Brussels – As the Delta variant progresses around the world, there are calls and initiatives to stop the virus and increase vaccination campaigns. The United States has announced that it has finally met President Joe Biden’s goal of giving at least one dose to 70 percent of American adults. However, this milestone was reached one month after the scheduled date of July 4th. In the US, the strong wave of the Delta variant is crowding hospitals and leading to new rules on mandatory masks and vaccinations across the country. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York City has decided that effective August 16 it will require proof of Covid-19 vaccination to participate in indoor activities. It will be the first US city to impose such a measure, which will apply to indoor restaurants, gyms and indoor entertainment events. The mayor also “strongly recommended” mask-wearing in enclosed public spaces, stressing that the “overwhelming strategy” continues to vaccinate as many people as possible. Last week, de Blasio announced that city employees will either have to be vaccinated by mid-September, or be tested every week. It also offered $100 incentives to residents who underwent the vaccination.
Apparently, however, there are many vaccine stocks left. So much so that a good sum will go to be part of the huge donation announced by the White House to low- and middle-income countries. More than 110 million doses of the antidote for Covid-19 will in fact be allocated to more than 60 countries around the world, mainly through the United Nations’ Covax programme. Biden said the United States would be the world’s “vaccine arsenal.” At the end of August, 500,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be sent from the states to help the most difficult countries.
In the new geopolitics of vaccines, where donations and exports of vaccine have become tools of influence between powers, “the European Union lags significantly behind China and the United States in terms of donations of a coronavirus vaccine.” This will appear from an internal document of the Council of the European Union, seen by the newspaper “Politico”. According to the reports of the same newspaper, the European Union has so far donated only 7.9 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, 4% of the total 200 million promised by EU countries. This compares with the 59.8 million doses already donated by the United States and the 24.2 million doses donated by China. However, the EU’s international vaccine distribution is more robust in terms of exports, with more than 503 million vaccines sent to 51 countries, mostly wealthier economies, according to European Affairs Daily. The EU also cites the fact that it promised 3.4 billion euros to Covax.
In addition to vaccines, China is not giving up on tracking. Beijing does not want to return to being mired in the virus and is planning to conduct rapid screening tests for all 11 million residents of Wuhan, after seven cases were discovered in the capital.
The debate about the third dose is still frozen in the European Union. Following Germany’s announcement to allow a booster dose for the most vulnerable, the European Commission today reiterated that contracts with manufacturers are sufficient to provide the necessary doses if the European Medicines Agency decides to recommend a third dose. However, according to the EMA, there is no need for a third dose of the vaccine. “Currently, there is not enough data to suggest that a recall is necessary,” EMA CEO Emir Kok told Politico. “For some segments of the population, you may start to see a need, and that doesn’t mean there’s a need for it in general in the population,” Cook said. The EMA executive director then stated that vaccines “remain effective” against the delta variant, which “has become what we all hoped it wouldn’t be.” He added that there was some decrease in efficacy “but it is not significant”.
by Fabio Fantozzi
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