan B, which includes mandatory face masks, a work from home order and vaccine passports, was revealed by the government on Tuesday as part of the autumn and winter plan for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
15th Sep 2021 - Sky News

Portugal fully vaccinates 80% of population against COVID-19

Portugal has fully inoculated 80% of its population against the coronavirus, official data showed, becoming one of the world's most vaccinated nations as authorities gradually drop most COVID-19 restrictions. According to a Reuters tracker, Portugal and the United Arab Emirates have the same rate of complete vaccinations, jointly leading the world. The southern European nation, which at the start of this year battled what was then the world's worst coronavirus surge, has vaccinated around 8.2 million people out of its population of just over 10 million
15th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Sydney nightly curfew to end as COVID-19 vaccinations hit fresh milestone

A curfew imposed on more than two million people in the 12 Sydney suburbs hardest hit by the spread of the coronavirus Delta variant will end on Wednesday night, authorities said, stopping short of easing more lockdown restrictions. Officials said first-dose COVID-19 vaccination levels have reached 80% of the New South Wales (NSW) adult population, while the dual-dose rate in Sydney's home state stands at 48% now. That's above the national average of 43%, but well below the 70% level that will trigger the easing of other curbs first imposed three months ago. Authorities expect to achieve the 70% rate around the middle of next month, and plans to relax more restrictions once it has climbed to 80%.
15th Sep 2021 - Reuters

U.S. Pres Biden to meet executives on COVID-19 mandate

U.S. President Joe Biden will meet on Wednesday with business leaders as he pushes companies to require workers to be vaccinated amid a surge in COVID-19 infections among those without a dose. Participants in the meeting include the chief executives of Walt Disney, Microsoft and Walgreens Boots Alliance, the White House said. Biden last week announced vaccine mandates for nearly all federal employees, federal contractors, and larger companies as the number of U.S. infections continued to rise, hospital beds in some parts of the country filled up and mask requirements returned.
15th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: Close-contact pupils 'should not be sent home from school'

In Northern Ireland, schools should not send pupils home as close contacts or ask them to self-isolate, according to guidance to principals from the Department of Education (DE). It said schools should not identify close contacts unless asked to do so by the Public Health Agency (PHA). The PHA took over responsibility for contact tracing in schools on Friday. The move brings Northern Ireland into line with the approach taken in England, Scotland and Wales.
15th Sep 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19: Government lays out its “plan B” to protect NHS this winter

Ministers will reintroduce a range of precautionary measures against covid-19 this autumn and winter if a further surge in cases threatens to overwhelm the NHS. The government’s plan,1 published on 14 September, sets out what it calls a “plan B for England” that it will initiate if data suggest the NHS is likely to come under unsustainable pressure during the coming months. Measures would include introducing mandatory vaccine certification in specific settings, bringing back the legal requirement to wear face coverings in some settings, and advising people to work from home if they are able to. The government said it was committed to taking “whatever action is necessary” to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed but said stricter economic and social restrictions such as lockdowns would only be considered as “a last resort.”
15th Sep 2021 - The BMJ

Largest colleges push student vaccines with mandates, prizes

At most of the largest U.S. public universities, students are under no obligation to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Some schools do require vaccines, but with leniency for those who opt out. Still others have expelled students who do not comply. As a new semester begins amid a resurgence of the coronavirus, administrators and faculty nationwide see high vaccination rates as key to bringing some normalcy back to campus. Where mandates face political opposition, schools are relying on incentives and outreach to get more students vaccinated. An analysis by The Associated Press shows 26 of the nation’s 50 largest public university campuses are not requiring vaccination, representing roughly 55% of students enrolled at those schools. The AP looked at the largest campuses by 2019-2020 enrollment that offer on-campus housing and award bachelor’s degrees
15th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

Unvaccinated French health care workers face suspension

Health care workers in France face suspension from their jobs starting Wednesday if they haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19. With as many as 300,000 workers still not vaccinated, some hospitals fear staff shortages will add to their strain. Vaccines are now compulsory for medical care, home care and emergency workers in France, and Wednesday is the deadline for such staff to have had at least one shot. Failing that, they face having pay suspended or not being able to work. But a top court has forbidden staff to be fired outright.
15th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

WHO aims for 30 percent of needed Africa COVID jabs by February

The World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners have said they hope to provide Africa with about 30 percent of the COVID-19 vaccines the continent needs by February, badly missing the 60 percent vaccination coverage goal that African leaders had once hoped for this year. Out of 5.7 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines administered around the world so far, only 2 percent have been in Africa.
14th Sep 2021 - AlJazeera


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Biden’s Vaccine Mandate Risks Overwhelming U.S. Testing Capacity

The U.S. may not have enough tests to keep pace with the Biden administration’s tightened workplace Covid-19 mitigation measures.
14th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg on MSN.com

Trump says he likely WON'T get coronavirus booster shot because he's in 'good shape' after getting vaccinated

Donald Trump said he 'doesn't think' he'll get a coronavirus booster shot because he feels he is in 'good shape' after getting vaccinated.
14th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail on MSN.com

UK health secretary signals the end of PCR COVID-19 tests for travel

Britain's Health Secretary Sajid Javid signalled on Tuesday that a requirement for expensive PCR tests for COVID-19 for international travellers arriving in Britain would be dropped in favour of cheaper lateral-flow-tests. Asked by a lawmaker if lateral flow tests could be used for initial screening, with the small proportion of positive cases then needing a PCR test, Javid said: "I don't want to pre-empt the statement of my right honourable friend the transport secretary but I believe when he makes that statement that my honourable friend will be pleased."
14th Sep 2021 - Reuters UK

Schools will need vaccine mandates for in-person classes to last, expert says

As kids return for a new school year and Covid-19 cases rise among younger age groups, vaccine mandates in schools may become the only way forward, a vaccine expert said. "So far, we've not seen a lot of Covid vaccine mandates, even for the teenagers," vaccinologist and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine Dr. Peter Hotez told CNN. "It's gonna have to happen if we're going to get kids through the school year." Cases have risen "exponentially" among children, with the weekly count of 243,373 new cases showing about a 240% increase compared with the week of July 22-29, data from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows.
14th Sep 2021 - CNN

Travel vaccine mandate could segregate society, experts warn

Experts have warned mandating vaccines for travel could be problematic and promote segregation, as the Federal Government prepares to trial vaccine passports for international travel. A new study published by the Medical Journal of Australia found mandatory vaccines must be backed by strong justification before being rolled out by the government. Championing the research, a string of leading health professionals found a general population mandate could cause resentment and mistrust in government and public health agencies.
14th Sep 2021 - 9News.com.au

