Prime Minister on checks, tracing and vaccination

Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore’s Prime Minister.

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SINGAPORE – Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Monday that the country’s Covid restrictions could be eased after June 13 if the situation improves.

“Aside from another super-spreader or large cluster, we should be on track to get this outbreak under control,” he said in a televised address.

“If our situation continues to improve and the number of cases in the community continues to decline, we should be able to relax restrictions after June 13,” he said.

The Southeast Asian nation imposed two stricter measures in May after local coronavirus infections rose in April.

The increase in cases also led to another delay in the travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong.

“New Normal”

Lee said Singapore is fighting “more infectious strains of the virus” and needs to vaccinate as many as possible to achieve “herd immunity”. This occurs when enough people in the community are infected or vaccinated and the disease can no longer spread quickly.

“We need to continually adjust our strategies and improve our game to keep Covid-19 under control,” he said, adding that the country needs to test, track and vaccinate its population faster.

Singapore uses different types of Covid-19 tests along with polymerase chain reaction tests which are widely considered to be the gold standard.

“You should expect routine, large-scale, quick, and easy testing to be part of our new normal,” Lee said.

In terms of contact tracing, individuals living with close contact from an infected case now need to be isolated. So far, only the close contacts had to be quarantined.

“This more aggressive approach will help us close clusters faster,” he said.

Expansion of the vaccination program

As of Tuesday, more than 400,000 students will be able to book vaccination spots in Singapore, the Prime Minister said.

Graduating cohorts and students with special needs are given priority and can start vaccinating as early as Thursday.

Young adults 39 and under should be able to book vaccination spots in mid-June, with Singaporeans being given a two-week priority window, he said.

Seniors over the age of 60 can now get vaccinated without registering and can go to any vaccination center to get their shots, he said.

As of Sunday, the country reported 62,028 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 33 deaths from the disease.

Since May 8th Singapore extended quarantines for overseas travelers, closed gyms and limited social gatherings for groups of five.

It was announced later a ban on dine-in, Public gatherings have been limited to two people and all workers who can work from home are required to do so from May 16 to June 13. At that point, the government announced that it would review the measures two weeks later.

The Singapore government last week warned of “heightened uncertainties” in the coming months due to the pandemic, but kept its growth forecast for 2021 at 4% to 6%. The country’s economy grew 1.3% in the first quarter of 2021. the fastest pace in over a year.

Erie County, Pegula Sports activities & Leisure companion to open COVID-19 vaccination clinic at KeyBank Middle

Fri, March 5, 2021 9:30 a.m.

The Lexus Club is to serve as the location for an estimated 1,000 vaccinations per day

The barrier-free downtown location offers parking spaces and can be reached by public transport. will be the county’s third vaccination distribution point

Erie County’s executive Mark Poloncarz on Thursday announced the county’s partnership with Pegula Sports & Entertainment and the Buffalo Sabers to open a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo. The Lexus Club, an accessible downtown location with parking that is also on public transit, will serve as the location for the Erie County Health Department’s third vaccination distribution point. After activation, the KeyBank Center POD should carry out more than 1,000 vaccinations per day.

“I thank the Pegulas, Pegula Sports & Entertainment, and the Buffalo Sabers for providing the KeyBank Center location as the location for a new vaccine POD in Erie County. We look forward to opening this location as soon as possible,” said Poloncarz. “Your commitment to our region and the protection of our residents is remarkable and greatly appreciated as we work to ensure that more and more people are vaccinated. This website is well positioned to serve the city of Buffalo and all of Erie County. As soon as more vaccines become available, we can increase operations here.

“Together with the existing County Vaccination PODs at SUNY Erie South and SUNY Erie North, we are expanding our capabilities to vaccinate more residents and protect more people.”

