Covid vaccine in the US news summary: 4 May 2021

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US covid-19 vaccine news: live | 4 May 2021


- Breaking | 70% by 4 July: President Biden sets new adult target (full story)

- FDA set to authorize Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 12-15 year-olds by early next week (full story)

- LA County: zero covid-19 deaths for the first time in 410 days

- Moderna covid-19 vaccine listed for emergency use

- Denmark bans Johnson & Johnson covid-19 vaccine

- Canada to start to get Pfizer vaccines next week

- India facing deadly surge in cases; US and other countries pledge assistance. Read more

- Researchers suspect connection between swollen lymph nodes after vaccination in individuals who had returned positive tests for covid-19. Read more

- 105.5 million Americans now fully vaccinated

- 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

US covid-19: 32.47 million cases / 577,523 deaths (live updates from Johns Hopkins University)

Scroll through some of our related articles:


New York COVID restrictions: opening and conditions in restaurants, cinemas, businesses and gyms.

New York COVID restrictions: changes to be aware of regarding re-opening and conditions in restaurants, cinemas, businesses, and gyms.

Businesses will be able to operate at full capacity starting 19 May for the first time since restrictions were put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic last year. Additionally, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will resume 24-hour subway service on 17 May.

Restaurants, retail stores, theaters, museums, barber shops, gyms and fitness centers will be allowed to operate at full capacity starting 19 May. However, Cuomo said that businesses will still need to conform to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance on social distancing, mask wearing and other applicable health protocols.

Read our coverage for more details


32% of US population is now fully vaccinated

As of Tuesday 4 May, a total of 106,168,588 Americans have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, representing 32% of the population. 147,894,671 people, or 44.5%, have received at least one dose.

Of the total doses administered, 131,657,484 people have received the Pfizer vaccine, 107,477,821 received the Moderna vaccine, 8,449,067 were given the J&J/Janssen vaccine.


Over half of people in democracies feel freedoms have been overly curbed during the pandemic

Fifty-eight percent of people living in the world's democracies are satisfied with the response of their government to the Covid-19 pandemic though over half believe their freedoms have been overly restricted, a survey published on Wednesday found.

The survey of over 50,000 people from 53 countries also found that a little more than half feel their nation is democratic but many view economic inequality and the power of big tech companies as threats to democracy. Though the majority of respondents approve of how their governments had responded to the pandemic, 53% feel their personal freedoms have been excessively curbed by lockdowns, according to the survey.

"We now need to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic by delivering more democracy and freedom to people," said Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Chair of the Alliance of Democracies Foundation, which along with AI-powered brand tracking firm Latana conducted the survey.

Some 64% of those questioned regarded economic inequality as the single biggest threat to democracy around the world. Respondents in the United States were most concerned with Big Tech companies' impact on democracy. Almost half of those surveyed globally worried about the United States threatening their democracy, while 38% feared Chinese influence and some 27% were wary of that of Russia.

With the election of President Joe Biden, the perception of US influence on democracy globally has improved from Donald Trump's administration. However, in Europe, Russia and China, US influence is still mainly perceived as negative.


Minnesota reports six cases of India Covid-19 variant

Minnesota reported six cases the Covid-19 B.1.617 variant which was first detected in India in October. Six people from three households, and people from two of those households had a “known association with travel,” said MDH infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann.

Ehresmann told reporters the infected people ranged in age from adolescents to people in their 60s, and she said one person who contracted the virus was hospitalized. The state recorded a further 11 Covid-19 deaths on Tuesday, taking the total to 7,174.

White House to shift covid-19 vaccine to states with more need

Covid-19 vaccine doses allocated to a US state but left unordered will become available to other states under a policy shift aimed at delivering vaccines to where they are most in demand, the White House said on Tuesday.

Vaccines have been allocated state by state based on population - a formula the Biden administration held to even as some states such as Michigan saw increases in coronavirus infections.

Under the new policy, unordered doses would be made available to states with a more immediate need, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

"They can still order ... up to their full allocation based on population," Psaki said. "They can also order less than their full allocation and ... the doses that are not being given to that state will then go into kind of an overarching supply that could then be distributed to other states by population."

