Chicago to Require Vaccines; Pfizer Booster Plan: Virus Update
(Bloomberg) -- Delta Air Lines Inc. will impose a $200 monthly surcharge on employees who aren’t vaccinated. Moderna Inc. said it had completed the application process for full approval of its vaccine in the U.S., while Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE said they’re seeking full clearance for a booster shot.
Johnson & Johnson said a booster provided a rapid and strong increase in antibodies. New York Governor Kathy Hochul reported nearly 12,000 more deaths in the state from Covid-19 than had been publicized by her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo, who left office Monday. Chicago will require all city workers to be vaccinated.
The European Union will discuss whether to reimpose curbs on visitors from the U.S. as new coronavirus cases soar. The World Health Organization has backed a proposal to set up a $10 billion fund to plug the financial gap in the global health-care system exposed by the pandemic.
- Global Tracker: Cases top 213.6 million; deaths pass 4.45 million
- Vaccine Tracker: More than 5.02 billion doses administered
- Are Covid Shots Working? What the Real World Tells Us: QuickTake
- DeSantis faces revolt from angry Florida parents, schools on masks
- Embattled WHO virus origins team says window is closing for probe
- As Australia’s vaccine rate soars, so do delta cases
U.K. Plans Shots for Children 12 and Over (5:04 p.m. NY)
U.K. authorities have told the National Health Service to prepare for the possible rollout of a Covid-19 vaccination program for 12- to 15-year-olds from Sept. 6, the Telegraph reported, citing emails it has seen. The children wouldn’t need to get parental consent for the jabs.
Becton, Dickinson At-Home Test Approved (4:45 p.m. NY)
Becton, Dickinson and Co. said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for its BD Veritor at-home test, which uses a nasal swab and a mobile app to provide a diagnosis in 15 minutes.
Moderna Holds Some Vaccine Vials in Japan (3:45 p.m. NY)
Moderna Inc. is holding some doses of its Covid-19 vaccine in Japan after receiving “several complaints” of particulate matter in the vials, a spokesperson said Wednesday.
Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna said it put one lot of vaccine and two additional batches on hold. The spokesperson didn’t immediately specify how many doses that includes. The company said it believes the manufacturing issue arose at one line of its contract-manufacturing site in Spain.
Moderna said it’s investigating reports and is working with its Japanese partner, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd., and regulators to address potential concerns. The company said no safety or efficacy issues have been identified.
WHO Backs $10 Billion Global Health Fund (1:40 p.m. NY)
The World Health Organization has backed a proposal to set up a $10 billion fund to plug the financial gap in the global health-care system exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The annual Global Health Threats Fund is part of efforts by G20 finance ministers to double spending in health care and boost the financial capacity to respond to future pandemics, said Singapore Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam during a WHO press briefing on Wednesday.
According to Tharman, global health security is “dangerously underfunded,” making it vulnerable to a prolonged Covid-19 pandemic and future ones, unless public funding is increased.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted that the report, currently under consideration, is consistent with previous calls to increase financing to support the organization’s preparedness for fighting pandemics.
University of Wisconsin President Vows to Fight (1:35 p.m. NY)
Tommy Thompson, University of Wisconsin interim president and a former federal Health and Human Services secretary, said he’s ready to fight in court state legislators who want control over university policies that aim to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, including mandates to wear face coverings or get vaccinated.
“If you want to sue me fine, but I’m not going to back down,” said Thompson, a Republican and former Wisconsin governor who served as HHS secretary during the George W. Bush administration. Thompson said the university has the “unambiguous authority” under state law to impose health standards on the university system’s 26 campuses.
EU May Reimpose Travel Curbs on U.S. (1:30 p.m. NY)
The European Union will discuss on Thursday whether to reimpose curbs on visitors from the U.S. as new coronavirus cases soar.
The change was recommended by Slovenia, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency and is responsible for triggering an assessment of countries allowed non-essential travel there, according to two officials familiar with the plans.
The U.S. had 507 new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the first two weeks of August, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, well above the limit of 75 set out in EU guidelines. Still, a move to bar visitors from the world’s largest economy would come as a blow to airlines and travel firms pressing for a full reopening of lucrative transatlantic routes.
Chicago Mandates Vaccines for City Workers (1:12 p.m. NY)
Chicago will require all city workers to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. “As cases of Covid-19 continue to rise, we must take every step necessary and at our disposal to keep everyone in our city safe and healthy,” Lightfoot said in an emailed press release. “Getting vaccinated has been proven to be the best way to achieve that and make it possible to recover from this devastating pandemic.” The mandate, effective Oct. 15, applies to all city employees and volunteers.
Deutsche Bank Requires Vaccines for Trading (12:30 p.m. NY)
Deutsche Bank AG is allowing only those employees fully vaccinated against Covid-19 onto its U.S. trading floors, joining a growing number of financial firms restricting access for staff who don’t get the shots.
The new policy, announced last week, applies to trading floors because social distancing is difficult on them, and not to other facilities used by the German bank in the U.S., a person with knowledge of the matter said. The policy is likely to impact few workers, as almost all employees have received the vaccine, the person said
Pfizer Seeks Full U.S. Approval for Booster (12:30 p.m. NY)
Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE said they’re seeking full approval from U.S. regulators for a booster shot of their vaccine for people age 16 and older.
