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JOHNSON & JOHNSON

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The Latest: Johnson & Johnson shots arrive in Mexico from US

06/15/2021 | 09:56am EDT

MEXICO CITYMexico received 1.35 million doses of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccines donated by the United States on Tuesday.

The U.S. shipment will be used to vaccinate anyone over 18 in four cities along the U.S. border: Tijuana, Mexicali, Ciudad Juárez and Reynosa. Mexico has said the goal is to boost vaccination rates there to levels similar to the U.S. cities they adjoin.

Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, who was meeting with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in Mexico City, says after the vaccinations “there will be no public health arguments for keeping the border closed.”

The U.S. and Mexico have restricted border crossings to essential travel since early in the pandemic.

Assistant Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell says the expanded vaccinations in border cities could begin Wednesday. Mexico is seeking to acquire more of the vaccine to inoculate all border residents.

MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

White House to host July 4 “independence from virus” bash

— Japanese companies set up vaccination sites to help with inoculation effort

California, first US state to go under lockdown, is beginning its “Grand Reopening”

— Emirates Air posts $5.5B loss as virus disrupts travel

— Follow more of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

HERE'S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

TOKYOJapan says it will donate 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Vietnam.

The Japanese government is expanding its contribution to Southeast Asian countries that Tokyo considers important partners in the region where China increasingly expands its influence.

Japan’s AstraZeneca vaccines are produced in Japan under a licensing deal and will be delivered Wednesday to Vietnam, Motegi says. He adds Japan is also considering sending AstraZeneca doses in early July to Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Japan, with its vaccine development still uncertain, currently uses two imported vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna. The nation has vaccinated about 5% of its population.

Japan has also approved AstraZeneca but has no immediate plans to use it at home, in part due to reported blood clotting concern.

Japan has pledged $1 billion and 30 million vaccine doses to a U.N.-led COVAX program for low-income nations. Japan also donated 1.24 million AstraZeneca doses this month to Taiwan, outside of the COVAX facility.

LONDON — Britain’s Conservative government is fending off calls to provide more financial support to businesses and workers.

They are expected to suffer financially from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement to delay the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions in England by four weeks to July 19. The delay aims to get more people vaccinated to counter rising infections due to the delta variant.

Although many restrictions have been eased in recent weeks and large parts of the U.K. economy have reopened, several businesses, particularly those in the hospitality and entertainment sectors, have not. Business leaders and unions think the U.K. government should extend its support programs for those firms that have been affected by the delay.

On Monday, the British government reported 7,742 new confirmed cases, one of the highest daily numbers since the end of February. The delta variant accounted for around 90% of all new infections.

Nearly 62% of the British population have received one vaccine shot, while about 45% have gotten two.

TOKYO — Japanese companies have joined the effort to speed up the country’s lagging coronavirus vaccine rollout before the Tokyo Olympics begin next month.

Japan’s vaccination program has been the slowest among developed nations, with about 5% of its population fully vaccinated. The government recently unveiled workplace inoculation efforts by major companies to supplement those led by local governments.

Energy and technology giant SoftBank’s CEO Masayoshi Son visited a company vaccination site on Tuesday. He says the company plans 15 such sites to vaccinate 250,000 people, including SoftBank employees and their families.

Other companies like Toyota Motor Corp., Rakuten, Suntory, Fujitsu and ANA also are joining the vaccination campaign.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is determined to hold the Olympics in Tokyo after a one-year delay and has made an ambitious pledge to finish vaccinating the country’s 36 million elderly people by the end of July.

Vaccinations have been slowed by reservation procedures, distribution issues and shortages of medical staff to give shots.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Authorities in Malaysia have granted conditional approval to two more vaccines as they aim to achieve herd immunity to the coronavirus in the country by the end of the year.

Health Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said Tuesday that single dose vaccines produced by China’s CanSino Biologics and American company Johnson & Johnson were granted conditional approval for emergency use.

Malaysia already has been using the COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Sinovac. Noor Hisham said the J&J vaccine will be obtained from the global COVAX facility but didn’t give details.

Noor Hisham said the Malaysian health ministry has also given authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be given to children older than 12. Only people over 18 so far have been eligible for the government’s voluntary vaccination program.

Malaysia has been under a large-scale lockdown since June 1 as it struggles to daily infections. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in a televised address on Tuesday that restrictions will be lifted in phases.

