Fourth stimulus news summary: Saturday 1 May

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Covid-19 vaccine news: live | 1 May 2021

Headlines

- Canada to start to get Pfizer vaccines next week

- Researchers uncover connection between swollen lymph nodes after vaccination and individuals who had tested positive for covid-19. The study, which is currently undergoing peer review, found that those who had experienced covid-19 were more likely to report that they had swollen lymph nodes after receiving a vaccine. Read more

- 100 million Americans are now fully vaccinated

- Russia develops covid-19 vaccine for animals

- AstreZeneca CEO denies overstretch on supply promises

- New recommendations from CDC for fully vaccinated individuals, read them here

- CDC: More than five million Americans did not receive a second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. 

- Covid-19 vaccine passports apps: which ones can be used in the US? Learn more

-Side effects: How long do they last? What causes them? 

US covid-19: 32.389 million cases / 576,719 deaths (live updates from Johns Hopkins University)

Scroll through some of our related articles:

Oxygen aid arrives in India 

(AFP) More emergency medical aid from foreign donors to alleviate a dire oxygen shortage arrived in India on Sunday, as Covid-19 deaths in the South Asian nation rose to a new record. The country of 1.3 billion reported 3,689 deaths on Sunday - the highest single-day rise yet in the pandemic, to take the overall toll to more than 215,000.

Just under 400,000 infections were added, bringing the total number of cases past 19.5 million. The latest figures came as medical equipment, including oxygen-generation plants, was flown into the capital New Delhi from France and Germany as part of a huge international effort.

Moderna Covid-19 vaccine listed for emergency use

The World Health Organization listed the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use on Friday — a step that will allow countries to speed up their own regulatory approval. The WHO said the emergency-use listing is also a prerequisite for the vaccine to be part of the COVAX facility which aims to share vaccines fairly around the world.

Moderna's vaccine is the fifth to be approved for emergency use by the WHO — following those of Pfizer/BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson and two versions of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. It has already received a green light from EU and US regulators.

Pfizer BioNTech covid-19 vaccine could be available for 5 to 11 year-olds by end of year

CNBC - In late March, Pfizer and BioNTech began a clinical trial testing their vaccine on healthy 6-month to 11-year-old children, a crucial step in obtaining federal regulatory clearance to start vaccinating young kids and controlling the pandemic.

For the first phase of the trial, the companies will identify the preferred dosing level for three age groups – between 6 months and 2 years old, 2 and 5, and from ages 5 through 11. The doses will be evaluated in children ages 5 through 11 first before researchers move on to the other age groups.

Full details

Anti-vaxxer doctor dies from covid-19 

BBC - A Kenyan doctor who became a vociferous opponent of covid-19 vaccines has succumbed to the virus, weeks after saying the jabs were "totally unnecessary". Dr Stephen Karanja, chairman of the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association, advocated steam inhalation and hydroxychloroquine tablets. He clashed with the Catholic church over the safety of covid-19 jabs. 

Prior to denying the need for the covid-19 vaccine he campaigned against other vaccination efforts.

A look at how Pfizer covid-19 vaccine is made 

The New York Times take you inside the facility in Chesterfield, Missouri, where trillions of bacteria are producing tiny loops of DNA containing coronavirus genes — the raw material for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.  

It’s the start of a complex manufacturing and testing process that takes 60 days and involves Pfizer facilities in three states. The result will be millions of doses of the vaccine, frozen and ready to ship. 

Follow the whole process

Incentives to close covid-19 vaccination gap 

The Hill - States and cities are experimenting with offering incentives and privileges for residents to get vaccinated for covid-19 as concerns have mounted over the slowdown in vaccinations across the US.  

Officials are turning to initiatives such as giving vaccine recipients payments through savings bonds, free drinks or gift cards to motivate Americans to get their covid-19 shot. Public health and psychology experts said these programs have the potential to bring in more people willing to get the vaccine and that incentives are worth a try to close the country’s gap in vaccinations. 

