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Fauci Envisons Three-Dose Regimen; Mormon Mandate: Virus Update

Bloomberg logo Bloomberg 9/22/2021 Bloomberg News
a bag of luggage: UN Chief Rips Vaccine Inequity; Vietnam Gets Doses: Virus Update © Source: AFP/Getty Images UN Chief Rips Vaccine Inequity; Vietnam Gets Doses: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden called on other nations to help vastly expand production of coronavirus vaccines and treatments in order to end the pandemic. He said the U.S. will buy an additional 500 million doses of Pfizer Inc.’s vaccine for donation abroad.

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Anthony Fauci expects mRNA shots to be administered as a three-dose regimen. Mormon leadership said masks are required at temples, citing the church’s history in prior pandemics. New York City’s vaccine mandate for teachers was cleared by a judge.

The U.K. will accept vaccination certificates from the United Arab Emirates starting next month, easing travel between two of the world’s busiest hubs. Mask-wearing rules in the UAE, meantime, are being eased after a sustained decline in Covid-19 cases.

Pregnant women who get mRNA vaccines pass high levels of antibodies to their babies, according to a study published in American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology – Maternal Fetal Medicine on Wednesday. Another trial found that early treatment with Gilead Sciences Inc.’s remdesivir kept high-risk patients out of the hospital.

Key Developments:

Global Virus Tracker: Cases pass 229.4 million; deaths exceed 4.7 millionVaccine Tracker: More than 6 billion doses administeredFDA is expected to decide on Pfizer booster shots on WednesdayBiden plans donation of 500 million shots, doubling goalWhy the delta variant is giving more children CovidAlpha, delta and more. Why virus variants cause alarm: QuickTake

NYC’s Vaccine Mandate for Teachers Cleared (5:06 p.m. NY)

New York City’s requirement for teachers to be vaccinated was cleared by a state judge following a legal challenge from labor unions.

New York State Supreme Court Justice Laurence L. Love vacated a temporary restraining order that had stopped the vaccine mandate from being enforced while the case is being litigated. 

Fauci Envisions Three-Dose Standard (3:55 p.m. NY)

Future administration of mRNA vaccines like Pfizer-BioNTech SE and Moderna Inc.’s will likely require three doses from the start, instead of two doses plus a booster, Anthony Fauci said.

If implemented as the top infectious disease expert predicted, the third shot would become part of the primary series, potentially changing the vaccine label and plan for administering shots altogether.

Mormons Make Masks Mandatory in Temples (2:20 p.m. NY)

The top leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Wednesday ordered mandatory use of face masks in its temples around the globe and again called for members to get vaccinated, citing the Mormon church’s history in prior pandemics.

Biden Calls on Wealthy Nations to Step Up (1:15 p.m. NY)

President Joe Biden called on other nations to help vastly expand production of coronavirus vaccines and treatments in order to end the Covid-19 pandemic in a virtual summit he hosted Wednesday.

Biden said the U.S. will buy another 500 million doses of Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE’s vaccine for donation abroad, pushing the total U.S. donation pledge above 1.1 billion doses.

The summit’s attendees include the leaders of the U.K., Canada, South Africa and Indonesia, private-sector figures and representatives of non-governmental organizations. Biden led one of four sessions, on vaccinating the world, while Vice President Kamala Harris will lead another.

MTA to Step Up Enforcement of Subway Masks (1 p.m. NY)

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority said it will increase enforcement of its mask-wearing policy as new data show compliance is waning on subway, buses and commuter trains, WABC-TV reported.

Compliance was nearly universal in the early days of the pandemic but has fallen to about 87% on the city’s subways, MTA Chief Safety Officer Pat Warren said, according to the television station.

Riders will get one warning from MTA Police to wear a mask, and if they don’t, they will get a summons, Warren said.

Vaccinated Pregnant Women Pass on Protection (9 a.m. NY)

Pregnant women who get mRNA vaccines pass high levels of antibodies to their babies, according to a study published in American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology – Maternal Fetal Medicine on Wednesday.

