Covid-19: US approves single shot J&J vaccine, UK vaccinates 20 million
Vaccine advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) unanimously voted on Sunday to recommend the distribution of the third vaccine for Americans 18 and older: the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. With the third vaccine, the US eyes deliveries of J&J vaccine on Tuesday with the aim of boosting the country’s vaccination drive.
The United States reported 51,204 new Covid-19 cases and 1,097 related deaths on Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University, taking the national tally to 28,605,669 and the death toll to 513,091 since the pandemic began. At least 96,402,490 vaccine doses have been distributed and at least 75,236,003 doses have been administered, according to CDC. At least 49,772,180 people have received one or more doses of the vaccine and at least 24,779,920 people have received two doses.
Although there has been a decrease in the number of new cases recorded, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, said that the baseline is too high warning that some Americans are easing up on safety measures too soon, thus threatening the same post-dip surges that the US suffered in 2020.
The US also faces the challenge of increased spread of Covid-19 variant strains as the country reported at least 2,463 cases of coronavirus variants that were first spotted in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil, according to CDC. The CDC warned that these figures don't represent the total number of such cases circulating nationwide -- just those that have been detected by analysing positive samples.
Britain announced on Sunday that more than 20 million people had received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. Health secretary Matt Hancock made the announcement in a video on Twitter. “I’m absolutely delighted that over 20 million people have now been vaccinated,” Hancock said. The government said that it plans to offer the first jab to the whole adult population of the country by the end of July.
Britain on Sunday reported 6,095 new cases of Covid-19 and 144 new deaths. The latest figures meant cases over the past seven days were down 21.2% compared with the previous seven-day period of February 15-21, and deaths were down 33.5%. In a budget statement on Wednesday, the government is expected to announce more borrowing on top of almost 300 billion pounds ($418 billion) of Covid-19 spending and tax cuts.