Nadhim Zahawi: patients could get Covid jab each year with flu vaccine

Patients in England could get routine annual Covid jabs at the same time as their flu vaccinations, the vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi, has said, as the government prepares to start the booster programme in the coming days. Scientists have warned that the NHS is likely to be under significant pressure from other seasonal illnesses as well as Covid-19 infections. Zahawi said he hoped the booster programme would be the “last piece of the jigsaw” to allow society to continue through the winter without lockdowns.
14th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

India under pressure to resume coronavirus vaccine exports with cases down

India is facing growing pressure to lift its ban on exporting coronavirus vaccines, months after curbs were imposed to tackle a massive domestic outbreak that has since relented. Officials in the United States and with Covax hope a more stable health situation will persuade the country to resume exports. The pressure comes as wealthy nations, including the U.S., move to offer coronavirus booster shots to their own vaccinated residents. But Indian officials have not committed to a firm date. Instead, mixed messaging has clouded production forecasts, even as President Biden plans to call on global leaders to make new commitments to fight the pandemic, including fully vaccinating 70 percent of the world’s population by next September
14th Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

Covid: Sajid Javid unveils winter plan to tackle coronavirus

The health secretary has unveiled the government's plan for tackling Covid during autumn and winter in England. Sajid Javid said it included offering booster jabs to those most at risk from the virus and maximising uptake among those who have not yet had the vaccine. Ministers have also prepared a "Plan B" if measures are needed to prevent "unsustainable pressure" on the NHS. This could include compulsory face coverings in certain settings and asking people to work from home. But "more harmful economic and social restrictions would only be considered as a last resort", the government's winter plan says.
14th Sep 2021 - BBC News

Dutch expected to ease COVID-19 measures, introduce 'corona' pass

The Dutch government is expected to ease COVID-19 restrictions on Tuesday, mirroring other countries in Europe, and introduce a "corona" pass, showing proof of vaccinations, that will allow eating out and admission to cultural events. Prime Minister Mark Rutte's Cabinet is expected to lift social distancing requirements from Sept. 25. Likely remaining in place are a mask requirement for public transportation and schools, and a recommendation that people work from home when possible
14th Sep 2021 - Reuters

UK recommends COVID-19 booster shots for over 50s

The U.K. said it will offer a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine to everyone over age 50 and other vulnerable people after an an expert panel said the boosters were needed to protect against waning immunity this winter. Health Secretary Sajid Javid told lawmakers that the government had accepted the recommendation of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization and would start offering booster shots next week. The World Health Organization has asked wealthy nations to delay booster shots until every country has vaccinated at least 40% of their populations.
14th Sep 2021 - The Independent

New Zealand looks to boost COVID-19 vaccinations as new cases ease

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has asked New Zealanders to get vaccinated as soon as possible, as it was the only way to beat the spread of coronavirus and see curbs lifted in the biggest city of Auckland. Tuesday's 15 new infections in New Zealand were a drop from Monday's figure of 33, but about 1.7 million people will stay in lockdown in Auckland until next week, as the government battles to hold down a cluster of the highly infectious Delta variant. "The vaccine is the best tool we have in our toolbox and our ticket to greater freedom," Ardern told a news conference. "The more people who are vaccinated, the fewer restrictions you have to have."
14th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 hotel quarantine could last 'three or four years' in Australia

Covid-19 hotel quarantine could be in place for three or four years but Australians returning from overseas may be allowed to isolate at home by Christmas. Jane Halton, a former public servant who conducted a review of the quarantine system last year, said hotel quarantine could last even longer if a new Covid-19 variant evades vaccines. 'In three or four years' time I'll be quite surprised if we're using these kinds of arrangements unless for example there's a very nasty new variant,' she told ABC radio
14th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Asia’s Covid-19 Success Stories Warily Ponder Post-Vaccination Moves

Earlier this month, Singapore reached a Covid-19 milestone: The fully vaccinated portion of the population crossed 80%. But instead of moving ahead with a planned reopening pegged to the achievement, the government put on the brakes. That is because cases were rising to several hundred each day after an earlier relaxing of some restrictions, raising fears of a hospital-bed shortage.
14th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Covid-19 vaccine rollout to start in NI for 12 to 15 year olds

Young people aged 12 to 15 years old in Northern Ireland are to be offered a first dose of a Covid-19 jab shortly, the Department of Health has said. It follows unanimous advice to ministers from the UK's four chief medical officers. There are approximately 98,000 12 to 15 year olds in Northern Ireland. They will be offered one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine with parental consent sought prior to vaccination. Health Minister Robin Swann said the move will help to protect young people from catching the virus.
14th Sep 2021 - BBC News

Ukrainian government announces vaccine passports

The Ukrainian government has decided to introduced COVID-19 "vaccine passports" verifying citizens' vaccination status, the health ministry said. The passports will allow businesses such as cinemas, gyms, theatres and swimming pools to operate without social distancing requirements if all visitors and at least 80% of staff at the venues are at least partially vaccinated, the ministry said in a statement.
14th Sep 2021 - Reuters

U.S. to buy 1.4 mln additional doses of Regeneron's COVID-19 therapy

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc said on Tuesday the U.S. government will buy 1.4 million additional doses of its COVID-19 antibody cocktail, REGEN-COV. The cocktail, a combination of antibodies casirivimab and imdevimab, was authorized in November for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
14th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Covid vaccine: Over 30 million people to be offered booster jab as rollout extended to over-50s

More than 30 million people are to be offered a Covid booster jab as part of government plans for "living with the virus" throughout the winter. Following final recommendations provided by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, all over-50s, clinically vulnerable individuals and healthcare workers will be offered a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine in the weeks ahead – regardless of what jabs they received earlier in the year.
14th Sep 2021 - The Independent


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School vaccine campaigns targeting students face blowback

Fearing his parents wouldn’t approve of his decision to get a COVID-19 vaccine but needing their signature, Andrew signed up for the appointment in secret, and then sprang it on them at the last minute. They said no. Andrew cursed at his mother and father and called them idiots. Andrew’s dad grabbed him by the shirt collar. “He said, ‘You’re not getting this damn vaccine; you need to lower your voice. Watch your tone when you talk to me.’ It was, it was the first time my dad had ever done something like that — he grabbed my shirt and yelled in my face,” said Andrew, a 17-year-old student in Hoover, Alabama. In most states, minors need the consent of their parents in order to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Navigating family politics in cases of differing views has been a challenge for students and organizers of outreach campaigns, who have faced blowback for directly targeting young people.
14th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

More than half of Americans support vaccine mandates for workplaces, classrooms and sporting events

