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US To Vaccinate Low-Risk Teens As Covid Rages Globally

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US To Vaccinate Low-Risk Teens As Covid Rages Globally


US To Vaccinate Low-Risk Teens As Covid Rages Globally

US has pledged to release up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca jab (Representational)

Washington:

President Joe Biden wants 70 percent of American adults to have received at least one shot of a Covid-19 vaccine by the July 4 holiday, and has made vaccinating adolescents a key part of the next phase of the country’s immunization campaign.

But targeting US teens is a controversial move among many experts, who argue it is a serious mistake to use the world’s limited supply of doses on a low-risk population while the pandemic surges in countries like India and Brazil.

Pfizer and its partner BioNTech said in March their two-dose regimen was shown to be safe and highly effective in a trial of 2,260 12-to-15-year-olds.

An emergency use authorization is expected in the coming days, and Biden told White House reporters Tuesday that “if that announcement comes, we are ready to move immediately.”

The president’s address comes as the nation’s immunization campaign is stalling after hitting a peak in early April.

More than 56 percent of adults have received one or more shots, but as the rate of uptake falls, officials are devising new ways to reach vaccine hold-outs.

These will include discounts to shoppers who get vaccinated at grocery stores, promotions for fans at sports stadiums, and more vaccines at rural health clinics, said Biden.

The federal government is also working on a program with pharmacies and pediatricians nationwide to reach the country’s estimated 17 million 12-to-15-year-olds ahead of school reopening in fall.

“Terrible error”

Many experts have, however, voiced concern whether now is the right moment to reach this group as the global situation deteriorates.

The issue of vaccine disparity has been brought into sharp focus by India, which reported 350,000 new cases Tuesday and recorded nearly 3,500 deaths — more than anywhere in the world.

“The overwhelming majority of 15-year-olds, we know are not at high risk of severe complications from COVID,” ER doctor Craig Spencer, director of Global Health in Emergency Medicine at Columbia University, told AFP.

“It is absolutely raging around the world and we’re talking about how we’re going to vaccinate an incredibly low-risk population, when the overwhelming majority of health care workers around the world have zero protection,” he said.

Priya Sampathkumar, chair of Infection Prevention & Control at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, added that beyond being an ethics issue, exporting more vaccines was in America’s own best interest.

“Vaccinating more people in the US is not going to help us if the variants in India, Nepal and South Asia get out of control and hit our shores,” she told AFP.

The US has pledged to release up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, but the experts believe much more can be done.

“I think if you vaccinate 12-to-15-year-olds in the United States before you vaccinate 70 year olds globally, you’re making a terrible error,” UCSF physician and epidemiologist Vinay Prasad told AFP.

Israel’s experience had shown that it is possible to achieve a “remarkable reduction” in cases without targeting teens, he added.

Low risk

Sampathkumar explained that the main reason to vaccinate teens is to drive down transmission — a goal which she agreed with, though with US cases declining, it is a question of timing.

Statistics show children are at extremely low risk from severe Covid.

In the United States, under-18s have accounted for 277 deaths in total, according to the latest official data, a miniscule fraction of the total of 574,000.

There have been a further 36 deaths from multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), a rare but serious post-viral disease.

Still, low risk isn’t no risk, and pediatrician Lee Beers, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, welcomed the arrival of a vaccine for children.

She called vaccinating teens “an important tool in our toolbox for safe return to schools,” saying it may “increase the comfort for many families and school staff.”

Figures aggregated by the data company Burbio shows 67.1 percent of US school students are attending schools in-person, while 29.6 percent are in a “hybrid” set-up combining in-person and remote classes, and 3.3 percent are learning virtually.

But Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins, said that the government’s own research had shown it is entirely possible to reopen schools safely without vaccines.

“It’s just another barrier that’s been falsely erected to stand in the way of returning kids to education,” she stressed.

Nuzzo added global hotspots should be the priority.

“It’s not good for kids in the long run if we just let this virus spread unchecked across the globe,” she said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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Jasprit Bumrah Wishes Wife Sanjana Ganesan On Her Birthday With A Loving Post | Cricket News

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Jasprit Bumrah Wishes Wife Sanjana Ganesan On Her Birthday With A Loving Post | Cricket News


Jasprit Bumrah Wishes Wife Sanjana Ganesan On Her Birthday With A Loving Post

Jasprit Bumrah and Sanjana Ganesan tied the knot on March 15.© Instagram




Jasprit Bumrah took to Instagram on Thursday to share an adorable picture with his wife Sanjana Ganesan on her birthday. Bumrah, who plays for the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL), came up with a loving caption as he extended his wishes to “the person who steals my heart every time”. “Happy birthday to the person who steals my heart everyday. You’re my person, I love you,” Bumrah captioned the image along with a heart emoji.


The India pacer was granted leave by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) ahead of the limited-overs leg of the series against England at home earlier this year.

Jasprit Bumrah and Sanjana Ganesan got married on March 15 in Goa. The couple posted pictures from their wedding on social media to break the news to their fans. 

