Covid-19 vaccine in the US: summary June 2
US vaccine latest news live: Wednesday 02 June 2021
- Can my employer ask for my vaccine card? (Full details)
. US to deliver 80 million doses to COVAX facility
- Patent waiver talks stall at WTO
- New Mexico launches vaccine lottery
- WHO grants China's Sinovac emergency authorization
- Germany lowers covid-19 risk level for first time in 2021
- Japan confident Olympic Games will go ahead
- North Korea COVAX vaccine delivery delayed
- India in talks over Sputnik Light vaccine
- GAVI in talks with China over expanding COVAX facility
- Dr Fauci points to likely need for booster shots
- 50% of US adults now fully vaccinated, as Biden calls the milestone "a big deal"
- CureVac vaccine approval expected in June
- Pfizer and BioNTech pledge to give one billion doses to low- and middle-income countries by end of year
- California won’t create vaccine passport, but large events may require vaccine/test proof
- US vaccine roll-out to children aged 12-15
- Over 136 million US citizens now fully vaccinated (track CDC data here)
- US covid-19: 33.3 million cases / 595,822 deaths (live updates from JHU)
Scroll through some of our related articles:
The White House is pulling out all the stops to free the US from the covid-19 virus and reach President Biden’s stated goal of getting 70 percent of adult Americans vaccinated with at least one shot. The current vaccination rate in the US stands just shy of 63% of adults 18 and over having received a minimum of one shot.
President Biden called on every American to commit to five actions in June to help meet his vaccination goal by Independence Day and visit the White House.
New York was the first state to introduce a vaccine passport, the Excelsior Pass, to assist the private sector to easily track the vaccination status of their customers. After a few short weeks of use, some users are reporting issues.
Restrictions are being lifted across much of the US which means workers are being called back to their workplace, but some are worried about whether it will be safe. The federal government agency that protects employees from discrimination, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), issued new guidance on Friday on whether employers can require their workers to get vaccinated.
Employers can legally require their employees to take safety measures to ensure a safe workplace for all staff, as well as other vaccines, this now includes getting vaccinated against covid-19. However, the agency recognizes that some individuals or groups could have a harder time complying with a vaccination requirement and that this should be taken into consideration.
Illinois law makers “paved the way” for potential vaccination lottery
Illinois has dabbled in incentives to get more of the state’s residents to get vaccinated against covid-19. The biggest incentive may be on its way with the approval of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s $42 billion budget. At a news conference the Governor hinted that his state may be the next to implement a scheme that is being tried in other states to encourage people to go for their jab.
Specifics have yet to be announced but up to $7 million in prizes could be awarded to adults and up to $3 million in “scholarships or educational awards” for people younger than 18. This comes as the state reported its lowest daily vaccination rate since the end of January.
No vaccine is 100 percent effective, but by being fully vaccinated people can avoid severe sickness and reduce the possibility of spreading the disease.
In clinical trials the three covid-19 vaccines that have been approved for emergency use were proven to be very effective at stopping the spread of the virus. Now with over 41 percent of the US population fully vaccinated that efficacy is sustaining even in light of new variants becoming dominant.
Vaccines teach our bodies to fight off a disease, but even so sometimes the immune system doesn’t develop the necessary protection, not to mention that viruses mutate as they are given time to spread and people to effect.
AstraZeneca seeks new production partner in US for covid-19 vaccine
Nearly seven weeks ago the federal regulators stopped production of covid-19 vaccines for Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca at the Emergent BioSolutions plant near Baltimore. That move came after 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine were accidentally contaminated. Since then, AstraZeneca has been looking for a new partner to produce its vaccine.
AstraZeneca may have found its partner in the form of Catalent which is already producing its vaccine. Although AstraZeneca isn’t approved for use in the US yet, the extra doses could be used for export as part of the Biden administration’s promise to share tens of millions of doses with the rest of the world.
First winners of New York "Get a Shot to Make Your Future" announced
New York like several other states implemented a program to boost vaccination rates that were lagging. Last week New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the "Get a Shot to Make Your Future" program which will award 50 full scholarships to vaccinated young people as part of an effort to encourage children between 12 and 17 to get their Covid-19 vaccinations.
