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Covid News Watch

May 04, 2021

Pfizer Reaps Hundreds of Millions in Profits From COVID Vaccine + More

Pfizer Reaps Hundreds of Millions in Profits From COVID Vaccine

The New York Times reported:

Last year, racing to develop a vaccine in record time, Pfizer made a big decision: Unlike several rival manufacturers, which vowed to forgo profits on their shots during the COVID-19 pandemic, Pfizer planned to profit on its vaccine.

On Tuesday, the company announced just how much money the shot is generating.

The vaccine brought in $3.5 billion in revenue in the first three months of this year, nearly a quarter of its total revenue, Pfizer reported. The vaccine was, far and away, Pfizer’s biggest source of revenue.

The company did not disclose the profits it derived from the vaccine, but it reiterated its previous prediction that its profit margins on the vaccine would be in the high 20 percent range. That would translate into roughly $900 million in pretax vaccine profits in the first quarter.

35-Year-Old Woman Dies of Brain Hemorrhage 11 Days After Receiving J&J Vaccine

The Defender reported:

The family of a Michigan woman says she died as the result of complications 11 days after receiving the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID vaccine.

Anne VanGeest, 35, died April 19 at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s hospital in Grand Rapids from an acute subarachnoid brain hemorrhage, FOX 17 reported.

FDA Set to Authorize Pfizer Vaccine for Adolescents, But Some Experts Question Need, Ethics

The Defender reported:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is preparing to authorize use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine in adolescents 12 to 15 years old by early next week, according to federal officials familiar with the agency’s plans. The vaccine is currently authorized in the U.S for emergency use in people 16 and older.

The decision, which is likely to be supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), would allow most middle and high school students to get vaccinated before summer camps and the start of the 2021-22 school year, USA TODAY reported.

The FDA will have to amend the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Pfizer’s vaccine, but the process should be straightforward, said a federal official who was not authorized to speak about the process publicly and requested anonymity.

Tucker Carlson: Americans Shouldn’t Be Forced to Take One-Size-Fits-All Vaccine

The Defender reported:

In the segment below on last night’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson said, “there are unresolved concerns” about the long-term health effects of COVID vaccines, including on female fertility and pregnant women.

The American people should not be forced to take a one-size-fits-all medical treatment, Carlson explained. “No medicine is designed for every person in all circumstances,” he said.

Last month, the Biden administration said the federal government will not require all Americans to get the COVID vaccine, nor will it require vaccination passports. But the truth is, when it comes to COVID vaccines, President Biden is not pro-choice, he’s pro-mandate, Carlson said.

New Zealand Fires Nine Border Workers Who Refused COVID Vaccine

The Guardian reported:

New Zealand’s customs agency has fired nine border workers who refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The country has required all frontline border workers to be vaccinated by the end of April.

In February, the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said the government would not be making the vaccine compulsory for frontline staff, and that those who declined the vaccine would be moved into backroom roles.

But no other work could be found to redeploy the nine workers who were in fixed term employment at the maritime border, Jacinda Funnell, Customs’ deputy chief executive for people and capability, said.

Slowing Vaccine Demand Exposes Stark Divides

Politico reported:

“The ground game really matters now,” a senior administration official said. “We don’t have to do these major FEMA sites.”

Where it’s happening: There are stark divides between and even within states. Michigan and Colorado lead the country in most cases per capita, while Oregon is struggling with surges in certain low-vaccinated counties. These inequities could mean that in some communities, businesses and schools can broadly reopen, while in others just a few counties over, the coronavirus continues to rage, Dan and Adam write.

U.S. focus pivots from supply to demand. Fewer than 1.1 million Americans are receiving their first vaccine dose each day, the lowest average since the end of February, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As recently as three weeks ago, nearly 2 million Americans were getting their first dose each day.

There’s Not Just One Kind of Vaccine Hesitancy

Axios reported:

… In the real world, about 56% of U.S. adults had received at least one shot as of Saturday, per the CDC, suggesting that we’re getting very close to the end of the “vaccine eager” population.

What they’re saying: “As those Americans most eager to get the vaccine have now been able to do so, the hard part of earning the trust of those with hesitations or who don’t view it as a top priority begins,” said John Gerzema, CEO of The Harris Poll.

Between the lines: Young adults are most likely to say they’ll get the vaccine whenever they get around to it, or want to wait and see before getting it.

Glass Half-Full? Embattled Astrazeneca CEO Soriot Defends COVID-19 Vaccine

FiercePharma reported:

As the weeks turn to months on AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine filing in the U.S., the big question is when. Its answer remains the same: soon.

But the next biggest question is, why bother?

With U.S. vaccine coffers now overflowing with Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots, why is AstraZeneca still planning to file for emergency authorization here?

