Covid-19 vaccine news summary: Sunday 9 May 2021

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US covid-19 vaccine latest news | 9 May 2021

Coronavirus US

How many people have died from the covid vaccine in the US?

How many people have died from the covid vaccine in the US? Are the vaccines risky? 

Depending on where you get your news, you may have a different idea of the risk of vaccination. Fox News host Tucker Carlson has been roundly condemned after suggesting on his show, Tucker Carlson Tonight, that thousands of Americans had died after receiving a covid-19 vaccine, based on information gleaned from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention VAERS system.

Carlson, who has waged a personal war against vaccines and the efforts of the US government to encourage mask-wearing and social distancing, accusing officials of exaggerating the severity of the pandemic. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US’ leading expert on infectious diseases and Chief Medical Advisor to President Joe Biden, has termed Carlson’s claims that covid vaccines are ineffective as “a crazy conspiracy theory.”

Read our full coverage here

 

 

Pfizer and BioNTech run into patent issues...

Bloomberg Law explains the lawsuit filed against Pfizer and BioNTech after allegations that they developed their covid-19 vaccine without authorization to use a fluorescent protein.

Coronavirus

Why do vaccines make you feel ill?

Why do vaccines make you feel ill?

All those 16 and older in the US are eligible to receive a covid-19 vaccine. All available vaccines have side effects and in most cases, they are completely normal; these side effects can even indicate that the vaccine is working.

Read our full coverage for an overview of the progress made to vaccinate those in the US. 

New York City's transit system is to begin offering 24-hour service this month, but MTA is struggling to get all workers vaccinated. 

Read the full story from The City here

Israel presents: How vaccines beat Covid-19 (for now)

Interesting graphic. Israel are reporting less than 1,000 active coronavirus cases, the Health Ministry confirmed on Sunday. That is a long way down from the 70,000-80,000 active cases the country was reporting at the peak of the the pandemic and almost down to the numbers seen right at the start of the crisis a year ago.

Israel's vaccination rollout has been hugely successful – about 5 million have been vaccinated out of a population of 9.3 million

Mets celebrate 100,000th dose at Citi Field

Milestone at NYC Mets Citi Field, and the vaccination site which has been up and running at the ballpark since 10 February. The clinic administered dose number 100,000 to Mets fan Justin Yu, from Woodside, Queens, who was given a commemorate shirt. The clinic has distributed more does than any other NYC vaccine site.

A dozen countries still waiting to receive Covid-19 vaccines

The World Health Organization says nearly a dozen countries - many of them in Africa - are still waiting to get vaccines. Those last in line on the continent along with Chad are Burkina Faso, Burundi, Eritrea and Tanzania.

“Delays and shortages of vaccine supplies are driving African countries to slip further behind the rest of the world in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and the continent now accounts for only 1% of the vaccines administered worldwide,” WHO warned.

While the total of confirmed Covid-19 cases among them is relatively low compared with the world’s hot spots, health officials say that figure is likely a vast undercount: The countries in Africa still waiting for vaccines are among those least equipped to track infections because of their fragile health care systems.

Vax Live concert raises $302 million

The Global Citizen fundraising concert advocating the importance of vaccine equity has pulled in $302 million, exceeding the goal for the organization’s campaign.

Global Citizen announced Saturday that the funds raised in helped procure more than 26 million doses at the “Vaxe Live: The Concert to Reunite the World.” The organization said money was garnered through several philanthropic and corporate commitments.

Nurse who delivered world's first Covid-19 vaccine supports a national Thank You Day

May Parsons, a matron at University Hospital Coventry, is part of a group of people calling for a national Thank You Day on 4 July. She administered the world's first Covid-19 vaccine to a person outside of clinical trials, when she gave the jab to to 91-year-old Margaret Keenan on 8 December, 2020.

