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Tuesday April 13th, 2021 12:40AM

The Latest: WH: No credential to show if vaccinated

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON — The White House is stressing that it won’t back any system “that requires Americans to carry a credential” to show they’ve been vaccinated.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki says “there will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.”

She says companies or nonprofit groups might offer that kind of “tool” but the White House wants to be sure that “American’s privacy and rights” are protected. Psaki says the Biden administration will be issuing guidance around the matter soon.

So-called vaccine passports currently exist in only one state — a limited government partnership in New York with a private company. But that hasn’t stopped GOP lawmakers in a handful of states from rushing out legislative proposals to ban their use, calling them an infringement on personal freedom and private health choices.

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THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Most kids with serious inflammatory illness had mild COVID-19

— AP source: All U.S. adults eligible for shots by April 19, two weeks sooner

— Spain prepares vaccine rollout surge as supplies gather pace

— North Korea will skip Tokyo Olympics because of coronavirus fears, underscoring Japan's challenges in hosting Games during pandemic

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

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

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WASHINGTON — The White House says more than 28 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be delivered to states this week.

White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients made the announcement Tuesday during a weekly conference call with the nation’s governors.

The allocation brings the total amount of vaccine distributed over the past three weeks to more than 90 million doses.

Vice President Kamala Harris joined the call from Chicago, where she is traveling Tuesday to promote equity in the distribution of the three approved COVID-19 vaccines.

Harris discussed the administration’s response. She also highlighted President Joe Biden’s upcoming announcement that 150 million shots in arms have been administered since he took office. All adults will be eligible to receive a vaccine by April 19.

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BOSTON — New research suggests the protection the Moderna vaccine gives against COVID-19 lasts for at least six months.

The report Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine echoes what Pfizer said last week about its vaccine, which works in a similar way.

Both reports were based on follow-up tests in dozens of people who received the shots during studies that led to the vaccines’ use. Those studies were done before troubling new variants, or versions of the coronavirus, had emerged and started to spread.

A separate report in the medical journal adds to concern about the variants. Scientists measured antibodies that can block the virus in 50 people who had been given the Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccines that were developed in China. Many showed total or partial loss of effectiveness against a virus variant first detected in South Africa.

The vaccines still seemed to protect against a variant first found in the United Kingdom that is now rapidly spreading in the United States and elsewhere.

Pfizer and Moderna have said they are working to update their vaccines, or possibly design a booster shot, in case they’re needed against variants.

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NAIROBI, Kenya — Tanzania’s new president appears to be taking a scientific approach to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan says she will form a technical committee to advise her about the scope of COVID-19 infections in the country and how to respond to the pandemic. Hassan says COVID-19 is “not something we should be quiet about or refuse flatly or accept without doing a scientific examination.”

She said her government will do medical research to find out the scope of the problem and advise Tanzania about what the world is recommending as well as local expertise.

Hassan’s comments are a dramatic switch from the policy of her predecessor, the late President John Magufuli, who was one of Africa’s leading COVID-19 deniers. He claimed in June that Tanzania had rid itself of COVID-19 through three days of national prayer. He dismissed scientific approaches to prevent and treat the disease. He discouraged the use of face masks and instead promoted prayer, physical fitness and herbal remedies.

Hassan announced Magufuli’s death on March 17, saying it was due to heart failure. She was sworn in as Tanzania’s first woman president on March 19. Tanzania’s opposition leaders say the 61-year-old Magufuli died of COVID-19, the disease he had downplayed.

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BRUSSELS — Despite its slow vaccination drive, the European Union says it is still on target to reach what it calls “sufficient community immunity” by the end of June.

The European Commission has said it wants to vaccinate a minimum 70% of the entire adult population by the end of summer. But it is counting on a strong second quarter of vaccine production to reach a threshold of immunity already by the end of June, according to EU Commission spokesman Stefan De Keersmaecker.

With some 107 million doses already distributed and up to 360 million slated for the next three months, the EU said Tuesday the target is within reach.

Our World in Data group says the share of people who received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the EU is 12.8%. The U.K stands at 46% and the U.S. at 31%.

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NEW DELHI — The world’s largest vaccine maker, based in India, will restart exports of AstraZeneca doses by June if coronavirus infections subside in the country, its chief executive says.

But a continued surge could result in more delays because the Serum Institute of India would have to meet domestic needs, Adar Poonawalla says in an interview with The Associated Press.

The company is a key supplier for the U.N.-backed COVAX program that aims to distribute vaccines equitably in the world. COVAX says a surge in infections in India has caused the Serum Institute of India to cater to domestic demand, resulting in a delay in global shipments of up to 90 million doses.

The government has intensified its vaccination drive in recent weeks, but the shots have been slow to reach the nation of nearly 1.4 billion people.

India reported 96,982 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours on Tuesday. Deaths rose by 446, increasing the total to 165,547 confirmed deaths since the start of the pandemic. India reported 12.7 million total cases, the highest after the United States and Brazil.

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Keith Rowley has tested positive for the coronavirus, his office said Tuesday.

Rowley was tested after experiencing flu-like symptoms on Monday, according to a government statement. He is isolated and under medical supervision.

Rowley had spent the Easter holidays in Tobago and was scheduled to be vaccinated on Tuesday, the same day the twin-island nation launched its vaccination program after receiving more than 33,000 AstraZeneca doses.

The country of 1.2 million people has reported more than 8,000 coronavirus cases and 145 confirmed deaths.

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MANILA, Philippines — Former Philippine President Joseph Estrada is hospitalized on a ventilator after being infected by the coronavirus.

