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People over 50 in the UK will be offered a 3rd shot of the COVID vaccine this fall – The Times | Instant News


Everyone over 50 in the UK will be offered a third shot of COVID-19 vaccination this fall in a bid to eradicate the threat of infection completely by Christmas, The Times newspaper reported.

The trial of the two options is under way, overseen by Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for the UK, the paper said.

The first involves a vaccine that is specifically modified to treat a new variant. The second is for the third shot of one of the three versions already in use: Pfizer-BioNTech (PFE.N), (22UAy.DE), Oxford-AstraZeneca (AZN.L) or Moderna (MRNA.O), the newspaper reported.

More than 34.6 million people in the UK have been given their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, government statistics showed on Tuesday.

The UK, which has a population of 67 million, has agreements for more than 510 million doses of eight different COVID-19 vaccines, some of which are still in development. Read more

Britain will buy more than 60 million doses of Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said last week, in a deal that doubled the country’s supply before a booster program later this year.

The UK has now ordered a total of 100 million doses of Pfizer vaccine, one in three COVID-19 shots being rolled out in the country.

Our standard: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Australia defended the decision to sanction travelers from India hit by COVID | Instant News


A medical worker wipes members of the public at Bondi Beach’s drive-through coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing center as the city experiences an outbreak in Sydney, Australia, December 21, 2020. REUTERS / Loren Elliott

Australia on Monday defended its decision to punish its own nationals who entered the country within two weeks of being in COVID-stricken India, saying it had a “strong, clear and absolute” belief that the move was legal.

Health Minister Greg Hunt pointed to the alarming spike in coronavirus cases in India and pressure on the Australian health system as reasons to halt travel until May 15. Read more

Australia’s quarantine hotels have seen a 1,500% jump in COVID-19 cases from India since March, raising questions about pre-departure testing in India and leading to “a painful decision,” Hunt said.

“This is a high-risk situation in India,” Hunt said at a televised news conference in Melbourne.

“The strong and clear view is that there is no doubt in Commonwealth advice on this or other measures,” he said, referring to Australia’s emergency biosecurity decisions, which come into force on Monday.

Earlier, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told 2GB radio that the ban would be in place for as long as needed.

The Australian Commission on Human Rights condemned the decision, urging lawmakers to immediately review the restrictions. The commission will approach the government directly with its concerns, he said in a statement.

The hashtag #DictatorScott trended on Twitter on Monday as Australians reacted to the new, stringent policies.

“We have to help Australians in India return home, not jail them. Let’s fix our quarantine system rather than leaving our fellow Australians stranded,” citizen senator Matthew Canavan tweeted.

Australia, which has largely contracted the new coronavirus, closed its borders to non-nationals in March 2020.

Returning residents and nationals must undergo mandatory two-week hotel quarantine at their own expense. Australia has seen 22,245 cases of community transmission and 910 deaths through the pandemic.

About a quarter of the 35,000 Australians stranded overseas are in India, which reported nearly 400,000 cases as of Friday and more than 200,000 total deaths. Australia recorded zero community transmission cases as of Monday. Read more

Western Australia reported three cases over the weekend after a quarantine hotel security guard and two housemates tested positive for COVID-19. The state reported zero local cases as of Monday.

The country’s vaccination program is slow moving, delivering just over 2 million doses so far, far short of the government’s initial estimate of 4 million at the end of March.

At current rates, Australia’s adult population is likely to be fully vaccinated in August 2023, according to projections by the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

The government has cited a global shortage of the COVID-19 vaccine and health concerns surrounding the AstraZeneca injection, which forms the basis of Australia’s immunization program. Australia has imposed an age limit on the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Over the weekend, the Telegraph reported that Britain quietly allowed AstraZeneca to use its UK supply chain to produce vaccines for its main ally Australia in exchange for access to 10 million doses from India.

Britain received 5 million Indian shots in March, although the remaining exports now seem increasingly unlikely with India struggling with a creepy new wave amid tight supplies.

Our standard: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Live NRL update: New Zealand Warriors vs North Queensland Cowboys | Instant News


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David Fusitu’a contemplates the season when the Cowboys will pose a new challenge.

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New Zealand Warriors playmaker Kodi Nikorima has taken up the player option on his contract and will remain with the club for the 2022 NRL season.

The 27-year-old five-eight-year-old, who originally signed from the Brisbane Broncos during the 2019 season, will now be part of the Warriors’ backbone for next season, alongside hooker Wayde Egan, fellow half-player Chanel Harris-Tavita and rising rookie full-back. Reece Walsh leaves.

“I am happy to be at this club and I feel I have improved my game during my time here,” said Nikorima.

“I hope to become a senior player and help our team improve and challenge the top teams. Now that my future is soon set, I hope to play my best footy.”

“It’s great news for the club that Kodi has exercised his option,” added Warriors recruitment manager Peter O’Sullivan.

“His decision to stay will give our playmakers stability as they form new combinations and will help our goal of being a consistent and high-performing team at NRL.”

In 2020, Nikorima contributed 18 try assists, five line breaks and three tries, and put his teammates on 20 occasions.

