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LARGE US TRIAL REVEALS HIGHER EFFICACY OF AZ VACCINE--REDUCED SEVERE C19 & HOSPITALIZATIONS BY 100%--EFFICACY IN SENIORS 80%--PLUS BACKGROUND DRAMA & NEW STUDIES
On Monday, AstraZeneca announced its vaccine had a 79% efficacy in their US trail, which was the largest and most diverse study so far, with 32,000 participants in the United States, Chile and Peru. More seniors were included compared to previous trials, and an efficacy of 80% was reported.for participants 65 and over. Most importantly, in all of these trials, serious illness or death did not occur in any of the participants who were vaccinated. No safety concerns were reported and results revealed no increased risk of blood clots.
However, another analysis requested by the oversight board indicated the vaccine efficacy was between 69% and 74%. Either way, this is better than the overall efficacy at 66.7% found in previous trials, or the 62% found in Europe using the same protocol of administering the two doses one month apart. The lower efficacy found by the oversight board was associated with AstraZeneca not counting newly classified C-19 cases in their data. Failure to include this updated data led to accusations and controversy, causing concerns about loss of public confidence.
The seniors of Isla Mujeres received this vaccine about a month ago and are scheduled for the second dose in 4 weeks. This is arguably the world's most important vaccine, which has been authorized for use in more than 70 countries. The scientists who created it framed it as a global solution, not just a shot for rich nations. Costing as little as a fifth of some of its competitors, its ability to be stored in ordinary refrigerators makes it easier to administer in developing countries with vulnerable health systems.
Well ahead of their competitors, AstraZeneca began trials last May on 10,000 Brits. Trials were temporarily suspended worldwide when three people exhibited rare neurological symptoms, of whom two had received the vaccine. Trials were resumed when no evidence of a connection was found, but this delayed the US trials for seven weeks. Officials in the US were upset that they learned this thru news reports although FDA officials had been on a conference call with AstraZeneca just a few hours before the news broke.
Next, some participants in the British trial unexpectedly received a half-strength initial dose, and the explanations about how that happened were contradictory. The problem appeared to be linked to an Italian subcontractor who used a different technique to measure the vaccine's active ingredient. Confusion grew when these test results were released in November, saying the vaccine's efficacy was at 90% for the half-dose group (whose second dose was full-strength), but only 62% in those who received two full-strength shots. Later it appeared that the higher efficacy was probably due to the longer interval between shots, since some of the half-dose groups received shots as much as three moths apart, instead of four weeks.
Results from the US tests were eagerly awaited because the UK trials lacked recruitment of participants over 65, who are most at risk of serious illness. In France, at first the AZ vaccine was only available to residents under 65, because data on the elderly was so sparse. Later, eligibility was expanded to seniors up to age 74. Last week, France temporarily suspended use of the vaccine in response to concerns about blood clots, and resumed its use on Friday, but only for those 55 and older, since the clots were mostly reported in younger people. Through it all, the top EU regulator has consistently said that this vaccine is safe for everyone.
In Denmark, Germany, Norway and elsewhere, regulators spotted reports of serious or fatal blood clots among young people who had been given doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. There were just a handful — in Germany, seven people at the beginning of the week, out of 1.6 million people given doses of the vaccine in a month. But regulators said it was statistically significant and halted vaccinations to investigate. Once Germany stopped, most other European countries did the same, even though E.U. regulators and the World Health Organization asked them to continue vaccinating during the investigation. Vaccinations resumed last Friday after Europe's top regulator declared on Thursday that the advantages outweigh the risks. The company issued a statement saying that the benefits “continue to far outweigh the risks. Analysis of AstraZeneca’s safety database on tens of millions of records for [the vaccine] did not show that these events occurred any more commonly than would be expected in millions of people.”
Countries that have administered it widely, such as Britain, credit AstraZeneca with helping drive a dramatic drop in hospitalizations and deaths. Europe bet heavily on the AZ vaccine, but has only received about a third of what was promised. Cases in the European Union rose by 30 percent in two weeks, and policymakers say there is a desperate need for vaccinations. Many countries shut down last week as the more contagious variant first spotted in Britain raced across the continent. Last Friday, Hungary broke records for deaths and cases. France imposed a strict new shutdown and Germany's cases were up 50% last week.
