Covid-19 vaccine in the US | news summary for Tuesday 8 June
- US surpasses 300m vaccine dose milestone, as 42.1% of total population now fully vaccinated.
- New York the first US state to introduce a vaccine passport (find out more)
- Texas governor signs bill to stop businesses demanding vaccine passports
- 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 vaccine 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 140.4 million in the US now fully vaccinated (track CDC data here)
- US covid-19: 33.38 million cases / 598,353 deaths (live updates from JHU)
Take a look at some of our related articles:
California will announce the next 15 winners in the "Vax for the Win" state covid-19 vaccine lottery Friday, 11 June in run-up to the grand prize next week.
Portugal to welcome vaccinated US tourists, hopes to salvage summer
Portugal will allow vaccinated US tourists into the country, which is trying to salvage its summer holiday season that has been badly affected by the pandemic.
Portugal's tourism sector - which accounted for almost 15% of GDP before the pandemic - had its worst results since the mid-1980s last year, with the number of foreign tourists slumping 76% to just under 4 million after a record 2019.
"We are in a position to approve the opening of non-essential travel and flights to people from the US to Portugal as long as they have a vaccination certificate," Economy Minister Pedro Siza Vieira, cited by Portuguese radio Renascenca, said on Tuesday.
Tourists from the United States wanting to travel to Portugal should have received final doses of one of the vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency at least 14 days before their trip, Siza Vieira said.
"I believe that next week we will be able to have this up and running," he said during a trip to the Algarve region. He did not give an exact date for when US tourists would be allowed in.
Official figures showed that around 1.2 million tourists from the United States visited Portugal in 2019 but only 135,229 managed to make it there last year as the pandemic grounded flights and forced countries to impose travel restrictions.
Washington is the latest state to introduce an incentive for residents to get the covid-19 vaccination, offering Xbox consoles, sports tickets and free flights.
The CDC recommends talking to your doctor about taking over-the-counter medications to relieve any discomfort you may experience after getting vaccinated.
White House urges states to seek longer shelf life for J&J shots as millions near expiration
A top White House official on Tuesday urged state governors to work with the US Food and Drug Administration to extend the shelf life of Johnson & Johnson's covid-19 vaccine as millions of unused doses nationwide near expiration.
"I would encourage every governor who has doses that they worry may be expiring to work with the FDA directly on the proper storage procedures as they continue to examine processes that will allow them to potentially last longer," White House covid-19 advisor Andy Slavitt said on a Tuesday press call.
The FDA is working on plans to safely store the unused J&J vaccines, he added.
J&J has said it is conducting ongoing stability assessment studies that could allow it to push out the expiration dates for its one-shot vaccine.
Safety concerns about J&J's shot and flagging demand for vaccinations have left close to half of the 21 million doses the company has produced for the United States sitting unused.
Demand for all the vaccines has slowed since mid-April, but the drop has been significantly steeper for the J&J shot.
Reuters reported that at least 13 lots of J&J shots have expiration dates of 27 June or earlier. It is not clear how many doses that reflects. J&J has another 100 million doses on hand but shipment timing is uncertain.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said in a statement released on Monday that his state had around 200,000 J&J doses set to expire on 23 June. He urged Ohioans to get the shot, adding that the state does not have the legal option to send the vaccine to other states or countries.
The expiring doses account for around 30% of all the J&J doses that Ohio has received so far. Just under 400,000 people in Ohio have received the J&J shot as of Monday, according to CDC data.
The White House is attempting to further ease access to covid-19 shots by helping distribute them at workplaces around the United States, Slavitt added.
The United States is progressing quickly in its vaccination campaign even as much of the rest of the world struggles to get shots in their residents' arms.
More than a dozen US states have given at least one covid-19 shot to 70% of adults or more, Slavitt said on Tuesday.
As of Monday, 63.7% of US adults have received at least one dose, as the nation attempts to hit President Joe Biden's goal of 70% by 4 July amid slowing demand.
California governor hails state's achievements in tackling coronavirus
California governor Gavin Newsom has announced the state has now administered 39 million vaccines. As reported by the LA Times, California is one of only two states considered to have low levels of community coronavirus transmission.
The Golden State's economy is set to reopen on June 15. As it stands, 56% of California's adult population is now fully 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. 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.
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.
Texas governor signs bill to stop businesses demanding vaccine passports
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed a law that prohibits any Texas business or government entity from requiring vaccine passports or any vaccine information.
