17 April 2021

• The global death toll from coronavirus surpasses three million. Source

• South Africa is ending its pause on the J &J coronavirus vaccine, under certain conditions, including intensified screening and monitoring of people at high risk for blood clots. Source

• In Australia, the death of a 48-year old woman with underlying conditions who developed blood clots after receiving the J &J coronavirus vaccine is considered likely to be linked with it, although health authorities described the case as “complicated.” It was the country’s third case of blood clots – and first fatality – among vaccine recipients; Professor John Skerritt of the Therapeutic Goods Administration said that prevalence of complications linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine in Australia is roughly one in 300,000, similar to that seen in the U.K. Source

• India’s B.1.617 variant, which has two key mutations (E484Q and L452R) that may make it more contagious and better able to escape immune responses – is thought to be the driver of record-breaking new coronavirus cases- is overwhelming hospitals and crematoriums and has already spread to Australia, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Namibia, New Zealand, Singapore, the U.K. and the U.S. Although India has sequenced less than one percent of COVID-19 positive samples, prevalence of the variant increased from nearly no cases in January to up to 52 percent in mid-April – and in some areas, it is over 60 percent. Source

• Officials in the  Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine are seeking to purchase the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine from the EU. In Ukraine, where only 433,00 of its 42 million people have been vaccinated, has purchased 32 million vaccine doses from AstraZeneca and Sinovac, but it has received less than a million of them.  The country rejected the Sputnik V vaccine – which has increased tensions with Russia. Source

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