Covid-19 roundup: Supply chain shortages lead to half the Moderna doses delivered to Canada; J&J shots paused out of concern clots would be inappropriately treated — report
The number of doses of Moderna’s vaccine expected to be delivered to Canada by the end of April has nearly been cut in half, according to the country’s procurement minister Anita Anand.
Between 1 million and 2 million doses of the 12.3 million expected to be delivered in time for the second quarter will be delayed until the third, as Moderna said Friday that shipments to Canada and the UK are behind schedule after a supply chain shortage will delay deliveries.
Deliveries to the EU and Switzerland are on schedule, the company said.
These complications have shortened the vaccine supply in Europe, as side effects linked to J&J and AstraZeneca’s vaccines have led the UK to advise pregnant women to get either Moderna or Pfizer’s shot. — Josh Sullivan
J&J shots paused out of concern clots would be inappropriately treated — report
A week after the CDC and FDA jointly decided to pause the rollout of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine due to reports of blood clots, we’re getting a closer look at why.
Unnamed sources told the Wall Street Journal that health authorities recommended suspending the shots out of concern that doctors would improperly treat the condition. The CDC has advised against using heparin, which is normally used for blood clots, but could be dangerous in this setting.
Sources told the WSJ that 4 of 6 women who developed the clots after being vaccinated with J&J’s jab were treated with the anticoagulant, which may have worsened their condition. While the clots haven’t officially been linked to the vaccine, officials are becoming more persuaded that the cases are related, according to the WSJ.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices held off last week on deciding whether or not to recommend lifting the pause, after many of the committee members said they wanted to wait for more data. They’re now scheduled to meet again on Friday, to discuss whether to continue the rollout with a warning, limit the use of the vaccine, or slam the brakes on the jabs altogether.
On “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Anthony Fauci told NBC’s Chuck Todd that he expects to know more by then.
“I think by Friday we’ll know which way we’re going on this. Hopefully we’ll get back on track,” he said.
One of the options on the table is limiting the vaccine’s use to older people, as the blood clots occurred in younger women. —Nicole DeFeudis
Italy throws support into domestic mRNA vaccine production
After support for the adenovirus-based J&J and AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines have wavered due to reports of safety concerns, Italy has held talks with manufacturers about producing more mRNA-based vaccines domestically, according to the Financial Times.
Moderna, Novartis and Italian drugmaker ReiThera have been in talks with the capital in Rome about producing CureVac’s vaccine. All of the parties involved have declined to comment, the FT reported.
Faith in the adenovirus-based vaccines has faltered after a recent decision in the US to temporarily halt administering the J&J vaccine after 6 reports of blood clots in patients. Previously, some European countries have put a hold on the use of the AstraZeneca shot after the EMA found a very rare link between the vaccine and similar blood clots.
There was no indication that the Italian-made doses would be solely for the people of Italy, but rather, all of Europe, the FT reported. — Josh Sullivan
Russia RDIF reaches manufacturing agreement for Sputnik V
A Chinese drugmaker has reached an agreement with Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund to produce more than 100 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine.
Reuters reported that the two sides have committed to a long-term partnership, though financial terms or the length of that deal were not disclosed. Last week, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said that the country will enter preliminary negotiations with Russia for the use of Sputnik V, but only after the EMA has given it authorization.
The Financial Times reported that the EMA is investigating whether the vaccine meets good clinical practice (GCP) standards, after concerns that trials weren’t run ethically. — Josh Sullivan
Amidst concerns surrounding other vaccines, the EU ups its Pfizer vaccine doses
Another 100 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine are headed to the EU, Bloomberg has reported.
The option exercised raises its order to 600 million doses, as part of an agreement signed in February. Last week, the two companies agreed to up shipments to the EU by 25% this quarter. That brought another 50 million doses to the country that had originally been scheduled to be delivered in the fourth quarter. — Josh Sullivan
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