#AceHealthReport – Apr.04: Figures show that 23.5% experienced harassment, bullying or abuse during the #Covid19#pandemic: The report added that 3.5% of staff also reported abuse from colleagues:
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – ‘Nearly a quarter of hospital staff in North Yorkshire have been abused by patients in the past 12 months, according to David Watson, from the York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, told a meeting that safety had become a priority in the wake of the Sarah Everard case, the Local Democracy Reporting Services said’
1 day ago
Hospital bosses in York said they were looking at what they can do to improve staff safety both at work and on journeys to and from hospital sites.
“I think it’s an important issue for our staff,” he said.
“We are looking at what we can do to enhance the safety of our staff, both at work and where we have some control on their commute – lighting of pavements between a car park and hospital premises, if there are cycle racks we will look at what can be done to make those safer.”
Nearly a third of employee sickness at the trust is down to mental health, the meeting also heard.
The reports said there had been a “very slight decrease in the number of absences due to mental health in January”, but added: “Although with a recorded absence rate of 28.8 per cent, mental health continues to dominate the primary reason for absences across the trust.
“The trust continues its programme of interventions to support staff mental health and wellbeing.”
#AceHealthReport – Apr.02: Both of these revisions positively impact the supply of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, which will help provide more vaccine doses to communities and allow shots to get into arms more quickly,” Peter Marks, director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said.
However, the regulator also warned that without proper syringes and needles it may not be possible to extract more that 13 doses from Moderna’s 15 dose vials, and more than 10 doses from the current vials.
Moderna has supplied 100 million doses of its vaccine to the United States as of March 29. Pfizer/BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson’s shots are the other two vaccines approved in the country.
With rising cases and several states even lifting mask mandates and with more infectious variants also spreading, health authorities are hoping that the contracts it struck with the currently approved vaccine makers will be enough for its entire population.
U.S. top infectious diseases doctor Anthony Fauci told Reuters on Thursday that the country may not need AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine even if it wins U.S. regulatory approval.
Reporting by Radhika Anilkumar and Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V & Simon Cameron-Moore
#AceNewsReport – Mar.28: The darknet – a part of the internet that isn’t visible to search engines and requires a special browser to access it – has seen a 300% spike in ads for fake vaccines in the last three months under the guise of brands such as Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Sputnik, and SinoPharm, according to Check Point Research (CPR), an IT security firm:
Fake vaccines, certificates being sold on darknet: ‘IT security firm reports 300% spike in darknet ads and Cybercriminals have begun to traffic in fake vaccines and certificates, according to a new report’
“It’s clear to us that the target audience for darknet vaccine vendors are actually dealers, not necessarily the public at large,” Ekram Ahmed, spokesperson at Check Point, told Fox News.
The vendors seem to be interested in setting up long-term relationships, where they deliver vaccines in large quantities over a long time period. Prices for the vaccines range between $500 and $600.
“The vendors want foot soldiers on the ground, in multiple geographies, to distribute the full-spectrum of coronavirus services: vaccines, vaccination certifications and negative COVID tests,” Ahmed said.
And the boom in vaccine-related business on the darknet is recent, according to CPR.
Check Point attempted to buy a vaccine. The vendor first insisted on using an end-to-end encrypted service. Then Check Point began a dialogue with vendor, who assured Check Point that they would get the vaccine and it would be temperature regulated during shipping.
Then the vendor asked for payment via Bitcoin. “We paid them. They gave us a FedEx tracking number. The transaction was made last week, and we have yet to get the vaccine we ordered,” according to Ahmed.
And activity on the darknet has expanded to include fake vaccination cards from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for $200 per card, CPR said.
Other Darknet activity includes fake negative COVID-19 tests sold as “buy two get the third for free” deals and a do-it-yourself version of a negative COVID-19 test that can be generated in less than 30 minutes for $25.
One hacking forum indicated that “We do negative COVID tests for travelers abroad and for getting a job. Everything is done within 24 hours.”
Earlier this year the Federal Trade Commission issued an advisory on COVID vaccine scams.
“Don’t pay to sign up for the vaccine. Anyone who asks for a payment to put you on a list, make an appointment for you, or reserve a spot in line is a scammer,” the FTC said.
And always ignore sales ads for the COVID-19 vaccine because that’s simply not how you get the vaccine, the FTC said. The vaccine is only available at federal- and state-approved locations.
