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So. Korea Plans: Producing Up to 1 Billion Vaccines in 2022

South Korea Plans for Producing Up to 1 Billion Vaccines in 2022

July 28 (EIRNS)—While it remains to be seen how the U.S. will follow through on their commitment to assist India in ramping up COVID-19 vaccine production, the U.S.-Korea plans are moving forward. In India’s case, the U.S. has a bumpy history of blocking critical raw materials for India’s world-leading vaccine production operations, and then turning down repeated requests for vaccines when India was in the greatest need. And today, Antony Blinken offered a paltry, even insulting, $25 million for India’s vaccination program. No vaccines included.

On May 23, when South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in came to the White House, agreement was made on a Global Vaccine Partnership (GVP), first with a “KORUS GVP Experts Group” of scientists, public officials and various experts. Seoul had actually wanted immediate vaccines from the U.S. in exchange for future vaccines to be provided from Seoul to the U.S.—but that was refused. Instead, four deals were initiated, beginning with Samsung Biologics arrangement to produce “hundreds of millions” of Moderna vaccines, as soon as technology transfer and trial production were completed. South Korea would be putting up the money for purchasing the vaccines produced. Moderna also signed an MOU with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, and also the Ministry of Health and Welfare, for Moderna to invest in production facilities in Korea using a Korean workforce, with Korean government support for Moderna. Another MOU was signed by both the Health Ministry and SK Bioscience with the U.S.’s Novavax for vaccine development and production.

The update this month, from “a senior South Korean government official” is that Seoul is in talks with Pfizer and Moderna on expanding production up to 1 billion doses in 2022. (This is on top of deals with AstraZeneca and Novavax.) Health Ministry official Lee Kang-ho commented: “We have had frequent discussions with large pharmaceutical companies to produce mRNA vaccines. South Korea is keen to help by offering its facilities and skilled human resources.” The speculation is that Hanmi Pharmaceuticals and Quratis might be ready to start up production immediately. Hanmi said it has a large capacity reserved to produce Sanofi’s diabetes drug, but that is at a temporary standstill, and the capacity can meanwhile be used to produce COVID vaccines. And Quratis has a one-year-old factory which makes a tuberculosis vaccine, and they say they have capacity for mRNA vaccines. It appears that the technology, workforce and capital is all present, waiting to move forward.


COVID Delta Variant Explodes in Africa as It Soars in Asia and Ibero-America Too

July 27, 2021 (EIRNS)—On July 9 the Africa Center for Strategic Studies warned, “The surge of the Delta coronavirus variant in Africa is set to cause hundreds of thousands of deaths in the coming months, absent a dramatic scaling up of prevention measures and COVID vaccine access.” Now just 18 days later, the North, South, and East of Africa have exploded with new COVID cases. The latest infographic from the Africa Center dated July 12, shows total known confirmed cases of COVID in Africa at 5,984,845 since the beginning of the pandemic. View the time-lapsed map here.

At the time of the July 9 Africa Center report “26 African countries [had] seen their confirmed COVID-19 case[s] jump by approximately 50%” in June compared to May. Then, in the first week of July, 5,600 people across Africa died from COVID, a 43% increase from the week before. Overall, the Center noted, “There has been a near tripling in the number of COVID cases and 30,000 fatalities on the continent since the end of April when the Delta variant emerged in Uganda.” By mid-July the Delta variant was found in 22 of 54 African countries, countries with inadequate healthcare platforms and access to vaccines—criminally, a mere one percent of Africans have been vaccinated.

A change-in-fatalities table, by the Africa CDC, compared death-rate increases May 8-June 7 to June 7-July 7, showing that 16 African countries had a 450% to 4,303% rise in COVID deaths, while six African countries had a 100% to 397% rise in COVID deaths. The table is here.

Now, July 27, an International Rescue Committee press release reads, “From Asia to Africa to Latin America, countries are suffering from record COVID-19 caseloads and deaths, … The Delta variant is leading to a spike in cases in crisis-affected countries. In the month to July 25th, there has been a significant increase in cases in Zimbabwe (116%), Thailand (110%), Myanmar (78%), Liberia (60%), Bangladesh (33%) and Afghanistan (29%), and concerning test positivity rates in Mexico (37%), Iraq (22%), Colombia (22%), Zimbabwe (20%) and Democratic Republic of Congo (17%).”