Pegula Sports & Entertainment President and CEO and Owner / President of the Buffalo Sabers Kim Pegula said, “Our organization is proud to work with County Executive Mark Poloncarz and his team to provide as many vaccinations as possible to our community . We value the work our healthcare workers do at the forefront and are happy to help. “

Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County’s Health Commissioner, said, “We appreciate our vaccination teams having this new, accessible place available. As three safe and effective vaccines become available and the supply grows, our department stands ready to get to work vaccinating Erie County’s residents with this vital tool in our COVID-19 prevention toolkit. “

This website will open on Wednesday March 10th with dates specifically for people aged 65 and over. Appointments are required and will open as soon as vaccine supplies become available. Registration information is first sent to people who have used the ECDOH vaccine notification form (www.erie.gov/vaccinenotice).

Vaccination charges comply with the cash in states with large wealth gaps

T.The affluent town of Woodbridge, Connecticut, has less than half the population of neighboring Ansonia, yet it has more people who received a Covid-19 vaccine. The inequality is grave: In Woodbridge, where residents have an average household income of $ 138,320 a year, 19.3% of the population had been vaccinated on February 4, according to the Connecticut Department of Health. In Ansonia, where the median income is $ 45,563 per year, only 7.1% received their first shot.

According to a STAT analysis of vaccine data at the local level in 10 states, Connecticut has the biggest differences in vaccination rates between the richest and poorest communities – a 65% difference the largest wealth gaps. Four other states – California, Florida, New Jersey, and Mississippi – also have significantly higher proportions of people vaccinated in the richest 10% of counties.

The discrepancies vary: in California, residents in the richest areas received 156 shots for every 100 vaccines in the poorest counties, while in Mississippi, residents in the richest counties received 111 vaccinations for every 100 doses in the poorest areas.

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In Washington, DC, the two richest communities have vaccination rates more than double that of the two least affluent ones.

Findings back up hard data on individual reports from across the country that wealthy people were given access to vaccines before those on low incomes. “We are seeing individuals with privileges and access who displace the people who don’t,” said Tekisha Dwan Everette, executive director of Health Equity Solutions in Connecticut and a member of the state governor’s Covid-19 advisory group.

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However, the analysis also shows that some states seem to distribute vaccines more fairly than others. Among the states with the greatest wealth gaps, Texas, Tennessee, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Illinois showed no significant income differences in county-level vaccination rates. The analysis excluded states, including Georgia, Louisiana, and Massachusetts, that do not publicly share data on county-level vaccine recipients.

However, because counties can contain different population groups, the analysis is not a definitive indicator of equity. Several experts said they expected more accurate data to reveal inequalities in wealth even in states with fair data at the county level. Racial differences were still evident in some of these states.

Olivia Goldhill / STAT
Sources: State and Washington, DC, Health Departments

Any loophole in vaccinating the rich against the poor inevitably exacerbates racial segregation. Blacks and Latinos are much more likely to live in poverty than white people, and although they died more frequently during the pandemic, they get fewer vaccines than white people.

The data suggests that in some states, the first wave of vaccinations benefited the rich. “There are really two Connecticuts. We as a state need to focus more on that, ”said Tiffany Donelson, executive director of the Connecticut Health Foundation.

Inequality was a feature of the pandemic from the start, Everette said, citing Covid-19 testing sites that were more accessible to wealthier populations. “Instead of learning from this lesson, let’s recreate the privilege,” she said.

It is not enough just to find vaccination sites in different areas with lower incomes: “People travel outside their own geographic area to get vaccinated elsewhere,” she said.

Similar problems have been observed in California. “We’ve heard these stories from people in LA going to Compton or any other part where there are other locations,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California.

Government action can help eliminate inequalities. According to Imelda Garcia, chair of the Texas Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel, vaccination centers in Texas need to put aside some of the vaccines for vulnerable communities, work with local leaders, and distribute the vaccine in racially diverse areas. In contrast, California counts are expected to focus on justice, but there are no special requirements, said Darrel Ng, spokesman for California’s Covid-19 Vaccine Task Force.