She told The Mirror, "Thank You Day gives me the opportunity to thank all my amazing colleagues working in the NHS and social care. This has been the toughest year of our professional careers, and you have all worked so hard to treat all the sick patients who came through our doors, while delivering the biggest and most successful vaccination programme in NHS history. I also want to thank the incredible volunteers who gave up their time to support us, and those in their communities who needed help. I am so grateful to all the people who kept us going: the school teams who looked after our children, shop staff, transport and delivery workers, and everyone else who has helped keep us and the country going. We couldn’t have done it without you. I am incredibly proud of our staff and our volunteers, and I want to encourage everyone to embrace Thank You Day and to take part in any way that you can".

Read the full story here:

Vaccinated transplant patients do not have sufficient antibodies to fight Covid-19

Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers have shown that although two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine offers some protection for people who have received solid organ transplants, it’s still not enough to enable them to dispense with standard Covid safety measures such as using physical distancing and other safety measures.

This is a follow-up study to an earlier one published in March in JAMA, in which the researchers reported that only 17% of the participating transplant recipients produced sufficient antibodies after just one dose of a two-dose Covid-19 vaccine regimen.

Read the Johns Hopkins report here:

Several US colleges to require Covid-19 vaccination

A number of colleges in the United States have already stated their students will be required to be vaccinated against the virus in order to attend in-person classes. According to CNN, over 100 American schools have said they will require students be inoculated for the fall of this year, including UCLA, Yale University, Georgetown University, Stanford University, George Washington University, American University among others.

Canada’s largest universities have also stated that Covid-19 vaccination will be mandatory for their students.

Read more on what Canada's education officials have said about colleges and vaccination here:

US has long way to go to recover from pandemic - commerce secretary

The United States has a long way to go to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and last week's lower-than-expected jobs numbers were a reflection of that, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Sunday. "I think we have a long way to go to recover from the pandemic," Raimondo said on CBS' Face the Nation. Many Americans are still struggling and there are 8 million fewer jobs than there were before the pandemic. "We are making bold moves, but there's a long way to go and we have to be there to help Americans find jobs."

Identical twins suffer vastly different reaction to Covid-19 infection

Kimberly and Kelly Standard are identical twins but despite sharing exactly the same DNA, they had very different responses when both of the caught Covid-19. At the start of the pandemic last year, the two 35-year-olds from Rochester, Michigan were admitted to hospital with fever and breathing difficulties. Kelly was discharged and allowed home after six days but her twin sister wasn't so lucky. Kimberley remained in intensive care on a life-support machine for almost a month. 

One year on, both sisters spoke about their ordeal to CNN: "My oxygen level was so low, I wasn't worried that it was going to get worse for me," Kelly explained. For Kimberley, it was much worse, "It got so bad that I passed out and ended up going to ICU. From there, it's a complete blank".

Even the doctors who treated Kelly and Kimberley couldn't understand how they could have such a contrasting response to the virus. Dr Mishita Goel and her team produced a case report on Covid-19 in identical twins.

Everest

'Line of separation' planned on Everest summit over Covid-19 fears

China will set up 'a line of separation' at the summit of Mount Everest to prevent the mingling of climbers from Covid-hit Nepal and those ascending from the Tibetan side as a precautionary measure, Chinese state media reported on Sunday.

Everest base camp on the Nepalese side has been hit by coronavirus cases since late April. The Nepalese government, starved of tourism revenue, has yet to cancel the spring climbing season, usually from April to early June before the monsoon rains.

It was not immediately clear how the line would be enforced on the summit, a tiny, perilous and inhospitable area the size of a dining table. A small team of Tibetan climbing guides will ascend Everest and set up the 'line of separation' at the summit to stop any contact between mountaineers from both sides of the peak, Xinhua news agency reported, citing the head of Tibet's sports bureau.

The Tibetan guides will set up the separation line ahead of their arrival, the state-run news agency said, without describing what the line would look like. It was also unclear whether the Tibetan guides would be the ones enforcing the 'separation', or whether they would remain in the so-called death zone, where many lives have been lost due to a dearth of oxygen, to hold the line.

