Booster shots exacerbate global vaccine inequity

At the end of last week’s post on booster shots, I wrote that these additional doses take up airtime in expert discussions and in the media, distracting from discussions of what it will take to vaccinate the world. But these shots do more harm than just taking over the media cycle. When the U.S. and other wealthy nations decide to give many residents third doses, they jump the vaccine supply line again—leaving low-income nations to wait even longer for first doses.

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The case for a moratorium on booster shots

This week, the World Health Organization (WHO) called for wealthy nations to stop giving out booster shots in a push towards global vaccine equity. These nations should stall any booster shots until at least September, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press conference on Wednesday.

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25 million doses is a drop in the global vaccination bucket

On Thursday, the Biden administration made a big (and long-awaited) announcement: the federal government is sending 25 million vaccine doses from America’s stockpile to other countries.25 million doses—or even the 80 million doses that the administration has promised by the end of this month—is a drop in the bucket compared to actual international needs. For example: COVAX needs 1.8 billion doses to vaccinate about half the adult population in low-income countries. COVAX has specifically prioritized 92 low-income nations, representing a total population of 3.8 billion.

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The 2021 Tokyo Olympics begin on July 23. Will Japan be ready?

Is Japan ready to host the Olympics in July? They’re definitely not ready now. The Japanese government just announced it would extend an already-standing state of emergency through May 31 following a large spike in COVID-19 cases. After “Golden Week,” a sequence of Japanese Holidays lasting from late April to early May, Tokyo reported 907 new cases for the week.

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In India’s COVID-19 catastrophe, figures are only part of the story

India’s COVID-19 curve resembles a vertical line right now. An already fragile health infrastructure is on its knees, the government has shown itself to be incapable. There are no hospital beds to be had, no medicines, no oxygen, no emergency care; even the dead have to endure 20-hour queues for last rites. A nine-day streak of 300,000-plus new cases daily has ended with fresh infections crossing the 400,000 mark on May 1. More than 3,000 COVID-related deaths have been recorded daily for three consecutive days. Still, the worst, experts say, is yet to come.

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Global.health has gone public—what’s actually in the database?

Last week, we included Global.health in our featured sources section. The initiative aims to document 10 million plus cases in one source. Instead of just listing numbers of positive cases and deaths, they collect individual cases and gather information about said case. What was their age range? Gender? When did symptoms develop? The dataset has room for more than 40 variables aside from just “tested positive.” While there are lots of dashboards and tracking sources, none collect detailed data about (anonymized!) individual cases.

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