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Oxford/AstraZeneca Fails In South Africa

by Oui Sun Feb 7th, 2021 at 09:20:32 PM EST

South Africa halts AstraZeneca vaccination programme over variant data | SCMP |

The UK vaccine speedboat hit a log in the river rapids ...


J&J appears to give much greater protection. The Kent or British variant is mutating to a more dangerous variant looking similar to the South Africa variant. Bad News in a week the British were boasting their great succes ...

[Uodate-1]

South Africa puts AstraZeneca vaccinations on hold over variant data | Reuters |

South Africa will put on hold use of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 shot in its vaccination programme, after data showed it gave minimal protection against mild-to-moderate infection caused by the country's dominant coronavirus variant.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Sunday that the government would await advice from scientists on how best to proceed, after a trial showed the AstraZeneca vaccine did not significantly reduce the risk of mild or moderate COVID-19 from the 501Y.V2 variant that caused a second wave of infections starting late last year.

Prior to widespread circulation of the more contagious variant, the vaccine was showing efficacy of around 75%, researchers said.

In a later analysis based mostly on infections by the new variant, there was only a 22% lower risk of developing mild-to-moderate COVID-19 versus those given a placebo.

It had hoped to roll out the AstraZeneca vaccine to healthcare workers soon after on Monday receiving 1 million doses produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII).

Instead, it will offer health workers vaccines developed by Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer/BioNTech in the coming weeks.

END OF UPDATE

The Kent or British variant mutating further

Covid-19: The E484K mutation and the risks it poses

The mutation E484K, first identified in the South African SARS-CoV-2 variant, has now been identified in the UK fast-spreading variant, prompting fears the virus is evolving further and could become resistant to vaccines.

EU President Ursula vd Leyen Admits Failures

Irish Times: EU Commission boss admits mistakes in vaccine procurement

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has admitted failures in the procurement of corona vaccines at European level. The EU underestimated the complications that can arise in the production of such vaccines, said von der Leyen in an interview with the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” and other European media. In response to the criticism that the EU had ordered too hesitantly, she said: “Of course: a country can be a speedboat. And the EU is more of a tanker. “

The German Commission President further said: “We have focused very much on the question of whether there will be a vaccine, that is, the development.” From today’s perspective, one should have “thought more closely about the challenges of mass production in parallel”.

Gerd Kerkhoff sees “total failure” when purchasing vaccines

Nonsense! Not just purchasing of vaccines, bottleneck was clearly commitment to contract for deliveries and the production facilities weren’t there. Hoarding by states with production facilities such as the US, UK and even India. Globalization, outsourcing and slashing of domestic Healthcare ... austerity that came back to bite.

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by Oui on Sun Feb 7th, 2021 at 11:17:42 PM EST
Covid-19 news: Oxford vaccine appears effective against UK variant | NewScientist - Feb. 5, 2021 |

Vaccine researchers are investigating ways to modify existing covid-19 vaccines rapidly to ensure continued protection against other new variants as well. "We are working with AstraZeneca to optimise the pipeline required for a strain change should one become necessary," said Sarah Gilbert at the University of Oxford in a statement.

"This is the same issue that is faced by all of the vaccine developers, and we will continue to monitor the emergence of new variants that arise in readiness for a future strain change," she said. "All viruses accumulate mutations over time, and for influenza vaccines there is a well-known process of global viral surveillance, and selection of strains for an annual update of the vaccines."

Covid-19: Moderna plans booster doses to counter variants

Oxford AstraZeneca just recently had announced a third or "booster" jab to be effective against South Africa variant.

by Oui on Sun Feb 7th, 2021 at 11:19:15 PM EST
by Oui on Sun Feb 7th, 2021 at 11:29:29 PM EST
It's time to give credit where it is due over the vaccine rollout

The vaccination programme is going very well. It's the only thing this government has succeeded with. Everything else has been a shambles. Let's hope that the great British public are not so dazzled by this recent display of apparent competence that at election time they forget all that went before.

As Andrew Grice has said it does seem that the adults have taken over Downing Street. But as long as the PM is an easily influenced popularity seeker, the nursery could be re-established at any moment. We must remember that.

by Oui on Sun Feb 7th, 2021 at 11:39:54 PM EST
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by Oui on Mon Feb 8th, 2021 at 12:40:45 AM EST
by Oui on Mon Feb 8th, 2021 at 12:41:51 AM EST

Oxford vaccine lead researcher Professor Sarah Gilbert provided the same assurances in an interview with the BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, saying: "Maybe we won't be reducing the number of cases as much, but we still won't be seeing the deaths, hospitalisations and severe disease.

