Here are some significant developments:
- The Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be sent to harder-to-reach communities — a decision that makes practical sense, because it is easier to store and use. But it could also lead to perceptions of a two-tiered vaccine system.
- Two Democratic senators urged the White House coronavirus task force to use vaccine doses set aside for second shots to instead reach a wider swath of the population for the first shot.
- A real-world study from England showed that the first doses of vaccines made by Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech sharply reduced the risk of serious illness and death among the country’s elderly, an especially encouraging sign for the AstraZeneca vaccine, as some countries have questioned its efficacy among older patients.
- Israel’s lightning-fast vaccination program is providing a wealth of information on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, including that it is safe for pregnant and nursing women as well as for those with food allergies and autoimmune disorders.
- More than 512,000 people have died in the United States of the coronavirus, with 28.5 million cases reported since the virus was first identified. The rolling average for both deaths and new cases has been on the rise this week.