Today the first 10 winners were announced and 10 more will be announced over the next four weeks. “Our greatest need is with young New Yorkers who make up a large percent of positive cases and have the lowest vaccination percentage in the state," Governor Cuomo said in a statement to present the program. Winners of New York's random drawings will get full in-state tuition, room and board, and other costs paid at the State University of New York or the City University of New York. The scholarships will cover four years of school, or five years for certain programs.
The week prior New Yorkers who get vaccinated between Monday and Friday were given a lottery ticket with a chance to win as much as $5 million. The odds of winning were 1 in 9 according to the Governor’s office.
Can you mix covid-19 vaccines? Is it safe?
Worried about a possible mix-up where you end up with two doses from two different vaccines? New reports show that risk of complications is low and that there could be possible benefits of receiving two different shots.
Read our full coverage for more information on the safety and possible benefits.
Mexico discuss Covid-19 vaccines ahead of Kamala Harris visit
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Mexico's foreign minister on Wednesday discussed cooperation on migration and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines ahead of a visit to Mexico by US Vice President Kamala Harris, the Mexican government said.
Blinken and Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, who met in San Jose, Costa Rica discussed progress towards addressing Covid-19 and economic recovery, as well as issues related to regional democracy and governance, and security, according to US State Department spokesman Ned Price.
Equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines in the region was part of the discussion, Mexico said. Mexico has complained that richer countries have hoarded vaccine supplies, leaving poorer countries to struggle to secure doses.
The leaders also discussed preparations ahead of the Harris visit to Mexico on 8 June, the statement said. Harris, who is tasked by President Joe Biden with efforts to deal with an increase in migration at the US Southern border, is next week scheduled to meet with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in person for the first time.
Argentina to start producing Sputnik V vaccine after getting Russian approval
Argentina will begin to produce the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine locally after test batches from the South American country passed quality tests conducted by Russia's Gamaleya Institute, health minister Carla Vizzotti said on Wednesday.
In April, Argentine firm Laboratorios Richmond produced test batches of the vaccine, with plans to scale up once Russia had carried out quality inspections. Argentina has spearheaded use of the Russian vaccine in the region.
"The Gamaleya Institute has confirmed the quality control of three consecutive batches of component one and three consecutive batches of component two," Vizzotti told reporters. "Yesterday we were informed that the quality control was satisfactory and that we are going to advance in the import of antigens of component 1 and 2 so that Argentina is part of the Sputnik V vaccine production chain," she added.
The announcement comes as Argentina battles a harsh second wave of Covid-19 infections. The virus has left 78,733 dead and 3.8 million infected in Argentina since the start of the pandemic last year.
Covid-19 cases rising again, but not in North America - health agency
(Reuters) - Lack of effective political leadership has hampered efforts to stop the Covid-19 pandemic in Latin America, where infections are dangerously on the rise again, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday.
While the United States, Canada and Mexico are reporting overall reductions in Covid-19 cases and deaths, new infections are increasing in the rest of the Americas, PAHO Director Carissa Etienne said. Colombia is reporting the highest rate of infections in South America, where new cases have nearly tripled in some regions, and Brazil is seeing a rise in new infections and hospitalizations, she said.
But without effective leadership, Latin American countries are failing in their response to the illness. "Sadly, across our region we've seen misinformation about Covid-19 sow doubt on proven health measures, often in the context of political disputes," Etienne said in a briefing. "By stoking controversy where there is none, our leaders are sending mixed messages to the public and standing in the way of effective measures to control the virus," she said.
Of greatest concern now is Haiti, where despite sharp increases in cases, hospitalizations and deaths, public health measures required to stop transmission are being largely ignored by the population, Etienne said. She said it was encouraging that Haiti's government has accepted the AstraZeneca vaccine and doses will be arriving soon through the COVAX facility led by the World Health Organization.
Latin America and the Caribbean have the world's highest death toll from Covid-19 in proportion to its population, with at least 33,289,000 reported infections and 1,043,000 reported deaths, according to a Reuters tally. Brazil leads the region with the most new cases and deaths, and a 7-day average of 1,881 fatalities per day. Argentina and Colombia follow in infections and deaths.
Summit secures $2.4 billion for COVAX facility
Dozens of countries on Wednesday pledged nearly $2.4 billion to the COVAX vaccine-sharing plan to widen availability of covid-19 shots to people in poorer nations who have so far come up short.
