MERS Coronavirus warning

Here's a belated COVID-19 summary for Tuesday.
Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on March 2

The US say they may finish their vaccination program two months earlier than planned, at the end of May.
U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday said the country was on track to have enough vaccines for every adult in the country by the end of May, two months earlier than anticipated.

Also in the US, the state of Texas are removing requirements to wear masks, along with limits on things like how many people restaurants can serve indoors. Other news stories have stated the rules were poorly enforced to begin with and often ignored. The governor has announced this as a result of pressure from within his party. Major businesses and health professionals are saying this is a shit idea. Some people are saying this change is an effort to change the channel and take attention off the recent fiasco with the recent blackouts in the state. Daily infection rates are still relatively high and Texas has the third highest death toll in the US.
In the Americas, Texas Gov. Greg Abbot said the state is lifting its mask mandate, making it the largest U.S. state to end an order intended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus that has killed more than 42,000 Texans.

The Republican governor has faced sharp criticism from his party over the mandate — which was imposed eight months ago — and other COVID-19 restrictions. The mandate was only ever lightly enforced, even during the worst outbreaks of the pandemic.

Texas will also do away with limits on the number of diners that businesses can serve indoors, said Abbott, who made the announcement at a restaurant in Lubbock. He said the new rules would take effect March 10.


In Canada, more provinces are looking at following British Columbia's lead and delaying the second dose of vaccine by up to four months. In Canada the federal advisory committee make recommendations but it is up to each province as to what they actually do.
British Columbia's provincial health officer, meanwhile, said the decision to delay second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by four months is based on scientific evidence as well as real-world data.

Health officials in Brazil are asking for a country-wide lockdown due to a shortage of ICU beds. Brazil is currently going through another wave of crisis in the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Brazilian health officials are urging nationwide lockdowns and curfews because hospitals are running short of intensive-care unit beds as COVID-19 claims more than 1,000 lives each day in the country.

"The return of the pandemic in several states is making their private and their public assistance networks collapse and has brought imminent risk of spreading it to all regions of Brazil," Brazil's National Council of Health Secretaries said Monday, noting that the nation is experiencing its worst moment since the pandemic began.

China plan to vaccinate 40 per cent of their population by the end of July.
In the Asia-Pacific region, China aims to vaccinate 40 per cent of its population by the end of July, a senior health adviser said, requiring a significant increase in shots even as it ramps up vaccine exports.

Iraq have received their first shipment of Sinopharm vaccine donated by China.
In the Middle East, Iraq received its first 50,000 doses of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine donated by China.

The Saudis have announced that Muslims who want to make the pilgrimage to Mecca will have to prove they have been vaccinated. The announcement did not state whether pilgrims from outside Saudi Arabia will be allowed in this year.
The Saudi Ministry of Health has announced that Muslims who want to perform the annual hajj pilgrimage this year will need to prove that they've been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The government says it will consider coronavirus vaccination as "the main condition for participation" in the pilgrimage to Mecca that all Muslims who are able are obliged to make once in their lives.

The statement did not specify whether the hajj, which traditionally draws some two million Muslims from across the world, would again exclude pilgrims from outside the kingdom to prevent contagion.

Austria and Denmark have said they intend to stop relying on the EU for future COVID-19 vaccines and will work with Israel to produce a new generation vaccine.
Austria's leader says his country and Denmark intend to stop relying solely on the European Union for coronavirus vaccines and will work with Israel to produce second-generation vaccines.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz plans to visit Israel with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on Thursday and confer with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on vaccine research and production co-operation.

Serbia is in rough shape and health professionals are asking the government for a strict lockdown.
Serbia's epidemiologists have called for the government to introduce a state of emergency and a strict lockdown to halt a surge in coronavirus infections in the Balkan country.

The numbers of daily new cases have been rising sharply in the nation of seven million despite a mass inoculation campaign that has reached one million people already.

Chief epidemiologist Predrag Kon on Tuesday told the state RTS television that "we must ban contacts or we will break, and then realize what it means when the health system collapses."
 
Here's the COVID-19 summary for Wednesday.
Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Wednesday

Canada received its first shipment of Oxford vaccine from India.
Trudeau's comments also came on the same day that Canada received its first shipment of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.

