Covid-19 vaccine in the US | news summary for Monday 10 May

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Covid-19 vaccine in the US live updates: efficacy, safety, side effects from Pfizer, J&J, Moderna...

US covid-19 vaccine latest news | 10 May 2021

Headlines

- EU says 'no' to renew AstraZeneca contract (full story)

- WHO gives emergency approval to first Chinese covid-19 vaccine (full story)

- G20 commits financial support to ACT-A strategy

- WTO says vaccine patent waiver will drive talks

- UK declares new India strain "variant of concern"

- India welcomes Biden's support on patent access for vaccines

- Tucker Carlson's "dangerous anti-vaccination rhetoric" (full story)

- Putin says Sputnik vaccine as "reliable as a Kalashnikov"

- 115.5 million US citizens now fully vaccinated (track CDC data here)

- Harvard to require all students be vaccinated

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

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

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

- US covid-19: 32.7 million cases / 582,140 deaths (live updates from JHU)

Scroll through some of our related articles:

US Treasury opens up $350 billion in covid-19 aid

The US Treasury launched access to $350 billion in covid-19 aid for state, local, tribal and territorial governments on Monday, releasing rules for allowable uses and a prohibition on tax cuts by recipient states.

The Treasury said that states with seasonally adjusted unemployment rates that are now 2 percentage points above levels in February 2020 can receive all of the funds they are due immediately. But those with smaller increases in unemployment will get their funds in two payments a year apart.

The total funding for states in President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan Act is $195.3 billion.

Treasury said $65.1 billion has been allocated to counties and $45.6 billion for metropolitan cities, which will both get their funds in two tranches a year apart, with the first payment coming in May.

Tribal governments, which receive a combined $20 billion, will receive an initial payment in May and a second payment in June based on employment data. The $4.5 billion allocated for US territories will all be delivered in May, Treasury said.

Treasury said the eligible uses for state and local funds include public health responses to the pandemic and replacement of revenues lost to the pandemic determined through a formula in Treasury guidance. Uses also include addressing negative economic impacts from the pandemic, including aid to unemployed workers and hard-hit communities, and premium pay for essential workers.

The Treasury also said the funds can be invested in improvements to water, sewer and broadband internet infrastructure.

But the Treasury maintained its plans to prohibit states from using the funds to offset tax cuts, a provision opposed by a number of Republican states.

Italian woman mistakenly given six doses of covid-19 vaccine 

CNN - A 23-year-old woman who was mistakenly given six doses of the Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine has been discharged from the hospital where she was being monitored for any adverse reaction.  The woman was administered the vaccine at the Noa hospital in Tuscany, central Italy, on Sunday, hospital spokeswoman Daniella Gianelli told CNN on Monday. 

The patient, who is in "good health" with no underlying conditions, was kept in the hospital under strict observation for 24 hours and discharged Monday, Gianelli said. 

Doctors will continue to monitor the patient's immune response to the "massive dose of vaccine," the spokeswoman said. The patient was entitled to get the vaccine before other people in her age group because she is an intern in the hospital's psychology department, she added. 

Full story

Norwegian commission recommends dropping AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson covid-19 vaccines from national program 

A government-appointed commission said on Monday that Norway should exclude the covid-19 vaccines made by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson from its vaccination program. The decision was based on a risk of rare but harmful side-effects. Norway suspended the AstraZeneca vaccine rollout on 11 March after a small number of younger inoculated people suffered a combination of blood clots, bleeding and a low platelet count. 

However, stressing the importance of dispelling any vaccine hesitancy, those who volunteer to take either vaccine should be allowed to do so. "Great emphasis must be placed on maintaining confidence in the national vaccination scheme so that immunity can be established in the population in multiple potential rounds of vaccination in the coming years," the commission said. 

Questions about the covid-19 vaccines answered 

The US is making progress with its vaccination effort, more than half of adults have been inoculated with at least one dose of a vaccine. But some remain hesitant; 17% are taking a “wait and see” approach, 7% say they will be vaccinated only if required and 13% say they will “definitely not” get the vaccine, according to the latest Kaiser Family Foundation COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor. Skepticism about the vaccines, due to fear, mistrust or misconceptions, is driving hesitancy. 