Full story

More possible side effects reported from covid-19 vaccination 

Time - Side effects—while temporarily uncomfortable—are a standard part of vaccination, says Dr. Stanley Perlman, a professor at the University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine and a member of the US Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory committee. They show that the body is responding to the shot and mounting an immune response.  

Vaccination side effects can be far more varied than what’s often discussed in the mainstream. There are bound to be more side effects observed and reported by the general population than are uncovered during a clinical trial, Perlman told Time. Adding, even side effects that were uncommon during clinical trials may affect a relatively large number of people once vaccines are widely distributed. 

“If you have a trial where you’ve looked at 30,000 people and something happens to 0.1% of them, that’s 30 people,” Perlman says. “But then when you change that 30,000 to 30 million, now there’s many more people having the same side effect.” 

Full story

India expands eligibility for covid-19 vaccine but supplies are limited

CNN - India's vaccine rollout on Saturday widened to everyone age 18 and above -- yet a number of states are warning they have no shots to give. 

With hospitals running out of space and India's authorities reporting more than 300,000 coronavirus cases each day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced last month that he would extend the vaccine rollout beyond health care workers and the country's most vulnerable in a bid to tackle India's spiraling Covid crisis. 

So far, just over 2% of India's 1.3 billion people have been fully immunized with one of two vaccines -- significantly lower than the United States, where 29.8% of the population are fully immunized. 

Almost 13.3 million people applied for vaccinations on the first day of registrations opening, according to the government's dedicated website, CoWIN. But ahead of the expanded rollout, multiple states have said they are short on supply. 

Full story

Experts warns US covid-19 vaccine supply will soon surpass demand

As US health officials race to get more covid-19 shots into arms to control the virus, experts now warn the country will run into another challenge in the next few weeks: vaccine supply will likely outstrip demand.

"While timing may differ by state, we estimate that across the US as a whole we will likely reach a tipping point on vaccine enthusiasm in the next 2 to 4 weeks," the Kaiser Family Foundation said in a new report published Tuesday.

"Once this happens, efforts to encourage vaccination will become much harder, presenting a challenge to reaching the levels of herd immunity that are expected to be needed."

Full story

Vaccine diplomacy part of border solution for US

Throughout Latin America, covid-19 has shuttered already sluggish economies, tested geopolitical alliances, and dampened any hope for a quick recovery.

In the face of economic ruin, it is no surprise that migrants are fleeing their homes for a country that not only has economic prospects but an increasing surplus of vaccines: the United States.

While the Biden administration is responsible for myopically reversing productive immigration controls set by his predecessor, a significant reason for this migrant surge is the suffocating Latin American economies due to persistent lockdowns and ineffective covid-19 responses.

 John Dominguez and Nico Zviovich assess the situation.

Getting 'Vacc to Normal' in Michigan

This week Gov. Gretchen Whitmer introduced the “Vacc to Normal” plan, a four-step process detailing the vaccination rates needed to lift corresponding state restrictions.

She announced that all orders on masks and gatherings would be lifted once the state reaches 70% of adult residents vaccinated

But will this convince vaccine-hesitant Michiganders?

Listen to the plans:

CORONAVIRUS | INDIA

Covid in India: shortage of vaccines and a new variant

Vaccine shortage and potentially dangerous new covid-19 strains. That is the concerning picture facing India.

The country posted a record daily rise of 401,993 new coronavirus cases on Saturday as the country opened up its mega vaccination drive to all adults, although several states warned of acute vaccine shortages.

What happens in each country is of particular importance to their citizens, but what occurs around the world during a pandemic is just as fundamental for the long game.

We look at the situation in India.

Helen Mirren acts responsibly

Dame Helen MIrren has added music video star to her impressive CV as she joined forces with Checco Zalone to promote coronavirus vaccinations.

