Health News Roundup: South Africa says India refunds it for undelivered AstraZeneca doses; French COVID-19 situation series and more
Despite being hit by reduced supply availability in March and April, and higher demand in India where much of its main jab AstraZeneca is made, it expects to deliver doses to all economies that have requested them in the first half of 2021, the GAVI vaccine alliance and World Health Organization said.Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 08-04-2021 18:35 IST | Created: 08-04-2021 18:27 IST
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
The Serum Institute of India has fully refunded South Africa for 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine which the country did not want and which had not yet been delivered, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Thursday. He added that South Africa expected to get more than 1 million vaccine doses from Johnson & Johnson in April as the country looks to ramp up its vaccination drive.
French COVID-19 situation serious but encouraging signs after local lockdowns
The situation in French hospitals remains "serious" but France is starting to see some signs of improvement in regions where it imposed a lockdown a few weeks ago, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Thursday. "We have the first encouraging signs in the 16 departments where we had imposed restriction measures," Attal told a news conference following a meeting of French government ministers.
Eli Lilly's arthritis drug fails to prevent mechanical ventilation in COVID-19 patients
Eli Lilly and Co and Incyte Corp said their rheumatoid arthritis drug baricitinib did not meet the main goal of preventing progression to mechanical ventilation in hospitalized COVID-19 patients under a late-stage study. Patients receiving baricitinib were 2.7% less likely than those receiving standard of care to progress to ventilation, which was not statistically significant, the data showed. (https://refini.tv/3t0NfHD)
Asia's rising coronavirus cases a worry as vaccine doubts cloud campaigns
India, South Korea and Thailand faced mounting coronavirus infections on Thursday, undermining cautious hopes that Asia might be emerging from the worst of the pandemic as worries about safety threatened to delay vaccination drives. India reported a record 126,789 new cases, the third day this week tallies have surged to more than 100,000, catching by surprise authorities who have blamed crowding and a reluctance to wear masks as shops and offices reopen.
Germany's vaccine rollout gets shot in the arm from doctors surgeries
Germany's COVID-19 vaccination drive has picked up speed with more than 650,000 doses administered on Wednesday, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) showed on Thursday, supercharged by extending the rollout to family doctors. The RKI said Germany administered 656,357 doses of COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesday, almost 300,000 more than the number of shots given the previous day. Of these, 305,664 were delivered in doctors surgeries.
India says it has millions of COVID-19 vaccines in hand, denies shortage
India's health minister said on Thursday the country had more than 43 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in stock or in the pipeline, after many states complained of having to close inoculation centres due to a lack of supplies. "Let's put an end to fear mongering now!" Harsh Vardhan said on Twitter. "Where does question of shortages arise? We're continuously monitoring & enhancing supply."
Australia recommends the use of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to people under 50
Australia said on Thursday it now recommends the use of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine over that produced by AstraZeneca. for people under the age of 50. Europe's drug regulator on Wednesday found a possible link between AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine and rare blood clotting issues in adults who had received the shot and said it had taken into consideration all available evidence.
Hundreds of thousands of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been flown to Australia from Britain but the source of the shipments was kept quiet to avoid any controversy in Britain, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. As countries race to vaccinate their populations against the coronavirus, the export of immunisations has come into dispute wherever large numbers of people are awaiting a shot. The European Union, hit by delays in vaccine supply, introduced export controls on EU-produced shots in January.
Indonesia announces internal travel ban during Eid al-Fitr over COVID-19
Indonesia on Thursday announced an internal travel ban during next month's Eid al-Fitr celebrations, in an effort to prevent large-scale transmission of the coronavirus, a transport official said. The world's most populous Muslim-majority nation is gearing up for the start of the holy month of Ramadan next week as it continues to battle one of Asia's highest rates of transmission of COVID-19.
COVAX vaccines reach more than 100 countries, despite supply hits: GAVI/WHO
The COVAX vaccine facility has delivered nearly 38.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to more than 100 countries and economies across six continents as of Thursday, six weeks after it began to roll out supplies, a statement said. Despite being hit by reduced supply availability in March and April, and higher demand in India where much of its main jab AstraZeneca is made, it expects to deliver doses to all economies that have requested them in the first half of 2021, the GAVI vaccine alliance and World Health Organization said.
(With inputs from agencies.)