Health News Roundup: U.S. says it will push COVID vaccine waivers, but 'may take time'; FDA extends shelf life of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine and more
The news was first reported by Norwegian daily VG, citing Pfizer's Norwegian arm, and Geir Bukholm, Director of Infection Prevention and Control at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. FDA extends shelf life of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine Johnson & Johnson said on Thursday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has extended the shelf life of its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine from three months to four-and-a-half months, as millions of unused doses nationwide near expiration.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Biden says biggest vaccine donation 'supercharges' battle against coronavirus
U.S. President Joe Biden said on Thursday that a donation of 500 million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to the world's poorest countries would supercharge the battle with the virus and comes with "no strings attached." Biden, speaking alongside Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla in the English seaside resort of Carbis Bay ahead of a G7 summit, thanked other leaders for recognising their responsibility to vaccinate the world.
U.S. says it will push COVID vaccine waivers, but 'may take time'
The Biden administration is committed to efforts to waive intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines and will raise the issue with the World Trade Organization (WTO), but it may take time, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on Thursday. "We will actively participate in text-based negotiations at the WTO that will be needed to make this happen. And this may take time given the complexity of the issues involved, but our goal remains to get vaccines to as many people as fast as possible," Tai said in remarks to an AFL-CIO union event.
Exclusive: Eli Lilly memo says firm did not make false statements to FDA
A week before Eli Lilly disclosed to regulators that the U.S. Justice Department was investigating its New Jersey factory, the drugmaker told employees that its own inquiry, led by an outside law firm, found no evidence of wrongdoing there, according to a company memo reviewed by Reuters. On April 8, a group of employees filed an anonymous complaint internally alleging that an executive at its Branchburg, New Jersey, factory had altered documents required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Pfizer cuts Norway's COVID-19 vaccine deliveries, rollout delayed
Pfizer has cut July deliveries of its COVID-19 vaccine to Norway by 400,000 doses, delaying the Nordic country's vaccine rollout, the company and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) told Reuters on Thursday. The news was first reported by Norwegian daily VG, citing Pfizer's Norwegian arm, and Geir Bukholm, Director of Infection Prevention and Control at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
FDA extends shelf life of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine
Johnson & Johnson said on Thursday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has extended the shelf life of its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine from three months to four-and-a-half months, as millions of unused doses nationwide near expiration. Safety concerns about J&J's shot and flagging demand for vaccinations have left close to half of the 21 million doses the company has produced for the United States sitting unused.
Brazil plans to allow vaccinated people not to need face masks - Bolsonaro
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday that the health minister was preparing a measure to no longer require face masks for people who have been vaccinated for the coronavirus or previously infected. Bolsonaro, who has opposed lockdowns and social distancing despite his country having the second-deadliest coronavirus outbreak, said in a speech that quarantines should only be for infected people.
U.S. government workers can return to offices without vaccine
U.S. government employees should not be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to their workplace or made to disclose their vaccination status, according to guidance set to be released by the Biden administration on Thursday. Workers may voluntarily disclose this information and federal agencies can base their safety protocols, in part, on whether employees are vaccinated, the guidance said.
Britain and U.S. agree partnership to tackle new pandemics
Britain said it agreed a partnership with the United States on Thursday to tackle new pandemics by bolstering disease surveillance and genomic sequencing worldwide, on the eve of a G7 leaders' summit. Britain used its presidency of the Group of Seven (G7) rich nations to pledge to improve global preparedness against emerging health threats in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Moderna files for U.S. authorization to use its COVID-19 vaccine in teens
Moderna Inc said on Thursday it has filed for U.S. authorization to use its COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents aged 12 through 17, potentially offering healthcare providers and pediatricians an easier-to-store shot ahead of the return-to-school season in the fall. The company is the second drugmaker to seek regulatory nod for use of its vaccine in the age group, as the U.S. tries to vaccinate more young people.
Heart inflammation in young men higher than expected after Pfizer, Moderna vaccines -U.S. CDC
A higher-than-expected number of young men have experienced heart inflammation after their second dose of the mRNA COVID-19 shots from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, according to data from two vaccine safety monitoring systems, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Thursday. The CDC and other health regulators have been investigating heart inflammation cases after Israel's Health Ministry reported that it had found a likely link to the condition in young men who received Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.
(With inputs from agencies.)