26 August 2021

• The Economist Intelligence Unit releases a report, How much will vaccine inequity cost, summarizes the current state of access to coronavirus vaccines (as of late August 2021); briefly rich countries have given out vaccines at 100 times the rate of poorer countries (an estimated 60 percent of the population has had at least one dose in higher-income countries, vs. 1 percent of the population in poorer countries). The report estimates that vaccine inequity will cost the world $2.3 trillion dollars by 2025, with Asia and Africa being the hardest-hit. Source

• Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Co suspends use of 1.63 million doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine after discovering contamination in unused vials. Japanese health authorities noted that some of the doses might have been used, but there have been no reports of ill effects. They have asked Moderna to conduct an emergency investigation, and Rovi, the Spanish producer who manufactured the doses, is fully cooperating and is also investigating the contamination. Source                                                                   

• After US President Joe Biden announced that coronavirus booster doses would become available in September (pending US FDA approval), the Wall Street Journal reports that the approval is likely to call for booster doses given six months after the previous dose, rather that the eight months specified by the Biden administration, and that boosters from J & J, Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech are under FDA review, with approval anticipated in mid-September. Source

• A growing number of US companies are instituting vaccine mandates for their employees following full FDA approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. Source                     

• Surges of COVID-19, driven by the Delta variant, have overwhelmed Japan’s hospitals. During the period between 9-15 August, 3,361 patients were turned away by at least three hospitals. Source

• Carlito Galvez Jnr, the Philippines vaccine tsar, is forced to deny that the country’s coronavirus vaccine roll-out was delayed until next year’s presidential elections during a five-hour session where Health Secretary Francisco Duque was questioned about the government’s pandemic response. So far, only 12 percent of the country’s population has been vaccinated. Source                      

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