The top of the 8,848-metre peak is a small mound of snow with barely enough space for half a dozen climbers and guides at any one time. China has not allowed any foreign climbers to ascend from the Tibetan side since the outbreak of the new coronavirus last year due to infection concerns.

Tourists in the Everest scenic area in Tibet are also banned from visiting the base camp on the Tibetan side. Mainland China on Sunday reported 12 new Covid-19 cases on 8 May - all of which involved travellers arriving from overseas - up from seven a day earlier. Nepal reported 9,023 new cases on Friday, the country's biggest one-day increase.

US turning the corner on pandemic, says White House Covid-19 coordinator

(Reuters) The United States is turning the corner on the coronavirus pandemic and health officials are now focused on getting more Americans vaccinated, the White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said on Sunday.

"I would say we are turning the corner," Zients said in an interview with CNN's State of the Union. The task now is to continue building confidence in vaccines and get enough Americans vaccinated to mitigate the spread of the virus and its variants, he said.

US health officials are on a full court press to overcome vaccine hesitancy and make access to Covid-19 vaccines as easy as possible, aiming to meet President Joe Biden's goal of 70% of Americans having at least one shot by Independence Day on 4 July.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top White House coronavirus adviser, said another surge in coronavirus infections would be unlikely if the Biden goal is met or exceeded.

"The larger proportion of the population that's vaccinated, the less likelihood that in a season like the coming fall or winter you're going to see a significant surge," Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said on NBC's Meet the Press. "That's the reason why vaccinations are so important. That's the wild card that we have now that we didn't have last fall or the last winter."

What to know about Biden's proposed covid-19 vaccine patent waivers

The Biden administration announced on Wednesday that it will support patent waivers for covid-19 vaccines as part of a global effort to boost supplies in poorer countries. Here’s what you should know:

Question: What did President Joe Biden propose?

Answer: The Biden administration announced its support for a global proposal to lift intellectual property protections for coronavirus vaccines temporarily in order to give developing countries the license to manufacture generic versions.

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, who made the announcement on Wednesday, called the administration’s policy reversal “extraordinary measures … in service of ending this pandemic.”

To mask or not to mask? With vaccines and new guidelines

Some Americans never fully embraced face masks, those swaths of fabric that became one of the seminal flash points of the US coronavirus pandemic. But for many across the nation who did, rising vaccination rates and shifting public health advice are forcing a recalibration of a relationship with an accessory that has served as a shield against a deadly pathogen, a security blanket during a crisis, and a symbol - of regard for the common good, liberal politics or belief in science.

Freebies for young in US Covid vaccination drive

Free baseball tickets, beer and dinners have helped make America’s vaccine rollout one of the world’s most successful.

About 150 million Americans, 57 percent of adults, have received at least one shot. Now, in order to help meet President Joe Biden’s target of 70 percent by Independence Day on July 4, states are getting creative.

Full story

Coronavirus

Why do vaccines make you feel ill?

All those 16 and older in the US are eligible to receive a covid-19 vaccine. All available vaccines have side effects and in most cases, they are completely normal; these side effects can even indicate that the vaccine is working.

To avoid post-vaccine issues, the CDC recommends drinking plenty of fluids and “dressing lightly.” These issues should resolve themselves within one to days after the vaccination.

Read the full story

NYC given go-ahead to vaccinate tourists

Tourists coming into New York can also get their covid-19 vaccine shots. Vaccinations will be available at various points in the city, locations can be found at the NYC Vaccine Finder.

Nation's vaccination rate down 20% from last week

The United States' vaccination rate has dropped to two million shots a day - a 20% decrease from just the week before. The CDC reports that 45.6% of the of the  population has received at least one dose of a two-shot vaccine and 33.9% are fully vaccinated.

Declining demand for Covid-19 vaccines is causing some states to turn down their full allocations of doses from the federal government, despite concerted efforts to raise national take-up rates.