Americans have grown more supportive of coronavirus vaccine mandates for workers, students, and in everyday public life, according to a new CNN poll. The shift comes amid renewed worries about the pandemic and a continued partisan divide over the efforts to combat it. The public is split about evenly, 51% to 49%, on whether requiring proof of vaccination for everyday activities is an acceptable way to increase the vaccination rate, or an unacceptable infringement on personal rights. But there's greater backing for requiring vaccines in many specific instances. More than half of Americans now say they support requiring vaccinations for office workers returning to the workplace (54%), students attending in-person classes (55%) and patrons attending sporting events or concerts (55%), although fewer (41%) support requiring vaccinations for a shopper to enter a grocery store.
13th Sep 2021 - CNN

Iraq receives over 100,000 coronavirus vaccine doses

Iraq has received a donation of more than 100,000 AstraZeneca doses against Covid-19 from Italy via vaccine-sharing facility Covax. More than four million people in Iraq, or around 10 percent of its 40 million inhabitants, have received at least one coronavirus vaccine jab, according to the health ministry. Healthcare workers say they are battling not just the coronavirus but also widespread scepticism over vaccines, as a result of misinformation and public mistrust in the state.
13th Sep 2021 - FRANCE 24

Vaccinate children to stem winter wave of coronavirus, says Neil Ferguson

Children should be vaccinated to boost the UK’s immunity levels and stem the risk of a large winter wave of coronavirus, a leading scientific adviser to the government has said. Professor Neil Ferguson, who sits on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said that the UK’s immunity levels were falling behind other European counties, such as Spain, Italy and France. But he also said he “hoped” that the country would not need another national lockdown, saying: “If we do need to drive down transmission we may not need another full lockdown.”
13th Sep 2021 - The Independent

India worried about complacency over second dose of COVID-19 vaccine - sources

India is worried that growing complacency as COVID-19 infection rates and deaths decline could lead to people skipping their second vaccine shots, leaving communities vulnerable to the coronavirus, said two health experts briefed on the matter. India has administered more than 744 million vaccine doses - with 60% of its 944 million adults getting a first shot and 19% fully vaccinated with the required two shots. India has the most partly immunized people in the world, according to the Our World in Data website, mainly due to a long gap of between 12 and 16 weeks between doses, as prescribed by the government.
13th Sep 2021 - Reuters

It may take 'many, many' more vaccine mandates to end the Covid-19 pandemic, Fauci says

Millions of Americans still need to get vaccinated to slow or stop the spread of Covid-19 and getting the pandemic under control could take "many, many" more vaccine mandates, Dr. Anthony Fauci said. Fauci said if more people aren't persuaded to get vaccinated by messaging from health officials and "trusted political messengers," additional mandates from schools and businesses may be necessary. "I believe that's going to turn this around because I don't think people are going to want to not go to work or not go to college ... They're going to do it," Fauci told CNN's Jen Christensen. "You'd like to have them do it on a totally voluntary basis, but if that doesn't work, you've got to go to the alternatives."
13th Sep 2021 - CNN

COVID-19: Boris Johnson wants to avoid vaccine passports in England 'if we possibly can' - but will keep them 'in reserve'

Boris Johnson has said the government wants to avoid the introduction of COVID vaccine passports in England "if we possibly can", but added they would be an option to be kept "in reserve". The prime minister, who will on Tuesday set out his plan to deal with coronavirus during the upcoming autumn and winter months, said he would "do everything that's right to protect the country".
13th Sep 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19 vaccine clinics open on Northern Ireland campuses

Walk-in clinics have been set up in universities and further education colleges in a bid to get more students vaccinated against Covid-19. The first of 60 clinics will open on Monday as part of the Department of Health's "jabbathon" drive. They will cover 30 campuses and offer first doses to students throughout September. About 72% of 18 to 29-year-olds in Northern Ireland have had at least one Covid vaccine dose. Nearly 88% of adults have received one dose and about 82% have been fully vaccinated.
13th Sep 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19: Work-from-home guidance and face masks could be brought back in winter

Guidance to work from home and the mandatory use of face masks are likely to be retained as options in the Covid winter plan due to be set out by Boris Johnson. The Prime Minister will tell the nation on Tuesday how the country can learn to live with the virus, underlining how vaccinations will be a central part of the response to coronavirus in the coming months. Covid laws that are no longer required will be ditched and plans for vaccine passports for nightclubs and other large crowd venues have been shelved. The travel traffic lights system is also expected to be scrapped and PCR tests will no longer be required for fully vaccinated travellers.
13th Sep 2021 - Evening Standard

Australia's NSW state says coronavirus vaccination pace slows

The government of the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) said the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations had slowed as first-dose coverage neared 80% and urged the unvaccinated to get shots soon or risk missing out on freedoms when curbs ease. Premier Gladys Berejiklian has promised to relax some restrictions for the state's 8 million residents once two-dose vaccination rates hit 70%, expected to be around the middle of next month. So far, about 46% of the state's adult population has been fully vaccinated, above the national average of 42%. "For those of you who choose not to be vaccinated, that is your choice, but don't expect to do everything that vaccinated people do when we hit 80%," Berejiklian said
13th Sep 2021 - Reuters

South Africa loosens COVID curbs as third wave eases

South Africa will ease COVID-19 restrictions and shorten its nationwide curfew from Monday after a decline in infections, President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a televised address. Authorities will also extend the hours of alcohol sales, the president said, further relaxing restrictions introduced in June to combat a third wave of cases caused by the Delta variant. "While the third wave is not yet over, we have seen a sustained decline in infections across the country over the last few weeks," Ramaphosa said.
13th Sep 2021 - Reuters

COVID lockdowns only used as last resort, says UK PM's spokesman

Britain's government will only introduce a new COVID-19 lockdown as a last resort, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday, after the country's health minister signalled he did not expect to see them used again. "The ability to do that is retained as you would expect, but it would only be done in a last resort and as I said we are in a very different position thanks to the strength of our vaccination programme than where we were when it was necessary to take those steps previously," the spokesman told reporters.
13th Sep 2021 - Reuters UK

UK OKs vaccines for 12 year olds, aims to avoid lockdowns

Britain decided Monday to follow other countries in offering coronavirus vaccines to children 12 and up, as the government gambled that expanded vaccination and mild tweaks to social behavior can avert the need for lockdowns in the winter. Vaccinations for children and booster shots for at-risk adults are expected to be part of a “tool kit” to control COVID-19 infections this fall and winter that Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to announce Tuesday. On Monday, the chief medical officers of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland recommended that children ages 12 to 15 be given a single dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, despite the government’s vaccine advisors saying this month that the step would have only marginal health benefits.
13th Sep 2021 - Associated Press


