Professor Justin Stebbing in his daily articles on COVID helps to analyse this issue. 

He tells us that the WHO has warned that the Delta variant of COVID first identified in India is poised to take hold across Europe, adding that it is no time to cut down on the public health response. 

In the UK, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the variant now accounts for 91% of new cases in the country, with a separate study showing that cases have more than doubled in the past week.  

It is expected that Boris Johnson will announce finally a delay to the final easing of lockdown restrictions on 21 June with the Times and other papers suggesting that there will be a four-week delay.  

This is to occur to enable more people to get both vaccinations.  

Meanwhile, ministers continue to criticise the Government for confusion over air travel. 

In Asia, Singapore said it will gradually loosen restrictions by increasing group gathering sizes and allowing indoor dining at food outlets as the cases decline.

Hong Kong and Singapore will review the target launch date of the quarantine free air travel bubble early next month.  

The drop off in India is also remarkable.  

The WHO’s regional director said that African nations need to secure at least 225 million vaccine doses by September to meet a global goal of inoculating at least 10% of the continent’s population, with the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention warning that it is heading for a third wave.  

Bloomberg reports on a draft communicate from the G7 summit outlining the plan to end the COVID-19 pandemic by December 2022 with a pledge to deliver at least 1 billion extra doses of vaccine over the next year to help cover 80% of the world’s adult population.  

The Biden administration announced plans to halve its $4 billion commitment to the COVAX initiative, instead spending an estimated 3.5 billion on 500 million Pfizer jabs to allocate to lower income countries directly.  

Meanwhile, the Times reports that Britain will begin donating surplus vaccines to poorer countries within weeks of offering all British adults their first doses.  Donations are expected to reach 100 million doses by the end of this year. 

The White House struck an urgent deal with Pfizer to make the vaccine available to 92 lower income countries as well as the African Union, marking the first time mRNA vaccines will be available to many of these countries.  

The commitment of 500 million COVID vaccines is on top of the 80 million doses that the US has already pledged to share by the end of June.  

This new shipment will be made available starting in August with 200 million expected to be shared by the end of the year whilst the rest will be shipped in the first half of 2020.  

Basically 6.2% of the global population has been fully vaccinated and another 5.9% has received one dose. However, if one looks at the largest emerging markets and global economies, two thirds of the global population. The numbers are a bit better where equivalent to around 20% of the population has been vaccinated.  

Total doses divided by dosing regimen if one extrapolates from the current vaccination pace, then by the year end that share should be up to 78%.

Dr Paul Ettlinger

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