Getting vaccinated isn’t just about protecting ourselves it is about protecting our neighbors and loved ones who are more vulnerable. This includes elders, people born with faulty immune systems and people who must take immunosuppressant drugs for illnesses ranging from cancer to rheumatoid arthritis. Also at risk are people who would love to be vaccinated, but can’t because of life-threatening allergies. 

If you are hesitant, please take a moment to check out the Covid Collaborative’s site to answer questions about the covid-19 vaccine.

Pfizer covid-19 vaccine approved for adolescents, but they still need other vaccines 

The Food and Drug Administration has now approved the Pfizer covid-19 vaccine for use in adolescents 12 to 15 years of age but parents are urged to get their children caught up on their other shots as well. Routine immunizations for children dropped dramatically over the last year.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children get 14 different vaccinations protecting against 19 different pathogens. Timing is important for many of the vaccines to create the strongest immunity. The CDC recommends leaving two weeks between other vaccines and getting the covid-19 vaccine.  

“We have seen throughout the pandemic that there has been a decline in routine immunizations, and that does concern me greatly as a pediatrician because I know that many children have missed other important vaccines for diseases like measles or whooping cough — which, like Covid-19, can be deadly,” Dr. Lisa Costello, a pediatrician at West Virginia University Medicine Children’s Hospital told CNN.

FDA approves Pfizer covid-19 vaccine in adolescents 12-15

“The FDA’s expansion of the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to include adolescents 12 through 15 years of age is a significant step in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D.

“Today’s action allows for a younger population to be protected from COVID-19, bringing us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic. Parents and guardians can rest assured that the agency undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data, as we have with all of our COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorizations.”

The clinical trials of the Pfizer vaccine consisted of 2,260 US adolescents from 12 to 15 years of age. In the trials the vaccine “demonstrated 100% efficacy and robust antibody responses, and was well tolerated.”
 

Approval of Novavax covid-19 not expected until after June 

Novavax CEO Stanley Erck told the Financial Times that the company won’t be able to apply for authorization of its vaccine in the UK, US and Europe until after June. The delay he says is caused by the long process of gathering all the data required for the regulatory bodies.  

Novavax’s two-dose vaccine has proved 96 per cent efficacy against the original strain of coronavirus and 86 per cent efficacy against the variant first detected in the UK. 

Full details

Indian variant fourth to be designated as a global concern 

The World Health Organization said on Monday that the coronavirus variant first identified in India last year was being classified as a variant of global concern. The B.1.617 variant is the fourth variant to be designated as such, after those first detected in Britain, South Africa and Brazil, requiring heightened tracking and analysis.

Like the other three strains preliminary studies show that it spreads more easily. Indian continued to hold near its record daily highs on Monday, with calls for the government to lock down the second-most populous country.

WHO technical lead on covid-19 Maria Van Kerkhove said more information about the variant and its three sub-lineages would be made available on Tuesday. 

Coronavirus

Why do vaccines make you feel ill?

Almost half of those who are hesitant to receive a covid-19 vaccine, cite the possibility of experiencing side effects after vaccination. 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 on why vaccines can make you feel ill here

 

Michigan has administered over 7,688,179, leaving 35% of the state fully vaccinated. Based on the progress being made, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has stated that "in-person work can resume across all of Michigan, beginning on May 24."

BREAKING NEWS: CNBC reports that FDA approves the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for children ages 12-15. 

Read our coverage on vaccines and children. 

When will kids under 12 be able to receive a covid-19 vaccine?

Why are the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines not used on kids?

This will not be the last pandemic. History teaches us that outbreaks and pandemics are a fact of life. But when the next pandemic comes, the world must be ready – more ready than it was this time.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General
South Africa's President Gets Vaccinated

South Africa warns of ‘vaccine apartheid’ if rich countries hog shots

(Reuters) South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday that if wealthy nations hogged COVID-19 shots while millions in poor countries died waiting for them it would amount to “vaccine apartheid”.

South Africa and India have been pushing for a waiver on some intellectual property (IP) rights for vaccines and medicines at the World Trade Organization.

U.S. President Joe Biden backed the proposal last week, though it may still take months to reach a deal.