The Oscar-winning actress appears alongside Checco, 43, as he falls madly in love with her after discovering the 75-year-old has received the covid vaccine. It comes after Italy has administered more than 500,000 vaccines per day.

Playing the vaccination odds

Jeff Madsen is a professional poker player and he has advised his followers not to take the covid-19 vaccine. Presumably he avoided (or is annoyed he was too young to decide) other vaccines like those for the measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis, polio, tetanus, diphtheria...and the rest.

DO NOT TAKE MEDICAL ADVICE FROM A POKER PLAYER.

Senate OK needed to send Florida vaccine passport ban to DeSantis’ desk

Washington Examiner - Florida will fine any business or school $5,000 each time it requires a “vaccine passport,” or proof of covid-19 vaccination, for entry or participation under a bill bound for Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk.

The House Wednesday passed Senate Bill 2006 in a 76-40 vote and sent it to the Senate to endorse a newly added amendment before the session ends Friday

Read the full story

Coronavirus

What can I do after I am fully vaccinated? 

With vaccination levels inching closer to herd immunity, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released interim guidance on what is safe for fully vaccinated people to do.

Find out what it is safe to do once you are fully vaccinated here

Marines

40% of US Marines have refused Covid-19 vaccine

Nearly 40% of the 123,000 Marines who have had the chance to receive the vaccine for the illness caused by the coronavirus have turned it down, according to force-wide data obtained by Military.com.

About 75,500 Marines are fully or partially vaccinated against Covid-19, which has killed over 3.1 million people worldwide, including two dozen US troops. Another 48,000 Marines who've been given the chance to take one of the vaccinations, which medical experts say significantly decrease the likelihood one will die or require hospitalization from the disease, have declined it, Marine Corps data shows.

Members of II Marine Expeditionary Force, based in North Carolina, have been about twice as likely to decline the vaccine compared to personnel on the West Coast or in Japan.

The Marine Corps has offered the vaccine to about 29,300 II MEF personnel. About 17,500 - or nearly 60% of them - have turned it down. That decline rate is compared to about 28% of the 30,600 Marines assigned to I MEF on the West Coast and about one-third of the 22,400 Marines assigned to the Japan-based III MEF.

About 102,000 Marine personnel have not yet been offered the vaccine, said Capt. Andrew Wood, a spokesman at the Pentagon. As for those declining it, Wood said there are a host of reasons why a Marine might be turning it down. The Marine Corps is a mostly young and healthy force. They might be giving up the shot so others can have the chance to take it, Wood said, or might be waiting for the vaccine to become mandatory. Just because they turn it down once doesn't mean they'll be shut out from getting another opportunity

Disneyland

Thousands flock to Disneyland as resorts reopen

Disneyland resorts opened again after being closed for 412 days due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Disney closed its California parks on 14 March 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Initially, the closure was for just one month but over a year later, the theme park and resort reopened on Friday 30 April 2021.

Joe Rogan is wrong to tell young people not to get vaccinated, says Fauci

Dr. Anthony Fauci said that podcast host Joe Rogan was wrong to advise healthy young people not to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Last week, Rogan said, "If you're like 21 years old, and you say to me, 'Should I get vaccinated?' I'll go, 'No'".

Fauci gave his response on TODAY on Friday: "That is incorrect, and the reason why is you're talking about yourself in a vacuum then. You're worried about yourself getting infected and the likelihood that you're not gonna get any symptoms. But you can get infected and will get infected if you put yourself at risk. And even if you don't have any symptoms, you're propagating the outbreak because it is likely that you — even if you have no symptoms — that you may inadvertently and innocently then infect someone else who might infect someone who really could have a problem with a severe outcome."

Vaccine

Vaccines protect Covid-19 survivors against variants

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine protects not only against the original virus strain but also against variants, two studies show. UK researchers analyzed immune responses after a single dose of the vaccine in 51 people, including 25 people previously infected with an early version of the novel coronavirus. Survivors showed enhanced antibody responses against the newer, more infectious variants first seen in the UK and South Africa, whereas people who had not previously been infected did not produce antibodies that could neutralize the variants, according to a report on Friday in Science.