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Surging Covid-19 Cases Hammer Asian Factories

Factory activity faltered across Asia in August, with a resurgence in Covid-19 infections adding to global supply-chain disruptions and confirming fears of a slowdown in the region’s economic recovery. Gauges of manufacturing activity plummeted across major Asian economies, in large part because virus lockdowns, port congestion and higher input costs hampered production. There were also signs that global demand for some Asian goods has been leveling off, as consumers rein in spending in the West.
11th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Why Federal Research Bolsters the Case for Coronavirus Vaccine Mandates

Scientists believe the administration’s new measures may tamp down the pandemic, although the effects will not immediately be obvious.
11th Sep 2021 - The New York Times

3M, Qiagen to comply with Biden's COVID-19 vaccination, test mandate

3M Co, the biggest U.S. producer of N95 masks, and German genetic testing specialist Qiagen said separately on Friday that they will comply with the Biden administration's new COVID-19 vaccination and testing mandate for workplaces. "We strongly support all initiatives aiming to increase vaccination rates especially at the workplace," Qiagen told Reuters in an email.
11th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Calls to step up COVID-19 vaccinations, tests in New South Wales prisons

A human rights lawyer is calling for the New South Wales government to step up measures to vaccinate prisoners. George Newhouse from the National Justice Project said the government needed to increase its vaccinations or release some inmates. He said of the 13,000 prisoners in NSW, only 21 percent were double vaccinated. Thirty-point-five per cent of patients in a state-run correctional centre were fully vaccinated, according to a spokesperson for the Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network, which deals with the health of NSW prisoners.
11th Sep 2021 - ABC News

Germany recommends COVID-19 vaccinations for pregnant women

Germany's vaccine oversight body on Friday recommended that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should be vaccinated against COVID-19 with an mRNA-based shot. The Permanent Vaccination Commission (STIKO) advises that women should receive two shots from the second trimester of pregnancy, according to guidance posted on the website of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases.
11th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Not getting vaccinated against Covid-19 is like driving while intoxicated, one health expert says

As the US averages more than 1,000 Covid-19 deaths daily, not getting vaccinated is akin to driving while intoxicated, one health expert said Friday. "We need to start talking about the choice to remain unvaccinated as the choice to go out and drive intoxicated," CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. Wen's remarks come after the Biden administration announced Thursday a Covid-19 vaccine mandate plan that directs the US Labor Department to require all businesses with 100 employees or more to ensure their workers are either vaccinated or tested once a week.
11th Sep 2021 - CNN

Vaccine mandate spawns new fear: finding and keeping workers

The new federal vaccine requirement announced by President Joe Biden has created another worry for large businesses: With help wanted signs up almost everywhere, some could lose valuable employees or won’t be able to find new ones. Biden announced sweeping new orders Thursday that will require employers with more than 100 workers to mandate vaccinations against COVID-19 or offer weekly testing. The new rules could affect as many as 100 million Americans, although it’s not clear how many of those people are currently unvaccinated.
11th Sep 2021 - Associated Press

Biden's vaccine rules to set off barrage of legal challenges

President Joe Biden’s sweeping new vaccine requirements have Republican governors threatening lawsuits. His unapologetic response: “Have at it.” The administration is gearing up for another major clash between federal and state rule. But while many details about the rules remain unknown, Biden appears to be on firm legal ground to issue the directive in the name of protecting employee safety, according to several experts interviewed by The Associated Press.
11th Sep 2021 - Associated Press

With more doses, Uganda takes vaccination drive to markets

At a taxi stand by a bustling market in Kampala, Uganda’s capital, traders simply cross a road or two, get a shot in the arm and rush back to their work. Until this week, vaccination centers were based mostly in hospitals in this East African country that faced a brutal COVID-19 surge earlier this year. Now, more than a dozen tented sites have been set up in busy areas to make it easier to get inoculated in Kampala as health authorities team up with the Red Cross to administer more than 120,000 doses that will expire at the end of September.
11th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

Unions split on vaccine mandates, complicating Biden push

The National Nurses Union applauded President Joe Biden’s proposal to require that companies with more than 100 employees vaccinate their work force. The American Federation of Teachers once said vaccine mandates weren’t necessary, but now embraces them. In Oregon, police and firefighter unions are suing to block a mask mandate for state workers. The labor movement is torn over vaccine requirements — much like the country as a whole — wanting to both support its political ally in Biden and protect its members against infection but also not wanting to trample their workers’ rights.
11th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

Amid talk of boosters, global vaccine disparity gets sharper

Several hundred people line up every morning, starting before dawn, on a grassy area outside Nairobi’s largest hospital hoping to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Sometimes the line moves smoothly, while on other days, the staff tells them there’s nothing available, and they should come back tomorrow. Halfway around the world, at a church in Atlanta, two workers with plenty of vaccine doses waited hours Wednesday for anyone to show up, whiling away the time by listening to music from a laptop. Over a six-hour period, only one person came through the door.
11th Sep 2021 - Associated Press

With Biden Vaccine Plan, Politics Is Fully in Charge

Lumping 75 million unvaccinated Americans into one category is wedge partisanship, not science.
10th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Virus claims Black morticians, leaving holes in communities

When the last mourners departed and funeral director Shawn Troy was left among the headstones, he wept alone. For five decades, the closing words at countless funerals in this town of 4,400 had been delivered by his father, William Penn Troy Sr. Now the elder Troy was gone, one of many Black morticians claimed by a pandemic that has taken an outsized toll on African Americans, after months of burying its victims. And as Shawn Troy stepped forward to speak in place of a man well known beyond his trade -- for his work in county politics and advocacy of its Black citizens -- the emptiness felt overwhelming. Not just his family, but his community, had lost an anchor.
10th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press


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Covid-19 vaccine: Unvaccinated NHS workers could be barred from treating patients as jabs to be compulsory

Frontline NHS staff could be barred from treating patients and possibly lose their jobs if they refuse to have the Covid-19 vaccine. The government has launched a six-week consultation into proposals to make Covid jabs mandatory for all frontline NHS workers. On a visit to Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, Health Secretary Sajid Javid refused to rule out staff losing their jobs if they refuse the vaccine.
9th Sep 2021 - iNews

China announces £22m emergency aid to Afghanistan, including 3 million Covid-19 vaccine doses

China has pledged emergency aid worth 200 million yuan (£22m) to Afghanistan, including three million doses of Covid-19 vaccines and food supplies. This was the first official aid announced for Afghanistan by China’s foreign minister Wang Yi at a meeting on Wednesday with his counterparts from Afghanistan’s neighbours,
9th Sep 2021 - The Independent

