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Biden taps Gayle Smith to serve as global Covid coordinator

April 5, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 22.2%. 2 min read.

The Biden administration has tapped Gayle Smith, who helped lead the Obama administration’s Ebola response, to serve as the coordinator for Global Covid Response and Health Security, Secretary of State Tony Blinken announced in remarks Monday that failed to offer concrete details about US plans to share vaccines with international partners.

The top US diplomat said that the United States would not “trade shots in arms for political favors,” but did not offer specific details on the administration’s plans to share vaccines more broadly beyond its immediate neighbors.

More than 167 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States, according to data published Monday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Overall, about 32% of the US population – more than 107. 5 million people – have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and nearly 19% of the population – more than 62 million people – are fully vaccinated, CDC data shows.

Pressed by CNN's Kaitlan Collins on if the issues could add to vaccine hesitancy across the United States, Psaki responded, “we haven't seen that. ” 

CNN reported the company has been assisting in the production of Covid-19 vaccines for Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca for months, according to a source familiar with the situation.

In addition to the batch of 15 million doses that had to be discarded, Emergent has successfully produced 115 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, which are in various stages of the supply chain, the source said.

The source added that it’s “not that unusual” for the pharmaceutical industry to have to discard batches of vaccine, and the fact that Emergent and J&J detected the contamination before any of the impacted doses shipped “showed the system worked. ”

The United States is currently administering Covid-19 vaccine doses at a pace that’s nearly five times faster than the global average, and has fully vaccinated a larger share of its population than most countries that have been vaccinating for a similar amount of time, a CNN analysis suggests.

You can find more specific country data at CNN’s global vaccine tracker here.

Johnson said the easing of restrictions was fully justified by the data, namely a reduction in the number of cases and the rising number of people which have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said there is no “right or wrong” in advocating a vaccination strategy to delay a second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

“There really are different approaches and different opinions,” Fauci said in an answer to a question from CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen during Monday’s White House Covid-19 Response Team briefing.

Factoring in variants that may diminish the effectiveness of the vaccine – “you’re in a tenuous zone if you don’t have the full impact,” Fauci said.

“So there is some merit to the arguments that are made, and we certainly respect that, but right now, given the number of vaccines we’re able to give every day, literally every day that goes by, we get closer and closer to where we want to be,” Fauci said.

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