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Earlier in the day, Sanjana shared a cute selfie with Bumrah in her Instagram story.

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Bumrah was playing for the defending champions Mumbai Indians in the IPL 2021 before it BCCI and IPL Governing Council postponed the T20 tournament indefinitely after four franchises reported positive Covid cases within their camp.

In the 14th edition of IPL, Bumrah managed to get six wickets from seven games but it was his economical spells in crunch situations that kept Mumbai Indians in the top-half of the IPL 2021 points table.

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PUBG Mobile India’s New Avatar ‘Battlegrounds Mobile India’ Announced

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PUBG Mobile India’s New Avatar ‘Battlegrounds Mobile India’ Announced


Battlegrounds Mobile India was announced on Thursday by Krafton, the South Korean company behind PUBG, as its dedicated game for the Indian market. The new battle royale game is touted to bring a premium, AAA multiplayer gaming experience along with exclusive in-game events such as outfits and features. Battlegrounds Mobile India will also debut with its own esports ecosystem that will include tournaments and leagues, the company said in a press statement. In addition to announcing the details about Battlegrounds Mobile India, Krafton released a video teaser of the new game that suggests similarities with PUBG Mobile, which was banned in the country last year.

Battlegrounds Mobile India will be available for pre-registrations before its official launch in the country, Krafton said. The new game is projected to be exclusive to India, and its logo will feature the tri-colour theme to attract Indian mobile gamers.

“Krafton will collaborate with partners to build an esports ecosystem while bringing in-game content regularly, starting with a series of India specific in-game events at launch, to be announced later,” the company said.

The company also claimed that all data collection and storage of Battlegrounds Mobile India would be in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations in India and for players in the country. This could be in response to the government’s concerns over data privacy and security on PUBG Mobile that eventually led to its ban in September last year.

The government banned PUBG Mobile among other 117 mobile games that have a relation with China. Shortly after the ban, Kraton’s subsidiary PUBG Corporation acquired the publishing and distribution rights from PUBG Mobile’s publisher Tencent Games in the country.

Krafton made several attempts to convince the government to lift the ban on PUBG Mobile after acquiring its rights from the Shenzhen-based entity. The moves include plans to localise Indian data and setting up a dedicated team of at least 100 people in India. The company also announced an investment of $100 million (roughly Rs. 738 crores). But nonetheless, it seems to have ultimately decided to go with Battlegrounds Mobile India as its new title after not getting any fruitful results for some time. Teasers of the upcoming game were spotted in recent days, and the announcement on Thursday has finally solidified speculation – though we are yet to hear of a concrete timeline for launch or even pre-registrations.


Is Mi 11X the best phone under Rs. 35,000? We discussed this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Later (starting at 23:50), we jump over to the Marvel series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.


Jagmeet Singh writes about consumer technology for Gadgets 360, out of New Delhi. Jagmeet is a senior reporter for Gadgets 360, and has frequently written about apps, computer security, Internet services, and telecom developments. Jagmeet is available on Twitter at @JagmeetS13 or Email at jagmeets@ndtv.com. Please send in your leads and tips.
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“Are You Like This Dog?” US Embassy’s Student Visa Post Angers Chinese

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“Are You Like This Dog?” US Embassy’s Student Visa Post Angers Chinese


“Are You Like This Dog?” US Embassy’s Student Visa Post Angers Chinese

A general view shows the buildings of the US Embassy in Beijing, China.

Beijing:

The resumption of student visa applications at U.S. missions in China got off to an acrimonious start this week when netizens took exception to an American embassy social media post they interpreted as likening Chinese students to dogs.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump, whose time in office was marked by tense relations in Beijing, had in January last year barred nearly all non-U.S. citizens who were in China from entering the United States after the coronavirus outbreak.

On the Twitter-like Weibo service on Wednesday, the visa section of the U.S. embassy in China asked students what they were waiting for after the Biden administration eased restrictions.

“Spring has come and the flowers are in bloom. Are you like this dog who can’t wait to go out and play?” said the post in Chinese, which was accompanied by a video of an excited puppy trying to climb over a safety gate.

The post drew an angry backlash from some Weibo users, however, who felt the comparison was inappropriate, and was later deleted.

“Is this American humour? I believe they did it on purpose!” one user wrote.

“Dogs in American culture basically have positive meanings, but in Chinese culture and idioms, they are mostly negative,” wrote another user. Others quipped that the students’ “master” was now calling them back to the United States.

The Global Times, an English-language tabloid run by the Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Daily, also cited netizens as saying that the post was “blatant racism”.

A U.S. embassy spokesman in Beijing issued an apology on Thursday morning to anyone who had been offended by the comments.

“The social media post in question was meant to be light-hearted and humorous,” he said. “We took it down immediately when we saw it was not received in the spirit we intended.”

It is not the first time animal-related remarks have sparked a backlash in China. In 2019, a senior economist from UBS was placed on leave after comments about pigs in China were perceived by some as a racial slur. He was later reinstated.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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