The world's pandemic exit plan hits a snag - No1 News Directory

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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The world's pandemic exit plan hits a snag

While it is a major roadblock in the path to recovery, now is not the time for governments to throw out their stockpiles, Ivana Kottasová writes. Experts say it's possible, even very likely, that the shot is effective in preventing severe disease and death.

Some countries relying on the vaccine may have to move their goal posts. Instead of trying to achieve herd immunity, the focus might be on preventing as many deaths as possible even while the virus continues to circulate.

There is a lot riding on the success of this one vaccine, developed on a not-for-proft basis. The organizers of a scheme to get vaccines to those in low and middle-income nations, called COVAX, announced plans to distribute more than 337 million vaccines by the end of June -- of which 336 million doses would be from AstraZeneca. They say they are now waiting to hear the experts' recommendations.

Many wealthy nations, too, are counting on AstraZeneca as they race to get their populations vaccinated before more dangerous new variants emerge. The US, which is now reporting its lowest infection rates in three months, is relying on 300 million doses from the drugmaker, as is the European Union. The United Kingdom has ordered 100 million doses.

YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED.

Q: Can people decide which vaccine to take?

A: In most countries where several different vaccines are available, people simply get what they get -- at least for now, while supplies are limited.

Pfizer's vaccine needs special, ultra-cold storage -- much colder than normal freezers provide, so it is only available to people in countries that can support cold supply chains. Even within these countries, Pfizer may be limited to people who live in areas where such freezing facilities are available.

The Moderna vaccine can be transported and stored at normal refrigeration temperatures, which could make it better suited for rural areas or places not close to ultra-cold storage.

In the US, AstraZeneca is still in the process of applying for emergency use authorization, so it's not yet available. It is already being rolled out in the United Kingdom and has been approved in the European Union.

Send your questions here. Are you a health care worker fighting Covid-19? Message us on WhatsApp about the challenges you're facing: +1 347-322-0415.

WHAT'S IMPORTANT TODAY

She's one of Europe's most powerful women. A vaccine spat could derail her big plans for the continent

It's likely that, a couple of weeks ago, much of the world had never heard the name Ursula von der Leyen. The President of the European Commission is not a job that enjoys the fame or grandeur of a national leader. So when the commission's chief appears in the media, chances are, something's probably gone very wrong, Luke McGee writes.

The EU's unedifying spat with the United Kingdom and drugmaker AstraZeneca over limited supplies of Covid-19 vaccines has dragged von der Leyen and her management style into the spotlight. In the spat, the Commission proposed export controls on vaccine manufacturers, and even triggered fears of a return to sectarian, cross-border violence by threatening to place restrictions on the between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Facebook is trying to fix its anti-vaxxer problem. Again

After years of struggling to crack down on vaccine misinformation, Facebook is once again revising its policies to make them tougher. The company announced on Monday it was "expanding" its efforts to remove false claims on its platform, as well as on Instagram, about Covid-19 vaccines and vaccines in general during the pandemic, Kaya Yurieff reports.

The announcement came a day after CNN Business reported that Instagram continued to prominently feature anti-vaxxer accounts in its search results, while Facebook groups railing against vaccines remained easy to find. The discoveries raised concerns among public health experts, given that the United States is in the middle of its largest vaccine rollout ever to address the coronavirus pandemic.

President Joe Biden mulls testing for domestic flights

People intending to travel on domestic flights in the United States may soon have to present a negative Covid-19 test before boarding planes. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg confirmed in an interview with "Axios on HBO" on Sunday that the Biden administration was considering the measure, but gave no further details.

"There's an active conversation with the CDC right now," Buttigieg said. "What I can tell you is, it's going to be guided by data, by science, by medicine, and by the input of the people who are actually going to have to carry this out."

The discussion follows a CDC rule that went into effect at the end of January, requiring negative Covid-19 tests for international travelers, US citizens and residents entering the United States.

ON OUR RADAR

 "It's all about the vaccine for me now," says Sara Jablow, who was vaccinated early because of her job and is interested in dating. "I'm pretty straightforward about it: I believe in science, and if someone isn't interested (in the vaccine) ... I'm done."

 "It's all about the vaccine for me now," says Sara Jablow, who was vaccinated early because of her job and is interested in dating. "I'm pretty straightforward about it: I believe in science, and if someone isn't interested (in the vaccine) ... I'm done."

"It's all about the vaccine for me now," says Sara Jablow, who was vaccinated early because of her job and is interested in dating. "I'm pretty straightforward about it: I believe in science, and if someone isn't interested (in the vaccine) ... I'm done."

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  • Experts feared a "twindemic"of Covid-19 and flu, but it never happened. Here's why.
  • TOP TIP

    Some parts of the US are beginning to reopen restaurants, even as Covid-19 is still transmitting at high rates. Last Friday, Los Angeles said its restaurants could reopen for outdoor dining with restrictions and 50% capacity. Chicago reopened with rules that encourage physical distancing and masks. New York announced restaurants could reopen at 25% capacity just in time for Valentine's Day. It's still safer to avoid indoor dining, but Dr. Anthony Fauci says it's possible if it's "done carefully."

    "If you do indoor dining, you do it in a spaced way where you don't have people sitting right next to each other," the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told CNN's Don Lemon. "Good airflow" is key, he said. Read here for more on dining indoors.

    TODAY'S PODCAST

    "I think it's really important that we start to advocate and reframe the concept of trying to protect pregnant women from research and really revisit that concept, as maybe we can better protect pregnant women by allowing them to participate in research and by generating data within the safe confines of a clinical trial." — Dr. Emily S. Miller, obstetrician and member of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's COVID-19 task force

    CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta speaks with Dr. Miller about whether pregnant women should get a Covid-19 vaccine. Listen now.

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