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May 26, 2021

International update: Covid vaccine news – Moderna Inc.’s vaccine highly effective in teenagers

By Paul Dennis

26 May

Global: The global Covid death toll is still rising towards 3.5 million with a figure of 3,486,104 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University . Meanwhile, infections exceed 167,856,000 world wide.

US: Covid -19 infections have passed 33 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 590,941 according to Johns Hopkins University data.

The Biden administration has reaffirmed its support for Tokyo’s plan to hold the Olympic Games this summer despite a new wave of coronavirus cases and the US urging its citizens to avoid all travel to Japan

UK: At least 77,000 hospital staff in England caught coronavirus during the pandemic, while there were nearly a quarter of a million absences for Covid-related reasons, Guardian research has revealed.

France: The number of people with Covid-19 in intensive care units in France fell by another 49 to 3,447 on Tuesday, while the overall number of people in hospital with the virus fell by 271 to 19,430.

Uruguay: Public approval of Uruguay President Luis Lacalle Pou’s handling of the pandemic fell to 62% in May from 72% in February, pollster Opcion Consultores found. Disapproval of Lacalle Pou’s handling of the pandemic rose to 15% from 10%. Opcion interviewed 824 people via mobile phone May 13-20 with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5%. Uruguay led the world in Covid-19 deaths per capita in the last week even with one of Latin America’s most successful vaccination programs.

Vaccine news

Global: Moderna Inc.’s vaccine was highly effective in 12- to 17-year-olds in a large study, paving the way for regulatory submissions around the world by early June. In a news release, the company said its vaccine was between 93% and 100% effective in preventing symptomatic Covid in teenagers, depending on whether very mild cases are included in the count. The study met its primary goal of showing that immune responses to the vaccine were as good as those produced in adults, and no significant safety concerns were observed, according to the company.

US: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that as of 30 April there were 10,262 cases of vaccinated people who were later infected with Covid-19 out of approximately 101 million people who are fully inoculated. A small number of so-called breakthrough infections after full vaccination are to be expected because no vaccines are 100% effective. The CDC notes the reported cases are likely a substantial undercount since many people, especially those who are asymptomatic or have only mild illness, might not seek testing.

Maine Governor Janet Mills said 70% of state residents age 12 and older have received one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. Five other states – Vermont, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut – have also reached that milestone, she said in a statement, citing CDC data.

Poland: Poland will launch a lottery with prizes of as much as 1m zlotys ($273,000) to encourage people to get vaccinated against Covid-19, the minister in charge of the immunisation programme has said.

South Korea: South Korea, in its latest attempt to spur more people to get vaccinated, announced it will exempt those who’ve been inoculated from wearing masks when outdoors. Health authorities did not specify how those who had a jab would be identified when the exemption takes effect in July.

Vietnam: Australia will provide Vietnam with a A$40 million ($31 million) grant for Covid-19 vaccine purchases, according to a post on Vietnam’s government website. Vietnam has also asked for help obtaining AstraZeneca Plc Covid-19 vaccines manufactured in Australia.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong may donate Covid-19 vaccines to countries more in need of them via channels such as the World Health Organization ’s Covax initiative as local demand for Pfizer-BioNTech shots “has gradually become sluggish recently,” according to a government statement late Tuesday.

Russia: As Russia struggles to get its population to take the coronavirus vaccines heralded by President Vladimir Putin, the far east region of Yakutia is passing the strictest inoculation requirements yet. All companies, both public-sector and private, are required to organize shots for their workers, according to a decree by the region’s chief medical authority. Employers that fail to do so may face fines, Yakutia President Aisen Nikolaev’s press service said separately. The target is to cover at least 70% of all adults by July.

Lockdown updates

Australia: Melbourne officials declined to declare a snap lockdown in the city Wednesday, even as the cluster of cases there grew to 15, passing the number that triggered the last short-notice restrictions in February. Australia’s second-biggest city issued a mask mandate and restricted gatherings earlier this week.

Japan: The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is considering asking the central government to extend a coronavirus state of emergency in the capital that’s due to expire 31 May, public broadcaster NHK reported, without saying where it got the information. Infections are dropping but officials are concerned about a resurgence if the emergency is lifted too soon, NHK said.

Canada: British Columbia, whose economy weathered the pandemic better than much of Canada, said it foresees a return to “normal life” as it announced plans to lift most restrictions by the fall. The western province on Tuesday released a four-stage plan that could see offices fully reopened, sporting events and concerts allowed, and constraints on travel lifted by September. The reopening will be based on data, and dates and rules could change depending on new outbreaks.

US: Harvard students will return to the classroom full time for the fall semester and campus housing will go back to its usual density after more than a year of remote learning. The university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is expecting the largest entering class in its history, Harvard said Tuesday in a statement on its website. All enrolled students, who must be vaccinated to attend, can expect full campus access, which includes libraries, archives, museums and research facilities.

UK: The British government warned people to avoid traveling to hot spots in England where the variant first identified in India is spreading. The guidance applies to eight areas including Hounslow in west London, the central England city of Leicester and the northwest towns of Blackburn and Bolton. People there should not meet up indoors or travel outside their districts, the government said.

Ireland: Ireland is set to announce this week that it will remove the requirement for travelers arriving from the UK to self quarantine for 14 days, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported, even amid increasing concern about the spread of the variant first identified in India.

Economics updates

UK: UK trade with the EU collapsed by nearly a quarter at the start of 2021 compared with three years before as Brexit and Covid-19 disruption hit exports, while China replaced Germany as the biggest single import market, according to official figures.

US: The rebound in US travel is gaining steam, according to the country’s three biggest airlines. The pace of the recovery has been faster than expected, Delta Air Lines Inc. President Glen Hauenstein said Tuesday. United Airlines Holdings Inc. predicted it would turn a profit before certain items next quarter, while American Airlines Group Inc. said corporate trips and long overseas flights – the worst-hit segments during the pandemic – are poised for improvement.

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