Health News Roundup: 'I want to feel safe again': Americans lament slow pace of U.S. COVID-19 vaccine rollout; Norway's capital tightens lockdown to combat more contagious virus variant and more

Shapiro said he has spent hours calling multiple health agencies and making fruitless computer searches, an experience familiar to many people across the United States, as the days-old administration of President Joe Biden races to bring the country's slow, chaotic vaccine rollout up to speed.

Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 23-01-2021 18:55 IST | Created: 23-01-2021 18:29 IST
Health News Roundup: 'I want to feel safe again': Americans lament slow pace of U.S. COVID-19 vaccine rollout; Norway's capital tightens lockdown to combat more contagious virus variant and more
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

'I want to feel safe again': Americans lament slow pace of U.S. COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Jerry Shapiro, a 78-year-old pharmacist from Los Angeles, is at the top of the list of Californians now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, but more than a month after the state began inoculations, he has yet to receive one. Shapiro said he has spent hours calling multiple health agencies and making fruitless computer searches, an experience familiar to many people across the United States, as the days-old administration of President Joe Biden races to bring the country's slow, chaotic vaccine rollout up to speed.

Norway's capital tightens lockdown to combat more contagious virus variant

Norway's capital Oslo and nine neighboring municipalities imposed some of their toughest lockdown measures yet on Saturday after an outbreak of a more contagious coronavirus variant, first identified in Britain. Shopping centres and other non-essential stores will be closed from noon, for the first time in the pandemic, and will not reopen until Feb. 1 at the earliest, the government announced.

Three cases linked to Australia Open carry highly virulent COVID-19 variant

Three people in hotel quarantine associated with the Australian Open tennis tournament have tested positive for the highly transmissible coronavirus variant linked to the United Kingdom, officials said on Saturday. The three quarantined in Melbourne are not players, said the state agency responsible for quarantining overseas travellers. All have been in hard lockdown since their Jan. 15 arrival.

Walmart expands vaccinations in boost to U.S. COVID-19 program

Walmart Inc said it is preparing to offer COVID-19 vaccinations in seven more states, as well as in Chicago and Puerto Rico, this week and next, expanding beyond the two states where its pharmacists are offering inoculations. The move from the world's largest retailer comes as U.S. President Joe Biden races to accelerate a frustratingly slow vaccination campaign that has stranded about half of the nearly 40 million shots distributed in freezers rather than in arms.

French health body recommends delaying second COVID shot to six weeks after first

France's top health advisory body on Saturday recommended doubling the time between people being given the first and second COVID-19 vaccinations to six weeks from three in order to increase the number getting inoculated. The gap between the first and second injection in France is currently three weeks for people in retirement homes, who take priority, and four weeks for others such as health workers.

Special Report: How U.S. CDC missed chances to spot COVID's silent spread

In early February, 57 people arrived at a Nebraska military base, among the first Americans evacuated from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the new coronavirus outbreak. U.S. health officials knew very little then about the mysterious new virus, and the quarantined group offered an early opportunity to size up the threat. The federal government sought help from a team at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, including Dr. James Lawler, an experienced infectious disease specialist. Lawler told Reuters he immediately asked the world-renowned U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for permission to test the quarantined group, deeming it crucial to know whether people without symptoms were infected and could spread the deadly pathogen.

UK doctors call for shorter gap between Pfizer vaccine doses

A group of British doctors have written to England's chief medical officer to tell him to cut the gap between doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine to six weeks from up to 12. Britain is prioritising giving first doses of COVID-19 vaccine, allowing up to 12 weeks before a second dose, to give the maximum number of people some initial protection.

Iran to begin COVID-19 vaccinations in coming weeks: President Rouhani

President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that COVID-19 vaccinations will begin in the coming weeks in Iran, the Middle East's worst hit country. "Foreign vaccines are a necessity until local vaccines are available," Rouhani said in televised remarks, without giving details of what foreign vaccines would be used.

Exclusive: AstraZeneca to supply 31 million COVID-19 shots to EU in first quarter, a 60% cut - EU source

AstraZeneca Plc has informed European Union officials on Friday it would cut deliveries of its COVID-19 vaccine to the bloc by 60% to 31 million doses in the first quarter of the year due to production problems, a senior official told Reuters. The decrease deals another blow to Europe's COVID-19 vaccination drive after Pfizer Inc and partner BioNTech SE slowed supplies of their vaccine to the bloc this week, saying the move was needed because of work to ramp up production.

Hong Kong locks down thousands for compulsory COVID-19 testing

Hong Kong's government locked down an area of Kowloon peninsula on Saturday after an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, saying 10,000 residents must stay home until they have been tested and the results largely determined. The first such measure the city has taken since the pandemic began has occurred in the densely populated neighbourhoods of Jordan that is home to many ageing, subdivided flats in which the virus could spread more easily.

(With inputs from agencies.)


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