Tyson Foods struggles to secure enough vaccines for its employees

A Tyson Foods employee puts on a second protective mask outside of the company’s meat processing plant, which has been hit by a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Waterloo, Iowa, U.S.

Jeffrey Becker | USA TODAY NETWORK | REUTERS

Tyson Foods recently began an effort to immunize its plant employees in Missouri, Illinois and Virginia. The meat processing company was only able to secure 1,000 doses, according to reporting from CNBC’s Bertha Coombs.

The company was able to receive 25 to 50 doses at a time so far this month to immunize their occupational health and safety workers over 65, but Tyson Foods employs 120,000 workers across two dozen states.

“We’re not turning down any opportunity to obtain vaccine for our team members,” explained Tom Brower, Tyson senior vice president for health and safety.

More than 12,500 Tyson Foods workers have contracted Covid-19, according to the watchdog group Food Environmental Reporting Network. Tyson hasn’t confirmed those reports and claims it has kept its workers safe.

Rich Mendez

Pfizer asks FDA to approve storing vaccine doses at higher temperatures

A picture taken on January 15, 2021, shows a pharmacist holding with gloved hands a phial of the undiluted Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for Covid-19, stored at -70 ° in a super freezer of the hospital of Le Mans, northwestern France as the country carry on a vaccination campaign to fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Jean-Francois Monier | AFP | Getty Images

Pfizer said it is seeking permission from the Food and Drug Administration to store its Covid-19 vaccine for two weeks at temperatures commonly found in pharmaceutical freezers and refrigerators.

The vaccine, which was developed with German drugmaker BioNTech, currently needs to be stored in ultra-cold freezers that keep it between minus 112 and minus 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Pfizer said it submitted new data to the U.S. agency that shows the vaccine is stable between minus 13 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

The vaccine is shipped in a special thermal container that can be used as temporary storage for up to 30 days by refilling with dry ice every five days. The move could make the vaccine easier to transport across the U.S. at a time when the pace of inoculations has been slow.

—Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Former Aetna CEO on how to pick up the pace of the U.S. vaccine rollout

The Biden administration announced plans this week to double the number of vaccines shipped directly to pharmacies from one million to two million doses per week, with a goal of reaching 40,000 pharmacies nationwide. Mark Bertolini, former Aetna CEO and chairman, joined CNBC’s “Squawk Box” to discuss.

Pfizer vaccine cuts infection rates, may be effective after first dose, studies show

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

Sergio Perez | Reuters

In a spate of encouraging news, two Israeli studies have shown the Pfizer vaccine, made in conjunction with Germany’s BioNTech, may have a profound impact on virus transmission, Reuters reports.

A study by Pfizer and the Israeli Health Ministry found the Pfizer vaccine cuts infection rates in asymptomatic cases by 89.4% and in symptomatic cases by 93.7%, the wire service reported.

A separate study by Israel’s Sheba Medical Center found that hospital staff who received their first dose in January saw an 85% reduction in symptomatic Covid-19 within 15 to 28 days, and the overall reduction of infections, including asymptomatic cases, was 75%.

Terri Cullen

Biotechnology expert Geoffrey Porges discuses vaccines’ effectiveness against variants

After a recent study was released about the impact of the B.1.351 variant, first found in South Africa, on the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines, Geoffrey Porges, director of Therapeutics Research and senior biotechnology analyst at SVB Leerink, joined CNBC’s “Worldwide Exchange” to discuss the implications.

Daily average of new U.S. Covid cases declining in 43 states

The United States is seeing a decline of new Covid cases, on a seven-day average, in 43 states, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins University data. Only Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming reported a rise in the seven-day average of new cases.

Severe Covid cases have stabilized in Washington, which has a seven-day average of 704 current hospitalizations, down 3.9% from a week earlier. Hospitalizations are declining in the other 49 states.

This data provided by JHU is collected from dozens of state and local agencies that have varying reporting methodologies and levels of accuracy. Comparisons of the seven-day average help to smooth out inconsistencies in state reporting procedures.

—Melodie Warner 

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