Covid-19 vaccine US news summary: Sunday 6 June 2021

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US Vaccine live updates | 6 June 2021

Headlines

- New York the first US state to introduce a vaccine passport (find out more)

- US to deliver 80 million doses to COVAX facility

- China reports first case of H10N3 bird flu in a human (full story)

- Possible benefits of receiving two different covid vaccines, per new data (find out more)

- WHO grants China's Sinovac emergency authorization

- Japan confident Olympic Games will go ahead as 10,000 volunteers stand down

- India in talks over Sputnik Light vaccine

- GAVI in talks with China over expanding COVAX facility

- Over 50% of US adults now fully vaccinated; Biden calls the milestone "a big deal"

- 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

- Over 138 million in the US now fully vaccinated (track CDC data here)

US covid-19: 33.36 million cases / 597,624 deaths (live updates from JHU)

Take a look at some of our related articles:

Vaccine

EMA highlights guidance not to use heparin for Covid-19 vaccine-linked clots

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Monday highlighted guidance for doctors which calls for them to avoid heparin when treating rare blood clots and low platelet counts in patients who received the Vaxzevria  (AstraZeneca) or Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccines.

Europe's drugs regulator, in a statement seeking to boost awareness of proper treatment, focused on guidance from the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH), which has concluded "management should be initiated with non-heparin anticoagulation upon suspicion" of vaccine-linked clotting.

"For the management of suspected (thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome), especially if no local guideline is available, the taskforce recommends that healthcare professionals consider the ISTH interim guidance," the EMA said in its statement.

Read the EMA's full statement here

Sputnik V

Russia's Sputnik Light vaccine approved for use in Congo

Russia's single-dose Sputnik Light vaccine against Covid19 has been approved for use in the Republic of the Congo, Russia's RDIF sovereign wealth fund said on Monday. The RDIF markets the vaccine abroad.

US Covid-19 vaccines will soon come to Taiwan, says president

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Monday that Covid-19 vaccines promised by the United States would soon arrive in the island. "I promise that the government will do everything in its power to strive for a more stable supply of vaccines," she said in a live broadcast from her office.

Barbershops pitch in to get their communities vaccinated

Earlier this year, President Joe Biden set a goal to have 70 percent of Americans get at least one shot of a covid-19 vaccine by 4 July. To get there, states and cities are getting creative in their vaccine distribution. Gabriel Kramer from Ideastream, the PBS station in Cleveland, reports on how the state's small local businesses — like barbershops — are becoming vaccination sites.

Despite reduced efficacy it's better to be vaccinated 

Getting both doses of the two-dose covid-19 vaccines is the only way to ensure the recipient obtains the maximum efficacy, but researchers in the UK have found that it may be “critical” to provide protection against the emerging variants. 

A new study published in the Lancet found that the Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccine had reduced effectiveness against variants of concern. The researchers studied five variants of covid-19 and found Pfizer-BioNTechs's vaccine worked to some extent against all five variants. 

However, the antibody response was significantly lower with just one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against the Delta variant compared to the Alpha strain which is now the dominant strain in the US.

CORONAVIRUS US

Can you get covid-19 after second vaccine dose?

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 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. There are now several variants of the covid-19 virus present in the US, but so far, the vaccines have proven effective at keeping the vast majority of vaccinated people safe from infection.

Full story

The United States will donate 750,000 doses of covid-19 vaccines to Taiwan, said Sen. Tammy Duckworth, one of three US senators who made a brief visit to the island Sunday morning as it battles its worst coronavirus outbreak of the pandemic.

The US has administered 301,638,578 doses of covid-19 vaccines in the country and distributed 371,520,735 doses as of Sunday morning, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

How effective is the Pfizer vaccine against the variants?

The researchers studied five variants, the original strain discovered in China, an un-named strain that was dominant in Europe during the first wave, the Alpha variant first seen in the UK, the Beta variant discovered in South Africa and the latest variant Delta which appeared in India.

Comparing the neutralizing antibody concentrations among the variants they found Pfizer-BioNTechs's vaccine worked to some extent against all five variants. People that had been fully vaccinated with Pfizer-BioTech had levels 2.6 times lower against the Alpha variant, 5 times lower against the Beta variant and 6 times lower against the Delta variant.

