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China joins WHO’s plan for global distribution of COVID-19 vaccine

Oct. 9 (UPI) — China on Friday said it has joined a World Health Organization-led initiative that aims to manufacture and provide equitable access to a COVID-19 vaccine.

Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry, said the Asian nation signed an agreement with Gavi on Thursday to join COVAX, the vaccine pillar of the WHO’s Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator program.

Launched in April by the WHO, the ACT Accelerator aims to ramp up development, production and equitable distribution of COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines, and is co-led by the U.N. health body, Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

Hua did not state China’s financial contribution to the program but said it pledges to make domestically developed vaccines a public resource.

“This is an important step China has taken to uphold the concept of a shared community of health for all and to honor its commitment to turn COVID-19 vaccines into a global public good,” Hua said in a statement. “We are taking this concrete step to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines, especially to developing countries, and hope more capable countries will also join and support COVAX.”

As of Friday, more than 150 economies equalling nearly two-thirds of the world’s population have signed commitment agreements to the COVAX Facility in its effort to ensure low- and middle-income countries have equitable access to a vaccine when one is developed.

The United States, which has formally requested to leave the WHO, has declined to participate in the effort, as it accuses the U.N. health body of colluding with China in its efforts to cover up its initial outbreak of the virus late last year.

“We will not be constrained by multilateral organizations influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China,” Judd Deere, a spokesman for the White House, said early last month.

In late August, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said more than 170 nations were in talks to join the program, explaining that the plan consists of delivering at least 2 billion doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of next year with a global rollout to begin with those who are at the greatest risk.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel,” said Tedros, who has warned against so-called vaccine nationalism.

Gavi said Thursday it has raised roughly $1.8 billion, nearly reaching its goal of $2 billion by the end of this year for the program.

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Nicole Chappelle Joins Ametros as Vice President of Settlement Solutions

Ametros welcomes Nicole Chappelle as Vice President of Settlement Solutions, leading the professional administrator’s strategy for comprehensive and innovative settlement initiatives.

“Nicole’s strong background in workers’ compensation, working with insurers, third-party administrators and other stakeholders in the settlement process, makes her well qualified to support our clients and partners and guide injured individuals through the settlement process,” said Mark Doherty, Executive Vice President of Sales.

Chappelle brings 28 years of experience to this newly created position, most recently as Claims Auditor Claims Central Audit for AmTrust Financial Services. She is a former Assistant Vice President for Gallagher Bassett and has served in litigation management, hearing representation, and claims supervision for several insurance companies. She started her career with Travelers Insurance.

Chappelle earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California in Santa Barbara and her expertise spans workers’ compensation statutes, regulations, and case law.

“Nicole brings a lot of value, especially right now as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is sharing its concerns with self-administered Medicare Set Asides and as various stakeholders, including payers and attorneys representing injured workers leverage professional administration more in the settlement process,” Doherty added.

In addition to administering MSAs, Ametros helps members navigate the healthcare system and reduce their medical and pharmaceutical costs. Members can receive discounts on office visits, durable medical equipment, home health services, and pharmacy and other healthcare services related to their injuries.


Ametros is the industry leader in post-settlement medical administration and a trusted partner for thousands of members receiving funds from workers’ compensation and liability settlements. Founded in 2010, Ametros provides post-settlement medical management services with significant medical and pharmacy discounts along with automated payment technology and Medicare reporting tools. Headquartered just north of Boston in Wilmington, Massachusetts, Ametros may be reached at 877.275.7415 or via

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Melissa Wright, 978-381-4329
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In a First, New England Journal of Medicine Joins Never-Trumpers

Throughout its 208-year history, The New England Journal of Medicine has remained staunchly nonpartisan. The world’s most prestigious medical journal has never supported or condemned a political candidate.

Until now.

In an editorial signed by 34 editors who are United States citizens (one editor is not) and published on Wednesday, the journal said the Trump administration had responded so poorly to the coronavirus pandemic that they “have taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy.”

The journal did not explicitly endorse former Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee, but that was the only possible inference, other scientists noted.

