J&J Shot Reaffirmed in U.S.; Apple Spurs Employees: Virus Update
Staff members sanitize a team bench prior to an operational test match for the Rugby Sevens event of the now-postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Stadium. (Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg)

J&J Shot Reaffirmed in U.S.; Apple Spurs Employees: Virus Update

U.S. vaccine advisers reaffirmed support for Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine after reviewing reports of rare blood clots that prompted a 10-day pause for the shot. Regulators could decide to resume use of the vaccine as soon as Friday evening.

Apple Inc. is working up a program to get employees vaccinated. New York City opened all of its vaccination sites to walk-ins and Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state will help get shots to the city’s grocery-store workers and delivery drivers.

In Washington, the Smithsonian’s museums will begin reopening on May 14. A White House adviser said eight U.S. states have vaccinated more than 60% of adults with at least one shot.

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J&J Shot Reaffirmed in U.S.; Apple Spurs Employees: Virus Update

Connecticut Governor Cites States That Lag (5:30 p.m. NY)

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont singled out two southern states that lag in vaccinations while praising residents in his state, where he said 60% of people older than 16 have received a first dose.

“I still continue to be confident that the vaccinations are making a difference,” Lamont said at a news briefing. “You compare that to Georgia and Alabama and those states, where it’s 30% of the people we’re seeing that have been vaccinated.”

“We’ve got to keep it going — and I say this in the context that supply is now more than demand in many places,” he said.

Andy Slavitt, President Joe Biden’s senior Covid adviser, earlier Friday listed Connecticut among eight states that have vaccinated “more than 60% of adults” with a first shot. The others are New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Maine, New Jersey, Vermont and Hawaii, he said.

J&J Shot Wins Panel’s Backing for Resumption (4:49 p.m. NY)

A panel of medical advisers voted to reaffirm support for Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, opening the door for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration to lift a pause on the shot’s use.

More than 8 million people in the U.S. have received J&J’s vaccine. The panel reviewed evidence from 15 people who suffered blood clots afterward. Three died, while seven remain hospitalized and five were discharged.

Michigan to Require Vaccine for Dorm Students (4:27 p.m. NY)

The University of Michigan will require Covid-19 vaccinations for students who live on its Ann Arbor campus this fall, Associated Press reported.

Mark Schlissel, the university’s president, said shots will not be mandated for faculty, staff and other students “at this time,” but he strongly encouraged everyone to get vaccinated, the AP reported. The requirement will allow residence halls to operate safely at nearly normal capacity, he said, after there were more than 600 infections in dorms last fall despite a mask requirement and other restrictions.

J&J Supports ‘Enhanced Labeling’ on Clot Risks (2:15 p.m. NY)

Johnson & Johnson strongly supports enhanced labeling for its vaccine that details the risks of clotting and points clinicians toward information about how to respond to it, Joanne Waldstreicher, the company’s chief medical officer, told a meeting of U.S. vaccine advisers on Friday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advisory panel is reviewing evidence of blood clots to determine whether to end a 10-day U.S. pause for the J&J’s vaccine.

Apple Sets Up Vaccine Plan for Employees (1:50 p.m. NY)

Apple Inc. is working with Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. to help employees get vaccinated at the company’s offices, according to people with knowledge of the matter. That all Californians age 16 and older are now eligible is helping the effort.

Apple hasn’t publicly said when employees are expected to return to offices, though Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has told staff he anticipates many will start returning in June.

Smithsonian Museums, National Zoo to Reopen (1:45 p.m. NY)

The Smithsonian said it will reopen four Washington museums including the National Portrait Gallery on May 14, followed by additional museums and the National Zoo on May 21.

Visitors will need to reserve free timed-entry passes for all locations except the Smithsonian Gardens, and there will be reduced hours along with added health and safety measures.

U.S. Isn’t Sharing Vaccines for Now (12:49 p.m. NY)

The U.S. is consulting with India about that country’s virus surge, but isn’t offering to share vaccines for now.

Jeff Zients, President Joe Biden’s Covid response coordinator, said the U.S. is committed to global vaccination, including a pledge of as much as $4 billion for the Covax effort to provide shots to low-income nations. India’s outbreak added to pressure on Biden to provide vaccines to other countries. “As our confidence around our supply increases, we will explore those options,” Zients told reporters on Friday.

India reported 332,730 cases on Friday, setting a global record for the second day in a row.

N.Y. Targets Grocery Workers for Vaccine (12:12 p.m. NY)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a state campaign to vaccinate grocery and bodega employees in New York City, including Spanish-language ads.

The state will make vaccines available for grocery store workers and delivery drivers in stores and at pop-up sites. Hispanic residents make up 19% of the state’s population, but 14.5% of the known vaccinated population, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.

More Clots Linked to J&J Vaccine (11:53 a.m. NY)

U.S. vaccine advisers have identified 15 people who suffered rare and serious blood clots linked to Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 shot, more than double the cases that prompted a pause on the vaccine.

Among the cases reported in slides prepared for a Friday meeting of advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three patients died, seven were hospitalized, and five were discharged. U.S. health agencies put J&J’s vaccine on hold after reports of six cases.

Astra Benefits Parsed by EU Regulator (11:16 a.m. NY)

The benefits of AstraZeneca Plc’s vaccine strongly depend on age and how much virus is circulating in the population, the European Medicines Agency said. The analysis is likely to reinforce some European governments in withholding the shot from younger people.

If virus spread is low, the risk of side effects outweighs potential prevention of death or ICU admission in people younger than 50, the review found. The vaccine still protected against hospitalization. Several EU countries have limited use of the Astra shot, with most giving it only to those age 60 and older.

NYC Opens Vaccine Sites to Walk-Ins (10:45 a.m. NY)

New York City is lifting geographic and appointment requirements to get more residents vaccinated, meaning residents can walk in for shots at scores of sites, including the American Museum of Natural History.

All city-run sites will be open to all New Yorkers, regardless of where they live, and no appointments are needed, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Friday. The city has administered more than 6 million doses, he said.

De Blasio urged federally-run community health centers to allow walk-ins as well, and for doctors to contact their patients and encourage them to get their shots.

“You want a recovery? Get vaccinated,” de Blasio said. “This is what will bring us forward, this is what will bring a recovery for all of us, getting as many New Yorkers vaccinated as possible.”

EU On Track to Beat Vaccine Rollout Target (8:09 a.m. NY)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the European Union’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign is on track and she’s “confident” the EU will have enough doses to vaccinate 70% of adults in July.

Speaking after a tour of a Pfizer Inc. plant in Puurs, Belgium, she said the bloc has administered 123 million vaccinations. She also said the EU’s drugs regulator has approved plans to ramp up production capacity at the facility by 20%.

Oxygen Maker Diverts Supply to India (7:45 a.m. NY)

Air Liquide SA is diverting oxygen supplies for industrial clients in India to hospitals to help overwhelmed hospitals.

The company is sending most of its liquid oxygen output to the health-care sector and is looking to import additional supplies from the Middle East, Executive Vice-President Francois Jackow said Friday. Demand for medical oxygen in India has soared roughly 10-fold, or by more than 50% of the country’s total production capacity, he said.

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