Malaysia has reported more than 662,000 confirmed virus cases with nearly 4,000 deaths. Less than 10% of the nation’s 32 million people have been vaccinated so far.

BERLIN — Germany’s health minister says the country has issued nearly 5 million vaccination certificates that are designed to be part of a European Union-wide digital pass system.

Germany launched the rollout of the certificates late last week. Users can download proof of their coronavirus vaccination status onto a smartphone app.

Pharmacies across the country started issuing certificates on Monday to people who have been fully vaccinated and so far have only analogue proof.

The certificates can also be issued on-site by large vaccination centers. German officials say they have already been used by travelers at European borders without problems.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn said as he arrived at a meeting with European Union colleagues in Luxembourg on Tuesday that 5 million certificates would be issued by the end of the day.

As of Monday, 22.3 million people in Germany had been fully vaccinated, 26.8% of the country’s population.

WASHINGTONU.S. President Joe Biden wants to imbue America's Independence Day with new meaning this year by encouraging nationwide celebrations to mark the country’s effective return to normalcy after 16 months of coronavirus pandemic disruption.

Even as the U.S. is set to record Tuesday its 600,000th death in the pandemic, the White House is expressing growing certainty that July 4th will serve as a breakthrough moment in the nation’s recovery. That’s even though the U.S. is not expected to quite reach its goal of having 70% of adults vaccinated by the holiday.

As COVID-19 case rates and deaths drop to levels not seen since the first days of the outbreak, Biden is proclaiming “a summer of freedom” to celebrate Americans resuming their pre-pandemic lives.

The holiday will see the largest event yet of Biden’s presidency: He plans to host first responders, essential workers and military servicemembers and their families on the South Lawn for a cookout and to watch the fireworks over the National Mall. Well more than 1,000 guests are expected, officials said, with final arrangements still to be sorted out.

Just three months ago cautiously, the president cautiously held out hope that people might be able to hold small cookouts by the Fourth of July.

LONDON — The British government fended off calls to provide more financial support to businesses and workers who will suffer financially from its decision to delay the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions in England by four weeks to July 19.

Although large parts of the U.K. economy have reopened, a number of businesses, particularly those in the hospitality and entertainment sectors, have not been able to do so because it was not financially viable under restrictions that limited how many people they could serve.

After months of planning, those businesses had been preparing to reopen on June 21, the date the government had earmarked for the possible lifting of remaining restrictions on social contact.

However, a recent spike in new infections involving the more contagious delta variant that was first identified in India upended that plan.

Following the delay announcement, unions joined with business leaders to urge the government to compensate affected workers and establishments.

The Confederation of British Industry urged the government to hold back on the planned tapering of tax relief for businesses and extend the commercial rent moratorium for the industries most impacted.

JERUSALEMIsrael is no longer requiring masks indoors, lifting one of its last coronavirus restrictions following a highly successful vaccination campaign.

The restriction was lifted on Tuesday, though people will still be required to wear masks on airplanes and on their way to quarantine. Unvaccinated individuals must wear masks in nursing homes and other long-term health facilities.

Israel has vaccinated around 85% of its adult population, allowing schools and businesses to fully reopen. There are only a few dozen active patients in the country of more than 9 million.

Authorities have been cautious about welcoming visitors, however, because of concerns over new variants. Israel welcomed its first tour group late last month. All tourists must show proof of vaccination and be tested upon arrival.

HONOLULUHawaii says a vaccinated Oahu resident who traveled to Nevada last month has tested positive for the delta variant of COVID-19.

The delta variant was first detected in India and is a more transmissible version of the disease. The variant currently makes up 6% of all cases in the U.S.

Hawaii Health Director Dr. Libby Char says this is a “very rare breakthrough” case in which a COVID-19 vaccine didn’t prevent infection.

New analysis from researchers in the U.K. shows the Pfizer vaccine is 96% effective against hospitalization from the delta variant.

DECATUR, Georgia — A sheriff says a grocery store cashier has been killed in a shooting and three others wounded followed an argument over wearing face masks at an Atlanta-area supermarket.

DeKalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox said the shooting occurred Monday inside the Big Bear Supermarket in Decatur, a suburb east of Atlanta. Maddox said a man was arguing with a cashier over wearing a face mask when he pulled a weapon and shot the female cashier.

Authorities said a deputy working store security returned fire and shot the man. Maddox says the deputy, the suspected shooter and one other person were wounded. Decatur is a suburban community east of Atlanta.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission., source Associated Press News

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