However, the antibody response was significantly lower against the Delta variant compared to the Alpha strain which is now the dominant strain in the US. In the lab experiment, 79 percent of people had neutralizing antibodies against the original strain, dropping to 50 percent for the Alpha variant, 32 percent for the Beta variant, and 25 percent for the Delta variant.

Full story

California vaccine lottery: 4 June winners

The first fifteen winners of the $50,000 cash prizes were selected at random by Governor Gavin Newsom at 10 am on Friday morning, 4 June. Due to privacy rules, the winners will not be made public unless they give permission for their names to be published. The only information known about the 15 June 4 winners is their counties of residence, which are:

Alameda County

Los Angeles County (3 winners)

Mendocino County

Orange County

San Diego County (3 winners)

San Francisco County (2 winners)

San Luis Obispo County

Santa Clara County (3 winners)

Are the two doses of Pfizer more effective against the strains?

Getting both doses of the two-dose covid-19 vaccines is the only way to ensure the recipient obtains the maximum efficacy, but researchers in the UK have found that it may be “critical” to provide protection against the emerging variants.

A new study published in the Lancet found that the Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccine had reduced effectiveness against variants of concern with the lowest against the Delta variant first discovered in India. The research team analyzed antibodies in the blood of healthy adults between the ages 33-52, up to 3 months after receiving their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech covid-19 vaccine.

Full story

US NEWS

California Vaccine Lottery winners on June 4 - How to find out if you won

California is one of several states that has launched a vaccine lottery aimed at incentivizing more people to get vaccinated.

The Golden State is offering 10 grand prizes of $1.5 million to Californians who have had at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine as part of its "Vax for the Win" vaccine incentive program. The winners will be announced on June 15, coinciding with the landmark reopening of the Californian economy.

There are also 30 prizes worth $50,000 up for grabs for those eligible. Half of the $50,000 prize winners were selected on Friday, 4 June, with the remaining 15 to be announced on Friday 11 June. In addition, the first two million Californians to "start and complete their covid-19 vaccination" will receive a $50 virtual gift card eligible at various outlets including Safeway, Ralph's and Alberton's.

It is not necessary to sign up to be in with a chance to win, all California residents who have at least one vaccine dose are automatically entered into the lottery.

Full story

US, India, China account for 60% of covid vaccine doses distributed: WHO

Two billion covid-19 vaccine doses have been distributed globally, of which about 60% have gone to just three countries - the US, India and China, a senior adviser at the World Health Organisation said.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus's Senior Advisor, Bruce Aylward made the comments at a press briefing on Friday.

Full story

Pro golfer misses out on $1.7 million prize after failing to get vaccinated

Jon Rahm had to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament after testing positive for Covid-19, the PGA announced this weekend. Rahm, who is reported to be asymptomatic, is in isolation, and in accordance with CDC guidelines, he will need to remain in isolation through until Tuesday 15 June. He had been leading the tournament by 6 strokes heading into the final round when he was notified of his positive test result.

Study finds 1 in 3 young teens have already had Covid-19

Nearly one-third of Israelis under the age of 17 who became eligible for Covid-19 vaccines from today have already had the virus, according to the results of a Health Ministry survey, the Times of Israel reports.

Around Some 600,000 Israelis aged 12-15 are eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccine from Sunday. Prof. Mordechai Gerlic from Tel Aviv University’s Center for Combating Pandemics says that the data suggests that there could be some type of herd immunity among young people and if that is the case, there is no need to rush to vaccinate kids.

CORONAVIRUS US

Should vaccinated employees wear a mask in California?

Pandemic workplace rules updated for California no later than 15 June allowing workers to go maskless in indoor settings if all are fully vaccinated.

Read more on California's regulations on wearing masks at work here

Covid-19 and loss of smell and taste

The loss of smell, or anosmia, has been associated with Covid-19 infection. However, many viruses can cause smell dysfunction, such as the common cold. Smell dysfunction is believed to affect 50%–75% of people in the US. Most of the time taste also is affected since smell and taste work together to create flavour. It is also common in other viral upper respiratory illness, such as the common cold, but rarely is it the only or first symptom in those cases.

