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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.
 
Most people who fall sick with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover without special treatment.
 
 
HOW IT SPREADS
 
The virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or exhales. These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air, and quickly fall on floors or surfaces.
 
You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are within close proximity of someone who has COVID-19, or by touching a contaminated surface and then your eyes, nose or mouth.

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COVID-19 vaccines are Russia and China ploys to spread Communism, Wyoming health official says

Politics

By On 12/5/20 at 4:41 AM EST

Politics Coronavirus Vaccine Wyoming

A Wyoming Department of Health official claimed last month that a potential COVID-19 vaccine is a biological weapon that will be used by Russia and China to spread Communism.

Igor Shepherd is manager of readiness and countermeasures at the Department of Health. He spoke at an event in Loveland, Colorado on November 10 organized by a group called Keep Colorado Free and Open.

Shepherd referred to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis as a “so-called pandemic” and spoke for more than an hour about his role in Wyoming, warning that a vaccine is a Communist ploy.

Fauci’s Timeline for When He Thinks America Will Beat COVID

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Russia has begun rolling out its own COVID vaccine, which it claims is 95 percent effective, but this is very unlikely to be used in the U.S. China has not yet developed a vaccine.

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Shepherd’s remarks stand in stark contrast to the state’s own public health measures designed to curb the spread of the virus.

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon recently referred to those who downplay the seriousness of COVID as “knuckleheads.”

Shepherd has worked in the Department of Health since 2013 and has been part of the state’s response to the pandemic, according to the Associated Press. He has not served in a leadership role.

“All of the things we’ve said for months and the thousands of hours of dedicated work from our staff and our local partners on this response effort and our excitement for the hope the vaccine offers make our overall department position on the pandemic clear,” health department spokesperson Kim Deti said in a statement to Wyoming’s Casper Star-Tribune.

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Keep Colorado Free and Open operates a private Facebook group with more than 6,000 members. Its description is publicly available, and reads, in part : “We are a group of average citizens who are concerned for our community, our state of Colorado and our country.

“The orders and mandates we have faced as a nation in response to Coronavirus are unconstitutional, and people everywhere are asking, ‘What can we do?’ This group and our website are an answer to that question. There is MUCH that we can do. There is much that we SHOULD do as a matter of right and duty!”

Attempts to develop a COVID vaccine have met with major success. The Moderna vaccine, recently praised by President Donald Trump, protected 94.5 percent of people from the disease, the company said.

A vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNtech has proven 95 percent effective, while the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine stops 70 percent of people from developing symptoms, according to the BBC.

Mass vaccination against the virus will be an essential step in getting life back to normal by arresting the spread of the disease. There are however concerns that some people will refuse to accept the vaccine and this may carry public health risks.

A COVID-19 Vaccination in a Moscow Clinic A nurse proceeds to a vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac) vaccine at a clinic in Moscow on December 5, amid the ongoing coronavirus disease pandemic. One Wyoming health official called a COVID-19 vaccine a Communist ploy. KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images

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First batch of coronavirus vaccine ready by New Year's Day

First batch of coronavirus vaccines to arrive in Australia by New Year’s Day but it could be MONTHS until anyone gets the jab

  • First batch of AstraZeneca vaccine expected to be ready by New Year’s Day
  • The vaccine will still have to undergo several clinical trials before it’s rolled out 
  • Health Minister Greg Hunt earlier said first dose wouldn’t be ready until March

Published: 01:14 EST, 21 November 2020 | Updated: 09:17 EST, 22 November 2020

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The first batch of coronavirus vaccines are expected to arrive by New Year’s Day but Australians may have to wait up to four months to get the jab.

The AstraZeneca vaccine, which is being produced by biotechnology firm CSL, is on track to be ready by December 28 but will need to finish its clinical trials.

After that it must be approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which is expected to delay the rollout of the jab to the end of January.

A vaccine for coronavirus is on track to be ready by the end of the year but Australians may have to wait up to four months to receive it A vaccine for coronavirus is on track to be ready by the end of the year but Australians may have to wait up to four months to receive it

A vaccine for coronavirus is on track to be ready by the end of the year but Australians may have to wait up to four months to receive it

The AstraZeneca vaccine, which is being produced by biotechnology giant CSL, is on track to be ready by December 28 The AstraZeneca vaccine, which is being produced by biotechnology giant CSL, is on track to be ready by December 28

The AstraZeneca vaccine, which is being produced by biotechnology giant CSL, is on track to be ready by December 28 

That would still be far earlier than Health Minister Greg Hunt’s earlier forecast that the first dose of a successful vaccine won’t be available until March.

CSL began producing millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on November 9 in their factory in Melbourne.

If successful, the vaccine will be rolled out in a two-dose per person system.

Each batch of the vaccine takes around 50 days to make, meaning they would be ready by the end of the year.

The jab, which was developed at the University of Oxford, is seen as the leading candidate across the globe.

The Australian Government has also bought potential vaccines from US firms Pfizer and BioNtech, American company Novavax, and the University of Queensland. 

Australia has bought four potential coronavirus vaccines which are expected to be available next year (pictured residents wear face masks in Melbourne) Australia has bought four potential coronavirus vaccines which are expected to be available next year (pictured residents wear face masks in Melbourne)

Australia has bought four potential coronavirus vaccines which are expected to be available next year (pictured residents wear face masks in Melbourne)

The AstraZeneca jab, which was produced at the University of Oxford, is seen as the leading candidate across the globe (pictured CSL staff work on the vaccine) The AstraZeneca jab, which was produced at the University of Oxford, is seen as the leading candidate across the globe (pictured CSL staff work on the vaccine)

The AstraZeneca jab, which was produced at the University of Oxford, is seen as the leading candidate across the globe (pictured CSL staff work on the vaccine)

The results of CSL’s AstraZeneca clinical trials are also expected to be released in the coming weeks while the Novavax vaccine is in its second phase of trials.

