Canada pauses AstraZeneca vaccine for under 55s
Canada on Monday suspended the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine for people under 55 following concerns it might be linked to rare blood clots.
The pause was recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization for safety reasons. The Canadian provinces, which administer health in the country, announced the suspension on Monday.
“There is substantial uncertainty about the benefit of providing AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines to adults under 55 given the potential risks,” said Dr Shelley Deeks, vice-chair of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.
Deeks said the updated recommendations came amid new data from Europe that suggests the risk of blood clots is now potentially as high as one in 100,000, much higher than the one in one million risk believed before:
WHO experts to say Covid probably came to humans from animals
A team of international experts will present details Tuesday of their findings from a mission to China, which concluded Covid-19 probably passed to humans from a bat via an intermediary animal, all but ruling out a laboratory leak, AFP reports.
But the report, drafted by World Health Organization-appointed international experts and their Chinese counterparts, offers no definitive answers on how the new coronavirus jumped to humans.
AFP obtained a copy of the final report ahead of its official publication on Tuesday.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the international experts would hold a press conference Tuesday at 1400 GMT to discuss their findings, adding that all hypotheses on the pandemic’s origins remained open and needed further study.
Covid-19 has killed more than 2.7 million people worldwide in the 15 months since it emerged, forcing governments around the world to introduce restrictions that have battered the global economy.
Ahead of a meeting with world leaders, UN chief Antonio Guterres called Monday for more debt relief for the poorest countries struggling with economic fallout from the pandemic.
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A team of international experts will present details on Tuesday of their findings from a mission to China, which concluded Covid-19 probably passed to humans from a bat via an intermediary animal, all but ruling out a laboratory leak.
And Canada on Monday suspended the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for people under 55 following concerns it might be linked to rare blood clots.
- Spain’s coronavirus infection rate rose by more than 10 since Friday, with 15,500 cases added to the tally, health ministry data showed on Monday, as a gradual uptick in contagion from mid-March lows gathered pace.
- Turkey imposed tighter measures against coronavirus during Ramadan, citing the rising number of high-risk cities across the country. The Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said a full weekend lockdown was to be in place during the month of Ramadan, restaurants would only serve as delivery and take-out, and a nationwide curfew from 9pm-5pm would continue.
- France recorded the highest number of people in intensive care units with Covid-19 since the second lockdown in November and the number of people in hospital with the disease rose by over 600 in a day, the biggest jump in more than four months.
- Canada is to pause the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for people under the age of 55 pending new analysis of the shot’s benefits and risks based on age and gender, health officials said.
- Angela Merkel threatened to centralise Germany’s pandemic response as several of the country’s federal states refuse to implement an emergency brake mechanism on easing restrictions in spite of rapidly rising infection rates. “We need action in the federal states,” the German leader said. “We need to take the appropriate measures very seriously. Some states are doing it; others are not yet doing it.”
- Pakistan’s president, Arif Alvi, tested positive for Covid-19, he said on Twitter on Monday, after receiving his first dose of a vaccine. It came as Pakistan imposed a partial lockdown in several more high-risk areas in the capital, Islamabad, and elsewhere in the country after the positivity rate from coronavirus infections jumped to over 11%.
- Ethiopia on Monday said it would receive 300,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses from China’s state-backed China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) on Tuesday. Ethiopia is struggling to administer shots and tame infections, which have risen to the highest number of new cases in the last week of any country on the continent.
- The UK does not have a surplus of Covid-19 vaccines to share with other countries, but will consider how to share any future surplus if there is one, the prime minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said.
- The World Health Organization said that a long-awaited report into the origins of Covid-19 following a mission to China where the virus first emerged will be released publicly on Tuesday, but that further study is required. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “As I have said, all hypotheses are on the table and warrant complete and further studies.”
- Saudi Arabia said it would allow people who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 to attend sporting events at stadiums at a capacity of 40%, starting on 17 May. Face masks and social distancing would be required, the sports ministry said.