EU won’t see full coronavirus vaccination until 2022, official reportedly warns

Despite several deals securing more than 1 billion doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine, government officials do not expect to be able to vaccinate the full European Union population until 2022, officials reportedly said at a meeting on Monday.  

“There will not be sufficient doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the entire population before the end of 2021,” a European Commission official told diplomats during a closed-door meeting on Monday, according to Reuters.

ITALY PROTESTS OVER LATEST CORONAVIRUS CRACKDOWN TURNS VIOLENT

The majority of nations in the EU, including Belgium, Austria, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands are implementing or considering restrictions on travel, dining, gatherings and more due to a surge in coronavirus cases.

This week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly warned that the country’s health system is being pushed to the brink amid the recent increase in cases. Spain has instituted a nationwide curfew and is mulling potential travel bans to hard-hit areas. In France, a doctor told a radio station that the country has “lost control” of the epidemic and should consider another lockdown.

INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT WARNS FRANCE HAS ‘LOST CONTROL’ 

“We lost control of the epidemic but that doesn’t date from yesterday,” Dr. Eric Caumes, head of infections and tropical disease at Paris’ Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital, said, according to the Associated Press. “We lost control of the epidemic several weeks ago already.”

Several challenges to distributing a potential vaccine have been voiced by regulators and experts all over the world. Storage demands and application training are among the chief concerns, with some cautioning that such hurdles could delay delivering the vaccine in remote or hard-to-reach regions. As a result, officials have been asking governments to devise a plan to distribute the vaccine to the most vulnerable populations.

SPAIN ORDERS SECOND NATIONWIDE STATE OF EMERGENCY

The European Medicine Agency, the EU’s drug regulator, has previously stated that it would approve a coronavirus vaccine even if it was below 50% effective but proved safe to use. The EU has already secured doses of potential vaccines from AstraZeneca, Sanofi and Johnson & Johnson, according to Reuters.

CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

As of Tuesday, the world had seen more than 42.6 million cases of coronavirus, with the U.S., India, Brazil, Russia and France seeing the highest amount of infection.

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Coronavirus Vaccination Grant Awarded To Rappahannock District

FREDERICKSBURG, VA — The Mary Washington Hospital Foundation awarded a $5,000 mini-grant to the Rappahannock Area Health District to purchase supplies in preparation for mass vaccination against the coronavirus, the health district announced Friday.

The health district plans to use the grant funds to buy supplies necessary for vaccination, including syringes, needles, Band-aids and alcohol swabs, as well as personal protective equipment for vaccinators, such as gloves, gowns, face shields and masks.

“Though a vaccine that protects against COVID-19 is not yet available, planning and preparation for distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine is already underway at RAHD,” Rappahannock Area Health District Acting Health Director Dr. Denise Bonds said in a statement. “This award will help the health district to begin to build our stockpile of supplies.”

Funding from the mini-grant also will cover some items unique to the coronavirus vaccination. Since many vaccines will be delivered in an outdoor drive-thru format, the health department will be able to purchase large outdoor heaters to keep staff and volunteers warm during the winter months.

For more information on Virginia’s COVID-19 vaccination response, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/immunization/covid19vaccine/. For more information about the Rappahannock Area Health District, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/Rappahannock.

This article originally appeared on the Fredericksburg Patch

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Kansas Vaccination Plan Prioritizes Health Care Workers | Kansas News

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Health care workers and long-term care residents will be among those who will get the coronavirus vaccine first in Kansas, a draft plan shows.

Kansas’ 45-page plan was filed in the past week with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Kansas City Star reported. Other groups that will be prioritized for the initial rounds of vaccinations include people with underlying medical conditions, people 65 and older and essential workers.

Phil Griffin, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment bureau director for disease control and prevention, said the agency will use advisory committees to help determine who should receive the vaccine next. The plan indicates KDHE is taking input from groups representing individuals with disabilities, people of color, children and other demographics.

Griffin said there have been questions about whether states will receive vaccines based on the severity of the virus in their area, but no definitive answers. Kansas is being hard hit at the moment, though conditions could be significantly different months from now. Reported new cases and deaths are currently trending upward.

The state health department reported Monday that Kansas had 2,113 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases since Friday, an increase of 3% that brought the total number of infections reported in the state to 72,968. The department also reported 13 additional COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the Kansas death toll to 872.

On Monday, the health department in Norton County reported a coronavirus outbreak killed 10 residents in a nursing home in northwestern Kansas. It said all 62 residents and an unspecified number of employees at the Andbe Home in Norton had tested positive for the virus.

Some vaccines in development require a second dose, likely taken three weeks to a month after the first. Kansas plans to give every vaccine recipient a card with instructions when they receive their initial dose, its plan says.

The vaccine is free, but recipients or their insurance may be asked to pay a small administrative fee, likely less than $20. No one, however, will be denied a vaccine based on the ability to pay.

The logistics of storing and distributing the vaccine could prove challenging, especially if the vaccine requires ultracold storage. Griffin said a survey of about 100 Kansas hospitals showed that just 10% currently have the capacity for ultracold storage.

But Griffin said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and HHS have advised Kansas “to not be focused on purchasing or expanding” ultracold storage capacity. He said vaccines requiring those conditions would be shipped directly from manufacturers in special units that can hold up to 5,000 doses.