Health Canada have approved new directions from Pfizer-Biontech which state that their vaccine can be stored and transported at -25°C and -15°C for up to 2 weeks instead of at -80°C. The vaccine can also be returned to storage at -80°C if desired. The -80°C temperature is still the recommended one, but the higher temperature is allowed to make transportation and distribution easier.
Also Wednesday, Health Canada said it has authorized a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech to allow its COVID-19 vaccine to be stored and transported at standard freezer temperatures (between -25°C and -15°C) for up to two weeks instead of ultra-cold conditions.

"Vials stored at -25 C to -15 C for up to two weeks or transported at -25 C to -15 C may be returned one time to the recommended storage condition of -80 C to -60 C," Health Canada said in a statement announcing the change, which the department said follows a "thorough review" of Pfizer-BioNTech's submission.

While ultra-cold conditions are still recommended, the change allows for more flexible transportation and local re-distribution of the vaccine.

Taiwan have signed contracts for 10 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, 5.05 million doses of Moderna, and 4.76 million doses of an unspecified vaccine through COVAX (likely more Oxford vaccine). A delivery of 117,000 doses arrived on Wednesday.
Taiwan has signed contracts securing 10 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, 5.05 million doses of the Moderna vaccine and 4.76 million doses of vaccines through COVAX. Wednesday's delivery had 117,000 doses, which was transported from the airport with a police escort.

Japan may extend pandemic restrictions in the Tokyo region for another 2 weeks.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga says he is considering extending an ongoing state of emergency for the Tokyo region for about two weeks, amid concerns that infections have not slowed enough and are continuing to strain health systems in the region.

Venezuela received 500,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine from China, along with PPE.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said that 500,000 doses of China's Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine had arrived in the South American country, along with protective material for medical personnel.

Germany would like to reduce lockdown measures, but rising infection rates from the B117 variant have kept overall infection rates from dropping and making any easing of measures quite risky.
German leaders are looking for ways to ease the country out of a long-running coronavirus lockdown, which they are expected to extend on Wednesday while also opening the door to relaxing some restrictions.
(...)
But reaching that target soon has appeared increasingly unrealistic as cases of the more contagious variant first detected in Britain increase, with overall infections creeping slightly higher. The cases-per-week number, which peaked at nearly 200 per 100,000 inhabitants just before Christmas, has been stalled above 60 in recent days.

Portugal are retaining lockdown measures. Hospitalisation rates are at their lowest point in 4 months, but they are still recovering from a death rate that was the world's highest a month ago.
Portugal had its fewest COVID-19 patients in hospital in four months on Tuesday, as its prime minister warned that enforcing lockdown curbs remained essential in a country that topped global death rates a month ago.

Kenya and Rwanda received shipments through COVAX.
In Africa, more countries received the long-awaited first deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesday, with Kenya and Rwanda benefiting from the global COVAX initiative that aims to ensure doses for the world's low- and middle-income nations.

Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Angola and Congo have already received shipments, and Mali, Senegal, Malawi and Uganda will receive theirs this week.
So far Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Angola and Congo also have received their first vaccine doses via COVAX, with several other countries including Mali, Senegal, Malawi and Uganda set to receive them this week.

Rwanda's shipment apparently included Pfizer-Biontech vaccine, which may prove to be difficult to distribute there due to the very cold temperature storage required.
Rwanda is becoming the first African nation to receive the Pfizer vaccine via COVAX. The vaccine needs storage at ultra-cold temperatures, making rollout complex in hot countries and rural areas, for example. COVAX has faced delays related to the severely limited global supply of vaccine doses as well as logistical issues.
 
Health Canada have approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as safe and effective for all age groups 18 and up, but now the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations (NACI) have said the study data isn't there yet for them to recommend it for people over the age of 65.
AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine and seniors: Where Canada and other countries stand

The NACI, which makes recommendations to governments on the use of newly approved vaccines for humans in Canada, said there isn't enough clinical trial data available to determine how effective the vaccine is in preventing COVID-19 infection among people in this older cohort.

This has most health professionals in Canada scratching their heads over it, as everyone else seems to not see a problem with using it for over-65s. Some reports suggest that NACI are waiting for the results of a more complete study which is expected soon and will change their official advice accordingly.
At a briefing on Tuesday, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, said the NACI is prepared to update its guidance as it "sees more and more … real-world data accumulating."

