Walgreens Experiences Stronger Revenue as Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout Ramps Up

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. says cash made out of administering Covid-19 vaccines ought to start to offset pandemic-related losses as extra individuals get pictures and the U.S. authorities pays a better reimbursement price.

The corporate mentioned Wednesday it has administered greater than eight million vaccines up to now, together with 4 million in March. Executives now anticipate the corporate to manage 26 million to 34 million pictures throughout its fiscal 12 months, which ends Aug. 31. The upper quantity partly led the corporate to carry its revenue forecast.

Covid thus far has harm Walgreens greater than it has helped, the corporate mentioned.

Retailer gross sales are down amid pandemic-related lockdowns, prescription volumes dropped as individuals postpone medical care, and gross sales of cold-and-flu merchandise tanked as Covid precautions prevented many individuals from getting sick from different bugs. Meantime, the corporate is spending extra to maintain employees and prospects protected and shops stocked.

The U.S. Facilities for Medicare and Medicaid Providers introduced earlier this month that it might improve the cost price for vaccines to $40 for every dose, up from $28 for a single dose and $45 for 2 doses.

JPMorgan, Salesforce Be part of Rising Checklist of Corporations Dumping Workplace House

JPMorgan Chase & Co., Salesforce . com Inc. and PricewaterhouseCoopers are among the many main companies seeking to unload large blocks of workplace area, the most recent signal that distant work is hurting demand for this pillar of business actual property.

Massive firms sometimes signal workplace leases for a decade or longer, giving them few choices for decreasing their footprint past attempting to sublease flooring to different tenants. On the finish of 2020, 137 million sq. toes of workplace area was out there for sublease throughout the U.S., in line with CBRE Group Inc. That’s up 40% from a 12 months earlier and the best determine since 2003.

Whereas sublet area will increase throughout each recession as struggling companies look to chop prices, companies sometimes add workplace area when the economic system picks up once more. However this time lots of the firms ditching actual property are doing effectively financially; they are saying they want much less area as a result of they plan for extra staff to work at the very least half time from dwelling even after the pandemic is over.

That raises the prospect that demand for workplace area may very well be completely decrease at some firms, very like the rise of e-commerce has been driving down demand and rents for street-level retail.

This flurry of subleasing exercise is already inflicting contemporary complications for landlords. Workplace rents for dearer area, together with concessions, fell round 17% over the previous 12 months in New York and San Francisco and 13% nationwide, in line with real-estate agency JLL.

Ship Caught within the Suez Canal Is Freed

CAIRO—The huge container ship that blocked the Suez Canal for six days has been freed and is transferring north to an anchor level, paving the way in which to open the vital waterway and start easing international provide delays.

Engineers raced all through Monday to complete the job of dislodging the Ever Given after partially refloating the ship at daybreak, making the most of an unusually excessive tide to make the job simpler.

Tugboats helped pull the vessel out from the facet of the canal the place it had been caught, earlier than straightening its heading. It slowly started to maneuver, with the target of later reaching an anchor level at a lake additional up the canal system. It was as but unclear when the waterway shall be reopened to visitors.

Egyptian tv pictures confirmed tugboats blaring their horns as they towed the Ever Given as Osama Rabie, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, which runs the waterway, introduced it had been efficiently freed.

Ship visitors inside the canal community started to maneuver Monday afternoon as authorities sought to ease the congestion that had constructed up.

Suez Canal Disaster Sends Delivery Strains Scrambling for Alternate options

Delivery firms rerouted vessels, refused to tackle new clients and forecast lengthy delays—and longer-term port congestion world wide—elevating the worldwide commerce and financial stakes of the grounding of the Ever Given within the Suez Canal.

Delivery executives stated even when the vessel is eliminated imminently, a backlog of ships ready to go by way of the canal would linger for days, and diversions of cargo may wreak havoc on port site visitors world wide for weeks, upsetting the normally fastidiously orchestrated administration of the world’s containers. The canal connects the Mediterranean and Purple Seas and accounts for as a lot as 13% of seaborne commerce and about 10% of maritime shipments of oil.

