(Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) forecasts that people most vulnerable to COVID-19, such as the elderly, will need to get an annual vaccine booster to be protected against variants, an internal document seen by Reuters shows.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
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* The European Commission estimates European Union countries will receive about 900 million doses of vaccines in the second half of the year, compared to nearly 1 billion jabs it expected a month ago, an internal document showed.
* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hinted that the UK was close to permitting unrestricted travel abroad for fully vaccinated people.
* Japanese Emperor Naruhito “appears concerned” about the possibility the Olympic Games could cause the coronavirus to spread as feared by many members of the public, the head of the Imperial Household Agency said.
* Thailand’s food and drug administration announced it had approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for emergency use.
* Indonesia recorded its biggest daily increase in cases with 20,574 infections, taking its total to 2,053,995, according to the health ministry.
* Mexico will donate over 400,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses on Thursday to the so-called Northern Triangle Central American nations of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, the Mexican foreign ministry said.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Africa is not winning its fight against the pandemic as a third wave sweeps the continent and countries struggle to obtain enough vaccines for their populations, Africa CDC director John Nkengasong said.
* Afrigen Biologics expects a decision in mid-July on partners to produce Africa’s first COVID-19 vaccine using the mRNA platform, the South African start-up’s managing director said.
* Tunisia is seeing a significant increase in cases, with intensive care wards almost full, an adviser to the government said.
* Egypt will allow travellers who have taken full doses of approved vaccines to enter without taking a PCR test, the health ministry said.
* Researchers at Oxford University said they have developed a method to predict the efficacy of new COVID-19 vaccines based on a blood test, potentially offering a short-cut around massive clinical trials that are increasingly difficult to conduct.
* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday it plans to move quickly to add a warning about rare cases of heart inflammation in adolescents and young adults to fact sheets for the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
* British researchers have identified the level of antibody protection needed to prevent symptomatic COVID-19, the University of Oxford said, adding that results from the study could help speed up new vaccine development.
* The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is highly effective against the Delta variant, a Pfizer official in Israel said.
* Global shares edged up on Thursday, while the U.S. dollar slipped further below two-month highs as investors reassessed U.S. Federal Reserve statements on inflation and looked to upcoming data for direction.
* The U.S. economy is rebounding rapidly from last year’s decline, but much improvement is needed in the labor market, two Federal Reserve officials said.
* The Bank of England said inflation would surpass 3% as Britain’s locked-down economy reopens, but the climb further above its 2% target would only be “temporary” and most policymakers favoured keeping stimulus at full throttle.
* German business morale rose by more than expected in June and hit its highest level since November 2018 on companies’ surging optimism about the second half of the year in Europe’s largest economy, a survey showed.
(Compiled by Federico Maccioni and Jagoda Darlak; Edited by Philippa Fletcher and Giles Elgood)