CNW- Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley wants at least 10,000 people to be vaccinated against COVID-19 every week for the next five weeks, which she said would determine when curfews and other restrictions would be eased and eventually lifted.

Addressing the nation on Saturday, Mottley said if vaccinations pick up to the level she wants, Barbados would be much closer to herd immunity.

Currently, just under 6,500 persons are being vaccinated in Barbados weekly, and while saying she was happy to see an increasing number of people coming forward to be vaccinated, she urged more Barbadians to get inoculated.

“We are trending in the right direction, but the overall rate does need still some pumping up; it is still a little bit too low,” Prime Minister Mottley said.

“Let us agree to aim to get as close to 10,000 persons per week being vaccinated…. If we can do that, and we can maintain that each week for the next five weeks, then we will have the majority of those persons fully vaccinated before the end of November, before Independence Day [November 30] and Christmas, such that we may as a country, consider then the options of significant review and removal of restrictions that we have in place….  There will then be a clear and justifiable case for the Government to take to the doctors and the public health specialists, that will allow us to gradually remove the restrictions.”

Barbados is currently under a 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew Mondays to Saturdays, and a 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew on Sundays.

The Prime Minister stressed, however, that with any removal of restrictions, members of the public would still have to wear masks, sanitise and engage in physical distancing.

Noting that the six people who have died from COVID-19 this past week were unvaccinated, Mottley pleaded: “Help us by protecting yourselves, by taking the vaccinations.”

“There is a small percentage… of seven percent, who are likely to have the breakthrough cases among the vaccinated people, but if we catch them early as well we can ensure that none of them go the way of the others who regrettably have gone to the great beyond,” she added, reiterating her view that the COVID-19 pandemic is a pandemic of the unvaccinated.

Health authorities recently started a mobile vaccination drive and the Prime Minister said that has been reaping success.

She noted that the pop-up vaccination sites in the community had made a “clear and visible difference” and that discussions were held earlier this week about increasing the number of locations.

Mottley further disclosed that some private sector entities had asked if their premises could be used for some of the community pop-ups and those discussions were ongoing.

Training for private medical doctors who will be administering COVID-19 vaccines began Sunday.

Prime Minister Mottley also told the nation that she wanted to get and distribute oximeters to a number of households across the country, so persons could test the proportion of oxygenated haemoglobin in their blood, so they would present to health officials earlier for diagnosis and treatment.

So far, about 125,000 people have received at least their first jab of one of the three vaccines available – AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Sinopharm.

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What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

Sept 22 (Reuters)

U.S. to donate an additional 500M COVID-19 vaccines

The United States plans to donate an additional 500 million COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE to nations around the world, lifting the total the country is sharing to more than 1 billion doses, according to a source familiar with the plans.

President Joe Biden is hosting a virtual summit on COVID-19 on Wednesday and is likely to announce the new pledge then. The United States is pushing global leaders to endorse its targets for ending the COVID-19 pandemic, including ensuring 70% of the world’s population is vaccinated by this time in 2022, according to a draft U.S. document viewed by Reuters. read more

Johnson & Johnson Claim 94% Protection with 2nd Shot

Johnson & Johnson announced on Tuesday that the protection offered by its COVID-19 vaccine increased to 94 percent when a booster shot was given two months after the initial dose.

According to the company’s Phase 3 study, a two-month booster shot resulted in 100 percent protection against severe cases of COVID-19 and 94 percent protection against symptomatic cases in the U.S.

When a booster shot was administered six months after the initial dose, Johnson & Johnson reported a ninefold increase in antibodies that grew to a 12-fold increase in the four weeks after the injection, regardless of age.

What J&J is saying: “Our single-shot vaccine generates strong immune responses and long-lasting immune memory,” Mathai Mammen, global head of research and development at Johnson & Johnson, said in the company’s announcement. “And, when a booster of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is given, the strength of protection against COVID-19 further increases.”

The pharmaceutical company also reported that a study had found that a single shot of its coronavirus vaccine was 79 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 infections and 81 percent effective at preventing hospitalizations. This efficacy rate is significantly higher than the 66 percent rate that was shared when the vaccine was first authorized for emergency use.

