Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Nearly a dozen countries resume AstraZeneca shots after EU, UK regulators say benefits outweigh risks
Nearly a dozen countries resumed use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 shots on Friday as EU and British regulators said the benefits outweighed any risks after reports of rare instances of blood clotting that temporarily halted inoculations. The end of suspensions will kick off a test of public confidence, both in the shot and in drug regulators whose conclusions are under unprecedented scrutiny, as virus variants spread and the global death toll, now at nearly 2.7 million, rises.
Denmark to decide on AstraZeneca vaccine next week: health agency
Denmark will keep its two-week suspension of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine and decide on its future use next week following more investigations, the head of the country’s health agency said on Friday.
Paris goes into lockdown as COVID-19 variant rampages
France imposed a month-long lockdown on Paris and parts of the north after a faltering vaccine rollout and spread of highly contagious coronavirus variants forced President Emmanuel Macron to shift course. Since late January, when he defied the calls of scientists and some in his government to lock the country down, Macron has said he would do whatever it took to keep the euro zone’s second largest economy as open as possible.
U.S. FDA approves J&J’s multiple sclerosis treatment
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Johnson & Johnson’s multiple sclerosis (MS) treatment, Ponvory, the company’s unit Janssen Pharmaceutical Co said on Friday. The FDA approved Ponvory as a daily oral drug to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis, a debilitating neurological condition in which the immune system eats away at the protective covering of nerves.
Special Report: As U.S. schools shuttered, student mental health cratered
A few weeks after San Francisco’s school district moved to remote learning last year in hopes of halting the spread of the coronavirus, Kate Sullivan Morgan noticed her 11-year-old son was barely eating. He would spend days in bed staring at the ceiling. The mother formed a pod with three other families so the students could log on to their online classes together. That helped, but her eldest remained withdrawn and showed little interest in his hobbies, such as playing piano and drawing. Then her younger son, then 8, started to spiral down.
EU to back vaccine export checks when leaders meet next week: draft decision
EU leaders will endorse prolonged export checks and seek to coordinate an eventual lifting of travel curbs when they meet next week to discuss COVID-19 vaccination shortages, according to a draft decision seen by Reuters. The bloc is facing a third wave of the pandemic but has been struggling to ensure enough vaccines, its sluggish inoculation campaign falling behind those of ex-EU member state Britain, the United States and Israel.
Georgia says AstraZeneca vaccinations to continue only in fully-fledged medical centres: TASS
Georgia’s health ministry said on Friday that coronavirus vaccinations with the AstraZeneca shot would continue only in fully-fledged medical centres following the death of a nurse, the TASS news agency reported. A 27-year-old Georgian nurse who suffered an anaphylactic shock after having the AstraZeneca vaccine died on Friday, the Interfax news agency reported earlier.
Germany warns vaccinations alone will not contain COVID-19 third wave
Germany’s health minister warned on Friday there was not enough vaccine in Europe to contain the COVID-19 third wave, as the country sought to get its rollout back on track following a three-day pause in using the AstraZeneca shot. Case numbers have been rising in Germany, driven by an easing of restrictions in recent weeks just as a more transmissible variant of the virus has spread, underlining the need to accelerate vaccinations to protect the vulnerable.
Factbox: Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus
Nearly a dozen countries resumed use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 shots on Friday as EU and British regulators said its benefits outweighed any risks. Reports of rare instances of blood clotting had temporarily halted inoculations.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS Clinics across U.S. bring expertise, community connections to vaccine drive
In the days before an east Los Angeles COVID-19 vaccination site opened in a Latino neighborhood that was hard-hit by the pandemic, people flooded California’s online booking system to snap up appointments. The software accepted hundreds of ineligible residents from wealthy enclaves such as Beverly Hills. Jim Mangia, chief executive of St. John’s Well Child & Family Center, said not one of the first 300 people to book an appointment lived in an East Los Angeles ZIP code and many were not eligible under existing guidelines for age and occupation.
(With inputs from agencies.)