COVID-19 vaccines for children are moving closer to availability, but access remains limited. Moderna announced late this week that it was submitting its vaccine to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization in children age 12 and older. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has already received the go-ahead for this age group. The companies are testing their vaccines on younger age groups, down to 6 months. Results are expected in the fall. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are moving into pediatric populations ahead of those from Johnson & Johnson and the University of Oxford-AstraZeneca partnership. The AstraZeneca vaccine makes up the bulk of the doses delivered through COVAX, the WHO-backed program delivering shots to low- and middle-income countries. Rare but serious blood clotting issues have slowed down the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. A study this week in the journal Nature Medicine found a rate of about one case … [Read more...] about COVID Vaccines for Children: How Soon?
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The head of one of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturers had a problem. Adar Poonawalla, chief executive of the Serum Institute of India, needed $850 million for everything from glass vials to stainless steel vats so he could begin producing doses of promising coronavirus vaccines for the world’s poor. Mr. Poonawalla calculated that he could risk $300 million of his company’s money but would still be more than a half-billion dollars short. So he looked to a retired software executive in Seattle. Bill Gates , the Microsoft founder turned philanthropist, had known Mr. Poonawalla for years. Mr. Gates had spent billions to help bring vaccines to the developing world, working closely with pharmaceutical executives to transform the market. In doing so, he became the most powerful — and provocative — private player in global health. By the end of their conversation this summer, Mr. Gates had made a promise: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would provide a $150 million … [Read more...] about Bill Gates, the Virus and the Quest to Vaccinate the World
TOKYO — Japan ’s biggest cities are under a state of emergency as coronavirus deaths rise, even while the country tries to convince the world it can safely hold the Summer Olympics . South Korea is prohibiting gatherings of five or more people to keep a recent surge in cases under control. Hong Kong imposed stringent lockdowns on some of its poorest neighborhoods to stop an uptick. And yet none of these places have begun to carry out the only solution with any hope of putting the pandemic behind them: vaccinations. While the United States and most nations in Europe as well as the Asian behemoths China and India have begun inoculating their populations, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong have stood out by proceeding much more slowly. Japan will not even begin to vaccinate medical workers — those at the front of the line — until the end of February. The same is true in South Korea, and those over 65 will not start receiving inoculations until May. Hong Kong, a … [Read more...] about Not Yet Desperate, Japan and South Korea Plod Toward Vaccinations
BRUSSELS — The European Union agreed on Wednesday to reopen its borders to visitors who have been fully vaccinated with an approved shot and to those coming from a list of countries considered safe from a coronavirus perspective, permitting broader travel just in time for the summer tourism season. Ambassadors from the 27 member states of the European Union endorsed a plan that would allow visits from tourists and other nonessential travelers, who have been mostly barred from entering the bloc for more than a year. The move has been seen as an economic imperative for tourism-dependent countries such as Greece and Spain, and it has been months in the works. Other E.U. nations that are less reliant on tourists for jobs and income, particularly in northern Europe , had been eager to maintain higher barriers for nonessential visitors to keep the coronavirus at bay. But they relented as vaccinations advanced and after they were promised the ability to reverse course if cases surge … [Read more...] about Vaccinated Travelers Will Be Allowed to Visit, E.U. Says
PUNE, India — In early May, an extremely well-sealed steel box arrived at the cold room of the Serum Institute of India , the world’s largest vaccine maker. Inside, packed in dry ice, sat a tiny 1-milliliter vial from Oxford, England, containing the cellular material for one of the world’s most promising coronavirus vaccines . Scientists in white lab coats brought the vial to Building 14, carefully poured the contents into a flask, added a medium of vitamins and sugar and began growing billions of cells. Thus began one of the biggest gambles yet in the quest to find the vaccine that will bring the world’s Covid-19 nightmare to an end. The Serum Institute , which is exclusively controlled by a small and fabulously rich Indian family and started out years ago as a horse farm, is doing what a few other companies in the race for a vaccine are doing: mass-producing hundreds of millions of doses of a vaccine candidate that is still in trials and might not even work. But … [Read more...] about Indian Billionaires Bet Big on Head Start in Coronavirus Vaccine Race