More Countries Investigate AstraZeneca | Kaiser Health News

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Reports of blood clotting side effects persist with AstraZeneca vaccine. In other global health news, the U.K. considers vaccine passports, India hits 100,000 covid cases a day, and Russia’s covid toll is likely higher than first reported.

More Global Reports Of Blood Clots After AstraZeneca COVID Vaccination 

A handful of countries are investigating more reports of blood clots in people who received the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, including the Netherlands, which has suspended use in people younger than 60. In other international developments, more countries where virus activity is surging reported record highs for daily cases. (Schnirring, 4/2)

UK Eyes Testing COVID-19 Passports At Mass Gatherings

Britain is planning to test a series of measures including “coronavirus status certifications” over the coming weeks to see if they can allow people to safely return to mass gatherings at sports arenas, nightclubs and concerts. People attending a range of events this month and in May, including a club night and key FA Cup soccer matches, will need to be tested both before and after. The trials will also gather evidence on how ventilation and different approaches to social distancing could enable large events to go ahead. (Hui, 4/4)

In other global developments —

Argentina President Alberto Fernandez Tests Positive For Covid-19 After Sputnik Vaccine 

He said he’d take the Covid-19 vaccine first, as a role model for the rest of Argentina. A little over two months after receiving the Russian-made Sputnik V, Argentinian President Alberto Fernández has tested positive for the coronavirus. In a series of tweets posted Friday evening — his birthday — the Argentinian President said a fever and slight headache had prompted him to get tested. (Rebaza, Timm-Garcia and Hu, 4/4)

The Washington Post:
India Announces 100,000 New Cases A Day, First Country To Do So Since The United States 

India on Sunday reported more than 100,000 new cases of the coronavirus, a grim measure only achieved by one other country in the world, the United States, and a sign that the infections in this country of 1.3 billion could be spinning out of control. The country, which also has one of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturing capacities, is immunizing citizens at a rate of 2 million a day, but so far has not made significant headway with just 5 percent of the population having received a first dose. India is also slowing down its vaccine exports in the face of domestic demand with potentially dire consequences for other countries around the world. (Cunningham and Slater, 4/5)

Russia Says February Covid-19 Toll Is Nearly Double Early Count

Russia’s death toll from Covid-19 grew to 24,369 in February, nearly double initial reports, in a stark illustration of the price the country is paying for opting not to lock down during the pandemic’s second wave. The data released by the Federal Statistics Service on Friday includes people who were infected with the virus though it was not regarded as the cause of death. They raised overall fatalities in Russia linked to the epidemic to 225,572 after the death toll for January was revised up slightly. (Rudnitsky, 4/2)

Vaccine Rollout To Exceed 100 Countries Soon, Covax Head Says

Coronavirus shots should be rolled out to over 100 countries in the next couple of weeks, from 84 at present, with a shortage of supplies the limiting factor, said one of the leaders of the World Health Organization’s vaccine initiative. “If we had more doses, we could make these available,” Seth Berkley, chief executive officer of Gavi Alliance, a public-private partnership that works to provide vaccines for developing countries, told CBS News’ “Face the Nation.” (Krasny, 4/4)

Pope Francis Urges Vaccine Distribution To Poor Countries In Easter Message 

Pope Francis, while giving his Easter Sunday message, urged the international community to overcome delays in vaccine shipments, “especially in the poorest countries.” The global COVAX vaccine initiative, backed by the United Nations as a way to get vaccines to poorer countries, warned of supply delays in late March that would affect millions of doses. (Rummier, 4/4)

Japan Fears COVID-19 Variants Are Behind Possible Fourth Wave 

Japanese health authorities are concerned that variants of the coronavirus are driving a nascent fourth wave in the pandemic with just 109 days remaining until the Tokyo Olympics. The variants appear to be more infectious and may be resistant to vaccines, which are still not widely available in Japan. The situation is worst in Osaka, where infections hit fresh records last week, prompting the regional government to start targeted lockdown measures for one month from Monday. (Swift, 4/5)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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