The Latest: Indian-made vaccine works against all variants
NEW DELHI — Indian company Bharat Biotech says its late-stage testing of a COVID-19 vaccine has shown an overall efficacy of 77.8% and effectiveness against all variants.
The company in a statement says it is now in discussions with the World Health Organization to obtain emergency use listing for its vaccine, marketed as COVAXIN.
The results set at rest questions raised by health experts over Bharat Biotech’s vaccine when it was given emergency use authorization by the Indian government in January. They felt that the company didn’t have enough clinical trials, making it almost impossible for the firm to have analyzed and submitted data showing that its shots are effective in preventing illness from the coronavirus.
The company says the vaccine has already received emergency use authorizations in 16 countries including India, the Philippines, Iran and Mexico. Millions of Indian also have been inoculated with the same vaccine.
It says the late-stage trial showed the vaccine was 93.4% effective against severe symptomatic COVID-19 and showed effectiveness of 77.8% against symptomatic COVID-19. The data also demonstrated 65.2% protection against the delta variant, first identified in India.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC
— Europe in vaccination race against COVID-19′s delta variant
— Indonesia caught between surge and slow vaccine rollout
— Thai virus surge prompts concern over ICUs, vaccine supply
— Some Venezuelans have gotten a shot in the arm thanks to a gift of Cuban-developed COVID-19 vaccines, bringing relief to some residents while simultaneously deepening the mystery around the country’s donation-dependent vaccination campaign.
— One Missouri hospital official is telling anyone making disparaging remarks about the COVID-19 vaccine to “shut up” as state officials ask for federal help dealing with a surge in cases that has some counties urging new precautions.
— A bipartisan proposal in the U.S. House would ban the farming of mink fur in the United States in an effort to stem possible mutations of the coronavirus.
— Follow more of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden praised the ability of sports and athletes to bring a nation together in a time of crisis as he hosted the World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers at the White House on Friday.
The Dodgers, who captured the title by defeating the Tampa Bay Rays last October, were the first team to be honored at the White House since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the first since Biden took office.
“I think what we discovered is that we need sports more than we ever realized,” said Biden, who praised baseball in “one of the most challenging years” in the nation’s history.
The president saluted the team for using its stadium as a mass COVID-19 vaccination site.
NICOSIA, Cyprus — Cyprus is offering a holiday stipend from mid-July to mid-August to anyone who’s been vaccinated and will restrict access to soccer stadiums to those who have received their shots or have obtained a negative PCR or rapid antigen test 72 hours prior a match in a bid to encourage young people from getting inoculated against COVID-19.
The Cypriot government announced late Friday a string of incentives designed to spur a sizeable portion of the population that haven’t stepped up to be vaccinated. Officials say some 70% of those under 40 haven’t received their shots.
Other incentives include counting the day that government and private sector workers opt to get vaccinated as a bonus day off and offering an honorary five-day leave to army conscripts who choose to get the jab.
The government also decided to lessen the fun factor for those who aren’t vaccinated by requiring bar and restaurant patrons or anyone attending large gatherings such as weddings to display either a so-called Safepass indicating that they’re fully vaccinated, or to present a negative PCR or rapid antigen test taken 72 hours prior to the event.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — One Missouri hospital official is telling anyone making disparaging remarks about the COVID-19 vaccine to “Shut up” as state officials ask for federal help dealing with a surge in cases that has some counties urging new precautions.
Deep vaccine resistance has allowed the delta variant, first identified in India, to take hold in the state, straining hospitals, particularly in the Springfield area.
“If you are making wildly disparaging comments about the vaccine, and have no public health expertise, you may be responsible for someone’s death. Shut up,” tweeted Steve Edwards, who is the CEO of CoxHealth in Springfield.
CoxHealth and the city’s other hospital, Mercy Springfield, were treating 168 COVID-19 patients Friday, up from 31 on May 24, before the surge began, said Aaron Schekorra, a spokesman for the Springfield-Greene County Health Department. He said that 36 of them were on ventilators.
Erik Frederick, the chief administrative officer of the Mercy Springfield, also turned to Twitter in an effort to bolster vaccinations, noting that they prevent deaths.
“So if you’re vaccinated there is a light at the end of a tunnel,” he said. “If you’re unvaccinated that’s probably a train.”
PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is rescinding a series of executive orders issued during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Republican governor says most are no longer needed because the Legislature put them into law in the session that ended this week.
Some of the orders would remain in place until legislation takes effect in 90 days. Those include orders preventing cities, towns and counties from issuing orders for businesses that are more stringent than those Ducey issues. Other orders ending after new legislation takes effect bar universities from requiring coronavirus vaccines or masks for unvaccinated students.
Republicans, who control the Legislature, were adamant that they would block any coronavirus-related actions they considered were restricting freedoms. They passed laws banning mask orders in K-12 schools and state universities and blocking some future health orders. Democrats called the moves short-sighted, saying they may be needed amid a new surge of virus cases.
NEW YORK — Elissa Montanti’s Global Medical Relief Fund was thwarted by COVID-19 after more than two decades of beating the odds to obtain medical care for children injured in war and crises around the world.
The pandemic put a hold on international travel and services to the more than 450 kids who have passed through her care. Prosthetics needed fitting. Surgeries required scheduling. Now the New York woman is reviving her charity. She’s recruiting volunteers and professionals, bringing children to the U.S. again for medical care.
Montanti started the charity in 1997 in the wake of the sudden deaths of her grandmother, mother and childhood sweetheart. She’s lobbied at the United Nations, written a memoir and built a sprawling network of charitable doctors and professionals.
The charity says it has taken in children from 50 countries, mostly from Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden says he’s concerned lives will be unnecessarily lost to COVID-19 as unvaccinated people contract and transmit the coronavirus over the July 4 holiday.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Biden emphasized that for most Americans who are vaccinated, the holiday weekend will be worth celebrating.
Says Biden: “This year is different than the Fourth of July of last year and it’s going to be better next year.”
But the president says he’s worried about those who haven’t yet gotten a shot.
“I am concerned that people who have not gotten vaccinated have the capacity to catch the variant and spread the variant to other people who have not been vaccinated. But I am concerned. Lives will be lost.”