Caroline Becquart, senior vp at Mediterranean Delivery Co., one of many world’s largest container strains, stated the blockage “goes to end in one of many greatest disruptions to international commerce lately.” Amid super-tight capability that began constructing late final 12 months and has lingered by way of this 12 months, the accident implies that firms ought to anticipate “a constriction in delivery capability and gear.”

A.P. Moller–Maersk A/S, the world’s largest container vessel operator, stated Sunday it has rerouted 15 of its ships away from the Suez Canal and is popping some new shoppers away for now because it assesses its capability. “For daily the canal stays blocked, the ripple results on international capability and gear continues to extend,“ it instructed shoppers. Delays and backlogs “will proceed properly past the bodily removing of the Ever Given,” the 1,300-foot container ship that wedged itself into the canal’s banks early final Tuesday. Dredging continues to free the ship, with engineers attempting to refloat the vessel throughout excessive tides. Maersk stated it couldn’t give shoppers estimated occasions of arrival for affected ships.

Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd AG stated in a consumer observe that 9 of its ships had been affected and one other six have been despatched across the southern tip of Africa. Three of the diverted ships have been on Asia-to-Europe routes and one other three have been crusing between Asia and the U.S. East Coast. Extra diversions are within the works.

China Cosco Delivery stated 10 of its vessels are blocked by the closure. Its Cosco Excellence, on a voyage from Southeast Asia to the U.S., has been despatched across the southern tip of Africa.

Sea-Intelligence, a Copenhagen-based knowledge group, stated rerouting ships that usually use the Suez Canal round Africa or by way of the Panama Canal over the long run would successfully minimize the world’s container-shipping capability by about 6% as a result of vessels would spend extra time crusing on longer voyages.

The Ever Given cargo ship was nonetheless wedged throughout the Suez Canal on Sunday.

Photograph: Mohamed Elshahed/Related Press

“It’s evident that such an quantity of capability absorption may have a worldwide affect and result in extreme capability shortages,” the group stated in a report Friday. Sea-Intelligence stated the disruption would have an effect on all commerce lanes as container strains alter their routes with ships at sea for longer intervals.

Retailers, consumer-goods firms and producers are beginning to flip to airfreight and different suppliers as they weigh how delays will have an effect on their provide chains.

Provide-chain software program supplier Blue Yonder stated clients hit by the disaster embody a U.Okay.-based beverage maker with about 170 containers of completed items caught in transit between Europe and Asia. The corporate is calculating whether or not “if there are two weeks of delay, is that sufficient stock inventory within the vacation spot provide chain, the place they’ll prioritize their highest-level clients?” stated Himanshu Mehrotra, principal options adviser for Blue Yonder.

One other buyer, which makes medical units, is checking with suppliers to see if extra parts can be found to be shipped by air rather than items that could be tied up on ships. “They’re scheduling forward of time to airfreight the naked minimal,” Mr. Mehrotra stated. “They actually can’t wait. They’re scheduling extra flights after which if issues open up they may cancel.”

Eric Martin-Neuville, government vp of freight forwarding at France-based logistics supplier Geodis SA, stated rail and airfreight capability is tight, nevertheless, limiting choices for a lot of shippers.

“Beside prices, the primary issue is to entry capability on brief discover in a interval which was already extremely constrained,” he stated. “The present disaster will generate a brand new degree of chaos on the schedules, congestion within the arrival ports each in Europe and in Asia and can generate [a] new and important imbalance in container positioning whereas immobilizing urgently wanted bins at sea and at port.”

The Sign Group, a tanker-management agency with workplaces in London and Athens, estimated a two-week shutdown of the canal would successfully cut back capability for delivery crude and petroleum merchandise by 4.4% whereas a four-week closure would take out 12.6% of tanker capability by requiring longer voyages across the blocked area, probably driving up freight charges for the oil sector.

One other view of the Ever Given container ship within the Suez Canal on Sunday.

Photograph: maxar applied sciences/Reuters

Rerouting away from the Suez Canal intensified over the weekend as extra shippers misplaced hopes of a fast decision. Preliminary diversions across the waterway concerned container ships and tankers that have been nonetheless far-off—usually crusing within the Atlantic on their solution to Gibraltar to enter the Mediterranean. However now, container ships which might be nearing the Purple Sea are also abruptly altering course to go south round Africa.

