Finance and health ministers from the world’s 20 biggest economies (G20) said on Friday they would take steps to ensure 70% of the world’s population is vaccinated against COVID-19 by mid-2022 and created a task force to fight future pandemics.
They could not reach agreement on a separate financing facility proposed by the United States and Indonesia, but said the task force would explore options for mobilising funds to boost pandemic preparedness, prevention and response.
“To help advance toward the global goals of vaccinating at least 40 percent of the population in all countries by the end of 2021 and 70 percent by mid-2022 … we will take steps to help boost the supply of vaccines and essential medical products and inputs in developing countries and remove relevant supply and financing constraints,” the G20 ministers said in a statement.
The previous goal had eyed vaccinating 70% of the world’s population by the autumn of 2022.
“We establish a G20 Joint Finance-Health Task Force aimed at enhancing dialogue and global cooperation on issues relating to pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, promoting the exchange of experiences and best practices, developing coordination arrangements between Finance and Health Ministries, promoting collective action, assessing and addressing health emergencies with cross-border impact and encouraging effective stewardship of resources,” the statement said.
The ministers said they were setting up the new body because the COVID-19 pandemic had exposed significant shortcomings in the world’s ability to coordinate its response.
They pledged to support “all collaborative efforts” to provide access to safe, affordable, quality and effective vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and personal protective equipment, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
To reach the vaccination goals, they said they would work to boost the supply of vaccines and essential medical products and inputs in developing countries, while removing constraints on supply and financing, but gave no specific details.
Global Citizen, an international advocacy group, welcomed the earlier target date, but said the world needed “a battle plan” that mapped out how to get there, greater transparency how many doses were being produced where, when and for whom, and a clear understanding of where there were gaps.
“It’s no longer the time for statements of intentions. Now is the time for our leaders to act,” said the group’s vice president, Friederike Roder.
The ministers also called for boosting the resilience of supply chains through voluntary technology transfer hubs, such as newly established mRNA Hubs in South Africa, Argentina and Brazil, and through joint production and processing agreements.
The call for a voluntary mRNA technology transfer means that talks on the idea of a temporary waiver of intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines and therapies – originally proposed by South Africa and India and now championed by the United States – remain stuck at the World Trade Organisation.
German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said the G20 had not discussed patents.
“We have a lot of vaccines available worldwide but the reality is there are still areas in the world where the share of those vaccinated is very low,” Scholz told journalists on the sidelines of the summit.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Nick Macfie and Alistair Bell)
Interior Health begins rolling out COVID-19 vaccines for children aged five to 11 – radionl.com
Kamloops children between the age of five and 11 will now be able to get their COVID-19 vaccine starting this week, as the province begins rolling out the vaccine to people under the age of 12.
Parents and guardians are being encouraged to register their children for the vaccine – either online or by phone at 1‑833‑838‑2323 – if they haven’t done so already. Children can be registered on or after their fifth birthday.
“We’re launching the next phase of our immunization campaign by now offering the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine to children,” Interior Health interim chief medical health officer, Dr. Sue Pollock, said. “This vaccine is safe and effective at preventing COVID-19 in children, which means less disruption to school and the activities children and their families enjoy.”
The lead of B.C.’s vaccine rollout, Dr. Penny Ballem, says about 365,000 children in B.C. are now eligible for the vaccine.
“This is a specially-formulated vaccine for children. The real advantage that we have, particularly in view of the last weather event, is that it’s stable at 4 C for a long period of time, 10 weeks which is a very different situation from the other vaccines we’ve been dealing with,” she said.
“Eleven year-olds will receive the pediatric vaccination. After their 12th birthday, they will be eligible for the adult dose. And if a child is 11, receives the pediatric vaccination for their first dose, and then they turn 12 within the eight-week timeframe, they will get the adult dose for their second dose.”
Similar to how it was with adults, people who have registered for the vaccine will be told by text or email when it is time to book an appointment.
“Immunizing children brings additional protection to everyone in your family,” added pediatrician Dr. Shannon Wires, in a statement. “The pediatric COVID-19 vaccine has gone through a rigorous review and approval process. It provides excellent protection and I recommend parents get their children vaccinated as soon as possible.”
For more information on registering and booking appointments with your children, go here.
For a list of all Interior Health COVID-19 immunization clinics and other resources, go here.
– With files from Colton Davies
Celltrion signs COVID-19 antibody therapy supply deals with Europe
South Korean biotech company Celltrion’s distribution arm has signed supply deals for its monoclonal antibody to treat COVID-19 with nine European countries, Celltrion Healthcare said on Tuesday.
The European Commission earlier this month approved the company’s antibody therapy Regkirona, granting marketing authorisation for adults with COVID-19 who are at increased risk of progressing to a severe condition.