Ramaphosa called on South Africans to support the waiver in a weekly newsletter, saying vaccines should be “a global public good”.

“It is about affirming our commitment to the advancement of equality and human rights, not just in our own country but around the world,” he wrote.

“A situation in which the populations of advanced, rich countries are safely inoculated while millions in poorer countries die in the queue would be tantamount to vaccine apartheid.”

Sub-Saharan Africa has administered the fewest vaccines relative to its population of any region, with roughly 8 doses per 1,000 people versus doses per 1,000 people globally, according to the World Health Organization.

Ramaphosa recalled that twenty years ago South Africa faced off against “big pharma” over efforts to import and manufacture affordable generic antiretroviral medicines to treat people with HIV/AIDS.

“Years later, the world is in the grip of another deadly pandemic in the form of COVID-19. And once again, South Africa is waging a struggle that puts global solidarity to the test,” he said.

Ramaphosa said South Africa was one of only five countries on the African continent able to manufacture vaccines and that there was a need for new capacity to be built.

South Africa has ordered enough COVID-19 vaccines for 46 million of its 60 million people via bilateral deals with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Pfizer. The J&J shots will be made locally by Aspen Pharmacare.

Coronavirus

Are vaccines for covid-19 safe in the long term?

Are vaccines for covid-19 safe in the long term?

The University of Pittsburg released results of an online survey they conducted and that found nearly half of adults under sixty-five are hesitant to receive a covid vaccine. Although public health experts have tried to quell nervousness around vaccine side effects, survey respondents cited possible side effects as one of the main reasons for their hesitancy. More than a third of those polled also stated that their “distrust of government” made them unlikely to receive a vaccine.

Although the covid-19 vaccines available were developed on a timescale never seen before, the science and technology needed to create them are over twenty years in the making. In order to expedite the vaccine approval process, the US government allowed stages to occur simultaneously -- cutting a process that can take more than five years down to less than one.

Read our full coverage on the safety of covid-19 vaccines and what is being done to build public trust here

Castle that inspired Dracula story used for covid-19 vaccination marathon 

Romania wants to vaccinate over a quarter of its population by June. The European Union nation of over 19 million people is pushing to inoculate 5 million people to herald in a “return to normality.” Part of that effort includes setting up a covid-19 vaccination center on the periphery of Bran Castle, which is purported to be the inspiration behind Dracula’s home in Bram Stoker’s 19th-century gothic novel “Dracula.” 

Every weekend through May “vaccination marathons” will be held just outside the storied 14th-century hilltop castle. No appointment is needed to get a shot of the Pfizer vaccine, in an attempt to encourage people to protect themselves against covid-19. 

Full story

Covid-19 vaccine right around the corner for vast majority of Americans 

In the US 115.5 million people are now fully vaccinated and at least 46% of adults have received at least one dose of one of the three covid-19 vaccines available. For those that haven’t gotten a jab yet, is has become easier and easier to get the vaccine of your choice. 

According to an analysis done May 4 for CNN by VaccineFinder, 78.8% of people in the United States live within 5 miles of locations that offer all three vaccines. VaccineFinder powers Vaccines.gov, the federal government website where you can search for Covid-19 vaccines by ZIP code.

Searches there show particularly easy access to all three vaccines for people who live in big cities, but even those who live in small towns have a choice of all three, although sometimes it might mean a bit of a drive. 

Full Details

Canada has received 1,272,960 of the 2,025,270 Pfizer doses due this week

Canada has already received over half of the two million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine due to arrive this week.  Moderna delivered one million doses ahead of schedule last week. British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec are all set to expand their respective vaccine rollouts over the next seven days, CTV News reports.

Covid-19 cases and deaths starting to plateau globally - WHO

The World Health Organisation says the global number of coronavirus cases and deaths is plateauing, with declines in most regions around the world including the two worst-affected regions: the Americas and Europe.

"But it's an unacceptably high plateau, with more than 5.4 million reported Covid-19 cases and almost 90,000 deaths last week. Any decline is welcome. But we have been here before. Over the past year, many countries who have experienced a declining trend in cases and deaths, relaxed public health and social measures, too quickly, and individuals have let down their guard, only for those hard-won gains to be lost.There are countries in every region with increasing trends," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press briefing today.

