Botched J&J Vax Batch; More Pfizer Efficacy Boasts; New OTC Tests OK’d
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One of Johnson & Johnson’s contract vaccine manufacturers messed up during production of 15 million doses, putting shipments behind schedule. (New York Times)

Meanwhile, Pfizer and BioNTech said their vaccine was 100% effective in South Africa, where the troubling B.1.351 variant is widespread, amidst other boasts about the product.

France will undergo a third national lockdown through the end of April due to accelerating coronavirus spread. (NPR)

As of Thursday at 8:00 a.m. EDT, the unofficial COVID-19 toll reached 30,461,066 cases and 552,073 deaths — reflecting increases of 66,878 and 1,075, respectively, over the previous 24 hours.

In 2020, COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the CDC; during some weeks, it was responsible for one-quarter of all deaths.

Biden administration launches a new community-level program to counter vaccine hesitancy.

After some Germany regions restricted use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the European Medicines Agency’s chief said there was “no evidence” to support such a move. (AP)

Mortality risk for educators teaching in schools during the pandemic was comparable to the risks of commuting by car. (National Bureau of Economic Research)

Early in the pandemic, President Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro urged quick action to procure PPE and other supplies, then ran his own clandestine program — including the bizarre deal with Kodak to produce drug ingredients — when his advice was rebuffed. (Washington Post)

The FDA authorized two more at-home, no-prescription coronavirus antigen tests, from Quidel and Abbott, to be used for serial testing.

NIH announces a trial with Moderna’s investigational vaccine against the B.1.351 variant.

Wild West tourism meets COVID precautions in Durango, Colorado. (Kaiser Health News)

Conservative icon Sarah Palin tested positive for coronavirus and is now urging others to wear masks. (People)

The jury is still out on predictions that the so-called U.K. coronavirus variant, B.1.1.7, would predominate in the U.S. by the end of March. (CNN)

In other news:

  • Nicole Lou is a reporter for MedPage Today, where she covers cardiology news and other developments in medicine. Follow

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