#AceHealthReport – Mar.21: There is quite a bit of pressure on member states to obtain the vaccine for themselves,” she told Germany’s Funke Media Group over the weekend:
Coronavirus: EU ‘not ready’ to share COVID vaccines with poorer countries: Despite earlier promises, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Sunday that the bloc will not share coronavirus vaccines with other countriesuntil it has “a better production situation in the EU.”
The announcement, which comes as the EU is facing a third coronavirus wave and renewed restrictions on public life, signalled an apparent reversal of the bloc’s earlier promises.
Von der Leyen had strongly campaigned for providing vaccines to people worldwide back in spring 2020. But most COVID vaccine doses continue to be administered in wealthy nations.
“The EU has invested €2.2 billion ($2.6 billion) in this initiative. COVAX has already delivered 30 million doses of vaccine to 52 countries,” she said.
EU slams AstraZeneca
EU-based manufacturers have shipped 41 million vaccine doses to 33 countries since early February, von der Leyen said on Saturday, making the bloc one of the world’s largest export regions for coronavirus vaccines.
“I can’t explain to European citizens why we are exporting millions of vaccine doses to countries that are producing vaccines themselves and aren’t sending us anything back,” she said.
Several European countries suspend AstraZeneca vaccine
The EU has set up special mechanisms to limit vaccine exports. Manufacturers contracted to supply member states must declare if they intend to export doses outside the bloc.
The EU chief threatened to suspend exports of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccines if the bloc did not receive its promised deliveries first.
“We have the option of banning a planned export. That’s the message to AstraZeneca: you fulfil your contract with Europe first before you start delivering to other countries,” von der Leyen said, adding that the Anglo-Swedish pharma company had delivered only 30% of the 90 million vaccine doses it had promised for the first quarter of the year.
UK warns against EU vaccine export ban
In response to the threats, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said on Sunday that “the world is watching” how the EU responds to AstraZeneca’s shortfall in deliveries.
“It is counterproductive (to halt exports of vaccines) because the one thing we know about vaccine production and manufacture is that it is collaborative,” he said.
“They (the EU) would undermine not only their own citizens’ chances of having a proper vaccine programme, but also many other countries around the world with the reputational damage for the EU which they would find very hard to change over the short-term,” he added.
The EU has accused the UK of imposing its own de facto export ban. The claim was vigorously denied by the UK, however, there is no evidence to suggest that the UK has exported any COVID vaccines at all, as it relies on complex legal arrangements with manufacturers.
Meanwhile, the EU has exported at least 8 million doses to the UK.
EU plans vaccine passport, vaccinations still slow
#AceNewsReport – Mar.11: With just four of China’s many vaccine makers claiming they are able to produce at least 2.6 billion doses this year, a large part of the world’s population will end up inoculated not with the fancy Western vaccines boasting headline-grabbing efficacy rates, but with China’s humble, traditionally made shots:
#Coronavirus Report: Chinese vaccines sweep much of the world, despite concerns: ‘There vaccine diplomacy campaign has been a surprising success: It has pledged roughly half a billion doses of its vaccines to more than 45 countries, according to a country-by-country tally by The Associated Press’
FILE – In this Dec. 23, 2020, file photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, a Sinovac worker checks the labeling on vials of COVID-19 vaccines on…
FILE – In this Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, file photo, a health worker administers a dose of China’s Sinopharm vaccine during the start of the vaccination…
FILE – In this Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, file photo, a teacher receives a shot of the CoronaVac vaccine for COVID-19, by China’s Sinovac Biotech, at Salv…
FILE – In this Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 file photo, President Sebastian Pinera speaks in front of the plane carrying the country’s first batch of the C…
FILE – In this Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020 file photo, a worker inspects syringes of a vaccine for COVID-19 produced by Sinovac at its factory in Beijing…
FILE – In this Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, file photo, Terezinha da Conceicao, 80, left, and Dulcinea da Silva Lopes, 59, become the first women in the cou…
FILE – In this Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021, file photo, an elderly man looks at his vaccination card after getting a shot of the CoronaVac vaccine for COV…
FILE – In this Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, file photo, medical workers receive the COVID-19 vaccine during a mass vaccination in Jakarta, Indonesia. The c…
FILE – In this Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, file photo, a woman gets a shot of China’s Sinovac CoronaVac vaccine as part of a priority COVID-19 vaccination p…