NYC subway stations to offer Covid-19 vaccines

Some New York City subways and LIRR and Metro-North stations are being turned into pop-up Covid-19 vaccination sites this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has confirmed. The Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot dose will be available to commuters from Wednesday to Sunday at the walk-up vaccination sites at: Penn Station, 3 to 8 p.m.; Grand Central Terminal, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Broadway Junction, 3 to 8 p.m.; 179th Street in Jamaica, Queens, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and East 180th Street in The Bronx, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Find out where your nearest walk-up vaccination site is in NYC here:

Novavax

Novavax combined influenza/Covid-19 vaccine shows promise in animal study

(Reuters) Novavax Inc said on Monday its combined flu and Covid-19 vaccine produced functional antibodies against influenza and the coronavirus in a preclinical study. The company said the NanoFlu/NVX-CoV2373 vaccine elicited robust responses to both influenza A and B and protected against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

“Seasonal influenza and Covid-19 combination vaccines will likely be critical to combating emerging Covid-19 variants,” said Russell Wilson, the executive vice president and NanoFlu general manager of Novavax.

Hamsters that received the combined vaccine had heightened levels of Covid-19 antibodies two weeks after the first immunization, which increased significantly after a second dose, compared to animals that received the Covid-19 vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, alone, the company said.

Novavax said it expects to start clinical studies of the combined vaccine by the end of 2021.

New York's colleges and universities will require all students to be vaccinated against Covid-19

New York's state's colleges and universities will require all of their students taking in-person classes in the fall to be vaccinated against Covid-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today. "Let’s make a global statement: you cannot go back to school in September unless you have a vaccine," Cuomo said. "That will be a major motivation to get the vaccination."

According to News 10 NBC, the mandate can only take effect if the federal government approves the vaccines beyond just Emergency Use Authorization. Cuomo says the state expects the FDA to grant this before September.

Over-12s now able to receive Covid-19 vaccine in Alberta

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced on Wednesday that the province’s vaccine rollout will now include anyone over the age of 12 years old, as from today, Monday 10 May.

“Today, I am pleased to announce that by this coming Monday, every single Albertan over the age of 12 will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine,” Kenney said.

The news comes amid word from Health Canada that Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine has been approved for Canadians aged 12 years and over.

Minnesota’s health department reports zero additional Covid-19 deaths

Minnesota's Department of Health reported 1,191 newly confirmed positive Covid-19 cases on Monday but no new deaths due to the virus in the last 24 hours, from about 15,617 newly completed tests. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 588,952 positive cases and 7,231 deaths in the state. It is the second time in 15 days that Minnesota has recorded zero daily deaths.

The state’s rolling average positivity rate is sitting at 5.9%, which is roughly where it’s been plateauing for more than a week. Anything above 5% is considered cause for increased caution. The most recent peak in the positivity rate was in early April, at about 7.5%.

In total, 60% of Minnesotans of 16 years or older have received at least one dose, and 88% of those 65 or older have received at least one dose.

 

Astrazeneca

Single dose of AZ Covid-19 vaccine gives 80% lower risk of death

Data from the rollout of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine shows one dose of the shot results in 80% less risk of death from the disease, Public Health England said on Monday. It also said protection against death from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine rises from approximately 80% after one dose to 97% after two doses in its new analysis.

1

Vaccine hesitancy spread considered

A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds that 64% of American adults have gotten or want a covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible, 15% will wait and see and 19% will either definitely not get one or will only get one if it is required. 

This data matches up with other polling that suggests that roughly 60% to 65% of American adults want a shot or have had one, 15% to 20% will wait and see and 20% don't want one.

A lot of attention has been spent on Republicans being the problem, leading to calls for former President Donald Trump to address the group. 

A look at the data reveals that the vaccine hesitant group, however, are not big Trump lovers. They're actually likely not to be Republican. Instead, many of them are people who are detached from the political process and didn't vote for either major candidate in 2020.

Harry Enten digs into the data as new approaches are required to inject the nation.

Vaccine time off: New York

As if there was any doubt about the importance of getting vaccinated, the fact that you're entitled to time off to go get it should make it even clearer.