All four of the vaccines are expected to be available in Australia in 2021 with the TGA confirming it expects to approve the first dose in late January.

Mr Hunt said that if all four are approved, every Australian could get the jab three separate times.

CSL’s Chief Scientific Officer Dr Andrew Nash earlier said the AstraZeneca vaccine was well on track to be ready for release around the middle of next year.   

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Coronavirus updates Monday: U.K. to receiveu00a0Pfizer vaccine supply

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See inside a COVID-19 vaccine distribution site in Ohio

National Guard members have been practicing dry-run drills of quickly processing shipments of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in Ohio.

USA TODAY

About 50 hospitals in the United Kingdom will receive the first batch of the coronavirus vaccine created by American drugmaker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech, according to the BBC.

Vaccinations will be administered starting Tuesday in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The U.K. became the first country to authorize Pfizer’s candidate vaccine for emergency use last week. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is scheduled to evaluate Pfizer’s vaccine Dec. 10, and distribution is expected to start within 24 hours of authorization.

— USA TODAY

Lane reports 113 new cases a day after setting daily record; weekly cases surge 21.5% in Oregon

Lane County Public Health announced Sunday 113 confirmed and presumed positive cases of COVID-19.

Fifty-four cases were hospitalized, with 12 in the intensive care unit, numbers unchanged from Saturday, and 495 are considered infectious, an increase of more than 10% over Saturday’s count of 449. Those within 10 days of symptom onset are considered capable of passing on the virus and are asked by county public health to quarantine.

No new deaths were reported Sunday, leaving the county death toll at 54.

Oregon reports 1,290 new cases, six deaths Sunday

The Oregon Health Authority reported six coronavirus-related deaths on Sunday, bringing the state pandemic total to 1,033.

OHA also reported 1,290 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases Sunday, setting the state total at 84,496.

The confirmed and presumed cases reported Sunday are in the following counties: Baker (1), Benton (3), Clackamas (187), Clatsop (8), Columbia (12), Coos (10), Crook (6), Curry (4), Deschutes (63), Douglas (20), Harney (1), Hood River (17), Jackson (99), Jefferson (10), Josephine (7), Klamath (33), Lake (1), Lane (83), Lincoln (6), Linn (14), Malheur (12), Marion (218), Morrow (6), Multnomah (187), Polk (19), Tillamook (1), Umatilla (38), Union (3), Wasco (8), Washington (181) and Yamhill (32).

  • Oregon’s 1,028th COVID-19 death is an 81-year-old woman in Coos County who tested positive Nov. 6 and died Nov. 24, at Bay Area Hospital. She had underlying conditions.
  • Oregon’s 1,029th COVID-19 death is a 62-year-old woman in Douglas County who tested positive Nov. 13 and died Dec. 4, at Mercy Medical Center. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.
  • Oregon’s 1,030th COVID-19 death is an 89-year-old man in Marion County who tested positive Nov. 26 and died Dec. 5, at Salem Hospital. He had underlying conditions.
  • Oregon’s 1,031st COVID-19 death is an 86-year-old woman in Marion County who tested positive Nov. 27 and died Dec. 2, at Salem Hospital. She had underlying conditions.
  • Oregon’s 1,032nd COVID-19 death is a 58-year-old man in Multnomah County who tested positive Nov. 1 and died Dec. 5, at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center. He had no underlying conditions.
  • Oregon’s 1,033rd COVID-19 death is an 87-year-old woman in Polk County who tested positive Nov. 16 and died Dec. 2, at her residence. She had underlying conditions.

FAQ: How Oregon’s school reopening metrics work, and where local districts stand

At the end of October, Gov. Kate Brown and the Oregon Department of Education changed the metrics for reopening schools for in-person instruction. Since then, the Oregon Health Authority has made its own changes to tracking COVID-19. With cases continuing to fluctuate, questions remain about where Lane County’s school districts are with the possibility of reopening. 

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about where things stand for schools now.

Read the story here.

City of Eugene clears camp on Jefferson Street despite CDC’s COVID-19 guidance

Earlier this week, evicted campers sorted their belongings, volunteers offered aid and city employees discarded heaps of items that remained on land beside the I-105 bridge on the border of Eugene’s Whiteaker neighborhood. For the last few months, an estimated 100 people found shelter within a technicality. 

The land, located between Washington and Jefferson streets past West First Avenue, is Oregon Department of Transportation property, which meant the city of Eugene was unable to remove people residing there. However, a new lease agreement signed two weeks ago allowed the city’s Parks and Open Space Division to remove the camps that city officials said posed a health risk due to the build up of garbage and presence of criminal activity.

Activists and some service providers, however, were appalled by the action that took place in a time when nights were near freezing temperatures, the coronavirus is spreading through the community at unprecedented rates and only a handful of shelter beds are available to those with no where to go. Lane County Public Health confirmed that at least one person who frequented the encampment tested positive for COVID-19. 

Read the story here.