[This can not be confirmed for the new mutated variant as Oxford promised a third jab as booster - Oui]

Covid: Public can have confidence in UK's vaccines, Nadhim Zahawi says | BBC News |

by Oui on Mon Feb 8th, 2021 at 09:19:23 AM EST
by Oui on Mon Feb 8th, 2021 at 12:53:38 PM EST
South Africa halts rollout of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine after shot falters against variant

South Africa is halting its rollout of the AstraZeneca-University of Oxford Covid-19 vaccine, the country's minister of health said Sunday, following a new analysis that suggests the shot "provides minimal protection" against mild disease caused by the new coronavirus variant circulating in South Africa.

Two top virologists advising the government said during a press conference that the pause was necessary. They said South Africa would institute a new process in which vaccines are initially studied in a research phase to try and determine that each vaccine reduces Covid hospitalizations in South Africa despite the widespread new variant there.

Dr Helen Rees:
Covid: 'Society might not return to normal until 2022' | BBC News Wales |

Professor Salim Abdool Karim:
Hogging Covid vaccines endangers all nations, warns South Africa expert

by Oui on Mon Feb 8th, 2021 at 04:35:49 PM EST
Oxford Covid vaccine has 10% efficacy against South African variant, study suggests | The Guardian |

Scientists at the University of Texas medical branch collected antibody-containing blood plasma from 20 people who recently had two shots of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab.

In tests, the antibodies were on average 81% as effective at neutralising the engineered virus as they were at blocking older variants. The results, reported in Nature Medicine, suggest the variant's key mutation, known as E484K, does not dramatically undermine the vaccine's protection.

Neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 spike 69/70 deletion, E484K and N501Y variants by BNT162b2 vaccine-elicited sera | Nature |

Since the previously reported studies were conducted, rapidly spreading variants of SARS-CoV-2 have arisen in the UK, SA and other regions. These variants have multiple mutations in their spike glycoproteins, which are key targets of virus-neutralizing antibodies.

The emerged spike mutations have raised concerns of vaccine efficacy against these new strains. The goal of this study was to examine the effect of several key spike mutations from the UK and SA strains on BNT162b2 vaccine-elicited neutralization.

by Oui on Mon Feb 8th, 2021 at 05:17:45 PM EST
by Oui on Wed Feb 10th, 2021 at 10:32:34 AM EST
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Switzerland withholds approval for AstraZeneca Covid vaccine citing lack of evidence | The Independent - Feb. 4, 2021 |

by Oui on Mon Feb 8th, 2021 at 06:12:23 PM EST
Véran (a MD, so eligible for vaccination), had to partially remove his shirt for the jab, and became an instant meme:

 

Referring to this famous painting:

by Bernard on Tue Feb 9th, 2021 at 09:06:53 PM EST
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Dispatch of millions of COVID-19 vaccines to Africa expected to start in February: WHO

The joint UN-led COVAX initiative aims to start shipping about 90 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Africa in February, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday. The immunization roll out will be the continent's largest ever mass vaccination campaign.

by Oui on Mon Feb 8th, 2021 at 07:23:37 PM EST
by Oui on Mon Feb 8th, 2021 at 07:24:42 PM EST
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by Oui on Mon Feb 8th, 2021 at 07:26:03 PM EST
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by Oui on Mon Feb 8th, 2021 at 07:27:39 PM EST
by Oui on Mon Feb 8th, 2021 at 08:23:54 PM EST
There were probably also more people vaccinated. I had to wait for the second batch, something that has never happened before.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Feb 8th, 2021 at 08:29:38 PM EST
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by Oui on Tue Feb 9th, 2021 at 01:33:18 PM EST
by Oui on Tue Feb 9th, 2021 at 01:36:50 PM EST
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by Oui on Mon Feb 15th, 2021 at 12:17:27 PM EST
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by Oui on Thu Feb 18th, 2021 at 05:11:59 PM EST
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Proportion of deaths from Covid in England and Wales hits all-time high | The Guardian |

Thinktank critical of NHS Covid response has links to Hancock

by Oui on Tue Feb 9th, 2021 at 07:31:39 PM EST
by Oui on Tue Feb 9th, 2021 at 08:25:10 PM EST
by Oui on Tue Feb 9th, 2021 at 08:57:29 PM EST
Post-Brexit and having solved the immigration terror breaching our borders, the Tory government aim to tackle the illegal entrance of foreign variants of the SARS CoV-2 virus. Only pure British bred variants will receive an immunity passport for travel abroad. The Kent and Bristol mutations will be recognized as sovereign British.

