COVID-19 WRAP | SA death toll now stands at 54,331
April 29 2021 - 21:21
Green light for pregnant and breastfeeding women to get J&J vaccine
Pregnant and breastfeeding women with comorbidities or at high risk of exposure to Covid-19 have been given the green light to receive the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) jab under the Sisonke vaccination programme and beyond in SA.
“Pregnant women are at higher risk of severe Covid-19 compared with women of childbearing age who are not pregnant, and Covid-19 has been associated with an increased risk of preterm birth,” the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) said in a statement on Thursday.
April 29 2021 - 21:12
Covid-19 claims 46 more lives in SA
Health minister Zweli Mkhize's daily Covid-19 update put the cumulative number of cases reported to date in SA at 1,579,536 by Thursday evening.
The number of healthcare workers who have been vaccinated under the Sisonke Protocol to date is 307, 591.
There were an additional 46 Covid-19 related deaths recorded over the past 24 hours. The majority of those, 14, were in Gauteng followed by 13 in the Eastern Cape and 11 in the Free State.
April 29 2021 - 16:32
Russia's Sputnik V developers to sue Brazilian regulator for 'false information' about their vaccine
Russian developers of the Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19 said on Thursday that they were suing Brazilian regulator Anvisa for defamation, accusing it of having knowingly spread false information without testing their product.
The board of Brazilian health regulator on Monday rejected importing Sputnik V after technical staff warned of flaws in its development along with incomplete data regarding the vaccine's safety and efficacy.
A crucial issue for the Brazilian regulator was the risk of other viruses used to make the vaccine reproducing in patients, which an Anvisa expert had called a "serious" defect.
Sputnik V's official Twitter account on Thursday cited a Brazilian media story citing the same expert as saying that no tests had been carried out to test the Brazilian theory.
"Following the admission of Brazilian regulator Anvisa that it did not test Sputnik V vaccine, Sputnik V is undertaking a legal defamation proceeding in Brazil against Anvisa for knowingly spreading false and inaccurate information," it said. "Anvisa made incorrect and misleading statements without having tested the actual Sputnik V vaccine."
April 29 2021 - 14:59
WATCH | 201,000 deaths and counting: What we know so far about India’s second wave
April 29 2021 - 14:12
Sweden registers 7,158 new Covid-19 cases, 2 deaths on Thursday
Sweden, which has shunned lockdowns throughout the pandemic, registered 7,158 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, health agency statistics showed.
The country of 10 million inhabitants registered two new deaths, taking the total to 14,002. The deaths registered have occurred over several days and sometimes weeks.
Sweden's death rate per capita is many times higher than that of its Nordic neighbours' but lower than in most European countries that opted for lockdowns.
April 29 2021 - 13:55
India's Covid-19 emergency is wake-up call to Africa — AU health chief
The raging state of the Covid-19 pandemic is India is a wake-up call for Africa that its governments and citizens must not let their guards down, the AU's disease control agency warned on Thursday.
African nations generally do not have sufficient numbers of healthcare workers, hospital beds, oxygen supplies, and the continent of 1.3 billion would be even more overwhelmed than India if cases surged in a similar way, said John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We are watching with total disbelief ... What is happening in India cannot be ignored by our continent,” he told reporters.
April 29 2021 - 13:34
Denmark to decide on J&J Covid-19 vaccine next week
Denmark will likely make a decision on the future use of Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine next week, health minister Magnus Heunicke told broadcaster TV2 on Thursday.
April 29 2021 - 12:19
Romania detects first case of a coronavirus variant found in India
Romania has reported its first case of a coronavirus variant first identified in India, the health ministry said on Thursday.
The case was diagnosed in a 26-year-old patient who arrived in Romania roughly a month ago and presented light symptoms.
The ministry said its national public health institute said the identified mutation was not the more infectious one believed to have generated the sharp rise in cases in India.
Separately, the ministry was monitoring an outbreak of coronavirus cases among construction workers recently arrived from India in a village in Brasov county, it said.
The country reported 1,850 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, bringing its total to 1.05 million cases and 27,971 deaths.
April 29 2021 - 12:09
World to spend R2.2-trillion on vaccines through 2025 - report
Total global spending on Covid-19 vaccines is projected to reach $157bn (R2.2-trillion) by 2025, driven by mass vaccination programmes under way and "booster shots" expected every two years, according to a report by US health data company IQVIA Holdings Inc released on Thursday.
IQVIA, which provides data and analytics for the healthcare industry, said it expects the first wave of Covid-19 vaccinations to reach about 70% of the world's population by the end of 2022. Booster shots are likely to follow initial vaccinations every two years, the report said, based on current data on the duration of effect of the vaccines.
The US is preparing for the possibility that a booster shot will be needed between nine to 12 months after people receive their first full inoculations against Covid-19, a White House official said earlier this month. Pfizer Inc has also said boosters may be needed within 12 months.
Vaccine spending is expected to be highest this year at $54bn (R773bn) with massive vaccination campaigns under way around the world. It is expected to decrease after that eventually to $11bn (R157.5bn) in 2025, as increased competition and vaccine volumes drive down prices, said Murray Aitken, a senior vice president at IQVIA.
April 29 2021 - 11:58
Germany Covid case rise has slowed but still too high - official
Germany has managed to break the rapid rise in new coronavirus infections, but it is still too early to sound the all-clear, the head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious disease said on Thursday.
"Unfortunately, the pandemic is not over yet," Lothar Wieler told a weekly news conference, adding Covid-19 cases remain too high and are rising among those aged under 60.
April 29 2021 - 08:20
Moderna boosting Covid-19 vaccine-making capacity, targets up to 3 billion shots in 2022
Moderna Inc said on Thursday it is boosting manufacturing capacity for its Covid-19 vaccine and expects to make up to 3 billion doses in 2022, more than twice its previous forecast.
It also said it is increasing its expectations for 2021 vaccine production to between 800 million and 1 billion shots, raising the bottom of its range from 700 million.
The final number of inoculations will depend on how many are lower-dose formulations for boosters and immunisation for children. Moderna shots currently deploy 100 micrograms of vaccine substance but some future shots may use only 50 micrograms.
April 29 2021 - 08:10
South Korea begins vaccinating athletes against coronavirus ahead of Tokyo Olympics
About 100 South Korean athletes and coaches travelling to Tokyo for the Olympics this year will receive their first doses of Covid-19 vaccine on Thursday, as the country struggles to keep its inoculation drive on track amid supply shortages.
Roughly 500 others will be vaccinated by the first week of May, before they travel to Japan, the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee (KSOC) said. Overall, more than 900 people from South Korea's delegation will be vaccinated.