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Police, firefighters, teachers will be next in line for COVID-19 vaccine

Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY Published 3:07 p.m. ET Dec. 20, 2020 | Updated 5:04 p.m. ET Dec. 20, 2020

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The FDA has authorized Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in the U.S. The first shots of the vaccine are expected to be given Monday. USA TODAY

Police, firefighters, teachers and grocery workers will be among those next in line for a COVID-19 vaccine, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel decided Sunday. 

The committee voted 13-1 to recommend that Phase 1b include people 75 and older and front-line essential workers. Phase 1c will include people 65 to 74 and people 16 to 64 who have high-risk medical conditions, along with other essential workers. 

“My hope is that these short-term recommendations will support efficiency and equity in every phase of vaccination until we can get to the time when all individuals have access to safe and effective vaccines in the U.S. and worldwide,” said Dr. Grace Lee, a professor of pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine and committee member.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices began its deliberations Sunday morning and spent the day discussing who would follow front-line health care workers and people in long-term care facilities in receiving vaccines, a second phase that could begin in February. The committee is responsible for recommending who gets what vaccines when.   

They made difficult decisions that were based on getting a vaccine as quickly as possible to people at the greatest risk of contracting COVID-19 and those who will suffer the most severe outcomes, said Dr. Sharon Fry of the Saint Louis University Medical School and a committee member. 

“There are no perfect recommendations. and people will continue to become ill with this disease and die from the disease until there are adequate vaccines. So please, I will plead also for our leaders and the government to move quickly on this and support this effort,” she said.

There are now two COVID-19 vaccines in use in the United States. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was authorized by the Food and Drug Administration on Dec. 11. The Moderna vaccine was authorized Friday and should begin arriving at hospitals on Monday. 

The United States has created a phased vaccination plan for the coronavirus because there won’t be enough vaccine in the beginning of the rollout.

Phase 1a includes front-line health care workers and people in long-term care facilities.

“Essential workers are at high risk because of exposure, by virtue of being in contact with others, in performing their duties. Prevention of disease in essential workers may reduce transmission to others,” said Dr. Kathleen Dooling, a CDC physician who is co-lead on the advisory committee’s COVID-19 Vaccines Working Group. 

Boxes containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the McKesson distribution center in Olive Branch, Miss., Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020.

Boxes containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the McKesson distribution center in Olive Branch, Miss., Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020.  (Photo: Pool photo by PAUL SANCYA)

These workers are considered essential to the functioning of society and are at substantially higher risk of exposure to SARS-Co/V-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. They make up about 30 million people among these groups:

  • First responders such as firefighters, police
  • Teachers, support staff, day care workers
  • Food and agriculture workers
  • Manufacturing workers
  • Correction workers
  • U.S. Postal Service workers
  • Public transit workers
  • Grocery store workers

Tho essential workers in Phase 1c make up about 57 million people and would include:

  • Public health workers
  • Transportation and logistics workers
  • Food service workers
  • Construction workers
  • Finance workers
  • IT & Communications workers
  • Energy workers
  • Media workers
  • Legal workers
  • Public safety engineers
  • Water and wastewater workers

Medical conditions with sufficient evidence to have been associated with severe COVID-19 disease include:

  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Heart condition
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Immunocompromised state from solid organ transplant
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoker (current or with a history of smoking)

Phase 2 would include all people 16 and over who were not in Phase 1 who are recommended for the vaccination. That means people 16 and over with high-risk medical conditions. 

Because vaccine supplies are initially limited, Phase 1b isn’t expected to begin until February. 

Operation Warp Speed, the White House COVID-19 vaccine and treatment accelerator, has said it expects to distribute 20 million doses in December, 60 million in January and 100 million by February. That’s 180 million doses by the end of February, which means 90 million people would be fully vaccinated. (Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two doses.) 

Exactly how the 20 million doses will be distributed by the end of the month is not clear. Last week, 2.9 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine were distributed. This week, another 2 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be distributed, together with 5.9 million doses of the Moderna vaccine. 

More vaccines are in the pipeline. Another candidate, from Johnson & Johnson, fully enrolled its large-scale human trial Thursday and expects to report its first safety and effectiveness data in January.

A fourth, created by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, is a few weeks behind, and a fifth candidate, by vaccine developer Novavax of Gaithersburg, Maryland, is expected to begin its major U.S. trial shortly. 

If all or most of these come through, there should be plenty of vaccine by the end of next summer to cover every American who wants one.

Contributing: Karen Weintraub

Doctors Gema Naum, left, and Ruxandra Ionescu sit in chairs after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Franciscan Health Indianapolis, Friday, Dec. 18, 2020.Staff take a moment to pray before  COVID-19 vaccines are given out at Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital West in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020.Vice President Mike Pence receives the COVID-19 vaccine in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 18, 2020.Cathy Pitts, R.N., prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital West in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020.Alexa Zarlengo, R.N., receives a COVID-19 vaccine from Debbie Mahoney, R.N., at Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital West in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020.Dr. Blake Lovely before receives the first COVID-19 vaccination administered by RN Lynn Morrison at the DCH Regional Medical Center's drive through facility Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. Hospital staff and front line health care workers are the first to be vaccinated with the two-part vaccine.Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis watches as nurse Christine Philips, left, administers the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 to Vera Leip, 88, a resident of John Knox Village, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, in Pompano Beach, Fla. Nursing home residents and health care workers in Florida began receiving the vaccine this week.Catalina Gonzalez-Marques, an emergency medical physician, receives the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, in Boston.Registered nurse Paige Metz gives Sanford Pediatrics Doctor Jody Huber the first COVID-19 vaccine provided by Sanford Health on Tuesday, December 15, at Sanford Imagenetics in Sioux Falls. The Avera Health System began administering vaccines the day prior.Robin Stemerman, from left front, Raul Garcia, Sarah Ellis, Crystal Molina, back left, and Ricardo Martinez, back right, are the first people in El Paso to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at University Medical Center of El Paso Tuesday Dec. 15, in El Paso. Over the next few days, it should receive about 2,900 doses of the vaccine, officials said.

