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    CHAVANNES-DE-BOGIS, Switzerland (AP) — The head of vaccine alliance Gavi, which is leading a U.N.-backed push to get COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries, said that he’s seen early signs that rich countries are beginning to withhold donations out of fears about the omicron coronavirus variant — warning any new hoarding could lead to “Inequity 2.0.” Gavi chief executive Dr. Seth Berkley took stock of the nearly two-year fight against the pandemic as the alliance released the latest update to its supply forecast for COVID-19 vaccines that it has repeatedly downscaled, largely because of export bans and vaccine hoarding by some producer countries that critics say it should have foreseen. “With the omicron variant, what we’ve seen is panic in many countries that has led acceleration of boosters both to the numbers of people getting them, but also the timeline for getting them,” Berkley told The Associated Press in an interview late Tuesday at his home outside Geneva. He was referring to extra doses given in rich countries to a broad swath of people — not just those at highest risk...
    Vaccine manufacturers earn combined profits of $1,000 every second, according to an analysis from a pro-vaccine advocacy group. Pfizer, BioNTech, and Moderna are set to earn $34 billion in profit this year from their vaccines alone, which works out to $93.5 million a day, $65,000 a minute, and more than $1,000 every second in profit, according to the People's Vaccine Alliance, which calls for greater access to COVID-19 vaccines. "Pharma companies reap in the profits whilst playing God with COVID-19 vaccines," the group said Wednesday when announcing its analysis. PFIZER TO PROVIDE LICENSING FOR COVID-19 ANTIVIRAL PILL TO 95 COUNTRIES The pretax profits of manufacturers behind the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines work out to approximately $93.5 million per day, according to estimations from the People's Vaccine Alliance. In 2020, Pfizer earned $41.9 billion total, with Moderna clocking in at $803 million and BioNTech at 482.3 million euros, which translates to $545.4 million . "It is obscene that just a few companies are making millions of dollars in profit every single hour, while...
    NORTHALSTED — Free COVID testing and vaccinations will be offered in Northalsted ahead of and during this weekend’s Pride Fest. The Northalsted Business Alliance, which organizes the weekend street festival, is partnering with Northshore Clinical Labs to offer the free testing and vaccinations for anyone going to Chicago Pride Fest this Friday through Sunday. Walk-in testing will be offered noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St. Free rapid testing will also be available at the festival’s main gates with results in under 15 minutes, according to the business alliance. Northshore Clinical Labs will also have a booth inside the festival where people can get their first shot of the Pfizer vaccine, according to the Northalsted Business Alliance. Second doses will be available later at the Northshore laboratory at 4751 N. Kedzie Ave. The Northalsted Business Alliance is following the same COVID-19 protocols that were in place for the Northalsted Market Days festival, held in August. Attendees are encouraged to be fully vaccinated or wear a mask, while most indoor...
    (CNN)The United States government and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, kicked off a pledging event Thursday aimed at raising an additional $2 billion to support vaccine distribution to lower income countries around the world.The Biden administration's involvement in the effort is the latest example of its work to reestablish the US standing on the world stage after four years of President Donald Trump's dislike and disavowal of international organizations.As the coronavirus pandemic swept the globe, Trump cast particular ire toward the World Health Organization, cutting funding, moving to terminate US ties to the institution, and refusing to participate in its international effort known as COVAX. The US could have 300M extra vaccines. Why wont it share?President Joe Biden restored US ties to the World Health Organization at the outset of his tenure, and in the months since, his administration has been actively stressing the need for a global response to the deadly plague. At Thursday's event, which kicks off the drive to support the Gavi COVAX​ Advance Market Commitment, Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed that "this isn't just an opportunity...
