NYC Tops Weekly Dose Goal; U.K. Set for Reopening: Virus Update

New York’s vaccination program picked up speed last week, with the most populous U.S. city reporting a record of more than a half-million doses administered. The city also stepped up its use of mobile units and pop-up sites.

Everyone in the U.K. will be urged to take a coronavirus test twice a week as a new system of Covid passports is assessed for wide-scale use under Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to reopen the economy. Johnson confirmed on Monday that restaurants and shops will open next week for the first time in four months, but the ban on foreign travel may remain for longer.

South Africa agreed to buy 20 million shots of the Pfizer vaccine, Business Day reported. Brazil expects to vaccinate 2 million people per day next month, Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco said .

  • Global Tracker: Cases surpass 131.6 million; deaths exceed 2.8 million
  • Vaccine Tracker: More than 673 million shots given worldwide
  • Covid mutants multiply as scientists race to decode variations
  • Future pandemics are already splitting American politics
  • How vaccine nationalism risks prolonging the pandemic
  • How pandemics change the course of history: Stephen Mihm

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Brazil Sees 2 Million Shots per Day in May (6:50 a.m. HK)

Brazil expects to vaccinate 1 million people per day in April, doubling that number in May, Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco said in an interview with CNN. The pandemic scenario for April is bad, Pacheso said.

The country reported 1,319 deaths related to Covid-19 in the last 24 hours and 28.645 new cases.

South Africa Signs Pfizer Deal (5:47 p.m. NY)

South Africa has finalized a deal that will see it supplied with 20 million shots of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, with deliveries starting mid-April, allowing it to begin a broad roll-out of inoculations, Business Day reported.

The deal had been delayed by Pfizer’s insistence that South Africa’s health and finance ministers personally sign the pact, which includes indemnity clauses to protect the company.

To date South Africa has inoculated just over a quarter of a million people, all of them health workers, as part of a study being carried out by Johnson & Johnson.

Maryland to Offer Shots to All 16 and Over (4:38 p.m. NY)

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said all residents 16 and older will be able to get a shot beginning Tuesday at any of the state’s mass vaccination sites.

By April 12, everyone 16 and over will be eligible for a vaccine from all providers, the governor’s spokeswoman Kata Hall said on Twitter.

Astra Gets White House Help Finding New Plant (4 p.m. NY)

President Joe Biden’s administration is working with AstraZeneca Plc to find new manufacturing capacity in the U.S. after the company agreed to abandon a Baltimore Covid-19 vaccine plant that will focus exclusively on making doses for Johnson & Johnson.

The talks are the latest development after an error at the Emergent BioSolutions Inc. facility — in which ingredients for the two companies’ vaccines were mixed up — led to a batch of 15 million doses worth of drug substance being spoiled.

U.S. Parents Comfortable on Shots for Kids (3:50 p.m. NY)

Almost eight in 10 parents in a Harris Poll taken April 2 through through April 4 said they are willing to have their kids vaccinated for Covid-19.

Last week, Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE said their vaccine is both safe and 100% effective in preventing illness in adolescents ages 12 to 15. The shot has already received emergency authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Americans 16 and up. The announcement was cited by 39% of parents in the poll as making them feel more confident.

Smith Named State Department Covid Coordinator (3 p.m. NY)

Gayle Smith, a former U.S. Agency for International Development administrator and chief executive officer of the ONE Campaign to eradicate preventable disease, was named the coordinator for global Covid response and health security at the U.S. State Department.

Smith, who helped lead the Obama administration’s response to the Ebola outbreak in 2014, was introduced Monday by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Smith will help oversee the Biden administration’s effort to get more Covid-19 vaccine to poor countries amid concern that rich nations like the U.S. have been too stingy with their supplies.

N.J. to Open Shots to Everyone 16 and Older (1:40 p.m. NY)

New Jersey will open Covid-19 vaccinations to people 16 and older starting April 19, Governor Phil Murphy will announce Monday.

The state had said all adults would be eligible for the shot by May 1, in line with a goal set by President Joe Biden for universal adult eligibility. But other states, including neighboring New York and Connecticut, announced earlier eligibility dates as vaccine supply began ramping up.

Murphy will disclose details of the new vaccine eligibility date at a 2:30 p.m. virus update in Trenton, according to a person familiar with the new policy and who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the announcement.

Chile Surge Takes Toll on President’s Support (1 p.m. NY)

A record virus surge is eroding support for the Chilean government’s Covid-19 policies and tarnishing one of the world’s fastest vaccination drives, according to a survey.

Thirty-eight percent of Chileans back President Sebastian Pinera’s response to the coronavirus, down from 58% on Feb. 26, according to a Cadem pollpublished on Monday. Meanwhile, 85% of respondents say it will take over six months for daily life to return to normal, with open schools and stores.

Pinera’s administration is grappling with a resurgence of the virus that’s driven hospitalizations and daily infections to all-time highs. Critics say Chile shouldn’t have encouraged travel during the Southern Hemisphere summer, and that the economy was reopened too quickly.

U.K. Shops, Pubs to Reopen (12:06 p.m. NY)

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed restaurants and shops will open again for the first time in four months as England’s lockdown is eased next week, but the ban on foreign travel may remain for longer.

The earliest date for resuming non-essential international travel will be May 17, officials said. Meanwhile, a plan for a new system of Covid passports is being developed to make it easier for events with live audiences to resume and travel restrictions to be eased. But the passports may not be ready until fall, according to the Telegraph newspaper, citing unidentified senior government officials.

NYC Surpasses 500,000 Doses a Week (10:30 a.m. NY)

New York administered a record 100,669 vaccines on Friday, helping to push the weekly total above the city’s goal of 500,000, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

“It shows what is possible,” the mayor said at his daily briefing, adding that the city will be receiving 77,000 new doses from Johnson & Johnson, whose vaccine requires only one shot. New York is also stepping up its use of mobile units and taking vaccines to housing complexes and community centers for pop-up sites.

More than a third of adults in the city have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, and 21% are fully vaccinated, city data show. Among the five boroughs, Manhattan has the highest inoculation rate, with 44% of adults receiving at least one dose and 28% fully vaccinated. The Bronx has the lowest rate with at least one dose, 31%, while Brooklyn has the lowest percentage of fully vaccinated adults, 18%.

Passengers Into Singapore to Use Travel Pass (6:15 a.m. NY)

People flying to Singapore will be able to use the International Air Transport Association’s travel pass to share their pre-departure Covid-19 PCR test results at check-in and on-arrival from May 1.

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