The editor in chief, Dr. Eric Rubin, said the scathing editorial was one of only four in the journal’s history that were signed by all of the editors. The N.E.J.M.’s editors join those of another influential journal, Scientific American, who last month endorsed Mr. Biden, the former vice president.

The political leadership has failed Americans in many ways that contrast vividly with responses from leaders in other countries, the N.E.J.M. said.

In the United States, the journal said, there was too little testing for the virus, especially early on. There was too little protective equipment, and a lack of national leadership on important measures like mask wearing, social distancing, quarantine and isolation.

There were attempts to politicize and undermine the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the journal noted.

As a result, the United States has had tens of thousands of “excess” deaths — those caused both directly and indirectly by the pandemic — as well as immense economic pain and an increase in social inequality as the virus hit disadvantaged communities hardest.

The editorial castigated the Trump administration’s rejection of science, writing, “Instead of relying on expertise, the administration has turned to uninformed ‘opinion leaders’ and charlatans who obscure the truth and facilitate the promulgation of outright lies.”

The uncharacteristically pungent editorial called for change: “When it comes to the response to the largest public health crisis of our time, our current political leaders have demonstrated that they are dangerously incompetent. We should not abet them and enable the deaths of thousands more Americans by allowing them to keep their jobs.”

Scientific American, too, had never before endorsed a political candidate. “The pandemic would strain any nation and system, but Trump’s rejection of evidence and public health measures have been catastrophic,” the journal’s editors said.

The N.E.J.M., like all medical journals these days, is deluged with papers on the coronavirus and the illness it causes, Covid-19. Editors have struggled to reconcile efforts to insist on quality with a constant barrage of misinformation and misleading statements from the administration, said Dr. Clifford Rosen, associate editor of the journal and an endocrinologist at Tufts University in Medford, Mass.

“Our mission is to promote the best science and also to educate,” Dr. Rosen said. “We were seeing anti-science and poor leadership.”

Mounting public health failures and misinformation had eventually taken a

Trump joins list of world leaders who have tested positive for coronavirus

President Trump has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and in doing so, he joins a growing list of world leaders who have previously contracted the disease.

Since the start of the pandemic, at least seven major world leaders have tested positive for the virus, the most notable ones being Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Trump’s age, 74, places him within a category of people deemed to be at the highest risk of severe complications from the virus.


“People in their 60s or 70s are, in general, at higher risk for severe illness,” the CDC says on its website. “Severe illness means that the person with COVID-19 may require hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe, or they may even die.”


Johnson, 55, was the first major world leader confirmed to have COVID-19 after he tested positive in March. He was subsequently moved to the intensive-care unit of St. Thomas’ Hospital in London after his symptoms got worse.

“Over the course of this afternoon, the condition of the prime minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the intensive care unit at the hospital,” a spokesman said at the time. “The PM is receiving excellent care, and thanks all [National Health Service] staff for their hard work and dedication.”

Johnson claimed it was “50-50” as to whether he’d have to be intubated, which is typically a last resort option for doctors. He credited the “wonderful, wonderful nursing” that he received while at the hospital. He also recorded a thank-you message to the staff that cared for him during his visit, which was released shortly after he was discharged from the hospital.

Bolsonaro, 65, was another notable leader who was previously infected. He reportedly tested positive for the virus three times between July 7 and July 21. While in quarantine at his presidential palace, he posted pictures of himself feeding birds and eating alone.

Bolsonaro has also said that he was taking the anti-malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, which he has supported since the outbreak began, despite little evidence of its effectiveness. Before his diagnosis, he disregarded social distancing at lively demonstrations and encouraged crowds during outings from the presidential residence, often without a mask.

Juan Orlando Hernandez, the Honduras president was another leader to contract the virus. Hernandez, 51, announced in June that he and his wife had tested positive, along with two other people who worked closely with them. He was briefly hospitalized before being released in July.

Last month, Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, 64 announced he had tested positive for the virus and would be working from home.


“My symptoms are very mild. Up to now, I have body aches, it hurt more yesterday than today, like a bad cold,” the president said during