Meanwhile, Oxford & AZ are continuing research on the vaccine. In December they said they will collaborate with the Russian creators of the Sputnik V vaccine, which is also made from adenoviruses, to see if a combination of the two vaccines might increase efficacy. That trial began in February, which is when the researchers said they plan to start trials on children as young as six. They are also working on a new version of the vaccine tailored to the B.1.351variant first identified in South Africa.
Campaigns have been launched to raise awareness about how vaccinations have reduced hospitalizations and deaths, and have helped countries like Britain, where more than 11 million AZ vaccines have been administered, to emerge from a dreadful wintertime wave of infections. Recently, political leaders in Europe, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand received the AZ vaccine publicly to reduce help public concern about vaccine safety and encourage their citizens to participate.
In regard to the results form the US trails, a lead investigator on the Oxford trials said, "These results are great news as they show the remarkable efficacy of the vaccine in a new population and are consistent with the results from Oxford-led trials. We can expect strong impact against COVID-19 across all ages and for people of all different backgrounds from widespread use of the vaccine." One of the co-designers of the AZ vaccine said, "These new results from the large phase III
trials in the US, Chile and Peru provide further confirmation of the
safety and effectiveness of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. In many different countries
and across age groups, the vaccine is providing a high level of
protection against COVID-19 and we hope this will lead to even more
widespread use of the vaccine in the global attempts to bring the
pandemic to an end."
The City reports that today (Friday) they will begin removing the accumulation of trash from the Trash Transfer Facility on the island. Eight semi trucks, which each have 18-tonne capacity, have arrived to transport garbage to the regional landfill located in the Continental Zone of Isla Mujeres. They will be removing trash daily throughout the Easter vacation period of "Semana Santa" which begins today.
Thursday A palapa collapsed at Playa Albatros where the restaurant Marabella is located, killing one woman instantly and injuring at least four others seriously. Multiple ambulances arrived to transport the injured including the Naval ambulance, Red Cross, and Life ambulances. Personnel with Civil Protection and other agencies immediately went to the scene to render aid, provide assistance, and begin investigations. Photo from video published by Isla Mujere al Momento
Photo below by Jim Guy
From the City (Ayuntamiento de Isla Mujeres)
The C-2 unit can now monitor the location of police patrols, as well at the video and audio from their real-time cameras.
The municipal police department received a donation of 15 fixed video cameras for patrol vehicles, with three body-cams, as well as the server for their operation. The 15 cameras have been installed in 7 patrols on the island and 8 in the Continental Zone There will be a total of 20 video teams for the patrols and the same about of foot-patrols. The server features two screens where the C-2 can monitor the location of the patrols as well as the video and audio of the cameras in real-time.
The general director of the municipal police, Eduardo Fouilloux Bataller, said this donation is thanks to the Comité de Consulta, Seguridad Ciudadana and Empresarios de Costa Mujeres. He said that these tools contribute to the safety of our municipality, as well as helping to protect the human rights of the citizenry, while protecting the labor rights and activities of the officials in their daily work. He concluded by saying, "The families of Isla Mujeres, as well as those who visit us, deserve to be treated in the best way, that is why our municipal police are constantly undergoing training, and with the support of organizations like this and the government of the state, we continue to work for a better municipality."
City officials inaugurated the Easter holiday security operations and Semana Santa Vacation Season Committee 2021 today, to ensure a safe and responsible holiday for inhabitants and visitors. Municipal official Juan Román Martín Pérez was accompanied by officials from all three levels of government.He spoke at the event about how 2020 totally changed activities and lifestyles in the face of the coronoavirus health contingency, but with the work and participation of the islanders, the pandemic has been fought with great responsibility, so that thanks to this enormous effort, today we are ready to offer a safe destination for the thousands of visitors during the Easter holiday season of Semana Santa.
The municipal Easter Vacation Season Operation 2021 has a mission to take care of the health of residents and visitors of our municipality, in addition to ensuring the beaches and streets are safe. We do this with support from the Navy, municipal police, Red Cross, Public Service personnel, APIQRoo, Civil Protection and the Firefighters, as well as representatives with CFE (Electric company), ZOFEMAT (Federal Zone agency), the General Hospital, and Aguakan. He emphasized the importance of continuing with social distancing and the hygiene measures recommended by the authorities, in order to keep moving forward.
