Coronavirus

Black Abyss Babe

Quantum weather butterfly
I got one of those letters too. It included a clause about ignoring if I'd already had it.

According to the Boyfriend this is a deliberate attempt to make sure no-one slips through the net if part of the system falls over: in his words "belt, braces, string, gaffer tape, helium balloons ..." :D
 

LooseCannon

Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
Just got my COVID shot. It was “unfortunately” J&J/Janssen, but I’ll take what I can get. I strongly suspect I already had COVID about a year ago anyway, and with minimal symptoms at the time, so I probably didn’t have much to be concerned about in the first place.

The process was pretty efficient — I had the needle in my arm within two minutes of my appointment time, so that’s a good sign.
Take what you can get, man. And if they decide someone needs a booster in a year or so, then so be it. But take what you can get. I'm happy for you.
 

Jer

Fool! Doctor Doom does as he pleases!
Take what you can get, man. And if they decide someone needs a booster in a year or so, then so be it. But take what you can get. I'm happy for you.
Thanks, and I agree — avoiding hospitalization and death and helping to contribute toward herd immunity is what’s going to get us all out of this mess the fastest.

I fully expect we’ll all be getting boosters for years to deal with new variants and newly gained knowledge on this stuff, so we’ll all get a turn at higher-efficacy shots at some point if we need them.
 

mckindog

Living for Sanctuary from the law
Staff member
This is the Achilles heel of democracy, if I say I'd auto-charge misdemeanors and criminal offenses to journalists who publish factually wrong data I'd be called an anti democrat. But I certainly, certainly, tend to sway to that side, at least in the times of crisis.

The journalist that publishes an article, in the core of things, is the same as Karen on Facebook.

Being educated on the issue, objective, open, truthful and altruistic is merely a choice. A choice that most people do not take in their daily affairs, let alone business. And mainstream journalism is a business.
Society has proven unwilling to pay for the quality control you want.
 

Lamia020281

Educated Fool
It's likely the first lockdown in Finland is coming after Easter. It really doesn't make me laugh in itself, but there is an aspect I find really amusing. People are allowed to visit their partner but only if they are in a "steady relationship". According to my interpretation, this will be bad news for friends with benefits, on-off relationships, light relationships and half-platonic relationships. :bigsmile: The police will be allowed to ask people where they are going, and a policeman said on tv that people should prepare to answer "embarrassing" questions. So, will folks going to see their boy/girl/other friends be answering questions like what is the brand of your partner's toothpaste or be asked to show pics of them happy together from 6 months ago? :lol:
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Great. And my father will get his first in a few weeks. Age 75. Quite a contrast, eh?

This is the best news in ages, at least for the EU:
= = = = = = =

EU drugs regulator set to approve BioNTech, Astra vaccine sites

The European Medicines Agency granted regulatory approval to two vaccination plants in the Netherlands and Germany in a boost for the European Union’s sluggish inoculation campaign.

The Dutch Halix facility, based in Leiden, is manufacturing the drug substance for the AstraZeneca Plc vaccine and had been awaiting approval to distribute the doses amid a significant shortfall of the shot’s deliveries for the EU.

The second site, a BioNTech SE facility in Marburg, is a key piece of a plan by the German company and partner Pfizer Inc. to boost production of their shot to 2 billion doses this year. BioNTech said the approval makes Marburg “one of the largest mRNA vaccine manufacturing sites in Europe as well as worldwide.”

The European commissioner for health and food safety, Stella Kyriakides, welcomed the news, saying it was a welcome step in increasing production capacity in the bloc.

The distribution of Astra supplies from Halix has been at the center of talks between the U.K. and the EU in recent days, with both sides laying claim to its shots. The EU has exported some 21 million vaccine doses to the U.K. so far, of which more than a million were Astra shots, and has vowed to curb further shipments until the company meets its delivery targets to the bloc.

The EU expects Astra to deliver from the Dutch plant in order to meet its contractual obligations. EU officials are worried that the drugmaker may even fall short of delivering 30 million doses to the bloc this quarter, a target which is less than a third of the original commitment.

In a joint statement published on Wednesday, the British government and the European Commission said they were “working on specific steps we can take -- in the short-, medium - and long term -- to create a win-win situation and expand vaccine supply for all our citizens.”

A European diplomat told Bloomberg earlier this week that the most sensible solution would be to divide deliveries from the plant on some form of pro-rata arrangement based on population size.