The companies announced Wednesday that they had started a rolling Biologics License Application with the Food and Drug Administration for a third-dose booster. Pfizer and BioNTech said they intend to complete submission of the application by the end of the week, bringing them one step closer to clearance for the additional shot.
Brazil to Begin Giving Boosters, Cut Dose Gap (11:38 a.m. NY)
Brazil will begin distributing booster shots of Covid-19 vaccines to some groups starting in mid-September. The booster will preferably be from Pfizer Inc., the health ministry said. The effort will focus on people over 70 vaccinated more than six months ago, as well as those who have immunodeficiencies. Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca Plc vaccines could be used as alternatives, the ministry said. Authorities made no mention of Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac, which has been used frequently in Brazil but has lower efficacy rates.
Greece Extends Restrictions in Crete (11:16 a.m. NY)
Greece extended restrictions in three of the four administrative areas of Crete, the country’s largest island, including a curfew from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. and a ban on music at all entertainment areas. The same measures, which will be in place until Sept. 3, were also introduced in the Messinia area of southern Greece including the city of Kalamata.
On Tuesday, the country reported its biggest one-day jump in new coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic. The Greek authorities fear a further increase in cases as people return to mainland urban areas from summer vacations on islands such as Crete, where the virus has spread throughout the holiday period.
New N.Y. Governor Adds 12,000 Deaths (11:13 a.m. NY)
New York Governor Kathy Hochul, who took office Tuesday, reported nearly 12,000 more deaths in the state from Covid-19 than had been publicized by her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo, the Associated Press reported.
New York now reports nearly 55,400 people have died of the disease in New York based on death certificate data submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up from about 43,400 that Cuomo had reported to the public as of Monday.
Delta to Levy Fee on Unvaccinated Workers (10:12 a.m. NY)
Delta Air Lines Inc. will impose a $200 monthly surcharge on employees who aren’t vaccinated against Covid-19, becoming the first major U.S. company to levy a penalty to encourage workers to get protected.
The new policy was outlined in a company memo Wednesday from Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian, who said 75% of the carrier’s workers already are vaccinated. Increasing cases of coronavirus linked to a “very aggressive” variant are driving the push for all employees to get the shots, he said.
Moderna Completes Submission to FDA (9:44 a.m. NY)
Moderna said it completed the rolling submission process for its Biologics License Application to the FDA for full licensure of its Covid vaccine in individuals 18 and older. The company has requested Priority Review designation.
Scotland Has Record Daily Cases (9:22 a.m. NY)
Scotland reported 5,021 new cases yesterday, a daily record and the first time since the start of the pandemic that more than 5,000 new infections have been identified in a 24-hour period.
The record number of infections comes only a day after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned that restrictions on movement and social interaction could be reimposed if numbers don’t start declining. The spread of the virus has accelerated in the nation of 5.5 million people amid a reluctance by younger people to get vaccinated and after the bulk of restrictions were lifted on Aug. 9.
Swiss May Expand Use of Covid Certificates (8:30 a.m. NY)
The Swiss government is considering expanding the mandatory use of Covid certificates in indoor spaces as cases and hospitalizations rise. Certificates would be needed to enter indoor areas of restaurants, bars and clubs, as well as indoor events such as concerts, cinemas and weddings. Their use would also be required at fitness centers, museums and zoos. Covid tests will no longer be paid for by the government from Oct. 1.
Separately, the Swiss government secured 7 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech SE vaccines for both 2022 and 2023, with an option for an additional 7 million doses each year. It’s subject to a modified shot being authorized by drug regulator Swissmedic.
French Territories State of Emergency Extended (7:50 a.m. NY)
France extended a state of emergency in some overseas French territories and postponed the return to school to Sept. 13 for kids as the coronavirus continues to spread, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said Wednesday. While around 70% of France’s population has received at least one vaccine dose, the campaign is lagging in some overseas territories. President Emmanuel Macron told ministers Wednesday that the delta variant probably wouldn’t be the last one, and toned down any early optimism.
J&J Booster Shot Triggered an Antibody Surge (6:45 a.m. NY)
Johnson & Johnson said a booster of its Covid-19 vaccine provided a rapid and strong increase in antibodies, supporting use of a second shot among people who previously received its single-dose immunization.
A second dose led to a ninefold increase in Covid-fighting antibodies compared with the levels participants had 28 days after getting their first shot, the health-care giant said Wednesday, citing interim data from an early-stage trial.
China Warns of Retaliation if Accused (6:15 a.m. NY)
China threatened retaliation against those questioning whether the coronavirus leaked from its labs, a warning that comes days before the U.S. releases findings from an intelligence investigation into the pandemic’s origins.
“We will continue to cooperate with international organizations like the WHO in their research and in their search for the origins,” said Fu Cong, director-general of the Foreign Ministry’s Arms Control Department. “But we do not accept baseless and unfounded accusations that are politically motivated. And if they want to baselessly accuse China, so they better be prepared to accept the counterattack from China.”
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