Read more about loss of smell and taste with Covid-19

US pledges 25 million vaccines shots to other countries this month

The US will distribute 25 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine to other countries who are at risk around the world by the end of this month - the first batch of 80 million vaccine doses it will distributed mainly through COVAX. 

Doses shared through COVAX will be prioritized for Southeast Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. The remaining six million doses will go to other regions including Canada and Mexico. According to the White House, the 25 million doses will include the Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. 

US Senators promise Covid-19 vaccines for Taiwan

The United States will donate 750,000 doses of their stock of Covid-19 vaccines to Taiwan, three American senators said on Sunday, after the island complained that China is hindering its efforts to secure vaccines. Taiwan is on a list of countries set to receive 25 million doses from the United States - the first batch of at least 80 million doses to be distributed globally.

Read more here

Coronavirus

Can you mix covid-19 vaccines? Is it safe? 

A lost vaccination card or simple mix-up at a pharmacy… there are a few ways you could end up with two doses of two different vaccines, but should you be concerned?

Full details of mixing Covid-19 vaccines here

US records lowest seven-day average of Covid-19 cases in over a year

The United States is now averaging 14,328 new coronavirus cases per day, the lowest seven-day average since the pandemic began in March 2020, according to data from CNN and Johns Hopkins University.

"Humanity is going to have to learn how to coexist with Covid-19"

WHO's Covid-19 Special Envoy Dr David Nabarro says that the world will have to learn how to live with the virus. 

He told Sky News: “I would like to stress to you that humanity is going to have to learn how to co-exist with this virus, preventing it from spiking and then surging and causing hot spots of disease, and we’re going to have to be able to do this for the foreseeable future. Eradication is not currently a reasonable target for the world.”

 

CORONAVIRUS US

Which states are banning vaccine passports and why?

Several states have banned the use of vaccine passports and several more are considering such bans, stating that it is a person’s choice to get vaccinated.

Full details on vaccine passports here

vaccine

US vaccine incentives lead to increase in young people getting jab

Vaccinations surged in the past month among the young people typically targeted by the campaigns. About 44% of 18-24 year olds have now received at least one shot, up from 34% a month earlier," according to Bloomberg.

Read the full story

The covid-19 vaccine rollout worldwide animated 

MIT Review has provided an animated chart showing how the covid-19 vaccine rollout has progressed around the world. You can customize your view to track progress in specific countries and even see how different nations stack up against one another. As well you can check out additional interactive charts encompassing everything from daily case numbers in each country to vaccinations to testing rates. 

Boris

UK's Johnson calls on G7 to vaccinate world by end of 2022

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday called for leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) rich nations to make a commitment to vaccinate the entire world against covid19 by the end of 2022 when they meet in Britain next week.

Johnson will host the first in-person summit in almost two years of G7 leaders - which follows a meeting of the group's finance ministers which wrapped up earlier in the day - and said he would seek a pledge to hit the global vaccination goal.

"Vaccinating the world by the end of next year would be the single greatest feat in medical history," Johnson said in a statement. "I’m calling on my fellow G7 leaders to join us to end this terrible pandemic and pledge we will never allow the devastation wreaked by coronavirus to happen again."

The leaders of Germany, France, the United States, Italy, Japan, the European Union and Canada will join Johnson for the three-day summit in Cornwall, southwest England, which begins on Friday. It will be the first overseas trip for U.S. President Joe Biden since he took office in January.

Vaccine USA

138,112,702 Americans now fully vaccinated

As of today, a total of 138,112,702 Americans, 41.6% of the population, is now fully vaccinated after receiving both doses of the Covid-19 vaccines. Over half of the nation (170,272,150 people, 51.3%) have received at least one shot of the vaccine.

CORONAVIRUS US

When will the restrictions on travel to Hawaii end?

Hawaii Governor David Ige is pulling out all the stops to get his state vaccinated setting benchmarks for loosening pandemic restrictions that are in place based on the state’s vaccination rate.

To encourage the state’s 1.4 million residents to get their covid-19 shot, the Governor announced an incentive campaign that will offer prizes to residents who are fully vaccinated or at least have gotten their first jab in a push to get the state to 70 percent of the population vaccinated statewide.

