• African leaders at the UN General Assembly – many speaking remotely – highlighted the disparity in access to coronavirus vaccines. Namibia President Hage Geingob called it “vaccine apartheid,” while Seychelles President Wavel Ramkalawan said, “There is a virus far more terrible, far more harrowing than COVID19. It is the virus of inequality.” Angola’s President, João Lourenço, said it was “…shocking to see the disparity between some nations and others with respect to availability of vaccines. “These disparities allow for third doses to be given, in some cases, while, in other cases, as in Africa, the vast majority of the population has not even received the first dose.” Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, noting that vaccines are the greatest defense that humanity has against the pandemic, adding “It is an indictment on humanity that more than 82% of the world’s vaccine doses have been acquired by wealthy countries, while less than 1% has gone to low-income countries.” Source

• New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced that she wants the country’s coronavirus vaccination rate to reach 90 percent, which a new study suggests would allow it to avoid future lockdowns. Source

• In an unusual decision, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, head of the US CDC, overruled an advisory panel’s recommendation (which did not include health care workers, teachers and others whose jobs put them at risk), endorsing Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine boosters for all frontline workers. Source

• Patrick Soon-Shiong, a South African billionaire, announces that  he will transfer the technology to produce a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by his company, ImmunityBio, as part of an agreement with South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the South African Medical Research Council and the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation and three local universities. are also party to the agreement. Source

• Valneva issues a press release to announce that it has begun recruiting 660 adolescents ages 12 to 17 in its phase III trial of VLA2001, an inactivated viral coronavirus vaccine candidate; topline results are expected by the end of 2021. Source

• African leaders note that greater transparency about scheduling and timely delivery of coronavirus vaccine purchases and donations are necessary. Vaccines have been delivered slowly, in small numbers, and unpredictably, with just a few days notice, and doses are nearing their expiry date (the average shelf life of doses delivered to Africa has been two to three months – not enough time for health systems to roll them out). “It is in every country’s interest that this happen quickly,” said Dr. Benido Impouma, Director, Communicable and Noncommunicable Cluster, WHO Africa program, “The longer the delay in rolling out the vaccine, the greater the risk of other challenges emerging.” Source

• At the UN General Assembly, Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez s announces that the nation will reach “full immunization” with domestically produced vaccines by the end of 2021. Source

Return to the timeline