Health News Roundup: U.S. administers 230.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines – CDC; EU sues AstraZeneca over breach of COVID-19 vaccine supply contract and more

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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Vaccine pact between U.S., India, Japan and Australia ‘still on track’: officials

A cooperation between the United States and three of its closest Indo-Pacific partners to supply up to a billion coronavirus vaccine doses across Asia by the end of 2022 was ‘still on track’, senior administration officials said on Monday, despite a surge of the virus in India, one of the countries involved. “It’s moving forward expeditiously,” a senior administration official told reporters in a briefing call. In March, a Quad fact sheet said the United States, through its International Development Finance Corp, would work to finance Indian drugmaker Biological E Ltd to produce at least 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of 2022.

India sends army to help hospitals hit by COVID-19 as countries promise aid

India ordered its armed forces on Monday to help tackle surging new coronavirus infections, as nations including Britain, Germany and the United States pledged urgent medical aid to try to contain an emergency overwhelming the country’s hospitals. The situation in the world’s second most populous country is “beyond heartbreaking”, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, adding that WHO is sending extra staff and supplies including oxygen concentrator devices.

Indian Americans in U.S. Congress, tech organize COVID-19 aid to India

Some U.S. lawmakers and wealthy technology executives have joined forces to boost aid to India as it grapples with a severe spike in coronavirus infections, with a focus on ensuring aid is equally distributed across the country, a Congress member said. U.S. Representative Ro Khanna, Democratic vice chair of the Congressional Caucus on India, told Reuters that Indian-American billionaire and Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla, and other Indian-American tech executives at Google, IBM and Microsoft are working closely with the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on India.

Amid green shoots, Chile keeps borders closed but eases capital’s lockdowns

Chilean authorities announced on Monday that they would extend the closure of the country’s borders for another 30 days as hospitals remain near-full and COVID-19 cases high despite a gradual improvement in recent weeks. Health Minister Enrique Paris said seven and 14-day averages each showed a 7% decrease in confirmed cases and COVID-19 positivity test rates were down. On Monday, 6,078 new infections were identified, compared to a record high of 9,171 cases on April 9.

Disruptions to immunisation put millions of children at risk: U.N.

Millions of children whose immunisations have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in Africa, are now at risk from life-threatening diseases such as measles, polio, yellow fever and diphtheria, U.N. health agencies warned on Monday. Gaps in vaccination coverage have led to serious measles outbreaks in Pakistan and Yemen, the agencies said, and are likely to lead to future epidemics as more regular childhood vaccinations are missed.

U.S. administers 230.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines – CDC

The United States has administered 230,768,454 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Monday morning, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday. The figure is up from the 228,661,408 vaccine doses the CDC said had gone into arms by Sunday out of 290,692,005 doses delivered.

EU sues AstraZeneca over breach of COVID-19 vaccine supply contract

The European Commission said on Monday it had launched legal action against AstraZeneca for not respecting its contract for the supply of COVID-19 vaccines and for not having a “reliable” plan to ensure timely deliveries. AstraZeneca said in response that the legal action by the EU was without merit and pledged to defend itself strongly in court.

Documenting the death of a COVID patient outside a Delhi hospital

For Reuters photographer Danish Siddiqui, covering India’s second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is a daily circuit of crematoriums, cemeteries and hospitals, capturing the struggles of a nation of 1.4 billion people. From that experience, he knew the situation at the Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, a government-run facility in the capital New Delhi with 400 COVID ICU beds, might be chaotic.

Egypt approves China’s Sinovac coronavirus vaccine for emergency use

Egypt’s drug authority said on Monday it had granted approval to China’s Sinovac coronavirus vaccine for emergency use. Egypt has so far approved and received shipments of the Sinopharm and AstraZeneca vaccines, and has said it is preparing to produce up to 80 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine locally.

U.S. to share up to 60 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses globally: White House

The United States will start to share up to 60 million doses of AstraZeneca Plc’s coronavirus vaccine with other countries as soon as the next few weeks, the White House said on Monday. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the United States would release the doses to other countries as they become available.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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