The clearances will come as a relief to the companies and the EU amid delivery shortfalls that have stoked tensions between the region and its neighbors.
 

LooseCannon

Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
One of the biggest failures across the world is the inability to ramp up vaccine production plants in advance. We've known for months what some of these vaccines were going to look like. The USA has used the Defense Production Act to force various pharmaceuticals to switch over to Moderna/Pfizer production and that's going incredibly well for them, as evidenced by our Maidenfans friends in the US who are getting jabs. The US would be even further ahead if the previous government had done the same.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
There's a lot more to it than production and contracts. It's distribution, supplies and well....
(lack of) solidarity. Yes the UK and US are fast, but if you know why, it's going to be hard to admire it.

@GhostofCain

= = = = = = =

Has the UK really outperformed the EU on Covid-19 vaccinations?

The EU’s Covid-19 vaccination rollout has received intense criticism for failing to keep pace with the vaccination programmes of other countries, notably the UK. Gareth Davies argues that while the UK has undoubtedly managed to vaccinate a greater share of its population than EU states thus far, the facts are more nuanced than the headline figures suggest.

The media is full of comparisons between Britain’s speedy vaccine rollout ‘success’ and the EU’s slowness. Britain’s early decision to scale up production, and its effective procurement is compared with the EU’s slow decision-making and clunky contracting.

The facts are more nuanced. Both Britain and the EU began investing in vaccine production in 2020, with the EU providing 336 million euros to producers to scale up facilities, and the UK allocating 240 million pounds to both production and longer-term research facilities. These seem to have had similar results, in that both are now producing at about the same per capita level, albeit that the UK began from a lower base.

How do we know this? It is extremely hard to get accurate figures on vaccine production and supply, as all parties tend to regard them as commercial or state secrets. However, it is public knowledge that as of 23 March the UK had put around 30 million jabs in arms. It is also publicly stated that about 13 million of these are Pfizer jabs, all of which are imported from the EU.

Alongside this, the UK has received 5 million from the Serum Institute in India, and is strongly suspected to have received non-trivial amounts of the Astrazeneca vaccine from the Halix plant in the Netherlands, a lack of information about this being one of the sore points in the UK-EU debate. Putting these numbers together, and given that the UK has a policy of keeping only a minimum of vaccines in reserve, it seems that the UK has probably produced slightly less than half of its total, somewhere between 10 and 15 million jabs, or enough to provide somewhere around 20% of its 68 million population with a first vaccination.

On the EU side, the Commission says that about 100 million vaccinations have been produced in the EU, although it continues to lack information on that Halix plant, which may have produced an additional ten million or so. Assuming the 100 million as a conservative minimum, the EU has also produced enough vaccines for about 20% of its 447 million population.

Why then the huge differences in vaccination? The UK has provided a first vaccination to more than 40% of its population, whereas the EU is stuck around 12-14%. Rollout problems do not explain this. The difference between Denmark, which minimises its reserves and has jabbed 16%, and most countries, which are on about 12%, shows that unused vaccines are not the explanation. Rather, that difference is to do with supply: the UK is getting more.

The cause of this is different degrees of vaccine nationalism
. The vaccine producing countries of Europe have made enough to vaccinate about half their population with a first jab (the 100 million jabs were made in EU states with a combined population of about 200 million – Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy). If they had kept this for themselves, they would be far ahead of the UK – which would have had to make do with its own more limited production – and at around the same stage as the US.

However, the European producers have exported about a third of their production globally, to countries such as Mexico, Canada, Chile, the US (not much) and, above all, the largest recipient, the UK. The overwhelming reason why the UK is so far ahead with its vaccination programme is that it has received so many vaccines from the EU.

The European producers have also exported about another third to the other countries of the EU, their neighbours. An early decision was taken by EU states that it would be unacceptable for some states to protect their populations while others looked on with empty hands and full hospitals, and so vaccines are distributed within the EU on a per capita basis. This was not a legal obligation inherent in EU membership, but a pragmatic, if also ethical, political decision. If one wants relationships to survive a crisis, there has to be a degree of solidarity.

By contrast, not a single dose of vaccine has been exported from the US or UK. The US prevents this by law, also blocking supplies necessary for manufacture. The UK has achieved it by contract. This has been a source of pride in the UK – we contracted better! However, this claim deserves some unpacking.

Firstly, while Astrazeneca and the British government sometimes say that the UK contracted earlier – a fact of dubious relevance anyway – they have not been able to provide evidence for this. The publicly signed and published contracts show that the EU contracted one day before the UK, and that both contained clauses requiring ‘best reasonable efforts’ to supply the contracted amount. Both also referred to the same four factories, two in the UK and two in the EU as suppliers.

