New England Journal of Medicine publishes a report about 11 cases of unusual thrombotic events and thrombocytopenia among recipients of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine in Germany and Austria, noting that the vaccine can cause a very  rare development of immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia caused by platelet-activating antibodies against PF4. The authors recommended treatment with high-dose intravenous immune globulin, and  non-heparin anticoagulants and suggested naming this entity vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT). Source 

• Brazil becomes the third country to report over 4,000 deaths from COVID-19 in 24 hours as its death toll exceeds 340,000 – the world’s second highest (after the US). Only three percent of the population has been vaccinated. Source

Bloomberg reports that high-income countries are vaccinating their populations against coronavirus 25 times faster than low-income countries, noting that 40 percent of vaccines have gone to people across 27 wealthy countries  who make up only eleven percent of the world’s population.  Source

• Australia recommends the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for people under age 50. Source

• A pre-print publication compared the incidence of infections with coronavirus variants B.1.1.7  and B.1.351 among recipients of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine versus unvaccinated people in Israel, looking at two time points (from 14 days after the 1st dose  [when the vaccine is partially effective] and to a week after the 2nd dose and at a week after the second dose [ when the vaccine is fully effective]). The researchers found no difference in the incidence of  the B.1.1.7 variant among recipients of fully effective vaccines versus unvaccinated people, although people with partially effective vaccination had a higher rate of infection than either group. Notably, a significantly higher proportion of infections with the B.1.351 variant was found in fully vaccinated people versus those who were unvaccinated, although the overall frequency of infections with this variant was low. The authors cautioned that their sample size was small, and suggest that there may be higher breakthrough rates with the B.1.351 variant among recipients of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, although non-pharmaceutical measures may effectively prevent its spread, and/or that the B.1.1.7 variant dominates over B.1.351 due to its high transmission rate, underscoring the importance of tracking variants and increasing vaccination rates. Source

• After a plant in Baltimore contaminated 15 million doses of the J & J coronavirus vaccine, US officials warn that there will be 86 percent fewer doses next week, leading to state-level shortages. Source

• The EMA’s risk assessment committee is investigating four cases unusual blood clots with low blood platelets among people who got the J & J coronavirus vaccine (among  4.9 million US vaccine recipients). Source

• The EU Commission plans to launch a tender for 1.8 billion additional doses of an mRNA coronavirus vaccine that will cover all new variants; the vaccine would  be produced in the EU and delivered on a monthly basis during 2022 and 2023. Source

• Pfizer/BioNTech issue a press release announcing their request to the FDA for expanding the emergency use authorization for their coronavirus vaccine to include adolescents age 12 to 15 years; they also will request similar rulings from worldwide regulatory agencies in the coming days. Source

• COVAX has delivered only 38 million of the 100 million coronavirus vaccine doses it planned to distribute to low-and-middle income countries by now;  WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted a “… shocking imbalance in the global distribution of vaccines,” saying that nearly one of four adults in high-income countries has been vaccinated,  versus only one of 500 adults in low-income countries. Source

• Coronavirus cases in Iraq have reached a record high, as hospitals are overwhelmed and authorities blame “…negligence of most citizens, government institutions and the private sector. ” Rumors that coronavirus vaccines are harmful have led to low inoculation rates, with just over 126,000 of 40 million residents having been vaccinated as people are not adhering to masking and social distancing guidelines and continue to hold large events. Source

• An outbreak of  the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant, originating in Bangkok’s upscale Thong Lor district among the wealthy “Hi-So” party scene has spread to twenty provinces and led to the  closure of bars, pubs, karaoke and massage parlors in Bangkok and 40 provinces until April 23. Source 

• Thailand’s Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, approves a procurement plan for coronavirus vaccines from producers that have not been registered by the government, which would allow private hospitals to purchase ten million doses of coronavirus vaccines. Source