Separately, US researchers studied 30 people after two doses of the vaccine. Immune responses were 3.4 times better at neutralizing the coronavirus in the 10 Covid-19 survivors than in the 20 who were not previously infected, they reported on medRxiv on Thursday ahead of peer review.

The difference was even greater when looking at neutralization of new variants from the UK, South Africa and Brazil, said coauthor Fikadu Tafesse of Oregon Health & Science University. "For example, the South African variant, which is the best at evading neutralizing antibodies, was 6.5 times better blocked," or neutralized, in blood samples from people who were vaccinated after infection, he said. "Our findings give people another reason to go out and get vaccinated even if they have already had Covid-19."

Vaccines USA

US hears global demand for vaccines, but still studying how to allocate

The United States is hearing "huge demand" from countries around the world for vaccines not needed by Americans, but has not yet developed a criteria for allocating them, the US State Department's coordinator for global Covid-19 response, Gayle Smith, said on Friday.

The White House said on Monday the United States will start to share up to 60 million doses of AstraZeneca Plc's coronavirus vaccine with other countries, as soon as the next few weeks, but the Federal Drug Administration still needs to approve those doses.

Smith said on a call with reporters that Washington hasn't decided yet on how to allocate those vaccines that will be shared with other countries, despite the clamor from allies like India, where the virus is surging.

"I think we certainly will be making a decision based on what impact we can have on the spread of the virus, where needs are most acute and what will be the most effective," said Smith.

She said the situation in India was "very, very serious" but had not yet peaked and would need persistent attention for some time and the immediate aid that the United States was already providing, such as protective gear and vaccine manufacturing supplies.

"We're also looking at other things that can be done to build up supply chains within India so there can be a more steady supply of all those things that are needed to manage this overtime," Smith said. (Reuters)

CORONAVIRUS VACCINES

How long do covid-19 vaccine side effects last?

The CDC has issued guidance on potential side effects for the coronavirus shots. The symptoms are fairly rare but you may need to contact a doctor if they persist.

What are the side effects of the Covid-19 vaccine and how are they treated?

Coronavirus

What do swollen lymph nodes after a covid-19 vaccine indicate?

A new study shows a connection between previous covid infection and experiencing more moderate side effects, like swollen lymph nodes, after vaccination.

Read more about Covid-19 vaccines and swollen lymph nodes here

Governors Island

Governors Island reopens for visitors

Governors Island will reopen to visitors today 1 May. This year, the city will roll out two Brooklyn stops on its Governors Island ferry service. The two Brooklyn locations for weekend and holiday ferry service will be at: Pier 6 (Brooklyn Bridge Park) and Atlantic Basin (Red Hook).

Free ferry rides to and from Governors Island will be provided for NYCHA residents, seniors, children, IDNYC holders, current and former military personnel and select community organizations

Over half of US adults have received one shot of Covid-19 vaccine

According to the Food and Drug Administration, 54.5% of the US adult population has now received at least one shot of one of the three Covid-19 vaccines currently approved for emergency use. The number of those aged over 65 who have received both shots and are now fully vaccinated stands at 68.3%.

Dr. Janet Woodcock, Acting FDA Commissioner tweeted, "With the three vaccines we’ve authorized for emergency use, more than half of U.S. adults have received at least one shot, and two-thirds of seniors are fully vaccinated".

Coronavirus

What happens if you do not get a second covid-19 vaccine dose?

The five million people who have foregone their second vaccine dose have public health experts concerned... but what are the possible impacts?

Read more about those who are failing to show for their second vaccine shot here

Covid blood

Covid-19 spike protein damages blood vessels

The 'spike' proteins that the coronavirus uses to help it break into cells inflicts other damage as well, according to a new study that shines a spotlight on the many ways Covid-19 attacks organs other than the lungs. The spike proteins themselves cause direct damage to the cells that line the blood vessels, scientists found in test tube experiments using an engineered version of the spike and artery-lining cells obtained from mice.