He said there will be ongoing patrols and they will intensify prevention and the safety filters (checkpoints) for carrying out sanitary measures. They will also be frequently reviewing documents of motorcycles, cars and golf carts. At night they will reinforce the patrols of surveillance and prevention with staff from the Navy and their dogs, as well as random breathalyzer reviews. He said, "We seek to return to the activities we had before the pandemic, with order, responsibility, and a high degree of awareness."
The Director of Civil Protection, Merced Ortiz Maya, emphasized that security and responsibility during this season is fundamental. He pointed out that 2020 has been one of the most difficult years in the world, due to the Covid 10 pandemic, and in Isla Mujeres we have faced it working together. Now it is time to demonstrate that we are ready, standing strong, to offer the natural beauties of the island and to reactivate with responsibility during the vacation period, taking good care. He concluded, "We cannot let our guard down. We must continue to carry out health precautions during this Easter season. We must be emphatic with restaurants, merchants and service providers to continue to take preventative measures and avoid an increase in the disease. For our part, we will work as a team with various units to preserve order in the streets and beaches of Isla Mujeres."
palapa collapsed at Playa Albatros where the restaurant Marabella is
located, killing one woman instantly and injuring others. This man says
four of his family members were seriously injured and taken to the
hospital. Reporters say multiple ambulances arrived to transport the
injured including the Naval ambulance, Red Cross, and Life ambulances. He said they came from Cancun on a catamaran and that he's from (town inaudible) New Jersey.
MaraVilla Caribe Bed & Beach
Four rentals with large glass doors overlooking our white
sand beach and
the beautiful Caribbean sea, with
kitchenettes & fast WIFI. In the upscale
neighborhood of Bachilleres,
convenient to downtown
the colonias, yet
separate. Quiet & Private.
amenities include hammocks,
chairs, beach towels,
washer & dryer, loungers, shared bikes, BBQ grill, and safes. Panoramic
views from the
rooftop terrace. Large sliding doors open to a patio &
the white sand backyard-beach, overlooking the Caribbean sea. Downtown
is ~ a mile away; we're on
all four bus routes or flag a $3 taxi. Off street parking. In the quiet
neighborhood of Bachilleres, sleep to the sounds of the sea.. $275/$325/$425 wk $40/50/$65nt
Fine dining a few steps away at Da Luisa or try the neighborhood eateries a couple blocks farther. We provide a list of links & direction to over 20 eateries within ten minutes walk, including Mango Cafe, Mike's Pizza, Brisas, Rosa Sirena, Coco Jaguar, Manolitos, Green Verde, Kash Kechen Chuc, and the large department store-grocery Chedraui & the local craft brewery. Visit marinas, bars, & beach clubs that are minutes away by bike or on foot. Attend Yoga classes a couple villas away at Casa Ixchel. Fresh juice, produce & tortillas a few blocks away in the village, as well as a variety of other stores.
Full moon Feb 27 Saturday rose at 7:27p
Feb 28 Sunday it rose at 8:28p
March 1 Monday at 9:29p
March 2 Tuesday at 10:31p
March 3 Wednesday at 11:33p
Full Moon rises Sunday, March 28 at 7:12p
Monday, March 29 at 8:15
Tuesday, March 30 at 9:19
Wednesday, March 31 at 10:25
Sunset 6:51- 7:01(beginning vs end of month)
Public events have been suspended due to C-19, but a race is being held March 27. Some holidays have featured online competitions and events.
Friday, March 5th: When public events were held, there was an annual ceremony commemorating the arrival of Francisco Hernandez Cordoba in 1517, who is credited with discovering the Yucatan and what is now Mexico, after landing on Isla Mujeres.
Monday,March: 8 International Women's Day
Saturday, March 20: Spring Equinox
Monday, March 15: The third Monday in March is a day off for the birthday of Benito Juarez, which is on Sunday, March 21st.
Wednesday, March 17: Día de San Patricio / St Patrick's Day
Sunday, March 21: Benito Juarez's birthday
Saturday, March 27: 7am Eastern Malecon--Race of 5 km & 10 km (Starts behind Casa de la Cultura at Guerrero & Abasolo, by the photo op sign). With recommended protocols, registration is free.
Sunday, March 28: Palm Sunday
Sources for Weather Information:
LINK to Civil Protection Q Roo weather bulletin (Spanish)
LINK to Mexico National Weather Service (Spanish)
LINK to satellite images for the Mexico National Weather Service
LINK to GOES East Band 16 GIF (animation)
LINK to a private weather station on Isla Mujeres