But the introduction of vaccines in Texas, while not reflecting income inequality, has disproportionately helped the white population State data Show. Racial data has not been recorded for all vaccinations, Garcia said, and more data collection could reveal a fairer distribution: “The data does not reflect what is happening. I can say that the data is missing. “

Similar concerns about lack of data apply to the county-level analysis, as several states with the greatest differences have not published this information. Tracking and sharing this data is one way to improve gender equality, said Julie Swann, director of industrial and systems engineering at North Carolina State University. “When we start measuring who they are reaching in terms of race, ethnicity, or income, they will do the extra things it takes to reach everyone.”

The rush to vaccinate people as quickly as possible may have curtailed equity in the first phase of the rollout. “[States] feared they would lose their allocation if they didn’t move quickly, ”said Swann. “Everyone freaked out.”

Up until now, vaccine distribution has mainly focused on healthcare workers and those over 75. “Justice is our north star for vaccine distribution. When the state launches its new vaccine distribution network, we can target our disproportionate vaccination efforts more precisely to affected communities, “said California’s Ng.

However, the lack of equality for health workers in the first phase also indicates disadvantages that poor communities face. In areas with a shortage of hospitals, which are often poorer rural areas, fewer people are vaccinated. California’s Central Valley, for example, has a far less robust healthcare system than Silicon Valley.

“Those areas that have more health infrastructure and workers, by definition, have received more vaccine,” said Wright of Health Access California.

Health Department spokeswoman Maura Fitzgerald said Connecticut is taking several steps to address vaccine inequality. This includes providing vaccines to people in vulnerable communities and setting up a vaccine phone line for residents without internet.

In New Jersey – where STAT found vaccination rates 28% higher in the richest counties – the health department is working with partners such as places of worship and senior centers to provide education and access to vaccines through mobile clinics and possibly door-to-door vaccinations in areas severely affected by Covid-19, said Ministry of Health spokeswoman Donna Leusner. Washington, DC, has partnered with hospitals, community health centers, and other organizations to achieve justice, a health department spokesman wrote, and approximately 20% to 30% of vaccine supplies are aimed at diverse populations, including homeless shelters and faith-based initiatives.

Meanwhile, Mississippi Department of Health spokeswoman Liz Sharlot said the state is working with black pastors, historically black colleges and universities, and prominent African American doctors to eradicate inequality. And Florida – where the vaccination rate is 23.6% higher in the richest counties – is partnering with places of worship and other locations in underserved communities where the vaccine can be given, a health agency spokesman said. Florida vaccine allocation per county is based on population age 65 and over.

While the elderly are more prone to Covid-19, the distribution of vaccines by age can lead to inequalities. In Connecticut, northeast Hartford has a life expectancy of 68.9 years compared to 84.6 years at West Hartford Center, so a smaller proportion of its residents have been eligible for vaccination. The state only opened vaccinations for 65 to 75 year olds this week. “You are missing a significant portion of the population in Hartford,” said Donelson of the Connecticut Health Foundation.

Online reservation systems have also contributed to the differences. A vaccine distribution system that sets appointments for those who can book them fastest inevitably rewards those with the time and connections. People often have to call around five different health centers to get on a vaccination schedule, said Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “It tells you a lot about the lack of planning,” he said.

Online booking systems require a computer, WiFi, and the ability to navigate a complicated system, Wright said. Richer people can more easily take time off and have easier access to the means of transport that need to be vaccinated.

“People who are richer will be more involved in the vaccination rollout,” he said. “It shows how much more we need to do to put in proactive efforts to reach out to the most vulnerable.”

STAT methodology

STAT examined discrepancies in 10 countries with the highest wealth gap. measured by the Gini coefficient, which provided district-level or equivalent local data on population vaccination rates.

For each state, we looked at vaccine distribution rates in the richest 10% and the poorest 10% of the counties. We used federal data for most of the states median household income. In Connecticut, we used vaccine dates and median household income for cities and municipalities. And we analyzed that median household income and vaccination rates for each station in Washington, DC In New Jersey, which has 22 wards, we compared the three richest and poorest counties.

