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Covid 19 #26: Now is the Winter of Our Discontent

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3 hours ago, Fragile Bird said:

since the US has blocked the rest of our orders (AZ, J&J and Novavax). 

Come on, that's not possible. America First, that was just right-wing fascism and nationalism gone amok under Trump. Under Biden, it's totally different, the US is back playing nice with other countries and being a nice member of the international community. It was Trump who was suspected of trying to buy all vaccines available the world over, and to block any vaccine export outside the US. Biden would never do that. He's a nice guy. It's Change. Surely, the US administration is making sure other countries have a reasonable access to and supply from US vast vaccine manufacturing.

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I ask you, in the real world, how does an elected politician look his or her constituents in the eye and say “sorry, you are going to have to wait for your vaccine, so you will have to keep your life on hold for a little longer, I’ve decided to send some of our quite limited supply to other countries”?  

While I perfectly understand that we need a global response here, and that in the long run this is likely short sighted, in a moment of acute scarcity and anxiety, that just isn’t going to scan in any particular country until the scarcity diminishes.  In the US that looks like May.

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13 minutes ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

I ask you, in the real world, how does an elected politician look his or her constituents in the eye and say “sorry, you are going to have to wait for your vaccine, so you will have to keep your life on hold for a little longer, I’ve decided to send some of our quite limited supply to other countries”?  

While I perfectly understand that we need a global response here, and that in the long run this is likely short sighted, in a moment of acute scarcity and anxiety, that just isn’t going to scan in any particular country until the scarcity diminishes.  In the US that looks like May.

Feel like we've discussed this a ton over and over again. In a perfect world we would be developing vaccines for everyone, regardless of country or wealth. But we don't live in that fantasy, politicians are creatures of self-preservation by and large and there's no way any elected official could tell their constituents that they voted to prioritize sending a much needed vaccine to someone in another country not paying taxes in said country. It's as DoA as DoA gets. The hope is that once a given country is largely vaccinated they will share, no strings attached, their resources to help poorer countries, because at the end of the day we are all in this together.  

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Yes, we have discussed this before. And I’ll point out again that India has taken the position that half of the vaccine produced in the country will be for India and the other half will go to other countries. And the vaccine being produced in Europe is going to many countries around the world. Israel is not part of Europe. Japan is not part of Europe (they got Pfizer vaccine to start with while the AZ plant in Japan ramps up). Australia got Pfizer vaccine while their AZ plant ramps up. Multiple countries in Africa have received Pfizer vaccine. Why is Europe supposed to supply the whole world? The Chinese have more than a billion people to vaccinate, but they’re sharing  vaccine. The Russians are in far worse shape than the Chinese, but they are sending out some vaccine. We’ll see if Japan and Australia go the US/UK route or if they send vaccine to countries without plants.

Frankly, I’m sure that showing decency would be political suicide for Biden. After decades of trying to be president, he’s not going to sacrifice himself for any other country, not Canada, not Mexico. It doesn’t make it right, though.

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17 minutes ago, Fragile Bird said:

It doesn’t make it right, though.

That's not really the point, though.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Padraig said:

That's understandable.  It is not a good thing.

The EU did try though.  While the UK and US take everything that is produced in their countries, the EU allowed other countries to be supplied with vaccines from its factories. 

Oh, it wasn't a comment about the EU in particular - I was also publicly pissed off when the US did the same only more so (I also talked about being understandable when still vaccinating the high risk groups - which the EU hasn't, whilst the US has said that every man, woman and child will be vaccinated before export is allowed).
I hadn't noticed the UK doing likewise, but am not remotely surprised, 1 amongst so many other reasons to be annoyed by my government.

Edited by Which Tyler

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7 minutes ago, Chataya de Fleury said:

I’m going to get murdered here for this, but how can you have SMOKERS and OBESE PEOPLE as a priority group?

Why am I last in line because of someone’s poor lifestyle choices??

It's a vaccine, not a reward. Regardless of the disease, you want to vaccinate the most vulnerable first. I guess the question is why you feel entitled to go before others? Why you feel you deserve a return to whatever normalcy there might be, over other people? Like other people haven't been making their own sacrifices? Because you didn't smoke?

It's kinda arbitrary on either side. And I say this as someone who won the BMI lottery earlier today. I was in near tears while registering at the reception area. A year of absolute terror over me, my family, my friends, the world, and finally a personal bright spot on that front. But I guess I wasn't deserving of that, yet? You deserved it more? Trust me when I say I was prepared to remain a shut in and wait and wait. Especially hoping that MC and his staff would be vaccinated by now. But I wasn't going to turn down this thing everyone needs after my doctor/medical group sought me out (not the other way around).

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24 minutes ago, Fragile Bird said:

We’ll see if Japan and Australia go the US/UK route or if they send vaccine to countries without plants.

No idea about Japan, but from my reading (and I kinda hope I'm mistaken about this) the local company in Australia (CSL) which is manufacturing the AZ vaccine is only licensed to produce 50 million doses. Basically enough to vaccinate Australia. The government has said they'll donate excess vaccine, but I wouldn't expect that to be huge amounts. Our current (very nationalistic) government isn't big on foreign aid tbh.

