US vaccine surplus grows by the day as expiration dates loom; plus the latest virus news
The U.S. is confronted with an ever-growing surplus of coronavirus vaccine, looming expiration dates and stubbornly lagging demand at a time when the developing world is clamoring for doses to stem a rise in infections.
Million-dollar prizes, free beer and marijuana, raffled-off hunting rifles and countless other giveaways around the country have failed to significantly move the needle on vaccine hesitancy, raising the specter of new outbreaks.
The stockpiles are becoming more daunting each week. The U.S. averaged about 870,000 new injections per day at the end of last week, down sharply from a high of about 3.3 million a day on average in mid-April, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Millions of Johnson & Johnson doses nationwide were set to expire this month before the government extended their dates by six weeks, but some leaders acknowledge it will be difficult to use them up even by then.
In other developments:
- Group of Seven leaders brought pledges to share vaccine doses and make a fairer global economy Friday to a seaside summit in England, where British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the coronavirus pandemic should not be allowed to leave a “lasting scar” on the world.
- Fully vaccinated members of Congress and staffers will no longer have to wear masks on the House floor and in committee rooms, the Office of the Attending Physician said Friday, delighting some GOP lawmakers who have been chafing at the mask-wearing requirements.
- U.S. regulators are allowing the release of about 10 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine from a troubled Baltimore factory. But many other doses that originated there can’t be used and must be thrown out.
- Britain’s main doctors’ union has joined calls for the next planned lockdown easing in England to be delayed as figures showed new coronavirus cases across the U.K. running at their highest level since late February.
- The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell for the sixth straight week as the U.S. economy reopens rapidly after being held back for months by the coronavirus pandemic.
- Overnight summer camps will be allowed in all 50 states this season, but COVID-19 rules and a pandemic labor crunch mean that many fewer young campers will attend. Those who do go will have to observe coronavirus precautions for the second consecutive year.