    In this article AZN-GB BNTX PFE MRNA Bethany Smith administers a COVID-19 vaccination to a member of the public at a mass vaccination hub for the Aneurin Bevan Health Trust on March 14, 2021 in Newbridge, Wales.Huw Fairclough | Getty ImagesMutations of the coronavirus could render current vaccines ineffective in a year or less, according to a majority of epidemiologists, virologists and infectious disease specialists surveyed by the People's Vaccine Alliance. The survey of 77 experts from some of the world's leading academic institutions across 28 countries found that two-thirds thought that we had "a year or less before the virus mutates to the extent that the majority of first-generation vaccines are rendered ineffective and new or modified vaccines are required." Of those surveyed, almost a third gave a timeframe of nine months or less. Fewer than one in eight said they believed that mutations would never render the current vaccines ineffective.  The survey, published Tuesday, was carried out by the People's Vaccine Alliance — a coalition of over 50 organizations including African Alliance, Oxfam and UNAIDS that campaigns for equal...
    By Rupam Jain and Euan Rocha MUMBAI (Reuters) - The U.S.-backed Quad alliance aims to invest in India's pharmaceutical capacity as it looks to ramp up COVID vaccine output, but U.S. curbs on exports of key materials could hamper that effort, sources say. The Quad alliance, grouping the United States, Japan, Australia and India, wants to expand global vaccinations and in turn counter China's growing vaccination diplomacy in Southeast Asia and around the world. India is the world's biggest vaccine maker. As the alliance's first virtual summit kicks off on Friday, one key assurance that India will be seeking is for an easing of export curbs, said two sources briefed on the matter. The White House said last week it had used the U.S. Defence Production Act - which prevents export of materials to prioritise local production - to help drugmaker Merck make Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine. "India's seeking both raw materials and investments from Quad partners and once this aspect is resolved, then the Quad alliance can start large-scale distribution starting in Southeast Asian countries," said one Indian...
    Most developing countries have not been able to administer a single dose of the vaccines against the coronavirus, while rich countries are vaccinating their citizens at the rate of one person per second for the past month, according to a report by the People’s Vaccine Alliance, to which Oxfam Intermón belongs, published on the first anniversary of the declaration of the covid-19 pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). The report estimates that four out of five people will still be without being vaccinated by the end of the year in developing countries, while denouncing that the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States they block a proposal in the World Trade Organization to help poorer countries get vaccines more quickly. “We ask that Spain, as a member state of the European Union, contribute within this framework so that the vaccine reaches the world population free of charge and as quickly as possible. There is only one way to do this: release patents, suspend them in the WTO, so they can be manufactured without limitation and they...
    By Rupam Jain and David Brunnstrom NEW DELHI/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - India has urged the United States, Japan and Australia to invest in its vaccine production capacity, an Indian government source told Reuters, as the so-called Quad alliance tries to counter China's growing vaccine diplomacy. Beijing has committed to provide at least 463 million doses of its home-made COVID-19 vaccines through exports and donations across the world from Asia to Africa, Europe and Latin America, according to Reuters calculations. Two senior Indian officials said the Quad alliance, grouping the United States, Japan, Australia and India, was stepping up efforts to expand global vaccination to counter China's growing soft power. India, the world's biggest vaccine maker, believes it is best placed to steer the effort, they added. Asked for comment, a U.S. State Department spokesperson did not refer to India's request for funds or to China but said Washington was deeply focused on expanding global vaccination, manufacturing and delivery. "Secretary (Antony) Blinken spoke with his Quad counterparts on February 18 to discuss cooperation on COVID-19 response and recovery and climate change, among...
    France has criticized Denmark’s and Austria’s plans for an alliance with Israel on anti-Covid vaccines, arguing that the “European framework” remains the most appropriate to guarantee “solidarity” within the EU. “Our conviction remains very clear that the most effective solution to meet vaccination needs must continue to be based on the European framework”, noted Wednesday evening the spokesperson for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “It is in fact he who guarantees the solidarity between Member States more essential than ever and our collective effectiveness”, she added. Research and production partnership Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his Danish counterpart Mette Frederiksen are due to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel on Thursday to launch a partnership for second-generation vaccines, covering both production and research. Getting out of dependence on the EU Mr Kurz considers that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is “too slowly” to approve vaccines and that it is no longer possible to “depend only on the EU” for second generation vaccines intended to cope with the multiple mutations of the virus. For France, “the priority issue...
