CategoryVaccine

Ireland – More than 250k vaccines administered in one week, as hospitalisations drop to 106

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The vaccine rollout hit a crucial target in the past week, as the HSE reports a total spend of €500 million on Covid-19 measures so far.

Almost 261,000 doses were administered in the week leading up to 10 May, according to the latest data. The government previously indicated the rollout will be at this scale by the end of the month.

This suggests the government’s target of having 80% of the eligible population with a first dose by 30 June is within grasp.

According to analysis of the figures by The Journal, the 80% figure will be passed on 3 July, if the pace of the rollout continues to improve in line with expectations.

Even if no improvement is made, the 80% figure will be reached on 17 July at the current pace of vaccination.

https://www.thejournal.ie/total-covid-spend-hse-hospitalisations-fall-5434925-May2021/

French Covid infections slow as vaccinations open up to all ages

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New Covid-19 infections in France have dropped to the lowest rate in a year, with the government banking on a stepped-up vaccination drive to bring the epidemic under control. From Wednesday, all adults, regardless of age or health status, are allowed to be vaccinated, if they can find an appointment within 24 hours.

“Today the evolution of the epidemic is rather favourable. The downward trend is clear. I am vigilant and I am optimistic,” Prime Minister Jean Castex told France 2 television on Tuesday, after health ministry data showed the number of new coronavirus infections increased 2.11 per cent this week, compared to last week, the the slowest pace since June 2020.

Covid hospitalisations are falling, down 638 to 25,028, with 4,743 patients in intensive care units.

Castex said the numbers show the situation in France is improving, and the government is hoping increased vaccinations will continue the trend.

https://www.rfi.fr/en/france/20210512-rise-in-french-covid-cases-slows-as-vaccinations-open-anyone-finds-an-appointment

Germany – one in three people has now been vaccinated for the first time

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Germany’s vaccination campaign is making progress: According to Health Minister Jens Spahn, one in three people has now been vaccinated for the first time. According to him, if the prioritization falls in June, it will take until July before everyone who wants to be vaccinated has received a first shot.

In Germany, around a third of the population is vaccinated against the coronavirus. According to the Robert Koch Institute, a total of 557,612 people received a corona vaccination at the beginning of the week – around 110,000 more than on Monday last week. While 381,100 received the first injection, it was already the second for 176,512. This means that the vaccination rate across Germany is now 33.3 percent. Around one in ten (9.6 percent) is now fully immunized.

As Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Deutschlandfunk, two thirds of people over 60 are now vaccinated. That leaves around five to six million people in this age group who could be vaccinated in the coming weeks.

https://www.n-tv.de/panorama/Jeder-dritte-Deutsche-erstgeimpft-article22547481.html

There’s growing confidence that the worst of COVID-19 is behind California

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California’s battle against coronavirus has progressed so rapidly in the last few months that many experts are optimistic the state has experienced the worst of the pandemic and that another disastrous wave is unlikely as vaccinations increase and case rates keep plunging.

If those forecasts hold fast, California will enter the summer in a better place than many thought. State officials hope to have the economy largely reopened by June 15. And while coronavirus variants caused concerns earlier this year, officials and experts say they have generally been less aggressive than feared and vaccines seem to be offering protection against the various variants.

“I am optimistic,” said Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, medical epidemiologist and infectious diseases expert at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. “I think that we are going in the right direction — we will never have a surge like we had during the viral tsunami of the post-holiday season, just because now we have so many people vaccinated, and so many people have got natural immunity from having had the disease.”

On Monday, officials said Los Angeles County could reach “herd immunity” from the coronavirus by mid- to late July. Herd immunity, sometimes referred to as community immunity, occurs when enough people have been inoculated or have obtained natural immunity to protect the larger population against the virus.

With about 400,000 shots administered weekly, the county has about 2 million first doses to go before 80% of all residents 16 and older will have received at least one shot, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a news briefing.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-05-11/vaccines-boost-california-confidence-for-covid-19-recovery

New Jersey, one of the hardest hit states last year, is seeing cases decline significantly

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New coronavirus cases have fallen drastically in New Jersey, where at times this spring the virus was spreading faster than anywhere else in the United States.

Over the past two weeks, the state has seen its average number of new daily cases drop by 61 percent, according to a New York Times database.

New Jersey’s case numbers are dropping along with the rest of the country’s. But the state’s decline is the steepest in the United States and its rate of new daily cases per person is now just above the national average.

“Clearly vaccinations are playing a role in this,” said Dr. Edward Lifshitz, medical director of the New Jersey Department of Health Communicable Disease Service.

Behind New Jersey is neighboring New York, with a 48 percent decline, and Michigan, which despite a 41 percent drop still has the highest rate of new cases in the country. In Puerto Rico, cases are also down 61 percent.

“The good news is now becoming almost overwhelming, and that’s a good thing,” Gov. Philip D. Murphy said in public remarks on Thursday.

