4 January 2021

• The US FDA releases a statement about strategies to increase the number of people who vaccinated against COVID-19 (such as halving doses, mixing and matching vaccines, or extending the length of time between doses), saying that “…suggesting changes to the FDA-authorized dosing or schedules of these vaccines is premature and not rooted solidly in the available evidence. Without appropriate data supporting such changes in vaccine administration, we run a significant risk of placing public health at risk, undermining the historic vaccination efforts to protect the population from COVID-19.” Source
• Pfizer and BioNTech warn that there is no evidence that their vaccine will continue to protect recipients from COVID-19 if the booster shot is given later. Source
• The European Medicines Agency insists the maximum interval of 42 days between the first and second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should be respected to obtain full protection, noting that it comes seven days after the booster. Source
• Mexico grants emergency use approval for the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, which will enable it to start domestic production “very soon” (in August, AstraZeneca announced that it would work with the Argentine and Mexican governments to produce 550 million vaccine doses for Latin America). Source
• The head of Denmark’s Health Authority, Soren Brostrom, announced that the country will allow a delay of up to six weeks before administering a second dose of Comirnaty, the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. Source
• Scotland announces a national lockdown to curb the new coronavirus variant, which accounts for almost half of all infections in the country; it is expected to continue at least until the end of January. Source
• Boris Johnson institutes a national lockdown in Britain after a fast-spreading coronavirus variant led to 60,000 new daily coronavirus cases and a 30 percent increase in hospitalizations. Source
• Brazil reports two cases of the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant in São Paulo, one linked to contact with travelers from Europe. Source
• Slovakia reports cases of the B.1.1. 7 coronavirus variant in the eastern county of Michalovce. Source
• New York reports its first case of the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant in a person with no recent travel. Source
• Lebanon enters a three-week lockdown. Source
• Coronavirus cases in US correctional facilities exceed 500,000 – an increase of over 80 percent in the last two months. Source
• Wang Yi, China’s Foreign Minister, says that outbreaks outside of the country – in multiple parts of the world – caused the global spread of coronavirus, and that the nation “ stood at the forefront of fighting misinformation, rebutting attempts of politicization and stigmatization,” so that “…the objective narrative and collective memory of the battle against the pandemic would not be distorted by lies.” Source

Return to the timeline