Report: Moderna Fails to Supply Poor Countries with COVID Vaccines

A report in The New York Times says that the manufacturers of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine which “appears to be the world’s best defense against COVID-19, has been supplying its shots almost exclusively to wealthy nations, keeping poorer countries waiting and earning billions in profit.”

The newspaper said their report is based on information from Airfinity, a data firm that tracks vaccine shipments.

According to the Times account, Moderna has shipped approximately a million shots of its vaccines to poor countries. In comparison, Pfizer has shipped 8.4 million shots and Johnson and Johnson has delivered about 25 million doses to low-income countries.

In addition, the Times said government officials in some middle-income countries have reported that their countries have had to pay more for Moderna’s shots than the U.S. and the European Union.

Protests in Rome

Meanwhile, thousands of protesters took the streets of Rome Saturday to protest Italy’s new “Green Pass” vaccine certification that becomes mandatory for public and private workplaces, beginning October 15.

Workers and employees will be fined if they do not comply with the certification requirements. Government workers face suspension, if they come to work five times without the pass that documents that the holder has been inoculated with at least one COVID vaccine or recovered from the coronavirus in the last six months or has tested negative in the last 48 hours.

The pass is already a requirement for many indoor venues, including restaurants, museums and theaters. It is also needed for long-distance train and bus rides and domestic flights.

The chief of Britain’s Health Security Agency says the U.K. is facing an “uncertain” winter with the circulation of the flu and the coronavirus which causes the COVID infection.

“We are likely to see flu, for the first time in any real numbers, co-circulating with COVID,” Dr. Jenny Harries said. “Early evidence suggests that you are twice as likely to die from having two together, than just having COVID alone.”

Texas politician has COVID

In the U.S., a politician who has not been vaccinated has announced that he has COVID and is being treated with monoclonal antibody injections. Allen West, a candidate for the Republican nomination for the governor of Texas, said on his Twitter account that while he was not inoculated with a COVID vaccine, his wife was, but she has also contracted COVID.

The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported early Sunday that there are more than 237 million global coronavirus infections and nearly 5 million global deaths. The center said 6.4 billion vaccines have been administered.

Source: Voice of America

A New Type of Black Gold in Nigeria: Used Car Tires


In Nigeria, a country heavily reliant on revenues from its oil exports, entrepreneur Ifedolapo Runsewe has identified another type of black gold: used car tires.

She has set up Freetown Waste Management Recycle, an industrial plant dedicated to transforming old tires into paving bricks, floor tiles and other goods that are in high demand in Africa’s most populous nation.

“Creating something new from something that will otherwise be lying somewhere as waste was part of the motivation,” Runsewe told Reuters at her factory in the city of Ibadan in southwest Nigeria.

“We are able to create an entire value chain around the tires,” she said, holding a paving brick that is one of the company’s best-selling products.

Waste management in Nigeria is patchy at best. In villages, towns and cities, piles of waste are a common sight, and residents often burn them at night for lack of a safer method of disposal. Tires are routinely dumped and abandoned.

Freetown relies on scavengers who collect old tires from dumping grounds. They are paid 70 to 100 naira ($0.17-$0.24) per tire.

Some tires are also supplied directly by mechanics, like Akeem Rasaq, who is delighted to have found a place where he can make some money from old tires.

“Most of the tires end up in public drainage clogging up the drain, but things have changed,” he said at his roadside workshop.

Freetown started operations in 2020 with just four employees, and growth has been so rapid the workforce has jumped to 128. So far, more than 100,000 tires have been recycled into everything from speed bumps to soft paving for playgrounds.

“It is important to support anybody that recycles in our country,” said Houssam Azem, founder of the Lagos Jet Ski Riders Club, which has purchased paving bricks from Freetown for a children’s play area.

“Taking tires, which is an environmental nuisance, and turning them into what children can play on, I think it is a win-win for everybody.”

Source: Voice of America

Ethiopia’s Tura, Kenya’s Chepngetich Win at Chicago Marathon

Ethiopia’s Seifu Tura Abdiwak won the Chicago men’s marathon on Sunday and Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich the women’s race.

The 24-year-old Tura completed the 42-kilometer course in 2:06:12, beating out American Galen Rupp, who finished close behind with an official time of 02:06:35.

Chepngetich, 27, finished her race in 02:22:31, with Emma Bates of the United States coming in second at 02:24:20.

One of the best-known long-distance races, the Boston Marathon, is set for Monday in the northeastern U.S. city. The coronavirus pandemic caused the race, normally run in April, to be moved to Monday’s date.

Source: Voice of America