It would make sense to lean on that limited production capacity and also export to the poorer countries in Asia. But I haven't read that's on the cards anywhere.

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Just now, Impmk2 said:

No idea about Japan, but from my reading (and I kinda hope I'm mistaken about this) the local company in Australia (CSL) which is manufacturing the AZ vaccine is only licensed to produce 50 million doses. Basically enough to vaccinate Australia. The government has said they'll donate excess vaccine, but I wouldn't expect that to be huge amounts. Our current (very nationalistic) government isn't big on foreign aid tbh.

It would make sense to lean on that limited production capacity and also export to the poorer countries in Asia. But I haven't read that's on the cards anywhere.

AZ is kinda weird. They refused to allow vaccine to be made in Canada. :dunno:

Apparently we couldn’t do the volume they wanted.

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4 hours ago, Padraig said:

Its a bit more complicated than that.  Canada has 3 separate contracts with 3 separate companies.  The EU has the same.  It's unlikely that they were identical, as in, that each contract promised that Canada would get the same amount of doses per head of population as the EU did.   It is certainly possible that the EU was promised higher rates.  And of course, Canada approved the AZ vaccines much later than the EU, so any direct comparison is difficult. 

I don't think that Canada has complained about being short changed?  Now, that doesn't mean it hasn't been.  It could feel it would gain nothing by going public.  But these things often do end up leaking, if there was a serious issue.

The EU's issue with AZ was that it was getting way less doses than planned, while the UK seemed largely unaffected.  On the other hand, the EU was certainly affected by the Pfizer slowdown (like Canada was).  And by issues with Moderna also.  Was Canada affected more?  Hard to know.  But as stated, I'm not aware of anything public.  And you'd have to compare the contracts to be sure.

My understanding is that Pfizer planned to supply Canada from the US. After all, the finishing plant is a hop, skip and a jump from the Canadian border. But once Trump signed his EO, that plan went to hell and they had to supply us from Europe. By the end of March we’ll have received 4 M Pfizer doses, which is 4 M that could have been distributed in Europe.

And trust me, the Canadian press watched vaccine distribution like a hawk and loudly complained about the pitiful amount we were receiving. The government did not ever attack Pfizer or Moderna. Instead they emphasized all Canadians who wanted to be vaccinated would be vaccinated by the end of September. The government has also kept saying we’d have 6 M doses of vaccine by the end of March and it definitely looks like we’ll have 6 M doses by the end of March. We are going to approve J&J vaccine within days, but we have no idea when we’ll get any. The Novavax vaccine has also been submitted for approval, the timing on that is still a few weeks away, apparently. They will be manufacturing vaccine in Canada by the end of the year.

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Wow people are just soooo blind and inconsistent, aren’t they. We are overflowing with memes and hate comments about the lockdown and somehow people feel cheated that the polling about reopening ended with closing down. This is a rather childlike attitude since it disregards the radical change of the context - that is new cases per day are ten times higher than they were when the polling started. We literally have 6000+ new cases a day. We had 4000ish back in October when people were throwing tamper tantrums that the government is letting people die and restrictions needed to be put in place ASAP. Yet now, we are all out of our minds because we can’t go to the mall for two weeks (honestly it made no sense that we could before either). All the while our active case count is on the rise, the ICUs are filling up as do covid hospitals to the same numbers they had to tackle in November and December. And our number of deaths by population is 10th worst in Europe. Fun times.

we are supposed to have some mass vaccination done this weekend, yet my mum didn’t receive a notification. This is very stressful, I really want her to be vaccinated because even though she’s careful and lives in the country and works from home, I’m the example that you can still totally catch it even if you think you’re careful. 

anyway, I’m kinda all right. Gastro-wise still not 100%, nose is mostly clear, appetite’s all right, and my sleep is stressed again (which is the usual thing as opposed to blacking out for 8 Hours like I did last weekend).  I’m still not working today and I’ll take it easy over the weekend. And I hope there’ll be no relapse and everything progresses well. 

 

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11 hours ago, felice said:

A bad, bad article. It's raw numbers, not rate or risk: 2.2m died in one group, 0.3m in the other, with no weighting for number of people or number of covid cases in each group. Overweight numbers are harder to find than obesity, but 67% of countries have a mean BMI in the overweight range. It's analysis of Johns Hopkins and WHO data, not analysis by them; it's a press release from the World Obesity Forum, whoever they are (a brief googling was unenlightening). The countries with the most deaths might happen to fall into the first group, but I think there could be other explanations for why so many people have died in the US and Brazil. Does being overweight increase your chances of dying if you catch covid? Who knows, this article provides zero information on the matter.

These were my thoughts when I saw the news. I didn't read the article but from what I saw there are too many confounding effects to make clear conclusions. Notice, it's very likely that obesity makes things worse, but doing bad science about it will not get us anywhere.

