The coronavirus continues to hold the world in its grip. Vaccination is delayed due to problems with AstraZeneca, while entrepreneurs still sigh under the lockdown measures. Uncertainty about the variants — and the impact on protection — is the subject of debate. Elections for the Dutch House of Representatives are also taking part in the Netherlands.
21.10 hrs – General practitioners: glad we can start vaccinating quickly again
The Landelijke Huisartsen Vereniging (LHV) is satisfied that the green light has been given on Thursday for the resumption of vaccination with the coronavaccine of AstraZeneca. According to a spokeswoman, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has carried out ‘careful research’ on the possible side effects of the drug and considered it to be safe for use. She says she is happy that the general practitioners can now “start to vaccinate quickly again.”
Before the time comes, the regions of Utrecht and Flevoland must first receive the vaccines from AstraZeneca. In general practitioners, the scarce doses of the vaccine are distributed by province. According to the spokesman, it may be possible to further vaccinate in Gelderland with previous deliveries soon.
General practitioners prick residents in the age range from 60 to 64 years, people with Down syndrome and people with morbid obesity with the means of AstraZeneca.
The LHV called it sensible on Monday that the Cabinet temporarily stopped the vaccinations with the Astrazeneca vaccine. Especially because the general practitioners received questions from their patients during the period before and they wanted a clear story.
20.20h – European countries resume vaccinations with vaccine AstraZeneca
Several European countries are going to use the coronav vaccine from AstraZeneca again now that the European drug guard dog EMA has once again ruled that it is safe. In addition to the Netherlands, these include Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal.
Ireland, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania and Bulgaria are also going to vaccinate people again with the vaccine of the British-Swedish pharmaceutical. The first pricks are put on Friday. Some countries, including Spain and Portugal, will resume vaccinations next week. The Netherlands will start working with it again next week.
A whole series of European countries temporarily stopped administering the Astrazeneca vaccine as a precaution. The reason for this was some reports from Norway and Denmark about people who suffered from a combination of thrombosis (the formation of blood clots) and a shortage of platelets shortly after the prick. Since then dozens of cases have been reported worldwide.
The priority is as soon as possible to vaccinate as many people as possible, reported the office of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. Italy suspended use of the drug Monday. The northern Italian region of Piedmont did so one day before, after a 57-year-old man died a few hours after he was vaccinated.
Norway shall maintain the suspension for the time being pending examination of the notifications in its own country. Sweden, which stopped AstraZeneca on Tuesday, indicated that it needed a few more days for a decision on the resumption.
16.20 hours – Norwegian experts: blood clots come from strong immune response
The blood clots after vaccination with AstraZeneca vaccine may be explained by the fact that it can cause a powerful immune response, which subsequently leads to blood clots. Scientists from the Oslo University Hospital say that this is the cause of the reports that have led several countries to suspend the use of the vaccine as a precautionary measure.
The immune response causes the production of antibodies that activate platelets and cause blood clots, explained researcher Pål Andre Holme. Since these antibodies are located on the surface, they are removed from the circulatory system, and the patients face a deficiency of platelets. “This is a reaction we know, but with other medications as a provoking cause,” says Holme.
In Norway, three nurses were hospitalized last week after showing a combination of blood clots and a shortage of platelets. One of them died later.
14.00 hrs – Germany helps Brazil with ic equipment
The German Air Force is going to fly eighty resuscitators to Brazil to assist that country in the treatment of patients. The intensive units will be flown from Cologne to Manaus at the end of next week.
The country of 214 million inhabitants currently has over 8300 people who have been hospitalized in critical condition as a result of corona infection and 1.1 million people are infected but not very ill. Brazil has approximately 66,000 intensive units. They are divided between public health and privatehealth institutions. However, in the vast country, the numbers of ic equipment prescribed by the federal health authorities are not available everywhere. This certainly applies to the northern part of Brazil, where Manaus is located.
13.30 – Brussels puts pressure on AstraZeneca to increase vaccine deliveries
The European Commission is increasing pressure on AstraZeneca to supply the vaccines contractually agreed. The day-to-day EU administration is starting a formal procedure to resolve the conflict with Swedish-British pharmaceutical over the lagging supplies of their COVID-19 vaccines to the European Union, according to a spokesman.
The contract concluded by the committee on behalf of the 27 Member States with AstraZeneca includes a dispute settlement which Brussels will now use. In consultation with the Member States, a letter will go out ‘quickly’ inviting ‘the company to sit around the table within 20 days in order to find a solution. The spokesman did not want to go into the possibility of legal action if this does not lead to anything. “We will see where this first step leads.”
After arguing over the lagging behind of deliveries to the EU in the first quarter, Brussels is now angry at the company’s announcement last week that the second quarter could not be delivered as the EU was counting on.
