BioNTech-Pfizer to seek approval for 3rd shot

Published : July 09, 2021 19:54 IST

File photograph. Photo: Dado Ruvic / Reuters

BioNTech and Pfizer said an extra dose of their jab could boost immunity against the coronavirus delta variant.

Pfizer and BioNTech said Thursday they would soon seek authorization from regulators for a third dose of their COVID-19 jab to be administered in the United States and the European Union. The move comes amid fears that the delta variant is behind the latest outbreaks in Asia and Africa and rising cases in Europe and the US.

The drugmakers said a third shot of their COVID-19 vaccine could boost immunity against more contagious variants. The companies said they were also working on developing a jab specifically against the delta variant.

Shortly after the announcement, the US Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said: "Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time. We are prepared for booster doses if and when the science demonstrates that they are needed."

Here's a rundown of the latest coronavirus news from around the world:

Europe

The number of COVID-19 cases in Germany increased by 949 to 3,734,468, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases reported on Friday. An additional 49 deaths were reported on July 9, bringing the overall total to 91,190.

Asia-Pacific

Vietnam's government said on Friday that it aims to vaccinate 50% of all adults against coronavirus by the end of this year. The Health Ministry said the target was 70% of over 18's by the end of March 2022.

Vietnam has been struggling to contain a recent surge in infections. The country's economic hub, Ho Chi Minh City, began a two-week lockdown on July 9, a day after a lockdown was placed on the capital Hanoi.

South Korea will raise COVID-19 restrictions to their highest level in the Seoul metropolitan area starting next week, officials said on Friday. Although the country had been previously hailed for its handling of the pandemic with its social distancing rules, it has recently seen a spike in new infections after a slow start of its vaccine rollout.

South Korean Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum warned on July 9 that the surge in cases had reached the "maximum crisis level." His remarks came just a day after the country recorded its highest daily rise since the pandemic began, with 1,316 new cases.

The new measures include a ban on gatherings of more than two people after 6 p.m. and a shutdown of schools and entertainment establishments, such as bars and clubs. Cafes and restaurants are allowed to serve diners until 10 p.m. with limited seating.

Australia's largest city, Sydney, is in lockdown for a third week as 44 new cases were recorded in 24 hours. Authorities fear an outbreak of the delta variant is spinning out of control. "Do not leave your home unless you absolutely have to," New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian told the city's 5 million residents. Australia has fully vaccinated just over 11% of its 25 million residents. The move prompted New Zealand to cancel flights to bring its own citizens back from Australia's New South Wales. Planes had expected to start ferrying stranded New Zealanders back home on July 10.

fb, jf/sms (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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