13 June 2021

Reuters reports on a near-final version of a communique from G7 countries announcing a donation of one billion doses of coronavirus vaccines to poorer countries, and that they will continue to work with the private sector, the G20 and other countries to increase the contribution over months to come. The communique included a reaffirmation of support for “…all pillars of the ACT-A across treatments, tests and strengthening public health systems as well as vaccines.” Source

Reuters notes that the inclusion of previous pledges to donate coronavirus vaccines (including one from the US for 500 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine), limits the impact of the G7’s pledge to donate one billion doses to poorer countries – and that it falls short by five to six billion doses and fails to address key gaps in distribution that could complicate vaccine delivery. Source ­­­

• As coronavirus cases surge in Moscow, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin restores restrictions such as closing food courts and gyms and limiting the hours of bars and restaurants to curb the spread. Source

• Viet Nam’s Ministry of Health announces that Vingroup JSC, a local company, has negotiated a technology transfer agreement for an mRNA vaccine with an unidentified US vaccine producer. Shortly afterwards, the statement was revised; Vingroup (which can produce 200 million doses per year) was removed from it. Source

• Britain’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, suggests that lifting pandemic restrictions on 21 June – “Freedom Day” may be delayed, due to a surge in cases driven by the Delta variant. Source

• The Copa América was moved from Argentina to Brazil despite protests and widespread condemnation inside and outside the country, where the South American soccer tournament has been called  the “championship of death.” An emergency appeal to Brazil’s Supreme Court by opponents who wanted it canceled was denied. Although players on Brazil’s team have committed to play in the tournament, they have announced their concerns about it.

On the eve of the opening match, at least twelve Venezuela players and staff members tested positive for COVID-19, and at least four people connected to Bolivia’s national team are reported to have the virus. The federation chartered a flight, sending 14 replacement players so the game could proceed as planned, and teams were asked to submit a list of up to 60 players in case of a spate of positive tests. Source

• The FDA posted details from a memo on its investigation of Emergent Biosolutions, which was sent to J & J to explain why it advised J & J to discard 75 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine. Emergent did not fully follow good manufacturing practices; it failed to prevent cross-contamination between the Astra Zeneca and J & J vaccines by properly segregating zones where workers manufactured the vaccines; materials for each vaccine were weighed and cleared materials in a common warehouse; and, after accelerated vaccine production created more waste, Emergent allowed workers to tote the waste through its warehouse in wheeled containers – all of which could have rendered the vaccines unsafe and/or ineffective. Source

• In Germany, J & J was unable to deliver 6.5 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine in June, after production failures at the Emergent Biosolutions plant led to a shortfall. A health ministry spokesperson said “…every dose matters. We therefore expect from J&J that this amount is delivered in July as quickly as possible.” Source

• Canadian regulators reject a shipment of 300,000 doses of J & J’s coronavirus vaccine because of contamination in the Emergent Biosolutions facility where they originated. Health Canada said was unable to determine that the vaccines met “the department’s rigorous quality standards,” and that it would not approve vaccines or vaccine ingredients from the Emergent plant factory until it sends inspectors there, most likely in the summer. Source

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