The total cost of COVID-19 vaccination could have been five times less if the major pharmaceutical companies weren't taking advantage of their monopoly on COVID-19 vaccines, according to the People’s Vaccine Alliance.
"The cost of vaccinating the world against COVID-19 could be at least five times cheaper if pharmaceutical companies weren’t profiteering from their monopolies on COVID-19 vaccines. New analysis by the Alliance shows that the firms Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are charging governments as much as $41 billion above the estimated cost of production," the alliance said in a release.
Although the infection and death rates due to COVID-19 implications are rapidly growing in developing countries, the pharma giants have sold more than 90% of their COVID-19 vaccines to rich countries which overpay them as far as 24 times the actual price, the alliance went on.
Developing countries have low vaccination rates and the situation is getting worse, as the infections especially from COVID-19 Delta variant are rising. The inequalities become more obvious when statistics come into perspective. In the EU at the moment 57.8% of the population is vaccinated with at least one dose of the vaccine, according to European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. In the US this percentage is 56.8%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the same time in very big developing countries with hundreds of millions of population those percentages are in single digits.
The forth wave of COVID-19 began in Italy, where the deaths rose by 46% in the course of one week, the Gimbe health foundation said on Thursday.
According to the foundation, the country logged 111 deaths from July 21-27, which is 46% more than in the previous week. Also, the number of new infections grew by 64.8% up to 31,963 cases in a week. Hospitalizations have risen by 34.9%, while patients in the intensive care are now 14.5% more than a week ago.
Last week, the Italian Council of Ministers announced the extension of emergency due to COVID-19 until December 31, introduction of health passes for indoor events and new criteria for color coding of the regions under the new COVID-19 measures package. The first COVID-19 state of emergency was declared in Italy on January 31, 2020.
Over 50% of the population older than 12 are fully vaccinated.
French Minister of State for European Affairs Clement Beaune said on Thursday that the United Kingdom’s decision not to exempt French citizens from obligatory quarantine upon arrival was discriminatory.
Earlier in July, London decided to cancel quarantine for fully vaccinated American and European travelers starting August 2. The restriction is still in place for French citizens, however.
"This is the decision that cannot be understood. It is not based on scientific facts. I suppose that this decision is discriminatory towards French people, because all [other] European countries, including even those with a more difficult sanitary situation than we have,… are not affected by this quarantine," Beaune said, as broadcast by the LCI broadcaster.
The minister said that the French foreign ministry is negotiating with their counterparts from the UK over this issue, and hopes the decision will be changed as soon as possible.
France is not planning any restrictive measures for tourists from the UK, Beaune specified.
Providing a negative PCR test or a document proving immunity against COVID-19 will be obligatory for those who arrive in Germany regardless of a country of departure or means of travel, Der Spiegel reported on Thursday, citing a draft order by the German Health Ministry.
Currently, these requirements are active only for airplane passengers. In addition, the rules depend on a country from which travelers arrive in Germany.
The newspaper said that the restrictions will be compulsory for all types of transport and countries of departure. Although the infection rate in Germany is low in comparison with others, traveling could negatively affect the situation, Der Spiegel specified.
According to the draft, which has not been approved yet, August 1 is the date of its entry into force.
Germany has so far registered 3.78 million COVID-19 cases and 91,709 deaths caused by the disease.
In the previous day, the United Kingdom has registered 27,734 cases.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca increased its revenue by 23% to $15.54 billion in the first half of the year, of which $1.2 billion were obtained from the sale of their COVID-19 vaccine, the company said on Thursday in a financial report.
"Total revenue, predominantly comprised of Product Sales, amounted to $1,169 million in the half, reflecting the delivery of 319 million doses worldwide. Sales in Europe were $572 million, Emerging Markets sales were $455 million, and in Established RoW sales amounted to $109 Million", the company said.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen met with the EU Commission Advisory Panel on COVID-19 on Thursday to discuss the health situation in the region, urging everyone to get vaccinated.
"Today I met with the @EU_Commission Advisory Panel on #COVID19 to discuss the health situation in the EU, the rapid spread of the Delta variant and the perspectives for the autumn. We have to stay vigilant and get vaccinated", von der Leyen wrote on Twitter.
"Members of the Australian track and field team are now undergoing testing procedures in line with Australian Olympic team protocols," the AOC said in a statement.