President Biden is set to announce on Wednesday that the United States is buying 500 million more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to donate to countries around the world, a pledge that will bring the total promised U.S. vaccine donations to more than 1.1 billion. Biden will make the announcement during remarks at the start of a virtual summit aimed at boosting commitments from other nations and the private sector.
US President Joe Biden has announced sweeping new Covid-19 measures that require workers at large companies to be vaccinated or face weekly testing. The measures also include a vaccine mandate for millions of federal government workers and come as cases in the country are surging. Hospitals in several states have reached capacity amid the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant.
US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has started giving people doses of a pill against COVID-19 as part of a new clinical trial. The company’s oral antiviral treatment has entered a mid-to-late-stage trial and is being tested on adults with minor COVID-19 symptoms. Pfizer is one of several drug manufacturers hoping to develop the first antiviral pill to be taken for early signs of the illness.
A major review of vaccines suggests the AstraZeneca jab does raise the risk of blood clots and another serious condition that can cause bleeding. But the study found the risk of such problems following a coronavirus infection was still much higher. The University of Oxford-led team also found an increased risk of stroke after the Pfizer jab – but again at a much lower rate than after infection.
The White House received a new classified intelligence report about the origins of the coronavirus on Tuesday, but it did not come to a solid conclusion as to whether the virus originated in animals before transferring to humans or was released from a lab, according to news reports. President Biden had asked the intelligence community in May to step up efforts to investigate COVID-19’s origins after officials could not agree on a conclusion.
US news network CNN has sacked three employees for going into an office without having been vaccinated against Covid, US media say. It is one of the first examples of a US firm firing staff for breaching a company vaccination mandate. It is legal in the US for firms to require employees to be vaccinated.
AstraZeneca said Thursday that it intends to seek U.S. authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine in the second half of this year, offering a new timetable for the much-delayed application. The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker announced the schedule as it released second-quarter financial results, which showed that the company and its sub-licensees delivered more than 700 million doses of the vaccine to over 170 countries in the first half of this year.
The US does not intend to lift Covid-19 travel restrictions for non-Americans, the White House has said. The decision comes amid pressure from airlines and tourism industry lobbyists to lift the sweeping ban before the end of the summer travel season. The decision was due to a rise in infections, the Delta variant’s transmissibility and a recent advisory against travel to the UK.
A longer gap between first and second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine makes the body’s immune system produce more infection-fighting antibodies, UK researchers have found. Experts say the findings support the UK’s decision on extending dosing intervals from the initial recommendation of three weeks. An eight-week gap seems to be the sweet spot for tackling the Delta variant.
New coronavirus cases rose in all 50 states on Sunday for the fourth day in a row on a rolling seven-day average, an ominous run not seen since the spring 2020 surge. The weekly rolling average for cases in the United States has nearly tripled in the last month. The pace of deaths also is up sharply – 24.7% from its low point two weeks ago.