12.40 hours – Many corona variants on Aruba
The Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) has now found more than a hundred cases of mutated coronavirus in Aruba. The island now counts 97 cases of the British variant, twice the South African, eight cases of the Mexican, three times the Californian and one case of the Brazilian variant.
Especially the Brazilian variant could lead to very severe symptoms. Preventing dissemination is very important for the Public Health Service. Already with slight complaints, everyone is called upon to be tested.
On Wednesday 327 active infections were registered in Aruba. Because another coronapatient died, the mortality rate is now 81. The management of Horacio Oduber Hospital on the island reports that 29 people are being nursed with corona, 11 of whom are in intensive care. In this way, according to the hospital, the virus puts a great pressure on medical care, which could jeopardise other care.
12.19 hours – UMCG is looking for volunteers to test new coronavaccin
The University Medical Center Groningen is looking for volunteers to test a new vaccine against the coronavirus. This is the candidate vaccine AKS-452 from the company Akston Biosciences from the United States. “The aim of the research is to investigate the safety, tolerability and response of the immune system to the vaccine,” reports the University Hospital of Groningen.
For the study, the UMCG is looking for 176 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 65 who have not had a corona. Study participants are given one or two doses of the candidate vaccine to determine the dose at which a person has sufficient antibodies.
The Akston Biosciences vaccine does not use the proper coronavirus, weakened or alive. The vaccine is made up of a portion of the coronavirus, the so-called spike protein, which is combined with a protein fragment of a human antibody.
10:35am – 20,000 extra vaccinations per day in Germany
The German army is ready to open 28 vaccination centers. There people can be vaccinated day and night with coronavaccines, says Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to the German business magazine Wirtschaftswoche.
According to the Minister, the military run puncture sites can quickly open the doors. The CDU politician predicts that another 20,000 people can be vaccinated per day, provided sufficient vaccines are available. According to Wirtschaftswoche, Kramp-Karrenbauer is indirectly addressed to her colleague Jens Spahn, the Minister of Health. It is about the vaccination campaign and should take the lead in engaging the army.
Germany is already involved in the vaccination campaign, which started in December and, according to critics, is too slow. Military personnel are deployed, among other things, at existing vaccination centres and assist in conducting contact research.
03.30 – EMA judges on possible side effects vaccine AstraZeneca
The Safety Committee of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will issue an opinion on Thursday on possible rare side effects of AstraZeneca‘s corona vaccine. The experts examine reports of clot formation in the blood (thrombosis) in the days after the prick. Some Danes and Norwegians were givenIn addition to thrombosis, there is also a shortage of platelets.
The German health authorities later added that in their country seven people were affected by a stroke in the post-vaccination period. Three of them have died.
Five million pricks are a small number of reports, so much is clear. As far as known, in the Scandinavian countries, six people suffered from the combination of the two blood problems, several dozen people received thrombosis the week after their prick.
The most important question for the experts is whether the vaccine caused the complaints – and what that means for the further vaccinations. It could also be a coincidence. Thrombosis is common and EMA said Tuesday that there appear to be no more cases among people vaccinated with AstraZeneca. However, the Netherlands and many other EU countries took the certainty of the uncertainty and stopped vaccinations as a precautionary measure. In the UK and Belgium, politicians and experts, in turn, stressed how safe the vaccine is.
EEA Director Emer Cooke announced on Tuesday that her organisation also continues to take the view that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine “outweigh the risk of side effects.” After all, in most cases, the vaccine prevents people from getting seriously ill with the coronavirus, or dying from it.
The Safety Committee will review all available information in an accelerated procedure and “make all recommendations necessary to minimise risks and protect patients’ health,” said EMA.
2am – Brazil records record number of coronavirus infections in 24 hours
The Brazilian health authorities have again recorded a record number of coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours. Over the past 24 hours, more than 90,000 cases have been increased in the South American country. On Tuesday Brazil already set a new grim day record with 2841 deaths in a 24 hour.
On Wednesday, the Brazilian authorities reported a further 2648 deaths due to the coronavirus. That brings the total death toll in the country with 212 million inhabitants to almost 285,000. In total, around 11.7 million infections with the lung virus have already been detected. Both the Brazilian death toll and the number of infections are the second highest in the world, in both cases behind the United States.
Partly due to mutated variants, it continues to go the wrong direction with the epidemic in Brazil. On Wednesday, President Bolsonaro said he was glad that his supporters are demonstrating against rules about keeping distance and closing shops. The president is known for wanting to keep society running as much as possible, despite the virus going around. “Of course I was happy,” said the president, who previously disregarded the coronavirus as “a flu.” “They show that people are alive. We want our freedom. We want the world to respect our constitution.”