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Weekly Roundups

COVID-19 Passport Threatens to Worsen Inequality

By Miriam Bello | Thu, 03/04/2021 - 13:34

Vaccination inequality gaps keep getting worse. While initiatives like COVAX try to fix the issue, countries began imposing further limitations that favor health policies but damage equality. Meanwhile, countries in the EU have started to look into concerning measures to secure their vaccines before other countries.

Here is the Week in Health!

NATIONAL

-Michoacan became the first state to pass the Dignified Menstruation Law. The law includes reforms to the Education Law, which mean the state's public schools will facilitate free access to products such as sanitary pads, tampons and menstrual cups for girls, adolescents, women and menstruating people.

-UNAM has organized a project to measure COVID-19 immunity. The study will be organized by UNAM faculty and researchers from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). It will focus on vaccination advances and will be the only one of its kind in Latin America.

-Mexico’s COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX are expected to arrive between March and May. The country has signed for 5.5 million doses and the first ones to arrive will be from the AstraZeneca/Oxford coalition. The total COVAX vaccines to be received by Mexico are 51.5 million doses.

-Mexico City is now offering free COVID-19 testing as a response of the hospitalization and contagion figures. To date, there are 63 public and private centers that have joined the City’s initiative.

INTERNATIONAL

-Merck announced an unprecedented collaboration with Johnson & Johnson to support the latter’s COVID-19 vaccine production. The announcement came days after Johnson & Johnson shared the 85 percent efficacy rate of its single-dose development.

-The vaccine of Indian company Bharat Biotech has reported 81 percent efficiency during the early results of its final phase of clinical trials. This vaccine has proven effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 cases. India has already started to apply this vaccine to health workers, primarily.

-Israel is close to reaching “herd immunity” with the country halfway through its vaccination program. Despite its success, Israel is second in terms of vaccination efforts, behind the Seychelles islands. The country has vaccinated more than half of its population with a first dose (with promising plans to reach 70 percent by mid-March) and 25 percent with a second dose.

-COVID-19 passports raise inequality fears as countries begin to look into vaccine certificates against SARS-CoV-2. Countries like the UK or Denmark are already working on apps to offer this service to the travel industry.   

-CNBC reported a possible vaccine shipment blockade in Italy against AstraZeneca’s distribution to Australia.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst