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COVID vaccine found highly effective in real-world US study – The Associated Press

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NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. government’s first look at the real-world use of COVID-19 vaccines found their effectiveness was nearly as robust as it was in controlled studies.

The two vaccines available since December — Pfizer and Moderna — were highly effective at 90% after two doses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday. In testing, the vaccines were about 95% effective in preventing COVID-19.

“This is very reassuring news,” said the CDC’s Mark Thompson, the study’s lead author. “We have a vaccine that’s working very well.”

The study is the government’s first assessment of how the shots have been working beyond the drugmakers’ initial experiments. Results can sometimes change when vaccines are used in larger, more diverse populations outside studies.

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With nearly 4,000 participants from six states, the study focused on health care workers, first responders and other front-line workers who had first priority for the shots because they are at higher risk. They were given nasal swab test kits to use every week to check for signs of a coronavirus infection.

“The evidence base for (currently available) COVID-19 vaccines is already strong, and continues to mount ever higher with studies like this one,” said David Holtgrave, dean of the University at Albany’s School of Public Health, in an email.

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The study included roughly 2,500 volunteers who had completed two vaccine doses, about 500 who got one dose and about 1,000 who did not get vaccinated between mid-December and mid-March.

The researchers counted 205 infections, with 161 of them in the unvaccinated group. Of the remaining 44, the CDC said 33 of them were in people apparently infected within two weeks of a shot. Experts say it takes two weeks before a dose takes full effect.

No one died, and only two were hospitalized. Thompson did not say whether the people hospitalized were vaccinated or not.

Besides the 90% figure for two doses, the study found it was 80% effective for participants two weeks or more after a first dose.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky called the study’s findings “tremendously encouraging.”

“Our national vaccination efforts are working,” she said during a White House press briefing Monday. She added that over 93 million Americans have received at least one vaccine dose and over 51 million people have been fully vaccinated.

Different researchers have tried to look at how the vaccines have performed in real-life conditions, including work done in Israel and the United Kingdom, and a U.S. study of Mayo Clinic patients.

Unlike the Mayo study, which focused on hospitalization and death, the CDC study looked for any infection — including infections that never resulted in symptoms, or were detected before people started feeling sick.

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About two-thirds of the vaccinations in the study were Pfizer shots, one-third were Moderna and five people got the newest single-dose shot from Johnson & Johnson. The study was done in Miami; Duluth, Minnesota; Portland, Oregon; Temple, Texas; Salt Lake City; and Phoenix and other areas in Arizona.

Moderna, meanwhile, announced Monday that it had shipped its 100 millionth dose to the U.S. government, meeting its pledge to supply that amount by the end of March. The company said it expects to meet its next deadlines, of delivering another 100 million doses by the end of May and its final 100 million by the end of July.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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COVID cases in Ontario could spike to 30,000 per day by June

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TORONTO (Reuters) – New cases of COVID-19 in Canada‘s most populous province could rise more than six fold, topping 30,000 per day by early June if public health measures are weak and vaccination rates remain flat, a panel of experts advising the province of Ontario said on Friday.

Even if measures to control the virus are “moderate,” the number of patients in Ontario ICUs could reach 2,000 in May, up from 695 on Friday.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario told doctors last week they may soon have to decide who can and cannot receive intensive care.

 

(Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Chris Reese)

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Moderna sees shortfall in Britain COVID vaccine shipments, EU deliveries on track

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ZURICH (Reuters) – U.S. drugmaker Moderna expects a shortfall in COVID-19 vaccine doses from its European supply chain hitting second-quarter delivery quantities for Britain and Canada, though European Union– and Swiss-bound shipments are on track, a spokesperson said.

The delays, first announced on Friday when Canada said Moderna would be delivering only about half the planned 1.2 million doses by the end of April, come as Switzerland’s Lonza ramps up three new production lines to make active ingredients for Moderna vaccine supplies outside of the United States.

“The trajectory of vaccine manufacturing ramp-up is not linear, and despite best efforts, there is a shortfall in previously estimated doses from the European supply chain,” Moderna said in a statement.

Lonza didn’t immediately return a phone call and email seeking comment on any issues in its production.

 

(Reporting by John Miller; editing by David Evans)

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Moderna says vaccines to Canada to be delayed due to Europe shortfall

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(Reuters) -Moderna Inc said on Friday a shortfall in COVID-19 vaccine doses from its European supply chain will lead to a delay in deliveries to some countries including Canada.

The drugmaker would be delivering only 650,000 doses by April end as opposed to 1.2 million, Canada‘s Procurement Minister Anita Anand said in a statement.

She said one to two million doses of the 12.3 million doses scheduled for delivery by Moderna in the second quarter would be delayed until the third.

Moderna officials in Europe did not immediately comment on the reason for the delays or give the total number of countries that would be impacted.

“Vaccine manufacturing is a highly complex process and a number of elements, including human and material resources have factored into this volatility,” said Patricia Gauthier, an executive at Moderna Canada.

Canada has distributed a total of 2.82 million doses of the Moderna vaccine as of April 14 and 12.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in total.

Moderna has been aiming to deliver 700 million to 1 billion doses of the COVID-19 globally this year, including from plants in Europe and the United States.

Swiss contract drug manufacturer Lonza makes active ingredients for Moderna’s vaccine in Visp, but it was still ramping up three new production lines that once operational would be able to produce 300 million shots annually.

The current supply, demand and distribution landscape has led the drugmaker to make adjustments in the expected second-quarter deliveries, Gauthier said.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru, Allison Martell in Toronto and John Miller in Zurich; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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