Minnesota vaccine push

Hennepin County Public Health are committed to helping ensure that all people in the region who want the vaccine can get it. They are currently offering the Moderna vaccine to anyone 18 years of age or older.

As they say in their promotional material, if you miss happy hours, live music and everything else that involves us getting close together to fully enjoy, then get the jab and we can return to the life we took for granted not so long ago.

UK lowers covid alert level to 3

The United Kingdom's chief medical officers on Monday agreed to lower the covid alert level to 3, which means the epidemic is in general circulation, from 4, which means transmission is high or rising exponentially.

"Thanks to the efforts of the UK public in social distancing and the impact we are starting to see from the vaccination programme, case numbers, deaths and covid hospital pressures have fallen consistently," the UK's four chief medical officers said in a joint statement.

BioNTech committed to deliver 1.8 bln vaccine doses this year

Today BioNTech announced that its order backlog together with partner Pfizer for delivery of covid-19 vaccines this year had grown to 1.8 billion doses, underscoring its role as a major global supplier of immunization shots. That was up from 1.4 billion doses announced in March.

Based on these delivery contracts, the firm said it expects about 12.4 billion euros ($15.1 billion) in revenues from the product this year, including sales, milestone payments from partners and a share of gross profit in the partners’ territories, up from a previous projection of 9.8 billion euros.

The partners, which have been spared the type of production setbacks that hobbled rivals AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, have repeatedly lifted projected delivery volumes amid a global scramble to speed up vaccination campaigns.

Earlier on Monday, BioNTech unveiled plans to set up a new factory in Singapore to produce several hundred million doses of its mRNA vaccines per year from 2023.

BioNTech's partner for China, Fosun Pharma, said on Sunday it would provide a factory with an annual capacity of up to 1 billion doses of the covid-19 vaccine under a joint venture with BioNTech.

Get vaccinated, win a fortune

If you get a dose of a covid-19 vaccine at a Kroger or Walmart in Kentucky, you may be able to get in on a major cash prize.

The Kentucky Lottery announced Monday that, starting immediately, those 18 or older who get a first or second dose of the vaccine at more than 170 Kroger and Walmart locations across Kentucky will receive a coupon for a free CashBall 225 ticket.

The top prize in the nightly CashBall game is $225,000, according to the Kentucky Lottery.

This announcement comes as public officials in the Bluegrass State continue to urge Kentuckians to receive a covid-19 vaccine. As of Sunday, 1,867,037 Kentuckians - or 42% of the commonwealth's population - have been vaccinated. 

Full story from Ben Tobin.

Vaccines work: US records lowest daily covid total

Since the first US covid-19 case was reported in January 2020 in Washington state, more than 32.7 million people have been diagnosed and there have been over 580,000 deaths attributed to it.

Well, post-Joe Biden's rapid vaccine rollout, and despite efforts from some politically obstinate players, the lowest daily total has just been seen.

Japan's Shionogi may roll out covid vaccines this year

The chief executive of Japanese pharmaceutical company Shionogi & Co said it may start supplying covid-19 vaccines later this year, Kyodo News reported on Monday.

Japan started its covid-19 inoculation campaign in February, but Pfizer Inc's vaccine is still the only one approved in the country.

Pancoronavirus: the vaccine for all occasions

The invention of covid-19 vaccines will be remembered as a milestone in the history of medicine, creating in a matter of months what had before taken up to a decade. But Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad, the director of Emerging Infectious Diseases Branch at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Md., isn’t satisfied.

“That’s not fast enough,” he said. More than 2.3 million people around the world have died, and many countries will not have full access to the vaccines for another year or two: “Fast - truly fast - is having it there on day one.”

Now researchers are starting to develop prototypes of a so-called pancoronavirus vaccine, with some promising, if early, results from experiments on animals. Dr. Eric Topol, a professor of molecular medicine at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, thinks scientists should join together in another large-scale vaccine-creation project immediately.

A fascinating insight from Carl Zimmer for the NYT.

Covid-19 and vaccine situation in India is global concern

While life in some rich countries begins to return to a semblance of normality, the global coronavirus crisis is far from over. Official case numbers in India have surpassed 20 million and, globally, the week beginning 26 April was the worst since the pandemic began.

