April 7 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Martin Goillandeau and Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN

Updated 2:22 AM ET, Thu April 8, 2021
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11:07 a.m. ET, April 7, 2021

White House expanding US community health center vaccinations to "advance equitable distribution" of shots

From CNN's Betsy Klein

The White House announced that it is expanding vaccinations at community health centers across the country, a move aimed at advancing the distribution of vaccines more equitably.

“To help meet our goal of ensuring Americans have a vaccine site within five miles of where they live and to advance equitable distribution of the vaccine, we're announcing today that we're expanding our Community Health Center vaccine program, so that the nearly 1,400 community health Centers can sign up to receive and administer doses to their patients,” White House senior Covid-19 adviser Andy Slavitt said at Wednesday’s briefing.

This is an increase from the 950 community health centers currently distributing vaccines, which the administration announced during the March 26 Covid briefing.

Slavitt added, “Many community health centers are located in underserved communities, and serve patients that are predominantly either uninsured or underinsured.”

The administration has been directly sending vaccines to community health centers to get vaccines to hard-to-reach communities since earlier this year.

10:24 a.m. ET, April 7, 2021

EU regulator: AstraZeneca vaccine benefits outweigh risks and specific risk factors have not confirmed

From Angela Dewan and Samantha Tapfumaneyi

A medical worker prepares to administer a dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in Belgrade, Serbia, on March 23.
A medical worker prepares to administer a dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in Belgrade, Serbia, on March 23. Darko Vojinovic/AP

The European Medicines Agency’s safety committee – known as PRAC – "has confirmed that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing Covid-19 overall outweigh the risk of side effects," EMA’s Executive Director Emer Cooke said Wednesday at a news conference in Amsterdam.  

"Based on the current available evidence, specific risk factors – such as age, gender or previous medical history" – have not been confirmed as cases are seen in all ages, including men and women, Cooke added.

10:26 a.m. ET, April 7, 2021

EU regulator finds "possible link" between AstraZeneca vaccine and "very rare" blood clot cases

From CNN's Schams Elwazer

A nurse prepares a vial of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine at a doctor's office in Deisenhofen, Germany, on March 31.
A nurse prepares a vial of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine at a doctor's office in Deisenhofen, Germany, on March 31. Lennart Preiss/AFP/Getty Images

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said Wednesday that there was a “possible link” between the AstraZeneca vaccine and “very rare cases of blood clots” but said the benefits of the vaccine continue to outweigh the risks.

“EMA’s safety committee (PRAC) has concluded today that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects of Vaxzevria (formerly COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca),” the statement said.

“In reaching its conclusion, the committee took into consideration all currently available evidence, including the advice from an ad hoc expert group,” it added.

It continued:

“EMA is reminding healthcare professionals and people receiving the vaccine to remain aware of the possibility of very rare cases of blood clots combined with low levels of blood platelets occurring within 2 weeks of vaccination. So far, most of the cases reported have occurred in women under 60 years of age within 2 weeks of vaccination. Based on the currently available evidence, specific risk factors have not been confirmed.”
“People who have received the vaccine should seek medical assistance immediately if they develop symptoms of this combination of blood clots and low blood platelets.”
“The PRAC noted that the blood clots occurred in veins in the brain (cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, CVST) and the abdomen (splanchnic vein thrombosis) and in arteries, together with low levels of blood platelets and sometimes bleeding.”
"The Committee carried out an in-depth review of 62 cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and 24 cases of splanchnic vein thrombosis reported in the EU drug safety database (EudraVigilance) as of 22 March 2021, 18 of which were fatal.1 The cases came mainly from spontaneous reporting systems of the EEA and the UK, where around 25 million people had received the vaccine.”
10:45 a.m. ET, April 7, 2021

Experts warn the pandemic is not over despite ramp up of vaccinations. Here's the latest US Covid-19 news.

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

A White House official said on Wednesday that the US will be approaching having nearly half of all adults with their first shot of the coronavirus vaccine by the end of this weekend.

This comes after White House senior adviser for Covid-19 response Andy Slavitt gave an ambitious timeline to CNN's Chris Cuomo on Tuesday night.

"We're on track that by the weekend, half the adults in the country will have had their first shot,” Slavitt said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 41.7% of the population over 18 has received at least one dose of vaccine.

Slavitt warned that "100 million-plus adults still haven't been vaccinated.” 

"They're not there yet, and you don't win the war until you bring everybody over with you,” he added.

President Biden, meanwhile, has moved the deadline for all US adults to be eligible for Covid vaccine to April 19. Speaking at the White House yesterday, Biden said that 150 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered within his first 75 days in office, in line with a stated goal of 200 million shots by his 100th day in office.

Despite those improvements and positive vaccine numbers, the US has a long way to go before reaching herd immunity. Dr. Anthony Fauci has estimated 70-85% of the population needs to become immune. And the pace for vaccinating all willing adults varies greatly among states, according to a CNN analysis of federal data.

And though health experts caution the battle against Covid-19 is not yet won, many states have already reopened and others are planning to soon as well.

California plans to fully reopen activities and businesses beginning June 15, as infection rates are failing, hospitalizations are low and vaccinations rising in the state. Vermont Gov. Phil Scott laid out a 90 day reopening plan leading up to July 4. Officials anticipate roughly 70% of Vermont residents will have received at least one vaccine dose by that time.