Echoing Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s call for new healthcare platforms in every country, and Dr. Joycelyn Elders’ insistence that public health measures are urgently needed, the Africa CDC July 9 report concluded that need is clear to “ramp up vaccine access to avert a humanitarian calamity” and, since “Africa does not have the hospital infrastructure to rely on …. Prevention, relying on public health principles, remains the indispensable priority.”


Southeast Asia in COVID Explosion

July 22, 2021 (EIRNS)–Indonesia now has the world’s highest COVID-19 infection rate and death rate, while other Southeast Asian countries are also facing a dangerous spike and a lack of adequate medical capacity.

* INDONESIA surpassed India’s peak per-capita death rate at 4.17 per million, compared to India’s peak of 3.04. Wednesday saw the highest death toll thus far at 1,383, while reported new cases exceed 50,000 per day (but with little testing, the actual number is thought to be much higher). The government ordered the conversion of oxygen production to be 90% for medical purposes from 20% normally. About 14% of the population has had at least one vaccine dose, primarily China’s Sinovac.

* MALAYSIAN hospitals are terribly overcrowded. AP reports that the national lockdown measures, which have badly damaged the economy, have not stemmed the infection rate of more than 10,000 daily. About 15% of the population is fully vaccinated, and the government hopes to have a majority vaccinated by the end of the year. The death rate per million is close to that of Indonesia, at 4.02.

* MYANMAR is still in a state of social chaos since the coup in February and the mass demonstrations — and mass killing of demonstrators by the junta. Now the pandemic is sweeping the country with few reliable statistics. The ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human RIghts (an organization opposing the junta) reports in a statement: “With little testing capacity, low numbers in the country vaccinated, widespread shortages of oxygen and other medical supplies, and an already beleaguered health care system under increasing strain, the situation is expected to get increasingly worse in the coming weeks and months.” It is believed that only 3% of the population has been vaccinated. The head of the department that oversees the cemeteries told military-run Myawaddy TV news on Monday that 350 staff members had been working three shifts since July 8 to ensure proper cremations and burials of people at Yangon’s seven major cemeteries, adding that they had cremated and buried more than 1,200 people on Sunday alone, including 1,065 who had died at home of COVID-19 and 169 who had died in hospitals.

AP reports that Cambodia and Thailand have also seen strong increases in both coronavirus cases and deaths, but have thus far held the seven-day rate per million people to a lower 1.29 and 1.74, respectively.


CGTN Publishes Helga Zepp-LaRouche Opinion Piece on ‘COVID Resilience Rankings’

July 16 (EIRNS)—A commentary from Helga Zepp-LaRouche, responding  to “COVID Resilience Rankings” determined by Bloomberg, was published by CGTN today. Zepp-LaRouche lambasts the Bloomberg report, which gave the U.S. higher marks than China, in which she states, “Essentially this ranking is a demonstration of the thesis, that one can prove anything with statistics, as long as you define how the statistics are constructed. While most of the nominal facts of the listed rankings appear to be factual, the accompanying article in the section ‘Containment Formula’ belies the overall purpose and bias hidden behind the statistics. Here the worry is expressed, that the ‘underperformance of some of the world’s most prominent democracies’ as compared with ‘authoritarian countries like China’ has raised questions about the ability of democratic societies to cope with pandemics.”

Zepp-LaRouche continues: “The reality shows a quite different story. In Wuhan, China, it demonstrated that the prioritization of society’s well-being over individual liberty was very successful. The Chinese approach after the containment in Hubei Province to test, isolate, quarantine, continues to spot cases to the present day and has resulted in only 4,636 deaths to date. In the U.S., on the other hand, more than 600,000 people lost their lives with many people suffering from long-term COVID debilitating effects.” The full opinion article is here.


UN Sec. General Guterres: The World Needs 11 Billion Doses to Vaccinate 70% of The Population to Defeat the Pandemic

July 14 (EIRNS) – Speaking to the U.N.’s High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, Secretary General Antonio Guterres stated succinctly: “Pledges of doses and funds are welcome — but they are not enough. We need at least 11 billion doses to vaccinate 70 percent of the world and end this pandemic… Everyone, everywhere, must have access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests, treatments and support,” he said.

“The world needs a Global Vaccination Plan to at least double the production of vaccines, ensure equitable distribution through COVAX, coordinate implementation and financing, and support national immunization programs,” Guterres added. “To realize this plan, I have been calling for an Emergency Task Force that brings together the countries that produce and can produce vaccines, the World Health Organization, the ACT-Accelerator partners and international financial institutions, able to deal with the relevant pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers, and other key stakeholders,” he said.