Jail threat for Covid 'red list' rule-breakers criticised as lockdown fines ignored

by Oui on Wed Feb 10th, 2021 at 08:49:17 AM EST
by Oui on Wed Feb 10th, 2021 at 09:58:52 AM EST
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Does the jail term apply to Prince Charles?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Feb 10th, 2021 at 10:14:43 AM EST
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No problem with Queen's consent.
by Oui on Wed Feb 10th, 2021 at 05:52:16 PM EST
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by Oui on Thu Feb 11th, 2021 at 08:54:37 AM EST
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by Oui on Thu Feb 11th, 2021 at 08:56:00 AM EST
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by Oui on Wed Feb 10th, 2021 at 08:58:56 AM EST
by Oui on Wed Feb 10th, 2021 at 09:02:37 AM EST
by Oui on Wed Feb 10th, 2021 at 09:03:51 AM EST
by Oui on Wed Feb 10th, 2021 at 09:57:24 AM EST
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by Oui on Wed Feb 10th, 2021 at 09:54:10 AM EST
Serbia's PM says vaccine success down to prioritising healthcare over politics

Serbia has made a meteoric start to its vaccination rollout - the second fastest in Europe behind the United Kingdom.

Lying outside of the EU and its joint procurement programme, Belgrade has secured a million doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine, alongside shipments of Russia's Sputnik V and the Pfizer/BioNTech jab.

Turkey, Serbia, Bosnia and Hungary Put Trust in Russian, Chinese Vaccines | Balkan Insight |

by Oui on Wed Feb 10th, 2021 at 03:17:32 PM EST
Similar to all wars, just a small number of frontline soldiers are involved and confronted with the dire consequences ...

by Oui on Wed Feb 10th, 2021 at 04:52:26 PM EST
Oxford/AstraZeneca is a major WHO partner for delivery vaccines on its Global COVAX program

COVAX Announces additional deals to access promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates; plans global rollout starting Q1 2021 | Dec. 18, 2020 |

COVAX Announces new agreement, plans for first deliveries | Jan. 22, 2021 |

Additionally, COVAX announced that, pending WHO emergency use listings, nearly 150 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford candidate are anticipated to be available in Q1 2021, via existing agreements with the Serum Institute of India (SII) and AstraZeneca.

by Oui on Wed Feb 10th, 2021 at 05:20:49 PM EST
AstraZeneca vaccine can be used for over 65s and Covid variants, WHO says | France24 |

The alarm was raised when a trial at Johannesburg's University of Witwatersrand concluded the AstraZeneca vaccine provided only "minimal" protection against mild to moderate Covid-19 caused by the variant.
That was bad news for many poorer nations counting on the greater accessibility, affordability and logistical advantages offered by the AstraZeneca shot.

But the WHO and its partners have cautioned against dismissing the vaccine, pointing to the small size and possibly problematic methodology of the South African study, insisting more data was needed.

by Oui on Wed Feb 10th, 2021 at 08:35:13 PM EST

South Africa looking at ways to use AstraZeneca vaccine, advisers say

... their use would be suspended until more evidence was available on whether the vaccine protects against severe COVID-19 from the 501Y.V2 variant, which is more contagious and currently accounts for more than 90% of the country's cases.

by Oui on Wed Feb 10th, 2021 at 08:36:20 PM EST
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by Oui on Thu Feb 11th, 2021 at 07:42:12 PM EST
by Oui on Thu Feb 11th, 2021 at 08:40:37 PM EST
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by Oui on Fri Feb 12th, 2021 at 06:19:54 PM EST
by Oui on Fri Feb 12th, 2021 at 06:35:14 PM EST
by Oui on Sat Feb 13th, 2021 at 10:34:02 AM EST

New Zealand, with a population of five million, has reported a total of just over 2,300 cases and 25 deaths since the pandemic started.

by Oui on Sun Feb 14th, 2021 at 03:36:33 PM EST

What we know about Auckland's three new Covid-19 community cases

by Oui on Sun Feb 14th, 2021 at 10:57:30 PM EST
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Brexit Britain's victory over the EU on Covid vaccination is not what it seems | The Guardian |

True, Britain got a month's head start on the EU by approving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine [German development] at the start of December, and then AstraZeneca's at the end of that month. It had to accept the terms offered by the pharmaceutical companies, however, both in paying a higher price per dose, and by waiving their civil liability in the event of adverse effects.

