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The coronavirus vaccine divide: In maps and charts – Al Jazeera English

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So far, at least 107 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered by 78 countries around the world according to Our World in Data, a non-profit online scientific publication based at the University of Oxford. Of those doses, more than half were given in the United States (34 million), the European Union (14 million) and the United Kingdom (10 million).

Since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic last year, world leaders and health experts, including the WHO, have called for fair and equitable access to tests, treatments and vaccines. As new vaccines are being approved and ordered, questions are still being raised about how millions of vaccines will be shipped to all parts of the globe.

What vaccines are available?

There are currently several vaccines being administered around the world and more are on the way. According to Ngozi Okonjo-Iwela, the former board chair of the United Nations-back vaccine alliance Gavi, this is the first time that this many vaccines have been developed in such a short period of time.

These vaccines vary in terms of their treatment methods, efficacy, dose requirements and storage temperature.

Despite reporting the highest efficacy rate of 95 percent, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires a storage temperature of -70C, making distribution more difficult. In comparison, vaccines such as the Indian-developed Bharat Biotech Covaxin and the Chinese-developed Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines require simple refrigerators which make it much easier to manage wide-scale distribution.

Vaccine policies

In most countries, the first to be inoculated have been front-line workers, followed by those with severe and chronic diseases and the elderly. In countries like Israel and the United Arab Emirates, mass vaccinations drives for the general public are currently under way.

Indonesia, on the other hand, began its vaccine drive by inoculating young people first, including healthcare and public service workers, rather than the elderly.

Canada is implementing a policy to vaccinate the priority populations first, key workers and then the mass public.

In the US, Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, said that the US will hopefully start vaccinating children by mid-2021. Testing is under way for children as young as 12. Dr Fauci explained if those tests were successful, they would be followed by another round of testing for children up to nine years old.

COVAX global vaccine initiative

COVAX, which is a global initiative led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the WHO, aims to provide global access to COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments and vaccines.

With the COVAX agreement, 92 countries will receive up to 190 million doses of vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.

Gavi aims to vaccinate 20 percent of countries that are low-middle income and unable to buy large quantities of vaccines. The group forecasts that at least 1.3 million doses will be made available to 92 countries by the end of 2021.

The list of 92 Gavi COVAX AMC-eligible countries and economies, based on 2018 and 2019 World Bank GNI data, are presented below:

Low income: Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, North Korea, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Togo, Uganda, Tanzania and Yemen.

Lower-middle income: Angola, Algeria, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Bolivia, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Cameroon, Comoros, Congo, Djibouti, East Timor, Egypt, El Salvador, eSwatini, Ghana, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lesotho, Mauritania, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tunisia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, West Bank and Gaza, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Additional IDA (international development association) eligible: Dominica, Fiji, Grenada, Guyana, Kosovo, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Samoa, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Tonga, Tuvalu.

In addition to COVAX, there are other mechanisms built by Africa’s CDC to procure 270 million doses and 400 million doses, separately.

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Home sales tumble again as mortgage rates surge – Business News – Castanet.net

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Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes slowed for the third consecutive month in April as mortgage rates surged, driving up borrowing costs for would-be buyers as home prices soared to new highs.

Existing home sales fell 2.4% last month from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.61 million, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday.

That was slightly higher than what economists were expecting, according to FactSet. Sales fell 5.9% from April last year. After climbing to a 6.49 million annual rate in January, sales have fallen to the slowest pace since June 2020, when they were running at an annualized rate of 4.77 million homes.

The median home price in April jumped 14.8% from a year ago at this time to $391,200. That’s an all-time high according to data going back to 1999, NAR said.

“Without a doubt, rising mortgage rates, rising prices are hurting affordability, but we should not discount that we’re still lacking inventory,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

Fierce competition for limited properties on the market and ultra-low mortgage rates superheated the housing market the last couple of years, but now its cooling as homebuyers face sharply higher home financing costs than a year ago following a rapid rise in mortgage rates.