But last month, Nikorima admitted that he still had work to do to become an elite playmaker at NRL.

“I’m fine,” said Nikorima. “There is a lot of room for improvement.

“Obviously when you’re looking for results, the spine or midsection is usually the one most likely to handle it and there are a few games that can [gone] Our way. “

Warriors head coach Nathan Brown also noted that Nikorima has a lot more to offer the team.

“I have a lot of faith in Kodi and I am happy that his future is well established for next season,” he said.

Now we can concentrate on us winning games and being consistent.

“Kodi is a popular and important member of our squad and I am sure it will provide great support to the group as he has been secured for the next season.”

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UK Truss expects the Airbus-Boeing dispute to be resolved by July | Instant News


UK trade minister Liz Truss expects an Airbus trade dispute (AIR.PA) and Boeing (PROHIBITED) will be finalized in July when the freeze on tit-for-tat tariffs ends, he told Reuters on Friday.

The tariff battle involving the United States, European Union and Britain is linked to a dispute over state subsidies for the two aircraft makers. Britain is party to the talks as a former EU member and a major component producer of Airbus.

The parties involved agreed in March to suspend retaliatory tariffs on items such as Scotch whiskey for four months to give the long-running negotiations a chance. Read more

Truss said they were now working on a detailed draft text of the agreement, with negotiations focused on the “subsidy discipline” in the aerospace industry.

“I am determined to make sure Britain has a strong aerospace industry, that we reach a resolution with the US – which I think there must be a landing zone,” he said in an interview.

Asked if a permanent resolution was possible at the end of the temporary tariff freeze, he said: “Yes. I do. We are already in detailed discussions.”

US Trade Representative Office Katherine Tai declined to comment. He told a Senate hearing this week that he was “very serious” about resolving the dispute.

AUSTRALIAN AGREEMENT

Truss was also optimistic about Britain finalizing a free trade agreement with Australia in June, saying that “great progress” had been made.

“There are only a few issues to be addressed and I look forward to my calls with him (Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan) today,” he said, refusing to provide details.

Truss held his first face-to-face meeting with World Trade Organization Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in an hour-long session at the group’s headquarters on Lake Geneva on Friday where they discussed WTO reforms. Read more

Britain won an independent seat at the WTO last year after leaving the European Union and has been firmer ever since.

Truss said he was “very hopeful” of progress on reform of the 25-year-old trade body ahead of a major meeting in December, stressing that it was imperative that his Appellate Body governing trade disputes be corrected.

The WTO’s main appeals body was crippled in 2019 when President Donald Trump’s administration blocked the appointment of new judges, rendering the supreme court of international trade unable to issue a ruling.

Truss stressed that solutions should be “binding”, in stark contrast to temporary and voluntary solutions supported by the EU and others.

WTO members will also discuss a temporary waiver of intellectual property rights for COVID-19 drugs and vaccines on Friday which London and other wealthy nations have opposed.

Asked if he would change his mind amid increasing pressure, Truss said: “I don’t think we have any evidence that abandoning TRIPS will actually have any practical results.”

Instead technology should be the focus, he said, naming AstraZeneca’s (AZN.L) voluntary licensing program.

Truss also called for a WTO resolution to get stronger industrial subsidies rules, including for China, a problem he supported when Britain assumed the presidency of this year’s G7 group of nations.

“It is in everyone’s interest, including the interests of China, that we solve this problem,” he said.

Our standard: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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The Brazilian Senate voted to suspend patent protection on the COVID-19 vaccine | Instant News


A woman holds a small bottle labeled with the sticker “Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine” and the medical syringe in this illustration was taken on October 30, 2020. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic

Brazil’s Senate on Thursday approved a bill to suspend patent protection for COVID-19 vaccines, tests and drugs during the pandemic, sending proposals to the lower house of Congress for consideration and possible amendments.

It remains unclear whether lower house lawmakers will pass the bill, with implications for pharmaceutical companies like AstraZeneca. (AZN.L) and China’s Sinovac Biotechnology (SVA.O), which has regulated the local production of their COVID-19 vaccine.

US company Pfizer (PFE.N) also made the first shipment of a coronavirus vaccine to Brazil on Thursday evening.

President Jair Bolsonaro’s government has publicly opposed a proposal to suspend patent protection, arguing that such a move could jeopardize talks with vaccine manufacturers.

Brazil on Thursday saw the death toll from the pandemic pass 400,000, the second-highest tally in the world after the United States. Experts say that the slow rollout of a vaccine in Brazil is likely to keep the daily death rate high for months. Read more

“We cannot remain passive, day after day, 3,000 to 5,000 deaths. There is a chance, we have to do our part,” said Senator Nelsinho Trad, one of the bill’s supporters.

The bill was passed by 55 votes in favor, and 19 against.

According to the proposal, patent holders are required to provide authorities with all the information needed to produce vaccines and drugs for COVID-19. Then, if the government calls for a state of emergency, they can be produced locally under a license agreement.

The goal, according to Senator Paulo Paim, who drafted the bill, is to streamline vaccine production in order to speed up injection.

Neither the president’s office nor the health ministry immediately responded to requests for comment.

Our standard: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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