The study -- one of the first to measure antibody levels in umbilical cord blood to distinguish whether immunity is from infection or vaccines -- found that 36 newborns tested at birth all had antibodies to protect against Covid-19 after their mothers were vaccinated with shots from Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE or Moderna Inc. 

Romania Approves Booster Shots (8:36 a.m. NY)

Romania approved booster shots from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. for those who were fully vaccinated at least six months earlier, Prime Minister Florin Citu said on Wednesday. Shots will begin on Sept. 28. 

The eastern European nation, one of the least vaccinated states in the EU, recently had more than 700,000 doses expire, even though it’s in the midst of the biggest wave of cases and hospitalizations since December.

China Covid Shot Effective Against Delta (8:31 a.m. NY)

A vaccine developed by Sichuan Clover Biopharmaceuticals Inc. was found to prevent 79% of cases of any severity caused by the delta variant in late-stage trials, making it the first Chinese shot to offer clear efficacy data against the strain causing resurgent waves of infections around the world.

Remdesivir Averts Hospitalization in Study (8:30 a.m. NY)

Early treatment with Gilead Sciences Inc.’s remdesivir kept high-risk patients out of the hospital in a late-stage international trial that supports administering the medicine to individuals recovering at home. 

A three-day course of the injectable antiviral, also known as Veklury, was associated with an 87% reduction in hospitalizations in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial involving 562 patients, Gilead said Wednesday. The data are slated for release at a virtual medical meeting on Sept. 29. 

Malaysia Sets Vaccine Threshold for Travel (8:10 a.m. NY)

Malaysia will resume interstate travel to help revive domestic tourism once 90% of the adult population is fully vaccinated, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in a statement on Wednesday. The announcement comes a day after the country met its target of fully inoculating 80% of adults. 

Moscow Reopens Wards as Cases Soar (7:43 a.m. NY)

Moscow reopened Covid-19 wards as new cases rose 24% over the last week, Ria Novosti reported Wednesday, citing Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rakova. Hospitalizations were up 15%, she said. The spike comes after President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party claimed a resounding victory in parliamentary elections last weekend that opponents said was tainted with widespread fraud.

Singapore Restricts Hospital Visits (6:13 a.m. NY)

Singapore will curb hospital ward visits for a month, among several measures put in place in order to preserve hospital capacity as cases rise, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

Afghanistan Health System on Brink: WHO (6:09 a.m. NY)

Afghanistan’s health system is on the “brink of collapse” and the country’s Covid response has worsened, the World Health Organization said after a mission to Kabul. In a statement, the WHO said that only 17% of health facilities linked to the Sehatmandi health project, which provides health services in several provinces, were operational.

Nine of the 37 Covid hospitals had closed, and virus response -- including surveillance, testing and vaccination -- had dropped, the WHO said. About 2.2 million people had been vaccinated prior to August, but rates have slowed in recent weeks with 1.8 million doses remaining unused, the health body said.

“Swift action is needed to use these doses in the coming weeks and work towards reaching the goal of vaccinating at least 20% of the population by the end of the year based on national targets,” the WHO said.

Biden to Host Vaccine Summit (6 a.m. NY)

President Joe Biden will call for 70% of the world to be vaccinated by this time next year during a virtual vaccine summit he’ll host Wednesday that’s intended to spur countries, businesses and organizations to set firm targets to defeat the pandemic.

Biden will pledge a U.S. order of 500 million doses of Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE’s vaccine for donation abroad, pushing the total U.S. pledge above 1.1 billion doses, according to officials familiar with the event. The Pfizer shots will be produced in the U.S. and shipped through Covax, the global vaccine sharing system, to low and lower-middle- income countries, beginning in January and running through next September.

Summit attendees will include foreign leaders, private sector figures and representatives of non-governmental organizations, and include a mix of speeches and recorded statements. Biden will lead one of four sessions, on vaccinating the world, while Vice President Kamala Harris will lead another.

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