WHAT’S NEW THIS WEEK
The WHO has warned that a “two-track pandemic” is now afoot. While rich countries with high rates of vaccinated people are starting to talk about ending restrictions, many nations still face extremely dangerous situations, with deaths rising in Africa, the Americas and the Western Pacific in the last week. The WHO’s Africa region, led by South Africa, saw a 25% increase in new cases this week alone. Of the 1.77 billion doses of Covid vaccines administered globally, 28% have been in the world’s richest nations, while just 0.3% of vaccines have been given in low-income countries, Oxfam International said last week.
The Biden administration has announced a plan to share an initial 25 million Covid-19 vaccine doses with the rest of the world, with the aim to distribute at least 80 million doses by the end of June. On Friday, President Biden will meet the leaders of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan on Friday at the G7 summit, where vaccine production and the global inoculation campaign remain high on the agenda.
As infections continue to fall in the US, children now account for about 25% of total Covid-19 cases, with unvaccinated children becoming a “vulnerable host” for coronavirus. Half of those 12 and older in the US are, however, fully vaccinated. The Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisors will meet Thursday to discuss the parameters for authorizing vaccines for children 11 and under.
The European Parliament has approved an EU vaccine passport that will go into effect on July 1. The digital record will prove that a person has been vaccinated against Covid-19, tested negative for the virus or has recovered from the disease. People from outside the EU are also expected to be able to use the certificate, including travelers from the US. Here’s what you need to know.