Health News Roundup: New reckoning for WHO vaccine plan as governments go it alone; Norway PM says will not ease COVID-19 restrictions yet and more
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Japan, eyeing Olympics, lines up half-billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine
Japan is making an aggressive move to grab enough coronavirus vaccine to inoculate its population four times over, a push the government hopes will instil confidence that it can host a delayed Summer Olympics next year. Like other rich countries, Japan is signing multiple deals because some of the vaccines could fail in clinical trials or require more than one dose.
Sinovac’s coronavirus vaccine candidate approved for emergency use in China- source
Sinovac Biotech Ltd’s coronavirus vaccine candidate CoronaVac was approved in July for emergency use as part of a programme in China to vaccinate high-risk groups such as medical staff, a person familiar with the matter said. China National Biotec Group (CNBG), a unit of state-owned pharmaceutical giant China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), also said it had obtained emergency use approval for a coronavirus vaccine candidate in social media platform WeChat on Sunday.
New reckoning for WHO vaccine plan as governments go it alone
The World Health Organization will next week receive a raft of pledges of support for its plan for COVID-19 vaccines for all. But the agency has already had to scale back its ambition.
Moderna Inc said on Friday it was in talks with Japan’s government to potentially supply 40 million or more doses of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, would be distributed in Japan by Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, beginning in the first half of 2021, if it receives regulatory approval.
Exclusive: WHO sweetens terms to join struggling global COVAX vaccine facility – documents
Wealthier countries that join the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 vaccine plan are being offered a new option to pick and choose which shots they get while reserving a right to receive their “full share” of doses, documents seen by Reuters show. The change appears aimed at convincing governments which have negotiated their own bilateral deals securing experimental vaccines to also sign up for the global COVAX facility by Monday’s deadline for submitting expressions of interest.
What you need to know about the coronavirus right now
Several large U.S. states are not heeding new federal health officials’ calls to reduce COVID-19 testing of some exposed to the virus, joining a broad rebuke of the Trump administration by public health leaders. Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey and New York all plan to continue to test asymptomatic people who have been exposed to COVID-19, despite new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggesting that such tests may not be needed.
South Korea stops short of toughest coronavirus measures despite case rise
South Korean authorities stopped short of shifting the country up to the highest level of social distancing measures on Friday, despite recording another triple-digit increase in daily new coronavirus cases. Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun instead said the government would extend the current Phase 2 social distancing, which was due to expire this weekend, for at least another week.
Norway PM says will not ease COVID-19 restrictions yet
Norway will not yet ease restrictions designed to counter the novel coronavirus even though the spread has been slower recently, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Friday. “Even if the infection numbers are coming down, we can’t say that we have landed safely yet… we have to be sure that we maintain control,” Solberg told a news conference.
J&J to start mid-stage coronavirus vaccine trials in three European countries
Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen unit will begin mid-stage trials for its coronavirus vaccine in Spain, the Netherlands and Germany next week, Spain’s health minister said on Friday, as the U.S. drugmaker expands testing for its experimental shot. The Phase II trial will last two months and include 550 participants across the three countries, including 190 people in Spain, Salvador Illa told a news conference in Madrid.