People who got Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus shot feel left behind in push for boosters

Janice Higgins isn’t the type to ignore advice from health professionals, especially when it comes to protecting herself from the coronavirus. When officials recommended masks, she wore them. When the vaccines arrived, she got the first one available to her. But the Biden administration’s plan for coronavirus booster shots is testing her faith in the process.
9th Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

Unvaccinated health and care workers in England could be redeployed

Health and care sector workers in England who decline to be fully vaccinated could be moved to back-office roles, a UK government minister has suggested, as a consultation on plans to mandate Covid-19 and flu vaccinations was launched. The six-week consultation process will take views on whether vaccine requirements should apply for health and wider social care workers – those in contact with patients and people receiving care. It would mean only those who are fully vaccinated, unless medically exempt, could be deployed to deliver health and care services.
9th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

As Singapore pauses reopening, experts suggest 'bolder' COVID-19 strategy

Singapore is ramping up COVID-19 testing and has warned it would not rule out reimposing tighter curbs as infections rise - moves some experts see as too cautious for the vaccine frontrunner that is preparing to live with the virus as an endemic disease.
9th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 vaccines in South Africa: Free football tickets for fans with jabs

South African football fans who are vaccinated can get free entry to watch the national team play Ethiopia in a World Cup qualifier next month, the country's football association says. Its head Danny Jordaan said the deal would apply to half the tickets. It is subject to an agreement with the government and depends on how many fans show up, according to the News24 site. The government is concerned about growing anti-vaccine sentiment in the country. Only 10 million people have been inoculated against Covid-19, and the government says this needs to reach 40 million for population immunity.
9th Sep 2021 - BBC News

Covid-19 vaccine: Unvaccinated NHS workers could be barred from treating patients as jabs to be compulsory

Frontline NHS staff could be barred from treating patients and possibly lose their jobs if they refuse to have the Covid-19 vaccine. The government has launched a six-week consultation into proposals to make Covid jabs mandatory for all frontline NHS workers. On a visit to Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, Health Secretary Sajid Javid refused to rule out staff losing their jobs if they refuse the vaccine.
9th Sep 2021 - iNews

Sydney outlines roadmap out of lockdown

Sydney's cafes, restaurants and pubs are set to reopen in the second half of October after months of strict COVID-19 lockdown.
9th Sep 2021 - Reuters.com

New Zealand buys Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines from Spain

Around a quarter of a million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine bought from Spain will arrive in New Zealand this week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday, boosting the country's inoculation programme. The doses will arrive in Auckland on Friday, Ardern said, adding to some 1.8 million doses being delivered directly from Pfizer throughout September.
9th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Sydney pubs to open in mid-Oct as end of COVID lockdown looms - with cases set to rise

Lockdown easing plans come as NSW cases still near record level. Cases will rises, PM warns, state leaders must 'hold nerve.' Sydney pubs, cafes may reopen before schools. Several regions outside Sydney to exit lockdown
9th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Amazon.com to cut cost of COVID-19 PCR test kits

Amazon.com said it will cut the cost of its direct-to-consumer COVID-19 PCR Test Collection kit to $36.99, a $3 price reduction. The U.S. retailer said the price cut reflects its costs for selling the FDA-approved kit and is the result of a public-private partnership with the Biden administration. The White House said Thursday that Amazon, Walmart , and Kroger will sell at home rapid COVID-19 tests at-cost for the next three months.
9th Sep 2021 - Reuters


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Coronavirus vaccine passports to be rolled out in October

Australia will begin issuing coronavirus vaccine passports from next month as preparations to restart international jetsetting continue. Travel is not expected to start until vaccination coverage for people aged 16 and over reaches 80 per cent, which is likely months away. The first international immunisation certificates are set to be rolled out in October with the federal government also working with other countries to determine which vaccines will be recognised.
8th Sep 2021 - PerthNow

UK decision on Covid vaccine boosters expected on Thursday

The UK’s vaccines watchdog is expected to decide on Thursday about a Covid booster vaccine programme, with ministers hopeful that approval for vaccinations for 12- to 15-year-olds could follow imminently. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is scheduled to meet on Thursday to examine interim results from the Cov-Boost study, which looks at the impact of one of seven different vaccines as a third dose, on top of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines.
8th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

Covid-19: Further push to vaccinate students in 'jabbathon'

There is to be a further push to vaccinate more students at campuses in Northern Ireland. The health minister Robin Swann announced details of the plan on Wednesday. The initiative - termed "jabbathon" - will involve 60 walk-in clinics across 30 campuses giving first jabs to students in universities and Further Education colleges.
8th Sep 2021 - BBC News

Australia to support waiving intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines

Trade Minister Dan Tehan says Australia will support an international push to waive intellectual property (IP) protections for COVID-19 vaccines as soaring infection rates across the globe prolong the pandemic and create ripe conditions for new variants. India and South Africa have spearheaded the campaign to change World Trade Organization (WTO) rules in an effort to make it easier for low and middle-income countries to manufacture and sell cheaper generic copies of COVID-19 vaccines produced by multinational pharmaceutical giants such as Pfizer.
8th Sep 2021 - ABC News

Queensland detects no new cases of COVID-19, sets new vaccination record and announces football hub plan

Queenslanders will be able to get their COVID-19 jab at the football from this weekend with the government trialling a stadium pop-up vaccination hub.The announcement comes as the Queensland government steps up its attacks on the federal government's rhetoric about vaccine distribution, on a day the state recorded no new COVID-19 cases.
8th Sep 2021 - ABC News

S.Korea planning to live 'more normally' with COVID-19 after October

South Korea is drawing up a plan on how to live more normally with COVID-19, expecting 80% of adults to be fully vaccinated by late October, health authorities said on Wednesday.
8th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 Australia: Last health restrictions lifted under Federal Government National reopening plan

Epidemiologist predicts masks and large gathering bans will be last restrictions Professor Catherine Bennett said workplaces will return as lockdowns ease Restrictions are gradual and attuned to community outbreak transmissions Bennett warns patchy vaccine uptake may mean health restrictions until 2022
8th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

COVID-19 boosters are coming but who will get them and when?

