21 December 2020

• The EMA approves the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine – and is paying less for it than the US ($14.70 per dose vs. $19.50 per dose) – as the bloc’s 27 member governments make plans to begin roll-out to the EU’s 410 million people. Vaccination will begin before the end of the year in France (where a poll found that only 41 percent of respondents intend to be vaccinated, and 59 percent would prefer to receive a French-made vaccine), Germany, Italy and Spain. Most countries plan to have large numbers of their populations vaccinated by June 2021. Sources 1,2,3
Science publishes a report exploring a controversial potential link between polyethylene glycol, an ingredient in the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, and severe allergic reactions; both companies were aware that these reactions were a possibility. Source
• Belarus approves Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine. Source
• Kazakhstan begins production of Russia’s Sputnik 5 coronavirus vaccine. Source
The New York Times reports that federal officials in Mexico City provided misleading information that downplayed the extent of the coronavirus epidemic in early December. Instead of following their own points system, which would have led them to impose a lockdown, they delayed taking any measures to stop the spread of the virus until record-breaking hospitalization rates led doctors to describe the situation in their overrun facilities as “collapsing.” Source
• Pfizer and Moderna begin testing the efficacy of their coronavirus vaccines against the B.1.1.7 variant, which was identified in the UK.
• The US surpasses 18 million coronavirus cases. Source
• The Vatican tells Catholics that it is “morally acceptable” for them to be vaccinated with products that have used cell lines obtained abortions when there are no “ethically irreproachable” vaccines available. Source
• Doctors in Kenya begin a 21-day strike to protest low wages, lack of medical insurance and inadequate protective equipment. Source

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