Covid-19 vaccine in the US | news summary for Wednesday 9 June
US vaccine news live updates - Wednesday 9 June
- Biden administration to buy 500 vaccines doses to donate to poorer countries
- US surpasses 300m vaccine dose milestone, as 42.3% of total population now fully vaccinated.
- France opens doors to vaccinated Americans (full story)
- New York the first US state to introduce a vaccine passport (find out more)
- Brazil to receive three million J&J vaccines
- Delta variant gains foothold in Singapore
- China passes 800 million vaccine doses
- Texas governor signs bill to stop businesses demanding vaccine passports
- NY planning to lift restrictions when 70% of adults are vaccinated
- China reports first case of H10N3 bird flu in a human (full story)
- Japan confident Olympic Games will go ahead as 10,000 volunteers stand down
- 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: 33.4 million cases / 598,333 deaths (live updates from JHU)
Take a look at some of our related articles:
Some states are finding that they have Johnson and Johnson covid-19 vaccines that could expire before they are able to be administered. CNN reports on how the expiration dates of the vaccine are being re-evaluated to see if they can be extended.
What is the rate of blood clots for each covid-19 vaccine?
Concerns over blood clots have made many in the US more hesitant to get a shot, but how common are clots for each vaccine available? Our team took a look.
Overall, the risk is low for all vaccines available. Read our full coverage for more details, including new information on the saftey of the AstraZeneca vaccine which has yet to be approved in the US.
Crazed conspiracies harm the vaccination effort
The United States' vaccination effort has dropped off considerably in recent weeks, falling from over 3.3 million per day in early April to just under 1.1 million last week. That fall is partially due to the prevalence of baseless conspiracy theories online.
Dr Sanjay Gupta, Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at Emory University Hospital and CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent, responded by pointing out that many of the theories actually pre-date the pandemic. He also suggests that the conspiracy theorist in the video is attempting to sell he own anti-vaccine book.
Fauci warns that new variants may be more vaccine resistant
Dr Anthony Fauci, the White House's chief medical advisor, has warned that the US is at risk as the Delta variant of covid-19 continues to grow in prominence around the world. The strain, previously known as the Indian variant, is thought to be less susceptible to vaccines and more infectious.
What is the coronavirus Delta variant? Can vaccines prevent it spreading in the US?
The World Health Organisation has recently introduced a new naming system for covid-19 variants, using a characters from the Greek alphabet rather than the place of origin to identify the strain.
In recent weeks the Delta variant, previously known as the Indian variant, has become a particular cause in countries around the world with a higher-than-typical transmissibility and the potential to evade vaccines in some cases.
Dr Anthony Fauci recently stated that the Delta variants accounts for more than 6% of the sequenced coronavirus cases in the United States, and it has become the most dominant stain in the United Kingdom.
What states have vaccinated 70% of their adult population?
President Biden has said that he hopes to see 70% of adults in the US vaccinated by the Fourth of July. Currently, around 63% of the country's adults have received at least one dose. To date thirteen states have met the target:
Hawaii: 81.4 %
New Jersey: 75.4%
Rhode Island: 73.4%
New Mexico: 72.1%
California: 71.4 %
New Hampshire: 71.4%
What states are close?
Washington DC (69.3), New York, (69.2), Illinois (68.7), Virginia (68.4), and Minnesota (68.2) are all within two points of reaching the President's goal.
How many people have been vaccinated this June?
The US has administered 8,349,236 vaccine doses, increasing the percent of adults who have received at least one dose of the vaccine to 63%.
President Biden has stated that he hopes to see at least 70% of the adults at least partially vaccinated by the Fourth of July. Just shy of 7% of this target, the country will need to keep pace with its May.
How to enter Washington vaccine lottery
On 3 June, Governor Jay Inslee announced “Shot of a Lifetime,” the state’s vaccine lottery initiative that will run through 13 July. In addition to the large cash prizes, vaccinated Washingtonians will have the chance to win various prizes, including gift cards, scholarships, tickets to sporting events, and more.