"Don't read their recommendations as sort of static," Tam said. "But this is what they've recommended at this point."

Normally this would only be of academic significance as Canada isn't scheduled to get any vaccine from AstraZeneca for a while yet. However, the federal government managed to get a batch of vaccine from SII in India, with delivery being this Wednesday (the 3rd of March). Out of 500,000 doses, 300,000 are set to expire at the end of the month. Another 1.5 million doses from SII will arrive over the course of the next month or so. This wasn't in the cards when plans were made, but the opportunity came up and the federal purchasing agents snapped the doses up.

NACI's advice may still be academic only, as the provinces decide whether to follow NACI's recommendations or ignore them. Some provinces were already ignoring their advice to not delay second doses (e.g. BC), and they may ignore NACI in this instance as well.

Given that there are plenty of people under 65 who need to be vaccinated at this stage anyway (e.g. health care workers) and a very limited supply of Oxford vaccine, there actually isn't a real problem other one of sticking the right vaccine in the correct arms.

The head of public health in Canada said it is ultimately up to the provinces to decide who gets what vaccines, but all approved vaccines are safe and effective. She said not to take NACI's current advice as fixed, but that it will be updated as more data comes in.
In addition to the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, Canada has also approved vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Tam said it is up to the provinces and territories to determine who is best placed to get which vaccines, but all are safe and effective in reducing serious illness and death connected to COVID-19.


In this story NACI is quoted as saying that their decision is base on the limited information currently available.
AstraZeneca-Oxford's COVID-19 vaccine not recommended for seniors, Canadian committee says

The committee, which makes recommendations to governments on the use of newly approved vaccines for humans, said in documents posted Monday it does not recommend the vaccine for those 65 and older "due to limited information on [its] efficacy" in that age group.


Health Canada issued a statement saying that "the best vaccine for a Canadian is the one they can get. All COVID-19 vaccines authorized by Health Canada will help reduce severe disease, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19." Public health officials have been more or less these exact words for the past couple of months.
Health Canada also said Monday that "the best vaccine for a Canadian is the one they can get. All COVID-19 vaccines authorized by Health Canada will help reduce severe disease, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19."

This story notes that the results from a clinical trial in the US are expected within a few weeks. I suspect that this is the study that NACI are reportedly waiting for.
More clinical trial data on AstraZeneca's vaccine is also expected in the coming weeks from the U.S.

I suspect that by the time that Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine starts arriving in Canada in quantity (perhaps starting some time in April) NACI will have the study data they were looking for and will recommend it for people over 65. If not, then I suspect then I suspect most provinces will just go ahead and use it on the over-65s anyway, as it is approved by Health Canada.

As for the unexpected and limited batch from SII, some provinces may use it on over-65s, and some may use it on priority groups that are under 65. There are plenty of targets for it at this time, so using it up should not be a problem.
 
Here's a story on the benefits and risks of delaying the second dose of vaccine.
Benefits and risks of delaying 2nd doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Late last year Quebec decided to delay the second dose until 90 days after the first dose in order to get more people their first shot. British Columbia have since moved to a 4 month delay. Both of these are with respect to the Pfizer-Biontech and Moderna vaccines.

The deputy head of public health in Canada said the results are very encouraging.
Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada's deputy chief public health officer, pointed to advances since Health Canada approved those vaccines.

"What's happening is, I think, very encouraging," Njoo said in a briefing on Tuesday.

"We have real-world data, the actual experience of what's happening with the vaccination, for example in British Columbia and in Quebec, as they're vaccinating seniors in long-term care facilities. We're seeing quite a high level of protection."

Njoo said experts are balancing vaccinating a large number of Canadians to achieve a good level of protection without compromising the effectiveness of the vaccines.

Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) had been recommending sticking to the manufacturer's guidelines. However on Wednesday they changed that position to say that while vaccine is in short supply provinces should maximise the number of people receive their first dose.
On Wednesday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) said it "recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the interval for the second dose of vaccine to four months."

More provinces have announced they are moving to a 4 month schedule.

Apparently delaying the second dose of a vaccine is not unprecedented. For example with Hepatitis A vaccine the delay is 6 to 36 months. This hasn't bee the case with COVID-19 vaccines though because they just haven't been around long enough to accumulate enough data to support it.
Chakrabarti says there's evidence, for example, to support delaying the second dose of the Hepatitis A vaccine by six to 36 months, and that's true for other vaccines, too. But the COVID-19 vaccines haven't existed long enough to know.

