A version of this story appeared in the January 28 edition of CNN’s Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction newsletter. Sign up here to receive the need-to-know headlines every weekday.
“We are going to make sure there are vaccination centers in communities hit hardest by the pandemic, in Black and Latino communities and rural communities as well,” Biden said.
The European Union, which has long prided itself on rejecting nationalism in favor of international cooperation, is fighting an ugly battle with British-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca over delays in supply, and threatening to impose export controls on vaccines.
AstraZeneca says the EU has been too slow to place orders while EU officials are pushing back against what they call “the logic of first come first served.” European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides lashed out, saying, “That may work at the neighborhood butchers but not in contracts, and not in our advanced purchase agreements.”
“We lose people everyday. These are not numbers, they are not statistics, these are persons … pharmaceutical companies, vaccine developers, have moral, societal and contractual responsibilities which they need to uphold,” she added.
EU officials have declined to specify the scale of the vaccine shortfall, but it’s clear that it is large enough to cause problems. German Health Minister Jens Spahn warned today the country will face shortages for at least another 10 weeks. Italy had to revise its vaccination program, saying the over-80s would be vaccinated four weeks later than previously planned. In Spain, the regional government of Madrid has stopped administering first doses of the vaccine for the next two weeks to ensure there is enough to provide second doses for those who already got their first shots.
The EU isn’t the only one scrambling for vaccines. In the United States, many states – including New York, South Carolina, Hawaii and Florida – have had to cancel or delay thousands of vaccination appointments because of supply shortages and the unpredictability of shipment sizes. One official described the current situation as the “Hunger Games approach.”
Manufacturing and distributing hundreds of millions of vaccines from scratch was always going to be hard. But while the rich countries of the world fight over the supplies, the developing world is being left behind.
US President Joe Biden is aiming to have almost the entire US population vaccinated by the end of summer or early fall. The European Commission’s goal is for 70% of adults to be inoculated by June. The UK is hoping to offer the vaccine to all adults by September.
German health officials have advised against giving the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to people older than 65 years because they believe there is insufficient data on the effectiveness of the vaccine for this age group.
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED.
Q: Is it true that vaccinated people can still get infected?
A: When asked about US President Joe Biden’s use of the Defense Production Act, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said the purpose was to “facilitate” the process of administering vaccines, and not to make more doses.
“You just can’t open up another factory from a company that isn’t Moderna, or isn’t Pfizer, and say make mRNA vaccine. It’s just not going to happen that way, because of the process. It’s one that is difficult, in the sense of starting from scratch,” Fauci told Anderson Cooper during a CNN Global Town Hall yesterday.
Some cooperation is possible though. Sanofi said it will fill and pack millions of doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine from July in an effort to help meet the huge demand for the US drugmaker’s shots.
Send your questions here. Are you a health care worker fighting Covid-19? Message us on WhatsApp about the challenges you’re facing: +1 347-322-0415.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY
A new study from the US CDC says in-person learning is possible – but only with the right precautions. The Biden administration said it wants schools to reopen but believes Congress must make the necessary investments to safely return to in-person learning.
The UK was the first country to begin inoculating its citizens with a fully vetted and authorized Covid-19 vaccine, and is among the countries with the highest number of shots administered per capita.
But just how quickly can the UK – and perhaps the rest of the world – expect to return to some form of normality? The truth is, not very soon, Kara Fox explains.
Covid-19 numbers are dipping in the US, even as variants lurk and the vaccine rollout lags
Make no mistake: The United States still is at one of its worst spots of the coronavirus pandemic. Daily deaths are near a peak, and other daily stats are stunningly high compared to where they’d been before a late 2020 surge.
Yet Covid-19 cases and hospitalization numbers have been falling. Vaccines are here and warmer weather is approaching.
Manaus is collapsing again. Is a new coronavirus variant to blame?
Manaus, the capital city of Brazil’s Amazonas state and its current coronavirus epicenter, is often referred to as the gateway to the Amazon, its main link to the rest of the world by plane or boat.
If the city’s name sounds familiar, it could be because it was the scene of one of the world’s worst Covid-19 outbreaks in April and May. Yet the current situation there is worse than ever – and scientists tell CNN that evidence suggests a new virus variant mixed with government inaction created a tragic perfect storm.
Pulling off Tokyo 2020 will be a logistical nightmare … and the clock is ticking
UFC had “fight island.” The NBA had “the bubble.” Tokyo 2020 might need a miracle.
After the pandemic forced organizers to delay the Summer Olympics last year, the Games are now set to begin on July 23, and major questions remain as to how Japan plans to pull off what could be the most complex sporting event ever held.
New coronavirus variants keep popping up. Here’s what we know about them
ON OUR RADAR
- Biden is set to reinstate coronavirus-related travel restrictions that Trump lifted.
- The Pentagon is weighing up deploying thousands of troops to help Biden reach his vaccination target.
- Tom Brady’s dad has revealed his ‘life and death’ battle with Covid-19.
- Merck is stopping development of its Covid-19 vaccine candidates.
- New Zealand’s borders may stay shut for most of the year.
- Google Maps will soon display Covid-19 vaccination sites, beginning in four states: Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
As public demand grows for limited supplies of Covid-19 vaccines, questions remain about whether older adults with various illnesses should be inoculated. Among them are cancer patients receiving active treatment, dementia patients near the end of their lives and people with auto-immune conditions. Here are some tips on how older adults with chronic illnesses can assess whether to take the Covid-19 vaccine.
Layering your face is in – but not as a fashion statement. It may just save a life. Public health officials are suggesting double masking as a way to increase the level of protection from the coronavirus and its multiple, more contagious variants.
“When we think about risk for severity, it’s the fact that so many people of color in our country are living with multiple chronic diseases because of the chronic inability to access high quality health care.” – Dr. Marcella Nunez Smith, chair of White House’s Health Equity Task Force
The Biden administration is beginning to put its Covid-19 strategy into action and lay out plans to bring this pandemic to an end. Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Anderson Cooper spoke to three key members of President Biden’s Covid response team: CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Biden’s Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, and head of the White House’s new Health Equity Task Force Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith. Listen now.