COVID-19 booster shots may be coming for at least some Americans but already the Biden administration is being forced to scale back expectations — illustrating just how much important science still has to be worked out. The initial plan was to offer Pfizer or Moderna boosters starting Sept. 20, contingent on authorization from U.S. regulators. But now administration officials acknowledge Moderna boosters probably won’t be ready by then — the Food and Drug Administration needs more evidence to judge them. Adding to the complexity, Moderna wants its booster to be half the dose of the original shots.
8th Sep 2021 - The Associated Press

US COVID-19 cases top 40 million; Biden to deliver new plan

In 2 days President Joe Biden will announce a new six-point plan to battle the current surge of COVID-19 cases caused by the highly transmissible Delta (B1617.2) variant and an uneven vaccination campaign that has left only half of the nation fully protected from the novel coronavirus. The speech will come as America faces two milestones: Over the holiday weekend, the country topped 40 million cases of the virus, the largest tally in the world, and the number of hospitalized Americans is now double what it was last Labor Day. Yesterday, almost 100,000 (99,823) Americans were in hospitals because of COVID-19 infections.
7th Sep 2021 - CIDRAP


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Biden to outline plan to curb coronavirus Delta variant as cases grow

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters traveling with Biden aboard Air Force One that he will lay out the six-pronged strategy "working across the public and private sectors to help continue to get the pandemic under control." Asked about possible new mandates, Psaki said the White House would offer more details later about the plan and acknowledged that the federal government cannot broadly mandate that Americans get vaccinated.
7th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Profitable Australian companies urged to repay government Covid support

Some of Australia’s biggest companies are under pressure to repay billions of dollars of Covid-19 support provided under a scheme after it emerged that they had made money during the pandemic. The A$98bn (US$73bn) JobKeeper programme was introduced to help companies retain staff during the country’s coronavirus-induced lockdowns. But Australia’s Parliamentary Budget Office in July released data showing that in its first three months of operation, about A$12.5bn went to businesses that were largely unaffected by the pandemic.
7th Sep 2021 - Financial Times

South America's Least-Vaccinated Country Gets First Covax Shots

Venezuela received the first shipment of vaccines against Covid-19 purchased through the World Health Organization-sponsored Covax program after months of delays and payment issues hindered the country’s inoculation plan. The shipment of 693,600 Sinovac Biotech Ltd. shots arrived early Tuesday, the Pan American Health Organization said in statement on its website. The country is due to receive a total of 12 million doses through Covax, PAHO said. The first shipment was expected to arrive by the end of July but was delayed for reasons not publicly disclosed. In June, some government payments to Covax were temporarily blocked by banks, the government said at the time.
7th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

The Masked Professor vs. the Unmasked Student

Matthew Boedy, an associate professor of rhetoric and composition, sent out a raw emotional appeal to his students at the University of North Georgia just before classes began: The Covid-19 Delta variant was rampaging through the state, filling up hospital beds. He would teach class in the equivalent of full body armor — vaccinated and masked. So he was stunned in late August when more than two-thirds of the first-year students in his writing class did not take the hint and showed up unmasked.
7th Sep 2021 - New York Times

Hong Kong relaxes Covid quarantine rules for travellers from mainland China

Hong Kong will allow people from mainland China to visit without having to face its quarantine procedures in the city’s first serious relaxation of its strict Covid-19 entry requirements for tourists. But critics of the Hong Kong government’s quarantine policies, which will begin on September 15, said it was another sign the Asian financial centre was prioritising a travel bubble with mainland China over the international links important to executives living in the city.
7th Sep 2021 - Financial Times

Covid-19: 'Without the vaccine we would have been on our knees'

BBC News NI is given access to Belfast City Hospital's intensive care unit, where a consultant warns the system is "one step from chaos". Seven patients had Covid-19 - six of the men and women in their 20s, 40s and early 60s were unvaccinated. One of them was double-jabbed. "Without the vaccine we would have been on our knees weeks ago," Dr Gardiner said
7th Sep 2021 - BBC News

Hint on freedoms as vaccine rate soars

Eligible people in NSW who haven’t yet received their coronavirus vaccine are being warned not to be “left behind” as the state races towards reopening. The Premier hinted that pubs and other hospitality venues could reopen by mid-October to those who are fully vaccinated. Nearly three quarters of eligible people in NSW have had their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, Gladys Berejiklian said on Tuesday. The state has reached 74 per cent first-dose vaccinations, with some areas of Sydney recording an even higher rate
7th Sep 2021 - NEWS.com.au

NSW records 1,220 COVID-19 cases and eight deaths as police to begin checking vaccination status of residents

NSW residents have been warned police will be checking the vaccination records of anyone enjoying new freedoms next week as the state records 1,220 new COVID-19 cases. A small number of new freedoms around outdoor recreation for the fully vaccinated come into effect next week and Deputy Premier John Barilaro said police would monitor people's vaccination status from Monday. From September 13 those who live in the 12 local government areas of concern will be able to leave home for an hour of recreation (which includes picnics) with their household members.
7th Sep 2021 - ABC.Net.au

How to protect children under 12 from Covid-19, according to Fauci

Dr. Anthony Fauci says there's an important step adults can take to protect children who are too young to be vaccinated against Covid-19. "The way you protect children who, because of their age, cannot get vaccinated yet is to surround the children -- be it friends, family, school teachers, personnel in the school -- surround the children with vaccinated people," the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told CNN on Sunday.
7th Sep 2021 - CNN

CEPI warns of major hurdle to developing new Covid-19 vaccines and studying best booster approaches

The world still needs more — and better — Covid-19 vaccines. But a major hurdle stands in the way of the development of new vaccines, as well as the critical studies needed to determine the best way to use these important tools, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) warned in a letter published Tuesday in the journal Nature.
7th Sep 2021 - STAT News

Get COVID-19 vaccine or please quit, Zimbabwe tells government workers

Government workers in Zimbabwe who do not want to be vaccinated against COVID-19 should resign, its justice minister said on Tuesday. The southern African nation has so far vaccinated 2.7 million people, against a target of inoculating two-thirds of its 15 million population by the end of the year. President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government says it has paid for 12 million COVID-19 doses from China.
7th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Philippines to relax COVID curbs even as cases hit record levels

Caught between a struggling economy and a health emergency, the Philippines is expected to ease COVID-19 restrictions from Wednesday to allow more business activities to resume, even as the country posts record numbers of daily cases and a test positivity rate of almost 30 percent. The Philippines reported a record 22,415 COVID-19 cases on Monday, with a positivity rate of 28.8 percent. At least 103 more deaths were reported, lifting the country’s official death toll to more than 35,000.
7th Sep 2021 - AlJazeera


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Why Vaccines Are Competitive Advantages for NFL Teams in 2021

When Tom Brady dusted confetti off his championship T-shirt for the seventh time at the end of the Super Bowl in February, the partially filled seats at Raymond James Stadium included 7,500 healthcare workers who were already vaccinated against Covid-19. Brady then went out and contracted Covid after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ raucous boat parade, in which he famously tossed the Lombardi Trophy from one vessel to another over open water.
6th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Foxconn's Gou hopes for up to 9 mln BioNTech shots for Taiwan this year

