Amid heightened calls for wealthy countries to share their COVID vaccine surplus with the rest of the world, the United States is ready to step up action.
President Joe Biden will announce that the United States has purchased 500 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to donate to 92 low-income countries and the African Union, a person familiar with the plan.
Biden is expected to announce the donation on Thursday in remarks at the Group of Seven summit in Britain. The doses will be distributed through the global vaccine alliance known as COVAX, with 200 million to share this year and the remaining 300 million to be donated in the first half of 2022, according to the person, who confirmed the report under on condition of anonymity. .
The United States is under increasing pressure to step up its vaccine sharing efforts as needs across the country begin to decline and more Americans are vaccinated. The administration had previously announced that it would distribute 80 million doses of the vaccine by the end of the month, but this new commitment represents a six-fold increase.
The first allocation of those 80 million doses – a tranche of 25 million – will go mainly to countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia and Africa.
Vaccine inequality has become an increasingly pressing concern, and the World Health Organization has warned of a “two-way pandemic” as rich countries inoculate large parts of their populations and developing countries are exposed to the ravages of the coronavirus.
In a June 3 report, Oxfam International said that of the 1.77 billion doses administered worldwide at that time, 28% went to people in G7 countries and only 0.3% to countries low income. Such a disparity could prolong the pandemic and allow dangerous variants to emerge as the virus continues to spread.
– Courtney Subramanian
Also in the news:
►Daily coronavirus infections in India fell below 100,000 for the first time in more than two months, as the monstrous wave that hit the country last month receded.
►Highly transmissible delta variant now accounts for 6% of infections in the United States, the Biden administration said.
►Several dozen staff at the Houston Methodist Hospital, which became the first major health care system in the United States to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations, have been suspended without pay this week for failing to comply with the hospital’s full vaccination requirement. Staff make up less than 1% of the hospital’s approximately 26,000 employees.
The numbers of the day: The United States has more than 33.3 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus and at least 598,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Over 174 million cases and over 3.75 million deaths. Nearly 140.4 million Americans have been fully immunized, or 42.3% of the population, according to the CDC.
What we read: The summer vacation season is underway without a key element this year: crowded flights between the United States and London due to COVID-related travel restrictions.
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Biggest summer program in history faces major task
Millions of children will participate in what should be the largest summer school program in history, fueled by more than $ 1.2 billion in targeted post-pandemic assistance from the US federal bailout. But experts fear the students who would benefit the most from additional tutoring won’t get it. Studies have shown that the students most in need, typically black or Latino children from low-income families who were already left behind academically before the pandemic – often due to socio-economic factors and of systemic racism – are the least likely to actually participate. And those who sign up often don’t attend regularly.
“The past few months have been filled with trauma, grief and stress,” said Austin Beutner, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District. “We know that one of the best places for children to heal are schools, surrounded by support and their friends and the sense of community that only a school can provide.” Read more here.
– Trevor Hughes
Wisconsin pharmacist who tried to ruin 500 doses of vaccine gets three years in prison
A former Wisconsin pharmacist who admitted trying to sabotage more than 500 doses of COVID-19 vaccines at a time when demand for vaccines was overwhelming has been sentenced to three years in prison.
Steven Brandenburg, 46, of Grafton admitted after his arrest in December that he intentionally removed Moderna-made doses from a refrigerator for hours at Aurora Medical Center in Grafton. He pleaded guilty in February to two counts of attempted tampering with a consumer product.
His lawyer, Jason Baltz, said Brandenburg was skeptical of vaccines in general after one of his daughters was diagnosed with eczema, a skin condition, following inoculation at a young age.
Aurora destroyed most of the falsified doses, but not before 57 people – mostly Brandenburg colleagues – had received inoculations from the supply. Those doses would still have been effective, but weeks of uncertainty on that front created a storm of anger, anxiety and anguish among recipients, court documents show.
“The team is still very confused,” said Michelle Blakely, president of the Aurora facility. “It has been absolutely devastating for the organization.”
– Milwaukee Sentry Elliot Hughes Diary
A story of two states: did Minnesota get it right?
An analysis of data from Michigan and Minnesota – the only two states to provide detailed and comparable vaccine records in response to Records USA TODAY’s demands – reveals Minnesota has supercharged its healthcare system, scattering doses across a large network of doctor’s offices and hospitals across the state. Michigan, in an effort to distribute vaccines equitably to the rich and poor, directed doses to public health departments that were intended to entice uninsured residents to mass vaccination events.
Not only did Michigan surpass Minnesota’s overall immunization rate through the end of March, it didn’t do better at immunizing poor minority residents. Dr Bryan Jarabek, director of IT at M Health Fairview in Minnesota, said all hospitals in the state were surrounded by clinics.
“Hospitals and clinics are positioned to take care of the whole state,” he said. “We then showed this to the governor… and said, ‘You can trust us. Give us the vaccines. We will bring it to the places that need it.
– Aleszu Bajak
Ohio Reports 20,000th Death, Least Hospitalizations To Date
Only 503 COVID patients were treated in Ohio hospitals on Tuesday, the lowest number since the Ohio Hospital Association began collecting data in March 2020. This is down from a high of 5,308 December 15, 2020 and 1,058 just a month ago.
After recording a record 5,520 deaths in December, the state saw a decline in January and February, as people in long-term care facilities were vaccinated. As of Tuesday, more than 46% of Ohio’s population had received at least one shot of the vaccine.
– Jackie Borchardt, Cincinnati investigator
CDC: Americans vaccinated can visit Canada, Mexico and 60 other countries
Federal authorities give their blessing for Americans to visit our neighboring countries to the north and south, as long as travelers are vaccinated. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised travel health advisories for dozens of countries to a low-risk level, thereby adjusting travel advice for vaccinated Americans. Among the 62 destinations that have gone from level 4 “very high COVID-19” to level 3 “high COVID-19”, include Canada, Mexico, Japan, Italy, France and Germany.
The CDC recommends avoiding level 4 countries and says visitors from level 3 countries should be fully immunized against the coronavirus. It discourages non-essential travel to the latter group by those who are not vaccinated.
– Bailey Schulz
Fake COVID-19 vaccination cards are sold online on various platforms, from Amazon to Telegram. Amazon has since removed the provider, but photos shared on Twitter show what was once alive – a pack of 10 blank vaccination cards for $ 12.99. Some organizations and states have created apps and digital passports to prove vaccination, but there is no widespread practice. Scammers take advantage of the confusion to profit from fake vaccination cards. The crooks have also found space on Telegram, the messaging service and the app, to sell fake COVID-19 vaccine cards, BuzzFeed News has discovered.
The FBI shared a public service announcement in March saying it is illegal to make or purchase the vaccination cards because it is misuse of the official government agency seal. The agency also said it puts others at risk for contracting COVID-19.
Contribute: The Associated Press.