One of the benefits of the second dose is that it makes the immunity gained from vaccination longer lasting. Everyone should get the second dose, but delaying that second dose for now is not a problem.

The risks come with the virus variants, particularly the B1351 variant from South Africa. One shot of the Pfizer-Biotech vaccine is much less effective against B1351 than two shots.

Here's another story with more information on delaying the second shot. There are some details in this story that don't appear in the first story, but the general gist of it is the same.
National advisory committee recommends stretching interval between vaccine doses to up to 4 months
 
Here's an update on the Tokyo Olympics situation.
Decision on overseas Olympic spectators to be made by end of March

Long story short, although nothing official has been announced yet, although the Olympics will likely go ahead in some form, Japan will likely not allow foreign fans to attend the Olympics in Tokyo. An official decision is expected by the end of March.

The Olympics are unpopular in Japan, and 80 per cent of Japanese want it either cancelled or postponed again.

If the Olympics itself goes ahead, it will involve tens of thousands of athletes, coaches, sponsors, judges, media, and VIPs. The general plan is to isolate them all in a bubble from when they arrive in Japan until they leave.

There will be fans in attendance, but likely only Japanese residents. Organisers expected to make $800 million in ticket sales, but that is unlikely now given the likely requirement for social distancing.

The official cost of the Olympics is $15.4 billion, but two government audits put the real price at double that. Most of that cost will fall on the taxpayers.
 
@terminal thanks for these excellent and informative posts. I appreciate the effort that goes in to them. Curious that Canadian health officials seem to be following the EU's lead on A-Z re over 65s. As you say the data should become available as it is rolled out elsewhere. In any case it seems a good choice where freezing is a problem, so widely dispersed populations and warmer climates.
 
Macron and Merkel have done so much to damage take up of A-Z and now the EU tries to ban it's export to Australia! Breathtaking arrogance! Are these people clinically stupid?

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EU Commission Blocks Shipment of Italy-Produced Oxford Vaccine to Australia
 

WightMivvi

War Hero
Macron and Merkel have done so much to damage take up of A-Z and now the EU tries to ban it's export to Australia! Breathtaking arrogance! Are these people clinically stupid?

View attachment 554439
View attachment 554442
EU Commission Blocks Shipment of Italy-Produced Oxford Vaccine to Australia
Well, that’s not going to impact EU / Australia relations at all. No sirree...

Lesson to learn: you can‘t rely on EU-based manufacturers because EU politicians can’t be trusted to not screw the contract.
 

Niamac

GCM
Nice to see confirmed cases in the last 7 days.

UK 50,413 Germany 56,876

And the boxheads have decided reluctantly that the AZ vaccine is all right despite NIH.
 
Nice to see confirmed cases in the last 7 days.

UK 50,413 Germany 56,876

And the boxheads have decided reluctantly that the AZ vaccine is all right despite NIH.

Why is it "nice to see"? And don't compare deaths over the last 7 days as that would not be "nice to see".
And with the difference in populations, the number of cases per capita puts Germany as lower.
 

Niamac

GCM
Why is it "nice to see"? And don't compare deaths over the last 7 days as that would not be "nice to see".
And with the difference in populations, the number of cases per capita puts Germany as lower.
At last the Government has taken the right decisions to steam ahead with Vaccination and the result is that we have at last a better run rate against D'land which has been held up as the way to do things up to now. What is interesting is that the UK run rate is dropping like a stone while the D rate has stalled over the recent past.

Way back under your duvet.
 
What do you expect the UK to do?
Take the opportunity to assist in making up the shortfall if we can?

Sent from my SM-G996B using Tapatalk
 
@terminal thanks for these excellent and informative posts. I appreciate the effort that goes in to them. Curious that Canadian health officials seem to be following the EU's lead on A-Z re over 65s. As you say the data should become available as it is rolled out elsewhere. In any case it seems a good choice where freezing is a problem, so widely dispersed populations and warmer climates.
This is a long post, but I didn't have time to write a short one.

Given that every other public health official in Canada who was asked their opinion on the Oxford vaccine responded with a bit "WTF?" over the NACI recommendation, I suspect this isn't a final decision. The head of public health in Canada was at pains to emphasise that this decision isn't final.