    Secretary of State designee Tony Blinken says President-elect Joe Biden will bring the U.S. into the COVAX initiative, the global health effort from the World Health Organization and other groups to ensure that all countries have access to COVID-19 vaccines, reports Axios. Blinken made the announcement Tuesday during a confirmation hearing, telling senators: "We believe strongly that we can ensure that every American gets the vaccine, but also help make sure that others around the world who want it have access to it.” The COVAX mechanism, coordinated by WHO and Gavi, the Vaccines Alliance, to support poorer countries, is funded by donor countries, multilateral lenders such as the World Bank, and private charities. COVAX has secured deals for 2 billion vaccine doses to be deployed this year, PAHO officials said. PAHO is the regional arm of the World Health Organization. The People’s Vaccine Alliance last week warned that as many as 90 percent of the population in dozens of poorer countries will miss out on the COVID-19 vaccine next year. Information from Reuters was used in this report. Related Stories:...
    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is threatening to scrap a key agreement with the U.S. military in an attempt to force Washington to provide his country with Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccines. “Like all Duterte threats, I think it has to be taken seriously, but perhaps not literally,” Center for Strategic and International Studies analyst Gregory Poling said, surmising the American diplomats are emphasizing “that the Philippines will be given the same level of access as anybody else, but the U.S. government does not have the power to strongarm a private company into giving out vaccines.” Duterte took a move to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement early last year during a dispute over a visa for one of his local allies, but he has since suspended his move to jettison the pact — a softening attributable to the provision of the visa. The coronavirus pandemic spurred a fresh fusillade against the deal, despite the unease that Philippine military leaders feel regarding Chinese aggression. “No vaccine, no stay here,” Duterte said in a post-Christmas speech, according to local media. “If America...
    London (CNN)Rich countries have bought enough Covid-19 vaccine doses to immunize their populations three times over, an international vaccine watchdog has said, but developing countries are being left behind in the global sprint to end the coronavirus pandemic.In 67 poorer nations, just one in 10 people can hope to receive a vaccine by the end of next year, the People's Vaccine Alliance said on Wednesday.But in the developed world, where a rush to secure vaccine supplies began in the first weeks and months of the pandemic, a surplus has been ordered; with nations representing just 14% of the world's population owning more than half of the most promising vaccines.The group urged pharmaceutical companies to share their technology and intellectual property with the World Health Organization, and called on governments to commit to sending vaccines to the developing world, in order to close the economic disparity between nations as they look to emerge from the devastating Covid-19 crisis."No one should be blocked from getting a life-saving vaccine because of the country they live in or the amount of money in their...
    TAIPEI – China, which has four coronavirus vaccine candidates in stage 3 clinical trials, said Friday it is joining the COVID-19 vaccine alliance known as COVAX. The country signed an agreement with GAVI, the co-leader of the alliance, on Thursday, China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Initially, China did not agree to join the alliance, missing the global deadline to join in September. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement that “we are taking this concrete step to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines, especially to developing countries, and hope more capable countries will also join and support COVAX.” It is not yet clear the exact terms of the agreement and how China will contribute. The country's leader Xi Jinping previously said that China would make the vaccine a global public good. The alliance is designed so that richer countries agree to buy into potential vaccines and help finance access for poorer ones. The Trump administration in the U.S. had declined to join the alliance. Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material...
    By HUIZHONG WU, Associated Press TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — China, which has four coronavirus vaccine candidates in stage 3 clinical trials, said Friday it is joining the COVID-19 vaccine alliance known as COVAX. The country signed an agreement with GAVI, the co-leader of the alliance, on Thursday, China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Initially, China did not agree to join the alliance, missing the global deadline to join in September. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement that “we are taking this concrete step to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines, especially to developing countries, and hope more capable countries will also join and support COVAX.” It is not yet clear the exact terms of the agreement and how China will contribute. The country's leader Xi Jinping previously said that China would make the vaccine a global public good. The alliance is designed so that richer countries agree to buy into potential vaccines and help finance access for poorer ones. The Trump administration in the U.S. had declined to join the alliance. Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights...