STAT used vaccination rates published on the local Department of Health websites February 6-10. Connecticut, Florida, and New Jersey indicated the percentage of residents who received their first doses; Mississippi provided vaccination doses are administered by the district; California provided vaccine doses are given per 10,000 population; Washington, DC provided the number of residents has been fully vaccinated by the station.

India kicks off large Covid-19 vaccination drive on Saturday, Jan. 16

Bangalore Airport employees transfer cardboard boxes of vials of Covishield vaccine developed by the Serum Institute of India on January 12, 2021 in Bangalore, India.

Stringer | Xinhua | Getty Images

SINGAPORE – India is preparing for one of the largest mass vaccination exercises in the world starting Saturday.

The South Asian country plans to vaccinate around 300 million peopleor more than 20% of the 1.3 billion population against Covid-19 in the first phase of the exercise.

Indian airlines have started delivering the first doses of vaccine to Delhi and other major cities, including Kolkata, Ahmedabad and the Bengaluru Technology Center. The Minister of Civil Aviation, Hardeep Singh Puri, announced earlier this week.

Priority for the recordings is given to healthcare and other frontline workers – an estimated 30 million people. That would be followed by people over the age of 50 and other younger people at high risk.

The rollout will involve close cooperation between the central government and the states.

India has also developed a digital portal called Co-WIN Vaccine Delivery Management System. According to the Ministry of Health, real-time information on “vaccine stocks, their storage temperature and individual tracking of the beneficiaries” is provided.

India has a long history of vaccination campaigns … and will rely on this expertise in spreading coronavirus vaccines.

“India’s vaccine manufacturing expertise and experience with mass vaccination campaigns have prepared it well for the Phase 1 vaccinations scheduled to begin this weekend,” Akhil Bery, South Asia analyst with Eurasia Group, wrote in this week a report.

“India has a long history of vaccination campaigns, including its universal immunization program that vaccinates 55 million a year, and will rely on that expertise in distributing coronavirus vaccines,” he added.

Emergency approval

India’s drug regulator has approved the restricted use of two coronavirus vaccines in emergency situations, both of which will be delivered to the various vaccination centers before Saturday.

One of them is a vaccine developed by the British-Swedish company AstraZeneca and Oxford University, made domestically by the Serum Institute of India (SII) and known locally as Covishield.

Another vaccine was called Covaxin Developed domestically by India’s Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian State Medical Research Council. Emergency clearance has been granted as clinical trials continue.

Covaxin’s approval has reportedly been criticized by some as the regulator gave the green light shortly after asking Bharat Biotech for further analysis.

India’s health minister said on Tuesday The Government of India has signed procurement agreements for 11 million cans of Covishield at Rs 200 Indian rupees ($ 2.74) per dose and 5.5 million doses of Covaxin at an average cost of Rs 206 per shot, which is likely cheaper than what it will cost in the private market.

Several other candidates, including a second domestically developed vaccine from Zydus Cadila, are go through clinical trials.

Possible risks

India currently has more than 10.5 million reported coronavirus cases, second only to the US. According to the Johns Hopkins University, more than 151,000 people have died of Covid-19 in India. However, figures reported daily show that the number of cases of active infections is decreasing.

South Asia’s largest country is also the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines and is believed to produce about 60% of all vaccines sold worldwide.

As a result, India’s production of Covid vaccines is expected to play an important role in global immunization against the disease.

Eurasia Group’s Bery said that despite the government’s optimism, two major risks could potentially slow the launch of the vaccination campaign.

“First, vaccine production capacity will be limited even in best-case scenarios,” he said, adding that if local vaccine manufacturers cannot produce the 600 million doses needed to vaccinate the first 300 million people, “India’s vaccination schedule – and the export of vaccines to other countries could be significantly delayed. “

The second risk is that India’s vaccination campaign is highly dependent on state governments, “whose capacities and expertise vary widely,” Bery said. “Effective coordination between the central government and the state government is required, which has not been (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi’s strength.”