Each resident who has received at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine before 11:59 PM the Sunday before each drawing is automatically entered to win.
Does the Oxford-Astra Zeneca vaccine cause blood clots?
This week, a new study on the rarity of blood clots after receiving an Astra Zeneca vaccine dose was released by Scotland researchers. The group's findings show that an most types of clots are exceedingly rare after being vaccinated with the one dose vaccine. The group found the chance of clotting did increase the chance of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura clots. As for the other types of clots analyzed, no increased risk was found.
Read full study here.
Washington Post reports that lawmakers in Ohio heard false testimony from a doctor who claimed that covid-19 vaccines altered the magnetic attraction of recipients.
Guardian reports on plans by the US to distribute over half a billion doses of the Pfizer & BioNTech vaccine to countries around the world.
Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon has introduced legislation to scale up production of covid-19 vaccines.
In a series of tweets, the Senator provided details on what he is proposing.
"With over 50% of American adults fully vaccinated, we’ve made significant progress on vaccinations in the U.S. To protect the progress we’ve made here at home and reduce potential for variants, now we must expand global vaccine production and access.
Vaccine dose sharing is a good first step—but we need far more ambitious vaccination goals with specific timelines and an action plan to get folks around the world vaccinated and prevent and respond to future pandemics.
@CongressmanRaja ,@RepBonamici,@SenWarren and I introduced the #NOVID Act to establish a comprehensive strategy to scale up global vaccine manufacturing and distribution, bolstering capacity and supply chains to meet vaccine demand worldwide."
Vaccines. Check. Trump gone. Check.
John Feffer went to a birthday party recently.
The celebrants greeted each other with hugs on the patio. After an outdoor barbecue dinner, we stood shoulder to shoulder around the island in the kitchen, eating cake from small paper plates. We sang “Happy Birthday.”
Ordinarily, an event like that wouldn’t be worth noting, but these aren’t exactly ordinary times.
Despite the outstanding vaccine rollout of the Biden administration, a number of challenges remain...
Vaccine donations: US to buy 500 million Pfizer doses
The Biden administration is buying 500 million doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine to donate to the world, as the United States dramatically increases its efforts to help vaccinate the global population, according to three people familiar with the plans.
President Biden is slated to announce the plan at the Group of Seven meeting in Britain this week amid growing calls for the United States and other rich countries to play a more substantial role in boosting the global supply of coronavirus vaccine. Biden told reporters Wednesday as he boarded Air Force One to Europe that he would be announcing his global vaccine strategy.
Tyler Pager and Emily Rauhala report for the Washington Post.
US sends first Moderna vaccines to Canada
“Moderna will deliver seven million doses in June with shipments commencing next week,” Canada’s procurement minister Anita Anand announced on Wednesday.
“These deliveries will include, for the first time, doses from Moderna’s US supply chain.”
The deliveries should mean Moderna delivers 11.2 million doses in the second quarter, in the range of the 10.3 to 12.3 million doses it had previously promised between April and June only shipping less than one-third of those to date.
The company has, however, not provided a specific delivery schedule yet for when the doses will arrive. This also comes after Moderna established it would send two million vaccine doses to Canada by 14 June.
Full story below.
Still wary of Russian vaccine, Brazil clears its own 'study' for more data
Russian vaccine developers cheered hard-won access to Brazil's market last week, but with less than a million doses cleared for import, public health experts say the approval is more like a late-stage trial for the Sputnik V shot, Reuters report.
Late Friday, Brazilian health regulator Anvisa, which was under pressure from state governors and the country's Supreme Court, ruled that states could import the Russian covid-19 vaccine, but included some 20 strict conditions. Those restrictions undercut the impact of the approval and echo a cautious approach to the Russian vaccine among many Western regulators, including the European Medicines Agency. Previously, Anvisa had rejected Sputnik V in April.
'What will be done is practically a reproduction of a Phase 3 study in Brazil,' said former Anvisa president Gonzalo Vecina, who did not take part in the agency's decision. 'We'll have to do the work the Russians didn't, the whole drug safety study.'
