COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 digest: Jab supply sufficient for whole world, rich countries 'no longer need' to hoard vaccines

Published : September 08, 2021 18:11 IST

A child gets a COVID-19 vaccine in Cuba. Photo: Ramon Espinosa/AP Photo/picture alliance

An international drugmakers' organization has said that supply now equals demand for vaccines.

The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) said on September 7 that drugmakers are producing about 1.5 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses a month. IFPMA Director-General Thomas Cueni said 7.5 billion doses have been produced so far and cited projections from an independent adviser that 12 billion doses would be available worldwide by the end of the year.

This means that rich nations "no longer need" to stockpile vaccines, he said. That has been a major factor in contributing to vaccine inequality around the world. Stockpiling also hinders the end of the pandemic, as new variants could crop up in areas where vaccine access is low.

Separately, data firm Airfinity published a study saying vaccine supply was about to equal global demand, particularly if the E.U., U.S., U.K., and Canada donate 500 million excess doses they currently hold to poorer nations.

Here is a roundup of other coronavirus news from around the world.

Europe

Health officials in Germany have announced they will no longer use the number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents as a metric for measuring the severity of the pandemic. With so many people vaccinated, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said that value was no longer as meaningful. Instead, the RKI will measure the number of patients in hospitals. On September 7 that value was about 1.64. At its highest, in December 2020, that value was 15.5.

The United Kingdom announced its highest number of COVID-19 deaths since March, with 209 people dying within 28 days of a positive test. However, these numbers can also be affected by irregular reporting from hospitals.

Most restrictions in Sweden will be lifted by the end of the month, the country's social affairs minister has said. A high vaccination rate means that limits on private gatherings and work-from-home advice will be eased.

Americas

A day after announcing there were only four intensive care hospital beds left in the entire state, the U.S. state of Idaho went into "crisis standard of care'' mode. This mechanism will ration health care in hospitals in northern Idaho, where there are too many coronavirus patients to handle. Hawaii is preparing to take similar steps after tourism from the mainland has left its health care system at the breaking point.

Asia

Authorities in Hong Kong have announced that vaccinated travelers from mainland China will no longer need to quarantine upon arrival. However, the amount of arrivals is capped at 2,000 people a day. Hong Kong has had some of tightest restrictions in the world throughout the course of the pandemic as part of its "zero COVID" strategy. All visitors will still have to undergo a series of tests.

In Vietnam a man has been jailed for five years for breaking lockdown rules and spreading the virus.

es/rt (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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