Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson says it will be able to deliver 20 million doses of its one-shot COVID-19 vaccine to the U.S. government by the end of March, assuming it obtains the green light from federal regulators.
J&J revealed the figure ahead of a Congressional hearing Tuesday on the country’s vaccine supply. White House officials warned last week that initial supplies of the J&J vaccine would be limited.
The company has reaffirmed that it will have the capacity to deliver 100 million doses of the vaccine to the United States by the end of June. This supply will help government officials meet the goal of having enough injections to immunize most adult Americans later this year. Globally, the company aims to produce one billion doses this year.
U.S. health regulators are still reviewing the safety and effectiveness of the shot, and a decision to allow its emergency use is expected later this week. J & J’s vaccine would be the first in the United States to require only one vaccine.
Canada has reached an agreement with J&J for up to 38 million doses of its vaccine, pending approval from Health Canada.
Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses several weeks apart. Executives from both companies and two other vaccine makers will also testify at Tuesday’s hearing.
WATCH | Biden speaks of lives lost as US COVID-19 death toll surpasses 500,000:
The United States has seen more recorded cases of COVID-19 than any other country in the world, with more than 28.1 million recorded cases. President Joe Biden on Monday described the death toll, which topped 500,000, as “a really dark and heartbreaking stage.”
Biden urged Americans not to become “insensitive to pain” and to “take every life as a statistic.” The people lost were “extraordinary,” the president said, noting that “to heal you have to remember”.
-From The The Bharat Express News and TBEN News, last updated at 7 a.m. ET
What’s happening across Canada
As early as Tuesday morning, Canada had reported 849,522 cases of COVID-19, with 31,166 cases considered active. A TBEN News death tally stood at 21,723.
The growing threat of COVID-19 variants has prompted the Manitoba government to tighten up some of its pandemic guidelines. Instead of 15 minutes, people will be considered contacts of a case – and will need to undergo testing and self-isolation – if they have been in the vicinity of an infection for 10 minutes.
The province, which has so far identified four travel-related cases of the B117 variant, is also ending an exemption that allowed some household members with a positive case to avoid self-isolation. Going forward, everyone in the same household with a positive case will need to self-isolate and get tested.
“We need to make sure that we are aggressively managing cases and contacts,” Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health administrator, said Monday as the province reported 97 new cases of COVID-19 and two deaths additional.
In Atlantic Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, including one in the Labrador-Grenfell health region. As of Monday, the province had 407 active cases and five COVID-19 patients in hospital.
“I am cautiously optimistic about our progress, but by no means have we come out of the woods,” said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald.
Health officials in both New Scotland and New Brunswick reported a new case of COVID-19 on Monday, and no new cases were reported in Prince Edward Island.
In Quebec, health officials on Monday reported 805 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 additional deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. Hospitalizations increased by three, to 689, and 117 people were in intensive care, a decrease of two.
Ontario, meanwhile, reported 1,058 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday and 11 more deaths. Hospitalizations stood at 646, including 280 patients with COVID-19 in intensive care units across the province.
WATCH | Ontario’s plans for the deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine:
In the Prairie provinces, Saskatchewan reported 177 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. In Alberta, health officials have reported 273 new cases of COVID-19 and 16 additional deaths.
In British Columbia, health officials have reported 1,428 new cases of COVID-19 in the past three days, for a total of 77,263 since the start of the pandemic. There were also eight other deaths, bringing the number of deaths from the novel coronavirus to 1,335 in British Columbia
Across the North, 12 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the Nunavut community of Arviat Monday. No new cases were reported in the Northwest Territories or Yukon.
Here’s a look at what’s happening elsewhere in Canada:
-From The Canadian Press and TBEN News, last updated 7:15 a.m.
What is happening in the world
As of Tuesday morning, more than 111.7 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with more than 63 million of those cases listed as resolved on a tracking site run by Johns Hopkins University. The worldwide death toll was over 2.4 million – with over 500,000 of those deaths in the United States alone.
In Europe, the new COVID-19 regulations came into effect Tuesday in Poland and lift the quarantine requirements for people entering the country who have certificates of having been vaccinated against the virus with a vaccine approved by the European Union.
Likewise, kindergarten children, primary school pupils and their carers, as well as researchers studying in Poland or a neighboring country, are exempt from the 10-day quarantine. Government regulations published Monday evening also allow people to go to health centers if their test is negative six days or less before arrival.
The UK unemployment rate rose for a sixth straight month in December, as renewed coronavirus restrictions shut down most businesses in the country. The Bureau of National Statistics said on Tuesday that unemployment rose to 5.1% in December, up 0.1% from the previous month and 1.3% from the previous year. The number of people on the company’s payrolls has fallen by 726,000 since the pandemic began last February, with 58.5% of the drop affecting those under 25.
The figures do not show the full impact of COVID-19 restrictions on employment, as some 1.9 million workers remain on leave. A government program covers 80 percent of their salary.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday announced plans to slowly end a national lockdown in England in the hope of safely reopening the economy and social life as infection rates drop and widespread vaccinations reduce the threat of COVID-19.
In the Asia Pacific region, the Philippine president will reject recommendations to further ease coronavirus quarantine restrictions until a delayed vaccination campaign kicks off, his spokesperson said.
President Rodrigo Duterte also rejected a plan to resume face-to-face classes in some pilot areas until vaccinations, which were delayed by delays in the arrival of initial batches of COVID-19 vaccine, had been launched, presidential spokesman Harry Roque mentioned.
The expected delivery on Tuesday of 600,000 doses of Sinovac Biotech Ltd. was postponed again after the China-based company failed to immediately obtain an emergency use permit from the Food and Drug Administration in Manila. Sinovac obtained authorization on Monday.
Senior economic officials have asked Duterte to consider further easing quarantine restrictions from March to support the economy, which has suffered one of the region’s worst recessions, and avert hunger. But Duterte rejected the recommendations.
“The CEO recognizes the importance of reopening the economy and its impact on people’s livelihoods,” Roque said, but noted that the president “places a higher premium on health and safety public “.
The Philippines has reported more than 563,000 confirmed cases and more than 12,000 deaths, the second largest in Southeast Asia.
In the Americas, Mexico received its first shipment of the Russian Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.
Some 200,000 doses arrived at Mexico City International Airport late Monday evening on a British Airways flight from Moscow. Authorities plan to use the doses to start vaccinating older people in the capital’s most marginalized districts on Wednesday.
Mexico received its first vaccine shipment from Pfizer in mid-December, but turned to Sputnik V in January when other expected vaccine shipments were delayed. Sputnik is also arriving later than initially expected. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the end of January.
In early February, Mexican regulators gave emergency clearance to Sputnik V and the government signed a contract to deliver 400,000 doses to Mexico.
In the Middle East, Oman will not allow people from 10 countries to enter the country for 15 days to curb the spread of the coronavirus, especially some mutated strains.
In Africa, two of South Africa’s top commercial property owners said this week they will extend rent relief to struggling tenants this year. South Africa is the hardest-hit country on the continent, with more than 1.5 million reported cases of COVID-19 and more than 49,000 deaths.