The EU approach is that given Astrazeneca’s failure to meet its production goals, it should reduce supply pro rata to its customers. By contrast, Astrazeneca has been supplying the UK preferentially, providing to date about 20% of its purchase, while the EU has received less than 10% of its. Astrazeneca has suggested that this choice follows from the content of the different EU and UK contracts.

There are not enough public details to fully check this statement, but the suggestion has been made that the UK contract contains precise supply commitments, an obligation to supply the UK preferentially if necessary, and harsh penalties for failure. By contrast, the EU contract is said to be somewhat less detailed and more conciliatory, providing for informal discussions in the event of disagreement, and no penalties beyond withholding of payment.

If that is correct – and in the light of common law and civil law differences it is very plausible – it provides an explanation for Astrazeneca’s choices, but not a justification. The explanation is simple: having promised to supply the UK preferentially, and the EU fairly, Astrazeneca simply cannot do both, and so has made a commercial decision to breach the contract that will cost it less.

However, contrary to what the UK secretary of state has suggested, it is not a justification: the strict terms in the UK contract are unlikely to provide a legitimate reason to breach the EU one. An exclusivity clause in one contract does not justify a failure to supply in another one – to achieve that Astrazeneca should have put in a ‘UK priority’ clause in the EU contract too. The only derogation from their obligation to supply the EU appears to be the best efforts clause, which encompasses production problems, but not ‘we promised them to someone else’.

More generally, the idea of ‘best reasonable efforts’ does not as such address how production deficits should be distributed among customers. However, while it may be compatible with pro rata reductions, it is unlikely to be compatible with selective supply cuts to those imposing the lowest penalties for breach. This approach might win favour with some law and economics advocates, but is unlikely to be attractive to civil law judges.

The UK thus decided to get as many vaccines as it could for itself, at any cost. It promises to contribute to global vaccine supply, but only after it has served itself. The European producers, by contrast, have accepted that they have a global and regional role, even though this means domestic shortages. Are these differences the product of differing ethics, ambitions, or organisation? Is it really correct to describe one as success and the other as failure? These are the topics of another blog.
 
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Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Just came in:

A solution in the vaccine dispute between the EU and the United Kingdom seems imminent, reports the British newspaper The Times. An agreement may be reached this weekend. The compromise comes down to this:

- the EU will not stop the export of Pfizer vaccines
- the British will refrain from batches of AstraZeneca vaccines that are produced in Leiden.

In recent months, millions of AstraZeneca vaccines have been exported from the EU to the UK, while AstraZeneca has failed to deliver on its delivery promises to the EU. This led to a lot of resentment between the EU and the UK.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is made in two locations in the UK and two in the EU, including Leiden. The European Medicines Agency only yesterday approved EU sites for producing vaccines for the EU.
 

srfc

Ancient Mariner
The UK thus decided to get as many vaccines as it could for itself, at any cost. It promises to contribute to global vaccine supply, but only after it has served itself. The European producers, by contrast, have accepted that they have a global and regional role, even though this means domestic shortages. Are these differences the product of differing ethics, ambitions, or organisation? Is it really correct to describe one as success and the other as failure? These are the topics of another blog.

To answer this queestion, it's a massive failure by the EU.
 

srfc

Ancient Mariner
They are not without failure but I just posted a whole article that there is more to it.

I know I read the article, supplying the brits with vaccines produced in the EU is a massive failure, the Brits look after their own and get our supply as well. If there is an issue with belgian law then failing to address that issue is a spectacular failure.
 

Yax

Ancient Mariner
Looking only after all their own and the others is also a failure.
That can be said about the entire western world, vaccine related matters included. Africa? Barely any vaccine. The western world looks after the western world first. Same as the UK looks after UK.
 
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LooseCannon

Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
I...actually think the places producing the vaccine should be worried about immunizing themselves first. If our economies and populaces are constantly sick, then we can't really produce vaccines for the rest of the world.

Do I think that once places that produce the vaccine have finished vaccinating that they should then pivot to their neighbours and cascade out from there? Yes. Do I think that we should be trying to stand up vaccination production facilities in places like Lagos and Johannesburg and Lima? Also yes. But do I think that reducing one population's chance at getting to herd immunity to provide insufficient vaccines to another location to get them to herd immunity is smart? No.
 
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