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This blockchain CEO was told female leaders can’t make it – look at her now

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Pfizer CEO says company can deliver 10% more doses to the U.S. by the end of May than previously agreed

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Bottles for the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are ready to be prepared before the opening of a mass vaccination site in the Queens borough of New York, February 24, 2021.

Seth Wenig | Pool | Reuters

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Tuesday that his company has ramped up production of its two-shot coronavirus vaccine and will be able to deliver a total of 300 million doses to the U.S. ahead of schedule.

Bourla said Pfizer can deliver 10% more doses to the U.S. by the end of May than it had previously agreed to produce. The company will be able to the full 300 million to the U.S. two weeks early, he said.

The announcement came as dozens of states temporarily stopped administering Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid vaccine, following an advisory from the Food and Drug Administration to do so after six women in the U.S. developed a rare blood-clotting disorder that left one woman dead and another in critical condition.

Some states, such as New York, said they will use Pfizer’s vaccine in place of the J&J shot for appointments that had already been scheduled.

President Joe Biden last month set a goal of getting enough Americans vaccinated in time for them to safely gather in small groups for the Fourth of July. He also vowed that every adult in the U.S. will have access to the vaccine by the end of May.

The Biden administration in February said that it had purchased enough vaccine doses from Pfizer and Moderna for both companies to deliver 300 million shots by the end of July. The government’s total purchase from Pfizer came to approximately $6 billion.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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States rush to replace J&J vaccine appointments after FDA recommends pause

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More than two dozen states took steps Tuesday to halt inoculations with Johnson & Johnson‘s coronavirus vaccine, shortly after the Food and Drug Administration recommended to pause its use after reports some women developed a rare blood clotting disorder.

The states, like the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stressed that they were acting out of an abundance of caution, as more than 6.8 million doses of J&J’s vaccine have been injected and only six of the blood clotting cases have so far been reported.

J&J said in a statement that “no clear causal relationship” has been identified between the rare type of blood clots and the vaccine, adding it is working closely with regulators to assess the data.

New York Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said the state will “immediately” stop administering the single-dose J&J inoculation, and will use Pfizer‘s two-shot vaccine in its place for already scheduled appointments.

At least 25 other states, along with Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, also announced they are taking J&J’s vaccine doses out of their distribution plans.

Those precautions may not be in effect for long, however: Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said Tuesday that she expected the pause to last only for a matter of days.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, noted Tuesday that people who got the J&J vaccine more than a month ago are at very low risk for developing the blood clots. All six reported cases occurred in women ages 18 to 48, whose symptoms developed within two weeks after they received the shot.

New Jersey’s Department of Health said that all vaccination sites in the state “have been told to cancel or put on hold appointments for the J&J vaccine until further notice.” The agency said it will work with those sites to replace J&J appointments with an alternative two-dose vaccine.

Virginia “will cease all Johnson & Johnson vaccines” while the FDA investigates the “extremely rare possible side effect,” according to a statement from the state’s vaccination coordinator, Dr. Danny Avula.

Connecticut’s Department of Public Health recommended all Covid vaccine providers stop using J&J’s vaccine “for the time being” while the FDA and the CDC complete their review.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and top health officials in his state issued a similar advisory.

Massachusetts’ Department of Public Health notified all vaccine providers in the state to stop administering the J&J vaccine, “effective immediately.”

The other states are Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

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Iran to defy uranium enrichment limits of 2015 nuclear deal after attack

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Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Abbas Araghchi attends a nuclear deal review meeting in Tehran.

Raheb Homavandi | Reuters

WASHINGTON – Iran will begin enriching uranium at 60%, a significant step towards weapons-grade material, in response to the attack at a key nuclear site, the country’s top nuclear negotiator told state media on Tuesday.

Iran’s deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi said he informed the International Atomic Energy Agency, which oversees the monitoring and inspection of nuclear sites, of Tehran’s decision. An estimated 90% of enriched uranium is needed to develop a bomb.

The move comes two days after Tehran said its underground Natanz atomic facility experienced a blackout. The Natanz facility has been previously targeted by cyber attacks.

Iran’s Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran described the event on Sunday as an act of “nuclear terrorism.” A day later, Iran formally accused Israel of being behind the attack and vowed revenge.

Read more: Iran calls Natanz atomic site blackout ‘nuclear terrorism,’ Israeli media indicate a cyberattack

The blackout at Natanz coincided with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s arrival in Israel for meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

The Israeli government has not publicly commented on the incident. The White House on Monday said the United States was not involved in the attack.

A view of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility 250 km (155 miles) south of the Iranian capital Tehran.

Raheb Homavandi | Reuters

Iran’s decision to increase its enrichment of uranium comes as the Biden administration works to revive the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, nuclear agreement.

The JCPOA, brokered by the Obama administration, lifted sanctions on Iran that had crippled its economy and cut its oil exports roughly in half. In exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief, Iran agreed to dismantle some of its nuclear program and open its facilities to more extensive international inspections.

Alongside the United States, France, Germany, the U.K., Russia and China ⁠were also signatories of the agreement.

In 2018, then-President Donald Trump kept a campaign promise and unilaterally withdrew the United States from the JCPOA calling it the “worst deal ever.” Trump also re-introduced sanctions on Tehran that had been previously lifted.

Following Washington’s exit from the landmark nuclear deal, other signatories of the pact ⁠have struggled to keep the agreement alive. 

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