19 June 2021

Lancet publishes results from a single-arm, 54-person sub-study of the safety and immunogenicity of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine in men living with HIV. All participants were on antiretroviral therapy, with an undetectable viral load and a CD4 cell count >350 cells (with a median CD4 cell count of 694·0 cells/ μL).

The magnitude and persistence of vaccine-induced immune responses among trial participants did not differ by HIV status. Side effects were similar, regardless of HIV status, although people living with HIV had a lower incidence of side effects from the second dose. The authors noted that the study was too small to report on protection from infection with SARS-CoV-2, the immune responses among people living with HIV were similar to those among vaccinated HIV-negative study participants. Source

• A study from the University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health monitored post-vaccine antibody responses among 1,000 people who received coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech or Sinovac; it found “substantially higher” antibody levels among people who received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and suggested that some Sinovac recipients may require a third shot. Source

• WHO Chief Scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, says “science is still evolving” on the need for coronavirus booster shots, and that WHO guidance will be informed by data from countries that provide extra inoculations, especially to vulnerable people. Source

• As part of US President Joe Biden’s pledge to donate 25 million doses of coronavirus vaccine, the country sent 2.5 million doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine – more than triple the amount it had previously promised – to Taiwan. Source

• In Brazil, only 12 percent of the country is fully vaccinated, and less than 30 percent have had their first vaccine. Concern about vaccines from AstraZeneca and Sinovac, which make up 96 percent of the country;s supply, have led people to insist on the Pfizer.BioNTech shot. “At first, people were afraid to get CoronaVac, because it’s Chinese, and now it’s Astra because of the reactions,” said Luiz Carlos de Souza e Silva, a nurse at one of Rio’s public clinics. Source

• Brazil’s health ministry announces that 82 people connected with the Copa América  soccer tournament have tested positive for COVID-19, including 37 players and staffers and 45 workers. Source

• In the Maldives, home to one world’s highest per capita caseloads in May, a shortage of healthcare workers has led the country to send students, retired nurses and inexperienced volunteers to care for hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the nation’s capital. Source

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