Daily Covid-19 Vaccine Updates: US teens Get Vaccines by Autumn, UK expands to over-56 age groups
Fauci upbeat on COVID-19 vaccinations for US teens by autumn, younger children next year
|Students wear masks as they walk through the halls of York Suburban High School in York, Pennsylvania, on Sep 18, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Rachel Wisniewski|
High school students in the United States should be able to receive COVID-19 vaccinations by the autumn, with younger students likely to be cleared for vaccinations in early 2022, top US infectious disease official Dr Anthony Fauci said on Sunday.
Fauci said he expected the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue relaxed guidelines for people who have already been vaccinated within "the next couple of days," but urged continued vigilance on mitigation measures for the over 80 per cent of Americans still awaiting shots.
The United States is now vaccinating on average 2.1 million people a day.
"We project that high school students will very likely be able to be vaccinated by the fall term, maybe not the very first day, but certainly in the early part of the fall," he said.
He said elementary school children would likely be ready to receive vaccinations by the first quarter of next year, after studies on safety are finished, he said.
The decline in cases had begun to plateau at 60,000 to 70,000 new infections per day, which Fauci said was not acceptable. He pointed to the need to continue mask mandates and other mitigation measures to avoid a resurgence as new variants emerge.
A new variant was spreading in the New York City area and was proving "rather vigorous" in its ability to spread and eluded somewhat the protection offered by monoclonal antibodies and the vaccines, he said.
UK’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout expands to over-56 age groups
|A vial of Astra Zeneca coronavirus vaccine is seen at a vaccination center in Westfield Stratford City shopping center. Photo: REUTERS|
The UK entered the next phase of its vaccination drive against COVID-19 on Sunday as the eligible cohorts for jabs were expanded from over-60s to all those aged 56 and over.
Letters from the National Health Service (NHS) to around 850,000 people in that age group were issued this weekend with a further 850,000 due to arrive by Monday. The expansion comes as NHS staff said more than one-third of the adult population has now received a life-saving jab.
"The NHS vaccination program is in full swing and more than 21 million of the most at-risk people have already received their first dose," said UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
"This includes more than 90 percent of those aged 65 and over and almost 9 in 10 people who are clinically extremely vulnerable. It's an extraordinary feat and we remain on track to offer the first vaccine to all adults by 31 July," he said.
"The NHS vaccine programme is committed to protecting the country against coronavirus and it is testament to our incredible staff that we can now move on to the next age group," said Dr Nikki Kanani, a general practitioner (GP) and NHS national medical director for primary care.
"We must not forget that our success in vaccinating more than 18 million people is down to careful planning and the hard work of those staff. The vaccines are both safe and effective, so if anybody who is eligible but hasn't been vaccinated yet, I’d urge them to go online or call 119 and get themselves booked in," she said.
Vaccinations are now being administered at more than 1,600 sites across the country, including temples, mosques, museums and rugby grounds, with a maximum 10-mile radius of availability of at least one vaccination centre, said Livemint.
Vaccinations are now being administered at more than 1,600 sites across the country, including temples, mosques, museums, and rugby grounds, with a maximum 10-mile radius of availability of at least one vaccination center.
India's Covid Vaccine Rollout "Rescued The World": Top US Scientist
Dr Hotez, an internationally-recognised physician-scientist in neglected tropical diseases and vaccine development, said that the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is "India's gift'' to the world in combating the virus, NDTV reported.
The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines by India in collaboration with leading global institutions has "rescued the world" from the deadly coronavirus and the contributions by the country must not be underestimated, a top American scientist has said.
India is called the pharmacy of the world during the COVID-19 pandemic with its vast experience and deep knowledge in medicine. The country is one of the world's biggest drug-makers and an increasing number of countries have already approached it for procuring coronavirus vaccines.
Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston during a recent webinar said that the two mRNA vaccines may not impact the world's low and middle-income countries, but India's vaccines, made in collaboration with universities across the world such as BCM and the Oxford University, have "rescued the world" and its contributions must not be underestimated.
India's drugs regulator gave emergency use authorisation to Covishield, produced by Pune-based Serum Institute of India after securing licence from British pharma company AstraZeneca, and Covaxin, indigenously developed jointly by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech and Indian Council of Medical Research scientists.
Consul General of India in Houston, Aseem Mahajan, along with a distinguished panel of doctors participated in this webinar, that tracked the possibilities of a return to some semblance of normality due to the accelerated roll-out of vaccines across the country.