Robin Stemerman, from left front, Raul Garcia, Sarah Ellis, Crystal Molina, back left, and Ricardo Martinez, back right, are the first people in El Paso to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at University Medical Center of El Paso Tuesday Dec. 15, in El Paso. Over the next few days, it should receive about 2,900 doses of the vaccine, officials said. Briana Sanchez, El Paso Times

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Crystal Molina, RN at University Medical Center of El Paso, is the first person in El Paso to receive the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday Dec. 15, in El Paso. Over the next few days, it should receive about 2,900 doses of the vaccine, officials said.Nursing student Abriana Martinez administers the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to Dr. Erik Pronske at the University of Texas Health Austin Dell Medical School on Tuesday December 15, 2020.Pharmacy student Ghenica-Rose Delfin prepares the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to be administered to hospital staff members at the University of Texas Health Austin Dell Medical School on Tuesday December 15, 2020.Dr. Julie Kennerly-Shah draws out a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as its distributed to healthcare workers on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center East in Columbus, Ohio.Healthcare workers get their vaccine doses in Ohio.Nurse Martiza Beniquez, center, receives the first COVID vaccine shot in New Jersey at University Hospital in Newark as state Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli, right, looks on, Dec. 15, 2020.A man carries a sign for the COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic in the courtyard of where the first vaccinations for Covid-19 in the State of New Jersey takes place at University Hospital in Newark, N.J. on Tuesday Dec. 15, 2020.Healthcare workers are among the first to be inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colo. on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020.Pharmacist Lindsey Groff measures out doses of COVID-19 vaccine at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. The shots were first given to frontline workers in the Ohio State hospitals.Media gather to document emergency room nurse Tarin Warns receiving a COVID-19 vaccine from pharmacist Cory Coffey at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020.David Conway, a registered nurse in the emergency department at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, receives the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the hospital from registered nurse Rachel Lewis, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, on the 12th floor of the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa.Registered nurse Phillip Grudowski receives the COVID-19 vaccine from pharmacist Cory Coffey at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020.Rachel Lewis, a University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) registered nurse, (right) prepares one of first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the hospital with Austin M. Cook, a pharmacy supply chain and automation manager at the hospital, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, on the 12th floor of the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa.  201214 Ia Pfizer Cv Vaccine 005 JpgAllison Wynes, a University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) nurse practitioner, records a video for her friends announcing she had received one of first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the hospital, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, on the 12th floor of the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa.  201214 Ia Pfizer Cv Vaccine 002 JpgAustin M. Cook, a pharmacy supply chain and automation manager at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC), wheels a cart as people receive some of first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the hospital, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, on the 12th floor of the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa.  201214 Ia Pfizer Cv Vaccine 007 JpgDr. Jeffrey Horowitz receives one of the first COVID-19 vaccines in the State of Ohio from pharmacist Robert Weber at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020.  Frontline Ohioans Receive Pfizer S Covid 19 VaccineA quarter-size bandage covers the vaccination spot for Dr. Jason Smith, chief medical officer and trauma surgeon at UofL hospital. Smith became the first person in the state of Kentucky to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, December 14, 2020.Nurse LaShawn Scott was one of the first people in Kentucky to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, December 14, 2020.  The shot was administered by nurse Sarah Bishop at UofL Hospital.  Vaccine16Dr. Jason Smith, chief medical officer and trauma surgeon at UofL hospital, is the first to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in the state of Kentucky on Monday, December 14, 2020.  The shot was administered by nurse Sarah Bishop at UofL Hospital.  Vaccine15

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Russia’s Sputnik coronavirus vaccine gets a Twitter account

Russia is launching a social media campaign to boost awareness of one of the country’s coronavirus vaccine candidates, Sputnik V, which it claims is the first vaccine approved to fight the pandemic.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) announced on Monday that it’s launching an online campaign with a website, social media accounts and a hashtag to deliver the “latest news on the vaccine” and “personal experiences and thoughts” of people who have taken it.

Russia’s fast-paced approach to developing a vaccine has been met with skepticism, starting when Russian President Vladimir Putin said it was ready to roll out this summer before large-scale safety tests had even begun. Health ministers from Germany and France even warned against the vaccine, saying it hadn’t been tested enough before use.

In September, a study published in the Lancet showed that the vaccine was safe and could elicit immune responses, although scientists have raised “concerns” over the data in the study.

Since August, the vaccine developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute is being tested in large-scale Phase 3 clinical trials with 40,000 volunteers in Russia. Further trials are scheduled in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), India, Venezuela and Belarus.

Russia has already struck deals with several countries to sell the vaccine when ready. Hungary has also said it’s interested in ordering the vaccines.

On Monday, RDIF also announced authorization for use of its drug Avifavir, which it will offer for free to non-hospitalized patients suffering from COVID-19. The drug has previously been used in clinical trials in Russia and has been shipped to 17 countries.  


