Health News Roundup: J&J COVID-19 vaccine under EU review; India reports a record 145,384 COVID-19 infections and moreDevdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 10-04-2021 10:51 IST | Created: 10-04-2021 10:31 IST
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Italy eases COVID-19 curbs as infections decline, but deaths still high
Lockdown measures will be eased from Monday in six Italian regions, the health ministry ruled on Friday, even as the nationwide daily death toll remains well above 400. New infections have fallen by 30% over the last five days compared with the same period last week, and the national health institute (ISS) said the "R" reproduction number has declined to 0.92 from 0.98 a week earlier. An "R" number above 1 indicates that infection numbers will grow at an exponential rate.
J&J COVID-19 vaccine under EU review over blood clots
Europe's drug regulator said on Friday it is reviewing rare blood clots in four people in the United States who received Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine. The European Medicines Agency's safety committee has also been looking at how AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine is associated with very rare cases of unusual blood clots and said it was now reviewing reports of capillary leak syndrome in people given AstraZeneca's vaccine.
India reports a record 145,384 COVID-19 infections
India reported a record 145,384 new COVID-19 cases, health ministry data showed on Saturday, as the country grappled with an overwhelming second wave of infections. A five-month high of 794 deaths brought the toll to 168,436.
World Bank says to commit $2 billion to vaccines in developing countries by end-April
The World Bank Group will have committed $2 billion in financing by the end of April for COVID-19 vaccines in some 40 developing countries, World Bank Managing Director of Operations Axel van Trotsenburg said on Friday. The $2 billion is part of a pool of some $12 billion that the World Bank has made available overall for vaccine development, distribution, and production in low-and middle-income countries, van Trotsenburg told a World Bank forum.
Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech SE on Friday asked U.S. regulators to allow the emergency use of their vaccine in adolescents aged 12 to 15. The vaccine is currently authorized for emergency use in the United States for people aged 16 and up. The companies said on Friday that they requested an expansion of the authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to include the younger age group.
'How can we not be tense?' Turkey's coronavirus infections soar
The red letters scrolling across the front of Fikret Oluk's bus say: "Stay Home Turkey". But the Istanbul driver said passengers are ignoring rules and overcrowding, sometimes without masks, even as coronavirus infections rocket. Turkey - which has the highest level of daily new COVID-19 cases in Europe and the Middle East - again tightened measures last week to contain the rapid spread after calls for action by doctors and opposition politicians.
Brazil's Sao Paulo state and the city of Rio de Janeiro are easing restrictions on hospitality businesses and other activities, authorities said on Friday, even as Latin America's largest country continues to break its own grim records for daily COVID-19 deaths. Sao Paulo will allow customers to pick up takeaway food from bars and restaurants starting on Monday, while professional sports games will be permitted without crowds, along with a series of other specific activities, Vice-Governor Rodrigo Garcia told journalists.
White House says J&J remains committed to meeting its COVID vaccine contract
The Biden administration says Johnson & Johnson remains committed to meeting its COVID-19 vaccine contract of delivering close to 100 million doses by the end of May, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday.
Unwanted vaccines needed to help poor countries catch up, international health officials say
Doses of vaccines rejected as countries fine-tune their inoculation campaigns will go to poor countries where possible to counter a "shocking imbalance" in distribution, international health officials said on Friday. Authorities in Australia and Greece became the latest to recommend alternatives to the AstraZeneca vaccine for younger people over fears of possible very rare blood clots, while Hong Kong delayed deliveries.
White House says J&J COVID-19 shot shipments to be low until U.S. vaccine plant cleared by regulators
Johnson & Johnson will ship relatively few COVID-19 shots around the United States until it receives regulatory clearance for a large vaccine plant in Baltimore that has struggled to meet quality control standards, a top White House Health official said on a Friday press conference. J&J is working closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to resolve the issues holding up authorization, said Jeff Zients, the White House's COVID-19 response coordinator.
(With inputs from agencies.)