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US states told to be ready for vaccine distribution by November 1 | Coronavirus pandemic News

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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has told states to get ready to distribute a potential coronavirus vaccine by November 1 – two days before the country’s presidential election.

The timing of a vaccine has taken on political importance as President Donald Trump seeks re-election in the world’s hardest-hit country, with some public health experts expressing concern a vaccine might be rushed through before the highly anticipated vote.

In a letter to governors dated August 27, CDC Director Robert Redfield said states “in the near future” will receive permit applications from McKesson Corp, which has a contract with the agency to distribute vaccines to places including state and local health departments and hospitals.

“CDC urgently requests your assistance in expediting applications for these distribution facilities and, if necessary, asks that you consider waiving requirements that would prevent these facilities from becoming fully operational by November 1, 2020,” Redfield wrote in the letter, which was first reported by McClatchy.

He wrote that any waivers will not compromise the safety or effectiveness of the vaccine.

To date, the United States has reported more than 6.1 million confirmed coronavirus cases including 863,445 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

Planning documents

The CDC also sent three planning documents to some health departments that included possible timelines for when vaccines would be available. The documents, which were first reported by The New York Times, are to be used to develop plans for early vaccination when the supply might be constrained, according to one of the documents, which outlined a scenario in which a vaccine could be available as soon as the end of October.

“The COVID-19 vaccine landscape is evolving and uncertain, and these scenarios may evolve as more information is available,” the document reads.

Another of the documents says that limited COVID-19 vaccine doses may be available by early November and that supply will increase substantially in 2021.

It also states that initially available vaccines will either be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or authorised by the agency under its emergency powers.

The documents encourage health officials to work out now which groups to prioritise for a vaccine, identify providers who will administer the vaccine and take other steps to prepare. 

Redfield told Yahoo Finance that officials were preparing “for what I anticipate will be reality, is that there’ll be one or more vaccines available for us in November, December”.

James S Blumenstock, a senior vice president at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, said the CDC was offering “an aggressive but necessary timetable” and that public health agencies were mobilising to prepare detailed plans.

Several public health experts pointed out that final stage trials of experimental vaccines are still recruiting, and are at best halfway through that process. The vaccines are two doses, and each is given a month apart. The experts told The Associated Press news agency they did not understand how there could be adequate data on whether the vaccines work and are safe before November 1.

“Being ready is reasonable. Cutting short phase three trials before you get the information you need isn’t,” said Paul Offit, a Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia immunisation expert who sits on the FDA’s vaccine advisory committee.

Peter Hotez, dean of Baylor University’s tropical medicine school, said he was “very concerned” about whether the FDA would use an emergency use authorisation to approve a vaccine before knowing if it works and is safe.

“It gives the appearance of a stunt rather than an expression of public health concern,″ Hotez said. FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn previously said the agency would not cut corners in evaluating vaccines, though it would aim to expedite its work.

He told the Financial Times this week that it might be “appropriate” to approve a vaccine before clinical trials were complete if the benefits outweighed the risks.

Unlike a therapeutic that is given to sick people who may have no alternative, a vaccine is given to healthy people, “so you have a much higher burden of proof,” said Ashish Jha, the dean of Brown University’s public health school.

“I think it’s reasonable to be communicating to hospitals and saying – at some point late in the fall or winter,” Jha said. “November feels awfully early.”

Michael Osterholm, a University of Minnesota infectious disease expert, said there was a “credibility gap” between doctors and the FDA about how rigorously products are being evaluated during the pandemic.

“The public health community wants a safe and effective vaccine as much as anybody could want it,” Osterholm said. “But the data have to be clear and compelling.”

Some state officials said on Wednesday that they were working on next steps while still awaiting details from the CDC, and some sounded a cautious note.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million

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Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

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2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe

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A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.



Source – observer.ug

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News

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Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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