What I suspect happened is that NACI were waiting for a study in the US which is supposed to come out in the next couple of weeks. This study will apparently fill in the missing bits of data from the original AstraZeneca study which didn't have enough people in the over 65 group to calculate the stats to sufficient accuracy. There is enough other data to give confidence that the vaccine works fine, but this study is supposed to put the final finishing touches on things which puts the data beyond dispute.

Vaccine companies have not been submitting their vaccines to Canada for approval until shortly before they are ready to ship. Their contracts state they must supply 'x' amount of vaccine within 'y' days or weeks of approval, but the company can apparently decide when to apply for approval. Health Canada's approval is what gets a vaccine shipping commitment from the company.

Health Canada approves the vaccine as being safe and effective and issues the directives as to things like the procedures for using them. NACI was put together to make recommendations to the federal government as to which vaccines to buy and also make recommendations to the provinces as to who should be the priority groups for getting them. NACI then basically endorse the manufacturer's recommended usage guidelines (e.g. how long between doses). The vaccines are then shared out to each province based on population, and each province draws up their own usage policy. In doing so the province can follow NACI recommendations or ignore them if they don't agree, such as happened with the interval between doses.

Given that AstraZeneca apparently weren't going to be ready to ship to Canada until April (see the EU export issues for examples of why), what I suspect happened is that NACI planned that they could have a preliminary recommendation for use out at the same time as Health Canada's approval to AstraZeneca as being safe and effective.

NACI knew however that the results of the US study would likely come up before the vaccine arrived. By giving a limited recommendation now and then expanding it to over-65s after the study arrived NACI could play it safe while being able to change their recommendation to match the study before the vaccine actually arrived. If the US study unexpectedly came out negative, then NACI wouldn't be in the position of limiting recommendation of a vaccine they had previously recommended as being for all age groups and thereby undermining their credibility.

However, SII's sales agent in Canada had submitted an application at the same time as AstraZeneca, and both were approved by Health Canada at the same time. SII (from India) had a batch of vaccine which would expire at the end of March, and offered it to Canada now. This may possibly be the batch which someone else mentioned Germany had returned to SII when it didn't get used.

The federal government in Canada had been under pressure from the provinces and the opposition to get more vaccine ASAP after we went through a dry spell after we had been cut off by the EU for a few weeks (shipping has resumed since then). Well, now half a million doses just arrived yesterday unexpectedly, and it's up to the provinces to find arms to stick it into.

I don't see a problem in that regards. There are still plenty of under-65s in the high priority queue this SII shipment can be used on. The vaccination centres just have to be a bit more organised as to which vaccine they stick into which arms. Some provinces may decide to use the SII shipment on over-65s anyway, as ultimately it's their decision and NACI just make recommendations for policy.

So, what will likely happen is this one time shipment will get used up in short order, the US study will come out, NACI will point to it as justifying their changing their recommendation to the Oxford vaccine as being good for over-65s, and then the AstraZeneca vaccine and more SII shipments will arrive as scheduled starting in April.

If there's an issue with this first SII shipment, I suspect it will be that the provinces weren't expecting it at this time and some may need to adjust their booking accordingly.
 
This is a long post, but I didn't have time to write a short one.

Given that every other public health official in Canada who was asked their opinion on the Oxford vaccine responded with a bit "WTF?" over the NACI recommendation, I suspect this isn't a final decision. The head of public health in Canada was at pains to emphasise that this decision isn't final.

What I suspect happened is that NACI were waiting for a study in the US which is supposed to come out in the next couple of weeks. This study will apparently fill in the missing bits of data from the original AstraZeneca study which didn't have enough people in the over 65 group to calculate the stats to sufficient accuracy. There is enough other data to give confidence that the vaccine works fine, but this study is supposed to put the final finishing touches on things which puts the data beyond dispute.

Vaccine companies have not been submitting their vaccines to Canada for approval until shortly before they are ready to ship. Their contracts state they must supply 'x' amount of vaccine within 'y' days or weeks of approval, but the company can apparently decide when to apply for approval. Health Canada's approval is what gets a vaccine shipping commitment from the company.

