Miss a day, miss a lot. Subscribe to The Defender's Top News of the Day. It's free.

World’s Most-Vaccinated Nation Activates Curbs as Cases Rise

Bloomberg reported:

Seychelles, which has fully vaccinated more of its population against the coronavirus than any other country, has closed schools and canceled sporting activities for two weeks as infections surge.

The measures, which include bans on the intermingling of households and the early closure of bars, come even as the country has fully vaccinated more than 60% of its adult population with two doses of COVID-19 vaccines. The curbs are similar to those last imposed at the end of 2020.

“Despite of all the exceptional efforts we are making, the COVIDE-19 situation in our country is critical right now, with many daily cases reported last week,” Peggy Vidot, the nation’s health minister, said at a press conference Tuesday.

Moderna Says Its COVID-19 Vaccine Is 96% Effective In Teens

CBS News reported:

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is 96% effective in teenagers 12- to 17-years-old, the drugmaker said Thursday. The company announced results of the Phase 2 trial in reporting first-quarter earnings. Its vaccine generated $1.7 billion in revenue in its fiscal first quarter.

Evidence that Moderna’s vaccine is effective in teens comes as rival Pfizer is expected to receive federal authorization by early next week to use its COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents. Federal approval of one or more vaccines against the disease could enable many American middle and high school students to be vaccinated before the start of the 2021-22 school year.

Vaccine Makers Claim COVID Shots Are ‘95% Effective’ — But What Does That Mean?

The Defender reported:

Why are manufacturers’ claims about vaccine effectiveness misleading? Pfizer and Moderna declined to share with the public the fact that there is another way to parse their data that has more real-world significance.

Examining a statistic called absolute risk reduction — the number of percentage points that an individual’s risk goes down if they do something “protective” — the two companies’ COVID vaccines barely make a dent at all, reducing someone’s risk of experiencing COVID symptoms (the clinical trials’ endpoint) by less than 1%. This is the practical number that people are likely to care about most.

Third U.S. Male Diagnosed With Vaccine-Induced Blood Clots After J&J Vaccine

The Defender reported:

Doctors at University of Utah Health announced Wednesday they treated the third male in the U.S. to develop rare blood clots that may have been caused by the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID vaccine.

The man, under age 50, is Utah’s first suspected case of vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), also called thrombosis and thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS).

According to the medical center’s press release, the man received J&J’s vaccine in early April. Ten days later he experienced pain in his toes, which then progressed to his thighs. He later began experiencing chest pain.

Tucker Carlson: How Many Americans Have Died After Taking COVID Vaccines?

The Defender reported:

Fox News commentator, Tucker Carlson, frequently reminds viewers that overall, he thinks vaccines are a good thing — but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have questions about COVID vaccines.

In fact, he has a lot of questions. And, he said, he should have the right to ask them.

In the segment below on last night’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Carlson said the U.S. government’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) shows 3,362 Americans —  or 30 people a day — died from the COVID vaccine between December 2020 and last month.

U.S. Backs Waiving Intellectual Property Rules on Vaccines

The Associated Press reported:

The Biden administration on Wednesday joined calls for more sharing of the technology behind COVID-19 vaccines to help speed the end of the pandemic, a shift that puts the U.S. alongside many in the developing world who want rich countries to do more to get doses to the needy.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced the government’s position, amid World Trade Organization talks about a possible temporary waiver of its protections that would allow more manufacturers to produce the life-saving vaccines.

“The Administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines,” Tai said in a statement.

Anti-Vaxxers Aren’t the Cause of America’s Dropping Vaccine Rates

Vox.com reported:

Now, with about 57% of the adult population having had at least one shot, America has to reach the less enthused — ranging from those who want a vaccine but don’t want to go too out of their way to get one to people who say they don’t want to get a vaccine at all.

The remaining unvaccinated people aren’t all truly hesitant or resistant to getting vaccinated. Think of enthusiasm for a vaccine as a spectrum, with some Americans very excited to get the shot, others not willing at all, and many in between. The U.S. eventually will need to make inroads with the hard noes — but for now, the low-hanging fruit are the people in between. They might readily take the vaccine if it was right in front of them, but can’t call off work to get it or don’t want to have to set aside hours of their day solely to get a shot.

Why Patents on COVID Vaccines Are so Contentious

The Associated Press reported:

The Biden administration’s call to lift patent protections on COVID-19 vaccines to help poor parts of the world get more doses has drawn praise from some countries and health advocates.

But it has run into resistance from the pharmaceutical industry and others, who say it won’t help curb the outbreak any time soon and will hurt innovation.

Moderna Reports $1.7 Billion in COVID-19 Vaccine Sales, Posts First Profit Ever

MarketWatch reported:

Moderna Inc. MRNA, -1.69% brought in $1.7 billion in sales of its COVID-19 vaccine in the first quarter of 2021, marking the company’s first significant billion-dollar revenue haul this year and also the first time it’s ever reported a GAAP profit.

Moderna had earnings of $1.2 billion, or $2.84 per share, in the first quarter of 2021. This is compared to a loss of $124 million, or 35 cents per share, in the first quarter a year ago. The FactSet consensus was $2.39. Moderna had revenue of $1.9 billion for the quarter, up from $8 million in the same quarter a year ago. The FactSet consensus for revenue was $2.0 billion. This quarter marked the first time that the company has generated product revenue during the first three months of the year. About $1.7 billion of that came from sales of its COVID-19 vaccine.

Eli Lilly Faces Employee Complaints, FDA Troubles at Factory Making COVID-19 Drug: Report

FiercePharma reported:

Eli Lilly employees have accused an executive at the drugmaker’s Branchburg, New Jersey, manufacturing site of altering FDA-required documents in an effort to downplay serious quality control problems, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing internal complaint documents and a source familiar with the matter.

The complaint, dated April 8, said the executive tasked with quality controls rewrote findings from Lilly’s technical experts at the facility, which produces doses of the company’s COVID-19 antibody treatment bamlanivimab, in order to make them look more favorable, according to the report.

What’s the Origin of COVID? Did People or Nature Open Pandora’s Box at Wuhan?

The Defender reported:

The virus that caused the pandemic is known officially as SARS-CoV-2, but can be called SARS2 for short. As many people know, there are two main theories about its origin. One is that it jumped naturally from wildlife to people. The other is that the virus was under study in a lab, from which it escaped. It matters a great deal which is the case if we hope to prevent a second such occurrence.

I’ll describe the two theories, explain why each is plausible, and then ask which provides the better explanation of the available facts. It’s important to note that so far there is no direct evidence for either theory. Each depends on a set of reasonable conjectures but so far lacks proof. So I have only clues, not conclusions, to offer. But those clues point in a specific direction. And having inferred that direction, I’m going to delineate some of the strands in this tangled skein of disaster.