Overseas COVID-19 news

Thu, July 15, 2021, 3:35 AM

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia’s health ministry on Thursday said the country will stop administering the COVID-19 vaccine produced by China’s Sinovac once its supplies end, as it has a sufficient number of other vaccines for its programme.

Malaysia’s inoculation drive will be largely anchored by the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine moving forward, health minister Adham Baba told a news conference with other top ministry officials.

The Southeast Asian country has secured about 45 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, enough to cover 70% of the population, compared to 16 million doses of Sinovac’s shot, the officials said.

“About half of the 16 million have already been distributed, so the rest will be used to cover second doses,” Adham said.

“For those who have yet to be vaccinated, they will receive the Pfizer vaccine.”

The government had previously said it had secured 12 million Sinovac doses, as part of a deal which would see state-linked firm Pharmaniaga carrying out a fill-and-finish process on the vaccine for local distribution.

The announcement to stop using Sinovac’s inactivated virus vaccine comes amid increasing concern over its efficacy against new and more contagious variants of the coronavirus.

Neighbouring Thailand this week said it would use the AstraZeneca vaccine as a second dose for those who received the Sinovac shot, while Indonesia is considering a booster shot for those who received the two-dose Sinovac course.

Other vaccines approved in Malaysia include those of AstraZeneca, China’s CanSino Biologic, and the Janssen vaccine of Johnson & Johnson.

Malaysia also plans on Friday to announce its decision on whether to add the vaccine of China’s Sinopharm, officials said.

With 880,782 cases and 6,613 deaths so far, Malaysia has one of Southeast Asia’s highest per-capita infection rates, but also one of its highest inoculation rates, with about 26% of its 32 million population receiving at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

(Reporting by Rozanna Latiff and Joseph Sipalan; Editing by Martin Petty)

The UK has reported 42,302 new coronavirus cases and 49 more deaths in the latest 24-hour period, government data shows.

It is the highest number of daily infections since 15 January when 55,761 cases were recorded.

And it is the eighth day in a row where total cases have exceeded 30,000.

The latest figures compare with 36,660 COVID-19 infections and 50 deaths recorded yesterday, and 32,548 cases and 33 fatalities announced this time last week.

It comes as Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced that two-thirds of adults in the UK have now received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

A total of 35,155,767 people are now fully vaccinated after 158,276 had their second jab on Tuesday.

WASHINGTON: The COVID-19 curve in the US is rising again after months of decline, with the number of new cases per day doubling over the past three weeks, driven by the fast-spreading Delta variant, lagging vaccination rates and Fourth of July gatherings.

Confirmed infections climbed to an average of about 23,600 a day on Monday (Jul 12), up from 11,300 on Jun 23, according to Johns Hopkins University data. And all but two states - Maine and South Dakota - reported that case numbers have gone up over the past two weeks.

“It is certainly no coincidence that we are looking at exactly the time that we would expect cases to be occurring after the July Fourth weekend," said Dr Bill Powderly, co-director of the infectious-disease division at Washington University’s School of Medicine in St Louis.

At the same time, parts of the country are running up against deep vaccine resistance, while the highly contagious mutant version of the coronavirus that was first detected in India is accounting for an ever-larger share of infections.

Nationally, 55.6 per cent of all Americans have received at least one COVID-19 shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The five states with the biggest two-week jump in cases per capita all had lower vaccination rates: Missouri, 45.9 per cent; Arkansas, 43 per cent; Nevada, 50.9 per cent; Louisiana, 39.2 per cent; and Utah, 49.5 per cent.

There have been many questions surrounding the efficacy of the Sinovac vaccine that has already been used to inoculate millions of Filipinos. After reading news reports about the apparent failure of Sinovac in Indonesia and in Thailand, some of our kababayans have asked me if they should receive a booster shot or even another vaccine brand to protect them against COVID-19, especially against an infection with the dreaded Delta variant that was first identified in India. Let us look at the numbers…

HSA is studying the new data… 4 to 6 weeks announcement. I bet they will approve it.

By then Covaxin will be approved. Likely only if more of the 50% of the virus has mutated to another form, then they will update the vaccine.

Citing very preliminary data, Channel 13 reports that those who recovered from COVID-19 may be better protected from reinfection than those who received the vaccine.

Since May 1, 72 people who previously had COVID were infected again, accounting for 1 percent of confirmed new cases, while 3,000 who were vaccinated have been infected — 40% of confirmed new cases.

If above news from Israel is valid, that those naturally infected
are less likely to get reinfected.