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Add Story/ Your Say Until the Cause is Concluded
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COVID-19 vaccines are Russia and China ploys to spread Communism, Wyoming health official says

COVID-19 vaccines are Russia and China ploys to spread Communism, Wyoming health official says

Politics

By On 12/5/20 at 4:41 AM EST

Politics Coronavirus Vaccine Wyoming

A Wyoming Department of Health official claimed last month that a potential COVID-19 vaccine is a biological weapon that will be used by Russia and China to spread Communism.

Igor Shepherd is manager of readiness and countermeasures at the Department of Health. He spoke at an event in Loveland, Colorado on November 10 organized by a group called Keep Colorado Free and Open.

Shepherd referred to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis as a “so-called pandemic” and spoke for more than an hour about his role in Wyoming, warning that a vaccine is a Communist ploy.

Fauci’s Timeline for When He Thinks America Will Beat COVID

Read more

Russia has begun rolling out its own COVID vaccine, which it claims is 95 percent effective, but this is very unlikely to be used in the U.S. China has not yet developed a vaccine.

Newsweek subscription offers >

Shepherd’s remarks stand in stark contrast to the state’s own public health measures designed to curb the spread of the virus.

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon recently referred to those who downplay the seriousness of COVID as “knuckleheads.”

Shepherd has worked in the Department of Health since 2013 and has been part of the state’s response to the pandemic, according to the Associated Press. He has not served in a leadership role.

“All of the things we’ve said for months and the thousands of hours of dedicated work from our staff and our local partners on this response effort and our excitement for the hope the vaccine offers make our overall department position on the pandemic clear,” health department spokesperson Kim Deti said in a statement to Wyoming’s Casper Star-Tribune.

Newsweek subscription offers >

Keep Colorado Free and Open operates a private Facebook group with more than 6,000 members. Its description is publicly available, and reads, in part : “We are a group of average citizens who are concerned for our community, our state of Colorado and our country.

“The orders and mandates we have faced as a nation in response to Coronavirus are unconstitutional, and people everywhere are asking, ‘What can we do?’ This group and our website are an answer to that question. There is MUCH that we can do. There is much that we SHOULD do as a matter of right and duty!”

Attempts to develop a COVID vaccine have met with major success. The Moderna vaccine, recently praised by President Donald Trump, protected 94.5 percent of people from the disease, the company said.

A vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNtech has proven 95 percent effective, while the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine stops 70 percent of people from developing symptoms, according to the BBC.

Mass vaccination against the virus will be an essential step in getting life back to normal by arresting the spread of the disease. There are however concerns that some people will refuse to accept the vaccine and this may carry public health risks.

A COVID-19 Vaccination in a Moscow Clinic A nurse proceeds to a vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac) vaccine at a clinic in Moscow on December 5, amid the ongoing coronavirus disease pandemic. One Wyoming health official called a COVID-19 vaccine a Communist ploy. KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images

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First batch of coronavirus vaccine ready by New Year's Day

First batch of coronavirus vaccine ready by New Year's Day

First batch of coronavirus vaccines to arrive in Australia by New Year’s Day but it could be MONTHS until anyone gets the jab

  • First batch of AstraZeneca vaccine expected to be ready by New Year’s Day
  • The vaccine will still have to undergo several clinical trials before it’s rolled out 
  • Health Minister Greg Hunt earlier said first dose wouldn’t be ready until March

Published: 01:14 EST, 21 November 2020 | Updated: 09:17 EST, 22 November 2020

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The first batch of coronavirus vaccines are expected to arrive by New Year’s Day but Australians may have to wait up to four months to get the jab.

The AstraZeneca vaccine, which is being produced by biotechnology firm CSL, is on track to be ready by December 28 but will need to finish its clinical trials.

After that it must be approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which is expected to delay the rollout of the jab to the end of January.

A vaccine for coronavirus is on track to be ready by the end of the year but Australians may have to wait up to four months to receive it A vaccine for coronavirus is on track to be ready by the end of the year but Australians may have to wait up to four months to receive it

A vaccine for coronavirus is on track to be ready by the end of the year but Australians may have to wait up to four months to receive it

The AstraZeneca vaccine, which is being produced by biotechnology giant CSL, is on track to be ready by December 28 The AstraZeneca vaccine, which is being produced by biotechnology giant CSL, is on track to be ready by December 28

The AstraZeneca vaccine, which is being produced by biotechnology giant CSL, is on track to be ready by December 28 

That would still be far earlier than Health Minister Greg Hunt’s earlier forecast that the first dose of a successful vaccine won’t be available until March.

CSL began producing millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on November 9 in their factory in Melbourne.

If successful, the vaccine will be rolled out in a two-dose per person system.

Each batch of the vaccine takes around 50 days to make, meaning they would be ready by the end of the year.

The jab, which was developed at the University of Oxford, is seen as the leading candidate across the globe.

The Australian Government has also bought potential vaccines from US firms Pfizer and BioNtech, American company Novavax, and the University of Queensland. 

Australia has bought four potential coronavirus vaccines which are expected to be available next year (pictured residents wear face masks in Melbourne) Australia has bought four potential coronavirus vaccines which are expected to be available next year (pictured residents wear face masks in Melbourne)

Australia has bought four potential coronavirus vaccines which are expected to be available next year (pictured residents wear face masks in Melbourne)

The AstraZeneca jab, which was produced at the University of Oxford, is seen as the leading candidate across the globe (pictured CSL staff work on the vaccine) The AstraZeneca jab, which was produced at the University of Oxford, is seen as the leading candidate across the globe (pictured CSL staff work on the vaccine)

The AstraZeneca jab, which was produced at the University of Oxford, is seen as the leading candidate across the globe (pictured CSL staff work on the vaccine)

The results of CSL’s AstraZeneca clinical trials are also expected to be released in the coming weeks while the Novavax vaccine is in its second phase of trials.

