2 March 2021

• COVAX publishes its first round of vaccine allocations. Source
• Two WHO investigators sent to China to investigate the origin of SARS-CoV-2, Vladimir Dedkov from Russia’s Pasteur Institute and Fabian Leendertz from Germany’s Robert Koch Institute, downplay China’s theory that the virus arrived in the country via frozen food, saying “…the virus is not born from a piece of plastic…Cold chain is never the source.” Source
• The US will not share its coronavirus vaccine supply with Mexico, saying that discussions could take place after its current priority – ensuring that all of its residents are vaccinated –has been achieved. Source
• A pre-print article from the UK reports on effectiveness of two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine and one dose of the AstraZeneca/Oxford coronavirus for preventing symptomatic COVID-19  in older people. Overall, the researchers reported that one dose of either vaccine is approximately 80% effective at preventing hospitalization for COVID-19 among older adults, and one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is 85% effective at preventing death from COVID-19.

In people age 80 years and above, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was 70 percent effective at 10-13 days post- vaccination: by 14 days after the second dose, it was 89 percent effective. In people age 70 years and up, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was 61 percent effective at 28-34 days post-vaccination, while the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine was 60 percent effective at 14-20 days post-vaccination, increasing to 73 percent at 35 days after vaccination. A single dose of both vaccines reduced the risk for hospitalization (the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, by 43 percent; the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine reduced this risk by 37 percent). Source
• A variant of the coronavirus, B.1.526, which can evade monoclonal antibodies and possibly vaccines, was first identified in New York in November. Since then, it has spread to 14 other states; officials have detected 735 cases. 585  of them within the last two weeks. Source
• As the UK  government reviews potential policies about the requirement for vaccination, a YouGov poll of 1,757 people found that  76 percent of respondents supported a “vaccine passport” to enter the country, and 65 percent favored allowing vaccinated people to return to work before those who had not gotten a vaccine; 48 percent agreed that people should be vaccinated before going to restaurants or pubs. Source
• US President Biden announces that he has brokered a deal between rivals Merck and J & J for joint  production of J & J’s coronavirus vaccine, which could double production capacity. Based on this deal and agreements with Pfizer and Moderna, Biden says there will be enough vaccine doses to cover all US adults by the end of May  2021. Source
• AstraZeneca announces that it has sent its coronavirus vaccine to Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and will be sending vaccines to Fiji, Indonesia, Moldova, MongolIa and the Philippines this week. Source
• Novavax has asked the US FDA to consider data from its coronavirus vaccine trials in South Africa (where it was 49.4 percent effective)  and the UK (where it was 89.3 percent effective) to expedite its emergency use authorization. Source
• Former US President Trump and his wife received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine before he left office, although he did has not disclosed it.Source

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