 

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10 hours ago, Impmk2 said:

I guess if the trend of vaccine nationalism continues and starts to really impact deliveries to countries which are hard hit I'd be worried. But as an Australian I'm not particularly concerned, though the right wing press will no doubt kick up a fuss. We have basically no cases and local AZ manufacturing capacity coming online this month. And frankly our initial rollout isn't even close to hitting target numbers, and that needs to be resolved more urgently than any supply issues at this stage.

I'm just a little bit worried about NZ and Australia to be honest. Both of you have been able to hold for a year and may be able to do so still for a while. But with Autumn around the corner and people getting less careful, it might be matter of time until infected people start to slip under the radar and you will notice when the outbreak is well underway. So be prepared.

Chile and Argentina have been both hard hit but they are vaccinating. The later way slower than the former. So other S. American countries and S. Africa.

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6 hours ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

I ask you, in the real world, how does an elected politician look his or her constituents in the eye and say “sorry, you are going to have to wait for your vaccine, so you will have to keep your life on hold for a little longer, I’ve decided to send some of our quite limited supply to other countries”? 

To be blunt, was Trump still in power, he would be blamed every fucking day for playing America First, no vaccine out of this country until everyone has had it, he would be blamed for not helping long-time allies across the world, he would be blamed for a vaccine isolationist policy, he would be blamed for hijacking vaccines other countries have ordered and paid for.

But suddenly, because this is Saint Biden, it's ok? Fuck that shit, as far as foreign relations are concerned, he's acting barely better than the orange asshole. He could and should have cancelled the executive order.

And then that Bloomberg article Padraig posted stated blankly that Pfizer doses produced late last year in Belgium were sent to the US so that they could make their 20 mio doses delivery, and just when that was over, Pfizer basically said "look, Euros, we're reducing production here for the next weeks because we have work to do on that plant". AZ has been roasted for being suspected of doing the same with UK, but somehow they've all been playing nice with Pfizer which seems to have deliberately pulled off the same shit. So it's basically fine for the US to take what's been produced abroad, but not one dose produced inside the US should be shipped abroad.

I hope EU people and leaders are taking note. I hope that the whole world is taking note that China sends away part of its production, while having to vaccinate 1 bio people, that Russia, which has been badly hit by covid and had high mortality, is shipping significant amounts away as well, but US and UK are the ones hoarding and keeping every bloody dose.

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Posted (edited)

Again you are spot on @Clueless Northman there are too much double standards when it comes to the treatments of things "we like". I'm actually awaiting eagerly what will be the response to the Sputnik approval request. If they reject it after approving AZ, you can be sure that our institutions are a joke.

BTW, have you noticed that since Trump is gone, the lab leak theory is gaining momentum in MSM? Slowly. Keep on eye on that.

 

Edited by rotting sea cow

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1 hour ago, Clueless Northman said:

 AZ has been roasted for being suspected of doing the same with UK, but somehow they've all been playing nice with Pfizer which seems to have deliberately pulled off the same shit. So it's basically fine for the US to take what's been produced abroad, but not one dose produced inside the US should be shipped abroad.

it's a question of scale.

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There are many options when it comes to sharing vaccines.  A country can keep all doses until everyone is offered one.  Or you can start sharing some vaccines earlier.  France suggested 5% a while back, which is not a big number but it is something.

I actually think you can sell that story.    You need to have vaccinated your most vulnerable people first but then you can say that while everyone else is being vaccinated, you are helping a few countries who are suffering very badly.  The need should be easy to show.  Mexico would be a good option for the US (for example).

At the same time, once you say that you are only going to share surplus vaccines at the end, it is very difficult to change direction.  You don't want to lose control of the story.  You also should remain reasonably careful about restrictions.  Removing all restrictions suddenly means you are significantly increasing the amount of people exposed to the virus (even if a cohort have been vaccinated).  Sharing the vaccines while your death rate actually goes up, is not particularly helpful.  Especially since more cases leads to new variants.

I think this is a new study, although the numbers seem familiar, but this shows that the Novavax vaccine falls from 95% efficacy to around 50% against the South African variant.  But too early for it to report on severity of disease, which is the more important measure.

I still think more can be done to help other countries but I think countries have boxed themselves in now.  Sadly.

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There is a scandal about FFP2 masks here in Austria. A company ordered masks from China and added fake certificates.

The company responsible had been on the radar in a negative way because of masks that failed tests before by corrupt politicians insisted on ordering from the company again. The company even had a hidden facilty in the basement with clandestine employees that "produced" most of the masks... You can't make that shit up. Millions of these masks have been sold in Austria. 

Not the first such scandal as masks used by health care workers have been withdrawn before after it was discovered that the certificates were fake and that they did not work correctly.

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8 hours ago, Fragile Bird said:

AZ is kinda weird. They refused to allow vaccine to be made in Canada. :dunno:

Apparently we couldn’t do the volume they wanted.

This is something you could put the blame squarely  on Bill Gates. Reportedly, it was his foundation that recommended Oxford researchers to license the product to AZ instead of making it available to everybody who had the capability.

Someone posted the article here

https://khn.org/news/rather-than-give-away-its-covid-vaccine-oxford-makes-a-deal-with-drugmaker/

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