That may delay their arrivals in Europe by as much as two weeks and incur further prices of as a lot as half 1,000,000 {dollars} every. The diversions additionally threaten main port congestion in huge ports in Europe and Asia, as all these diverted ships arrive late.

The Maren Maersk, which had been due on the canal on Wednesday on its approach from Malaysia to Rotterdam, made an abrupt flip south on Sunday morning. It’s now headed towards South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, ship-tracking from FleetMon exhibits.

Two different container ships crusing from Asia, together with MSC’s Amsterdam, have been beforehand heading to the Netherlands and Portugal by way of Suez, however rerouted round Africa on Friday, FleetMon monitoring exhibits.

Nonetheless, vessels that have been close to the canal have continued clogging its entrances as a result of they have been already too near reroute. Leth Businesses, a canal service supplier, reported Sunday that 327 vessels have been ready to get into the waterway at its two entrances at Suez and Port Stated, and greater than 40 extra are ready contained in the canal in a big physique of water referred to as the Nice Bitter Lake. A Suez Canal government stated as soon as the canal reopens, it’s going to take from one to a few days to clear the backlog. Liner and tanker operators say they anticipate 5 days to clear as soon as the passage is secure to navigate once more.

Maersk stated Sunday that it and its companions had 27 vessels ready to enter the canal, with two extra anticipated to succeed in the site visitors jam later that day. That’s up from seven final Wednesday.

A blockade within the Suez Canal is posing a particular problem for carriers bringing American and European dwell cattle to Center East markets, simply because the area prepares for peak demand at a time of spiritual celebrations round Ramadan.

Oil-and-gas tankers and container vessels might be rerouted across the Southern tip of Africa at further value however with restricted further danger of injury to their items. However shippers say livestock carriers haven’t any such possibility.

Livestock-laden vessels would wrestle to search out feed alongside the best way, and an onshore switch would require vehicles with air flow which might be laborious to search out, stated Legitimate Diab, basic supervisor at Turkish firm Observator Delivery Co., which is accountable for provisions and different delivery providers for 3 such ships caught outdoors the Canal.

The captain has a cargo of calves and lambs from Cartagena in Spain headed to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and two different vessels loaded with Romanian and Spanish cows going to both the identical Saudi port or to Aqaba in Jordan. A fourth vessel in his fleet shall be quickly arriving on the canal from Venezuela on its solution to Iraq, he stated.

Write to Benoit Faucon at benoit.faucon@wsj.com, Costas Paris at costas.paris@wsj.com and Jennifer Smith at jennifer.smith@wsj.com

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Within the Suez Canal, Economics and Physics Make for Robust Crusing

When Evert Lataire studied the publicly accessible knowledge for the Ever Given’s fateful voyage this week, he observed the vessel did one thing uncommon simply earlier than settling sideways within the Suez Canal: The container ship veered near the channel’s western financial institution.

Mr. Lataire knew the hydrodynamics of the state of affairs. He wrote his Ph.D. dissertation about such physics—and has simulated it time and again with mannequin boats in an indoor testing tank in his native Flanders.

“At that time to me, the accident was inevitable,” he stated.

It’s nonetheless unclear precisely why one of many world’s largest ships ended up plowing into the canal’s japanese financial institution, blocking the transport choke level and upending the worldwide provide chain. However two causes, one rooted in physics and the opposite in economics, clarify why the circumstances have been ripe for a mishap.

One issue is measurement. Cargo ships didn’t was once this huge. As just lately as 1996, the largest container vessels carried the equal of seven,000 containers, every 20 toes lengthy. There was no motive to go bigger. “You get to a degree the place you want a much bigger port and larger cranes,” stated Paul Stott, a U.Ok.-based maritime guide who teaches at Newcastle College.

Suez Canal Blockage Forces Operators to Reroute Ships

SUEZ CITY, Egypt—The operator of the ship blocking the Suez Canal mentioned it will take no less than two or three extra days to dig the vessel out, whereas different ship operators started rerouting tankers and containers, in some instances sending them on a two-week voyage across the tip of Africa.

