COVID Vaccine Updates: US to donate 500 million Pfizer doses to lowest-income nations

NEW YORK (WABC) — President Joe Biden called on global leaders Thursday to join him in sharing coronavirus vaccines with struggling nations around the world after he promised the U.S. would donate 500 million doses to help speed the pandemic’s end and bolster the strategic position of the world’s wealthiest democracies.

Speaking in England before the summit meeting of the Group of Seven, Biden announced the U.S. commitment to vaccine sharing, which comes on top of 80 million doses he has already pledged by the end of the month. He argued it was in both America’s interests and the world’s to make vaccination widely and speedily available everywhere.

“We’re going to help lead the world out of this pandemic working alongside our global partners,” Biden said, announcing that on Friday the G-7 nations would join the U.S. in outlining their vaccine donation commitments.

It’s a remarkable turnaround of America’s standing from a year ago, when the U.S. was the deadliest hotspot of the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing the cancellation of the G-7 summit it was due to host. Now, the country is emerging as a model for how to successfully recover from more than 15 months of global crisis.

Here are more of today’s headlines:

Macy’s July 4th fireworks plans unveiled
The Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks will be back live on the East River on Sunday July 4 with five barges and public viewing set up in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. “On Sunday, July 4th at approximately 9:25 p.m., Macy’s will commence a jaw-dropping pyrotechnic salute to American bravery and optimism in an incomparable barrage of color, light, shape and sound,” the organizers said in a statement. After the Macy’s show, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, Coney Island will present its own fireworks show beginning at 10 p.m. Viewing will take place on the boardwalk, as the beach closes at dusk.

Goldman Sachs orders employees to report COVID vaccination status
Goldman Sachs is requiring its U.S. employees to divulge to the company whether they’ve been vaccinated. The Wall Street bank told workers in a message earlier this week that “it is mandatory that you submit your vaccination status” by Thursday at noon ET. That message was sent only to employees who had not already done so. Goldman Sachs is not requiring proof of vaccination, although its roughly 20,000 U.S. employees must submit the date and maker of the vaccine, a person familiar with the matter told CNN Business.

Consumer prices jump 5% over past year; Unemployment claims fall
U.S. consumer prices continue to climb sharply while weekly jobless claims are falling, according to two pieces of economic data released by the Department of Labor on Thursday. The Consumer Price Index, which measures what consumers pay for everyday goods and services and is often looked at as an inflation barometer, jumped 5% over the last 12 months — the largest increase since August 2008. The index increased by 0.6% in May alone after rising 0.8% in April. The latest data comes amid mounting inflation fears from economists. The index for all items has been trending upward every month this year.

US officials extend expiration dates on Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine doses
Johnson & Johnson said Thursday that U.S. regulators extended the expiration date on millions of doses of its COVID-19 vaccine by an extra six weeks. The company said a Food and Drug Administration review concluded the shots remain safe and effective up to 4 and a half months. The shots were originally approved for just 3 months. The announcement comes after state officials warned that many unused doses in storage would expire before the end of the month. Expiration dates for vaccines are determined based on data the manufacturer submits to regulators proving how long the shots stay at the right strength. The vaccine were approved for use within about six months. But the FDA has been reviewing those expiration dates as companies have continued to test samples of batches in the months since the shots first rolled out.

Moderna seeks FDA authorization for COVID-19 vaccine for people ages 12-17
Moderna has filed with the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine for people ages 12 to 17, according to a news release from the company. Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is currently authorized for people ages 18 and older. Pfizer received authorization for people as young as 12 to use its coronavirus vaccine on May 10. The other COVID-19 vaccine available for use in the United States, made by Johnson & Johnson, is currently authorized for people ages 18 and older.

TSA warns of staffing shortages at more than 100 airports ahead of summer travel boost
As more travelers take to the skies, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is projecting that 131 of the nation’s airports will experience staffing shortages this month. Acting TSA Administrator Darby LaJoye is now asking office employees to volunteer at airports for up to 45 days. The volunteers would handle non-screening functions such as onboarding for new hires and management of security lines.

NY has lowest positivity rate in the nation
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced New York state’s seven-day average positivity rate has dropped below 0.50% for the first time since the onset of the COVID crisis, to 0.48%, the lowest in the nation per Johns Hopkins University. The state’s single-day positivity rate, 0.37%, is also the lowest single-day rate the state has seen since the onset of the crisis.

“With COVID-19 numbers trending downward for so many consecutive days, we are well on our way to fully reopening to a reimagined New York State,” Governor Cuomo said. “Warm weather activities across the state are in full swing, happening in front of audiences that have received their COVID-19 vaccination. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to get your vaccine as soon as possible so that you may enjoy all that our beautiful state has to offer with your loved ones.”

Shots for all U.S. adults by end of May, Biden says
The U.S. is on pace to fall short of President Joe Biden’s aim to have 70% of Americans at least partially vaccinated by July 4. The White House has launched a month-long blitz to combat vaccine hesitancy and a lack of urgency to get shots, particularly in the South and Midwest, but it is increasingly resigned to missing the president’s vaccination target. Dr. Anthony Fauci told reporters at a briefing that he still hopes the goal will be met “and if we don’t, we’re going to continue to keep pushing.” So far 14 states have reached 70% coverage among adults, with about a dozen more on pace to reach the milestone by July 4. But the state-to-state variation is stark.


MORE CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 COVERAGE

Mask guidance in the Tri-State area
New York City COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker
New Jersey COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker
How to get the vaccine in NYC, Tri-State area
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus

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