Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Cuba raises Latam hopes as it starts mass inoculation with own COVID-19 shot
Cuba started a mass vaccination campaign against COVID-19 on Wednesday using one of its five homegrown vaccine candidates which, if proven effective, could improve access to inoculations across Latin America, one of the regions hardest hit by the pandemic. Cuba’s state-run biopharma sector – which has a long history of developing, producing and exporting serums – has concluded late-phase trials at home for the vaccine, Abdala, in more than 48,000 volunteers but not yet published the results.
Explainer: Should my teen get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in children as young as 12, widening the country’s inoculation program as vaccination rates have slowed significantly. The following information should help parents deciding whether to inoculate their adolescent children.
Vaccine waiver talks can make drug firms the heroes, U.S. trade chief says
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on Wednesday she is pushing for a waiver of COVID-19 vaccine intellectual property rights because the United States and drug makers have “an obligation to help save the world right now.” Tai, speaking at a U.S. Senate Finance Committee hearing, said she views the World Trade Organization talks as a way to remove the intellectual property issue as an obstacle to vaccine production. She backed the WTO negotiations last week.
How can we stop the next pandemic? Here’s what WHO panel recommends
A new global system should be set up to respond faster to disease outbreaks to help ensure no future virus causes a pandemic as devastating as COVID-19, an independent World Health Organization review panel said on Wednesday. The experts found crucial shortcomings in the global response in early 2020 – including a delay in declaring an emergency, a failure to impose travel restrictions and an entire “lost month” when countries neglected to respond to warnings – that let the virus quickly spread into a crippling pandemic.
Biden urges parents to get kids vaccinated after CDC panel OKs Pfizer vaccine
U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday urged parents to get their children vaccinated after a government advisory panel authorized the Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 15. “Now that vaccine is authorized for ages 12 and up, and I encourage their parents to make sure they get the shot,” Biden said. “This is one more giant step on our fight against the pandemic.”
U.S. CDC finds more clotting cases after J&J vaccine, sees causal link
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday it had found more cases of potentially life-threatening blood clotting among people who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine and sees a “plausible causal association”. The CDC said in a presentation the agency has now identified 28 cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) among the more than 8.7 million people who had received the J&J vaccine. TTS involves blood clots accompanied by a low level of platelets – the cells in the blood that help it to clot.
COVID-19 far from under control in Americas, says PAHO
Nearly 40% of all global deaths from COVID-19 reported last week happened in the Americas, and nearly 80% of the region’s intensive care units are filled with COVID-19 patients, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday. “This is a clear sign that transmission is far from being controlled in our region, even as countries like the United States and Brazil are reporting reductions in cases,” PAHO Director Carissa Etienne told a webcast news conference.
mRNA vaccines appear effective vs India variant; people with HIV at higher risk for severe COVID-19
The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. mRNA vaccines likely effective against India variant
Global concern grows as COVID-19 variant ravages rural India
India’s coronavirus death toll crossed 250,000 on Wednesday in the deadliest 24 hours since the pandemic began, as the disease rampaged through the countryside, leaving families to weep over the dead in rural hospitals or camp in wards to tend the sick. The second wave erupted in February, inundating hospitals and medical staff, as well as crematoriums and mortuaries.
CDC panel clears way to COVID-19 vaccines for U.S. adolescents
U.S. states are set to begin using the vaccine from Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE to inoculate younger adolescents against COVID-19 after advisers to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) backed the plan in a unanimous vote on Wednesday. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday authorized the vaccine for children aged 12 to 15, offering relief to parents eager to get their children back to schools and summer camps. The action by the CDC group is an important, but not required, final seal of federal regulatory approval.
(With inputs from agencies.)