Why is the US better than India
According to its government, the United States is approaching coping with the coronavirus pandemic. "I would say that we get the curve," said the Corona coordinator of the US Presidential Office, Jeff Zients, on CNN. Around 58 percent of American adults would have had at least one vaccination. The task now is to further strengthen confidence in vaccines and to vaccinate enough Americans. This could slow the spread of the virus and its variants.
US President Joe Biden has set a goal that at least 70 percent of Americans should be vaccinated at least once by July 4th Independence Day. If this is achieved, the pandemic will be permanently reduced to a low infection rate, said Zients. Trade Minister Gina Raimondo dampened hopes of a rapid economic recovery on the CBS channel.
For the time being, EU no longer orders a new vaccine from Astra Zeneca
In the middle of the legal dispute with the vaccine manufacturer Astra Zeneca due to delivery delays, the EU Commission is not extending the contract for the time being. "We have not extended the contract beyond June," said Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton on Sunday. But he didn't slam the door for new supply contracts. "We'll see what happens," he said. Breton added that Astra Zeneca's Covid drug was "a very good vaccine".
The commissioner also indicated that the cost of second-generation vaccines could increase due to additional research and possible changes to industrial facilities. The EU Commission has signed a contract with its partners Pfizer and Biontech for an additional 1.8 billion doses of their corona vaccine, which is to apply until 2023.
The first round in the process between the EU and Astra Zeneca had not brought any rapprochement at the end of April. The court is aiming for a decision in June. Astra Zeneca had promised the EU that it would deliver 300 million vaccine doses between December 2020 and June this year, 180 million of them in the current second quarter. In March, however, the company announced that it would probably only deliver a third of the amount. The European Medicines Agency EMA is meanwhile investigating cases of a rare nerve disease in connection with a vaccination against the coronavirus with the drug from Astra Zeneca.
Again more than 4000 deaths in one day in India
India has reported more than 400,000 new corona infections for the fourth day in a row. According to the Ministry of Health, the number of confirmed infections rose within 24 hours by 403,738 to 22.3 million. This is the second highest value worldwide after the USA. However, experts fear a much higher number of unreported cases.
It was not until Friday that a high was recorded with more than 414,000 new infections. The number of deaths related to the virus increased by 4,092 to 242,362.
Merkel refuses to approve vaccine patents
After the EU summit in Portugal, Chancellor Angela Merkel once again spoke out clearly against the release of vaccine patents, thus rejecting a proposal by US President Joe Biden. "I don't think releasing patents is the solution to making vaccine available to more people," she said. A solution using licenses is better. The patent holders, i.e. companies like Biontech based in Mainz, worked hard to increase their production and to issue appropriate licenses for it. This is more effective than questioning patent protection.
According to the Chancellor, cooperation in vaccine production between the European Union and India, which has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic, is to be strengthened. This will also be the subject of the German-Indian government consulations at the end of May. "Vaccination is the way out of the pandemic," said Merkel.
Previously, in the debate about promoting global vaccine production, French President Emmanuel Macron called on the US to lift export restrictions. The United States should no longer restrict exports of corona vaccines and their precursors, Macron said at the EU summit.
Vaccine Patents: Why Having the Prescription Isn't Enough (SZ Plus)
WHO grants Sinopharm vaccine emergency approval
Sinopharm is the first Chinese company to receive emergency approval from the World Health Organization (WHO) for its corona vaccine. The WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced on Friday in Geneva. This means that UN organizations can now buy and distribute the product.
China had already promised ten million doses of vaccine to the international UN vaccination program Covax, on which many poorer countries rely, in February. SAGE, an independent advisory body, has approved the vaccine for people over the age of 18, Tedros said. Two doses are necessary for full vaccination protection. SAGE states the effectiveness with 79 percent.
There is already a WHO emergency approval for the corona vaccines from Biontech / Pfizer, Astrazeneca, Janssen / Johnson & Johnson and Moderna. A second Chinese vaccine, that of Sinovac, is still being examined by the WHO - similar to other vaccines, including the Russian substance Sputnik V and the drug from the US company Novavax.
For the EU, the USA and other countries with regulatory authorities, the emergency approval of the WHO is of no relevance. You check active ingredients yourself and decide on approval. However, countries that do not have the capacity for their own scientific tests use the WHO quality test as a basis for their own approval.
For emergency approval, WHO experts test safety and efficacy with the help of the submitted phase II and phase III studies, among other things. They also inspect the manufacturing process and risk precautions. The companies undertake to continue to provide all relevant data to the WHO.
According to official information, China has already administered more than 200 million doses of vaccines in its own country, including those from Sinopharm, Sinovac and other domestic manufacturers. More than 100 million cans have been delivered abroad. Around 80 countries and three international organizations are named. Beijing did not provide any information on whether the vaccine was given for free or at reduced prices.
Mexico City relaxes corona restrictions
Mexico City is lifting further corona restrictions in public life, although few residents have so far been vaccinated against the virus. The city - one of the largest in the world, with around nine million inhabitants in the core area and around 22 million in the metropolitan area - will go from orange to yellow for the first time in the pandemic according to the traffic light system that applies there, as Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said on Friday announced.
Among other things, shops and cinemas can be used up to 40 percent from Monday. In the following week, entertainment events with up to 500 people in closed rooms should be possible again, a week later also children's parties with a maximum of 50 participants - provided there is at least nine square meters of space for each.
The North American country - with around 126 million inhabitants in tenth place worldwide - has the fourth most registered corona deaths worldwide. So far, a good 218,000 deaths have been officially confirmed there. Most recently, around 250 new fatalities were added each day.
Until mid-February Mexico City was shown in the traffic light system on red. The color depends, among other things, on the occupancy of the hospital beds. The last sank in Mexico City. However, many corona infected people in Mexico do not go to hospital - for fear of the circumstances in view of the underfunded health system.
Greece opens beaches and beach bars earlier than planned
The Greek government has brought forward the Corona timetable for the next few weeks and the starting shot for tourism, which was actually planned for May 15. Beach bars and managed beaches with their beach chairs are allowed to open from Saturday. All schools open from Monday. Museums should be accessible again on May 14th, the open-air cinemas on May 21st, and the country's amphitheaters on May 28th. Last Monday, the outdoor catering had already reopened for the first time in a good six months.
These are cautious but urgently needed opening steps, said the head of civil defense, Nikos Chardalias, on state television on Friday. He pointed out that, especially in view of the opening, people should absolutely adhere to the existing rules. This was also emphasized by the doctor Vana Papaevangelou from the Corona crisis team: Although the number of infected people is declining, local flares must be expected again and again in view of the openings.
All openings are connected with supports. The students have to submit a negative self-test every Monday and Thursday, which they receive free of charge. In taverns there is a gap between the tables and a maximum of six people can sit at one table. Facilities such as open-air cinemas and amphitheaters are only allowed to occupy half of their seats. And there is still a nightly curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. across the country. The Greek health authority had registered 2691 new corona cases within 24 hours on Friday.
Biontech and Pfizer apply for full US approval
The vaccine manufacturers Biontech and Pfizer want to achieve full approval of their Covid vaccine for all people over 16 in the USA. The companies from Germany and the USA announced on Friday that they had started the process of filing with the responsible US authority FDA and applied for preferential review. It could take weeks or months to reach a final decision.
So far, the very successful and effective vaccine from Biontech / Pfizer has received emergency approval in the USA and has already been injected more than 130 million times. The companies are also trying to get approval for the age group from 12 to 15.
The vaccine could soon be approved for young people in the European Union. Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn was confident on Friday that the Biontech vaccine will probably also be approved for people over the age of twelve in June.
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