“Texas is open 100%, and we want to make sure you have the freedom to go where you want without limits,” Abbott said before signing the law, in a video he posted Monday on Twitter. “Vaccine passports are now prohibited in the Lone Star State.”
Shots on wheels: Malaysia goes mobile with mass vaccine rollout
Malaysia went mobile with its mass immunisation drive on Tuesday, with the rollout of the first of 40 vaccine trucks set to hit the highways in the coming months. Malaysia is battling its worst outbreak of the coronavirus, with a per-capita infection rate higher than anywhere else in Southeast Asia following records in new daily covid-19 cases and deaths on multiple days last month.
The government aims to deploy vaccination trucks to areas where people might have difficulty getting to immunisation centres. "It opens up more chances to the public ... to get the access," said Puganesan Thiruselven, who was among hundreds of people who queued for jabs at the truck in Kuala Lumpur. "By doing this, the risk is much reduced."
Malaysia this month imposed its tightest restrictions yet to arrest the spread of COVID-19, with bans on inter-state travel and all but essential economic activities. It has recorded 627,652 coronavirus cases and 3,536 deaths overall. About 2.5 million people had received at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine in Malaysia as of Monday, less than 10% of its 32 million population although higher in percentage terms than some of its neighbours. (Reuters)
Miami Herald oped slams Gov. DeSantis ban on vaccine passports
The Miami Herald has slammed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over his "ill-thought-out" ban on vaccine passports and for putting his ambitions ahead of the "good of the state".
"Gov. Ron Desantis’ ill-thought-out ban on vaccine passports is keeping Florida’s cruising industry in limbo, potentially costing the state tourist dollars and jobs," argues the Miami Herald Editorial Board in its latest oped.
"But apparently that’s OK with DeSantis, as long as he scores political points with his GOP base. His ambitions — another term as governor and maybe even the presidency — are once again more important than the good of the state."
New York set to lift restrictions once 70% of adults are vaccinated
New York will ease more coronavirus restrictions once 70% of the state's adult population have received at least one dose of the covid-19 vaccine, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced this week. And Cuomo is confident that figure could be reached in the coming days. The Empire State Building will light up in blue and gold once New York hits the threshold, Cuomo said.
NYS Lt. Gov Kathy Hochul used the announcement to encourage more New Yorkers to get vaccinated as soon as possible. "When New York’s vaccination rate reaches 70%, most COVID restrictions will be lifted throughout the state. Get your vaccine," tweeted Hochul.
Tokyo 2020 may ask for further vaccine donations for Olympics, says CEO Muto
The Tokyo 2020 organising committee may seek further vaccine donations ahead of the Olympic Games scheduled this summer, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said on Tuesday following an executive board meeting.
Muto also said that neither a further postponement nor a cancellation of the Summer Games were discussed at the meeting. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which were postponed once due to the coronavirus pandemic, are set to start on July 23. (Reuters)
Biden launches 'Shots at the Shop' vaccine initiative
US President Joe Biden has announced a new program to get 70% of US adults at least one shot of the Covid-19 vaccine by 4 July. Throughout June, national organizations, local government leaders, community-based and faith-based partners, businesses, employers, social media influencers, celebrities, athletes, colleges, young people, and thousands of volunteers across the nation will work together to get their communities vaccinated.
Twelve states have already given at least one shot to 70% of adults and more than 28 states and Washington DC have fully vaccinated 50% or more of their adult populations.
Covid-19 vaccine booster may be needed in the autumn
Fully vaccinated Americans should be well protected against the coronavirus during the summer but may need a booster jab when the weather gets colder later in the year, Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC.
“I think you could feel safe through the summer. The effectiveness of the vaccine correlates with the prevalence of the virus, and how likely you are to come into contact with the virus. The combination of the protective immunity that people have through vaccination, even if it’s declining over time, combined with the fact that prevalence is very low, I think people could feel reasonably assured through the summer. I think as we get into the fall, we will have to be looking into giving vulnerable people boosters,” he told Squauk Box
India: Center to provide free Covid-19 vaccines to all adults from 21 June
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday that the Centre will be taking over the state governments vaccination programme to provide Covid-19 vaccines free of cost to all adults from the end of this month. "It has been decided that from June 21, all adults over the age of 18 will be vaccinated free," Modi said in a televised address today.