Mr. Murphy has cited the state’s rising vaccination rates as the cause of the reopening. As of Friday morning, more than 3.4 million New Jersey residents had been vaccinated, according to state health data.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/07/nyregion/nj-covid-cases.html

Third of UK adults are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19

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A third of UK adults are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19, latest figures have shown.

A total of 17,669,379 people have received both jabs – the equivalent of 33.5% of all people aged 18 and over.

England and Northern Ireland are both estimated to have given two doses to 33.6% of their adult population, slightly ahead of Wales (33.4%) and Scotland (33.1%).

Responding to the figures for England, Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and medical director for primary care at NHS England, said: “Yet another incredible NHS milestone has been reached as one in three adults in England have now had both doses of the Covid vaccine – meaning that they have maximum protection from the virus.

“Reaching this milestone is no accident – it is down to months of hard work and everyone in the NHS who has played a role in this is helping to protect millions of people from serious illness and saving lives.”

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/covid-vaccinated-third-uk-b934085.html

U.S. turning corner on pandemic, says White House COVID coordinator

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The United States is closer to getting the coronavirus pandemic under control and health officials are focused on the next challenge: getting more Americans vaccinated, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said on Sunday.

“I would say we are turning the corner,” Zients said in an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Zients said about 58% of American adults have received at least one coronavirus vaccine shot. The task now is to continue building confidence in vaccines and get enough Americans vaccinated to mitigate the spread of the virus and its variants, he said.

U.S. health officials are aiming to meet President Joe Biden’s goal of 70% of American adults having at least one shot by the July 4 U.S. Independence Day.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said another surge in coronavirus infections would be unlikely if the Biden goal is met or exceeded.

“The larger proportion of the population that’s vaccinated, the less likelihood that in a season like the coming fall or winter you’re going to see a significant surge,” Fauci said on NBC’ “Meet the Press.”

“That’s the reason why vaccinations are so important. That’s the wild card that we have now that we didn’t have last fall or the last winter.”

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-turning-corner-coronavirus-pandemic-white-houses-zients-2021-05-09/

Canada sets new single-day vaccination record logging more than 400,000 doses

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Canada reached a new milestone in its COVID-19 vaccination effort Friday, logging more than 400,000 doses in a single day.

Canada administered a total 400,489 doses of combined first and second doses Friday, according to CTV News.ca’s vaccine tracker.

Numbers released by the federal government showed that 375,636 of the 400,489 doses were first doses, while the remaining 24,853 were second doses.

More than 14 million people have now had at least one dose, which equates to about 37 per cent of all Canadians. In total 14,104,164 Canadians had received at least one dose of a vaccine as of Friday afternoon.

https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/canada-sets-new-single-day-vaccination-record-logging-more-than-400-000-doses-1.5419495

More than 70% of Americans at least 65 years old now fully inoculated as U.S. Covid cases

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More than 70% of Americans aged 65 and older are fully vaccinated, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data published Wednesday.

CDC data shows an average of 2.1 million reported vaccinations per day over the past week, down from a peak of 3.4 million in mid-April.

At the same time, the rate of new infections fell further. About 46,600 new cases are being reported each day in the U.S., based on a seven-day average of Johns Hopkins University data, the lowest level since the fall.

Among seniors, one of the most vulnerable groups and to whom vaccine eligibility opened earliest, those figures are much higher. 83% are at least partially vaccinated and more than 70% are fully vaccinated.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday set a goal of getting 70% of U.S. adults to receive at least one dose of a Covid vaccine by July 4. As of Wednesday, about 57% of adults have done so.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/06/covid-19-cases-deaths-vaccinations-daily-update.html

Tweaked Moderna vaccine ‘neutralises Covid variants in trials’

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The first “tweaked” vaccine against the worrying coronavirus variants that emerged in South Africa and Brazil has successfully neutralised them in laboratory trials, the US company Moderna has said.

The results of the small trial suggest that boosters against the variants will be feasible and could be rolled out this year to counter the threat from variants that have appeared around the world and are feared in some cases to be more transmissible or partially vaccine-resistant.

Leading companies have been racing to produce adapted versions of their Covid vaccines. Pfizer/BioNTech, which has a similar mRNA vaccine to Moderna’s, and Oxford/AstraZeneca are also in the process of developing tweaked vaccines against the South African variant, B1351, and the Brazilian variant, P1, which appear to be the major threat to current immunisation programmes.

Moderna became the first to announce results on Wednesday night. They appear to be very positive, although only basic information from an initial analysis of results is available so far.

The US company has tested both a booster shot of its standard Covid vaccine and also a tweaked version of the vaccine in people who have previously had the full double dose. Twenty adults were recruited for each arm of the trial, or 40 in total.

Two weeks after the new jab, Moderna says both the booster shot and the tweaked vaccine increased the antibodies in the blood that can neutralise the two variants of concern.

But the tweaked vaccine – called mRNA-1273.351 and designed specifically to combat the South African and Brazilian variants, which have similar mutations to the spike protein – produced higher levels of neutralising antibodies than the standard booster shot, mRNA-1273.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/05/tweaked-moderna-vaccine-neutralises-covid-variants-in-trials