Dredgers had been working once more Friday to take away tons of of hundreds of cubic ft of sand across the bow of the 1,300-foot Ever Given, operated by Taiwan-based Evergreen Group, based on the Suez Canal Authority. Evergreen mentioned a salvage group assembled by the ship’s proprietor remains to be clearing sand and dust across the vessel’s bow to attempt to free it throughout excessive tide. It will take “no less than two to 3 days to achieve the required depth for the stranded ship to refloat,” the corporate mentioned.

An try to refloat the vessel earlier Friday wasn’t profitable, based on its ship administration agency. The corporate mentioned a specialised suction dredger, which might shift giant volumes of fabric, arrived on web site Thursday.

Earlier within the day, Yukito Higaki, the president of Imabari Shipbuilding Co., whose group of corporations consists of the ship’s proprietor, Shoei Kisen Kaisha Co., mentioned at a information convention in Japan that staff hoped to free the vessel by Saturday. “We’re placing precedence on dislodging the ship in order that the blockage of the canal will be resolved,” Mr. Higaki mentioned.

Extra diggers are being introduced in and salvage groups are planning to siphon out gasoline and ballast water to lighten the ship, one particular person concerned within the operation mentioned.

Suez Backlog Grows as Efforts Resume to Free Lodged Ship

The Suez Canal remained shut Thursday as Egyptian authorities labored to clear a ship blocking the essential waterway and transport consultants warned a resumption of site visitors by way of the channel might be days away or longer.

Tugboats and a dredger resumed work early Thursday to dig out the Ever Given—a 1,300-foot ship operated by Taiwan-based Evergreen Group—partially refloat it and transfer it out of the way in which. “The refloating drive was suspended in a single day,” stated a senior Egyptian official. “We’ll give it one other go this morning.”

Evergreen has employed Dutch ship-salvage specialist Smit Salvage to assist with the operation. Peter Berdowski, Chief Govt of Smit mother or father Royal Boskalis Westminster , instructed Dutch state tv that the operation “can take days to weeks.” An particularly excessive tide over the weekend might assist efforts, in line with the Egyptian official.

Officers are planning to maneuver two ships immediately behind the stranded ship to create space for the refloating course of, in line with an individual accustomed to the matter. They can even must lighten the ship by eradicating some containers, gas and ballast water, which assist it regular when below means.

“In our view the scenario now appears to be like unlikely to be heading for a swift decision,” London-based Braemar ACM Shipbroking stated in a be aware to purchasers on Thursday.

Amazon Faces Rising Strain Forward of Alabama Union Vote

Amazon . com Inc. warehouse employees in Alabama are voting on whether or not to unionize this month. Regardless of the end result, the e-commerce big faces stress from workers world-wide to make adjustments to its working situations.

To date these actions cease wanting a proper unionization push, however they contain lots of of workers and present how work situations at Amazon warehouses are more and more within the highlight. President Biden and different high-profile figures have weighed in on the Bessemer, Ala., vote amongst warehouse workers. Hundreds of votes have already been submitted within the mail-in election, which concludes March 29.

None of Amazon’s 800,000 U.S. workers are unionized. A vote to kind a union in Alabama would give employees extra energy to barter with the corporate on issues akin to pay and advantages.

Elsewhere, hourly Amazon workers are gathering petition signatures, discussing potential strikes and consulting with unions about potential calls for. The teams are in search of to change firm insurance policies on the speed at which they need to put together packages, break time and shift schedules, all components that may make Amazon a bodily demanding place to work, employees say, and key points amid Amazon’s enlargement and purpose to hurry up supply instances.

“It could be a victory for us, and it might carry momentum for others,” Jennifer Bates, a worker-organizer in Bessemer, mentioned in an interview. “It could be a fireplace starter.”

U.S. Well being Officers Elevate Issues Over AstraZeneca Knowledge

LONDON—U.S. officers mentioned they have been instructed AstraZeneca PLC could have launched outdated details about trial outcomes for its Covid-19 vaccine—a shock disclosure that instantly forged doubt on the corporate’s assertion a day earlier than that outcomes confirmed the shot to be extremely efficient.

The early-morning assertion from the Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Ailments got here a day after AstraZeneca launched interim knowledge from large-scale U.S. trials that it mentioned discovered its Covid-19 vaccine to be 79% efficient in stopping symptomatic illness.

