Australia First vaccine priority for Sydney hotspots
Thailand to boost Sinovac with AstraZeneca as Delta variant drives worst COVID-19 outbreak
Sinovac vaccines are readily available, but as Thailand faces a surge in COVID-19 variant cases, the Chinese-developed drug is not enough. Now, the South-East Asian nation is forced into a desperate, world-first and untested vaccine strategy.More than 10 million people are under strict restrictions and a curfew as infections of the Delta COVID-19 variant rise in the capital of Bangkok and surrounding provinces.
Young Sydney workers in areas hardest hit by COVID-19 look set to get faster access to their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, which could delay second doses being rolled out.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Friday that the virus was spreading throughout Sydney's southwest and west via younger staff in critical industries, despite Sydney's strict lockdown.
"We need to get at least the first jab for as many people as we can in those affected communities as possible," she said.
Few immigrants in detention have been vaccinated. That needs to change.
Covid-19 outbreaks in ICE detention have made vaccinations more urgent.As of last week, 8,221 immigrants in US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody, or roughly 30 percent of the detained population, had received one dose of the vaccine, CBS News reported. Just over 1,300, or about 4 percent, had received two doses. (The agency has not indicated how many immigrants have refused the vaccine or have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is just one dose.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison later confirmed the plan was discussed at a meeting of national cabinet, promising confirmation of a ramp-up of first doses in NSW by Saturday afternoon.
The state reported 136 new local cases on Friday, a new high for this outbreak.
People under 40 are generally not yet eligible for the sought-after Pfizer vaccine, though they can choose to get AstraZeneca. The populations of western and southwest Sydney are younger than other parts of the city.
Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said she had recommended urgent mass vaccination of workers in those areas to stem the risk of transmission.
A plan by Ms Berejiklian to ask other states and territories to give up their Pfizer stocks to NSW appears to have been shot down.
Pregnant women still largely ineligible for Pfizer COVID vaccine, despite health authority recommendation
Pregnant women are struggling to get vaccinated against COVID-19, despite health advice recommending they be offered the Pfizer vaccine.In June, updated guidelines from the government's expert advisory panel on vaccines — ATAGI — and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) recommended the Pfizer vaccine be offered at any stage of pregnancy.
She said she would call on the federal government to "refocus" its national rollout strategy, after Dr Chant advised her on Friday morning that the outbreak was now a national emergency.
"This is not just a challenge for NSW but a challenge for the nation," the premier said.
Video: NSW will not receive additional doses of Pfizer vaccine (ABC NEWS)
But Mr Morrison said after national cabinet that he would not disrupt the vaccination program around the country for NSW.
Mass vaccination of young people in Sydney's west will likely mean second doses of Pfizer are delayed beyond the usual three-week interval to six weeks.
That could mean bookings for second doses are cancelled.
Mr Morrison said a six-week interval fell within existing approvals.
NSW leaders are also dialling up their rhetoric around the AstraZeneca vaccine, encouraging the hesitant to push through and get it.
Team Biden Somehow Failed to Hire Someone to Fight Vaxx Disinfo
As early as last autumn, public health experts and political leaders were sounding the alarm that conspiracist campaigns posed a dire threat to a future nationwide vaccination program—a threat that necessitated the appointment of a “disinformation czar” to counter anti-vaccine messaging. The incoming Biden administration initially intended to heed those calls by placing a disinformation expert on the White House COVID-19 Response Team, according to multiple members of the transition team, but never followed through.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is available for people over 40 from NSW vaccine hubs.
Dr Chant said her own husband and mother-in-law had received the AstraZeneca vaccine as has she, the premier, and health minister Brad Hazzard.
"The chief health officer would not recommend AstraZeneca to someone that they care about if they had concerns," Dr Chant said.
"The risks of AstraZeneca are infinitesimally small compared to the benefits."
She encouraged even younger people who want to get AstraZeneca to have a conversation with their GP about the risks and benefits.
Mr Hazzard said members of the community had a duty in a national emergency to do whatever they could to defeat the virus.
That duty would "absolutely" be addressed by getting vaccinated, he said, adding there were "oceans" of AstraZeneca available.
"Your obligation to yourself, the community, NSW and indeed Australia ... is to go to get the jabs of AstraZeneca."
National cabinet agreed on Friday there was a need to "lean in to AstraZeneca", particularly in NSW, Mr Morrison said.
62 Percent of Americans Support Vaccine Mandate: Poll .
Democrats are nearly twice as likely to support a mandate, with 84 percent saying they support it, compared to 45 percent of Republicans. 57 percent of Independents said they support a mandate. Both Democrats and Republicans increased their support for a vaccine mandate by three points.There is also a significant gap between rural and urban attitudes toward a mandate, the report said. 73 percent of respondents form urban areas said they support the mandate, while 53 percent of rural respondents do.Massachusetts and Washington D.C. had the highest number of respondents who support a mandate, at 81 percent.