Covid-19 vaccine in the US: summary 11 May 2021
New York City is offering US tourists a free souvenir to take home with them, a jab of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson covid-19 vaccine at iconic sites.
The city will let out-of-towners visiting get a covid-19 shot in an effort to draw more tourists to boost the economy and give local residents peace of mind.
Debunking covid-19 vaccination myths for kids
HuffPost - The Food and Drug Administration on Monday authorized use of the Pfizer covid-19 vaccine for children in the US who are between 12 and 15 years olds, a step that infectious disease and public health experts believe is crucial to help the country return to some level of “normality.” It’s also exciting news for many parents who are eager to get their children vaccinated, especially after grappling with how to proceed when they are fully immunized but their kids are not.
But plenty of other parents are hesitant.
With all the covid-19 vaccine misinformation circulating, it’s understandable that some parents have concerns, and why, after a difficult year of pandemic parenting and so many unknowns, they’re wary of signing up their children for something they’ve been incorrectly told could be harmful.
US stadiums and airlines are encouraging customers to download the covid-19 vaccine passport app from Clear to speed vaccination proof for entry.
Pfizer asks UK regulator to approve vaccine for teenagers
Pfizer Inc has formally asked the UK medical regulator for permission to use its Covid-19 vaccine for 12-to 15-year olds in Britain, the Telegraph reported on Tuesday. "We can confirm that the companies have submitted a request to the MHRA to expand the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine in the UK to adolescents", the report said, citing a Pfizer spokesman.
Pfizer and the MHRA did not immediately response to Reuters requests for comment. The move comes as US regulators on Monday authorized Pfizer and BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine for use in children as young as 12, widening the country's inoculation program as vaccination rates have slowed significantly.
Ontario will pause first doses of AstraZeneca vaccine
The Canadian province of Ontario will stop offering first doses of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine because of evidence that the risk of rare blood clots is somewhat higher than previously estimated, provincial officials said on Tuesday.
"This decision was made out of an abundance of caution due to an observed increase in the rare blood clotting known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia," said Chief Medical Officer David Williams. "We are reviewing the data to consider options for the use of AstraZeneca for second doses and more broadly moving forward."
Spain approves J&J Covid-19 vaccine for under 60s
Spain has approved the use of Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine for people under the age of 60, Spanish El Pais newspaper reported, citing regional government sources. El Pais said those aged 50 to 59 would be the first to receive the jab, followed by those aged over 18 who belong to a 'vulnerable' group.
Almost 35% of US population now fully vaccinated
The US Covid-19 vaccination rollout continues with 152,819,904 individuals, 46% of the population, having now received at least one dose. As of Tuesday, 115,530,780 people have received both doses and are fully vaccinated, representing 34.8% of the population
Seatle Times reports on vaccine hesitancy after the results of a Poll by the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research were released.
"Just 11% of people who remain unvaccinated say they definitely will get the shot, while 34% say they definitely won’t, according to the poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research."
Read our coverage on vaccine hesitancy here.
White House reporter, Kellan Howell tweets "President Biden will announce today new steps to reach his goal of getting 70% of adult Americans vaccinated by July 4, including free Uber and Lyft rides to vaccine sites and on-sight clinics at community colleges across the country."
Just a few months ago, 85% of all counties in the US were experiencing high covid-19 transmission rates and increased community risk. This morning that is down to 33% of counties.
Watch top public health officials and experts in the US testify before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on the status of our covid-19 response.
Pfizer Vaccine Approval: When and where can children 12-15 get vaccinated?
A major milestone in the fight to end the pandemic in the US came Monday as the FDA approved Pfizer’s vaccine for children between the ages of 12-15.
On Monday 10 May, the Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine for children between the ages of twelve and fifteen. With vaccine hesitancy clouding the chances that the US is able to end the pandemic, vaccinating children will be instrumental to increasing herd immunity around the country.
Where can children get vaccinated?
Parents and guardians can book appointments for their children to get vaccinated the same way they would for themselves. The CDC offers a variety of tools including “Vaccine Finder” which allows vaccine goers to find and book appointments in their area. This tool is especially useful as users can filter by vaccine type which is important since the Pfizer vaccine is the only one approved for those between twelve and eighteen.