AstraZeneca, in its personal assertion, mentioned it will replace and reissue its trial ends in 48-hours.

The outcomes served as a short-lived vote of confidence within the shot, which has been clouded by uncertainty over earlier, complicated efficacy outcomes and large-scale manufacturing issues. Extra just lately, reported instances of uncommon blood clotting in Europe raised issues concerning the vaccine’s security, although European regulators have really helpful its continued use. The U.S. trials confirmed no hyperlink with the vaccine and the NIAID assertion Tuesday didn’t increase questions on that discovering or different safety-related points.

Regardless of that reputational cloud, the shot is being rolled out extensively outdoors the U.S., together with throughout Europe the place it’s a key plank in efforts by governments there to speed up its vaccination drive. Regulators there and in dozens of different nations have permitted the shot to be used. Early, real-world knowledge from the U.Ok. has proven the vaccine to be efficient in older recipients. 

AstraZeneca Shot Is Protected, 79% Efficient in Newest U.S. Trials

AstraZeneca AZN 2.69% PLC’s Covid-19 vaccine was proven to be protected and 79% efficient in stopping symptomatic illness in extensively anticipated U.S. scientific trials, offering a vote of confidence for the shot and a pathway for its authorization within the U.S.

The interim trial knowledge confirmed the vaccine, developed in partnership with the College of Oxford, was 80% efficient in members aged 65 and over, a gaggle earlier AstraZeneca trials lacked in massive numbers. The shot was additionally discovered to be 100% efficient in stopping severe sickness and hospitalization throughout ages and ethnicities.

The corporate stated it will proceed to research the info and plans to request emergency authorization within the U.S. by mid-April.

If licensed by the Meals and Drug Administration, the vaccine could possibly be out there in Could, becoming a member of three different licensed pictures in America’s accelerating vaccine drive. AstraZeneca stated it would have 30 million doses out there instantly within the U.S., and one other 20 million doses quickly after.

The shot is already extensively used elsewhere. The U.S. trials present the largest-scale scientific assessments but of the vaccine amid widespread scrutiny of its efficacy and stories of great blood-clotting points in a really small variety of individuals in Europe who obtained the shot. The U.S. trials recognized no elevated danger of great blood clotting.

Newest Vaccine Developments

The abstract of the U.S. trial outcomes, launched Monday, didn’t get away efficacy towards Covid-19 variants. All the so-called “variants of concern” have been current within the examine, stated Mene Pangalos, AstraZeneca’s government vp for biopharmaceuticals analysis and improvement, and Prof. Ann Falsey of the College of Rochester College of Medication, a principal investigator on the trial. They stated the sturdy outcomes are encouraging proof that the vaccine holds up towards newer strains—and particularly as safety towards extreme illness. They are going to present extra info quickly with full outcomes, they stated.

The interim outcomes haven’t but been reviewed by impartial researchers. AstraZeneca stated the evaluation will probably be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Blood clotting issues led greater than a dozen European nations, together with Germany and Italy, to briefly halt use of the vaccine this month. Most resumed administering the vaccine after European and U.Ok. medication regulators once more endorsed the shot’s use regardless of the uncommon clotting points. The circumstances weren’t confirmed to be linked to the vaccine, however regulators stated they couldn’t rule out a connection, both.

They stated the vaccine is a crucial weapon in stopping dying and severe sickness ensuing from Covid-19 and that its advantages outweigh potential dangers. The U.Ok. alone has administered greater than 11 million doses of the vaccine.

AstraZeneca stated Monday that impartial U.S. security screens ran a particular assessment of extreme blood clotting, or severe thrombotic occasions, based mostly on the trial knowledge, together with a extreme situation referred to as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, or CVST, that has been reported to be linked to a really small variety of deaths in Europe amongst individuals who obtained the vaccine. It discovered no elevated danger of thrombosis amongst 21,583 members who obtained at the least one dose of the vaccine, and no circumstances of CVST, AstraZeneca stated.

The blood-clotting points which have arisen in Europe’s rollout of the vaccine in current weeks are so uncommon, nonetheless, researchers say they’re unlikely to point out up in scientific trials, even ones as massive because the U.S. trial

A lot is driving on international acceptance of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot, which is essentially the most extensively utilized in many components of the globe, and the most cost effective.

