Nobel Laureate Calls for Ending Intellectual Property Rules for COVID Vaccines

Social entrepreneur and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus on Saturday called for a comprehensive waiver of intellectual property rules for Covid-19 vaccines and treatments, declaring that “freeing” the technology “from profit and patent is the key” to a global health system that puts human lives above corporate profit. In an op-ed published Saturday in Stat news, Yunus — who’s previously joined with other Nobel laureates in pushing for an end to intellectual property barriers — pointed to the global inequality in access to vaccines. He referenced Oxfam’s estimate that it could take an additional two and a half years…

Experts Warn Poor COVID Messaging May Give Public Wrong Sense of Current Risks

Public health experts on Sunday warned that the U.S. public may not be getting a full, accurate picture of their risk of contracting the coronavirus — and their need to take precautions like masking in public indoor spaces — as a number of high-profile Covid-19 cases were reported on Capitol Hill several weeks after mitigation efforts were largely dropped in cities across the country. At least 67 people who attended the annual Gridiron Club dinner last weekend — more than 10% of the guests — have now tested positive for Covid-19, including Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack, Attorney General Merrick Garland,…

South Carolina Lawmakers Propose Fines or Prison Time for Asking Vaccine Status

A bill proposed by the South Carolina state legislature would make it a crime for employers or business owners — and possibly even state residents in general — to ask someone if they have been vaccinated for protection against COVID-19. The lead sponsor of the bill, Republican Rep. Mike Burns, defended the proposal by claiming that it would protect state residents’ privacy rights. “Your private health information is still your private health information,” Burns said to a local news affiliate in the state, adding that he is opposed to private companies imposing vaccine rules for their workers. “We have a…

Pfizer accused of Profiteering from Covid Crisis

Ministers have agreed a secrecy clause in any dispute with the drugs manufacturer Pfizer over Britain’s Covid vaccine supply. Large portions of the government’s contracts with the company over the supply of 189m vaccine doses have been redacted and any arbitration proceedings will be kept secret.Zain Rizvi, research director at Public Citizen, a US consumer advocacy organisation which has examined Pfizer’s global vaccine contracts, said: “There is a wall of secrecy surrounding these contracts and it’s unacceptable, particularly in a public health crisis.”While AstraZeneca agreed to sell its vaccine at cost during the pandemic, Pfizer wanted to secure its profits.…

DOJ Files Emergency Brief Asking Court to Unblock COVID Vaccine Work Rules

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has formally requested that a federal court lift its stay on rules from the Biden administration that require businesses with more than 100 employees to follow certain standards amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked rules published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) earlier this month that would have required companies of that size to have unvaccinated employees get jabbed or undergo weekly coronavirus testing starting January 4. Unvaccinated workers would also be required to start wearing masks in the workplace starting in December. The court had found…

White House: 95 Percent of Federal Workers Compliant With Biden Vaccine Rules

On Monday, the Biden administration announced that 90 percent of federal workers have received at least one vaccine shot for protection against coronavirus, in line with vaccination requirements for federal workers that the president announced in September. Overall, 95 percent of federal workers are in compliance with rules Biden mandated two months ago, which said that workers had to either get vaccinated or obtain an approved exemption. Monday was the deadline for workers to meet those conditions. “As the progress across the Federal government has shown, these requirements work, and we hope that our implementation can serve as an example…

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