The first batch of 50,000 doses will be shipped to Europe this year and the company is in talks with 47 other nations including in Asia, Central and South America and the Middle East, Celltrion said in a statement.
The antibody treatment was initially approved in South Korea and has been administered to around 25,000 local COVID-19 patients as of last week.
Laboratory-made monoclonal antibodies mimic natural antibodies in fighting off infections. Unlike vaccines, they do not rely on the body to create an immune response, and can therefore help individuals with weak or compromised immune systems.
(Reporting by Sangmi Cha; editing by Richard Pullin)
What you need to know about the coronavirus right now
Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Hong Kong expands travel curbs, Australia reports 5 cases
Hong Kong expanded a ban on entry for non-residents from several countries as global health authorities raced to curb a potential outbreak of the Omicron virus, while Australia’s cabinet will review containment steps on Tuesday after five tested positive.
Omicron – first reported in southern Africa and which the World Health Organization (WHO) said carries a “very high” risk of infection surges – has triggered global alarm, with border closures casting a shadow over a nascent economic recovery from a two-year pandemic. In Australia, the five travellers with Omicron are all vaccinated and in quarantine, health officials said, adding they are asymptomatic or display very mild symptoms.
Vaccine makers start work on Omicron-tailored shots
BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are working on vaccines that specifically target Omicron in case their existing shots are not effective against the new coronavirus variant, the companies said on Monday.
A top South African infectious disease expert said Omicron appears to be more transmissible than previous variants, including to people with immunity from vaccination or prior infection.
China’s Xi pledges another 1 bln vaccine doses for Africa
China will deliver another 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Africa and encourage Chinese companies to invest no less than $10 billion in the continent over the next three years, President Xi Jinping said on Monday.
China’s imports from Africa, one of its key sources of crude oil and minerals, will reach $300 billion in the next three years, Xi said, adding that the two sides would cooperate in areas such as health, digital innovation, trade promotion and green development.
Coronavirus reinfections rarely severe
Reinfections with the virus that causes COVID-19 are rarely severe, new findings suggest. Researchers in Qatar compared 1,304 individuals with a second SARS-CoV-2 infection against 6,520 people infected with the virus for the first time. Reinfected patients were 90% less likely to be hospitalised compared to patients infected for the first time, and no one in the study with a second infection required intensive care or died from COVID-19, said Dr. Laith Jamal Abu-Raddad of Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar in Doha.
“Nearly all reinfections were mild, perhaps because of immune memory that prevented deterioration of the infection to more severe outcomes,” he said. It is not clear how long immune protection against severe reinfection would last, the researchers noted. If it does last for a long time, they speculate, it might mean that as the coronavirus becomes endemic, infections could become “more benign.”
Experimental smartwatch COVID-19 detection improving
Smartwatch alerting systems for early detection of COVID-19 infection are coming closer to reality, researchers reported on Monday in Nature Medicine. They tested their new system, developed with open-source software, in 2,155 wearers of Fitbit, Apple Watch, Garmin watches or other devices. Ultimately, 84 of the volunteers were diagnosed with coronavirus infections – including 14 of 18 people without symptoms.
Overall, the researchers’ algorithms generated alerts in 67 (80%) of the infected individuals, on average three days before symptoms began. “This is the first time, to our knowledge, that asymptomatic detection has been shown for COVID-19,” they said. Presently, the system mainly depends on measurements of wearers’ resting heart rate, said study leader Michael Snyder of Stanford University School of Medicine in California. When watches can report other health data such as heart rate variability, respiration rate, skin temperature, and oxygen levels, it will become easier to distinguish the COVID-19 cases from other non-COVID-19 events, researchers said.
(Compiled by Karishma Singh; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
Canada gets off on right foot in World Cup qualifying by sweeping Bahamas – Sportsnet.ca
The best Cyber Monday Apple Deals: AirPods Pro, Mac Mini, Macbook Air – Business Insider
Citing debris risk, NASA delays spacewalk to fix space station antenna – Financial Post
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Europe kicks off vaccination programs | All media content | DW | 27.12.2020 – Deutsche Welle
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Business2 hours ago
4 Ways to Kill Your Chances With a Hiring Manager
Business14 hours ago
Canada’s Capital Power and Enbridge to partner on carbon capture project
Health7 hours ago
Yukon reports 32 new cases of COVID-19, no new deaths – Toronto Star
Health23 hours ago
COVID-19 immunization clinics open to B.C. kids ages five to 11 today – Toronto Star
Health14 hours ago
COVID-19 in BC: Vaccine clinics open for kids Monday | CTV News – CTV News Vancouver
Health13 hours ago
Less than 20% of adults with arthritis attend self-management classes – Healio
Business14 hours ago
Canada’s power chip maker GaN Systems raises $150 million, pushes on electric car market
News4 hours ago
Canada Post employee COVID-19 vaccine mandate disrupts small town parcel service – Globalnews.ca