Covid-19 cases in India have been declining - the latest data shows the country has reported 28,909,975 positive cases of the virus - the second highest tally in the world behind the United States, and 349,186 deaths.
Cuomo says state can lift most restriction when state reaches 70% vaccinated
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday that New York will lift most of its remaining pandemic-era restrictions on businesses and social settings once 70% of the state’s adults have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. The state has currently partially vaccinated over 66% of its 18 and over population. The governor didn’t give many details but by reaching the threshold most restrictions on capacity limits, social distancing, disinfection protocols and health screenings would end.
State residents will still need to mask up in accordance with CDC guidance and some restrictions would also continue in schools, public transit, homeless shelters and large venues, as well as correctional and health care facilities.
IMF approves $650 million in aid for Senegal's Covid-19 recovery
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved $650 million in aid to Senegal to support the West African country's Covid-19 recovery, it said in a statement late on Monday.
The announcement follows an earlier payment of $442 million to Senegal in April 2020, also to mitigate the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the IMF said.
The pandemic has hit the Senegalese economy hard and caused growth to contract to an estimated 1.5% in 2020 from 5.3% in 2019, the IMF said. The Fund expects a modest recovery in 2021 with growth reaching 3.7% and forecast to reach 5.5% in 2022.
The $650 million will be paid over 18 months, with an immediate disbursement of $187 million, the IMF said. The West African country said last week that it plans to raise $500 million from the debt market to create jobs for young people as part of a response to riots in March. It also issued 775 million euros in Eurobonds.
Senegal has brought Covid-19 cases under control in the last few months, ramping up its vaccination drive, but there is a risk of a third wave, the IMF said. The health ministry has recorded 41,725 cases and 1,150 deaths from coronavirus to date.
Russian drugmakers focus on export-oriented Sputnik Light shot
Some Russian drugmakers say they will only manufacture the single-dose Sputnik Light Covid-19 vaccine for the time being because it is easier to make than Sputnik V, which combines two separately-produced shots.
This highlights the complexity of producing the second shot of Russia's Sputnik V vaccination, which is made up of two different products which requires different manufacturing facilities and twice as many people to make. That makes Sputnik Light, which is identical to the first Sputnik V shot and was approved for use by Russia in May, an attractive short-term solution.
Developed by Moscow's Gamaleya Institute, the vaccine, which the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said is 79.4% effective against Covid-19 and costs less than $10 a dose, has been earmarked for export. Vikram Punia, president of Pharmasyntez, told Reuters that his firm was waiting for registration to officially launch a new manufacturing facility once its first batches of Sputnik Light had passed quality control tests overseen by the developer.
Sputnik V consists of two different vectors, which are used as a first and then a booster shot, which are taken 21 days apart. The vectors are modified human common cold viruses, used to carry the genetic information into the body that triggers immunity-building. Pharmasyntez also produced the second component of the Sputnik V vaccine, but had decided not to expand production because manufacturing requires significant resources, he said.
Punia had previously told Reuters that the two Sputnik V shots had to be produced separately due to the risk of contamination, which required more resources. "We believe that it is advisable now to work with one component, to do a lot of it. We did not go on an industrial scale (with the second)," Punia said.
Pharmasyntez plans to make 1 million doses of Sputnik Light a week by the end of the third quarter or the beginning of the fourth quarter, he said, adding that the maximum production volume was 6-8 million doses per month.
Requests for Sputnik Light have already come from the Middle East, Asia and Latin America, Punia added. The company will ask RDIF, which is responsible for marketing the Russian vaccine abroad, for permission to work mostly for export markets because 'domestic (manufacturing) processes have already been worked out', Punia said.
Russia's BioIntegrator is also only producing Sputnik Light for now, its co-owner Andrei Ivaschenko said. According to agreements with RDIF, production was organised to mostly supply foreign markets, he said, adding that work to arrange production of the second Sputnik V dose was underway. "The virus is very volatile, and, in fact, it is necessary to build two factories, each with its own personnel, which should not intersect so that there is no cross-contamination of production," Ivaschenko said.
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved Biogen's aducanumab, the first drug to target an underlying cause of Alzheimer's disease. The drug, to be sold under the brand Aduhelm, is the first new approval of an Alzheimer's drug since 2003 and the only treatment designed to slow progression of the mind-robbing disease.
