Below is a summary of the latest health news.
Cartoon dog accuses skeptical Japanese public of COVID vaccines
While Japan prepares for a COVID-19 vaccination campaign, a cheerful chatbot for cartoon dogs is doing its part to calm a notoriously vaccine-skeptical population and answer any questions. Trust in vaccines in Japan is among the lowest in the world, a study by the Lancet Medical Journal showed. Only half of the population wants to take a COVID-19 vaccine, a poll by national broadcaster NHK last month.
Recently vaccinated people do not need to be quarantined after exposure to COVID-19: CDC
Individuals who have received the full course of COVID-19 vaccines can skip the standard 14-day quarantine after being exposed to an infected person, as long as they remain asymptomatic, US health officials advised. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the vaccines have been shown to prevent symptomatic COVID-19, which is believed to play a greater role in transmitting the virus than the asymptomatic disease.
The Brazilian minister says the Amazon coronavirus variant is three times more contagious
A variant of coronavirus identified in the Brazilian Amazon may be three times more contagious, but early analysis suggests vaccines are still effective against them, the country’s health minister said Thursday, with no evidence to support the claims. Under pressure as the variant pounds the jungle city of Manaus with a devastating second wave of infections, Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello tried to reassure lawmakers that the surge in recent months was unexpected but was coming under control.
New Zealand plans to start COVID-19 vaccinations next week
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Friday the country’s COVID-19 vaccination program is expected to begin on February 20, which is brought forward to earlier than originally anticipated due to the earlier receipt of Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. Ardern has come under increasing pressure to start vaccinating the country’s 5 million people to take advantage of the rare situation of having practically eliminated the virus domestically.
The EU approves all applications to export COVID-19 vaccines to the UK, USA, Japan and China
The European Commission has so far approved all applications for exports of COVID-19 vaccines, including to the UK, US, China and Japan, since it set up a vaccine flow monitoring mechanism on Jan. 30, a spokeswoman said Thursday. The accommodating stance is expected to dispel concerns of global partners about the EU’s willingness to allow COVID-19 vaccines to leave its territory, despite the 27-nation bloc faced supply disruptions and cuts in vaccine shipments.
Biden says there won’t be enough COVID vaccines to vaccinate all Americans by the end of summer
President Joe Biden said Thursday the United States would not have enough coronavirus vaccine doses to vaccinate all Americans by the end of summer. Biden made the comment during a visit to the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory at the National Institutes of Health in suburban Washington.
China reports 12 new COVID-19 cases up from two the day before
China reported 12 new cases of COVID-19 in the mainland on Feb.11, official data showed on Friday, up from two cases the day before, but there were no new locally transmitted infections as the New Year holidays started. All new cases were imported infections, the National Health Commission said in a statement. New asymptomatic infections, which China does not classify as confirmed COVID-19 cases, fell from 16 the previous day to eight.
68.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been given, 46.4 million have been given: US CDC
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it administered 46,390,270 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country and dispensed 68,285,575 doses on Thursday morning. The vaccine doses will apply to both Moderna and Pfizer / BioNTech, vaccines from 6:00 a.m.CET on Thursday, the agency said.
“Our gratitude always”: Mexico welcomes the largest vaccine shipment to date from China’s CanSino
Mexico received its largest COVID-19 vaccine shipment to date on Thursday in the form of the active ingredient for 2 million doses of the Chinese CanSino shot, a relief for the Latin American country after slow delivery on orders from Western companies. Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard recognized China’s support and thanked CanSino Biologics Inc in a tweet for “timely delivery”.
First COVID-19 vaccines come to Japan from Pfizer: media
The first batch of Pfizer Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Japan on Friday, local media reported, with official approval for the shots expected within days if the country plans to control a third wave of infections ahead of the Olympics . A state health panel is due to deliberate on the vaccine later Friday, if the shots are expected to give the go-ahead for formal approval. Kyodo News reported that approval would come on Sunday.
(With contributions from agencies.)