    Reuters September 21, 2020 0 Comments Some 156 nations have joined a global scheme for fair distribution of future vaccines against COVID-19, an alliance led by the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday, but superpowers China and the United States did not sign up. U.S. President Donald Trump’s government has already secured future supplies through bilateral deals, prompting accusations of selfish behaviour to the detriment of poor countries. China, where the coronavirus began, was also missing on the list of 64 rich nations who joined the so-called COVAX plan to deliver 2 billion vaccine doses round the world by the end of 2021, prioritising healthcare workers and the vulnerable. But alliance officials said dialogue continued with Beijing. The scheme would account for about two-thirds of the world population, according to the WHO and GAVI vaccine alliance, which published the list of signatories after a deadline for binding commitments expired on Friday. Dozens of vaccines are in testing for the coronavirus which has infected about 31 million people globally and killed nearly 1 million, a fifth of those in...
    By Stephanie Nebehay and Kate Kelland GENEVA/LONDON (Reuters) - A total of 156 countries have joined the global COVAX scheme intended to ensure fair distribution of supplies of future vaccines against COVID-19, an alliance led by the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday. The list includes 64 wealthier, self-financing countries, and accounts for about two-thirds of the global population, a statement issued by the WHO and GAVI vaccine alliance said, after a deadline of last Friday to make binding commitments. The goal of COVAX is by the end of 2021 to deliver 2 billion vaccine doses around the world, with healthcare workers prioritised initially and then the most vulnerable 20% of people in every participating country, regardless of income level. While many lower-income nations are seeking assistance via COVAX, some richer countries had been reticent in confirming their intentions. Some of those who have secured their own future supplies through bilateral deals, including the United States, do not plan to join COVAX. The plan has highlighted the challenge of distributing vaccines equitably around the world and stirred accusations of...
    LONDON (AP) — More than 70 rich countries have signed up to a global coronavirus vaccine initiative intended to ensure that any effective shots are fairly distributed around the world – but which may also allow them to buy more vaccines to stockpile for their own citizens. In a statement on Wednesday, the vaccines alliance Gavi reported that 75 countries have said they would join its new “Covax facility” along with another 90 low-income countries that hope to receive donated vaccines. The Associated Press reported this week that the Gavi initiative may allow rich countries to reinforce their own coronavirus vaccine supplies while leaving fewer doses available for more vulnerable populations. When Gavi approached donor countries last month, it advertised the plan as an “insurance policy” for rich countries that have already struck deals with drugmakers for experimental COVID-19 vaccines. Gavi told donor governments that when an effective inoculation is found within its pool of COVID-19 candidates, all countries will receive enough to cover 20% of their populations, including rich countries that may have their own stockpiles. It said...
    LONDON (Reuters) - More than 75 countries have expressed interest in joining the COVAX financing scheme designed to guarantee rapid and equitable access globally to COVID-19 vaccines, the GAVI vaccines alliance said on Wednesday. The 75 countries, which would finance the vaccines from public budgets, partner with up to 90 poorer countries supported through voluntary donations to GAVI's COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), the alliance said in a statement. The interest, from governments representing more than 60% of the world's population, shows a "vote of confidence" in the effort to secure global access to COVID-19 vaccines, it added. (Reporting by Kate Kelland, editing by John Stonestreet) Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.
    By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - An influential foundation focused on preparation and response to epidemics that is backing nine potential coronavirus vaccines has identified manufacturers with capacity to produce four billion doses a year, the group's top manufacturing expert told Reuters. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI)plans to have two or three manufacturing plants for each vaccine, James Robinson, a longtime biopharma executive leading CEPI'S vast manufacturing push, said in an interview. "Right now, we know we can do the two billion doses that we have as our kind of our minimum target" by the end of 2021, he said. The group is planning for eight to 10 regional distribution sites "so that we don't have to make everything centrally and try and ship it around the world," he said. Even with no existing approved vaccines, CEPI is already getting manufacturing and supply chains lined up in a quest to ensure coronavirus vaccines are distributed equitably around the globe. The Oslo, Norway-based group is backed by 14 governments, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Britain's Wellcome Trust....
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