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‘Absolutely vital’ to keep vaccine supply chains open, Martin says

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said he is “very much against” stopping vaccines being exported from the European Union, adding that it is “absolutely vital” that vaccine supply chains remain open.

In advance of an EU leaders’ summit later this week that will consider proposals for export controls on vaccines, effectively stopping them from leaving the EU, Mr Martin said he was strongly against such a move.

“I am very much against it. I think it would be a very retrograde step,” he told RTÉ’s News at One.

He said it was “absolutely vital” that pharma companies were able to keep their supply chains open. He said the Pfizer vaccine was manufactured from materials supplied by 86 suppliers in 19 countries, and export bans would risk disrupting vaccine production.

He disagreed with a suggestion by president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen that the EU could block the export of vaccines to some countries.

He said the UK should “reciprocate” the export of vaccines from the EU to the UK.

Mr Martin also suggested that easing restrictions on outdoor activities, including sport, could be considered in April. He also said that it was “not contemplated” that the return to school of remaining secondary school students after the Easter holidays would be postponed, despite recent concerns about increasing infections.

He said that in order to keep numbers down, “we must avoid congregation indoors at all costs”.

But Mr Martin hinted that restrictions on outdoor socialising could be relaxed, saying: “The theme really going forward has to be outdoor.”

He said that Ministers and officials would consider the options for relaxing the restrictions after April 5th and they would factor in the effects of the vaccine in reducing serious illness and mortality.



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Viral Russian Parody of Smash Hit ‘Hideaway’ Depicts Typical Village Life (Music Video)

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And on a lighter note …

One of upsides of life in Russia is the rich sense of humor here.  

Here’s a parody of “Hideaway” by Canadian pop diva Kiezsa, (original video below) which gave the previously unknown starlet an astounding 90 million views on Youtube within 3 months of its release in February 2014.

The parody was made by the amateur comic dance duo, “Bonya and Kuzmich” of Perm, a provincial Russian city 800 km east of Moscow.  

It has 5 million views on the Russian internet, but hasn’t really broken out into an international audience. 

Before discovering internet stardom, Bonya was a shoe saleswoman, and Kuzmich a cafeteria cook in Perm.

It has a lot of witty references to Russian country life.

Enjoy!

Here’s the original by Kiezsa:


This post first appeared on Russia Insider

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German doctor faces charges after administering thousands of self-made vaccines

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A millionaire German doctor is facing criminal charges after vaccinating an estimated 20,000 people with a self-developed vaccine against Covid-19.

Some 200 people were queueing for a jab at the airport in the northern city of Lübeck on Sunday when police arrived and closed down the improvised vaccination centre.

A police spokesman said doctors had already administered about 50 vaccines: not from BioNTech or Moderna or another recognised producer, but a home brew by Dr Winfried Stöcker.

The controversial doctor, who is also the owner of Lübeck airport, insists his jab is 97 per cent effective against Covid-19.

Dr Stöcker was not present, did not administer vaccinations and faces no charges, according to his lawyer Wolfgang Kubicki, a leading member of Germany’s Free Democratic Party (FDP), which is part of Berlin’s new coalition government.

Lübeck state prosecutors see things differently. On Monday, they announced an investigation into four doctors, aged between 61 and 81, for involvement in the unauthorised vaccination centre.

Dr Stöcker may also face legal action for running an unlicensed vaccination campaign, which is considered a criminal offence under Germany’s Medicines Act. 

Contacted by the Bild tabloid, Dr Stöcker said he had not submitted his vaccine for approval because the process would “take too long and cost millions”.

“We have a responsibility to the patients, not the state, but the police stopped everything,” said the 74-year-old.

In May 2020 Dr Stöcker claimed to have developed a traditional vaccine – without any external assistance – similar to that used against tetanus, using inactive pathogen cells to activate the body’s immune system.

The doctor says he tested the jab on himself and some 100 volunteers before rolling out the vaccinations around the country. In total, he claims some 20,000 people have received a dose of his vaccine.

“Some 2,000 of them are under observation, no side effects were noted to date,” he said. “There were virus breakthroughs in 10 people.”

‘Lubecavax’

On his website, he says his “Lubecavax”, a three-dose vaccine, has proven highly effective. Some 376 friends and colleagues were vaccinated with the substance during the summer, he wrote, and “97 per cent developed high concentrations of antibodies against coronavirus”.

“In our view the ‘Lübeck vaccine’ is safe, effective and presumably the most suitable vaccine for children,” he adds in a blog post. “Doctors have the right to mix together compounds that they believe will help people.”

In this assertion he is drawing on a 2000 German constitutional court ruling which forbade federal authorities from prohibiting an experimental treatment of two doctors using stem cells.

News of the rogue vaccination has horrified German medical authorities. The Paul Ehrlich Institute, which is responsible for approval of medicines and vaccines in Germany, said on Monday it had offered Dr Stöcker assistance with testing in September and December of last year, but that he had not responded to the institute’s offers.

The hurdles to vaccination licensing “are deliberately high”, the institute added, “to ensure the maximum possible security for participants in clinical trials”.

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Denmark school closes due to suspected Omicron Covid-19 case

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Odense Municipality confirmed the closure in a statement on Monday after informing parents and pupils on Sunday evening.

The Danish Patient Safety Authority (Styrelsen for Patientsikkerhed) said on Monday morning that the case is suspected of being linked to the new Omicron variant.

READ ALSO: Denmark does not rule out new travel restrictions after Omicron variant detected

The authority recommends contact tracing up to “third” contacts, or people who have been in contact with suspected close contacts to the confirmed or “first” case.

Pupils and teachers in the same class as the confirmed or “first” case are considered “second” contacts, with close contacts to the class the “third” link.

People who fall into these categories are asked to isolate at home until they have tested negative on the fourth and sixth days since the potential contact.

The school is closed as of Monday while contact tracing is undertaken.



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