Pfizer or Moderna? A COVID vaccine distribution dilemma

Good afternoon, readers.

Say you walk into a hospital or other COVID vaccine distribution site. You qualify to get one because you’re a priority group under local regulations, and there are enough available doses around for you to get one. Which one would you actually receive?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already granted emergency authorization to two of them, one from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech and the other from Moderna. But you’re unlikely to know which one of those you’ll be getting.

This pandemic has had a unifying theme: Triage. You get the resources to who needs them most. You allocate such resources accordingly. That was the case with coronavirus testing at the start of the outbreak. Now it’s the case for one of the most complex immunization campaigns in history.

While the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines share scientific roots, they’re still very different … Read the rest

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Wall Street wins again: Affirm IPO leaves $1.23 billion (at least) on the table

Here we go again. You’d think that proliferation of direct listings and SPACs last year that enable founders, venture capitalists and big investors to take enterprises public their way would be loosening Wall Street’s grip on the IPOs––a longstanding bonanza for investment banks. But in 2020, 194 tradtional IPOs, the highest total since 2014, got done the old fashioned way, with the bankers frequently selling shares at bargain prices to their prized customers, who cleaned up from a parade of first day pops that resounded among the biggest ever. According to data posted by Jay Ritter of the University of Florida, an expert on IPOs, no fewer than 12 offerings in 2020 left $500 million or more “on the table.” In those dozen deals, the owners collected between half-a-billion and three-and-a-half billion dollars less than if they’d gotten the price where their shares settled at the close of the opening … Read the rest

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Now, micro loan waiver talks in Assam worry MFIs

Competitive populism by offering financial benefits to the northeastern state’s 27 lakh microfinance borrowers has turned out to be major poll plank. It’s the opposition Congress which first promised waiver of loans taken from these institutions if the party is voted to power, with the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party matching it.

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The reckoning of the Capitol riots is up to us

Of all the horrific details coming to light about the riots in Washington, D.C. last week, two have left me with strange, emotional bruises.

Here’s the first. As the pro-Trump rioters rampaged through the Capitol building forcing lawmakers to rush for safety, a group of young staffers for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had no choice but to take cover in a conference room within her office. They barricaded the door, turned off the lights, and hid under a table—in silence—for two and a half hours and listened to the madness outside. Here’s the part I can’t shake: It was a survival tactic they learned from growing up with active shooter drills in school. 

Here’s the second. 

Footage from inside the Capitol showed a Black Capitol Police officer, later identified by CNN as Eugene Goodman, make a split-second decision to encourage an angry mob to follow him away from the Senate … Read the rest

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Retail consumers loosen purse strings in December, jewellery sees maximum spending

Jewellery saw the biggest spends on CMS channels with a total value of ₹651 crore in the month of December, compared with ₹541 crore in January last year. Ecommerce transactions continued their bumper ride with payments totalling ₹430 crore in December, compared with ₹366 crore in January last year.

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