Estrada’s son, former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, says his 83-year-old father was hospitalized more than a week ago and initially was recovering well but his condition “suffered a setback” Monday and prompted doctors to place him on a ventilator.

Also, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana says he tested positive for the coronavirus and will go into isolation.

President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the Manila metropolis and four outlying provinces, a region of more than 25 million people, back under lockdown amid an alarming spike in infections. Overall, the Philippines has reported more than 812,000 confirmed cases and 13,817 confirmed deaths, the second-highest totals in Southeast Asia after Indonesia.

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MADRID — Spain is stepping up its vaccination drive, according to Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

He says an increase in deliveries in the coming months will allow the country to vaccinate 70% of the adult population against the coronavirus by the end of August. To help the rollout pick up speed, some cities are opening mass vaccination centers.

Sánchez says “the priority now, more than ever, is to vaccinate without respite. Vaccinate, vaccinate and vaccinate.”

He expects 38 million doses between April and June, about 3.5 times more than in January-March when vaccine deliveries across Europe fell short of the anticipated amounts.

Spain aims to receive 87 million doses by September for the population of 33 million, with Sánchez saying, “Anyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one.”

On Monday, Spain reported 2,247 new cases and 85 deaths. In total, there’s been 3.3 million cases and more than 75,000 confirmed deaths.

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BERLIN — A German state on the border with France is allowing the limited reopening of businesses including cinemas, gyms and outdoor areas of restaurants, just as calls mount for stricter national lockdown rules amid a rise in coronavirus cases.

German authorities in areas where infection rates are relatively low can allow more businesses to open for people who have tested negative. Saarland, one of Germany’s smallest states, decided to apply that to the entire state on Tuesday and drew criticism.

Saarland officials contend their state has a relatively low infection rate and a relatively high number of vaccinations, and more testing will ensure that fewer infections go undetected.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country’s 16 state governors are due to meet Monday to decide how to proceed with coronavirus restrictions. There are increasing calls for tougher restrictions as the spread of a more contagious variant first detected in Britain has led to increasing infections across Germany.

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — The Sri Lankan government has lifted the one-year restrictions imposed on Sri Lankans, allowing entry into the country without prior approval but requiring quarantine.

Sri Lankans, dual citizens who travel on Sri Lankan passports, spouses and unmarried children of Sri Lankans and Sri Lankan seafarers arriving by air are now permitted to enter Sri Lanka without approval of the country’s Foreign Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority.

However, those arriving are required to undergo a mandatory 14-days quarantine program -- seven-days at a government-run center or a selected hotel and another seven days at home.

Sri Lanka imposed restrictions on their citizens travelling from other countries a year ago, ordering them to get permission from the government agencies before landing in the country.

By Tuesday, Sri Lanka registered 93,595 total cases and 586 confirmed deaths.

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SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — More than 1,000 Bosnians have marched in the capital Sarajevo demanding government resignation over poor handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The protesters on Tuesday blocked traffic in a central street in Sarajevo while wearing masks and carrying banners that urged access to vaccines and virus testing. Hundreds more people backed the blockade in their cars, honking horns through the city.

The protesters are blaming the government for a high death rate in Bosnia and because they failed to acquire vaccines early on. The country has started vaccination with donations from abroad and a shipment through international COVAX mechanism.

Bosnia has had among the highest death rates in Europe, with nearly 7,000 dead in the country of 3.3 million.

The protesters gave the current authorities two weeks to resign, pledging more protests. One of the organizers, Maja Gasal-Vrazalica, tells the authorities to “move away if you don’t know how” to deal with the health crisis.

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is set to announce he’s shaving about two weeks off his May 1 deadline for states to make all adults eligible for coronavirus vaccines.

A White House official confirms Biden plans to announce every adult in the U.S. will be eligible to be vaccinated by April 19. Biden will make the announcement at the White House on Tuesday following a visit to a vaccination site in Virginia.

States have been gradually expanding eligibility beyond such priority groups as seniors and essential front-line workers. Biden announced just last week that 90% of adults would be eligible for one of three approved vaccines by April 19, in addition to having a vaccination site within 5 miles (8 kilometers) of where they live.

The White House said Monday that nearly 1 in 3 Americans and over 40% of adults have received at least one shot, and nearly 1 in 4 adults is fully vaccinated. Among older people, 75% have received at least one shot, and more than 55% are fully vaccinated.

The White House official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss Biden’s plans before the formal announcement. CNN was first to report on Biden’s planned announcement. — Darlene Superville.

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NEW YORK — New Yorkers over 16 years old can sign up for COVID-19 vaccination starting Tuesday.

That’s a large expansion of eligibility as the state seeks to immunize as many people as possible. Gov. Andrew Cuomo expanded eligibility to 30 and over last week and announced people age 16 to 29 would be eligible on April 6.

Teens age 16 and 17 will be limited to receiving the Pfizer vaccine, since it is the only one authorized for use by people under 18. None of the available vaccines have been approved for people under 16.

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Vaccinating most Americans is plenty tough — and it’s worse for prisoners.

About half the country has opened up coronavirus vaccine eligibility beyond initial restrictions, vastly expanding the ability for most people to get a shot in the arm. But inside prisons, it’s a different story. Prisoners aren’t free to seek out vaccines and generally still lack access.

Data collected by The Marshall Project and The Associated Press show fewer than 20% of state and federal prisoners have been vaccinated. In some states, prisoners and advocates have resorted to lawsuits to get access.

Since the pandemic first reached prisons in March 2020, about 3 in 10 prisoners have tested positive and 2,500 have died. Prisons are often overcrowded, with limited access to health care and protective gear, and populations inside are more likely to have preexisting medical conditions.

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