Coronavirus live news: US approves Johnson & Johnson vaccine; first AstraZeneca jabs arrive in Sydney

Coronavirus live news: US approves Johnson & Johnson vaccine; first AstraZeneca jabs arrive in Sydney

February 28, 2021

Australian state of Victoria reports zero new cases; Auckland seven-day lockdown begins; UK records lowest cases in five months

  • FDA approves Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose coronavirus vaccine
  • Concerns grow as UK Covid testing labs scaled back before even opening
  • House approves $1.9tn Covid aid bill despite minimum wage setback
  • New Zealand: Auckland to go into seven-day Covid lockdown
  • See all our coronavirus coverage

Thailand kicked off its Covid inoculation campaign on Sunday, with cabinet ministers, health officials and medical professionals among the first in the queue to receive vaccinations, Reuters reports.

The first doses of vaccine, developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech, were given to Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who is also the health minister, among others at an infectious diseases institute on the outskirts of Bangkok.

“I hope that the vaccination will result in people being safe from the spread of Covid and it allows Thailand to return to normalcy as soon as possible,” Anutin told reporters afterwards.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, 66, attended the event, although his age falls outside the range of 18 to 59 suitable to receive SinoVac’s CoronaVac vaccine, so he did not get it.

In Australia, New South Wales state premier Gladys Berejiklian has again implored the federal government to keep states better informed of their vaccine rollout plans, AAP reports.

Phase 1a of the nation-wide vaccination program began last week, with healthcare and border workers the first to be jabbed.

But Ms Berejiklian told reporters state leaders are still unsure of how and when the general population will get access to a vaccine.

“I’ve made no secret of the fact… that we would appreciate as much information in a timely way, but we also appreciate that’s not always possible,” she said on Sunday.

“Our NSW health officials were able to turn around the Pfizer vaccine supply we’ve got very quickly – within days – because we’ve been planning for it.”
Of key concern is information about the supply NSW will receive, and at what time, she said.

“I’m not going to hide the fact that our information is key for the states to be able to do our work as best we can.”

“The more notice we have the better.”

Her comments come as NSW notched up a 42nd day without a single case of the coronavirus transmitted locally.

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