People walk past a graffiti amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil March 12, 2021. The graffiti reads: "Coronavirus, together we will win that battle". REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

People walk past a graffiti amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil March 12, 2021. The graffiti reads: “Coronavirus, together we will win that battle”. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

SAO PAULO, Oct 4 (Reuters) – Brazilian healthcare company Hapvida Participacoes (HAPV3.SA) said in a securities filing late on Sunday it has prescribed hydroxychloroquine to COVID patients.

Hapvida admitted prescribing hydroxychloroquine in the early days of thehealth crisis when it still believed it could benefit patients. But it said those prescriptions never corresponded to the “majority” of drugs it prescribed.

The company added it is no longer prescribing the drug.

Local media have reported doctors in the northeastern state of Ceara alleging the company forced the prescription of ineffective drugs for COVID patients such as hydroxychloroquine.

A Brazilian congressional investigation has been probing Prevent Senior, a privately owned health insurance company, for allegedly prescribing ineffective drugs and delaying ICU admissions during the pandemic.

Hapvida said it has opened 1,000 ICU beds, hired 6,000 health professionals and expanded its hospital network during the pandemic.

(This story corrects spelling of hydroxychloroquine)

Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; editing by Jason Neely
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Pfizer Vaccination Effective for 6+ Months

Dose of good news – Two doses of Pfizer vaccine are highly effective at preventing hospitalisation from Covid-19 for at least six months, a large-scale study shows. Effectiveness against catching Covid falls from 88% within a month to 47% after six months, but effectiveness against ending up in hospital remains high at 90% overall, across all variants including Delta. The results underscore the importance of improving vaccination rates globally, researchers say. In the UK, the NHS is offering booster jabs if you had your second vaccine at least six months ago; are living in a residential care home for older adults; are over 50; or are a frontline health and social care worker. It is also offered to 16 to 49 year olds who are at higher risk of severe Covid or live with someone else who is.

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COVID-19 long-haulers plead for government action

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COVID-19 long-haulers and advocates are stepping up their calls for state and federal officials to take action and dedicate funding to those who have endured the mysterious condition that stems from the coronavirus.

After months of sharing their stories of ongoing symptoms, long-haulers are appealing to elected officials for assistance and begging them to provide help.

“We need to have more legislation for survivors like ourselves and not just keep telling our stories because there’s a bazillion stories out there now,” said Maya McNulty, a long hauler from New York. “We’re not like some Netflix series that you can just binge watch and then the problem goes away. We are living with this … disease, and there is no hope.”

The grassroots, nonpartisan group COVID Survivors for Change launched a week of action on Friday, with delegations from all 50 states dedicated to illustrating how the virus has changed the lives of long-haulers and families who’ve lost loved ones.

Advocates said they plan to contact officials, including Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D), Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R), Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) and Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R), to push for initiatives to support COVID-19 survivors.

Their requests range from direct funding for long-haulers to a 9/11-style commission to investigate how the pandemic led to hundreds of thousands of deaths and potentially millions of long COVID-19 cases.