COVID-19 Vaccine Latest: Biden Administration increased vaccine supply
Tennessee to begin COVID-19 vaccine registration for 65+, teachers
On Tuesday, the Tennessee Department of Health announced vaccination registration for residents aged 65 and older and those in Phase 1b of the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan will begin on February 22. Phase 1b includes staff members of kindergarten through 12th-grade schools and childcare facilities.
“Tennessee has administered more than one million doses of COVID-19 vaccine so far, and we’ve made substantial progress in protecting our senior citizens who are over age 70 through vaccination,” stated Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP in a release from TDH. “While we remain focused on our seniors, who are the highest-risk population, we’re able to expand vaccine eligibility to these additional groups as our supply continues to grow each week.” TDH has also launched a new online scheduling tool to allow users to book their appointment for COVID-19 vaccination at participating health department sites when they are eligible to do so. Tennesseans can access the system at covid19.tn.gov and select their county to schedule an appointment.
The state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan has been updated to add pregnant women to Phase 1c. Although pregnant women were not included in the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials, they are at increased risk for hospitalization and death due to COVID-19. Pregnant women may choose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as part of Phase 1c, along with others with high-risk health conditions. Pregnant women are encouraged to talk with their health care providers to help them make informed decisions about COVID-19 vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has guidance for pregnant women to help reduce their risk of COVID-19 here, said WKRN.
|Photo: Canadian Press|
Ottawa administers 40K coronavirus vaccine doses
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) says more than 40,000 doses of the novel coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the nation’s capital to date. The local public health unit’s vaccine tracker on its COVID-19 dashboard shows 40,013 total doses of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines have now been administered locally. This surpasses OPH’s stated total of 39,100 doses received, but that figure is based on an assumption of five doses per vial of the Pfizer vaccine, whereas updated labels state each vial could contain six doses.
Ottawa finished its first round of vaccinations in high-risk retirement homes last week. Ontario updated its priority list for the sequence of who is next in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday, notably adding adults over the age of 80 to the high-priority list. But the director of Ottawa’s emergency operations team and the city’s associate medical officer of health said in a memo to the council on Tuesday that the city does not currently have the supply to start vaccinating residents aged 80 and over who are not already living in long-term care or retirement homes.
Ryan Perrault and Dr. Brent Moloughney said in the memo that the city council will receive an update on future vaccination clinics at its next meeting on Feb. 24. Also added to the province’s phase-one rollout are Indigenous adults and seniors in congregate care settings. Meanwhile, OPH reported 31 new cases of the coronavirus and one death linked to COVID-19 on Tuesday, according to Global News.
Biden Administration says it has increased vaccine supply
President Biden's COVID-19 czar Jeff Zients told governors on Tuesday that the weekly vaccine supply going out to states is increasing by more than 20% to 13.5 million doses this week, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, announced. Psaki also said the supply going directly to pharmacies will double to 2 million this week. Before taking office, Biden promised to improve and streamline Trump's Operation Warp Speed and pledged to get 100 million vaccine doses into arms in the first 100 days of his administration. Tuesday's announcement followed a letter from the National Governors Association sent on Monday, asking Biden "for enhanced reporting and coordination between federal and state governments on COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts."
The letter also asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to improve its vaccine reporting system. "Currently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides the public information on a state and territory level as to the number of vaccines distributed to each state and the number of vaccinations performed. The CDC reporting mechanism has created unnecessary confusion. We would ask that the CDC reporting accurately reflects the reality," the letter states.
As NPR reported, Biden's program began on Feb. 11, with vaccines sent to about 6,500 pharmacies nationwide. At the time, Zients said it would eventually reach 40,000 retail pharmacies, including Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid locations. Though the distribution system has been more widely expanded since the Biden team has taken over, the life-saving medicine has been unequally distributed. White people, who demographically have escaped the deadliest impact of the virus, are getting vaccinated at much higher rates than are people of color, who are dying in significantly higher numbers. As of Tuesday morning, nearly 12% of the U.S. population had received the first dose of the vaccine but only 4% percent have been inoculated with both shots.
India to ship COVID-19 vaccines to Canada as diplomatic tension eases
India's Serum Institute will ship COVID-19 vaccines to Canada within a month, its chief executive said Monday, a sign a diplomatic row triggered by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's comments on political protests in India was easing. Trudeau said the months-long protests by farmers on the outskirts of Delhi were concerning, drawing a rebuke from the Indian government which said it was an internal matter, said CBC.
Last week, however, Trudeau spoke to Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and they discussed the two countries' commitment to democracy. Modi also said India would do its best to supply COVID-19 vaccines sought by Canada. On Monday Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive of Serum Institute of India (SII) - the world's largest vaccine maker - reaffirmed that commitment. "As we await regulatory approvals from Canada, I assure you, @SerumInstIndia will fly out #COVISHIELD to Canada in less than a month; I'm on it!" Poonawalla said in a tweet, using the brand name under which Serum produces the shot developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca Plc.
India's SII has emerged as a key vaccine supplier amid the pandemic. Canada, like many other countries, is relying on foreign supplies because it is unable to produce the vaccine locally. Experts and officials say India has been trying to use its vaccine dominance to shore up diplomatic support. A spokesperson for Procurement Minister Anita Anand said the federal government will announce details when a deal is finalized. Health Canada is reviewing two separate applications for approval of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University researchers, including a joint pitch from SII, a private enterprise in Pune in western India.
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