There is no doubt the U.S. government Covid vaccine rollout has been painfully slow.
The CDC said it had administered 4,225,756 first doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Saturday morning and distributed 13,071,925 doses in the vaccine rollout. Officials had hoped to have 20 million people vaccinated by the end of the 2020.
So, the government is now considering giving some people half the dose of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine.
Moncef Slaoui is the head of Operation Warp Speed. He said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday that officials were in talks with Moderna and the FDA about the idea. Moderna’s vaccine, like Pfizer’s, requires two injections.
Slaoui claimed one dose “induces identical immune response” to the full dose.
Moderna and the FDA have yet to comment.
Slaoui did say, though, he was optimistic the vaccine rollout would continue to accelerate. And he added it would likely not be known until late spring whether vaccinated people can still spread the disease to others.
I think giving people just one of the two doses is a bad idea. It makes much more likely the possibility of what is called “antibody-dependent enhancement” or ADE.
In brief, if the dosage isn’t high enough to knock out the virus, it builds a quick resistance to the vaccine. The antibodies generated actually end up enhancing the disease.
The Big News
UK Starts AstraZeneca Vaccine Inoculations
The United Kingdom has begun Covid inoculations with the Covid vaccine from AstraZeneca. It has received emergency use authorization last week in both Britain and India. The U.S. has yet to grant this vaccine such approval. Unlike rival vaccines, it can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions (36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least six months.
Pushing to the Front of the Vaccination Line
Covid vaccine pioneer Moderna is being heavily criticized for reserving some of its Covid-19 vaccine for employees and board members. The company claims, though, that those inoculations would not come at the expense of public vaccination programs.
The Virus Is Still Winning
The number of Americans hospitalized with Covid-19 symptoms is still soaring. The number of Covid patients in U.S. hospitals has surpassed 123,000. That is up from about 95,000 a month ago and only 50,000 two months ago.
Scientists Debate Vaccination Tactics
The U.S. has fumbled the vaccine rollout. So, scientists are now debating vaccination strategy. The big question: Is it wisest to hold back supplies for quick second shots? Or to delay the second inoculation to give as many people as possible the partial protection of a single dose?
Covid awareness is one year old. Exactly one year ago today, Stat News published an article by the prominent global healthcare reporter Helen Branswell. Headline: “Experts Search for Answers in Limited Information About Mystery Pneumonia Outbreak in China.”
The Coronavirus Numbers
Here are the numbers from Monday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 85,202,384 Infected Worldwide
- 1,844,847 Deaths
- 20,640,214 Infected in the U.S.
- 351,590 Deaths in the U.S.
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2020 was a good year for many investors. The S&P 500 rose 16% gold enjoyed a 25% rally.
The rally continues into 2021. Asian and European stocks have roared out of the gate. U.S. stock futures are also up nicely.
This is thanks to the dollar’s continued weakness. China’s currency crossed the 6.5 per dollar threshold for the first time since June 2018. China’s renminbi has now erased most of the losses it has suffered against the dollar since President Trump kicked off a trade war between the countries.
Precious metals are soaring this morning; gold appears to have made a decisive move higher. It has breached of the top of the channel and its 50-day simple moving average. Bitcoin’s dizzying climb continues. It soared over 300% in 2020.
It climbed above $34,000 for the first time on Sunday. The rally has fed worries that events of three years ago will repeat. The bitcoin bull market dramatically collapsed then.
Here’s another high flyer: Tesla.
Tesla reported strong fourth-quarter vehicle delivery numbers. The company delivered 180,570 vehicles in the fourth quarter, beating expectations for around 174,000. This took its annual production to half a million cars as it benefited from the initiation of Model Y production in China.
New U.S. and German plants set to open this year will enable Tesla to significantly raise production in 2021 and beyond.
That should keep the EV sector red-hot.
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Yours in Health & Wealth,