Home Health News Covid live updates: EU approves its second vaccine as strain found in South Africa worries experts – CNBC

Covid live updates: EU approves its second vaccine as strain found in South Africa worries experts – CNBC

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Private payrolls fall for the first time since April

Private payrolls contracted in December for the first time since April, CNBC’s Jeff Cox reports.

The jobs number fell 123,000 during the month, a sharp decline compared with the 60,000 job gain economists expected. The national jobs market had been on the mend after widespread business shutdowns in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sara Salinas

EU approves Moderna’s vaccine

Dave Lacknauth, Pharm. D., Director of Pharmacy Services, Broward Health Medical Center shows off a bottle of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during a press conference on December 23, 2020 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Health regulators for the European Union approved Moderna’s Covid vaccine for use in the 27-nation bloc. It’s the second such drug to get approval from the European Medicines Agency, CNBC’s Silvia Amaro reports.

The greenlight could help jumpstart Europe’s vaccine rollout, which has faced criticism for a slow pace and occasional mishaps.

Moderna’s vaccine was previously approved in the U.K. and U.S., where it is currently being distributed and administered. The vaccine, similar to Pfizer’s, is a two-dose regimen and was found in clinical trials to be 94% effective.

—Sara Salinas

The Covid variant found in South Africa is worrying experts

A new strain of the virus that has emerged in South Africa is causing concern. Similar to a variant that has been discovered in the U.K. in recent months, the strain that has emerged in South Africa is proving to be far more transmissible.

So far, scientists do not believe either new variant is more deadly. But being more transmissible means more people can get infected and could mean more serious infections and more fatalities as a result.

Questions are now being raised over whether the coronavirus vaccines developed at breakneck speed in the last year will be effective against significant mutations of the virus, such as the one identified in South Africa. CNBC looks at what we know (and what we don’t) about this new strain.

Holly Ellyatt

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

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