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US Will Contribute To Global Supply Of AstraZeneca Vaccine

The Biden administration will share 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca’s covid vaccine — which is currently not approved in the U.S. — to other yet-identified nations.

U.S. Will Share 60 Million Doses Of AstraZeneca Vaccine With Other Countries

The United States will release 60 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from drugmaker AstraZeneca to other countries over the next several months, the White House announced Monday. The vaccine, which has not been authorized for use in the U.S., will be released once it clears safety reviews by the Food and Drug Administration. That could happen in the “coming weeks,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a press briefing. The White House did not specify which countries would receive the vaccine, but about 10 million doses are ready to ship once regulatory clearance has been granted, Psaki said. The remaining doses are expected to be distributed throughout May and June. (Sullivan, 4/26)

Biden’s Move To Share Vaccine Doses Could Be A Global Game Changer 

While relatively small compared to the 231 million doses the U.S. has already administered, 60 million doses would be a major boost to the severely strained global supply. The COVAX initiative, the primary source of vaccines for dozens of lower-income countries, has thus far only distributed 45 million doses globally. (Lawler, 4/26)

In related news about the AstraZeneca vaccine from Canada and Europe —

Fox News:
Canada Says AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccines From Troubled Emergent Lab ‘Safe’

Canadian health authorities attempted to assuage concerns Sunday about the safety of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from a troubled Emergent BioSolutions facility in Baltimore, Md. The manufacturing facility, known as Bayview, saw 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine go to waste after a dosage mix-up last month. The U.S. FDA recently ran an investigation at the facility, and as a result, “cited a number of observations concerning whether the facility’s processes met our requirements and standard,” per a statement issued last week. (Rivas, 4/26)

European Commission Sues AstraZeneca For Vaccine Shortages 

The European Commission has launched legal proceedings against AstraZeneca for providing only a third of the supply of coronavirus vaccines agreed to in its contract, a spokesperson confirmed Monday. It’s the latest in a string of controversies related to the European Union’s vaccine rollout, which has been plagued by supply shortages, a slow pace of distribution, and concerns about potential rare blood clots linked to AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. (Basu, 4/26)

Some Parts Of US Nearing Herd Immunity, NIH Director Says

Dr. Francis Collins said experts don’t know the exact rate of the population that needs protection — either through vaccination or previous covid infection — but said the benchmark is likely “up there around 70, 85%.”

New York Post:
Coronavirus Herd Immunity ‘Getting Close’ In Some Regions, NIH Director Says

The director of the National Institutes of Health on Sunday predicted that the U.S. could reach “herd immunity” from COVID-19 at 70% to 85% of people vaccinated or previously infected – and said some regions of the country are getting close to that. Dr. Francis Collins said experts “don’t really quite know” yet the exact rate of the population that needs some form of protection to achieve herd immunity, but the benchmark is likely “up there around 70, 85%.” “We’re not there yet. You can see some places in the country that are getting close to that with a combination of having had a lot of cases of COVID, which also provides you with some immunity, plus the vaccines,” Collins told NBC host Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.” (Salo, 4/26)

COVID-19 Vaccines: 73% Of Unvaccinated Americans Say They Won’t Take J&J Shot 

About 3 in 4 unvaccinated adult Americans are unwilling to get the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, a Washington Post-ABC News poll out Monday indicates. Less than half of all U.S. adults polled said they thought the J&J shot — which presents fewer logistical challenges than the more temperature-controlled, two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines — is safe. (Rummier, 4/26)

In other updates on the vaccine rollout —

West Virginia Giving People Under 35 $100 Savings Bonds For Getting Vaccinated 

West Virginia will give $100 savings bonds to residents ages 16 to 35 who get vaccinated against Covid, Gov. Jim Justice announced Monday. “Every single one of our young people — we’re going to give a $100 savings bond to every single one that steps up and takes their vaccines,” Justice, a Republican, said at a news conference. (Lobosco and Smith, 4/26)

Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Georgia To Close State-Run COVID Vaccine Centers By May 21, As Demand Falls

The state of Georgia on Monday said it expects to close its eight mass vaccination sites before Memorial Day as demand has waned at the temporary facilities and as more COVID-19 vaccines are available through private providers. The state-run facilities, which are scattered across Georgia, helped rapidly expand access to COVID-19 vaccines. To-date more than 300,000 doses, or about 5% of all doses, have been distributed through them. (Scott Trubey, 4/26)

Houston Chronicle:
After COVID Vaccine ‘Hunger Games,’ Providers Say Houston Demand Has Crashed

Two months ago, lines for COVID-19 vaccines wrapped around clinic sites. Those who could take off a morning or afternoon mid-week drove across county lines for a shot. Workers rushed to retail pharmacies in hopes of catching extra doses at the end of the day. These days, hospitals and public health sites are desperate to fill their vaccine schedules. Demand has come crashing down across Texas. At the NRG Park vaccine clinic run jointly between the county and FEMA, public health staff can administer as many as 6,000 doses a day, yet last week the number of doses administered at the site dipped below 3,000 a day. (Wu, 4/26)

The Washington Post:
D.C. To Ease Restrictions, Change Vaccine Sign-Ups As Cases Slowly Fall In Region 

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser confirmed Monday that the city will ease some coronavirus-related restrictions in May and said the District is transitioning away from its preregistration system in favor of “high-capacity” walk-up vaccination sites. With more than 237,000 residents now at least partially vaccinated, the city on Saturday will begin using 11 vaccination sites that don’t require an appointment, Bowser said. Hours and locations of the walk-up sites will be posted on VaccineFinder.org. Residents still can schedule appointments directly with city pharmacies, clinics and health-care providers, but D.C. will only accept preregistrations through its portal until Wednesday. (Brice-Saddler and Cox, 4/26)

Philadelphia Inquirer:
N.J. Relaxes Crowd Restrictions As COVID-19 Cases Drop, Vaccinations Rise; Providers Resume Johnson & Johnson Shots

More people will be allowed at some indoor and outdoor gatherings in New Jersey next month, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday, saying he would increase crowd-size limits thanks to dropping coronavirus case numbers and a steady pace of vaccinations. Meanwhile, vaccine providers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey were resuming the use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which will allow them to accelerate efforts to reach vulnerable populations. At the same time, they are assessing whether the 11-day pause on the shot has exacerbated public hesitancy about getting immunized. (McDaniel, McCarthy and Steele, 4/26)

Capital & Main:
Why California’s Undocumented Immigrants Remain Vaccine-Resistant 

As it became apparent over the past weeks that the supply of COVID-19 vaccine wouldn’t be a significant issue in California much longer, the challenge to the state’s vast network of rural and community clinics seemed clear. Job one for health workers was to allay concern about the safety of the vaccine itself, especially among immigrant populations that might be wary of receiving a shot. That remains a challenge. “It is slow going and a lot of work,” Dr. Melissa Marshall, CEO of five CommuniCare clinics in Yolo County, told Capital & Main on Friday. “Many are hesitant due to fears of vaccine side effects.” (Kreidler, 4/26)

In updates on vaccine development and side effects —

Sanofi To Manufacture 200 Million Moderna COVID Vaccines In U.S. 

Sanofi announced Monday it will manufacture up to 200 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine at its site in Ridgefield, New Jersey, from September. The agreement between Sanofi and Moderna should not only boost the U.S. coronavirus vaccine rollout, it should also help global efforts as the doses will likely be exported. (Falconer, 4/26)

What Women Should Know About The Johnson & Johnson Coronavirus Vaccine 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Food and Drug Administration lifted the pause on the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine on Friday. The agencies previously had decided to pause administration of the vaccine due to cases of an extremely rare blood clotting disorder found in six women between the ages of 18 and 49 who had gotten the shot. The initial pause was intended to inform health care providers about this rare disorder and its treatment, and to see if other cases would emerge. (Hetter, 4/27)

WUSF Public Media:
USF Will Study Allergic Reactions To COVID-19 Vaccines 

The University of South Florida is participating in a clinical trial to determine whether people with a history of severe allergies are at greater risk for allergic reactions to the Moderna or Pfizer coronavirus vaccines. As of Tuesday, 132,321,628 people have received at least one dose of either vaccine in the United States. Of those who received the Pfizer shot, 10 to 12 people per million experienced anaphylaxis. With Moderna, that number fell to less than 3 per million. (Wentz, 4/26)

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