14 May 2021

• A study of coronavirus vaccine safety in 131 vaccinated women (30 of whom were pregnant and 16 of whom were breastfeeding) and 28 unvaccinated women who had COVID-19 found robust immune responses among vaccinated women, including against certain variants. Vaccine-elicited antibodies were found in infant cord blood and breast milk – suggesting that infants, who are currently ineligible for vaccines, benefit from maternal vaccination. Source

• A study of 200 pregnant women, 84 of them vaccinated against coronavirus, found robust immune responses and no safety issues associated with vaccination. Source

• The US begins vaccinating children ages 12-15 against coronavirus. Source

• Uruguay has become home to the world’s highest per capita death rate from coronavirus after a sharp increase in cases with the more transmissible P.1. variant first identified in Brazil. Source

• India’s Central Drugs Laboratory has received 150,000 doses of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine from Russia; it expects to get a total of 250 million doses, but it is unclear when they will arrive. Currently, the vaccine is priced at Rs 995.40 ( $13.72) per dose, including a five percent Goods and Services tax. This price may decrease once supply is ramped up, as India plans to produce 850 million doses of the vaccine through deals with various biotechnology companies. Source

• In India, misinformation about COVID-19 travels via What’s App, although the platform has imposed safeguards against dangerous and misleading information. Nonetheless, harmful stories about preventing or curing COVID-19 by putting lemon juice inside of the nose or drinking lemon water – or severe vaccine side effects continue to circulate, fueled by politics and mistrust of Western medicine. Source

• Cases of the B.1.617 coronavirus variant, first identified in India, are increasing in the UK. They have reached 1,313, rising from 520 on 5 May. Overall, 1,255 cases were detected in England (30% in London; 25% in north-west England; 12% in eastern England; 10% in the East Midlands and 8% in the South East), 35 cases in Scotland, 12 in Northern Ireland and 11 in Wales. Source

• Citing the increased transmissibility of the B.1.617 coronavirus variant, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces that the country will ramp up its vaccination campaign – which Public Health England says has saved at least 11,700 lives and prevented 33,000 people from falling seriously ill with COVID-19. Source

• Roche CEO Severin Schwan compared a potential waiver on coronavirus vaccine intellectual property to the nationalization in Soviet-controlled East Germany, saying “We had enough experiments in the 20th century nationalizing the industry and we know what came out of that. This will be harmful for my children and grandchildren when I’m not CEO anymore.” Source

• Given the success of its vaccination campaign, the UK is rethinking its plan to purchase of a million doses of AstraZeneca’s combination antibody treatment which is currently under study as both prevention and treatment for COVID-19. Source

• The US CDC publishes an interim analysis of an 1,843-person case-control study of efficacy of mRNA-based coronavirus vaccines among healthcare workers at 33 sites across 25 states. Overall, vaccine efficacy was 82 percent at 14 days after a single dose until six days after the second dose, rising to over 94 percent a week after the second dose. Source

• Singapore announces new restrictions after coronavirus infections – some with the B.1.617 variant – were reported among fully vaccinated airport workers, which triggered a 46-case outbreak. Source

• Just days after urgently-need oxygen finally arrived in New Delhi, demand fell, allowing it to be reallocated. Source

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