The shift, first reported by the Washington Post, was conveyed to governors by the Biden administration on Tuesday.

New coronavirus cases in the United States fell for the third week in a row. About 30.5% of the population, or about 101,407,318 people, have been fully vaccinated as of last week.

According to the Director of the World Health Organization between 35 and 40 billion dollars are needed within the next year to ensure most adults are immunized against covid-19.

Read full story from BBC


New York COVID restrictions: opening and conditions in restaurants, cinemas, businesses and gyms.

New York COVID restrictions: changes to be aware of regarding re-opening and conditions in restaurants, cinemas, businesses, and gyms.

Businesses will be able to operate at full capacity starting 19 May for the first time since restrictions were put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic last year. Additionally, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will resume 24-hour subway service on 17 May.

Restaurants, retail stores, theaters, museums, barber shops, gyms and fitness centers will be allowed to operate at full capacity starting 19 May. However, Cuomo said that businesses will still need to conform to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance on social distancing, mask wearing and other applicable health protocols.

Read our coverage for more details

US News

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ends many of the state’s covid restrictions

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ends many of the state’s covid restrictions

On 3 May, Governor DeSantis signed a series of bills and executive orders into law. The first was a bill passed by the Flordia legislature, placed a state-wide ban on vaccine passports, weakened the ability of local jurisdictions to establish lockdowns, and allocated funding to prepare for future pandemics.

Florida has vaccinated approximately seventy percent of residents over sixty-five, leaving nearly a third susceptible to the virus’s deadly effects. Overall, around thirty percent of the adult population is vaccinated, and reports have shown that vaccine appointments are being left open across some of the state’s most populous areas.

From 20-26 April, Florida administered a little over 1 million shots. Over the last seven days, that number has dropped to 688,119 shots. The demand for vaccines is decreasing at an alarming rate. With the restrictions being lifted, community transmission at high levels, public health experts are concerned that the state could experience another wave of infections.

Read full article here

Another death among 19-and-under age group reported in Sask

Health officials are reporting the second death of a Saskatchewan resident aged 19 or younger due to covid-19.

According to the Ministry of Health, the person was from the province's northwest zone and died in February. The death was not reported until this week because officials were awaiting confirmation that it was caused by covid-19.

It's the second death in the same Saskatchewan region and age group to be recorded since the pandemic began more than a year ago. 

Full story

People are dying around the world and we have to get vaccines into their arms in the fastest and most efficient way possible.

Dr Anthony Fauci, head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Inside India's covid-19 surge

Rajat Arora, an interventional cardiologist, is the managing director of the Yashoda Hospital and Research Centre, a medical system that operates several hospitals in and around New Delhi.

For the past year, Arora and his team have designated two specific hospitals for their system’s covid-19 patients. Situated in the city of Ghaziabad, just east of Delhi, the hospital that Arora looks after is large and modern, with a full range of subspecialties; it has two hundred and forty covid beds, including sixty-five in the adult I.C.U. and fifteen in a pediatric I.C.U.

Full story from the New Yorker.

Biden live | covid-19 response, vaccinations

Watch live as US President Joe Biden speak to the nation. We'll update you with some key takeaways...

- 'cases down in 40 states over last two weeks'

- 'cases down 80% among seniors'

- 'many wouldn't be alive without these efforts'

- the US is 'ready to move immediately' to vaccinate 12 to 15-year-olds if the FDA approves covid-19 vaccine for that age range (which is expected)

- 'This is not a Democratic or Republican issue' (regarding getting vaccinated)

US News

Bill Gates and Melinda announce their divorce: how long have they been together and why are they separating?

After twenty-seven years of marriage, Bill and Melinda Gates, one of the most powerful couples in the world, announced on Monday that they were divorcing. Making the announcement on Twitter, the joint statement read that "After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage."

It may come as no surprise that even though the announcement was unrelated to covid-19 or vaccines in any way, social media lit up as memes and jokes - not to mention a few conspiracy boosts - took over, linked back to previous, and at times ridiculous, allegations.

Full story from Maite Knorr-Evans

Covid-19 recovery, vaccines, CDC...

In case you missed it earlier, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was back in front of the media taking their questions on a variety of topics.