All four of the vaccines are expected to be available in Australia in 2021 with the TGA confirming it expects to approve the first dose in late January.

Mr Hunt said that if all four are approved, every Australian could get the jab three separate times.

CSL’s Chief Scientific Officer Dr Andrew Nash earlier said the AstraZeneca vaccine was well on track to be ready for release around the middle of next year.   

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Coronavirus updates Monday: U.K. to receiveu00a0Pfizer vaccine supply

Coronavirus updates Monday: U.K. to receiveu00a0Pfizer vaccine supply

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See inside a COVID-19 vaccine distribution site in Ohio

National Guard members have been practicing dry-run drills of quickly processing shipments of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in Ohio.

USA TODAY

About 50 hospitals in the United Kingdom will receive the first batch of the coronavirus vaccine created by American drugmaker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech, according to the BBC.

Vaccinations will be administered starting Tuesday in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The U.K. became the first country to authorize Pfizer’s candidate vaccine for emergency use last week. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is scheduled to evaluate Pfizer’s vaccine Dec. 10, and distribution is expected to start within 24 hours of authorization.

— USA TODAY

Lane reports 113 new cases a day after setting daily record; weekly cases surge 21.5% in Oregon

Lane County Public Health announced Sunday 113 confirmed and presumed positive cases of COVID-19.

Fifty-four cases were hospitalized, with 12 in the intensive care unit, numbers unchanged from Saturday, and 495 are considered infectious, an increase of more than 10% over Saturday’s count of 449. Those within 10 days of symptom onset are considered capable of passing on the virus and are asked by county public health to quarantine.

No new deaths were reported Sunday, leaving the county death toll at 54.

Oregon reports 1,290 new cases, six deaths Sunday

The Oregon Health Authority reported six coronavirus-related deaths on Sunday, bringing the state pandemic total to 1,033.

OHA also reported 1,290 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases Sunday, setting the state total at 84,496.

The confirmed and presumed cases reported Sunday are in the following counties: Baker (1), Benton (3), Clackamas (187), Clatsop (8), Columbia (12), Coos (10), Crook (6), Curry (4), Deschutes (63), Douglas (20), Harney (1), Hood River (17), Jackson (99), Jefferson (10), Josephine (7), Klamath (33), Lake (1), Lane (83), Lincoln (6), Linn (14), Malheur (12), Marion (218), Morrow (6), Multnomah (187), Polk (19), Tillamook (1), Umatilla (38), Union (3), Wasco (8), Washington (181) and Yamhill (32).

  • Oregon’s 1,028th COVID-19 death is an 81-year-old woman in Coos County who tested positive Nov. 6 and died Nov. 24, at Bay Area Hospital. She had underlying conditions.
  • Oregon’s 1,029th COVID-19 death is a 62-year-old woman in Douglas County who tested positive Nov. 13 and died Dec. 4, at Mercy Medical Center. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.
  • Oregon’s 1,030th COVID-19 death is an 89-year-old man in Marion County who tested positive Nov. 26 and died Dec. 5, at Salem Hospital. He had underlying conditions.
  • Oregon’s 1,031st COVID-19 death is an 86-year-old woman in Marion County who tested positive Nov. 27 and died Dec. 2, at Salem Hospital. She had underlying conditions.
  • Oregon’s 1,032nd COVID-19 death is a 58-year-old man in Multnomah County who tested positive Nov. 1 and died Dec. 5, at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center. He had no underlying conditions.
  • Oregon’s 1,033rd COVID-19 death is an 87-year-old woman in Polk County who tested positive Nov. 16 and died Dec. 2, at her residence. She had underlying conditions.

FAQ: How Oregon’s school reopening metrics work, and where local districts stand

At the end of October, Gov. Kate Brown and the Oregon Department of Education changed the metrics for reopening schools for in-person instruction. Since then, the Oregon Health Authority has made its own changes to tracking COVID-19. With cases continuing to fluctuate, questions remain about where Lane County’s school districts are with the possibility of reopening. 

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about where things stand for schools now.

Read the story here.

City of Eugene clears camp on Jefferson Street despite CDC’s COVID-19 guidance

Earlier this week, evicted campers sorted their belongings, volunteers offered aid and city employees discarded heaps of items that remained on land beside the I-105 bridge on the border of Eugene’s Whiteaker neighborhood. For the last few months, an estimated 100 people found shelter within a technicality. 

The land, located between Washington and Jefferson streets past West First Avenue, is Oregon Department of Transportation property, which meant the city of Eugene was unable to remove people residing there. However, a new lease agreement signed two weeks ago allowed the city’s Parks and Open Space Division to remove the camps that city officials said posed a health risk due to the build up of garbage and presence of criminal activity.

Activists and some service providers, however, were appalled by the action that took place in a time when nights were near freezing temperatures, the coronavirus is spreading through the community at unprecedented rates and only a handful of shelter beds are available to those with no where to go. Lane County Public Health confirmed that at least one person who frequented the encampment tested positive for COVID-19. 

Read the story here.