Taiwan could get up to 9 million doses of BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine this year, the founder of Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn said on Monday, laying out a delivery timetable for a vaccine order that became heavily politicised. Taiwan had blamed China, which claims the island as its own territory, for nixing an original order from the German firm this year - charges Beijing has angrily denied.
6th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Covid Cases Set To Rise In Schools In England, No.10 Admits

Covid cases are likely to rise as a result of millions of children heading back to school, Downing Street has admitted for the first time. The prime minister’s official spokesperson said it was “fair to say” there could be an increase as children head back into the classroom. Asked if it was inevitable that the number of cases in schools would rise, he replied: “I’m not a modeller or an epidemiological expert but I think it’s fair to say that the consensus is that there may be an increase due to the return of schools. We’ve seen cases rise in Scotland for example so we will need to monitor that carefully.”
6th Sep 2021 - HuffPost UK

COVID: Doctor calls for 12-year-olds to be allowed to overrule parents on coronavirus vaccine

Some children as young as 12 should be allowed to overrule their parents on whether they have the COVID vaccine, a senior doctor has said. Dr David Strain, a clinical lead for COVID services, told Sky News he believed there were 12-year-olds "mature enough" to decide to have the coronavirus jab without the consent of their legal guardians. Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has said parental consent will be required if the government decides that all 12 to 15-year-olds should be offered the jab
6th Sep 2021 - Sky News

Telstra joins Qantas and Virgin planning to mandate coronavirus vaccinations for its staff Australia

Telstra has joined Qantas and Virgin Airlines in mandating coronavirus vaccines for all staff, with a cut-off date before employment termination. The telecommunications giant sent a memo to its 28,960 staff members on Monday morning saying frontline workers must have had their first jab by October 15th and their second by November 15th or face having their contracts torn up. The mandate refers to the 8,300 staff members who work instore and as technicians who regularly come face-to-face with their customers
6th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Singapore opens Covid-19 travel bubble with Germany

Singapore is about to allow quarantine-free travel from Germany after vaccinating 80 per cent of its population in a taste of what's to come for Australians when the international borders finally open. The so-called 'vaccinated travel lane' will begin on Wednesday for fully jabbed travellers, but excludes under 12s for whom there are no approved vaccines. Instead of quarantining for 14 days, arrivals will have to get tested when they land in Singapore and isolate at home or in a hotel until their negative result.
6th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid-19: Ireland takes next step in easing of restrictions

Ireland will continue with a major easing of Covid-19 restrictions on Monday, with live music returning and larger crowds allowed at indoor venues. The Irish Government confirmed last week that it would be embarking on a phased easing of Covid-19 restrictions, which will eventually see the removal of the vast majority of public health regulations by the end of October. The numbers permitted to attend outdoor sports events increases from Monday, while restrictions on indoor venues will be eased, with larger crowds permitted.
6th Sep 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

UK vaccine advisers ‘acted like medical regulators’ over Covid jabs for children

The UK’s vaccine advisory group behaved like a medical regulator in rejecting calls for all children aged 12-15 to be offered Covid jabs despite that not being its role, Prof Neil Ferguson has said. Last week the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said the margin of benefit for older children, on health grounds alone, was too small for the committee to support jabs for the entire age group. But it recommended that ministers seek further advice, taking into account factors such as the impact on disruption to education, with sources suggesting vaccines for older children could be recommended this week.
6th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

First responders nationwide resist COVID vaccine mandates

The resurgence of COVID-19 this summer in the U.S. and the national debate over vaccine requirements have created a fraught situation for the nation’s first responders, who are dying in larger numbers but pushing back against mandates. Despite the deaths, police officers and other first responders are among those most hesitant to get the vaccine and their cases continue to grow. No national statistics show the vaccination rate for America’s entire population of first responders but individual police and fire departments across the country report figures far below the national rate of 74% of adults who have had at least one dose.
6th Sep 2021 - Associated Press

Pfizer COVID vaccines arrive in Australia under UK swap deal

Nearly half a million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in Australia overnight, officials have said, the first batch of a swap deal with Britain that Australia is using to speed up its inoculation programme as it battles a surge in cases that has put more than half its 25 million population in lockdown.
6th Sep 2021 - AlJazeera

New Zealand COVID-19 cases steady ahead of decision on easing curbs

New Zealand reported 20 new cases of COVID-19 for a third day in a row on Monday, ahead of a decision on whether coronavirus restrictions would be eased in most of the country. All new cases were in Auckland, the epicentre of the current outbreak, and took the total number of infections to 821. The government is set to decide on Monday whether coronavirus restrictions enforced in the country will be eased
6th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Rich countries to have 1.2bn surplus COVID vaccine doses

Wealthy countries could potentially have a surplus of more than one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses available by the end of the year that are not designated as donations to poorer nations, according to a new analysis. Vaccine stock in Western countries has reached 500 million doses this month, with 360 million not earmarked for donations, according to new research. By the end of the year, these countries will have a potential of 1.2 billion surplus vaccine shots, with the overwhelming majority – 1.06 billion – not marked for donations, it said.
5th Sep 2021 - AlJazeera


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Israel is planning to administer fourth Covid shot which could be adjusted to fight new variants as country battles wave of infections despite hugely successful vaccine roll-out

Israel is set to begin preparations to administer fourth doses of the coronavirus vaccines as the country deals with soaring cases despite its trail-blazing roll-out of jabs. The country's national coronavirus czar Salman Zarka said the country needs to prepare for a fourth injection, which could be modified to better protect against new variants of the virus. 'Given that that the virus is here and will continue to be here, we also need to prepare for a fourth injection,' he told Kan public radio. 'This is our life from now on, in waves.'
5th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

COVID-19: Ministers face difficult decision on whether to defy JCVI's finding on vaccinating children

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has resisted intense pressure from ministers by refusing to recommend coronavirus vaccines for 12 to 15-year-olds. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said parents would find it "deeply reassuring" if children were given jabs, and leaks from Whitehall insiders suggested the JCVI was ready to sign off on vaccines for teenagers as schools return in England. Yet although the vaccination programme has been expanded to cover more children with underlying health conditions, the JCVI has not approved vaccination for the entire age cohort
4th Sep 2021 - Sky News

Ho Chi Minh City could lift lockdown, end 'zero COVID-19' policy

Vietnam's coronavirus epicentre Ho Chi Minh City, which has kept residents confined at home under lockdown, is considering reopening economic activity from Sept. 15, shifting from a "zero COVID-19" strategy to a policy of living with the virus. The city of 9 million people is targeting a phased reopening and the full vaccination of its citizens by the end of this year, according to the draft seen by Reuters, which has yet to be endorsed. Ho Chi Minh City last month deployed troops to enforce its lockdown and prohibited residents from leaving their homes to slow a spiralling rate of deaths. Just 3% of Vietnam's 98 million population has been fully vaccinated
4th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Maduro says Venezuela to receive first COVAX vaccines this week

