• Associated Press reports that Russia is struggling to meet orders of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine; Airfinity estimates that it has exported less than 5 percent of the billion doses promised to developing countries. Venezuela ordered 10 million doses in December 2020; it has received just under four million of them. Argentina has been waiting since Christmas of 2020 for most of its 20 million purchased doses. Iran has received only 1.77 million doses of the 60 million promised to arrive between May and November 2021.
Turkish officials announced that they had reached a deal for 50 million doses of Sputnik V in April of 2021, to be delivered within six months but only 400,000 had arrived in June, leaving the country without the second doses it needed. India, which was promised 125 million first and second doses of the vaccine, had administered fewer than 1 million doses by 6 October.
The first and second doses of Sputnik V are not interchangeable – each relies on a different viral vector, and Russia has struggled to produce them, especially the second doses. Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of The Russian Direct Investment Fund, which has production contracts with 25 manufacturing sites in 14 countries, said “There is not one vaccine manufacturer in the world that didn’t have vaccine delivery issues,” adding that all supply issues “have been fully resolved,” and that the company is ““…in full compliance of the Sputnik V supply contracts, including of the second component, after a successful production ramp-up in August and September.” Source
• The UK Health Security Agency announces that SARS-CoV-2 testing has been suspended at Immensa Health Clinic Ltd.’s laboratory in Wolverhampton, central England. Laboratory errors there led to false negative PCR results among an estimated 43,000 people who had a positive lateral flow test result. Source
• Burundi receives its first bath of coronavirus vaccines from China, a donation of 500,000 Sinopham doses, valued at a $3 million. Source
• Bloomberg reports that the Democratic Republic of Congo has the lowest coronavirus vaccination rate among 200 countries that it tracks, with only 140,000 doses given in a population of 100 million. WHO attributes low uptake to hesitancy, which was driven by the government’s refusal to use the AstraZeneca vaccine, and lack of political will. Richard Mihigo, program manager for immunization and vaccine development at the WHO Africa office, said, “There was very little signal shown at the higher level on supporting of vaccinations.”
The government has come around; it has ordered more vaccines, and advocating for their use and has set targets to vaccinate 25 percent of adults by the end of 2022, increasing to 45% by the end of 2023. by the end of 2022. But the country faces challenges to its vaccine campaign, including mistrust of vaccines, reliance on donor funding, limited testing capacity, poor healthcare infrastructure, and striking healthcare workers who seek pay increases. Source
• A US FDA advisory panel unanimously recommends a booster dose of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, which offers less protection than mRNA vaccines. “There is a public health imperative here, because what we’re seeing is that this is a group with overall lower efficacy than we have seen with the mRNA vaccines,” said Dr. said the committee’s acting chair Arnold Monto, who is a professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, adding “So there is some urgency there to do something.”
If the panel’s recommendation – which seemed to be influenced by the argument that boosters should be offered for all available vaccines – is accepted by the US FDA and the CDC, boosters could be available in just over a week. Source
• The Biden administration announces that fully vaccinated travelers, including those who received mixed doses, so long as they are listed for emergency use by WHO, can enter the US as of 8 November. People who are traveling to the US by air will be required to show proof of vaccination and a negative coronavirus test result within 72 hours of their flight. People crossing US land borders, such as commercial drivers and students, will need to show proof of vaccination as of January 2022.
Non-citizens who are unvaccinated will be barred from entering the country, with exceptions including young children; US citizens who are not vaccinated will need to test negative for the coronavirus the day before their trip and show proof that they have purchased a test to take upon arrival in the US. Source