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Police, firefighters, teachers will be next in line for COVID-19 vaccine

Police, firefighters, teachers will be next in line for COVID-19 vaccine

Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY Published 3:07 p.m. ET Dec. 20, 2020 | Updated 5:04 p.m. ET Dec. 20, 2020

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The FDA has authorized Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in the U.S. The first shots of the vaccine are expected to be given Monday. USA TODAY

Police, firefighters, teachers and grocery workers will be among those next in line for a COVID-19 vaccine, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel decided Sunday. 

The committee voted 13-1 to recommend that Phase 1b include people 75 and older and front-line essential workers. Phase 1c will include people 65 to 74 and people 16 to 64 who have high-risk medical conditions, along with other essential workers. 

“My hope is that these short-term recommendations will support efficiency and equity in every phase of vaccination until we can get to the time when all individuals have access to safe and effective vaccines in the U.S. and worldwide,” said Dr. Grace Lee, a professor of pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine and committee member.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices began its deliberations Sunday morning and spent the day discussing who would follow front-line health care workers and people in long-term care facilities in receiving vaccines, a second phase that could begin in February. The committee is responsible for recommending who gets what vaccines when.   

They made difficult decisions that were based on getting a vaccine as quickly as possible to people at the greatest risk of contracting COVID-19 and those who will suffer the most severe outcomes, said Dr. Sharon Fry of the Saint Louis University Medical School and a committee member. 

“There are no perfect recommendations. and people will continue to become ill with this disease and die from the disease until there are adequate vaccines. So please, I will plead also for our leaders and the government to move quickly on this and support this effort,” she said.

There are now two COVID-19 vaccines in use in the United States. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was authorized by the Food and Drug Administration on Dec. 11. The Moderna vaccine was authorized Friday and should begin arriving at hospitals on Monday. 

The United States has created a phased vaccination plan for the coronavirus because there won’t be enough vaccine in the beginning of the rollout.

Phase 1a includes front-line health care workers and people in long-term care facilities.

“Essential workers are at high risk because of exposure, by virtue of being in contact with others, in performing their duties. Prevention of disease in essential workers may reduce transmission to others,” said Dr. Kathleen Dooling, a CDC physician who is co-lead on the advisory committee’s COVID-19 Vaccines Working Group. 

Boxes containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the McKesson distribution center in Olive Branch, Miss., Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020.

Boxes containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the McKesson distribution center in Olive Branch, Miss., Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020.  (Photo: Pool photo by PAUL SANCYA)

These workers are considered essential to the functioning of society and are at substantially higher risk of exposure to SARS-Co/V-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. They make up about 30 million people among these groups:

  • First responders such as firefighters, police
  • Teachers, support staff, day care workers
  • Food and agriculture workers
  • Manufacturing workers
  • Correction workers
  • U.S. Postal Service workers
  • Public transit workers
  • Grocery store workers

Tho essential workers in Phase 1c make up about 57 million people and would include:

  • Public health workers
  • Transportation and logistics workers
  • Food service workers
  • Construction workers
  • Finance workers
  • IT & Communications workers
  • Energy workers
  • Media workers
  • Legal workers
  • Public safety engineers
  • Water and wastewater workers

Medical conditions with sufficient evidence to have been associated with severe COVID-19 disease include:

  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Heart condition
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Immunocompromised state from solid organ transplant
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoker (current or with a history of smoking)

Phase 2 would include all people 16 and over who were not in Phase 1 who are recommended for the vaccination. That means people 16 and over with high-risk medical conditions. 

Because vaccine supplies are initially limited, Phase 1b isn’t expected to begin until February. 

Operation Warp Speed, the White House COVID-19 vaccine and treatment accelerator, has said it expects to distribute 20 million doses in December, 60 million in January and 100 million by February. That’s 180 million doses by the end of February, which means 90 million people would be fully vaccinated. (Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two doses.) 

Exactly how the 20 million doses will be distributed by the end of the month is not clear. Last week, 2.9 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine were distributed. This week, another 2 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be distributed, together with 5.9 million doses of the Moderna vaccine. 

More vaccines are in the pipeline. Another candidate, from Johnson & Johnson, fully enrolled its large-scale human trial Thursday and expects to report its first safety and effectiveness data in January.

A fourth, created by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, is a few weeks behind, and a fifth candidate, by vaccine developer Novavax of Gaithersburg, Maryland, is expected to begin its major U.S. trial shortly. 

If all or most of these come through, there should be plenty of vaccine by the end of next summer to cover every American who wants one.

Contributing: Karen Weintraub

Doctors Gema Naum, left, and Ruxandra Ionescu sit in chairs after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Franciscan Health Indianapolis, Friday, Dec. 18, 2020.Staff take a moment to pray before  COVID-19 vaccines are given out at Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital West in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020.Vice President Mike Pence receives the COVID-19 vaccine in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 18, 2020.Cathy Pitts, R.N., prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital West in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020.Alexa Zarlengo, R.N., receives a COVID-19 vaccine from Debbie Mahoney, R.N., at Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital West in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020.Dr. Blake Lovely before receives the first COVID-19 vaccination administered by RN Lynn Morrison at the DCH Regional Medical Center's drive through facility Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. Hospital staff and front line health care workers are the first to be vaccinated with the two-part vaccine.Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis watches as nurse Christine Philips, left, administers the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 to Vera Leip, 88, a resident of John Knox Village, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, in Pompano Beach, Fla. Nursing home residents and health care workers in Florida began receiving the vaccine this week.Catalina Gonzalez-Marques, an emergency medical physician, receives the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, in Boston.Registered nurse Paige Metz gives Sanford Pediatrics Doctor Jody Huber the first COVID-19 vaccine provided by Sanford Health on Tuesday, December 15, at Sanford Imagenetics in Sioux Falls. The Avera Health System began administering vaccines the day prior.Robin Stemerman, from left front, Raul Garcia, Sarah Ellis, Crystal Molina, back left, and Ricardo Martinez, back right, are the first people in El Paso to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at University Medical Center of El Paso Tuesday Dec. 15, in El Paso. Over the next few days, it should receive about 2,900 doses of the vaccine, officials said.