The announcements, ranging from $2,500 from island nation Mauritius to millions of dollars and doses from larger, wealthier countries, came during a video summit hosted by Japan and the GAVI Vaccine Alliance, which leads the COVAX facility alongside the World Health Organization.
"We have taken a big step towards 'one world protected'," said Jose Manuel Barroso, GAVI vaccine alliance chairman. The fresh funds brought total COVAX financing to $9.6 billion, he added.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, whose government pledged $800 million, called the result "an extremely significant and meaningful step" toward equitable vaccine access.
The COVAX mechanism, which has distributed 77 million doses to 127 countries, aims to accelerate access to 1.8 billion vaccine doses, covering nearly 30% of poorer nations' populations.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres described the pledge drive as putting COVAX "on a war-footing to finance the fight".
Photo: REUTERS/Henny Romero
China "can provide a billion vaccines" for world use
China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) has the capacity to provide more than 1 billion covid-19 vaccine doses to the rest of the world in the second half of this year, the firm's chairman said late on Wednesday.
That level of supply capability assumes vaccination demand in China is being met, Liu said at a panel of the Global Health Forum of the Boao Forum for Asia.
CDC issues travel advice
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended people should take a covid-19 test 3-5 days before any plans to travel to help prevent the spread of new variants.
Australia, Europe bumps up COVAX donations
Australia and European countries announced fresh contributions to the COVAX doses-sharing mechanism on Wednesday in a bid to widen vaccination of people in low- and middle-income countries.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that his country was making a further $50 million donation to the GAVI vaccine alliance's COVAX facility, bringing its total to $130 million.
Spanish Prime Minister Sánchez, who announced a donation of 15 million doses and 50 million euros ($61 million), said: "Only by leading by example we will be effective in preaching solidarity."
Sweden, Austria and Luxembourg were among other countries to announce new donations, as well.
Victoria issues warning over "quicker and more contagious" variant
The Acting Premier of Victoria has released a statement over a new variant in the Australian state that reportedly can be transmitted with minimal contact, with one in 10 new cases reportedly being transmitted among strangers.
"Five years of progress towards the eradication of working poverty have been undone"
At least 220 million people are expected to remain unemployed globally this year, well above pre-pandemic levels, with a weak labour market recovery exacerbating existing inequalities, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Wednesday.
The United Nations agency forecast the outlook improving to 205 million unemployed next year - still well above the 187 million recorded in 2019 before the coronavirus crisis wreaked havoc.
According to ILO models, that equates to a global unemployment rate of 6.3% this year, falling to 5.7% next year but still up on the pre-pandemic rate of 5.4% in 2019.
"Employment growth will be insufficient to make up for the losses suffered until at least 2023," the ILO said in a report, World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2021.
Stefan Kuehn, ILO economist and lead author of the report, told Reuters that the true impact on the labour market was even greater when reduced working hours imposed on many workers and other factors were accounted for.
All told, it estimated that working hours losses in 2020 relative to 2019 amounted to the equivalent of 144 million full-time jobs in 2020, a shortfall that still stood at 127 million in the second quarter of this year.
"Unemployment does not capture the impact on the labour market," Kuehn said, noting that whereas hiring in the United States had resumed after massive job losses, many workers elsewhere, particularly in Europe, remained on reduced-hours schemes.
Women, young people and the 2 billion people working in informal sectors have been hardest hit, with 108 million more workers worldwide now categorized as poor or extremely poor compared to 2019, it said.
"Five years of progress towards the eradication of working poverty have been undone," the report said.
Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP
AstraZeneca says working with governments to boost COVAX donations
AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot on Wednesday said the firm was working with the COVAX vaccine-sharing mechanism and governments to boost covid-19 vaccine supplies to the scheme, including through donations of doses.
"Restrictions in international trading create ripple effects in the supply chain. It is also clear that vaccine donations are essential," Soriot said, welcoming a pledge by Japan to increase its support for the COVAX programme.
"We are working with COVAX and other governments to unlock further supplies."
US to detail global distribution plan for 80 million vaccine doses
The United States will announce in the next two weeks how it plans to distribute 80 million covid-19 vaccine doses it has pledged globally, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday.
Speaking at a joint news conference with Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado, Blinken said the administration of Joe Biden would focus on equitable distribution of the vaccines and not tie political strings to the process, a criticism at times directed at China.