Brazil's raging coronavirus outbreak has taken nearly 475,000 lives, the worst recorded death toll outside the United States, and its national immunization program has lost steam due to a lack of imported vaccines and active ingredients. Against that dire backdrop, a consortium of Brazilian states in the poorer northeast region have booked orders for Sputnik V directly and sought import approval from Anvisa under emergency provisions of a new law, backed by Supreme Court decisions.
'The impression is that they gave approval under pressure, within the limits they could allow,' said immunologist Jorge Kalil of the University of Sao Paulo. 'At least it doesn't kill the chances of having the vaccine.' But the agency has only allowed six northeastern states to import enough Sputnik V vaccines to inoculate 1% of their population - far from the 37 million shots states have ordered across the country.
The Russian vaccine, already in use in Latin American peers such as Mexico and Argentina, will undergo quality checks in Brazilian labs. And state health authorities must report granular data on efficacy and adverse events to Anvisa, which was not satisfied with disclosures from Russian developers.
Vaccine protection but Delta variant on the rise
The Delta variant, which was first detected in India, now accounts for more than six percent of all infections in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And this highly transmissible variant may be responsible for more than 18 percent of cases in some Western states.
The variant, also known as B.1.617.2, is spreading rapidly in the UK, and has quickly become the dominant strain there, responsible for more than 60 percent of infections and causing surges in some parts of England.
"We cannot let that happen in the United States," says Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Speaking at a White House covid briefing yesterday, Fauci warned that the Delta variant may be associated with more severe disease and a higher risk of hospitalization.
The good news is the vaccines look like they can protect people against the Delta variant. A new study from Public Health England showed two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were 88 percent effective against symptomatic disease from the Delta variant compared to 93 percent effectiveness against the Alpha variant, the variant first detected in the UK Effectiveness declined to 33 percent after just one dose.
Full story on the Delta variant from Jane Greenhalgh.
US vaccinated welcome into France, UK...
After “a very bad year,” Paris tour operator Marc Vernhet sees a ray of light with the promised return of tourists from the United States and elsewhere who are welcome in France as of Wednesday if they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.
His agency, 2CVParisTour.com, is starting to get bookings again from Americans for its sightseeing tours conducted in quirky, bug-eyed Citroen cars. June is still very lean, but July is looking better, Vernhet said as France took the first steps toward rebuilding its position as a top destination for foreign tourists.
Before the pandemic, Vernhet ran three or four tours of the capital per day. The work dried up when France locked down, and he’s only doing around three tours per week now, nearly exclusively for French visitors. Vernhet hailed the reopening of France’s borders for vaccinated tourists as “excellent news” but said it is going to take a few more weeks for business to pick up and that “I’m not expecting to work correctly before mid-July.”
Full story from John Leicester
Biden has vaccine plan for the world
US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday he will be announcing a vaccine plan for the world as he headed to Europe for his first foreign trip as president.
"I have one, and I'll be announcing it," Biden told reporters before he boarded Air Force One.
Photo by REUTERS/Carlos Barria
The US looks likely to miss President Biden’s goal of at least 70% of Americans partially vaccinated by 4 July, while eventually reaching 100% may be more elusive still.
US to buy 1.7 million courses of Merck's covid treatment
Merck & Co Inc said on Wednesday the US government has agreed to buy about 1.7 million courses of the company's experimental covid-19 treatment, molnupiravir, for about $1.2 billion, if it is authorized in the country.
Molnupiravir is an experimental antiviral therapy Merck is developing with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics for the treatment of covid-19 patients who are not hospitalized. The drug is currently being assessed in a late-stage trial for its potential to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death.
Merck said it expects to file for the emergency use authorization of molnupiravir in the second half of 2021 at the earliest, pending favorable results from the trial.
The drug is administered orally in capsule form every 12 hours for 5 days and a treatment course contains 10 doses in total.
Merck expects to have more than 10 million courses of therapy available by the end of this year and said it was in discussions with other countries interested in advance purchase agreements for molnupiravir.
Merck has decided to focus on its drugs for covid-19 after two vaccines failed to generate desired immune responses, prompting it to abandon the program in January.