Indonesia Surges Past India in New Covid Cases Per Day

Indonesia Surges Past India in New COVID Cases Per Day

July 14 (EIRNS)–Indonesia hit a record 54,000 official new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, about a twelvefold increase over the last seven weeks. Covid deaths follow new cases by two weeks, going from 200/day to over 1,000/day over the last five weeks. India, with five times bigger population, has dropped below 40,000/day. Indonesia, a country of 270 million souls, has only vaccinated about 15.6 million people, with another 31 million having received their first dose over the last several weeks. They’ve now acquired a total of 108.5 million doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine and recently another 25 million doses of AstraZeneca. The United States chimed in with 3 million doses of Moderna on July 9, both too little and rather late — even though President Biden’s commitment to get a total of 4 million doses to Indonesia represents one of his largest actions. The total projected doses amount to potential coverage of 69 million people, or about a quarter of the population, and they are presently administering about three-quarters of a million jabs/day. The Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin reports that more than 90,000 of 120,000 available hospital beds are taken up with Covid patients, while certain provinces are reaching 100% capacity.


Fauci: 99.2% of June U.S. COVID Deaths Were Unvaccinated People

Fauci: 99.2% of June U.S. COVID Deaths Were Unvaccinated People

July 8, 2021 (EIRNS)–The ideological insanity of people who either refuse to get COVID-19 vaccines, or who preach to others not to get the vaccine, is producing a forecastable result: death from SARS-CoV-2.

On July 4, Dr. Antony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on the NBC News Meet the Press program. Host Chuck Todd asked Dr. Fauci,

“It’s disconcerting to realize that we have had nearly 10,000 people die of COVID in this most recent month that we completed in June. How preventable were each one of those deaths? And how many of them were unvaccinated?”

Fauci responded, “Well, if you look at the number of deaths [in June], about 99.2% of them are unvaccinated. About 0.8% are vaccinated. No vaccine is perfect. But when you talk about the avoidability of hospitalization and death, Chuck, it’s really sad and tragic that most all of these are avoidable and preventable… The overwhelming proportion of people who get into trouble are the unvaccinated. Which is the reason why we say this is really entirely avoidable and preventable.”

Fauci continued: “Over the decades that I’ve been doing this, you’re frustrated because you have diseases where you don’t have an appropriate countermeasure, be it prevention or a treatment. And then when you have a situation like you have today, where you have a formidable enemy in the virus that has tragically really disrupted our planet now for about a year and a half, destructive — destroyed economies, ….and yet we do have a countermeasure that’s highly, highly effective. And that’s the reason why it’s all the more sad … And whatever the reasons, … some of them are ideologic, some of them are just fundamentally anti-vax or anti-science or what have you. But, you know, we just need to put that aside now. We’re dealing with a historic situation with this pandemic. And we do have the tools to counter it.”

He added that, “There are people throughout the world who would do anything to get vaccines.”

On July 1, at a briefing at the White House by the White House COVID-19 Response Team, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control, said, “Preliminary data from a collection of states over the last six months suggest 99.5% of deaths from COVID-19 in these states have occurred in unvaccinated people.” Even though this covered a period at the beginning of the year when vaccines were not generally available, the numbers remain impressive.


WHO Briefers Angry at Lack of Health Infrastructure in the War vs. COVID-19

WHO Briefers Angry at Lack of Health Infrastructure in the War vs. COVID-19

July 6, 2021 (EIRNS)—The World Health Organization’s Mike Ryan and Maria Von Kerkhove answered questions for the public on Monday and allowed some of their frustration and anger to show. First on Monday: While new cases worldwide have stabilized, they have done so at an uncomfortably high level; this, in fact, reflects a dangerously unstable situation. While new cases in the Americas declined (13%), they raced upwards in Africa (15%) and Europe (28%). This last week had twenty countries undergoing sharp rises. Basically, the point of impact simply shifted. The two WHO specialists cited three interacting factors: uneven vaccination levels, the spread of the Delta variant, and social relaxing.

