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What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

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Researchers urge delaying Pfizer vaccine's second dose
The second dose of Pfizer Inc's Covid-19 vaccine could be delayed in order to cover all priority groups as the first one is highly protective, two Canada-based researchers said in a letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The vaccine had an efficacy of 92.6% after the first dose, Danuta Skowronski and Gaston De Serres said, based on an analysis of the documents submitted by the drugmaker to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In its response, Pfizer said alternative dosing regimens of the vaccine had not been evaluated yet and that the decision resided with the health authorities.

South African scientists to discuss Pfizer vaccine study
South African scientists will hold discussions on Thursday on a laboratory study that suggests the dominant local variant of the coronavirus may reduce antibody protection from Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine by two-thirds.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, comes less than two weeks after interim data on AstraZeneca's Covid-19 shot also raised concern about its efficacy against the more infectious South African variant.

Africa Covid-19 deaths near 100,000 after second wave
Africa's total reported death toll from Covid-19 is approaching 100,000, a fraction of those reported on other continents but rising fast as a second wave of infections overwhelms hospitals.

The continent's reported deaths, at 99,800, compare favourably with North America, which has registered more than half a million, and Europe, which is approaching 900,000, a Reuters tally shows.

Indonesia capital warns of fines for refusing vaccine
Indonesia's capital Jakarta is threatening residents with fines of up to 5 million rupiah ($360) for refusing Covid-19 vaccines, an unusually stiff penalty aimed at ensuring compliance with a new regulation making inoculations mandatory.

Jakarta accounts for about a quarter of the archipelago nation's more than 1.2 million coronavirus infections.

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