FILE – In this Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, file photo, a health worker holds a box containing a dose of China’s Sinopharm vaccine during the start of the …
FILE – In this Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021 file photo, workers unload a container of China’s Sinopharm coronavirus vaccines at the Belgrade Airport in Se…
FILE – In this July 15, 2020 photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, Sinovac staff members work in a purification area to be used in production…
People rest and are monitored for the possibility of side effects after receiving a dose of Chinese Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine in Belgrade, Serbia, We…
FILE – In this Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021 file photo, Dr. Lili Rahmawaty, right, gives a shot of COVID-19 vaccine to a colleague at North Sumatra Univer…
FILE – In this Friday, Feb. 26, 2021 file photo, a health worker wearing a face mask and shield holds a sign as she and others call on the government …
A man receives a Chinese made Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine in Budapest, Hungary on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. China is providing the vaccine to countries…
FILE – In this Monday, Feb, 15, 2021 file photo, an official from the Chinese embassy in Zimbabwe holds a Chinese flag next to a plane carrying Sinoph…
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — The plane laden with vaccines had just rolled to a stop at Santiago’s airport in late January, and Chile’s president, Sebastián Piñera, was beaming. “Today,” he said, “is a day of joy, emotion and hope.”
The source of that hope: China – a country that Chile and dozens of other nations are depending on to help rescue them from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amid a dearth of public data on China’s vaccines, hesitations over their efficacy and safety are still pervasive in the countries depending on them, along with concerns about what China might want in return for deliveries. Nonetheless, inoculations with Chinese vaccines already have begun in more than 25 countries, and the Chinese shots have been delivered to another 11, according to the AP tally, based on independent reporting in those countries along with government and company announcements.
It’s a potential face-saving coup for China, which has been determined to transform itself from an object of mistrust over its initial mishandling of the COVID-19 outbreak to a savior. Like India and Russia, China is trying to build goodwill, and has pledged roughly 10 times more vaccines abroad than it has distributed at home.
“We’re seeing certainly real-time vaccine diplomacy start to play out, with China in the lead in terms of being able to manufacture vaccines within China and make them available to others,” said Krishna Udayakumar, founding director of the Duke Global Health Innovation Center at Duke University. “Some of them donated, some of them sold, and some of them sold with debt financing associated with it.”
China has said it is supplying “vaccine aid” to 53 countries and exports to 27, but it rejected a request by the AP for the list. Beijing has also denied vaccine diplomacy, and a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said China considered the vaccine a “global public good.” Chinese experts reject any connection between the export of its vaccines and the revamping of its image.
“I don’t see any linkage there,” said Wang Huiyao, president of the Centre for China and Globalization, a Beijing think tank. “China should do more to help other countries, because it’s doing well.”
China has targeted the low- and middle-income countries largely left behind as rich nations scooped up most of the pricey vaccines produced by the likes of Pfizer and Moderna. And despite a few delays of its own in Brazil and Turkey, China has largely capitalized on slower-than-hoped-for deliveries by U.S. and European vaccine makers.
Like many other countries, Chile received far fewer doses of the Pfizer vaccine than first promised. In the month after its vaccination program began in late December, only around 150,000 of the 10 million Pfizer doses the South American country ordered arrived.
It wasn’t until Chinese company Sinovac Biotech Ltd. swooped in with 4 million doses in late January that Chile began inoculating its population of 19 million with impressive speed. The country now has the fifth highest vaccination rate per capita in the world, according to Oxford University.
Chilean Vilma Ortiz got her Sinovac shot at a school in Santiago’s Nunoa neighborhood, along with about 60 other people. Although she considers herself “kind of a skeptical person,” she said she researched the Chinese vaccines on the Internet and was satisfied.
“I have a lot of faith and confidence in the vaccine,” she said.
In Jakarta, the sports stadium was abuzz as masked healthcare workers filed in to receive their Sinovac shot. Wandering the rows of vaccination stations was Indonesian President Joko Widodo, the first person in the Southeast Asian country to get the Chinese shot, 140 million doses of which he has ordered for his people.
Among those at the stadium was Susi Monica, an intern doctor receiving her second dose. Despite questions over its efficacy, getting the shot was worth it to her, particularly because she didn’t have any adverse reactions to the first dose.
