18 February 2021

• US President Biden confirms a four billion dollar pledge to COVAX, half of which will be released immediately. Source
• Novavax commits to sell 1.1 billion doses of its experimental coronavirus vaccine to COVAX; the vaccine, which is currently in phase III trials, will be manufactured and distributed by Novavax and India’s Serum Institute. Source
Lancet publishes a report on reductions in coronavirus infections and symptomatic COVID-19 among 9,109 healthcare workers who were given one (7,214) or two (6.037) doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Compared to unvaccinated healthcare workers, the rate of infection among those who got the vaccine was reduced by 30 percent at 1 to 14 days post-vaccination and by 75 percent between post-vaccination days 15-28. Symptomatic cases of COVID-19 among vaccinated healthcare workers were reduced by 17 percent at 1 – 14 days post-vaccination and by 85 percent between post-vaccination days 15-28. Source
• Hong Kong grants emergency approval for Sinovac’s coronavirus vaccine. Source
• Nepal grants emergency approval for Sinopharm’s coronavirus vaccine; China is donating 500,000 doses. Nepal has already approved the AstraZeneca vaccine and accepted a donation of one million doses from India’s Serum Institute. Source
• Zimbabwe launched its coronavirus vaccination campaign after receiving a 200,000 dose donation from Sinopharm. Source
• In the US, overall life expectancy dropped by one year during the first half of 2020- the biggest drop in over 70 years. The decrease was far greater among the Black population, reaching 2.7 years, which reflects the country’s vast racial inequality. Source

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