• This daily round-up brings you a selection of the latest news and updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
  • Top stories: US to make COVID vaccine booster shots available from Sept; Haiti earthquake has stalled vaccination campaign; UK study shows vaccine efficacy weakens.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 209.3 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 4.39 million. More than 4.8 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

Australian authorities began doling out emergency COVID-19 vaccine supplies on Thursday in the Sydney suburbs worst hit by an outbreak of the fast-moving Delta strain, as the country reported its biggest one-day rise in COVID-19 infections.

COVID-19 vaccine booster shots will be made widely available to Americans starting on 20 September, US health officials said on Wednesday, citing data showing diminishing protection from the initial vaccinations as infections rise from the Delta variant.

Vaccines, Health and healthcare, Gavi

What is the World Economic Forum doing about access to vaccines?

In 2000, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance was launched at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos, with an initial pledge of $750 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The aim of Gavi is to make vaccines more accessible and affordable for all - wherever people live in the world.

Along with saving an estimated 10 million lives worldwide in less than 20 years,through the vaccination of nearly 700 million children, - Gavi has most recently ensured a life-saving vaccine for Ebola.

At Davos 2016, we announced Gavi's partnership with Merck to make the life-saving Ebola vaccine a reality.

The Ebola vaccine is the result of years of energy and commitment from Merck; the generosity of Canada’s federal government; leadership by WHO; strong support to test the vaccine from both NGOs such as MSF and the countries affected by the West Africa outbreak; and the rapid response and dedication of the DRC Minister of Health. Without these efforts, it is unlikely this vaccine would be available for several years, if at all.

Read more about the Vaccine Alliance, and how you can contribute to the improvement of access to vaccines globally - in our Impact Story.

The Philippines is allotting 45.3 billion pesos ($899 million) for COVID-19 booster shots under its 2022 budget, an official said, even as health authorities have yet to conclude there is a need for a third dose.

Norway will offer all 16- and 17-year-olds their first COVID-19 vaccine dose after those over 18 are fully vaccinated, its government said on Wednesday.

A case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at the Tokyo Paralympics Village, organizers said on Thursday, according to the BBC, just days before the Games are due to begin on 24 August.

Tunisia will relax its nightly curfew and cafes and restaurants will be allowed to remain open until 10pm, as part of an easing of anti-COVID restrictions, the Tunisian presidency said on Wednesday.

2. Haiti quake has stalled COVID-19 vaccination campaign

Haiti's COVID-19 vaccination campaign has been stalled by Saturday's quake and medical personnel, equipment and logistical support are urgently needed to help the country deal with multiple health emergencies, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday.

PAHO Director Carissa Etienne told a virtual briefing that scores of hospitals in three regions had been either damaged or destroyed, while PAHO's Health Emergencies Director Ciro Ugarte said the vaccination campaign had stuttered as health teams switched their priorities.

"Our hearts go out to the people of Haiti, we are doing everything possible to assist Haitians in these difficult times," Etienne said. "The earthquake aftermath combined with the COVID-19 pandemic presents a very challenging situation.

"We hope that the international community can come together to provide the urgently-needed air and ground logistics support to evacuate patients and transport essential humanitarian supplies – this is needed now."

Share of people vaccinated against COVID-19
How the vaccine roll-out in Haiti compares with other countries.
Image: Our World in Data

3. Study shows COVID-19 vaccine efficacy wanes under Delta

A British public health study has found that protection from either of the two most commonly used COVID-19 vaccines against the now prevalent Delta variant of the new coronavirus weakens within three months.

It also found that those who get infected after receiving two shots of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the AstraZeneca vaccine may be of greater risk to others than under previous variants of the coronavirus.

Based on more than 3 million nose and throat swabs taken across Britain, the Oxford University study found that 90 days after a second shot of the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine, their efficacy in preventing infections had slipped to 75% and 61% respectively.

That was down from 85% and 68%, respectively, seen two weeks after a second dose. The decline in efficacy was more pronounced among those aged 35 years and older.

"Both of these vaccines, at two doses, are still doing really well against Delta... When you start very, very high, you got a long way to go," said Sarah Walker, an Oxford professor of medical statistics and chief investigator for the survey.