Besides, she said, “Do I have another choice right now?”
The choices are limited for Indonesia and many other low- and middle-income countries clobbered by COVID. Vaccine deployment globally has been dominated by wealthier countries, which have snapped up 5.8 billion of the 8.2 billion doses purchased worldwide, according to Duke University.
China’s vaccines, which can be stored in standard refrigerators, are attractive to countries like Indonesia, a sweltering nation that straddles the equator and could struggle to accommodate the ultracold storage needs of vaccines like Pfizer’s.
The bulk of Chinese shots are from Sinovac and Sinopharm, which both rely on a traditional technology called an inactivated virus vaccine, based on cultivating batches of the virus and then killing it. Some countries view it as safer than the newer, less-proven technology used by some Western competitors that targets the coronavirus’ spike protein, despite publicly available safety data for the Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines and none for China’s.
“The choice was made for this vaccine because it is developed on a traditional and safe inactivated platform,” said Teymur Musayev, an official with the Ministry of Health in Azerbaijan, which has ordered 4 million Sinovac doses.
In Europe, China is providing the vaccine to countries such as Serbia and Hungary — a significant geopolitical victory in Central Europe and the Balkans, where the West, China and Russia are competing for political and economic influence. This stretch of Europe has offered fertile ground for China to strengthen bilateral ties with Serbia and Hungary’s populist leaders, who often criticize the EU.
Serbia became the first country in Europe to start inoculating its population with China’s vaccines in January. The country has so far purchased 1.5 million doses of Sinopharm’s vaccine, which makes up the majority of the country’s supply, and smaller amounts of Russia’s Sputnik V and Pfizer’s vaccines.
Donning heavy coats against the winter chill, masked-up Serbians have been waiting in long lines for their turn to get the vaccine.
“They have been vaccinating their own people for (a) long period, I assume they have more experience,” Natasa Stermenski, a Belgrade resident, said of her choice to get the Chinese shot at a vaccination center in February.
Neighboring Hungary, impatient over delays in the European Union, soon became the first country in the EU to approve the same Chinese vaccine. On Sunday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban got the Sinopharm shot, after recently saying he trusted the Chinese vaccine the most.
Many leaders have publicly supported the Chinese shots to allay concerns. Early on, “people had all these microchip theories in their heads, genetic modification, sterilization, running around on social media platforms,” said Sanjeev Pugazhendi, a medical officer in the Indian Ocean island nation of the Seychelles, whose president recently received a Sinopharm shot on camera. “But the moment we started giving out the vaccines to leaders, religious leaders and health workers, that started to subside.”
Beijing’s vaccine diplomacy efforts are good for both China and the developing world, experts say.
“Because of the competition for influence, the poor countries can get earlier access for vaccines,” said Yun Jiang, managing editor of the China Story Blog at the Australian National University. “Of course, that’s assuming that all the vaccines are safe and delivered in the right way.”
China’s vaccine diplomacy will only be as good as the vaccines it is offering, and it still faces hurdles.
Ahmed Hamdan Zayed, a nurse in Egypt, was reluctant to receive a vaccine, especially a Chinese one. The frontline health worker would be among the first in the country to get Sinopharm’s shot as part of a mass vaccination campaign. Over 9 million Sinopharm shots have been given outside China.
“We had concerns about vaccines in general,” the 27-year-old father of two said in a phone interview from the Abu Khalifa hospital in the northeastern part of the country. “The Chinese vaccine, in particular, there was insufficient data available compared to other vaccines.”
But Zayed ultimately decided to get the shot after conducting more research. A doctor at his hospital called colleagues in the United Arab Emirates, which had approved the same shot, and they met with Egyptian health officials.
Sinopharm, which said its vaccine was 79% effective based on interim data from clinical trials, did not respond to requests for an interview. Sinopharm’s chairman has said they have not had a single severe adverse event in response to their vaccine.
Chinese vaccine companies have been “slow and spotty” in releasing their trial data, compared to companies like Pfizer and Moderna, said Yanzhong Huang, a global health expert at the U.S. think tank Council for Foreign Relations. None of China’s three vaccine candidates used globally have publicly released their late-stage clinical trial data. CanSino, another Chinese company with a one-shot vaccine that it says is 65% effective, declined to be interviewed.
