Health News Roundup: Tai says recovery depends on addressing global vaccine inequity; India posts record daily rise in coronavirus deaths and more
The president, who has made fighting the coronavirus a key priority of his administration, had previously announced July 4 as a target date for Americans to gather in small groups to celebrate the holiday and signal a return to greater normalcy in the middle of the pandemic. El Salvador inks deal with Pfizer for 4.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses El Salvador's president Nayib Bukele said on Twitter on Tuesday night that the Central American nation has signed an agreement with Pfizer Inc for 4.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
U.S. trade chief Tai says recovery depends on addressing global vaccine inequity
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on Tuesday that making vaccines more widely available throughout the world is needed to end the coronavirus pandemic and foster economic recovery. In remarks to a Council of the Americas conference, Tai said the world had made real strides toward ending the pandemic but that a lot of work lies ahead.
India posts record daily rise in coronavirus deaths
India's coronavirus deaths rose by a record 3,780 during the last 24 hours, a day after the country became the world's second, after the United States, to cross the grim milestone of 20 million infections. Daily infections rose by 382,315 on Wednesday, health ministry data showed.
Pfizer sees robust COVID-19 vaccine demand for years, $26 billion in 2021 sales
Pfizer Inc on Tuesday raised its forecast for 2021 COVID-19 vaccine sales by more than 70% to $26 billion and said demand from governments around the world fighting to halt the pandemic could contribute to its growth for years to come. The company said it expects to file for full U.S. approval of the vaccine in May for people over the age of 16, as it is now only authorized for emergency use. It also expects to hear soon from U.S. regulators on expansion of the vaccine's emergency use authorization (EUA) for children ages 12-15.
Australia's largest state reports first COVID-19 case in more than a month
Australia's most populous state of New South Wales (NSW) on Wednesday reported its first locally acquired COVID-19 case in more than a month, sending authorities rushing to trace the source of the virus. A man in his 50s who tested positive for the new coronavirus had visited a movie theatre, restaurants, a service station and a meat store in Sydney's eastern suburbs while unknowingly infectious, authorities said.
Japan faces longer state of emergency, casting doubt on Olympics
Japan is considering extending a coronavirus spurred state of emergency in the capital, Tokyo, and other major urban areas, sources said on Wednesday, a move that could cast doubt on the planned Summer Olympics. Officials were leaning toward an extension of the measures in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures beyond May 11 as the country battles a surge in COVID-19 cases, three sources told Reuters.
Biden aims for 70% of U.S. adults to get one vaccine dose by July 4
President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced a goal to vaccinate 70% of U.S. adults with at least one COVID-19 shot by the July 4 Independence Day holiday and said the government would innoculate 12- to 15-year-olds as soon as allowed. The president, who has made fighting the coronavirus a key priority of his administration, had previously announced July 4 as a target date for Americans to gather in small groups to celebrate the holiday and signal a return to greater normalcy in the middle of the pandemic.
El Salvador inks deal with Pfizer for 4.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses
El Salvador's president Nayib Bukele said on Twitter on Tuesday night that the Central American nation has signed an agreement with Pfizer Inc for 4.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses. "With this purchase, we guarantee uninterrupted immunization for our entire target population," said Bukele.
Explainer: COVID-19 vaccine patents dominate global trade talks
World Trade Organization members will assess on Wednesday signs of progress in talks on a proposal by South Africa and India to waive patent rights on COVID-19 vaccines in order to boost supply to developing countries. They want to ease rules of the WTO's Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) agreement. WTO decisions are based on consensus, so all 164 members need to agree.
Philippines approves emergency use of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine
The Philippines' food and drug agency approved on Wednesday the emergency use of U.S. drugmaker Moderna Inc's COVID-19 vaccine in the Southeast Asian nation. The known and potential benefits of Moderna outweighed the known and potential risks, Food and Drug Administration chief Rolando Enrique Domingo said during an online forum, adding it would be administered to individuals aged 18 and above.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken agreed on the need for a global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to end the pandemic, Downing Street said on Tuesday after the pair met in London. "The Prime Minister and Secretary Blinken agreed that the global roll out of vaccines will be key to defeating the coronavirus pandemic," Johnson's office said in a statement.
(With inputs from agencies.)