Venezuela this week will receive the first coronavirus vaccines obtained via COVAX, President Nicolas Maduro said, following months of stalled attempts to obtain inoculations through the global vaccine program. The South American nation has been inoculating its population with doses acquired directly from China and Russia, following months of delays in making payments to COVAX that Maduro has attributed to U.S. sanctions. "This week, the first vaccines from the COVAX mechanism will arrive," Maduro said in an interview with state television. "We hope the COVAX mechanism accelerates, such that in October they deliver the vaccines for an estimated 6 million Venezuelans."
5th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Florida Covid Deaths Jump to Pandemic Record

Florida reported 2,345 additional Covid-19 deaths in its latest weekly report, the most ever in a similar period. The daily average rose 36% to 335, according to calculations based on the report. That would surpass the high for the entire pandemic in Johns Hopkins University data. The data is based on when the death was reported, not when it occurred. People 65-and-over accounted for 63% of the deaths reported in the period. Cumulatively over the entire pandemic, Florida seniors have made up 79% of deaths.
4th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Tyson Foods, unions strike deal over COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Tyson Foods said that labor unions have agreed to support its requirement for U.S. employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by November, and the company will offer new benefits to workers including paid sick leave. Companies have been working to incentivize employees to get vaccinated through bonuses and other benefits as the highly contagious Delta variant drives an increase in U.S. coronavirus infections. In some instances, employees who do not get shots face penalties like higher insurance costs
4th Sep 2021 - Reuters

American Airlines to end pandemic leave for unvaccinated staff

American Airlines said it would not provide special leave from next month to unvaccinated employees who have to quarantine due to COVID-19. Unvaccinated workers will have to use their sick time or medical leave if they miss work due to the disease, it said. "Given there is an FDA-approved vaccine, pandemic leave will only be offered to team members who are fully vaccinated and who provide their vaccination card to us," the carrier said in a memo to staff seen by Reuters.
4th Sep 2021 - MSN.com

Australian PM seeks quicker reopening after COVID-19 vaccine swap with Britain

Australia will receive an additional 4 million doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine this month after agreeing a swap deal with Britain, to help accelerate its vaccination programme amid a record surge in infections. The deal, announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, will double the availability of Pfizer vaccines this month, with the first shipment of vaccines from Britain expected to arrive over the weekend. Australia on Friday recorded its biggest one-day rise in COVID-19 infections, with 1,657 new cases and 13 deaths reported in the past 24 hours.
4th Sep 2021 - Reuters

As COVID surges, more Florida school districts revolt against governor's mask rules

In a scene replayed across the United States, angry parents and activists streamed into a meeting of the Florida's Lake County school board on Thursday where it considered whether to mandate mask-wearing for students and staff due to COVID. Some opponents of the mask proposal brandished signs that read “Let Our Children Breathe.” Even with Florida seeing a record number of coronavirus cases, one attendee called the pandemic "overblown." Another was escorted out by deputies after yelling at board members. The proposal would require staff and students to wear masks for 14 days at schools with COVID positivity rates at or above 5%. But Florida's Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, effectively banned similar mandates in July.
4th Sep 2021 - Reuters

GP surgeries in England cancel flu jabs amid vaccine shortage

GP surgeries are being forced to cancel appointments for the winter flu jab after the NHS’s biggest provider warned that it could not deliver supplies for up to two weeks due to “unforeseen road freight challenges”. Practices in England have begun contacting patients to postpone their immunisation without being able to rebook them at a later date. The problem emerged on Friday when vaccine maker Seqirus wrote to surgeries alerting them to the possibility of having to rearrange booked appointments. “We would like to inform you that due to unforeseen road freight challenges, there will be a delay to your scheduled delivery by one to two weeks,” the firm said.
4th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

Share Of Adults Who Won't Get COVID-19 Vaccine Drops 5 Points

The share of adults saying "no" to getting the COVID-19 vaccine dropped 5 percentage points in a month, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll conducted after the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to Pfizer's vaccine. The survey, which was in the field from Aug. 26 through Tuesday, found 19% of U.S. adults now say they do not intend to be vaccinated. That's down from 24% in a Marist poll from the end of July. The number of Americans who say they have gotten or will get a COVID vaccine is up to 79%, a 5-point improvement in a month.
3rd Sep 2021 - NPR

Amid vaccine hoarding criticism, Biden admin plots $2.7 billion manufacturing push

It didn’t take long for the Biden administration to answer criticism that the United States wasn’t doing enough to ease the world’s COVID-19 vaccination shortfall. On Thursday, White House COVID response coordinator Jeff Zients revealed that the government has earmarked $2.7 billion to beef up vaccine manufacturing. Zients did not discuss details of the plan—such as which companies would receive the aid—but he did say that the funds will boost production of key supplies to produce the shots. Some of those materials include bioreactor bags, tubing, lipids, vials, needles and syringes, Bloomberg and The New York Times report, citing officials familiar with the plan.
3rd Sep 2021 - FiercePharma

15 million Covid vaccine doses thrown away in the U.S. since March, new data shows

Pharmacies and state governments in the United States have thrown away at least 15.1 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines since March 1, according to government data obtained by NBC News — a far larger number than previously known and still probably an undercount. Four national pharmacy chains reported more than 1 million wasted doses each, according to data released by the CDC. Walgreens reported the most waste of any pharmacy, state or other vaccine provider, with nearly 2.6 million wasted doses. CVS reported 2.3 million wasted doses, while Walmart reported 1.6 million and Rite Aid reported 1.1 million.
1st Sep 2021 - NBC News


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More US employers mandate COVID-19 vaccines

The list of major American companies who will soon begin mandating COVID-19 vaccines continues to grow, as both Tyson Foods and Microsoft announced that all employees will need to show proof of vaccination in the coming months. Tyson Foods is the first major food industry employer to require vaccinations. All front-line workers will be required to be vaccinated by Nov 1. According to the Associated Press, the Springfield, Arkansas, company will offer a $200 bonus for all front-line workers who receive a vaccine. So far, only half of Tyson employees are vaccinated against COVID-19. Throughout the past 18 months, Tyson meat processing plants were the site of major outbreaks, but the company now reports low numbers after investing $700 million in workplace safety.
4th Aug 2021 - CIDRAP


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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


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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


Exit Strategies - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 17th Feb 2021

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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