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Morning Briefing: Mr. Rice Paper Skin Offers Biden Advice, and the Latest on Vaccines

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | March 16, 2021 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | March 16, 2021 |


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France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and a number of other European Union nations have suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, citing reports of blood clots after seven cases of thrombosis among people who had received the vaccine in Germany. The suspension appears to be temporary, although the World Health Organization still supports the vaccine, saying there is no link between the vaccine and blood clots, and even most of the countries who pressed pause also acknowledge that there is no evidence that the AstraZeneca shots caused the blood clots. Australia, India, Thailand, and the UK are continuing with the AstraZeneca vaccines (and the United States, meanwhile, is stilling on tens of millions of doses that it has not yet approved).

Meanwhile, here in the states, Mississippi is the second state, after Alaska, to open up the vaccine to the general population. This sounds like great news, but I’m not sure how great it is if the reason they are already opening it up to the wider population is that they’re running out of demand among the more limited population. That suggests that a lot of people are declining the vaccine.

Elsewhere, Moderna is starting to test their vaccine on kids between six months and 11 years old. That age group will be the last to receive the vaccine, and it may not be until 2022. We won’t achieve herd immunity until that happens. Moderna and Pfizer began clinical trials on kids aged 12-17 in December.

In other vaccine-related news, it turns out a whole slew of folks in the Trump Administration — many of whom flouted pandemic rules — were rushing to get the vaccine before Trump’s term ended. “Tthe sudden, unexplained appearance of COVID-19 vaccination clinics within the federal government for some workers and not others ignited a wildfire of whispers, denunciations, and comparisons to the Titanic, with first-class passengers elbowing their way onto scarce lifeboats,” Vanity Fair writes.

Jared Kushner is also writing some very dumb things about the Middle East conflict, about how he could have solved it with another term, and how the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is just a “real-estate dispute” and nothing more. From Vanity Fair:

Yes, according to young Jared, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is simply a matter of real estate and if Trump had had a second term you can bet Kushner would’ve solved the whole thing by hooking the Palestinians up with some sweet two-bed, one-bath condos with two months free on a 12-month lease. (Trump branded, of course.) This take is up there with the one Kushner shared with the world back in 2019, which was that in order to bring peace to the Middle East, people must simply stop “doing terrorism.”

Kushner is also praising the Biden team’s work with Iran, which has got to be concerning for the Biden Administration.

On the subject of the Trump Administration, can you believe this guy was the Director of the National Economic Council during the Trump Administration?

Finally, this is not political, but I have nowhere else to put it. But this is not how you behave when someone declines an invitation to appear on your podcast.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.



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