U.S. health agency orders disposal of millions of vaccine doses
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is ordering the discard of millions of Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses manufactured at a Baltimore factory. In a press release, the FDA did not share specifics on the number of vaccine doses to be destroyed. Two loads could be used in the U.S. or exported with adjusted regulations, but several others are not suitable for use, it said. The New York Times, citing people familiar with the matter, reports that about 60 million doses would be affected. Two people familiar with the situation told Reuters that the agency had released about ten million cans from the factory, which has been plagued by problems.
The factory, located in the east coast metropolis of Baltimore, had previously gone from Astrazeneca to rival Johnson & Johnson. According to media reports, the U.S. government had pushed Johnson & Johnson into accountability in an unusual move after millions of vaccine doses had to be disposed of because of a production error at the site. The trigger was reportedly that ingredients of the two vaccines had been mixed.During an inspection of the production facility operated by U.S. biopharmaceutical company Emergent Biosolutions, the FDA had discovered numerous defects. Production is currently paused. The factory has not yet been reopened, the FDA said Friday.
The Netherlands wants to allow mass events without protective masks again from the end of June. The prerequisite, however, is that participants show proof of vaccination or a negative test result. This was announced by the government in The Hague. Visitors would then also no longer have to keep a distance of 1.5 meters. This would allow full stadiums for concerts or soccer matches again from the end of June.Initially, events with up to 25,000 visitors lasting a maximum of 24 hours will be permitted. From the end of July, events lasting several days would then also be possible without a maximum number of visitors. Festivals would then also be possible again. The government is basing its decision on the results of a series of field tests conducted in recent months.
In the fight against the Corona pandemic, the G-7 countries want to provide at least one billion vaccine doses for other countries. For this purpose, already produced vaccine doses are to be distributed as well as the production of further ones financed, the British government announced. According to the statement, the heads of state and government also want to work out a plan to expand vaccine production. The U.K. is chairing this year's group of seven leading industrialized nations, which will meet from Friday to Sunday in Cornwall, southwest England.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that his country would contribute 100 million doses of vaccine from its surplus, the majority through the Covax vaccine initiative. Five million doses would be made available to the poorest countries by the end of September, and the remaining 95 million would be made available over the course of the coming year. The UK had stockpiled so much vaccine that it could vaccinate its population several times over. Until now, the country has hardly exported any vaccines - which drew sharp criticism.
"Because of the UK's successful vaccination program, we are now able to share some of our surplus doses with those who need them," Johnson said. This is an important step toward defeating the virus, he said. The U.K. has taken the lead in the fight against the pandemic by developing and funding Astra Zeneca's vaccine, Johnson said. So far, more than half a billion doses, distributed at cost, have been injected in 160 countries worldwide, he said.Development organizations, meanwhile, have criticized the push as insufficient. "An immediate transfer of vaccine doses is urgently needed at the moment and the billion vaccine doses are therefore welcome," said Joern Kalinski of Oxfam. But if that's all it takes, "this must be seen as a failure." The G7 must ensure that the monopolies of some pharmaceutical companies are broken, he said.
Previously, U.S. President Joe Biden had announced that the United States would donate a total of 500 million vaccine doses by the end of June 2022 at the latest. Commenting on possible additional offers of vaccine donations for poorer countries, German government circles said that Germany had already done a great deal in this area and was "one of the big supporters." Money is available, now the logistics must be made possible, in order to get the vaccines "into the arms of the people". It is important to establish local production, for example in Africa, so that sufficient local capacity is available in the event of a new pandemic.Before the summit, German Development Minister Gerd Müller called for more aid for poorer countries. These need not only more vaccine, but also billions in aid for the necessary logistics, Müller told the Augsburger Allgemeine. "We need more global vaccine equity," Müller said. "Only two percent of all vaccinations have taken place in poor countries so far." For logistics, he said, there was a $16 billion shortfall this year - for cold chains, tests and drugs to treat the consequences of infection, for example.
People around the globe have accumulated more wealth than ever before in the Corona crisis year 2020, according to a study. Private financial assets rose by a good eight percent year-on-year to a record 250 trillion dollars (around 205 trillion euros), according to the analysis by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) published on Thursday. Rising stock market prices and growing savings contributed to this.For the first time, BCG also included tangible assets such as real estate or gold. Total assets less debt thus amounted to $431 trillion. However, wealth is unevenly distributed. In particular, the club of the rich and super-rich with financial assets of more than 100 million dollars grew strongly, namely by 6,000 to around 60,000 members worldwide. According to the data, they own 15 percent of the world's investable assets. According to the data, 2900 super-rich people live in Germany, third place in the global ranking. The USA is at the top, followed by China.
In Germany, private financial assets, including cash, account balances, shares, pensions and life insurance, increased by six percent to around nine trillion dollars. Tangible assets increased five percent to $13 trillion. Net of debt, private households in Germany owned a total of just under $20 trillion."Traditionally, Germans prefer to invest in real estate than in securities, which is clearly shown by the tangible asset ratio of almost 60 percent," analyzed Anna Zakrzewski, BCG partner and author of the study. "At the same time, investors in Germany are saving at an above-average rate." Many people kept their money together during the crisis, she said, adding that temporary retail closures and travel restrictions slowed consumption.The number of dollar millionaires in this country rose by 35,000 to 542,000. The consultancy also attributed the increase to the development of the euro exchange rate, which rose against the dollar. This made itself felt in the conversion to the U.S. currency. According to the study, 26.6 million people worldwide owned financial assets of one million dollars or more, which was 1.8 million more than in the pre-crisis year.
Image by Hakan German