At least 2.5% of New Zealand’s population was vaccinated for COVID-19 in a single day Saturday, according to preliminary data.
The country’s health ministry reported a record 124,669 people were inoculated in the country of 4.9 million during an eight-hour national “Vaxathon” campaign featuring celebrities.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern first set a goal of 100,000 vaccinations but raised it to 150,000 after the first milestone was reached.
The event, which was televised and online, was launched after an outbreak of the delta variant in mid-August. The country had remained mostly virus-free until then. The country has only had 4,940 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and reported just 28 deaths related to the virus, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
Also Saturday, Russia reported 1,002 COVID-19 deaths, the first-time daily fatalities topped 1,000 in the country since the pandemic began.
Record numbers of daily deaths have repeatedly been set over the past few weeks. But Russian government efforts to accelerate the pace of vaccinations with incentives such as bonuses and lotteries have been thwarted by widespread distrust of vaccines and conflicting information from officials.
The Russian government said earlier this week that about 29% of the country’s nearly 146 million people had been fully vaccinated.
Overall, Russia has reported 7.8 million cases of COVID-19 and 218,362 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.
Meanwhile, a panel of U.S. health advisers on Friday recommended the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorize a second shot of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine for anyone who has received the single-dose inoculation.
The panel expressed concerns that Americans who received the shot are not as protected as those who were given a two-dose vaccination from drugmakers Pfizer or Moderna.
Last month, the FDA authorized a third booster shot for the Pfizer vaccine for seniors as well as adults who are at high risk for COVID-19. On Thursday, the FDA advisory panel recommended a similar course of action for Moderna boosters, except using lower doses.
Johnson & Johnson is the only COVID-19 vaccine approved in the United States that is only one dose. Initially, it was hailed for its ability to take effect quickly, but soon ran into concerns that it led to a rare blood clot disorder and a neurological disease called Guillain-Barre syndrome. It is now facing criticism that it is less effective than rival brands.
Only about 15 million Americans received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine out of 188 million Americans who are fully vaccinated.
In other developments Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it would accept mixed-dose coronavirus vaccines from international travelers. It has said it would allow travelers to have received any vaccine authorized for use by the FDA or the World Health Organization.
Earlier in the day, the White House said it would lift COVID-19 travel restrictions for international travelers who are fully vaccinated on Nov. 8.
Some information for this report came from the Associated Press and Reuters.