Then the anger: The WHO teams are fighting on the front lines. We’re really humanitarians, and we won’t give up. But the vaccines aren’t coming as they should, or even as promised. “The cavalry is not coming.” This destroys morale. So, people then give up, go back to work and accept what fate will bring them. What is needed is to build and invest in systems now—don’t wait for the next surge. A system involves: surveillance systems, testing in place, isolation, clinical care, contact tracing or at least cluster investigations and such; so that we can find out where the enemy is and go after it. Those systems need to be built now, and the wealthier West is not even doing it for their own populations. Their admonitions are an echo of Helga Zepp LaRouche’s 2020 call for a new global health platform for each country.

Ryan stressed that there were enough vaccines in the world right now to inoculate all the “at-risk” categories and the medical personnel. Kerkhove stressed that enough is known about the workings of the coronavirus to design a comprehensive war plan against it. It seems that the first 18 months of the battle finds the immaturity of political culture is no match for the reality of the virus.


Africa Enters 3rd Wave; Equitable Vaccine Distribution Could Have Prevented It

Africa Entering Third Wave; Equitable Vaccine Distribution Could Have Prevented It

June 21 (EIRNS) — Africa has officially entered its third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in less than two years — having been struck with two waves in 2020, and now going into another Winter season — with little relief in sight, and new more-virulent variants to deal with. “New cases, continent-wide are up by nearly 30% in the past week, and deaths are up by 15%,” said WHO Africa Regional Director, Doctor Matshidiso Moeti, in her weekly press conference June 17. “The threat of a third wave is real and rising.” A meager 1% of the African population has been vaccinated, due to the massive logistics barriers involved, along with lack of vaccine accessibility and financing.
            The land-locked nation of Uganda is the latest crisis spot– as cases in the nation of nearly 50 million have shot up over 131% in the last week– with Namibia, DR Congo and Angola each showing lesser spikes. Many more of the victims are now younger, and a much higher percentage of them now require oxygen as part of treatment. Uganda’s hospitals are nearing their limits, and the nation has put out requests to neighboring states for emergency relief supplies.
            The other nation again in the unwanted spotlight is South Africa, where President Cyril Ramaphosa was forced to make a national address on June 15, as he once again declared a Level 3 lockdown. “A third wave of infections is upon us,” the president said. In just the past two weeks, “the average number of daily new infections has doubled. Then, we were recording around 3,700 daily infections. Over the last seven days, we have recorded an average of 7,500 daily infections. Hospital admissions due to COVID-19 over the last 14 days are 59% higher than the preceding 14 days.”
            Again reflecting the increased threat from variants, Ramaphosa said, “The average number of people who die from COVID-19 each day has increased by 48%  from 535 two weeks ago to 791 in the past seven days.” [emphasis added] Although South Africa responded effectively and built emergency capacity last year, four of the most populous provinces are officially in a third wave, with Gauteng — the most urban and populous — accounting for nearly two-thirds of new cases in the past week. “The increase in infections … is now faster and steeper,” he said, and “within a matter of days, it is likely that the number of new cases in Gauteng will surpass the peak of the second wave.” And Winter is just starting.
            South Africa’s vaccine rollout has been severely frustrated, first by the denial of AstraZeneca vaccines from India (as they faced their own crisis), and further by the complications around the Johnson & Johnson version, either one of which could have prevented this crisis. Vaccines are “the one statistic that provides a clear reason for hope,” Ramaphosa said. Last year (during the second wave), over hundreds of healthcare workers had become infected, as the “South African variant” was first encountered. “In the last seven days,” he said, “only 64 health care workers have been infected.”
            By the end of the week, South Africa is expected to produce its own Johnson & Johnson vaccines. 


International Groups Rally to Help Cuba Get Syringes To Vaccinate Population

International Groups Rally to Help Cuba Get Syringes To Vaccinate Population

May 28 (EIRNS)–The U.S. economic blockade of Cuba, in place since 1962, plus more recent sanctions imposed by the U.S. government, make it impossible for Cuba to obtain the 20 million syringes it needs to vaccinate its 11.2 million citizens against COVID. It has already vaccinated one million people with its Soberana 2 and Abdala vaccines, but hopes to begin a mass vaccination campaign by sometime in June, as soon as its regulatory agency grants emergency use authorization and phase 3 clinical trials are completed. Operating under the slogan “the blockade kills–your solidarity kills the blockade,” many international charitable organizations and Cuban solidarity groups, from the U.S., Europe and Ibero-America have begun raising funds to purchase the syringes and send them to Cuba, Telam news agency reported today. This collaborative effort expects to be able to raise enough money to buy and send all 20 million syringes


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