16 July 2021

• Africa remains critically short of coronavirus vaccines; currently only 2.9 percent of the continent’s population has been partially or fully vaccinated.  The New York Times reports that 9.9 billion of the 10.9 billion vaccine doses produced in 2021 have already sold to high-income countries, who now have a surplus. The only unpurchased vaccines left are from Bharat Biotech and vaccine makers in China.

Overall, Africa has administered 28,407,970 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, 5,023,498 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine. 3,133,752 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, 480,296 doses of the single-shot J & J vaccine, 362,963 doses of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, 352,550 doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac and 99,525 doses of Gamaleya’s Sputnik V.  If current vaccination rates continue at the same pace, only eight small nations will meet a global target by vaccinating at least 10 percent of each country’s residents by September.  Even with a vaccination rate that is five times higher,  less than 19 percent of the continent’s population will be vaccinated by the end of 2021. Source 

• The US Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet later in July to consider whether immunocompromised people should receive a third dose of coronavirus vaccine, prompted in part by a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which reported that a third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine  increased immune responses among transplant recipients from 40 percent after the second dose to 68 percent.  “I wouldn’t call that a booster,” said Dr Francis Collins, head of the US National Institutes of Health, “I would call that trying to get the primary immunization into the effective place.” Source

• Indonesia’s daily coronavirus case total reaches 56,757, surpassing Brazil’s, of less than 53,000. Source 

• In the UK, despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson stating that the rollback of coronavirus restrictions is “irreversible,” the government’s solicitor general, Lucy Frazer, notes that restrictions may return if there is a surge of COVID-19, saying “Of course if we get into a situation where it’s unacceptable and we do need to put back further restrictions, then that of course is something the government will look at.” Source  

• Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, announced that officials in Beijing  are considering a proposal for continued investigation of the origins of SARS-CoV-2 from  WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Source 

• US CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warns that the Delta variant is driving “a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” urging people to get the vaccine. Source

• Online misinformation is discouraging people from getting vaccinated in the US, leading President Joe Biden to say that social media platforms such as Facebook were “killing people,” adding “Look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated.” Source

• Thailand considers imposing additional measures to prevent surging coronavirus cases after reporting a record-breaking daily total of 9,692 cases. Source 

• Malaysia’s Health Minister Adham Baba says that the country will stop administering  Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac as mounting evidence suggests that it is less effective against the Delta variant. Malaysia’s government has secured 45 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine – enough for 70 percent of the country’s residents. Source 

• Khairy Jamaluddin, Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Immunisation, said that the decision not to continue giving Sinovac’s coronavirus vaccine “… has nothing to do with Sinovac’s efficacy… It is because we will be receiving our entire delivery by the end of July and August.” He noted that the government is buying three million additional doses of Sinoovac’s vaccine, which will be offered to people at risk of a severe allergic reaction to the Pfizer vaccine, and via private clinics. Source 

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