In April, the weekly average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate home loan climbed above 5% for the first time in more than a decade, crimping would-be homeowners’ purchasing power at the outset of the spring homebuying season, traditionally the busiest period for home sales.

Mortgage rates are climbing following a sharp move up in 10-year Treasury yields, reflecting expectations of higher interest rates overall as the Federal Reserve hikes short-term rates in order to combat the worst inflation in 40 years.

With inflation at a four-decade high, rising mortgage rates, elevated home prices and tight supply of homes for sale, homeownership has become less attainable, especially for first-time buyers.

Higher rates can limit the pool of buyers and cool the rate of home price growth — good news for buyers. But higher rates can also limit affordability.

For now, the housing market continues to favor sellers as buyers vie for a still tight inventory of homes for sale, which has kept pushing up home prices. Even as sales slowed last month, it was common for homes on the market to receive multiple offers.

Inventory levels have to go higher before multiple offers dissipate from the market, Yun said. Until then, prices are likely to move higher.

“We anticipate, again, a continuing decline in home sales, but not necessarily home prices,” he said.

On average, homes sold in just 17 days of hitting the market last month, unchanged from March or April last year. In a market that’s more evenly balanced between buyers and sellers, homes typically remain on the market 45 days.

As is typical in the spring, the number of homes on the market increased in April from the previous month. Some 1.03 million properties were available for sale by the end of April, up 10.8% from March, but down 10.4% from April last year.

At the current sales pace, the level of for-sale properties amounts to a 2.2-month supply, the NAR said. That’s up from 1.9 months in March, and down from 2.3 months a year ago.

Real estate investors and other buyers able to buy a home with just cash, sidestepping the need to rely on financing, accounted for 26% of all sales last month, down from 28% in March, NAR said.

Homes purchased by investors made up 17% of sales in April, down from 18% the previous month, while first-time buyers accounted for 28% of transactions, down from 30% in March and 31% a year ago.

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Canadian Real Estate Prices 38% Overvalued, Largest Trend Deviation In 40 Years: BMO – Better Dwelling – Better Dwelling

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  1. Canadian Real Estate Prices 38% Overvalued, Largest Trend Deviation In 40 Years: BMO – Better Dwelling  Better Dwelling
  2. Consumer sentiment in Canada posts biggest drop since pandemic onset amid inflation  The Globe and Mail
  3. One of the Hottest Housing Markets in Canada Turns into Buyers’ Market  Bloomberg
  4. View Full coverage on Google News



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Gas prices in Ontario rising: Best time to fill up | CTV News – CTV News Toronto

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Gas prices in Ontario dropped 10 cents per litre on Friday ahead of the long weekend, but the relief at the pumps is expected to be short-lived. 

The average price of gas in Ontario dropped to $196.6 per litre Friday, which is a 13-cent drop from Wednesday.

However, President for Canadians for Affordable Energy Dan McTeague says Ontario gas prices are projected to rise over the next two days.

“We’re going to see a four-cent increase on Saturday and although the markets haven’t settled yet, it’s pretty clear that we are likely looking at about a two-cent increase (on Sunday). In other words, you got the 10 cents off today, it’s going to go up between now and Sunday by about six cents a litre,” he told CP24 Friday morning.

On Wednesday, gas prices hit a whopping $209.9 per litre, and McTeague says gas prices are set to top that in the coming week.

“Next week, the Americans begin their unofficial kickoff to the summer driving season. That’s going to put a lot of pressure on gas prices for us here in Canada. They are really the ones to determine prices for us, they’re a large market. I would expect that we’re going to be back to $2.10 a litre probably within the next week or so.”

Gas prices have been elevated since late February mostly due to fuel supply shortages amid the war in Ukraine and international sanctions that have been imposed as a result.

For the coming summer months, McTeague says the outlook on gas prices is grim partly because of impending weather issues.

“We may see days where we hit $2.30, $2.25 if we’re lucky. American weather problems in the Gulf Coast tend to be a big deal,” he said.

“The summer looks like average prices will get to $2.15 a litre here in the GTA, and right across most of southern Ontario,” he added.

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