Appreciating Dr. Hotez for commending India's efforts in getting vaccines to the world, Consul General Mahajan, said, "in keeping with "our tradition of sharing with the world," India has exported vaccines to many countries across the world.
India has provided 56 lakh doses of coronavirus vaccines under grants assistance to a number of countries. The vaccines were sent to Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, and Seychelles.
Austria suspends AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine batch after death
Austrian authorities have suspended inoculations with a batch of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine as a precaution while investigating the death of one person and the illness of another after the shots, a health agency said on Sunday.
“The Federal Office for Safety in Health Care (BASG) has received two reports in a temporal connection with a vaccination from the same batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the district clinic of Zwettl” in Lower Austria province, it said.
One 49-year-old woman died as a result of severe coagulation disorders, while a 35-year-old woman developed a pulmonary embolism and is recovering, it said. A pulmonary embolism is an acute lung disease caused by a dislodged blood clot.
“Currently there is no evidence of a causal relationship with the vaccination,” BASG said.
Austrian newspaper Niederoesterreichische Nachrichten as well as broadcaster ORF and the APA news agency reported that the women were both nurses who worked at the Zwettl clinic.
BASG said blood clotting was not among the known side effects of the vaccine. It was pursuing its investigation vigorously to completely rule out any possible link.
“As a precautionary measure, the remaining stocks of the affected vaccine batch are no longer being issued or vaccinated,” it added.
An AstraZeneca spokesman said: “There have been no confirmed serious adverse events associated with the vaccine,” adding that all batches are subject to strict and rigorous quality controls.
Trials and real-world experience so far suggest the vaccine is safe and effective and it had been approved for use in well over 50 countries, he said.
AstraZeneca also said it was in contact with Austrian authorities and would fully support the investigation.
Russian intelligence reportedly used fake news sites to spread misinformation about coronavirus vaccines
|Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge|
Four online publications linked to Russian intelligence agencies have been spreading false or misleading information about coronavirus vaccines, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing an official at the US Department of State’s Global Engagement Center.
The sites, identified as New Eastern Outlook, Oriental Review, News Front, and Rebel Inside, have emphasized the side effects of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine as well as other western pharma companies’ vaccines, stoking concerns about whether the vaccines are effective or had been rushed through the US approval process, the WSJ said.
The sites don’t have large audiences, but officials said their false stories are often picked up and circulated by international media. They typically focus on true news reports about rare side effects of the vaccines but fail to provide accurate context that shows the vaccines are safe for most people. “Russian intelligence services bear direct responsibility for using these four platforms to spread propaganda and lies,” a State Department spokesman told the WSJ.
In addition to the campaign to discredit Western vaccines, Russia’s state media and Twitter accounts connected to the Russian government are also trying to boost the profile of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.
A spokesperson for the Kremlin denied the allegations to the WSJ.
Russia announced in November that its Sputnik V vaccine had an efficacy of 90 percent, but critics said the clinical trials of the vaccine on patients were too small. However, the British medical journal The Lancet reported last month that larger-scale testing had found Sputnik V was safe and had a 91 percent efficacy rate. According to the Associated Press, as of late February only 4 million people in Russia— about 3 percent of the population— had been vaccinated.
At 96, Former Malaysian Prime Minister is the oldest Covid-19 vaccine recipient in the country
|Dr. Mahathir Mohamad smiling after receiving his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Photo courtesy of his Twitter|
Former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad became the oldest recipient of the Covid-19 vaccine in the country, earning praise from science, technology, and innovation minister Khairy Jamaluddin, said Freemalaysiatoday.
“We encourage more senior citizens to register for phase two of our immunization program,” said Khairy in his Facebook post.
Two photos of Mahathir receiving the shots were also posted on the “Vaksin Covid-19” Twitter page, stating Mahathir is now the oldest recipient in Malaysia.
Mahathir said he felt fine after the vaccination and urged all Malaysians to get vaccinated.
“As a senior citizen, I urge not only the older Malaysians but also the younger ones to step forward to be vaccinated against Covid-19. We must support this effort.
“We want to have as many Malaysians as possible vaccinated in the country’s efforts to fight the pandemic.”
Mahathir said he opted to be vaccinated together with the second phase of frontliners in Langkawi today, adding that the first batch had theirs much earlier.
Earlier today, health director-general Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah said about three million individuals had registered through the MySejahtera app to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.
Selangor had the highest number of those registered with 991,181. This was followed by Johor (335,537), Kuala Lumpur (292,983), and Sarawak (240,630).
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