After the corona vaccination of all people in the United States, the US government wants to make remaining doses available to other countries, according to President Joe Biden. The US could only feel safe if the whole world is safe with a view to the pandemic, Biden said in the White House. “It’s not a problem that can be stopped with a fence – no matter how high you build the fence or the wall.” Biden confirmed that the US is ordering an additional 100 million vaccine doses from the manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. “If we have a surplus, we’ll share it with the rest of the world,” he promised.
Biden has promised to have enough vaccine for all approximately 260 million adults in the United States by the end of May. The government has secured delivery of 300 million doses each of the vaccines from Moderna and Biontech / Pfizer by the end of July. The vaccinations are given in two doses each. In addition, the USA will still receive 100 million cans from Johnson & Johnson by then. The vaccine is fully effective after just one dose.
The US government initially gave no information about when the additional 100 million cans from Johnson & Johnson will be delivered. The US pharmaceutical company Merck has agreed to produce its competitor’s vaccine in order to increase its supply. The US government supports the deal financially.
Biden’s government has so far made it clear that its goal is to have more vaccine than is necessary for the entire population – among other things, in the event that a booster should later become necessary. Around 330 million people live in the USA. The US government is also supporting the Covax global vaccine initiative, initially with up to $ 4 billion.
According to the CDC, around 96 million vaccine doses have already been administered in the USA. More than 62 million people have already received the first dose, almost 33 million – almost 10 percent of the total population – are considered fully vaccinated.
Biontech is delivering four million more cans to the EU in the short term
The manufacturers Biontech and Pfizer want to deliver an additional four million doses of corona vaccine to the European Union in the next two weeks. The additional package was negotiated so that the EU states could vaccinate specifically in corona hotspots and slow the spread of the dreaded virus variants, said EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday in Brussels.
The Commission hopes that targeted vaccinations in hotspots will make stricter controls at the EU’s internal borders unnecessary. This applies, for example, to the German-French border to the French Moselle department, where a particularly high number of infections with mutated viruses are detected. “By being used specifically where they are most needed, especially in the border regions, these cans will help to secure or restore the freedom of movement of goods and people,” emphasized von der Leyen. “These are critical to the functioning of health systems and the internal market.”
According to the internal EU distribution key, Germany could receive 18.6 percent of the additional quota, i.e. around 740,000 vaccine doses. The federal government must decide whether to make use of this option and how the additional quantities would be distributed among the federal states.
The EU Commission expects a total of around 100 million doses of the three vaccines previously approved in the EU from Biontech and Pfizer, Moderna and Astra Zeneca, for the first quarter to the end of March. Biontech and Pfizer were originally supposed to deliver 62 million doses of this total, now 66 million.
Palestinian hospitals are overcrowded
According to the authorities, some of the Palestinian hospitals in the occupied West Bank are overcrowded. Some clinics are more than 100 percent full and some intensive care units are fully occupied with corona patients, says Prime Minister Mohammed Shtajjeh in Ramallah.
Lockdowns have been ordered in Palestinian cities over the past two weeks to contain the pandemic. The coronavirus is a particular challenge for the densely populated areas occupied by Israel.
In addition, the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have so far received only a few doses of vaccine. Israel, on the other hand, vaccinated more than 50 percent of its population. Numerous human rights organizations have called on Israel, referring to the Geneva Convention, to vaccinate the Palestinian population as an occupying power. Israel now wants to extend its vaccination campaign to Palestinians who work in Israel or in settlements in the West Bank – all 120,000 Palestinians with Israeli work permits.
Italy gets the first Sputnik-V plant in Europe
The first production facility in Europe for the Russian vaccine Sputnik V comes to Italy. The Russian fund RDIF, which markets Sputnik V, has signed a corresponding agreement with the Swiss-based pharmaceutical company Adienne, the Italian-Russian Chamber of Commerce announced. This paves the way for the construction of the first Sputnik-V plant in Europe. Production should start in June.
Ten million doses of the vaccine could be produced in Italy by the end of the year. Sputnik V has not yet been approved in the EU, but it is already being used by Hungary, and the Czech Republic is also planning to do so.
Johnson & Johnson vaccine about to be approved in the EU
The vaccine from the US pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson could still be approved for the European Union (EU) in March. On March 11, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will review the vaccine for use in the EU, EMA supervisory board boss Christa Wirthumer-Hoche announced in a talk show on the Austrian broadcaster ORF. “We expect a positive evaluation and that the EU Commission grants approval quickly.” On the other hand, there are not yet sufficient data for approval of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V. “That is why I would strongly advise against issuing a national emergency license,” explains Wirthumer-Hoche.
Von der Leyen promises 100 million vaccine doses per month across the EU
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expects significantly more vaccine from next month. “From April the quantities could double again according to the plans of the manufacturers, also because more vaccines are about to be approved,” she said Stuttgart newspaper and the Stuttgart news (Monday). She reckons across the EU “on average around 100 million doses per month in the second quarter, a total of 300 million by the end of June”. According to the newspapers, this would mean around 20 million doses a month for Germany, which would require significantly higher vaccination capacities.
According to figures from the Robert Koch Institute on Friday, around 7.3 million vaccine doses have been administered in Germany since vaccinations began at the end of December. Of almost five million people who were vaccinated, almost half also received the second vaccination.
The federal government classifies Greece as a risk area
Due to the increasing number of corona infections, the federal government has classified all of Greece as a corona risk area for the first time from Sunday. For parts of Croatia – including the Istria peninsula, which is very popular with holidaymakers – all entry restrictions due to the pandemic will be lifted at the same time, as the Robert Koch Institute announced on Friday on the Internet.
Due to the particularly high number of infections, Hungary, Sweden and Jordan are classified as high-risk areas. So far, Greece has been one of the few countries that had never been fully classified as a corona risk area. Most recently, the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, Crete and the Ionian Islands, including Corfu, off the west coast of Greece were excluded.
From Sunday on, returnees from these regions must also be tested for Corona within 48 hours after entering Germany. They also have to be in quarantine for ten days, from which they can only get rid of another negative test after five days.
Countries and regions in which the number of new infections exceeds 50 per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days (incidence) are designated as risk areas. Countries with an incidence of more than 200 are considered high-risk areas. If you come to Germany from these regions, you have to show a negative test upon entry.