Finally, a U.S. Vaccination Plan
A roundup of the most important Covid-19 vaccine news this week
There are now 20 vaccines in phase 3 trials, eight approved for limited use, and two approved for full use in some countries after fully completing phase 3 trials — the vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Sinopharm. (Those from Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca are being used with emergency use approval in some countries.)
In the U.S., lagging vaccinations are picking up speed in many states, but the vaccine supply is running low due to manufacturing constraints. It’s not expected to pick up speed until April.
Biden releases his plans for vaccination
On his second day in office, President Joe Biden released a 23-page document outlining a national pandemic strategy, which included his administration’s goals regarding vaccination. Some key goals were boosting production of vaccines and required equipment (like syringes) by invoking the Defense Production Act, providing federal support and funding for local vaccination sites, mounting a science-based public health campaign to address vaccine hesitancy and misinformation, and focusing on at-risk and hard-to-reach groups.
Biden has often said he would get 100 million doses administered in his first 100 days, a task that Jeff Zients, the new White House Covid-19 coordinator, has said is “ambitious but achievable.” Others have expressed skepticism about the feasibility of this goal, pointing to the dwindling vaccine supply, insufficient communication between states and the federal government, and a lack of federal funding for state-run vaccination campaigns.
Studies suggest some variants are less susceptible to vaccines
Researchers in South Africa studying the effectiveness of vaccines against new, mutated variants of the coronavirus raised concerns with two small laboratory studies posted online on January 19. The studies, which haven’t yet been peer reviewed, suggest that the variant known as B.1.351 (the “South African” variant) is less susceptible to the antibodies produced by natural infection, the Moderna vaccine, and the Pfizer vaccine, as science…