Context: This announcement from Johnson & Johnson comes shortly after Pfizer’s COVID-19 booster was recommended by a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel for use in people over the age of 65 and those in high-risk groups.

The single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been the least administered in the U.S. out of the three authorized, making up more than 14.8 million doses out of the U.S.’s total of over 386 million doses.

Read more here.

PFIZER RESULTS OFFER HOPE AMID WORSENING PANDEMIC FOR KIDS

Pfizer’s test results that its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective among children ages 5 to 11 provides a glimmer of hope to parents desperate to get their younger children protected against the virus.

The vaccine manufacturer’s announcement, which didn’t include specific data from the trial, comes as COVID-19 has taken a greater toll on the pediatric population in recent weeks than previously in the pandemic.

Both child cases and hospitalizations have reached new heights amid the delta variant’s spread and the back-to-school season.

The uptick has raised the pressure on Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials to authorize a vaccine for children younger than 12.

With the Pfizer results and the FDA’s previous statement that it will review submitted data “likely in a matter of weeks rather than months,” experts say the emergency authorization for the age group could come as early as next month. But they cautioned that the timing is far from certain.

“So, practically speaking, we’re talking about the prospect of having all school-aged kids fully vaccinated when school opens after the winter holidays,” Jeffrey Gerber, an attending physician in the division of infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told The Hill.

“That is, if we can make it easy for them to get it and their parents choose for their children to be vaccinated,” he added.

Read more here.

Locked-down Melbourne beefs up security as protesters gather

Australia’s Victoria state on Wednesday reported a jump in new COVID-19 infections as Melbourne braced for a third straight day of protests against lockdown restrictions, with police deploying in strength to disperse crowds. Television footage showed crowds of protesters walking in the middle of streets in different parts of the city, with police sometimes giving chase.

Melbourne is in its sixth lockdown, the most of any Australian city since the pandemic began. Authorities are aiming for a staggered reopening, easing some curbs when the full vaccination rate for the adult population reaches 70%. The rates of people aged 16 and older who are fully vaccinated is 45% in Victoria. read more

Chinese city in semi-shutdown after first cases since Feb

China’s northeastern city of Harbin, population 10 million, went into semi-shutdown after reporting new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases for the first time since early February. Three of 16 new local cases reported in China for Sept. 21 were in Harbin, the provincial capital of Heilongjiang, the National Health Commission (NHC) said on Wednesday.

Indoors venues such as cinemas, gyms and mahjong parlours were shut, and tourist sites were ordered to limit visitor traffic at half of their capacity, state television reported on Tuesday. The city would also suspend offline classes at all kindergartens, primary schools and high schools for a week from Wednesday, state television said late on Tuesday. read more

New Zealand says it may not get to zero COVID-19 cases again

New Zealand may not get back to having zero coronavirus cases in the community, the director general of health said on Thursday, as the country continues efforts to stamp out the infectious Delta variant of the virus.

“The important thing is we are going to keep finding any infections and basically continue to contact trace, test and isolate people so that we stop the virus circulating in the community,” Ashley Bloomfield, the director general of health told Radio New Zealand.

“Get that vaccination rate up over 90% … that’s absolutely our new means whereby we will be able to get back to the freedoms we had,” he said. read more

IMF calls for coordinated action, accountability in COVID-19 battle

The chief economist of the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday called for coordinated action and greater accountability to ensure that the world meets a target of vaccinating 40% of people in every country against COVID-19 by the end of 2021.

“It’s not enough to make announcements and pledges. You have to come through on it,” said Gita Gopinath, adding it was critical to allocate adequate supplies of vaccines, especially to African countries with big deficits, by year’s end, even if some shots did not get into people’s arms until early next year. read more

Compiled by Karishma Singh; Editing by Sam Holmes
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WORLD STATS

Coronavirus Cases:

230,339,030

Deaths:

4,723,115

Recovered:

207,048,429
Highlighted in green
= all cases have recovered from the infection
Highlighted in grey
= all cases have had an outcome (there are no active cases)

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September 22 (GMT)

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