Current Events Roundup

Current Events Roundup

A lot has been happening on the global scene, from vaccine updates in the US to AI regulation plans in the EU to a joint worldwide effort to limit greenhouse gas emissions. With so much going on, we have gathered some of the most recent news so you can stay in the loop.

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

A report published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that only 3% of Johnson & Johnson vaccine reactions are classified as serious, with a total of 17 incidents of severe blood clotting and low platelet levels. The severe side effects are mostly common in women.

An additional study from the CDC suggests that “anxiety-related events” may have played a role in the blood clotting. The authors suggested that because the J&J is a one-time shot, as opposed to the others that require two doses, people with a fear of needles would opt for this one. People with a fear of needles might also have a tendency towards anxiety.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was rolled out in February but was paused due to reports of clotting. The pause was ultimately lifted last week.

Pfizer & Moderna Vaccines

According to the New York Times, nearly 8% of people who got their first Pfizer or Moderna shot have skipped their second dose. While 8% does not sound like much, it amounts to about 5 million people. The reasons people cited for not getting the second dose were that they feared the side effects or felt that one dose was enough.

But it is not just the consumers who decided to forego on the second dose. Health providers ended up cancelled appointments because they ran out of vaccines. 

As millions of people are missing appointments, either due to their own judgment or lack of supply, a new study from the Imperial College in London suggests that one dose of the Pfizer vaccine may not be enough to protect against different variants of COVID-19. People who already had COVID, however, can be covered with just one dose.

Europe’s New AI Regulations

The EU has been busy the past few weeks. The European Commission recently unveiled a proposal that would ban “AI systems considered a clear threat to the safety, livelihoods and rights of people.” The proposal includes stricter rules for biometrics, autonomous driving, and online advertising algorithms, among other things.

This is the first attempt at regulating AI technology and the EU has positioned itself as a world leader in the field. When the proposal goes into effect, the rules will not only affect European companies, but any company that wants to operate in the bloc. 

Japan and Europe Roll Out Climate Change Plans

The end of April saw two positive developments toward a greener world: Japanese prime minister, Mr. Yoshihide Suga, announced Japan’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 46% by 2030. The EU also revealed its plan to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. The larger goal is to reach zero net emissions by 2050. Europe’s climate plan arrived just in time for US president Joe Biden’s climate summit, held at the end of April.

Biden’s Climate Summit

At the climate summit initiated by the United States, Biden promised to cut America’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030. The summit was an opportunity to pressure allies and other countries to increase their pledges toward a greener future, and it was considered to be  relatively successful.

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