"They can put a key on their forehead. It sticks"
Sherri Tenpenny, a Cleveland-based doctor invited as an expert witness Tuesday to a hearing in the Ohio House, had a grave warning for legislators about coronavirus vaccines.
The anti-vaccination advocate known for spreading unfounded claims falsely told legislators that the drugs could leave people “magnetized.”
“I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures all over the Internet of people who have had these shots and now they’re magnetized,” Tenpenny said. “They can put a key on their forehead. It sticks. They can put spoons and forks all over them and they can stick, because now we think that there’s a metal piece to that.”
Full story via Washington Post
EU and US to reduce vaccine export barriers, summit draft says
The European Union and the United States are set to agree at a summit on Tuesday to reduce export restrictions on covid-19 vaccines and drugs, a draft joint text says, arguing that voluntary sharing of technology is the key to boosting output.
The document, seen by Reuters and still subject to changes, makes no mention of mandatory waivers on vaccine patents, which US President Joe Biden has endorsed as a temporary solution to the global shortage of covid-19 shots.
The EU has repeatedly opposed the idea, which is backed by dozens of poorer nations.
Brussels submitted a less radical counter-proposal to the World Trade Organization last week that highlights existing WTO rules allowing countries to grant licences to manufacturers without the consent of the patent-holder.
At a EU-US summit in Brussels, the two parties are set to agree to establish a joint taskforce to boost vaccine and drugs production capacity that will aim at "maintaining open and secure supply chains, avoiding any unnecessary export restrictions".
Brazil to receive 3 million doses of J&J vaccine
Brazil will receive a first batch of 3 million doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine against covid-19 in the next few days, Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga said on Thursday.
Queiroga said export of the vaccines, developed by J&J's Janssen subsidiary, from the United States still requires authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration.
"Of course, if the FDA's decision is delayed, these 3 million doses may no longer be useful for us, due to the short time," he said testifying before a Senate commission of inquiry into the Brazilian governments handling of the pandemic.
This batch of vaccines expire on 27 June. Queiroga said they would have to be administered "very fast" in Brazil's national immunization program before they expire.
Brazil signed an agreement with Janssen to receive 38 million doses for delivery in the last quarter of this year, so the first batch is arriving earlier than expected, Queiroga said.
Photo by REUTERS/Carla Carniel
China passes 800 million doses of covid vaccines
China administered about 14.8 million doses of covid-19 vaccines on June 8, bringing the total number administered to 808.96 million, data from the National Health Authority showed on Wednesday.
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.
Singapore finds Delta most prevalent among virus variants
Singapore has found the Delta variant of the coronavirus to be the most prevalent among local cases of variants of concern (VOCs), according to health ministry data, highlighting its level of infectiousness.
There were 449 local cases with VOCs as of May 31, of which 428 were the Delta variant first detected in India and nine of the Beta variant first identified in South Africa, the health ministry said in emailed statement on Wednesday.
Singapore authorities first reported the presence locally of the Delta variant in early May.
The Delta variant is stoking concern of a major spike in infections in other countries where it has been found, such as the United Kingdom, potentially delaying reopening plans after the rollout of vaccines in many regions.
Singapore performs viral genomic sequencing for all confirmed covid-19 cases, unlike some countries who typically sequence a smaller proportion of their infections.
A recent rise in cases, including those linked to the Delta variant, prompted Singapore to tighten curbs on social gatherings last month. It reported 476 domestically transmitted cases during May.
Tokyo 2020 may ask for further vaccine donations for Olympics
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.
Photo by REUTERS/Issei Kato
NY 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.
New research in the UK shows that in may be “critical” to get both shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccine to ensure protection against new variants.
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.)
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.
Photo by Gary Prior/Visionhaus/Getty Images
Several states have banned the use of vaccine passports while others are considering such prohibitions, stating that it is a person’s choice to get vaccinated.
Covid-19 vaccine news: welcome
Hello and welcome to our dedicated live blog on covid-19 vaccines for Wednesday 9 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.