But, and there's a very big but, the UK's "success" is a really an illusion: because to be fully effective, the vaccine requires two doses. And only 0.80% of the UK population has received both shots, less than that of France (0.92%), and a long way behind Denmark, which has 2.87% of its population fully vaccinated.

Above all, extending the time lag between first and the second doses, as the UK has done, potentially carries risks. So Brexit Britain's triumph doesn't seem quite so striking, even if the logistics of rollout - which are handled by national health ministries and have no EU involvement - are more efficient in the UK than in most European countries.

...
The EU together set out the demands it wanted met in exchange for financial aid aimed at speeding up production (€2.7bn). These demands included refusing to exempt laboratories from civil liability, insisting that the companies owned production lines on EU territory - an essential precaution at a time of temporary border closures - and, finally, reasonable prices. Not all these conditions were imposed by the US, the UK, Canada or Israel (which has also agreed to supply patients' data to the pharma companies).

...
Solidarity is one of the great virtues of the European Union and it has implemented it without complaint, not only among its citizens but also with regard to the rest of the world. African countries in particular will benefit from the surplus jabs ordered by the EU. And this is a well thought out solidarity, by the way, since only vaccinating Europe's population makes no sense in a globalised world. [The EU-27 partnered with $500M contribution to the COVAX-WHO program]

Could the EU have moved with more speed? No doubt, but it would have had to kowtow more to big pharma, and would have been roundly criticised for doing so. Likewise, blaming Brussels for what are essentially production issues is just nonsense: first, production is down to the manufacturing firms and, second, they have never before had to deliver such volumes in such tight timeframes.

With an entirely new and complex vaccine technology such as the RNA messenger, rolling out production on this scale is obviously a challenge. This is why the French drug maker Sanofi will only be ready to release vaccines produced under its licensing agreement with Pfizer-BioNTech by June at the earliest.

It is true that the EU made one massive blunder. And it can be blamed entirely on the European commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, not the EU as a whole. By rushing through curbs on vaccine exports after its spat with AstraZeneca, the commission, out of sheer clumsiness, managed to reignite political tensions arising from the Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland.

This was an incredible mistake and it happened only because the German president of the commission communicated exclusively with her German entourage. Had she kept the rest of the institution in the loop, the measure suspending a key part of the Northern Ireland protocol would never have seen the light of day.

France ramps up COVID-19 vaccine production | BioPharma |

by Oui on Sun Feb 14th, 2021 at 06:48:12 PM EST
I haven't seen any explanation for this, but Israel leads the world in vaccinations per capita, but is also 4th worst in number of new cases per capita (only Montenegro, Czechia and San Marino are worse).
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Feb 14th, 2021 at 07:10:58 PM EST
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In New York

$15,000 Fine After Secret Hasidic Wedding Draws Thousands of Guests | New York Times - Nov. 24, 2020 |

In The Netherlands Bible Belt cities ...

Mass testing starts in Bible belt village and a typical Dutch town | Dutch News |

Bij the Dutch Reformed it's not the adults and church gatherings, more the stubbornness of the youth in former fishing communities as in the village of Urk.

by Oui on Sun Feb 14th, 2021 at 07:57:26 PM EST
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Israel study touts Pfizer jab's effectiveness as country fights Covid disinformation

The reluctance of some groups in the population to get vaccinated is a key reason why infection rates remain high.

In the case of the ultra-Orthodox, some influential religious leaders have called on their followers not be immunised.

Meanwhile, Israel's Arab minority tends to suffer from a lack of trust in the Jewish leadership. And younger Israelis often think they can't get seriously ill.

Rabbi Yuval Hacohen Asherov, a popular Jewish preacher with an online following who has stated that germs do not cause diseases, has posted numerous anti-vaccine videos with hundreds of thousands of views. A recent video falsely claimed the Covid-19 vaccine caused death.

by Oui on Mon Feb 15th, 2021 at 06:02:44 PM EST
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Israel Pfizer .. UK Oxford/AstraZeneca .. US Moderna ... commonality extreme number of deaths

by Oui on Wed Feb 17th, 2021 at 08:02:13 PM EST
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Israel seems to have done better then (nearly?) every country in the EU though.
by generic on Wed Feb 17th, 2021 at 08:48:29 PM EST
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As reported earlier ... a sweetheart deal with German BioNTech and Pfizer ... special need for religious freedom of the Orthodox Jewish community... the occupier shipped 1000 doses to the Palestinian people ... all a matter of optics discounting human rights.
by Oui on Wed Feb 17th, 2021 at 09:26:47 PM EST
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by Oui on Sun Mar 7th, 2021 at 08:06:49 PM EST
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by Oui on Fri Feb 19th, 2021 at 10:42:10 PM EST
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Basics: solidarity and caring for one another ... a long road ahead.

