Covid-19 roundup: GlaxoSmithKline mandates vaccines as latest pharma to join the push; South Africa's Aspen wants to license J&J jab
GlaxoSmithKline will join the growing list of biotechs that mandate vaccinations for its US employees, and a company spokesperson said it is looking into UK policy as well.
Complementary workers and visitors to its sites will also need to be fully vaccinated, the company said. The policy will be put into place in the next few weeks, and exceptions will be made for those with disabilities, medical conditions or religious exemptions.
“At GSK and ViiV, the health and safety of our employees are of paramount importance,” the company said in a statement. “To that end, we will now require US employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, where allowed by law and where vaccine supply is readily available.”
Just last week, Moderna came down with a mandate for all of its US employees to get vaccinated by Oct. 1. Pfizer, Eli Lilly, J&J, Ionis Pharma, Novartis and Gilead have all installed mandates as well. A recent poll conducted by Endpoints News found that 79% of our readers agreed with a mandate. Another 51% of the mid-August poll said that their company had mandated vaccines.
South Africa’s Aspen wants to license J&J jab
A South African manufacturer of Covid-19 vaccines that recently got a big source of funding from the US government is looking to to get a license to make the J&J jab.
Aspen Pharmacare’s CEO Stephen Saad told Reuters that he is looking to model the business plan off of India’s Serum Institute.
“At the moment, J&J could take all the product we make because it’s their product, and sell it to Europe, for example, sell it to the U.S. or Korea, wherever they choose to. We have no say in that,” he told Reuters.
The US government dumped $200 million into Aspen’s plant in Gqeberha to expand production. But J&J has been exporting the millions of doses that were bottled and packaged in South Africa to Europe. It’s happening at a time when Africa is desperately needing to get shots into arms of its people. Just 2% of Africans are vaccinated, compared with more than 60% of adults in Europe.
Saad went on CNN in July and talked about building up vaccine capacity for the continent.
“You don’t have any capacity, you don’t have any product. No one’s going to supply you product before their own country so at best you have your own capacity,” Saad told CNN.
AstraZeneca and EU to settle vaccine shortage out of court
After months of disputing the timeliness of AstraZeneca’s delivery of vaccines to Europe, the European Commission and the drugmaker have reached a settlement and ended litigation in Brussels.
The settlement leaves AstraZeneca committing 60 million doses of Vaxzevria to the EU by the end of Q3 2021, and 75 million by the end of Q4. It also has another 65 million shots on the books for Q1 2022. European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides announced the settlement on Twitter on Friday morning.
The #AstraZeneca vaccine is a safe & effective #COVID19 💉that is saving lives across the 🌍every day.
Our efforts to further increase #COVID19 manufacturing capacity & vaccinations across the EU and the world will continue unabated. Vaccine solidarity is & remains our trademark.
— Stella Kyriakides (@SKyriakidesEU) September 3, 2021
“Vaccine solidarity is and remains our trademark,” she tweeted.
The European Commission filed a lawsuit against the drugmaker in May, criticizing it for a lack of a reliable plan to ensure deliveries.
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