Find out what benchmarks the state needs to reach

CORONAVIRUS US

Are the two doses of Pfizer more effective against the strains?

Getting both doses of the two-dose covid-19 vaccines is the only way to ensure the recipient obtains the maximum efficacy, but researchers in the UK have found that it may be “critical” to provide protection against the emerging variants.

A new study published in the Lancet found that the Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccine had reduced effectiveness against variants of concern with the lowest against the Delta variant first discovered in India

Full details on their findings

Europe cautious about reopening in light of new variant 

As the US begins to move back to normality, lifting restrictions across the nation, countries in Europe continue to maintain restrictions despite low infection levels and rising vaccination rates. The UK has had one of the best vaccination rates in the world but the Delta variant that was first detected in India is causing officials to reconsider the 21 June reopening date and causing concern among its European neighbors about allowing the British to travel to their countries for fear of a repeat of the fall when another variant Alpha from the UK spread across the continent.  

The Alpha variant which first appeared in England is now the dominant variant in the US while the other emerging variants have yet to be found in noticeable numbers. The US has comparable vaccination rates to the UK but there still remain pockets of low vaccination around both countries. Meanwhile EU nations are finally picking up speed in vaccinating their populations and look set to reach 70 percent of the adult population fully vaccinated by July. However there is still concern for the unvaccinated sections of the population could be at risk from the faster spreading Delta variant in their neighbor. 

“This progress is fragile,” Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization’s director in Europe, warned last month. “We have been here before. Let us not make the same mistakes that were made this time last year.” 

Senegal

Senegal aims to make Covid-19 vaccine shots next year

(Reuters) Senegal could begin producing Covid-19 vaccines next year under an agreement with Belgian biotech group Univercells aimed at boosting Africa's drug-manufacturing ambitions, a source involved in funding the project told Reuters.

As wealthy countries begin to reopen after securing vaccine supplies early, African nations are still struggling to acquire shots. On a continent of 1.3 billion, only about 7 million have been fully vaccinated. The collaboration highlights the opportunities created by a global push to channel money and technology towards production on a continent that makes only 1% of the vaccines it requires.

Univercells announced the signing of a letter of intent for collaboration with the Institut Pasteur in Senegal's capital Dakar in April. The source shared details of the proposal, which were not made public. Under the agreement, the Institut Pasteur would use vaccine production technology developed by Univercells to supply Covid-19 vaccine shots to countries across West Africa. The institute would initially begin packaging and distributing vaccines produced by Univercells in Belgium early next year, the source involved in securing financing for the collaboration told Reuters.

Univercells would transfer its full production line to Senegal in the second half of 2022, the source said, adding that the company would train local staff so they could eventually run the operation. Univercells chief investment officer Kate Antrobus, when asked about the timeframe for the project, confirmed that it could send vaccine doses to Senegal early next year. She declined to comment on the exact date for a full vaccine production line in Senegal but of the timelines referenced she said: "I do not think they are unreasonable."

Timing depends on Univercells securing regulatory approval for a vaccine production site in Belgium. Antrobus said that was expected 'any day now'. Institut Pasteur director Amadou Sall declined to comment on the timeline or size of the project but said the facility was working with donors to secure financial backing. "There is a lot of political will, I am optimistic. But it is not about momentum, it is about creating a real opportunity," he said.

It is not clear yet which vaccine will be supplied to Senegal, but Antrobus said the site in Belgium would be able to manufacture a class of so-called viral vector Covid-19 vaccine such as those developed by Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Russia's Sputnik V and China's Cansino.

"If Covid amazingly subsides over the next year....that same capacity could be used for other viruses," Antrobus said.

Univercells also has its own Covid-19 vaccine candidate, being developed with Germany's Leukocare and Italian firm ReiThera, which has completed Phase II trials.

Covid-19 vaccine news: welcome

Hello and welcome to our dedicated live blog on covid-19 vaccines for Sunday 6 June 2021.

Here we aim to keep you fully up to date with all the latest news and updates on the global coronavirus pandemic, and the development and rollout of vaccines across the US and around the world.

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