29 May 2021

• Viet Nam reports the discovery of a highly transmissible new coronavirus variant, described as a mix of  the B.1.1.7 and B 1.617 variants. Source

• Researchers at Airfinity estimate that $190 billion in sales could be split between Pfizer (up to $44 billion), Moderna (up to $32 billion), Sinopharm ($16- $23 billion, Sinovac ( $16- $25 billion)  and five other companies. These forecasts vary, according to vaccine pricing and whether companies achieve production and delivery goals – actual production during 2021 could be up to 42% less than what companies forecast, dropping revenue to $97 billion. Source

• China’s CDC says that 265 million vaccine doses were given over a four-and-one-half month period beginning in December;  31,434 adverse events were reported. Overall, 83 percent were fever and soreness at the injection site, while 17 percent were described as abnormal reactions (organ damage and serious allergic reactions). Only 188 of the 5,356 adverse events reported in China were considered severe. Source

• Congressional hearings in Brazil are uncovering failures in key processes – negotiations with drug companies, relations with other countries and supply chain management – that have left the country unable to fully vaccinate more than 10 percent of the population. Pfizer made multiple offers to set aside 70 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine, including one in writing that went to President Jair Bolsanaro,  as well as Brazil’s vice president, chief of staff, its ministers of health and economy and the ambassador to the US, all of which were ignored. Vaccine purchase have been delayed, booster misplaced, and local production has been stymied by shortages of ingredients. Source

• In the UK, where  36 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated, the spread of the B.1.617 variant threaten Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plans to end social distancing rules on 21 June. Source

• South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has been linked with a tendering scandal after his department bypassed procurement processes, awarding a 150 million-rand ($10.9 million) contract to Digital Vibes, a company run by his former aides – who wasted most of it. Mr. Mkhize described the deal as irregular and said that disciplinary action would be taken against responsible parties, while denying any role in it, or his relationships with company leaders. The scandal worsened when it was revealed that Digital Vibes transferred 300,000 rand to a company owned by Mr. Mkhize’s son. Source

Return to the timeline