by Oui on Mon Feb 15th, 2021 at 11:45:51 AM EST

"The Eagle has landed," Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt told reporters in Canberra on Monday as the first shipment of 142,000 doses of the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and Germany's BioNTech touched down.

by Oui on Mon Feb 15th, 2021 at 02:36:40 PM EST
Coronavirus latest: EU approves export of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to countries including UK and UAE

by Oui on Wed Feb 17th, 2021 at 01:33:25 PM EST
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by Oui on Wed Feb 17th, 2021 at 01:36:18 PM EST
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Covid-19 is here to stay.  SARS-CoV-2 is endemic in the biosphere and it will mutate as we have already seen.  

Before anything constructive can happen Decision Makers need to fully understand what that means AND base their decisions on reality, not fantasy.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Feb 23rd, 2021 at 04:28:17 PM EST
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India to ship Covid-19 vaccines to Canada as diplomatic tension eases

by Oui on Mon Feb 15th, 2021 at 02:48:05 PM EST
Oldham areas worst hit for poverty, amid Coronavirus crisis | Oldhan Chronicle |

A triumphant Tory leadership celebrating the succes of the COVID-19 vaccination program across the country.

by Oui on Tue Feb 16th, 2021 at 07:22:49 AM EST
New Covid variant with potentially worrying mutations found in UK

Researchers say 32 cases of B1525 in Britain, with other cases in countries including Denmark, US and Australia

by Oui on Tue Feb 16th, 2021 at 07:51:59 AM EST
by Oui on Tue Feb 16th, 2021 at 12:49:22 PM EST
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by Oui on Wed Feb 17th, 2021 at 02:47:12 AM EST
by Oui on Wed Feb 17th, 2021 at 05:40:27 PM EST
by Oui on Wed Feb 17th, 2021 at 10:47:49 PM EST
by Oui on Wed Feb 17th, 2021 at 10:54:07 PM EST
COVID-19 pandemic has lowered life expectancy by more than a year, new study finds

The researchers predicted even larger declines in 2020 among Black and Latino communities, which have been hit particularly hard by COVID-19. The study projected that life expectancy for Black people will drop by 2.1 years, to 72.78 years, and that life expectancy for Latino people will drop by 3.05 years, to 78.77 years. In contrast, the life expectancy for white people is projected to decline by 0.68 years to 77.84 years.

The authors blamed economic factors for a disproportionate decrease in life expectancy.

by Oui on Thu Feb 18th, 2021 at 05:46:44 PM EST

Explainer: Britain First!  🇬🇧

by Oui on Thu Feb 18th, 2021 at 06:27:59 PM EST
by Oui on Fri Feb 19th, 2021 at 03:06:34 PM EST
by Oui on Fri Feb 19th, 2021 at 03:20:12 PM EST
... but the Janssen vaccine distributed and manufactured through Johnson & Johnson has been approved as 3rd vaccine by the FDA in the US!!

The two others are Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

Bit confusing in tweet, but not an official FDA approval at this stage.

⚠️ ⁉️⁉️

by Oui on Sun Feb 28th, 2021 at 07:44:50 AM EST
by Oui on Tue Mar 2nd, 2021 at 02:38:52 PM EST
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by Oui on Tue Mar 2nd, 2021 at 09:41:23 PM EST
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Korean AstraZeneca Vaccine Deaths Investigated

Still not approved for Emergency Use by the American FDA!

by Oui on Wed Mar 3rd, 2021 at 08:25:31 PM EST
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Australia-Canada-Singapore-Switzerland-United Kingdom (Access) Consortium

UK will diverge from EU and US on approving tweaked Covid vaccines

The UK will adopt a different standard from Europe and the US when it considers approval for coronavirus vaccines that have been tweaked to deal with variants, the regulator has said.

There would be no compromise on safety or effectiveness, said Dr June Raine, the head of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). But the UK will not insist, as the European and US regulators do, that the tweaked vaccine must be "non-inferior" to the original.

The UK has left the European Medicines Agency (EMA) post-Brexit. It used an existing an existing provision before leaving to give the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine emergency authorisation ahead of the rest of the world in December.

by Oui on Thu Mar 4th, 2021 at 01:50:57 PM EST
by Oui on Thu Mar 4th, 2021 at 06:10:45 PM EST
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by Oui on Mon Mar 8th, 2021 at 08:22:48 PM EST
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