Meanwhile, the daily rate of new cases has been on the rise over the last four weeks as highly transmissible variants like B.1.1.7. have spread, according to the CDC. In the past week, five states have accounted for about 44% of new Covid-19 cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

There were about 453,000 new cases in the country in the past seven days, New York, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey reported nearly 198,000 of those cases.

Director for the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota Michael Osterholm said that although the states are vaccinating quickly, enough people still haven't been vaccinated to outpace the spread.

I wish we had another 3 or 4 months before this B.1.1.7.variant surge started to occur," Osterholm added.

What will life looks life following vaccination? Experts and officials are debating how to monitor vaccinations once life in the US regains a sense of normalcy.

Read more:

10:00 a.m. ET, April 7, 2021

CDC’s ensemble forecast predicts slight slowing of US Covid-19 death rate over next 3 and a half weeks

From CNN's Ben Tinker

An ensemble forecast published Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now projects there will be 568,000 to 588,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by May 1.

This represents a slight slowing of the death rate over the next three and a half weeks.

The previous ensemble forecast, published March 31, projected up to 585,000 coronavirus deaths by April 24.

At least 556,548 people have already died from Covid-19 in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

10:31 a.m. ET, April 7, 2021

Fauci expects some local businesses and institutions will implement vaccine requirements

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on March 18.
Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on March 18. Susan Walsh/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

While vaccine requirements won’t come from federal government mandates, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he would be very surprised if there weren’t local level requirements. 

“I don’t think I could come out and officially say I support it because that’s going to be taken, I think, out of context in some cases,” Fauci said, asked by CBS’s Tony Dokoupil if, from a public health perspective, he supported vaccine requirements for businesses and organizations.

“I can tell you one thing, that there are almost certainly going to be what you just predicted, namely that there are going to be organizations – they could be universities, they could be commercial organizations – which are going to do just what you indicated. They’re going to say we’re not going to have you come in, unless you get vaccinated,” he added.

Fauci made clear that, “You’re not going to see that from a federal government mandate,” but said he would be "surprised if we did not see that at the local level.” 

10:19 a.m. ET, April 7, 2021

White House clarifies official meant US will be "approaching" half adults vaccinated by this weekend

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

A pharmacy technician fills syringes of Covid-19 vaccines at Whitney M. Young Elementary School in Louisville, Kentucky, on April 2.
A pharmacy technician fills syringes of Covid-19 vaccines at Whitney M. Young Elementary School in Louisville, Kentucky, on April 2. Jon Cherry/Getty Images

A White House official says that by the end of this weekend, the US will be approaching having nearly half of all adults with their first shot of the coronavirus vaccine.

That clarification comes after President Biden's coronavirus adviser Andy Slavitt gave an ambitious timeline to CNN's Chris Cuomo on Tuesday night.

"We're on track that by the weekend, half the adults in the country will have had their first shot,” Slavitt said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 41.7% of the population over 18 has received at least one dose of vaccine.

9:08 a.m. ET, April 7, 2021

German state of Bavaria will buy Sputnik vaccine

From CNN’s Claudia Otto

The wealthy German state of Bavaria is set to buy 2.5 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik vaccine, as soon as it is approved by the European Union’s drug regulator, the state’s prime minister said on Wednesday. 

“If Sputnik is approved in Europe, then the Free State of Bavaria will receive additional vaccine doses – I think it's 2.5 million vaccine doses – probably in July through this company [Illertissen] to increase the vaccine supplement capacity in Bavaria,” Bavaria Prime Minister Markus Söder told journalists after a meeting of the state council of ministers.

Illertissen is a vaccine producer based in Bavaria. The decision is in anticipation of a predicted shortfall in vaccine supplies expected in the coming months. 

8:46 a.m. ET, April 7, 2021

US doesn’t need AstraZeneca’s vaccine doses, Fauci tells CNN

From CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen

The United States doesn’t need AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine doses, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN Wednesday. 

“We have three excellent vaccines. Even if the FDA deems that this vaccine is a very good vaccine, we don’t need yet again another very good vaccine. We have enough very good vaccines,” said Fauci, President Joe Biden’s senior medical adviser and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Several European countries have paused their AstraZeneca vaccine distribution amid concerns that the vaccine might be linked to rare types of blood clots, or made rules that only people over a certain of age can receive it. No link has been established between the vaccine and blood clots.

At a congressional hearing on March 22, Ruud Dobber, president of AstraZeneca's biopharmaceuticals business unit, said the company was “expecting” to have an EUA “at the beginning of April.” However, in media interviews he said the company was expecting to apply for an EUA in the first half of April.

Fauci said if AstraZeneca applies to the US Food and Drug Administration, they might receive an EUA, but that the doses weren’t needed in the US.

 “There is no plan to immediately start utilizing the AstraZeneca [vaccine] even if it gets approved through the EUA, which it very well might. It’s not any indictment against the product. We just have a lot of vaccines,” Fauci told CNN. “We already have contracted for enough vaccines, from Moderna and from Pfizer and from J&J, to fulfill all of our needs as well as even having doses for boosters in case we want to boost them a little later on.”

Last month, Emer Cooke, executive director of the European Medicines Agency, said the agency had come to a conclusion that the AstraZeneca vaccine "a is a safe and effective vaccine."

Cooke said the group did not find that the vaccine causes clotting, though it could not definitively rule out a link to a rare blood clotting disorder. Cooke added that the benefits of AstraZeneca’s vaccine outweigh the risks, a message already stressed by both the EMA and World Health Organization.