KOMPAS.com - A UK trial of the AstraZeneca vaccine on children was halted amid fears of links to a rare blood clot, Oxford University said.
While the researchers insist there are "no safety concerns" in the trial, they said they would await additional data from the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) before resuming their work.
The news follows a statement from the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday that the "risk-benefit" balance for AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine was still "largely" positive.
"There is no link for the moment between the vaccine and thrombotic events with thrombocytopenia," said Rogerio Pinto de Sa Gaspar, the WHO's director for regulation and pre-qualification.
Previously, an official of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) claimed there was a "clear connection" between the AstraZeneca vaccine and rare blood clots. However, EMA's official position remains undecided — the agency said it was still reviewing data and had not reached any conclusion.
About one in three people who survive Covid-19 suffer from neurological or psychiatric problems six months after diagnosis, according to a study in the medical journal, The Lancet. According to the research, Covid-19 patients were also more likely to develop brain conditions.
This is the largest study until now on the mental toll of Covid-19 on survivors. About 230,000 recovered patients were surveyed, of whom 34 percent were diagnosed with a neurological or psychiatric issue.
About 17 percent of patients had anxiety, while 14 percent reported mood disorders. The risk for brain disorders was higher in patients who had had a severe form of Covid-19.
Norwegian Cruise Line, the third-largest cruise line in the world, said that it would resume trips beginning in July for passengers who have received the full dosage of the coronavirus vaccine. The cruise operator said that on July 25 it would gradually resume cruises on new routes in Greece and the Caribbean.
"All guests sailing aboard cruises with embarkation dates through October 31, 2021, will be required to be fully vaccinated and tested prior to boarding our ships," the company's chief executive said.
Norwegian said that it would have "medical-grade air filtration" on board as well as sanitation measures and "enhanced" medical resources.
US president Joe Biden said that all adults in the US would be eligible to get vaccinated against the coronavirus by April 19, moving ahead of an original deadline of May 1. Biden said that by April 19, all adults will be able to sign up and get in a virtual line to get vaccinated.
Biden said that Americans should not be scared of the mutations of the coronavirus. He said that while the new strains were more virulent and dangerous, the vaccines would work on "all of them."
The US said that it wouldn't back any system that would require Americans to show that they have been vaccinated. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said that there would be "no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential."
Psaki said that the US government wants to protect the privacy and rights of Americans — signaling that the nation would not opt for a vaccine passport in the future. A form of vaccine passport is currently available in New York — which is a limited partnership of New York state with a private company.
Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil's president, spoke to Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday about buying the latter country's Sputnik V vaccine and producing it domestically. "God willing, we will soon resolve this issue," said Bolsonaro on social media.
Brazil is reeling from rising deaths due to the coronavirus and its health regulator is yet to approve Sputnik V. About eleven state governments have already requested to import 66.6 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine.
Bolsonaro's government plans to buy 10 million doses of Sputnik V and produce it domestically. The country is currently in talks to send a team to inspect Sputnik production facilities in Russia.
Mexico's health regulator has authorized the emergency use of COVAXIN, India's Covid-19 vaccine.
"Very timely decision by COFEPRIS to authorize the emergency use of the COVAXIN vaccine manufactured in India. The options for vaccination against Covid-19 in Mexico are expanding!," said Marcelo Ebrar, the country's foreign minister.
Asia and Oceania
India's capital New Delhi imposed an immediate night curfew on Tuesday due to a "sudden increase in Covid-19 cases" and a "high positivity rate."
Public movement is banned each night from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am local time. Only essential services or people traveling to and from vaccination centers will be allowed on the streets. The measures are set to remain in place until April 30.
India also reported a record number of new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours — 115,736. The recent surge in cases has brought the number of infections above the previous spike of 97,000 a day in mid-September. The death toll also rose by 630, its greatest increase since November.
South Korea's food and drug safety ministry has approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, saying the single-dose shot is safe and effective. It is the third Covid-19 vaccine to be granted authorization, following the BioNTech-Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines.
Australia called on the EU to ship out millions of vaccine doses pre-ordered by the Canberra government. Last month, the EU blocked a shipment of some 250,000 doses to Australia on Italy's request. On Tuesday, however, Brussels denied it was blocking over 3 million more doses that were originally set to be exported to Australia.
"We obviously want those millions of doses," Australian PM Scott Morrison told reporters. "Given statements made overnight, that apparently there is no obstruction to that and then I would hope that could be readily addressed."
Italy's government wants to let fans into stadiums for the European Championship football tournament.
Italy's health minister Roberto Speranza told the country's football federation that spectators can attend the football matches at Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Speranza said that this decision was based on protocols from advisors.
The decision to allow spectators in stadiums comes as Italy gears up to restart tourism to the country this summer.
(AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)