J&J vaccine: US approves single-shot jab

Dubai allows Covid vaccine bookings for 12-15 age group

The UAE News web report: The United States has authorised Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine for emergency use, offering a glimmer of hope.

US President Joe Biden hailed his country’s announcement of its third available vaccine but said the nation’s battle was far from over.

“This is exciting news for all Americans, and an encouraging development in our efforts to bring an end to the crisis,” Biden said in a statement, but warned Americans “cannot let our guard down now or assume that victory is inevitable.”

The single-shot J&J vaccine is highly effective at preventing severe Covid-19, including against newer variants, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said before giving it a green light.

The news comes following passage in the House of Representatives of a vast $1.9 trillion package — including $1,400 payouts to most Americans and billions of dollars to boost vaccine delivery, help schools reopen and fund local governments — which will now move to the Senate.

“After 12 months of death and despair, the American recovery begins tonight,” congressman Brendan Boyle told the House, just days after the US death toll surpassed 500,000.

The bill is on track to be the second largest US stimulus ever, illustrating the huge effort needed to tackle the multiple crises unleashed by a pandemic that has killed more than 2.5 million worldwide.

Meanwhile Europeans continue to live under some of the world’s strictest restrictions — and in France they just got tougher.

Two cities, northern Dunkirk and southern Nice, locked down over the weekends to halt the spread.

“We have to do something as Covid is getting worse in the region,” Charlie Kentish, a British resident taking an early morning walk in Nice, told AFP. He was resigned to spending his weekends playing video games with his teenage children.

In Britain, 100-year-old Tom Moore helped lift the Covid-induced gloom last year by staging fundraising events including completing 100 lengths of his back garden using a walking frame.

The rollout of vaccines has improved the prospects greatly for many older people, with Britain excelling in its distribution to vulnerable groups.

From Brazil to the Czech Republic, restrictions are being reimposed and tightened.

Even in relatively unscathed New Zealand, the biggest city Auckland was thrust back into lockdown on Saturday shortly after a three-day shutdown ended.

A small cluster has been linked to a school, but the country’s caseload still pales in comparison with the numbers seen in Europe and the Americas.But globally there is growing concern over cases of “long Covid,” where people suffer symptoms for months after the initial illness.