The United States will spend $3.5 billion to purchase 500 million doses of coronavirus vaccine that it will donate to poor countries across the globe. The donations will be managed by Covax, the global initiative that was created to help vaccinate people in developing countries. The doses will be purchased from Pfizer-BioNTech.
As of Thursday morning, the world has recorded over 175.2 million Covid-19 cases and has seen more than 3.77 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, over 158.7 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus.
Since the start of vaccinations at the end of last year, over 2.25 billion doses have been administered across the globe as of Thursday morning, the equivalent of over 28.4 doses for every 100 people.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Thursday, 172 million people in the United States –or 51.8% –have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 42.5%, or 140.9 million people, are fully vaccinated, bringing the total number of doses dispensed in the United States to over 304.7 million. Breaking this down further, approximately 63.9% of the population over the age of 18 –or 164.8 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 53.3% of the same group –or 137.5 million people – is fully vaccinated.
Moderna, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based manufacturer of a major coronavirus vaccine, applied for emergency authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Thursday for the use of its vaccine in adolescents 12 to 17 years old. The company has already filed for such approval in Canada and with the European Medicines Agency. The FDA authorization is expected to take several weeks. The action will increase the amount of vaccines available for those under 18 years of age.
Two passengers on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The infected individuals, who were asymptomatic, were traveling on the MSC Seaside cruise ship. They disembarked with their families in Syracuse, Sicily, on Tuesday.
Officials in Singapore announced that they would ease some restrictions in the city-state after a month of severe lockdown measures designed to stem the spread of Covid-19 that has been fueled by the India variant, also known as the Delta variant under the new naming scheme.
In Los Angeles, a worker, Muhammad Rauf Ahmed of Las Vegas, was charged with stealing blank Covid-19 vaccination cards from the Pomona Fairplex vaccination center. Ahmed stole over 500 blank cards from the center, where he was a contract worker. Each card, prosecutors said, has a street value of $15. “Selling fraudulent and stolen vaccine cards is illegal, immoral and puts the public at risk of exposure to a deadly virus,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement.
Anna Breuer contributed reporting to this story.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)