Full story here.
During a call with investors, BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin stated that the company does not believe waiving intellectual property rights is necessary to speed up production saying that "together with the other vaccine developers, in the next 9 to 12 months, that there will be more than enough vaccine produced, and there is absolutely no need for waiving patents."
This comes after the United States government said that it will advocate for the rights to be waived during negotiations at the World Trade Organization.
McDonald's, one of the largest chains in the US, will begin a public campaign push to encourage vaccination. The company, who is working in partnership with the White House, will be releasing cups later this month that read "We can do this" with information on how to get vaccinated.
Britain seeking constructive engagement on vaccine waivers
Britain is seeking constructive engagement with the United States and other World Trade Organization members on the issue of IP waivers for covid-19 vaccines, a government spokesman said after pressure from charities to back US proposals.
"We are engaging with the US and other WTO members constructively on the TRIPS waiver issue, but we need to act now to expand production and distribution worldwide," the government spokesman said in an email to Reuters.
"Any negotiations in the WTO on a waiver will require unanimous support, which could take a significant amount of time. So while we will constructively engage in the IP discussions, we must continue to push ahead with action now including voluntary licensing agreements for vaccines."
Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP
Vaccine hesitancy a global issue
According to The Economist, in a Gallup survey of 300,000 people across 117 countries, the pollster found that only 68% of adults would agree to be vaccinated if a free jab were available to them; 29% said they would refuse.
Moody's upgrades outlook for global aviation industry to 'positive'
Moody's has upgraded its outlook for the global airlines industry to "positive" from "negative", as the ratings agency expects steady vaccine rollouts across geographies to drive a rebound in commercial air travel.
"While the continuing pandemic means there is a risk of further disruption to air travel in various countries at various times, we expect an increase in vaccinations to lower border restrictions and increase demand for air travel over the next 12 to 18 months," Moody's said in a note on Tuesday.
In terms of domestic air travel, Moody's noted that China, the United States and Australia are leading the recovery. The ratings agency expects the strong recovery in US domestic travel, which began in March, to spread globally over different time-frames.
The US State Department on Monday eased travel advisory ratings for the United Kingdom and Israel after raising both countries to its highest warning level last month.
"The restoration of the ability to travel will relieve the tremendous pent-up demand to fly to visit friends and relatives and for vacations," it said. "With offices in many countries opening by fall 2021, this will facilitate the beginning of the corporate travel recovery," Moody's added.
Moody's expects the industry to sustain operating losses and negative operating margins for all of 2021, although to a lesser degree than in 2020.
Photo: REUTERS/Mike Blake
EMA head sees OK for BioNTech vaccine in 12-year-olds potentially in late May
Pfizer and BioNTech's covid-19 vaccine could potentially receive European approval for use in 12-year old children as early as the end of this month, the EU drug regulator's executive director told daily Handelsblatt.
"At the moment, the target we give for approval is sometime in June. We are trying to see whether we can accelerate this to the end of May," European Medicines Agency (EMA) head Emer Cooke was quoted as saying in a joint interview by Handelsblatt and other European newspapers.
"We have been promised data from the review done by Canada in the next couple of weeks and this could expedite the review," she said, adding that it was up to EU member states when to start giving the shot to the 12-15 year-old age group after EMA's go-ahead.
EMA started evaluating use of the Comirnaty-branded vaccine in the 12-15 age group on May 3, saying it expected the results of its review in June.
US regulators authorised the vaccine for 12-year olds on Monday. It had previously been cleared for use in people as young as 16 in the United States and in Europe.
Photo by Luis ACOSTA / AFP
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.
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. India 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.
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.
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.”
Norwegian commission recommends dropping AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson
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.
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.
Almost 35% of US population now fully vaccinated
At the time of reporting, a total of 115,530,780 Americans have received both doses of the covid-19 vaccine. That represents 34.8% of the population.
152,819,904 people, or 46%, 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 Tuesday 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.