Worldwide, the number of reported new daily infections hovers around 900,000, although this is a huge underestimate. More than a third of these are in India, where infections are still rising.

New Scientist looks at what happens next.

US and others urged to avoid 'vaccine apartheid'

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday that if wealthy nations hogged covid-19 shots while millions in poor countries died waiting for them it would amount to "vaccine apartheid".

South Africa and India have been pushing for a waiver on some intellectual property (IP) rights for vaccines and medicines at the World Trade Organization. US President Joe Biden backed the proposal last week, though it may still take months to reach a deal.

Ramaphosa called on South Africans to support the waiver in a weekly newsletter, saying vaccines should be "a global public good".

"It is about affirming our commitment to the advancement of equality and human rights, not just in our own country but around the world," he wrote.

"A situation in which the populations of advanced, rich countries are safely inoculated while millions in poorer countries die in the queue would be tantamount to vaccine apartheid."

Vaccine development timelines

Much has been made of the rapid approval and deployment of the covid-19 vaccines over the past year and this has been used as an explanation for hesitancy in getting the shot by many.

In this fascinating piece by CEPI, the author points to how, in this challenging and difficult time, we have also seen the ability of humanity to respond with ingenuity and compassion.

When scientists started the hunt for a vaccine against covid-19 a year ago, the aim of developing one within 18 months - far faster than ever before- seemed hugely ambitious.

In the event, however, the first approval of a vaccine following large-scale trials was issued in December, a mere 326 days after the virus was sequenced.

Read more:

Olympics gaffe in Japan amid slow vaccine rollout

A tweet by a top Japanese government advisor downplaying the pandemic and laughing off calls for the Olympics to be cancelled is drawing public ire a few days after Japan extended a state of emergency in Tokyo and three other areas until the end of May, reported Reuters.

Kaetsu University Professor Yoichi Takahashi likened the number of coronavirus cases in Japan to "a ripple," adding "so you're telling me people want to cancel the Olympics for this? lol lol."

The tweet has garnered over 13,000 retweets since he posted it on Sunday.

"I can't believe that a special government advisor is a person who would belittle the deaths of people just to justify hosting the Olympic Games," said one Twitter user.

Japan has tried to reassure its public that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which have been rescheduled for 23 July - 8 August this year, can be held amid a coronavirus pandemic.

With just over 10,000 fatalities, Japan has suffered fewer deaths than other countries, but has lagged in rolling out its vaccine programme and seen a surge in cases in recent weeks.

Takahashi, a former finance ministry bureaucrat, is known to be close to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and met with him as recently as a week ago, according to local media.

When asked about Takahashi's comments during a parliamentary hearing on Monday, Suga said he "will not comment on what Takahashi said in his personal capacity."

The Suga cabinet's approval ratings dipped to a new low of 40% according to a poll conducted by broadcaster JNN last week.

The same poll shows 37% of respondents thought the Olympics should be cancelled, 33% believed that the event should be held with limited spectators, and 28% thought it should be postponed.

J&J and AstraZeneca vaccine doubt in Norway

Norway should exclude the covid-19 vaccines made by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson from its inoculation programme due to a risk of rare but harmful side-effects, a government-appointed commission said on Monday.

Those who volunteer to take either vaccines should however be allowed to do so, a majority of the commission said, as it emphasised the importance of dispelling any vaccine hesitancy. 

Norway suspended the AstraZeneca vaccine rollout on 11 March after a small numbof younger inoculated people were hospitalised for a combination of blood clots, bleeding and a low platelet count, some of whom later died.

EU says 'no' to new AstraZeneca contract

The European Union has opted not to renew an order for AstraZeneca to supply its coronavirus vaccine after June. The decision comes as French President Emmanuel Macron said the bloc will focus on jabs from other pharmaceutical companies in the future.

It follows a high-profile dispute with the pharmaceutical company over the supply of vaccines to the EU earlier this year.

A day earlier, the European Commission threw its support behind the Pfizer-BioNTech jab by signing a contract extension for a potential 1.8 billion doses through 2023.

Philip Andrew Churm reports.