When asked by reporters Friday if there’s a chance AstraZeneca wouldn’t submit its vaccine for FDA consideration because it may not be needed in the U.S., CEO Pascal Soriot and other executives repeated the pharma’s assertion it plans file with the FDA “in the coming weeks.”

May 03, 2021

10 Million Kids Could Get Pfizer COVID Vaccine by Fall + More

10M Kids Could Get Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine by Fall if Jab Approved for Younger Population, Gottlieb Says

Fox News reported:

The former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said over the weekend that some 10 million U.S. children could receive the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine before fall should the jab receive emergency use authorization for the nation’s younger population.

During an appearance on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” Sunday, former FDA chief Dr. Scott Gottlieb estimated that some 5 million children between the ages of 12 and 15 would immediately receive the jab following approval, while another 5 to 7 million would likely be vaccinated before the beginning of the fall 2021 school year.

Denmark Ditches J&J COVID Vaccine, Says Benefits ‘Do Not Outweigh Risk’ of Blood Clots

The Defender reported:

Denmark on Monday became the first country to exclude Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) COVID vaccine from its vaccination program over a potential link to blood clotting disorders.The Danish Health Authority said in a statement it had concluded “the benefits of using the COVID-19 vaccine from J&J do not outweigh the risk of causing the possible adverse effect in those who receive the vaccine,” Reuters reported.

Danish health officials noted the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) conclusion that “there is a possible link between rare but severe cases of blood clots and the COVID-19 vaccine from J&J,” referring to an investigation last month into eight U.S. reports of rare blood clots — one of which was fatal — that occurred after recent vaccination.

Unlike the Danish Health Authority however, the EMA concluded the benefits of using the J&J vaccine outweigh the risks. The EMA did recommend adding a warning to J&J’s vaccine label, and the company said it would comply with that measure.

Coronavirus Vaccine Updates: FDA expected to authorize Pfizer vaccine for ages 12-15 this week

ABC News reported:

The FDA could expand COVID vaccines for 12-to-15-year-olds as early as this week.

Health experts say the agency is expected to authorize Pfizer’s drug for that age group any day now. The decision would allow middle school students and all high school students to get the shots.

Pfizer says clinical trials showed the vaccine was 100% effective for 12-to-15 year-olds. If authorized, that age group may start receiving the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

Reaching ‘Herd Immunity’ Is Unlikely in the U.S., Experts Now Believe

The New York Times reported:

Early in the pandemic, when vaccines for the coronavirus were still just a glimmer on the horizon, the term “herd immunity” came to signify the endgame: the point when enough Americans would be protected from the virus so we could be rid of the pathogen and reclaim our lives.

Now, more than half of adults in the United States have been inoculated with at least one dose of a vaccine. But daily vaccination rates are slipping, and there is widespread consensus among scientists and public health experts that the herd immunity threshold is not attainable — at least not in the foreseeable future, and perhaps not ever.

Instead, they are coming to the conclusion that rather than making a long-promised exit, the virus will most likely become a manageable threat that will continue to circulate in the United States for years to come, still causing hospitalizations and deaths but in much smaller numbers.

CDC Finds Some COVID-19 Vaccine Reactions Actually Due to Anxiety

ABC News reported:

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that some COVID-19 vaccine reactions, including fainting, dizziness and nausea, were due to anxiety — and not the shots themselves.

The report, published Friday, looked at clusters of events reported to the CDC in dozens of people who received the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine at five mass vaccination sites in early April, before federal health agencies called for a temporary pause on the shot after six people in the U.S. developed a rare blood clot disorder.

Out of 8,624 people who received the J&J dose from April 7 to 9 at the five sites, 64 experienced anxiety-related reactions, none of which were considered serious, the CDC said. Slightly more than half reported light-headedness or dizziness. Excessive sweating was the next most common symptom, followed by fainting, nausea or vomiting, and hypotension.

Pentagon Tracking 14 Cases of Heart Inflammation in Troops After COVID-19 Shots reported:

The Defense Department is tracking 14 cases of heart inflammation, or myocarditis, in military health patients who developed the condition after receiving either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

The rare disorder, usually caused by a virus, has been linked to COVID-19. But following a number of reports from Israel of patients developing the inflammation in conjunction with receiving vaccines, the Israeli Health Ministry is exploring a possible link, Israel’s Channel 12 reported Friday, according to the Jerusalem Post.

CVS, Walgreens Have Wasted Hundreds of Thousands of COVID Vaccine Doses, Data Show

NBC News reported:

Two national pharmacy chains that the federal government entrusted to inoculate people against COVID-19 account for the lion’s share of wasted vaccine doses, according to government data obtained by Kaiser Health News.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 182,874 wasted doses as of late March, three months into the country’s effort to vaccinate the masses against the coronavirus. CVS was responsible for nearly half, and Walgreens was responsible for 21 percent, or nearly 128,500 wasted shots combined.

