Latest news: Red Cross says Asia faces vaccine crisis
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says Asia faces a COVID-19 vaccine supply crisis amid record daily deaths.
He said in a statement Friday that Nepal and Bangladesh were running out of vaccines as the majority of countries in the region grapple with shortages. It says hospitals in India, Nepal, Malaysia and the Philippines are chock-full of COVID-19 patients.
The organization said many richer countries have purchased enough vaccine to immunize each person several times while most parts of Asia only have a fraction.
Group Asia-Pacific director Alexander Matheou said sharing vaccine doses between countries and through the United Nations COVAX facility was now the only option to address the shortage and avert another disaster. .
The Red Cross has urged pharmaceutical companies and governments to work together to ensure better vaccine supplies in Asia, which is now the epicenter of the global pandemic with the highest number of new cases.
He also called on rich countries to speed up their plans to ship surplus vaccine stocks. He said vaccines have become more critical with the spread of COVID-19 variants, but vaccination rates remain very low in Asia.
India and Indonesia both vaccinated around 3% of their population, while the Philippines only fully vaccinated around 0.6%.
THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
– ‘Like hell:’ As the Olympics approach, healthcare in Japan is on the rise
– Argentina resumes strict pandemic lockdown after soaring cases
– Nervous workers struggle to adjust to new mask policies
– European Union lawmakers and member countries have struck a compromise to launch COVID-19 certificates ahead of the summer break to help boost travel and tourism following restrictions from the coronavirus pandemic.
– Africa’s top health official said the continent’s vaccination campaigns to tackle COVID-19 face significant delays due to India’s export ban.
– Anyone getting vaccinated at some state-run vaccination sites in New York next week will receive a lottery scratch ticket with prizes worth millions, as the state tries to boost slowing vaccination rates .
Follow AP’s pandemic coverage further at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine
HERE’S WHAT ELSE HAPPENS:
NEW DELHI – Confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths in India have remained below record levels in the past 24 hours, but authorities are concerned about the fungal infection which attacks people with weakened immune systems.
Doctors suspect that the sudden flare-up of mucormycosis, or “black fungus” infection, may be related to the use of steroids to treat COVID-19. This can lead to breathing problems and coughing up blood.
India has reported 4,209 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours and 259,591 new confirmed cases. Experts believe both figures are underestimated.
Megacities such as Mumbai and New Delhi have seen signs of improvement in recent days. But there are growing concerns about small towns and rural areas where the virus has made inroads, stretching the weakness of the health system.
KATHMANDU, Nepal – A repatriation flight saves dozens of Spanish nationals stranded in Nepal since a lockdown was imposed in the Himalayan nation to stem cases of COVID-19.
The Spanish government-organized flight picked up 96 Spanish climbers, hikers and tourists who had arrived in Nepal to climb mountain peaks or hike the trails before the country was locked down on April 29.
The plane arrived in Nepal on Thursday bringing medical aid supplies provided by the Spanish government. The shipment included respirators, 10 concentrators, face masks and antigen testing kits.
Nepal recorded its daily new cases and highest daily deaths this month, while battling shortages of hospital beds, medicine and oxygen. The country has so far recorded 488,645 confirmed cases of COVID-19 while 5,847 people have died.
CARSON CITY, Nevada – Two Republican lawmakers in the state of Nevada were punished Thursday for failing to adhere to restrictions in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Assembly women Annie Black and Jill Dickman went to the assembly without a mask, but declined to say whether or not they had received any vaccines.
Dickman was escorted out of the Assembly after staff told her she would have to prove she had been vaccinated. She refused.
In an online vote, Black was denied her right to vote on the measures and address the chamber until she apologized. She remained in the Assembly.
HONOLULU – Hawaii governor says state will again require people receiving UI benefits to seek work as coronavirus screening program for travelers and growth in vaccinations fuel a recovery of the tourism industry.
Anyone filing for unemployment will need to declare at least three steps they took to look for work from May 30 to June 5 when they submit their weekly claim on June 6.
These steps may include filling out job applications, interviewing for jobs, and registering on the HireNetHawaii.com jobs website.
The governor said Hawaii will maintain other pandemic-time unemployment insurance benefits, including a $ 300 weekly supplement to weekly benefits.
HOUSTON – About 60% of the COVID-19 vaccine doses that have deteriorated since the Texas vaccination program began in December have been wasted in the past two weeks, according to an analysis of state data.
According to a Houston Chronicle analysis of the roughly 60,000 spoiled vaccine doses since December, about 36,000 have been lost in the past two weeks, indicating plummeting demand for the vaccine in Texas.
The number of wasted doses due to spoilage of the highly perishable vaccine still represented a tiny fraction of the state’s vaccine allocation. The state currently administers an average of about 144,000 vaccinations per day. Even so, it was less than half of the peak of 290,000 vaccinations per day last month.
Only one in three Texans was fully vaccinated against COVID-19 on Thursday, mostly with the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, while 42% received at least one dose.
More than 51,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Texas during the 15-month pandemic out of more than 3.2 million positive test results reported to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
RENO, Nevada – Nevada health officials admit that the state’s goal of vaccinating 75% of the eligible population may not be realistic.
But they say progress towards that goal continues to bear fruit, with the average number of new cases reported statewide falling to its lowest level since June 2020.
The state’s positivity rate also fell to 4.8% on Wednesday. That’s higher than a historic low of 4.2% reached on March 28, but down from 5.7% on April 21 and well below the high of 21.3% in mid-January.
Of all Nevadans aged 12 and older, 46% received their first vaccine and 37% are now fully immunized.
BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana state epidemiologist and her 12-year-old daughter were among those who highlighted the need for a COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday at the State Capitol.
Theresa Sokol and her daughter Elise joined Governor John Bel Edwards and health officials at a press conference.
Elise has spoken of being part of a clinical trial for the Moderna vaccine. She said she was grateful to be part of the effort to get more people vaccinated. State officials are now promoting immunizations for children as young as 12.
Edwards, meanwhile, says the state’s vaccination rate remains too low. Just over 35% of the state’s eligible population has had a first injection; 30% have completed their immunization assays. “That’s not where we want it to be, quite frankly,” said Edwards. “I am very disappointed with these figures. We have to do better. ”
Edwards said he was considering possible incentive programs to encourage people to get vaccinated. He wouldn’t give details.
SEATTLE – Despite recent advice from federal and state officials, the top health official for Washington’s most populous county on Thursday urged people to continue wearing face masks in public and indoor places.
King County health worker Dr Jeff Duchin has issued a directive strongly recommending that residents 5 years of age and older wear masks whether or not they are vaccinated until 70% or more of County residents 16 years of age and older are fully immunized. The agency predicts the county will hit the threshold in late June.
Some 57% of those residents of King County – home to Seattle – were fully vaccinated on Thursday, according to the directive. The county is home to approximately 2.26 million people.
The directive applies to indoor public spaces, including grocery and retail stores, government buildings and anywhere else members of the public can enter freely – unless a state-approved method of verifying status vaccine is implemented. This does not apply to outdoor spaces.
Last week, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said fully vaccinated people could stop wearing masks outside in crowds and most indoor environments and forgo social distancing.