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U.S. reaches COVID-19 vaccine milestone of 100 million shots

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The U.S. has now administered over 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine — 101.1 million, to be precise — according to figures posted Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That equates to more than 35 million Americans fully vaccinated — 10.5% of the total U.S. population. Nearly 66 million, or almost 20% of the total population, have gotten at least one dose. Nearly one-third of Americans age 65 and older are fully vaccinated.

Since the first shot in the nationwide rollout was given on December 14, there have been more doses administered in the U.S. than any other country in the world, according to figures collected by Johns Hopkins University, although several smaller nations have vaccinated a higher proportion of their populations. 

The Biden administration now estimates it will have enough doses available for every adult by May. Clinical trials in teens and children could clear the way for some shots for adolescents by the fall and younger children in early 2022.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-vaccine-100-million-shots-americans/?ftag=CNM-00-10aac3a

UK – Vaccines for all over-40s by Easter after ‘bumper boost’ to supplies

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Everyone over 40 should be offered their first Covid-19 vaccine by Easter, with a “bumper boost” to supplies allowing the programme to rapidly expand next week, The Telegraph can reveal. 

Stocks are expected to more than double, allowing the NHS to administer up to a million doses a day in coming weeks, government sources said. 

It means that all over-50s are expected to receive an invitation for a jab over the next week – around three weeks ahead of the Government’s target.

The Prime Minister had promised that jabs would be offered to all over-50s by April 15, and to everyone over the age of 18 by the end of July.

However, senior government sources said the programme was already far ahead of expectations and about to accelerate dramatically.

As a result, there is growing confidence that all adults over 40 will have been offered a first dose of the vaccine before Easter, which falls on April 4. It will also increase pressure on the Government to speed up the exit from lockdown.

On Friday night, Tory MPs said the progress, combined with continued falls in cases and hospitalisations, meant pubs and restaurants should be allowed to open from Easter. The current plan allows only “al fresco” hospitality to open a week later, with indoor eating and drinking not allowed until May.

The UK’s R number has now dropped to between 0.6 and 0.8, down from 0.7 to 0.9 a week ago, with prevalence of coronavirus in England now the lowest it has been since September, according to the Office for National Statistics.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/03/12/exclusive-vaccines-40s-easter-bumper-boost-supplies/

Covid vaccinations: No reason to stop using AstraZeneca jab, says WHO

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Countries should not stop using AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine over fears it causes blood clots as there is no indication this is true, the World Health Organization says.

Bulgaria, Denmark and Norway are among the countries that have paused its use.

But on Friday a WHO spokeswoman said there was no link between the jab and an increased risk of developing a clot.

Margaret Harris said it was an “excellent vaccine” and should continue to be used.

Around 5 million Europeans have already received the AstraZeneca jab.

There have been about 30 cases in Europe of “thromboembolic events” – or developing blood clots – after the vaccine was administered. There were also reports that a 50-year-old man had died in Italy after developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

The WHO is investigating the reports, as it does any safety questions, Ms Harris said.

On Friday, AstraZeneca said the recorded number of blood clots in vaccinated people was “significantly lower… than would be expected among the general population”.

“An analysis of our safety data of more than 10 million records has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis,” a spokesperson said.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-56370636

EU approves single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine

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The European Medicines Agency has recommended granting conditional marketing authorisation for the single-dose Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine, in what is the fourth vaccine approved by the bloc.

The company has committed to deliver 200 million doses to the EU this year with 600,000 pencilled in to arrive in Ireland between April and June.

The ease of administering the vaccine, which can be stored in an ordinary fridge and requires only one dose, has been flagged as a game-changer but a global scramble for doses is putting pressure on supply chains.

“With this latest positive opinion, authorities across the European Union will have another option to combat the pandemic and protect the lives and health of their citizens,” said Emer Cooke, the EMA’s executive director, adding, “this is the first vaccine which can be used as a single dose”.

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/health-pharma/eu-approves-single-shot-johnson-johnson-vaccine-1.4507473

U.S. administers 98.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines: CDC

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The United States has administered 98,203,893 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country and distributed 131,131,470 doses as of Thursday morning, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The tally is for Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines as of 6:00 a.m. ET on Thursday, the agency said.

According to the tally posted on March 10, the agency had administered 95,721,290 doses of the vaccines, and distributed 127,869,155 doses.

The agency said 64,071,674 people had received at least one dose, while 33,863,127 people were fully vaccinated.

https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSL4N2L63T4

Over-30s ‘to be vaccinated by April’ as tens of millions of doses land in UK

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Over-30s could be on track to receive Covid vaccines in April as tens of millions of doses arrive on UK soil. 

The country will see a ‘rapid increase’ in supply in the second half of March, Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi has revealed. 

England alone is set to administer four million jabs a week after UK vaccinations fell to just over two million every seven days. 

Speaking to the Women and Equalities House of Commons Committee, Mr Zahawi said until now ‘supply has been finite’ but the situation is about to ‘get easier’.

‘The whole country will see a rapid increase in the number of people getting their first dose and getting protected whilst obviously we do second dosing at the same time.’

https://metro.co.uk/2021/03/11/over-30s-to-be-vaccinated-by-april-as-tens-of-millions-of-doses-land-in-uk-14224155/

Novavax vaccine 96% effective against original coronavirus, 86% vs British variant in UK trial

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Novavax Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine was 96% effective in preventing cases caused by the original version of the coronavirus in a late-stage trial conducted in the United Kingdom, the company said on Thursday, moving it a step closer to regulatory approval.

There were no cases of severe illness or deaths among those who got the vaccine.

The vaccine was also about 86% effective in protecting against the more contagious virus variant first discovered and now prevalent in the UK. It was about 90% effective overall, combining data from people infected with both versions of the coronavirus.

In a smaller trial conducted in South Africa – where volunteers were primarily exposed to another newer, more contagious variant widely circulating there and spreading around the world – the Novavax vaccine was only around 55% effective but still fully prevented severe illness and death.

Results from the final analysis of the UK trial were largely in line with interim data released in January.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-vaccines-novavax-idUSKBN2B32ZO

The vaccines are working. That’s why we shouldn’t panic about variants.

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Several new coronavirus variants have been identified in the United States in recent weeks, and scientists are grappling with whether these strains threaten the country — and, if so, how.

One thing experts agree on, though, is that the available vaccines have outperformed expectations — even when it comes to what are known as the “variants of concern.”

“This virus is not invincible, and despite all these variants, the vaccines are working great,” said Jeremy Kamil, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Louisiana State University Health Shreveport. “That is really outstanding and people should be celebrating that.”

While it’s likely that other variants will continue to emerge as pockets of outbreaks simmer around the country, Kamil said that alone isn’t cause for alarm. Rather than fret over each new strain that is identified, he said the most important thing Americans can do now is try to contain the virus by staying safe and getting vaccinated, particularly because the vaccines are so effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths.

https://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/vaccines-are-working-shouldnt-panic-variants-rcna372