Health Canada approves the vaccine as being safe and effective and issues the directives as to things like the procedures for using them. NACI was put together to make recommendations to the federal government as to which vaccines to buy and also make recommendations to the provinces as to who should be the priority groups for getting them. NACI then basically endorse the manufacturer's recommended usage guidelines (e.g. how long between doses). The vaccines are then shared out to each province based on population, and each province draws up their own usage policy. In doing so the province can follow NACI recommendations or ignore them if they don't agree, such as happened with the interval between doses.

Given that AstraZeneca apparently weren't going to be ready to ship to Canada until April (see the EU export issues for examples of why), what I suspect happened is that NACI planned that they could have a preliminary recommendation for use out at the same time as Health Canada's approval to AstraZeneca as being safe and effective.

NACI knew however that the results of the US study would likely come up before the vaccine arrived. By giving a limited recommendation now and then expanding it to over-65s after the study arrived NACI could play it safe while being able to change their recommendation to match the study before the vaccine actually arrived. If the US study unexpectedly came out negative, then NACI wouldn't be in the position of limiting recommendation of a vaccine they had previously recommended as being for all age groups and thereby undermining their credibility.

However, SII's sales agent in Canada had submitted an application at the same time as AstraZeneca, and both were approved by Health Canada at the same time. SII (from India) had a batch of vaccine which would expire at the end of March, and offered it to Canada now. This may possibly be the batch which someone else mentioned Germany had returned to SII when it didn't get used.

The federal government in Canada had been under pressure from the provinces and the opposition to get more vaccine ASAP after we went through a dry spell after we had been cut off by the EU for a few weeks (shipping has resumed since then). Well, now half a million doses just arrived yesterday unexpectedly, and it's up to the provinces to find arms to stick it into.

I don't see a problem in that regards. There are still plenty of under-65s in the high priority queue this SII shipment can be used on. The vaccination centres just have to be a bit more organised as to which vaccine they stick into which arms. Some provinces may decide to use the SII shipment on over-65s anyway, as ultimately it's their decision and NACI just make recommendations for policy.

So, what will likely happen is this one time shipment will get used up in short order, the US study will come out, NACI will point to it as justifying their changing their recommendation to the Oxford vaccine as being good for over-65s, and then the AstraZeneca vaccine and more SII shipments will arrive as scheduled starting in April.

If there's an issue with this first SII shipment, I suspect it will be that the provinces weren't expecting it at this time and some may need to adjust their booking accordingly.
Thanks. That makes a lot of sense. Going back some weeks there was talk of trialing combinations of vaccines, particularly RNA and DNA as a combination. However from what I understand the ongoing routine will continue be to ensure that both doses are the same vaccine. This excludes the J&J vaccine if it is approved for single shot use.

As an aside, I noticed that folding@home released some more Covid jobs. This suggests ongoing research, possibly for new stains but also other approaches to addressing them.
 
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Thanks. That makes a lot of sense. Going back some weeks there was talk of trialing combinations of vaccines, particularly RNA and DNA as a combination. However from what I understand the ongoing routine will continue be to ensure that both doses are the same vaccine. This excludes the J&J vaccine if it is approved for single shot use.

As an aside, I noticed that folding@home released some more Covid jobs. This suggests ongoing research, possibly for new stains but also other approaches to addressing them.
There's still talk of using different vaccines for first and second shots. I don't know if anyone is running a trial on it yet. I think part of the interest is that it may give a broader immune response to different variants. Each vaccine uses a small bit of the COVID-19 virus as "training material" to train the immune system to recognise it. Since different vaccines may use different bits of the virus, using different vaccines for the first and second doses may train the immune system to recognise a broader range of variants. I guess another way of putting is that by showing your immune system several different samples of bits of the virus as opposed to just showing it the same sample twice, your immune system is less likely to be fooled by a variant that has a minor change in the bit that the immune system was trained to recognise.

As mentioned in a previous post the US are looking at doing the J&J vaccine as a two dose form in order to better deal with variants. They may do it as one shot now and then as a modified booster later on to cover more variants.
 
Why is it "nice to see"? And don't compare deaths over the last 7 days as that would not be "nice to see".
And with the difference in populations, the number of cases per capita puts Germany as lower.

You had your EU approved jab yet?
I did ask you a while ago, in France mine may be around November as they are still doing the real coffin-dodgers of 75+ which should have ended last month.
 

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