3 May 2021

• Moderna  issues a press release to announce an agreement with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. On behalf of COVAX. Moderna will supply up to 500 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine, starting with 34 million doses to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2021. Gavi has  the option to procure an additional 466 million additional doses in 2022. All doses are offered at Moderna’s lowest tiered price – an amount which it has not disclosed. Source

• US President Biden is facing growing pressure from international leaders and activists – as well as the progressive wing of his own party – to commit  to waiving an international intellectual property agreement that protects pharmaceutical trade secrets to  increase the world’s coronavirus vaccine supply. While some Biden advisors believe that he has a moral imperative to act, and that it is bad politics for the president to side with pharmaceutical executives, others say they do not believe sharing trade secrets will increase access to coronavirus vaccines.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci,  the president’s chief  pandemic medical adviser, said that  vaccine producers must either greatly expand their manufacturing capacity to supply other nations at “an extremely diminished price” or transfer their technology to let the developing world make cheap copies.  He added, “I always respect the needs of the companies to protect their interests to keep them in business, but we can’t do it completely at the expense of not allowing vaccine that’s lifesaving to get to the people that need it. You can’t have people throughout the world dying because they don’t have access to a product that rich people have access to.”

Meanwhile, Pfizer and Moderna, hoping to head off support for the waiver, announced that they will increasing the global vaccine supply, although neither company has been willing to forgo profits on their products.  Source

• The EU announces a recommendation for allowing fully vaccinated travelers (who have received an EMA-approved vaccine). Member states will debate the proposal, which also allows countries to impose stricter policies. Source

• The chief executive of India’s Serum Institute, Adar Poonawalla, says the shortage of coronavirus vaccines will continue until July of 2021, when production will increase from 60-70 million doses per month to 100 million. Source

• As India’s oxygen shortages lead to more and more deaths among people with COVID-19, the courts have stepped in. New Delhi High Court said that it would start to punish government officials for failing to deliver oxygen and the Supreme Court urged central and state governments to consider imposing another lockdown to gain control of the virus and to create an emergency stockpile of oxygen. Source

• The Danish Health Authority announced that Denmark will not use J & J’s coronavirus vaccine, saying that it did not need to risk rare blood clotting that may be linked to the vaccine, although the decision will cause a month-long delay in vaccinations for  younger people. Source

• The US CDC announces that it will monitor only the breakthrough cases of COVID-19 in fully vaccinated persons that result in hospitalization or death. Source

• A pre-print publication reports that the B.1.617 variant is resistant to the monoclonal antibody bamlanivimab, and may render immunity from previous infection or vaccination less effective. Source

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