You'll not be surprised to know that vaccines and everything related to the US moving out of the covid-19 pandemic were included.

Biden accelerates vaccine date target

President Joe Biden will set a new target of 70% of US adults receiving at least one covid-19 vaccine shot by 4 July as the administration seeks to stem a dropoff in inoculations.

Biden’s goals - set to be announced in a 2:30 p.m. (ET) speech from the White House on Tuesday - will be for 70% of the adult population to have at least one shot and for 160 million adults to be fully vaccinated by Independence Day, according to officials familiar with the matter.

As of now, 56% of US adults, or 145 million, have received at least one dose and nearly 41%, or about 105 million, are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Full story from Josh Wingrove and Justin Sink.

Is it legal to be forced to get a vaccine shot? Yes it is!

As businesses, universities and other organizations ponder a return to something like normal operations, the ethics and legality of coronavirus-vaccine mandates have become the subject of intense debate, write Holly Fernandez Lynch and Govind Persad for The Washington Post.

Dozens of universities say they will require students and staff members to be vaccinated (typically with medical and other exemptions), and some school districts are requiring vaccination of their employees - as are some private employers. Other organizations have held off, worried about legal challenges to requiring vaccines that have been only conditionally approved for emergency use. The University of California system, for instance, says it will delay mandates until coronavirus vaccines gain the full imprimatur of the Food and Drug Administration.

In the face of this debate, several states are considering barring coronavirus-vaccine requirements, or have already done so, including for employees or students. Some of these efforts also seek to block “vaccine passports,” which (if adopted) would condition access to a variety of “goods and services” on vaccination status. Where vaccine mandates have been implemented, legal challenges have followed close behind, including cases filed by a group of Los Angeles teachers and a corrections officer in New Mexico.

Read the authors' opinion piece below.

Government change to vaccine state distribution

White House officials on Tuesday told states that if they do not order their full allocation of vaccine doses in the coming weeks, those doses will be reallocated as the administration shifts how it gets the shot to areas most in need.

The White House outlined the new policy in a call with governors, according to an official on the call. States previously ordered doses from the federal government and were able to carry over unordered shots if demand ticked up.

But the new policy means the unordered doses will go into a pool of vaccines for the federal government to send to areas where demand outnumbers supply. The change comes as the nation has seen a downturn in vaccination rates.

Full story from Brett Samuels.

"Doggon it!" - Bill Nye sends his mask/vaccine message

More than 100 million Americans are now fully vaccinated against covid-19, but the number of people who still want to get inoculated is plummeting.

That’s being fueled, in part, due to anti-vaccine rhetoric from the right.

“Everybody is saying ‘It’s not fair to make me wear a mask, it’s not fair to make me get vaccinated’” Bill Nye tells NBC’s Mehdi Hasan. “Well, it’s not fair to everybody else if you become an incubator for a variant, doggone it!”.

Boost in pharmacy walk-in vaccinations

Walgreens will start allowing people to walk in, without appointments, to get covid-19 vaccines at its Illinois stores Wednesday, and Walmart and Sam’s Club stores in Illinois have already begun taking walk-ins.

Walgreens, which has the largest pharmacy covid-19 vaccination program in Illinois, will also allow people to make appointments, if they’d prefer, including same-day appointments beginning Wednesday.

Walgreens is encouraging those interested in walk-in vaccinations to call their local stores ahead of time to make sure they have enough supply for walk-ins on any given day, spokeswoman Kris Lathan said. Walgreens will allow walk-in vaccinations across the country beginning Wednesday.

Full story:

Making vaccine globally available

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on Tuesday that making vaccines more widely available throughout the world is needed to end the coronavirus pandemic and foster economic recovery.

In remarks prepared for delivery to a Council of the Americas conference, Tai said the world has made real strides toward ending the pandemic, but a lot of work lies ahead.

"That includes making the vaccine widely available and addressing global inequity. This is not just a public health requirement. Our economic recovery depends on it," Tai said.

MAP: See which states are doing away with appointments for the vaccine

NBC - After a rollout characterized by overloaded and sometimes hard-to-use systems, the US appears to be entering a new phase: appointment-less covid-19 vaccinations.