US surpasses 300m vaccine dose milestone
More than 302 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine have now been administered across the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
More than 170 million people have received a first dose of the vaccine, or about 51.6% of the US population, the CDC reports, while 139,748,661 people (42.1% of the population are fully vaccinated.
Kuwait approves Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine
Kuwait has approved the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson, the state-news agency KUNA reported on Tuesday. It is the fourth vaccine approved by Kuwait after those of Pfizer BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Moderna.
Dr Anthony Fauci has been a key figure in the United States’ covid-19 response throughout the pandemic, for both the Trump and Biden administrations.
He became the most visible and trusted face of the medical community and recently-released emails give a new perspective on his work as the world struggled to come to terms with the scale and severity of the pandemic.
Spain football team squad to be vaccinated on Wednesday
The Spanish football team squad will be get a Covid-19 vaccine shot on Wednesday, less than a week before their opening Euro 2020 match, after captain Sergio Busquets tested positive, Sports Minister Jose Manuel Rodriguez Uribes said on Tuesday.
Busquets' positive has thrown Spain's tournament preparations into chaos with the remaining 23 players going into isolation along with the coaching staff. An Under-21 side led by their coach Luis de la Fuente will face Lithuania on Tuesday in what was supposed to be the nation's final warm-up game before the Euros.
Coach Luis Enrique called up a group of six players, including Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, to complement the squad. They will train separately in 'parallel bubble' away from the main Euros squad with a view to them being added should the need occur. So far, all the other players and staff have tested negative.
"'We are making an exception because they represent us in a top level competition," Rodriguez Uribes told Cadena SER radio station, adding that they were already planning to give them the shots before Spain's captain had tested positive.
Unlike other countries which have opened up vaccines to all adults, Spain is gradually working its way through age groups and is now focusing on people aged 50-59, with some regions making a start on 40-49 year olds. More than 23% of Spanish population are already fully vaccinated.
Rodriguez Uribes said which vaccine the football players would get has not been decided yet, so it is not clear when they would have immunization. Spain are due to play Sweden in their Group E opener on Monday.
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.
The rollout of covid-19 vaccines has given hope to relaxing restrictions put into place to slow the spread of the virus. But with herd immunity still a way off, vaccine passports are seen as a way to allow people to travel and businesses to safely operate without strict restrictions.
The concept has garnered fans and detractors, becoming yet another political fault line. States are taking different approaches, there are a couple that have implemented a digital verification system, while others are taking a hands-off approach. However, another group has banned the use of such systems, with more states introducing legislation to do the same.
Guangdong steps up Covid-19 testing as infections mount
China's southern Guangdong province, spooked by a rise in coronavirus infections since May, stepped up mass testing this week in a handful of cities, including those that have yet to report a single case.
While the numbers of confirmed infections and asymptomatic cases remain small compared to massive outbreaks seen in other countries such as India and Brazil, China is taking no chances. Guangdong, China's manufacturing hub and biggest province by economic output, has reported more than 110 confirmed cases since 21 May. Its provincial capital Guangzhou has accounted for almost 90% of the confirmed cases, spurring the city of over 18 million people to ramp up mass testing.
Since starting the mass testing on 26 May, Guangzhou has taken nearly 28 million nucleic acid samples, with 40 people showing positive for coronavirus, a spokesperson of the city's health authority told reporters on Tuesday. Many people have been tested multiple times.
A worker at Yantian port in Shenzhen, a city of more than 17 million people, tested positive after 11 previous tests from 21 May to 1 June came back negative. His village has since undergone five rounds of nucleic acid tests. Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Foshan at different times have launched mass testing after reporting infections. Zhongshan and Jiangmen - two cities in Guangdong that have yet to report any cases - also initiated mass testing earlier this week as a precautionary step.
Singapore, since the weekend, has barred short-term visitors who have been to Guangdong within the last 21 days. For 7 June, China reported 33 new coronavirus cases on the mainland, up from 19 cases a day earlier, the health authority said on Tuesday. Of the new cases, 19 were local transmissions from Guangdong, the National Health Commission said.
China also reported 16 new asymptomatic infections, compared with 21 a day earlier. China does not classify symptom-less infections as confirmed cases. By Monday, China had a total of 91,300 confirmed infections. Its death toll stood unchanged at 4,636.
Covid-19 vaccine news: welcome
Hello and welcome to our dedicated live blog on covid-19 vaccines for Tuesday 8 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.