Robin Stemerman, from left front, Raul Garcia, Sarah Ellis, Crystal Molina, back left, and Ricardo Martinez, back right, are the first people in El Paso to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at University Medical Center of El Paso Tuesday Dec. 15, in El Paso. Over the next few days, it should receive about 2,900 doses of the vaccine, officials said. Briana Sanchez, El Paso Times

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Crystal Molina, RN at University Medical Center of El Paso, is the first person in El Paso to receive the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday Dec. 15, in El Paso. Over the next few days, it should receive about 2,900 doses of the vaccine, officials said.Nursing student Abriana Martinez administers the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to Dr. Erik Pronske at the University of Texas Health Austin Dell Medical School on Tuesday December 15, 2020.Pharmacy student Ghenica-Rose Delfin prepares the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to be administered to hospital staff members at the University of Texas Health Austin Dell Medical School on Tuesday December 15, 2020.Dr. Julie Kennerly-Shah draws out a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as its distributed to healthcare workers on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center East in Columbus, Ohio.Healthcare workers get their vaccine doses in Ohio.Nurse Martiza Beniquez, center, receives the first COVID vaccine shot in New Jersey at University Hospital in Newark as state Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli, right, looks on, Dec. 15, 2020.A man carries a sign for the COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic in the courtyard of where the first vaccinations for Covid-19 in the State of New Jersey takes place at University Hospital in Newark, N.J. on Tuesday Dec. 15, 2020.Healthcare workers are among the first to be inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colo. on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020.Pharmacist Lindsey Groff measures out doses of COVID-19 vaccine at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. The shots were first given to frontline workers in the Ohio State hospitals.Media gather to document emergency room nurse Tarin Warns receiving a COVID-19 vaccine from pharmacist Cory Coffey at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020.David Conway, a registered nurse in the emergency department at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, receives the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the hospital from registered nurse Rachel Lewis, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, on the 12th floor of the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa.Registered nurse Phillip Grudowski receives the COVID-19 vaccine from pharmacist Cory Coffey at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020.Rachel Lewis, a University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) registered nurse, (right) prepares one of first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the hospital with Austin M. Cook, a pharmacy supply chain and automation manager at the hospital, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, on the 12th floor of the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa.  201214 Ia Pfizer Cv Vaccine 005 JpgAllison Wynes, a University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) nurse practitioner, records a video for her friends announcing she had received one of first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the hospital, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, on the 12th floor of the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa.  201214 Ia Pfizer Cv Vaccine 002 JpgAustin M. Cook, a pharmacy supply chain and automation manager at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC), wheels a cart as people receive some of first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the hospital, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, on the 12th floor of the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa.  201214 Ia Pfizer Cv Vaccine 007 JpgDr. Jeffrey Horowitz receives one of the first COVID-19 vaccines in the State of Ohio from pharmacist Robert Weber at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020.  Frontline Ohioans Receive Pfizer S Covid 19 VaccineA quarter-size bandage covers the vaccination spot for Dr. Jason Smith, chief medical officer and trauma surgeon at UofL hospital. Smith became the first person in the state of Kentucky to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, December 14, 2020.Nurse LaShawn Scott was one of the first people in Kentucky to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, December 14, 2020.  The shot was administered by nurse Sarah Bishop at UofL Hospital.  Vaccine16Dr. Jason Smith, chief medical officer and trauma surgeon at UofL hospital, is the first to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in the state of Kentucky on Monday, December 14, 2020.  The shot was administered by nurse Sarah Bishop at UofL Hospital.  Vaccine15

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Russia’s Sputnik coronavirus vaccine gets a Twitter account

Russia’s Sputnik coronavirus vaccine gets a Twitter account

Russia is launching a social media campaign to boost awareness of one of the country’s coronavirus vaccine candidates, Sputnik V, which it claims is the first vaccine approved to fight the pandemic.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) announced on Monday that it’s launching an online campaign with a website, social media accounts and a hashtag to deliver the “latest news on the vaccine” and “personal experiences and thoughts” of people who have taken it.

Russia’s fast-paced approach to developing a vaccine has been met with skepticism, starting when Russian President Vladimir Putin said it was ready to roll out this summer before large-scale safety tests had even begun. Health ministers from Germany and France even warned against the vaccine, saying it hadn’t been tested enough before use.

In September, a study published in the Lancet showed that the vaccine was safe and could elicit immune responses, although scientists have raised “concerns” over the data in the study.

Since August, the vaccine developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute is being tested in large-scale Phase 3 clinical trials with 40,000 volunteers in Russia. Further trials are scheduled in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), India, Venezuela and Belarus.

Russia has already struck deals with several countries to sell the vaccine when ready. Hungary has also said it’s interested in ordering the vaccines.

On Monday, RDIF also announced authorization for use of its drug Avifavir, which it will offer for free to non-hospitalized patients suffering from COVID-19. The drug has previously been used in clinical trials in Russia and has been shipped to 17 countries.  


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