Walk-ins are typically first come, first served and usually for first doses only, except for sites offering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (which doesn’t require a second dose).

As traffic to mass vaccination sites slows, many states, such as New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland and Florida, have begun to offer vaccinations without needing an appointment at some of their state-run sites, according to an NBC News analysis.

See which states and jurisdictions have started offering walk-in appointments using the interactive map here.

Last day for walk-in Covid-19 vaccinations at Pennsylvania Convention Center

Today is the last day you can walk in without an appointment at Philadelphia’s two FEMA-run sites, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Tuesday is the final day the mass vaccination clinics at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Center City and Esperanza in North Philadelphia will offer the first dose of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine to people without an appointment.

From Wednesday, both sites will switch to delivering second-dose shots for three weeks through to 26 May. Due to a dramatic decline in demand for vaccinations, both sites are expected to close after that, with the city focusing its supply and resources on smaller clinics and pop-up events.


Can you drink alcohol before getting the covid-19 vaccine?

Health officials recommend avoiding a tipple before you get your covid-19 vaccine shot to keep your immune system and body in tip-top shape.

Read more about drinking alcohol and the Covid-19 vaccine here:


WHO and UN Global Pulse building a social listening radio tool to aid the Covid-19 infodemic response

The World Health Organization and UN Global Pulse, the Secretary-General’s digital innovation initiative have embarked on a new venture to analyse content shared on public radio across the African continent to support infodemic monitoring. Part of the wider infodemic management programme, this collaboration will integrate radio data analysis into monitoring tools to inform the infodemic response by including more voices of vulnerable populations.

Radio remains one of the most reliable and affordable ways of accessing and sharing information with some 44,000 stations worldwide as reported by UNESCO.

“Listening to and understanding the concerns and questions of communities is pivotal in every health emergency to help us shape our risk communication interventions. This tool will be a key addition to our infodemic toolbox,” says Dr Sylvie Briand, Director WHO Global Infectious Hazards Department.

UN Global Pulse has worked on various projects to convert radio speech into text for vernacular languages and to analyse the information to understand perceptions. This collaboration will expand that scope by developing methods to capture and analyse content on topics that discuss Covid-19 and vaccination efforts across Africa.

“As we develop new methodologies and deploy new tools, we want to give public health officials the most useful insights and create new scientific evidence so the field of infodemic management continues to build solid foundations,” says Miguel Luengo-Oroz, Chief Data Scientist at UN Global Pulse.

Read the full story here:

Catch up with the World Health Organization Update on the pandemic and global vaccine rollout.

Quotes and Highlights 

"More cases of #COVID19 have been reported globally in the past two weeks than during the first six months of the pandemic."- Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

"India and Brazil account for more than half of last week’s #COVID19 cases, but there are many other countries all over the world that face a very fragile situation" - Dr.Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

"COVAX has now shipped almost 50 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to 121 countries and economies, but we continue to face severe supply constraints. Solving this dilemma demands courageous leadership from the world’s largest economies."- Dr.Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Biden says there is enough Covid-19 vaccine doses for every single American

US President Joe Biden gave an update on the country's vaccine rollout. Speaking from the White House, Biden said, "My message to American people on the vaccine is, as I told you all. I made we have 600 million doses, not of either Johnson and Johnson, and/or Astrazeneca. So there is enough vaccines, 100% unquestionable, for every single, solitary American. Thank You".

Calls grow for national lockdown in India

Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi called for a nationwide lockdown as the country's tally of coronavirus infections surged past 20 million on Tuesday, becoming the second nation after the United States to pass the grim milestone.

India's deadly second wave of infections, the world's biggest surge in coronavirus infections, has seen it take just over four months to add 10 million cases, versus more than 10 months for its first 10 million. Currently, the country has 3.45 million active cases.

On Tuesday, India reported 357,229 new cases over the last 24 hours, while deaths rose 3,449 for a toll of 222,408, health ministry data showed.

Medical experts say actual numbers in India could be five to 10 times higher than those reported.

"The only way to stop the spread of Corona now is a full lockdown... GOI’s inaction is killing many innocent people," Congress MP Gandhi said on Twitter, referring to the Government of India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government is reluctant to impose a national lockdown due to the economic fall out, yet several states have imposed various social restrictions.