Vaccine mistruths: African Bishop puts lives at risk

Bishop David Oyedepo, the General Overseer of the Living Faith Church International, has urged the Nigerian authorities to come to him for a lasting solution to the covid-19 pandemic. Let's make this abundantly clear, he is not an expert when it comes to viruses.

Speaking on Sunday during the 40th anniversary thanksgiving service of the church in the Ota Cathedral in Ogun State, he said, “They should come to me to find out how to deal with covid-19 at no cost.” He forgot to add that the free advice was mainly due to him not being an expert in the subject matter.

In the same breathe, Oyedepo warned his members not to take the vaccine, describing it as a “deadly thing,” again forgetting to add his lack of medical expertise.

Full story below on a man that will put his congregation's lives, and those of their families, at risk.

Pfizer vaccine exports backed by White House

The Biden administration is supporting Pfizer Inc.’s move to begin exporting US-made doses of its coronavirus vaccine, as the White House starts to unleash production for shot-starved nations abroad.

“We are glad to see that they are working with other countries to help them meet their supply needs,” Jeff Zients, President Joe Biden’s Covid-19 response coordinator, told Bloomberg News in a statement. He said the company is ahead of schedule in its commitments to supply the US.

The governments of Mexico and Canada said last week that they expected to begin receiving doses of Pfizer’s vaccine from the US, the first time the company’s American-made shots are known to have been delivered to any buyer other than the American government.

Full story below.

Vaccine passports to benefit businesses - Fitzgibbon

Businesses in Quebec should be able to use vaccine passports to make their workplaces safer for staff and clients, Quebec's economy minister said, offering a first glimpse of how the controversial system might work in the province.

Starting Thursday, Quebec will begin issuing digital proof, in the form of a QR code, to people who have received a dose of a covid-19 vaccine.

A QR, or quick response, code is a barcode that can be scanned using a cellphone app to get a link, or a piece of information. 

Health Minister Christian Dubé has insisted that the QR code, which will supplement the paper document already being distributed, is not itself a vaccine passport.

Coronavirus US

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

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, accused 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.”

A reminder, if one was needed, that the views of experts in their field should be given a pinch more credibility than a shock-jock trying to increase his fortune.

Vaccine patent lawsuit for Pfizer and BioNTech

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.

As per the article, Allele Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals Inc. sued Pfizer and BioNTech last year in the US District Court for the Southern District of California, alleging the companies used its patented research tool to develop and test their vaccine candidate.

Pfizer and BioNTech argued the suit should be dismissed because their alleged use was protected under a patent law safe harbor.

Full story:

Blockage for transit worker vaccination

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

“There’s a group that’s going to take a lot of convincing to get a vaccine,” said Patrick Warren, the MTA’s chief safety and security officer. “And it’s not going to be easy.”

The push to vaccinate more employees at the regional transit agency comes as workers are increasingly returning to office buildings, with subway ridership data showing trips now regularly top 2 million on weekdays - or about 35% of pre-pandemic levels.

Full story below.

Coronavirus

Why do vaccines make you feel ill?

Since 3 May, the US has administered over 10 million vaccine doses. Leading the vaccination charge were Nevada, Georgia, and Mississippi who vaccinated the greatest percent of residents since 3 May. Georgia has vaccinated over four percent of its population since 3 May, while Nevada and Mississippi increased their percent of residents who are fully vaccinated by three percent.

States with the lowest vaccination rates are Wyoming, Alaska, Alabama, and Tennessee. In Wyoming, only fifteen percent of the population is fully vaccinated and the rate of vaccination is relatively slow compared to other states.

This is all great news, but many of those in line or back home are asking: why does the vaccine sometimes make you feel ill?

Vaccine dose 100,000 celebrated by Mets

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.

Vaccines still haven't reach all countries

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.

Low vaccine effectiveness for transplant patients

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

Almost 35% of US population now fully vaccinated

At the time of reporting, a total of 114,258,244 Americans have received both doses of the covid-19 vaccine. That represents a whopping 34.4% of the population.

152,116,936 people, or 45.8%, have received at least one dose.

Track US covid-19 rollout data via the CDC

Covid-19 vaccine news: welcome

Hello and welcome to our dedicated live blog for Monday 10 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 and around the world.

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