• The US FDA issues a briefing document for its upcoming meeting on the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine in children ages 5 to 11 years, noting that the benefits from the vaccine in this age group far outweighed its risks. Source

• As the US begins rolling out coronavirus boosters, former British prime minister, Gordon Brown, who serves as the WHO ambassador for global health financing, says the global South is 500 million doses short, while 240 million doses are lying unused in the West – and this surplus is projected to reach 600 million by the end of 2021. He described the situation as “…waste on a colossal scale,” noting that “You can’t solve this problem without vaccinating the whole of the world, not half of the world.” Source

• The New York Times reports finding ten candidates that could produce mRNA vaccines if Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech share their technology – a solution that public health experts consider essential for supplying regions with urgent, unmet need for vaccines, stopping the spread of variants, and for ending the pandemic. The Times selected ten facilities in six countries, based on experience and facilities, human capital, national regulatory environment and status, and political and economic contexts; some are already producing coronavirus vaccine, noting that “When a company has a functioning production line, it is a straightforward process to swap the mRNA content and make vaccines for a different pathogen, such as malaria or HIV.” The Times selected: Sinergium Biotech in Argentina, Bio-Manguinhos and Instituto Butantan in Brazil, Serum Institute, Biological E, and Gennova Biopharmaceuticals in India; BioFarma in Indonesia, Aspen Pharmaceuticals and Biovac Institute in South Africa, and BioNet Asia in Thailand. Source

• The Biden administration is calling on members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to join over 100 countries that support an intellectual property waiver for coronavirus vaccines after WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said that negotiations were stuck. White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said “We … need every WTO member to step up as well and support an intellectual property waiver, and every company must act ambitiously and urgently to expand manufacturing now.” Source

Lancet publishes research on pregnancy outcomes among participants in four ongoing phase 1, phase 2, and phase 3 clinical trials the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine. Although pregnant people were excluded from the trials (and were required to submit a negative pregnancy test result), 107 pregnancies occurred during the trials, 72 of them among vaccine recipients. Follow-up continued until three months after birth, and an independent data and safety monitoring board reviewed pregnancy outcomes, finding that the vaccine had no effect on fertility, and did not increase miscarriage risk. No stillbirths occurred among pregnant vaccine or placebo recipients. The authors noted that “With increasing availability of misinformation, which continues to affect vaccine uptake, these data, along with published data on mRNA vaccines, can provide evidence to support women in making decisions regarding vaccination.” Source

• In New Zealand, where 68 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, Prime Minister, Jacinda Arden, announces that once the country reaches a 90 percent vaccination target, a traffic-light system will replace lockdowns. Source

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