The boxes can maintain the required temperature for up to 10 days if strict guidelines about how often they’re opened are followed, Griffin said.

“It is going to be a big lift,” Griffin said of the vaccination effort. “There’s no hesitation in saying that.”

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Pfizer Sets Up Its ‘Biggest Ever’ Vaccination Distribution Campaign

In Kalamazoo, Mich., a stretch of land the size of a football field has been turned into a staging ground outfitted with 350 large freezers, ready to take delivery of millions of doses of Covid-19 vaccine before they can be shipped around the world.

The facility is a hub in the sprawling supply chain

Pfizer Inc.

has built to handle the delivery of a vaccine widely awaited as a possible relief from the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. pharmaceutical giant says it wants to deliver up to 100 million doses this year and another 1.3 billion in 2021.

Like other drugmakers testing potential vaccines, Pfizer is urgently laying the groundwork with its logistics partners so it can move quickly if its vaccine gets the go-ahead from the Food and Drug Administration and other regulators around the world.

“It’s the biggest-ever vaccination campaign,” said Tanya Alcorn, Pfizer’s supply-chain vice president. “If we get the FDA approval, we will be able to ship the vaccines very shortly after.”

The New York-based drugmaker is working with Germany’s

BioNTech SE

on one of several experimental Covid-19 vaccines in late-stage testing. Pfizer says it may know whether its vaccine works by the end of October and that it could be ready to apply for emergency-use authorization of its Covid-19 vaccine by late November.

The company’s effort to deliver relief to pandemic-weary populations will revolve around refrigerated storage sites at two of the company’s final assembly centers—the Kalamazoo facility and another in Puurs, Belgium—and rely on dozens of cargo-jet flights and hundreds of truck trips every day. Distribution centers in Pleasant Prairie, Wis., and in Karlsruhe, Germany, have been outfitted for extra storage capacity.

Pfizer so far has spent about $2 billion on developing the vaccine and setting up the distribution network.

The U.S. government placed an initial order for 100 million doses, with the option to purchase 500 million additional doses. The EU ordered 200 million doses with an option for another 100 million. Japan ordered 120 million doses and the U.K. 30 million. Countries in South America and in the Asia-Pacific region also have placed significant orders.

In a typical vaccination campaign, pharmaceutical companies would wait until their product is approved before buying raw materials, establishing manufacturing lines and setting up supply chains to ship a vaccine.

Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla said that the company began setting the groundwork for its supply chain in March, when it kicked off its vaccine development.

“Ensuring over a billion people globally have access to our potential vaccine is as critical as developing the vaccine itself,” he said.

Pfizer says it is preparing for distribution in case the vaccine wins authorization, with hundreds of thousands of doses already in the company’s warehouses in the U.S. and Europe.

Cool Box

To make sure its Covid-19 vaccine doses arrive at hospitals and clinics frozen and potent, Pfizer created

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State health officials tell Congress they need $8.4B for COVID-19 vaccination effort

State public health officials are urging Congress to provide at least $8.4 billion in emergency funding for distributing a coronavirus vaccine, warning that they do not currently have enough money to carry out the immense logistical effort. 

The letter to bipartisan congressional leaders came from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), a group that represents state public health departments, and the Association of Immunization Managers (AIM), which represents states’ vaccination officials. 

While much attention has been placed on the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine, there is also the daunting challenge of distributing that vaccine and getting shots into the arms of over 300 million people in the United States. 

There are additional logistical challenges given that some of the potential vaccines require storage at extremely cold temperatures, meaning they require special freezers. 

Claire Hannan, AIM’s executive director, warned in a statement that without additional funding, the vaccination effort is “doomed to fail.”

“We want to be absolutely clear – states and local partners cannot conduct an unprecedented and incredibly complex national vaccine distribution program without adequate resources,” she added. 

So far, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has distributed only $200 million to states for vaccination efforts. 

“This funding is a necessary first step but equals approximately 60 cents per person,” Hannan said. “It is not adequate to vaccinate every American with the expected two dose course at this amount.”

The letter calls for $3 billion for workforce recruitment and training for state and local health departments, $1.2 billion for transportation and storage at the needed cold temperatures, $500 million for outreach efforts to fight vaccine misinformation and $1 billion for creating additional vaccination sites, among other requests.

The CDC itself has also told Congress it urgently needs more funding for the vaccination effort, a figure CDC Director Robert Redfield put at $6 billion last month. “The time is now for us to be able to get those resources out to the state, and we currently don’t have those resources,” Redfield said at a congressional hearing in September.

But there is no clear path for Congress to provide that funding, given that lawmakers have been mired in disagreement for months over the next coronavirus relief package, with President TrumpDonald John TrumpFeds investigating if alleged Hunter Biden emails connected to foreign intelligence operation: report Six takeaways from Trump and Biden’s dueling town halls Biden draws sharp contrast with Trump in low-key town hall MORE, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: Mnuchin says Trump will lobby McConnell on big COVID-19 deal On The Money: McConnell shoots down .8 trillion coronavirus deal, breaking with Trump | Pelosi cites progress on testing provisions | Jobless claims spike to 898K United CEO: Business demand for air travel won’t return until 2024 MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFeinstein’s hug of Lindsey Graham sparks outrage on the left Overnight Health Care: Georgia gets Trump approval for Medicaid work requirements, partial expansion | McConnell shoots

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