"Sometime in the next week to two weeks – we will be announcing the process by which we will distribute those vaccines, what the criteria are, how we will do it," Blinken said during his first trip as secretary of state to Latin America, which is fighting to contain covid-19.
"We will distribute vaccines without political requirements of those receiving them."
On Monday, Biden said his administration would send at least 20 million doses of the Pfizer Inc/BioNTech SE , Moderna Inc and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, on top of 60 million AstraZeneca Plc doses he had already planned to give to other countries.
The Biden administration has been under pressure to share vaccines to help curb worsening outbreaks from India to Brazil, where health experts fear new, more contagious coronavirus variants could undermine the effectiveness of available shots.
Blinken said the announcement would reveal the criteria and details of the process but that the United States would focus on the equitable distribution and work in coordination with the COVAX vaccine sharing facility.
Photo by Ezequiel BECERRA / AFP
GAVI in talks with Sinovac to expand COVAX supply
The GAVI vaccine alliance is in talks with Chinese drugmaker Sinovac Biotch to expand the COVAX dose-sharing portfolio available to poor countries following the World Health Organization's approval of its covid-19 vaccine on Tuesday, a GAVI spokesperson said.
"Gavi, on behalf of the COVAX Facility, is in dialogue with several manufacturers, including Sinovac, to expand and diversify the portfolio further and secure access to additional doses for Facility participants," she said on Wednesday.
Photo by Gent SHKULLAKU / AFP
How many other states have implemented vaccine lotteries?
Eight states, including New Mexico which just announced theirs today, have established covid-19 lotteries.
California’s vaccine lottery is the largest to be announced and will give away $1.5 million to ten Californians who have received at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine.
On 25 Colorado Governor Jared Polis unveiled the “Colorado Comeback Cash Vaccine Drawing” which will select five vaccinated residents to win $1 million.
Since the contest has been announced the percent of residents who have received at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine increased one point to 45.4%.
On 25 May, Governor John Carney introduced “ DE Wins!,” which described as “a public education and incentive program aimed at increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates in Delaware.”
All individuals above the age of twelve, who have been vaccinated “will be entered to win $5,000 in cash and additional prizes in twice-weekly drawings conducted by the Delaware Lottery.” On 30 June, two residents that have received a vaccine will be eligible to win the $302,000 grand prize.
On 20 May, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced the $2 Million VaxCash Promotion which gives those vaccinated in the state a chance to win $40,000.
On 4 July, one person will be selected to win the $400,000 grand prize.
Ohio was the first state to announce a vaccine lottery for both young people and adults. The first of five drawings to select a $1 million winner was held on 26 May.
Vaccinated individuals in Ohio now have four more chances to win. The state has announced that the vaccination rate did begin to increase after Governor Mike DeWine announced the contest.
On 21 May, Governor Brown of Oregon, introduced the “Take Your Shot” Program. Residents of Oregon have until late June to get vaccinated to have a chance of wining, $10,000 (37 winners) or $1 million (1 winner).
Younger Oregonians could win one of five $100,000 scholarships to an Oregon university or colleges.
On 1 June, West Virginia became one of the latest states to launch a covid-19 vaccine lottery. The state will be giving away cash prizes as well as goods like riffles and trucks.
New Mexico becomes the latest state to announce a covid-19 vaccine lottery. The Vax-to-Max program will give away $10 million worth of prizes.
Children aged from 12 years upwards are now eligible for vaccination in all US states according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
WHO approves China's Sinovac
The World Health Organization has granted emergency use authorization to China's Sinovac covid-19 vaccine, making it the second China-made shot to gain approval following Sinopharm.
The approval of Sinovac will boost the COVAX facility's reserves of covid vaccines, which is suffering from shortages due to an Indian export suspension.
Read the full story from Reuters
May vaccine update: one dose vs fully vaccinated
As of May, 62 percent of adults in the US have received at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine.
The percentage of fully vaccinated people stands around 41%, up from the 31% reached in April.
President Biden has ordered US intelligence to conduct further research into the origin of covid-19 after scientists expressed concerns with the initial study.
Covid-19 vaccine news: welcome
Hello and welcome to our dedicated live blog for Wednesday 02 June 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.