Coronavirus live news: Biden’s vaccine mandate for 100 million workers; Los Angeles requires students to be vaccinated | World news
Pfizer has been accused of holding Brazil “to ransom” over demands to shield itself from possible vaccine side-effect lawsuits in its contract to supply the country with 100m Covid jabs.
In its $1bn (£700m) deal with Pfizer Export BV, signed in March, despite its prior complaints, the Brazilian government agreed that “a liability waiver be signed for any possible side-effects of the vaccine, exempting Pfizer from any civil liability for serious side-effects arising from the use of the vaccine, indefinitely”.
Indemnity from compensation claims has been common in contracts between many countries and big pharma companies since the late 1980s.
The contract also stipulated that Brazil would cede to secret US courts in the event of any contractual disputes relating to the vaccines.
In April, the contract was leaked on the health ministry website – a confidentiality agreement with Pfizer prevents the publication of its contracts. It was removed soon after and went largely unnoticed outside Brazil until the information was tweeted by a French lawyer and writer last month.
Los Angeles requires students to be vaccinated
Biden mandates vaccines for 100 million workers
Joe Biden, striving to restore public confidence in his handling of the pandemic, announced new vaccination mandates on Thursday for 100 million workers, about two-thirds of the American labour force.
Channeling national frustration as the virus surges back, the US president adopted his sternest tone yet in reprimanding the tens of millions of Americans who are still not vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“We can and we will turn the tide of Covid-19,” he said firmly. “It’ll take a lot of hard work and it’s going to take some time. Many of us are frustrated with the nearly 80 million Americans who are still not vaccinated even though the vaccine is safe, effective and free.”
Biden’s speech in the state dining room of the White House, against a backdrop of Abraham Lincoln’s portrait and with watching reporters crammed tightly, was seen as a high-profile attempt to claw back momentum and offer reassurance to Americans feeling despair about whether the pandemic will ever end: