Australia news live: Pfizer vaccine approved in Australia; south-east set for scorching weather

Vaccine approval paves way for February rollout; high temperatures have authorities on alert amid bushfire risk in SA, NSW and Victoria. Follow all the latest news and updates, live

10.30pm GMT

Morrison said concerns about production delays in other countries is why the Australian Government had decided to put in place arrangement with CSL and AstraZeneca to produce that vaccine on shore.

That is happening now. It is underway now. Yes, we paid a premium for it. Yes, we had to put the capabilities in place with CSL to achieve that and, yes, we’re involved more broadly in the development of their production facilities in Melbourne but that was the right decision for Australia because, as much as you can, you want to be able to control as many things as you can in this country when dealing with Covid-19.

That has been our form. That will continue to be … Read more

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Biden Health Agenda

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud.

President Joe Biden wasted no time getting down to work. Among the raft of executive orders he signed on Inauguration Day were several aimed at curtailing the covid crisis, including one requiring mask-wearing by federal employees and anyone on federal property for the next 100 days.

Meanwhile, with the inauguration of Vice President Kamala Harris and the swearing-in of two new Democratic senators from Georgia, Democrats took over the majority in the Senate, albeit with a 50-50 tie. That leaves Democrats in charge of both the legislative and executive branches for the first time since 2010, but with such narrow majorities it could be difficult to advance many of Biden’s top health agenda items, starting with an expansion of the Affordable Care Act.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KHN, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Tami Luhby … Read more

Vaccine experts defend UK decision to delay second Pfizer Covid jab

Medics told they risk undermining public confidence by querying policy of three-month gap between doses

Leading vaccine experts have backed the government’s decision to delay the second dose for up to three months, after doctors warned that the strategy was proving “ever-more difficult to justify”.

The British Medical Association (BMA), which represents doctors, has suggested that the UK has become “increasingly isolated internationally” by deciding that the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine can be delayed, and called for a maximum delay of six weeks. However, several prominent scientists backed the government’s plan to maximise the number of people receiving their first dose.

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Covid Vaccine Rollout Leaves Most Older Adults Confused Where to Get Shots

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Over a month into a massive vaccination program, most older Americans report they don’t know where or when they can get inoculated for covid-19, according to a poll released Friday.

Nearly 6 in 10 people 65 and older who have not yet gotten a shot said they don’t have enough information about how to get vaccinated, according to the KFF survey. (KHN is an editorially independent program of KFF.)

Older Americans are not the only ones in the dark about  the inoculation process. About 55% of essential workers —designated by public health officials as being near the front of the line for vaccinations — also don’t know when they can get the shots, the survey found. Surprisingly, 21% of health workers said they are unsure about when they will get vaccinated.

Black and Hispanic adults, as well as those in … Read more

'We have to act': Biden says government has 'moral obligation' to provide economic relief – live

10.23pm GMT

Hello there, it’s Maanvi Singh – I’ll be bringing you live updates through the next few hours.

First up, here’s the US Embassy in London’s response to tabloid controversy over Biden’s Oval Office makeover – which included the removal of a Winston Churchill busy.

We’ve seen some discussion about the Churchill Bust, so we just wanted to remind everyone what the Special Relationship is truly about pic.twitter.com/XOdff8hbcd

10.02pm GMT

Between 100 and 200 National Guard deployed to Washington, DC, to provide security for Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration have tested positive for the coronavirus, a US official said on … Read more