China’s pharmaceutical business practices also have raised concerns. In 2018, it emerged that one of China’s biggest vaccine companies falsified data to sell its rabies vaccines. That same year, news broke that a Sinopharm subsidiary, which is behind one of the COVID-19 vaccines now, had made substandard diphtheria vaccines used in mandatory immunizations.
With Chinese vaccines, “for a lot of people, the first thing you think about is ‘Made in China,’ and that doesn’t give you much assurance,” said Joy Zhang, a professor at the University of Kent in the UK who studies the ethics of emerging science.
Russia and India have faced similar skepticism, partly because people have less trust in products made outside the Western world, said Sayedur Rahman, head of the pharmacology department at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University in Bangladesh.
“China, India, Russia, Cuba, whenever they develop a vaccine or conduct research, their data is questioned, and people say their process is not transparent,” he said.
A December YouGov poll of 19,000 people in 17 countries and regions on how they felt about different vaccines found that China’s received the second-lowest score, tied with India’s. In the Philippines, which has ordered 25 million Sinovac doses, less than 20% of those surveyed by a research group expressed confidence in China’s vaccines.
Those concerns have been exacerbated by confusion around the efficacy of Sinovac’s shot. In Turkey, where Sinovac conducted part of its efficacy trials, officials have said the vaccine was 91% effective. However, in Brazil, officials revised the efficacy rate in late-stage clinical trials from 78% to just over 50% after including mild infections.
A senior Chinese official said Brazil’s numbers were lower because its volunteers were healthcare workers who faced a higher risk of infection. But other medical experts have said exposure would not affect a vaccine’s effectiveness.
Sinovac’s trials were conducted separately in Turkey and Brazil, and the differences in efficacy rates arise from differences in the populations, a spokesman for the company said in a previous interview with the AP. The company declined to be interviewed for this article. An expert panel in Hong Kong assessed the efficacy of the vaccine at about 51%, and the city approved its use in mid-February.
Globally, public health officials have said any vaccine that is at least 50% effective is useful. International scientists are anxious to see results from final-stage testing published in a peer-reviewed science journal for all three Chinese companies.
It’s also unclear how the Chinese shots work against new strains of the virus that are emerging, especially a variant first identified in South Africa. For example, Sinopharm has pledged 800,000 shots to South Africa’s neighbor, Zimbabwe.
There are concerns among receiving countries that China’s vaccine diplomacy may come at a cost, which China has denied. In the Philippines, where Beijing is donating 600,000 vaccines, a senior diplomat said China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, gave a subtle message to tone down public criticism of growing Chinese assertiveness in the disputed South China Sea.
The senior diplomat said Wang did not ask for anything in exchange for vaccines, but it was clear he wanted “friendly exchanges in public, like control your megaphone diplomacy a little.” The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the issue publicly.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte publicly said in a news conference on Sunday that China did not ask for anything, as the donations were flown in.
Meanwhile, opposition legislators in Turkey are accusing Ankara’s leaders of secretly selling out Uyghurs to China in exchange for vaccines after a recent shipment delay. The legislators and the Uyghur diaspora community fear Beijing is trying to win passage of an extradition treaty that could see more Uyghurs deported to China.
Despite all the worries, the pandemic’s urgency has largely superseded hesitations over China’s vaccines.
“Vaccines, particularly those made in the West, are reserved for rich countries,” said one Egyptian official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the matter. “We had to guarantee a vaccine. Any vaccine.”
Gelineau reported from Sydney.
Associated Press researcher Chen Si in Shanghai, and AP reporters Patricia Luna in Santiago, Chile; Sam Magdy in Cairo; Jim Gomez in Manila, Philippines; Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Indonesia; Aida Sultanova in London; Justin Spike in Budapest, Hungary; Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade, Serbia; Cara Anna in Nairobi, Kenya; Allen G. Breed in Raleigh, North Carolina; and Diane Jeantet in Rio de Janeiro contributed to this report.
#AceWorldNews – GENEVA – October 21 – Tens of thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines could be available for “real-world” testing in West Africa as soon as January as long as they are deemed safe, a top World Health Organization official said Tuesday.
Dr Marie Paule Kieny, an assistant director general for WHO, said clinical trials that are either under-way or planned in Europe, Africa and the U.S. are expected to produce preliminary safety data on two vaccines by December.