After attaching itself to the ACE2 protein on healthy cells, the spike disrupts signaling from ACE2 to the mitochondria - the cell's energy-generating structures - causing the mitochondria to become damaged, researchers reported on Friday in Circulation Research.

Covid-19 is really a disease of the blood vessels, coauthor Uri Manor of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California said in a statement. The new findings could help explain the blood clots associated with Covid-19. They could also explain "why some people have strokes, and why some people have issues in other parts of the body," Manor said. "The commonality between them is that they all have vascular underpinnings."

India Covid

Biden set to ban most travel to US from India

US President Joe Biden is expected to impose new travel restrictions on India starting from Tuesday in light of the Covid-19 epidemic, barring most non-US citizens from entering the United States, a White House official told Reuters.

The new restrictions are on the advice of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and are imposed "in light of extraordinarily high Covid-19 case loads and multiple variants circulating in India," the official said. A formal announcement is expected on Friday and the policy will take effect on Tuesday 4 May at 12:01 am ET (0401 GMT).

In January, Biden issued a similar ban on most non-US citizens entering the country who have recently been in South Africa. He also reimposed an entry ban on nearly all non-US travellers who have been in Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland and 26 countries in Europe that allow travel across open borders.

The policy means most non-US citizens who have been in one of those countries - and now India - within the last 14 days are not eligible to travel to the United States. China and Iran are also both covered by the policy.

Second only to the United States in total infections, India has reported more than 300,000 new cases daily for nine days in a row, hitting another global record of 386,452 on Friday. Total deaths have surpassed 211,000 and cases are now over 19 million - nearly 8 million since February alone - as virulent new strains have combined with 'super-spreader' events such as political rallies and religious festivals. Medical experts say real numbers may be five to 10 times higher than the official tally.

Pfizer

Canada to start to get Pfizer vaccines next week

Canada are due to start getting deliveries of the BioNTech-Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine from the United States next week. It will be the first time the US has exported its vaccine to their neighbours.

Until now, Canada has been receiving imports of the Pfizer vaccines from Belgium while the US kept doses for domestic use. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau repeated Friday that starting next week, Canada will be receiving 2 million doses a week from Pfizer alone.

 

School-aged child tragically dies of Covid-19 in Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Health delivered some extremely sad news this week following the death of a schoolgirl from Covid-19.

A statement read: "We are deeply saddened to confirm that a child under age 10 from southwestern Minnesota has died due to complications from Covid-19. While Covid-related deaths in children are rare, they can occur even in otherwise healthy children. Since the start of the pandemic, three Minnesota children under age 18 have died due to Covid-19.

Obituary for Week Day

Week Day, aged six, of Marshall, Minnesota, passed away on Sunday 25 April 2021, at the Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Week Day was born on 7 August 2014, to Mu Mu and He Lars in Thailand. She emigrated from a refugee camp there to Marshall, Minnesota, with her family in December 2015.

Week was an enthusiastic student as a first grader at Parkside Elementary in Marshall. She was loved by her classmates and teacher, Ms. Hewitt. Week was a sweet girl who enjoyed school and appreciated her studies and sought to learn about the world around her.

Week was known to be a lively girl who loved the color pink! Singing songs and dancing were her favorite ways to entertain her family. She enjoyed drawing and painting and was a wonderful big sister to her beloved little brother, Michael. She brought both immeasurable love and joy to her family, friends, and community. She made a big impact with her 6 years, 8 months, and 18 days of life. May she forever enjoy the sacred realm.

Covid-19 vaccine news: welcome

Hello and welcome to our dedicated live blog for Saturday 1 May 2021.

Here we aim to keep you fully up to date with all the latest news and updates regarding the covid-19 pandemic and all aspects of the vaccine development and rollout across the United States.

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