Moderna Agrees to Supply Covax With Half a Billion Coronavirus Vaccines

U.S. News & World Report reported:

Moderna has agreed to supply up to half a billion doses of its coronavirus vaccine to low- and middle-income countries, the company announced on Monday.

The biotechnology company said in the announcement that it will supply up to 500 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to 92 countries through an agreement with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Apr 29, 2021

World to Spend $157 Billion on COVID Vaccines Through 2025 + More

World to Spend $157 Billion on COVID-19 Vaccines Through 2025

U.S. News and World Report reported:

Total global spending on COVID-19 vaccines is projected to reach $157 billion by 2025, driven by mass vaccination programs underway and “booster shots” expected every two years, according to a report by U.S. health data company IQVIA Holdings Inc released on Thursday.

IQVIA, which provides data and analytics for the healthcare industry, said it expects the first wave of COVID-19 vaccinations to reach about 70% of the world’s population by the end of 2022. Booster shots are likely to follow initial vaccinations every two years, the report said, based on current data on the duration of effect of the vaccines.

The United States is preparing for the possibility that a booster shot will be needed between nine to 12 months after people receive their first full inoculations against COVID-19, a White House official said earlier this month. Pfizer Inc has also said boosters may be needed within 12 months.

EU Vaccine Injury Reporting System Shows More Than 330,000 Adverse Events Following COVID Vaccines

The Defender reported:

VAERS, which operates under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is the primary government-funded system for reporting adverse vaccine reactions in the U.S. In the EU, suspected drug reactions are reported to EudraVigilance, which also tracks reports of injuries and deaths following the experimental COVID vaccines.

Health Impact News compiled the latest EudraVigilance data on reports of COVID vaccine-related injuries and deaths and found — as of April 17 — 7,766 reports of deaths and 330,218 reports of injuries following injections of the four COVID vaccines approved for emergency use in the EU: Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, marketed under the Janssen brand.

BioNTech Expects Vaccine Trial Results for Babies by September

Al Jazeera reported:

BioNTech expects results by September from trials testing the COVID vaccine it developed with Pfizer on babies as young as six months old, German magazine Spiegel cited the company’s CEO as saying.

“In July, the first results could be available for the five-to-12-year-olds, in September for the younger children,” BioNTech Chief Executive Ugur Sahin told Spiegel. He added it takes about four to six weeks to evaluate the data.

“If all goes well, as soon as the data is evaluated, we will be able to submit the application for approval of the vaccine for all children in the respective age group in different countries,” he said.

Now That 16- and 17-Year-Olds Are Eligible For COVID Vaccine, Some Families Are Divided Over Whether It Makes Sense

The Boston Globe reported:

Less than two weeks after 16- and 17-year-olds became widely eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, the debate over the wisdom of getting the shot is growing complicated in households across Massachusetts.

Megie-Maddrey just got her second shot, but her husband has not been vaccinated and is “dead set” against it, she said, citing a mistrust of the medical system rooted in the infamous Tuskegee study that withheld treatment for decades to Black men with syphilis.

The couple’s 18-year-old son and 17-year-old daughter echo their father, and repeat stories they’ve seen on social media about unproven, potential long-term side effects from the vaccine.

Vaccinations Are High, and so Are New COVID Cases. Here’s a Look at What’s Driving That.

Bangor Daily News reported:

Even as Maine has weathered the pandemic better than many states and been a leader in vaccinations, a complicated set of factors has kept its new case counts steadily high in recent weeks.

It is among 14 states that have seen rising case counts in the last two weeks, according to the New York Times. It is also seeing some of the biggest hospitalization increases, with the state averaging 29 percent more admittances now than it did two weeks ago, according to that tracker. 

These factors all present a challenge for state health officials in the days leading up to a major shift in Maine’s reopening plan. Starting Saturday, all Americans will be able to travel to Maine without having to quarantine. Businesses will soon be allowed to operate at a higher capacity as long as they follow certain public safety guidelines.

Moderna to Boost COVID-19 Vaccine Production to Meet Rising Global Demand

The Wall Street Journal reported:

Moderna Inc. plans to spend billions of dollars to boost production of COVID-19 vaccines and potentially triple its yearly output of doses in 2022, as the company seeks to meet rising global demand.

The Cambridge, Mass., biotech company said Thursday it could produce up to three billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines in 2022, compared with a projected output of up to one billion this year.

Moderna also said it would make no less than 800 million doses this year, up from a minimum 700 million it had forecast previously.

1,300 Vaccine Doses Set To Go to Waste in Philadelphia

CBS News on MSN News reported:

More than 1,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine are set to expire in Philadelphia on Thursday. If they remain unclaimed by the end of the day, they will no longer be viable and go to waste, according to local health officials. 

The Pennsylvania Convention Center has roughly 1,3000 doses on hand, but no takers for the inoculations as supply of the vaccine starts to outpace demand in Philadelphia and other cities across the U.S.