US wants covid vaccine waiver to benefit the world, not boost China biotech

The Biden administration is examining ways to ensure that a waiver of Covid-19 vaccine patents to aid poor countries will not hand sensitive US biopharmaceutical technology to China and Russia, responding to a chorus of concerns, US and industry officials say.

On Wednesday President Joe Biden backed the US entering negotiations at the World Trade Organization for the waiver of intellectual property rights as a means to boost vaccine supplies by allowing poorer countries to make their own. So far, vaccines have gone overwhelmingly to richer nations, which scooped up contracts for them earlier this year.

Covid-19 infection rates in wealthy countries have dropped as vaccination rates increased this year, but infections are still rising in 36 countries, with India's daily cases skyrocketing to nearly 400,000 a day. Western pharmaceutical companies, many of which have received government support to develop vaccines, strongly oppose the transfer of intellectual property to make them. They say poorer countries will be slow to set up manufacturing capacity and compete for scarce supplies, hitting production.

Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer Inc, said on Friday that the proposed waiver would disrupt progress made so far in boosting vaccine supplies. "It will unleash a scramble for the critical inputs we require in order to make a safe and effective vaccine. Entities with little or no experience in manufacturing vaccines are likely to chase the very raw materials we require to scale our production, putting the safety and security of all at risk."

Many companies and now some US officials fear the move would allow China to leapfrog years of research and erode the US advantage in biopharmaceuticals. A senior Biden administration official said that while the priority is saving lives, the United States "would want to examine the effect of a waiver on China and Russia before it went into effect to ensure that it's fit for purpose."

Pfizer and Moderna spokespersons did not respond to requests for comment on technology transfer concerns, while a Novavax spokesperson referred Reuters to the company's statement opposing the waiver on Friday, which said proposals to "weaken intellectual property protections would not achieve equitable vaccine access."

Covid-19 linked to Diabetes

There is a bidirectional relationship between Covid-19 and diabetes, the New England Journal of Medicine reports. Diabetes is associated with an increased risk of severe Covid-19 while new-onset diabetes and severe metabolic complications of preexisting diabetes, including diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperosmolarity for which exceptionally high doses of insulin are warranted, have been observed in patients with Covid-19.

Ziyad Al-Aly, who directs the clinical epidemiology center at the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System in Missouri, has been studying the relationship between Covid-19 and diabetes and told Bloomberg, "“It took a while to convince me. It was hard to believe that Covid could be doing this". Al-Aly's team found that Covid survivors were about 39% more likely to have a new diabetes diagnosis in the six months after infection than non-infected users of the VA health system.

Americans shift toward "pro-vaccine" direction after J&J vaccine pause

A recent survey from a research consortium revealed that 74% of respondents knew about the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine pause, but there was no evidence that the high awareness had a negative effect on vaccination attitudes.

Between 1 and 26 April, the consortium surveyed more than 18,750 individuals across the US to evaluate their attitudes toward vaccination. Between April 17 and 19, the researchers re-contacted 1,143 non-vaccinated individuals who responded before the J&J announcement to investigate whether the pause impacted their attitudes.

Among these individuals, the researchers uncovered a slight shift in the pro-vaccine direction. Part of the reason is that individuals who indicated they would get vaccinated “as soon as possible” or “after at least some people I know” received their vaccine.

Draper teenager hospitalized with brain blood clots after Pfizer covid-19 vaccine

A 17-year-old from Draper, Utah named as Everest Romney started experiencing neck swelling and severe headaches shortly after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine. Over a week later, doctors discovered he had three blood clots in and on his brain. It is not known which vaccine Romney received or whether the blood clots were related to other issues. He remains in hospital were he is receiving treatment. After nearly 100 million doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, the CDC reports there hasn’t been a single related case of a blood clot forming in the brain.

Officials said 360 Utahns have tested positive for Covid-19 and 139 people were hospitalized due to the virus. Over 23K additional vaccines were administered, bringing the state's total to more than 2.28 million.

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