The vaccine has been licensed to be used in additional than 70 nations, and is core to plans to provide tons of of thousands and thousands of doses to poor and middle-income nations this 12 months. The vaccine will be saved and transported utilizing regular refrigeration, and may final for greater than six months at that temperature.

The U.S. trial concerned 32,449 members aged 18 and over, with roughly 20% aged 65 or over. The info evaluation is predicated on 141 symptomatic Covid-19 circumstances, which means that 141 members fell unwell. Medical trials of vaccines rely upon dozens of members growing infections to measure how effectively pictures work in contrast with trial volunteers who obtain a placebo.

The U.S. trials present a a lot clearer set of information for the vaccine than earlier trials. U.Ok. trial outcomes of the vaccine, launched late final 12 months, introduced a spread of efficacy, between 62% and 90%, relying on plenty of elements together with dosing. That vary was troublesome to check with U.S. trial outcomes of rival vaccines, one from Pfizer Inc. and Germany’s BioNTech SE and one other from Moderna Inc. Each have been discovered to be greater than 94% efficient in U.S. trials. Whereas nonetheless effectively in need of that efficacy fee, AstraZeneca’s 79% is far increased than the 50% benchmark set by international regulators.

​Europe’s high drug regulator endorsed AstraZeneca’s vaccine after it was suspended in a number of nations over blood-clot issues. WSJ explains what’s at stake for a shot that is been extensively used around the globe and will quickly be thought of for emergency use within the U.S. Picture: Mykola Tys/SOPA Photographs

The U.S. in late February licensed the Covid-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson for the U.S. market. That one-dose shot was discovered to be 66.1% efficient at defending individuals from growing reasonable and extreme circumstances of Covid-19 at the least 28 days after vaccination. The quantity jumped to 85.4% towards extreme illness alone.

The U.S. supplied greater than $1 billion in funding to help the event of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The U.S. trial, which began recruiting volunteers there and in Chile and Peru in August, was standardized to satisfy FDA tips, measuring the outcomes of two doses 4 weeks aside. AstraZeneca stated stretching out doses—which the U.Ok. and different nations have carried out—might increase the efficacy of the vaccine additional.

A shot’s precise efficacy could differ considerably from the fastidiously managed environments of human scientific trials. As vaccine drives kick into excessive gear in lots of locations, together with the U.S. and U.Ok., extra knowledge about how the assorted vaccines carry out amongst totally different demographics in the true world will turn into out there.

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Already, knowledge drawn closely from the U.Ok.’s mass vaccination drive has proven a single shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine to be round 70% efficient, and extremely efficient in stopping dying and hospitalizations. The U.Ok. real-world knowledge counsel that separating the 2 doses by about 12 weeks helped increase immunity, leading to round 80% efficacy amongst individuals 70 years or older, after the second shot. The FDA and their advisers will decide dosing intervals for the U.S., Dr. Pangalos stated.

AstraZeneca has promised to provide three billion doses this 12 months at no revenue. Public-health consultants have nervous the complicated trial outcomes final 12 months, tensions between AstraZeneca and European officers over manufacturing shortfalls and the blood clotting issues might do lasting injury to the vaccine’s fame.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson obtained his first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in London on Friday.

Picture: Frank Augstein/Zuma Press

The U.S. vaccination rollout has confronted challenges in provide and distribution. However each the manufacturing and administration of pictures have picked up in current weeks. Now, some 2.5 million individuals within the U.S. are vaccinated each day on common, up from about 500,000 in early January.

However many individuals who desire a vaccine can’t get one. Stockpiles of AstraZeneca vaccine can’t be used within the U.S. till the shot will get FDA authorization.

Final week, the Biden administration introduced plans to ship Four million doses of the stockpiled AstraZeneca vaccine within the U.S. to Canada in Mexico, as a mortgage forward of potential authorization. Officers stated no deal was finalized.

The U.S. stated it has 7 million “releasable doses” of the AstraZeneca vaccine. In whole, the nation has ordered 300 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, together with a contract for 200 million doses for the Division of Protection.

Covid-19 Vaccines

Write to Jenny Strasburg at jenny.strasburg@wsj.com

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