More than 70.52 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,598,967 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
Here is a summary of current health news briefs:
The share of Brazilians unwilling to take any COVID-19 vaccine grew to 22% this week, from 9% in August, and most said they would not accept one made in China, a new poll showed on Saturday, as President Jair Bolsonaro’s comments stoked wider skepticism. The survey by pollster Datafolha found 73% of respondents plan to take a shot and 5% do not know if they will, compared to 89% and 3%, respectively, in August.
CDC advisory panel recommends COVID-19 vaccine for widespread use
A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel on Saturday recommended the nation’s first COVID-19 vaccine, helping clear the way for public health authorities to begin the largest vaccination campaign in U.S. history. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted 11 to 0 to recommend the vaccine from Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE as appropriate for Americans 16 and older. There were three abstentions due to prior conflicts of interest.
U.S. hits 16 million COVID cases even as vaccine begins roll-out
The United States hit a record 16 million COVID-19 cases on Saturday afternoon, with deaths closing in on the 300,000 mark, even as millions of doses of a new vaccine were expected to start rolling out across the nation on Sunday. The first vaccine was approved late on Friday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is expected to touch off a mass-inoculation campaign of unparalleled dimension to end the pandemic that has upended daily life and devastated the U.S. economy.
U.S. approves use of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for pilots, controllers
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said Saturday it had approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by pilots and air traffic controllers. The U.S. aviation regulator said pilots and controllers must not fly or conduct safety-related duties for 48 hours after receiving doses. The FAA said it will “monitor the patient response to Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and may adjust this policy as necessary to ensure aviation safety.”
With U.S. now in hand, BioNTech CEO looks for more vaccine production
The chief executive of Germany’s BioNTech SE said the biggest challenge facing it and partner Pfizer Inc now that their COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for use in the United States will be to scale up manufacturing to meet huge demand. “We need to solve the manufacturing challenge,” Ugur Sahin told Reuters in an interview. “It is very clear that more doses are needed. And we are dealing with that question – how to produce more doses.”
Chile says preparing to start Pfizer COVID-19 immunization campaign
Chile is getting ready to start an immunization campaign with Pfizer Inc’s vaccine against the coronavirus, if it wins approval, Health Minister Enrique Paris said on Saturday. Next week, the state Institute of Public Health will review data on the performance of the vaccine, which is also expected to be used in the United States. Chilean authorities will make an official decision based on the review of that data.
Most Americans with allergies should be safe to get Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine: FDA
Top U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulators said on Saturday that most Americans with allergies should be safe to receive the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and Germany’s Biotech SE. The FDA, which authorized the nation’s first COVID-19 vaccine on Friday night, said that only people who have previously had severe allergic reactions to vaccines or ingredients in this particular vaccine should avoid getting the shot.
U.S. CDC reports 294,535 deaths from coronavirus
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Saturday reported 15,718,811 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 244,011 from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 3,013 to 294,535. The CDC reported its tally of cases of the respiratory illness known as COVID-19, caused by a new coronavirus, as of 4 pm ET on Dec. 11 versus its previous report a day earlier.(https://bit.ly/3m662x4)
First U.S. shots in COVID-19 vaccine campaign coming Monday, Army general says
The first U.S. shots of a newly authorized COVID-19 vaccine will be administered as early as Monday morning, with Pfizer Inc and partners aiming to start shipping on Sunday, a U.S. general organizing the roll out said. Doses of the vaccine from Pfizer and partner BioNTech, which was authorized for use by U.S. regulators on Friday, will be delivered to 145 locations around the country on Monday, U.S. Army General Gustave Perna said on a Saturday press call.
UK records 21,502 COVID-19 cases and 519 deaths
Britain recorded 21,502 new COVID-19 infections on Saturday and 519 deaths within 28 days of a positive test for the virus, according to official data. Friday’s data had shown 21,672 new cases and 424 deaths.