The top U.S. trade negotiator will begin talks with the World Trade Organization on Wednesday on ways to overcome intellectual property issues that are preventing much-needed COVID-19 vaccines from being more widely distributed around the world.
President Joe Biden has faced calls from fellow WTO members, activists and US lawmakers to temporarily waive restrictions as some states refuse planned federal shipments due to a cutback demand.
82% of vaccines were given in high- and middle-income countries and only 0.3% in low-income countries, according to the World Health Organization.
The calls come as India faces an increase in cases and deaths, which are increasing at an alarming rate.
“We are not facing a single COVID pandemic. There are multiple strains involved, multiple pandemics really, in different parts of the country, ”said Manoj Gopalakrishna, CEO of the non-profit group CARE India.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration will begin allocating vaccine doses from states with low demand to those where demand remains high, an administration official said on Tuesday.
The vaccination rush has abated across much of the country, with some states refusing all or part of their weekly dose allocations. The federal government will now transfer some of these doses to areas where appointments remain difficult to obtain.
Also in the news:
►Two of California’s most populous counties, San Francisco and Los Angeles County, are now eligible to move to the least restrictive level of California’s reopening framework.
►The president of one of South Korea’s largest dairy companies, Namyang Dairy Products, has resigned following a scandal in which his company was accused of deliberately spreading false information that his yogurt helps prevent coronavirus infections.
►Bavarian officials on Monday canceled Oktoberfest festivities in Germany for the second year in a row amid concerns about the spread of COVID-19, saying there were too many risks involved in hosting the celebrations – which attract visitors around the world – during a pandemic.
►Masks in Michigan are no longer needed at small outdoor weddings, graduation parties or other similar events or when playing certain youth sports, according to a new order from the Department of Health. state health which is due to take effect Thursday.
📈 The numbers of the day: The United States has more than 32.5 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and 578,400 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: over 153.9 million cases and 3.22 million deaths. More than 318.4 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed in the United States and 247.7 million have been administered, according to the CDC. More than 106.16 million Americans have been fully immunized.
📘 What we read: It may not take true “herd immunity” to see a dramatic drop in COVID-19 cases, some researchers say.
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‘Very important’ for children to be vaccinated, say doctors ahead of FDA approval
Amid reports that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine will be granted clearance for use on adolescents aged 12 to 15 by next week, the company has its eyes on younger age groups .
Pfizer will pursue FDA emergency use clearance for the vaccine for children as young as 2 years old in September and as young as 6 months later in the year, CEO Albert Bourla told investors on Tuesday.
Adding children to the ranks of vaccinated Americans will have a big impact on the country’s ability to curb the spread of the virus, said Dr. Rosemary Olivero, pediatric infectious disease physician at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Children make up about 25% of the US population, so getting them vaccinated “will allow less creeping peaks in coronavirus cases leading to hospitalization and so on. … So it is very, very important that children be vaccinated because that’s a very large population of the general population of the United States. “
And before approval by the Food and Drug Administration, clinical trials showed the Pfizer vaccine to be safe for ages 12 to 15, said Melissa Lyon, director of the Erie County Department of Health in Pennsylvania.
“There was a robust clinical trial process and the vaccine came out the other side to be safe for those ages,” Lyon said. As always, you have to weigh the risk of the vaccine against the risk of contracting COVID.
– Kristen Jordan Shamus and Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press; David Bruce, Erie Times-News
Biden aims for 70% of adults to have a photo by July 4
To meet his new goal of having 70% of American adults receive at least one dose of the vaccine by July 4, Biden on Tuesday presented a plan to make vaccinations more convenient and to convince those hesitant to to get vaccinated.
Biden also said he is aiming for 160 million Americans to be fully immunized by Independence Day, an increase of 54 million from the current total. That figure will be easier to achieve once teens between the ages of 12 and 15 are eligible, and the president said his administration would be “ready to act immediately” once the FDA grants clearance for these vaccinations. which could take place as early as next week.
Nearly 148 million Americans, including 56% of those 18 and over, have received at least one dose of the vaccine and nearly a third of the population has been fully immunized. But with polls showing that about 25% have no intention of getting the vaccine, Biden admitted, “Now we’re going to have to get the vaccine to people who are less willing.
He unveiled a new number – 438829 – where people can send their zip code and get a response with information about the nearest vaccination sites, and said most of the government’s 40,000 partner pharmacies will start providing vaccines. without an appointment.
Towards the end of his White House presentation, Biden appealed to the American public to help them achieve the goals he had set for himself.
“We need you. We need you to bring him home. Get vaccinated,” he said. “In two months, let’s celebrate our independence as a nation and our independence from the this virus. We can do it. We will do it. ”
Infections and deaths in India are increasing at an alarming rate
India’s Ministry of Health reported 357,229 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours and 3,449 deaths on Tuesday. India’s official average of daily confirmed cases has risen from 65,000 on April 1 to around 370,000. Average daily deaths have risen from 300 to over 3,000.
Infections and deaths are increasing at an alarming rate. A top US health expert warns that the coming weeks in the country will be “horrible.”
Dr Ashish Jha, dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University, told The Associated Press he fears Indian policymakers think things will improve in the coming days.
“I … tried to tell them, ‘If everything goes well, things will be horrible for the next few weeks. And it can be much longer, ”he said.
Contribute: The Associated Press