The surge in cases of the highly infectious Indian variant of covid-19 has swamped the health system, drained supplies of medical oxygen vital for survival for those infected, and seen patients dying in ambulances and carparks outside hospitals.

India has postponed exams for trainee doctors and nurses in a desperate effort to fight the infections sweeping across the world's second-most populous country.

Modi has been criticized for not moving sooner to limit the latest wave of infections and for letting millions of largely unmasked people attend religious festivals and crowded political rallies during March and April.

Photo by Rebecca Conway/Getty Images

105,523,520 Americans are fully vaccinated

A total of 105,523,520 Americans, 31.8% of the population, had been fully vaccinated according to the latest update on 3 May 2021. Meanwhile, 147,517,734 people, 44.4% of the population have received at least one does of the Covid-19 vaccine.

New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Virginia, District of Colombia, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Hawaii and South Dakota have all vaccinated over 80% of their respective populations.


How many doses has the US secured and what will it be enough?

The US was able to secure enough doses for four hundred million citizens and residents to be inoculated. But what about the rest of the world?

Read more about the US vaccination rollout here:


When will New York City subway open 24-hour service?

State officials announced Monday that New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will ease restrictions on 19 May, reopening businesses to full capacity.

Read more on the easing of restrictions in New York here:

Mexico hopes to finish vaccinating its population in early 2022

Mexico hopes to finish vaccinating its entire population against covid-19 by the end of next year's first quarter, Mexico's deputy health minister, Hugo López-Gatell, said Monday evening.

The projection takes into consideration global delays in vaccination production and vaccine delivery to Mexico, said López-Gatell, who has spearheaded the country's response to the coronavirus.

"We hope to have vaccinated the entire population, those that hope to get vaccinated, by the end of the first quarter 2022," he said at a regular news conference.

So far Mexico has administered one vaccine dose to some 10% of its 126 million inhabitants. López-Gatell said that by mid-July, 20% of the population will have received at least one dose.

The Health Ministry earlier in the day reported 1,027 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 112 more deaths, bringing the total number of cases to 2,349,900 and fatalities to 217,345.

Separate government data published in March suggested the real death toll may be at least 60% above the confirmed figure.


Britain set to announce travel 'green list'

Britain is set to announce the green list for countries that people can travel to on holiday shortly, and will have the right procedures in place to ensure travel can happen safely, said trade minister Liz Truss on Tuesday.

Hopes that Britons will be able to travel to Europe rose on Monday after the European Union recommended easing restrictions to allow in people who were fully vaccinated or from countries with a 'good epidemiological situation', boosting travel stocks.

The British government said in mid-April it would announce which countries would be open for quarantine-free travel from England in early May, ahead of a plan to allow holidays again from 17 May at the earliest. "I don't think it will be much longer before we make those announcements," Truss told Sky News.

Sources have suggested the list could be published on Friday, after local elections are held on Thursday. "People are looking to book a holiday but I would encourage people to wait until we make that announcement," Truss added.

Shares in airlines and travel companies were buoyed by the EU news. TUI, the world's largest holiday company, was up 5% in early trading, while easyJet, Jet2 and British Airways-owner IAG were between 2% to 4% higher.

Britain's biggest airport, Heathrow, has raised concerns that a rise in passenger numbers could lead to long queues and overcrowding at border control as Covid-19 means border staff must check multiple forms. Truss said procedures would be in place to facilitate travel safely once it restarts. 'We need to make sure that we do have the set-up correct at the airports, that we do have the mechanisms right before we go ahead,' she said.


EU regulator begins real-time review of Sinovac's Covid-19 vaccine

Europe's medicines regulator said on Tuesday it has started a real-time review of Sinovac's Covid-19 vaccine, based on preliminary results from animal and human trials that suggested the vaccine produces an immune response against the coronavirus. Data on the vaccine, Covid-19 Vaccine (Vero Cell) Inactivated, will be assessed as they are made available to help speed-up potential approvals, the European Medicines Agency said.

Covid-19 vaccine news: welcome

Hello and welcome to our dedicated live blog for Tuesday 4 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.