Filling the Vaccine Void

Residents look as an artist gives finishes a mural depicting frontline workers carrying a COVID-19 vaccine. Kolkata, January 2, 2021.  Image: Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty

Amid complaints of shortages and patchy supply chains, the Biden administration has announced a surge in deliveries to US states in the coming weeks, AP reports.
 
With a new round of purchasing from Pfizer and Moderna, the administration says there will be enough vaccines to protect 300 million Americans by summer’s end.
 
India has a different problem: Plenty of vaccine doses, but few takers. 

Vaccine hesitancy poses a massive threat to containing the virus there. Only ~56% of those eligible for the jab have stepped forward to be part of one of the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccine rollouts, Bloomberg reports. Many doctors have expressed concern over the incomplete data underpinning India’s Bharat Biotech shot.
 
But: Other countries are still keen to purchase vaccine doses from India, which also manufactures AstraZeneca’s vaccine and can produce 500 million shots every month for export.

Subbing In: French pharma giant Sanofi says it will help manufacture 125 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine while its own candidate is delayed, AP reports.
 

The Variant Challenge

Pfizer and Moderna are already developing booster shots in case COVID-19 variants are shown to evade vaccines, Reuters reports

The move is an important precautionary measure even though it’s uncertain whether they will be needed, Science reports. While the Moderna vaccine is still expected to protect against the variant found in South Africa, antibodies triggered by the jab were “a little less potent” against the variant compared to the original virus.
 

Related: 

Coronavirus in Zimbabwe: 'We need vaccines now' – BBC

The False Rumors About Vaccines That Are Scaring Women – The New York Times (commentary)

Yale's New Vaccine Initiative Targeting COVID-19 – Yale School of Medicine

Vaccine rollout stumbles as a 'Hunger Games' approach leaves states and counties to fend for themselves – CNN

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